A Forward Look into Rare Earth Supply and Demand: A Role for Sedimentary Phosphate Deposits? - BRGM - Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières Access content directly
Journal Articles Procedia Engineering Year : 2014

A Forward Look into Rare Earth Supply and Demand: A Role for Sedimentary Phosphate Deposits?


Rare earth elements, key to many high-technology applications, are regularly making headlines, even in general public newspapers. Will the word run short of rare earth elements and of the many applications that rest on their use? In support to French and European Union policy making, as well as in support to industrial clients, BRGM is monitoring rare earth markets from the supply and the demand sides, as well as for technological shifts that drive them. Not every rare earth element is effectively rare and there are well over 400 ongoing rare earth exploration projects worldwide. Nevertheless, some rare earth elements such as dysprosium, europium and terbium are rare, in high and fast growing demand; as they either are indispensable to the production of Fe-B-Nd (Dy) permanent magnets, the highest performance magnetic material currently being available at industrial scale, or to the production of phosphors essential to the production of fluorescent compact, energy saving, light bulbs and video displays. At the current 10% compound annual growth rate of the demand for these elements, the question arises of their the future availability. Among the many rare-earth bearing minerals apatite is of particular interest as a potential source of rare earth elements, as it is a widespread mineral, forming huge deposits such as the sedimentary and magmatic phosphate deposits. An overview of the potential of sedimentary phosphate deposits as an important source for future rare earth production is presented and discussed. In addition to knowledge about the distribution and concentration of individual rare earth elements in sedimentary phosphate deposits, it is also necessary to understand the partitioning of the individual elements between phosphogypsum and phosphoric acid in the fertilizer production process, as well as available technologies to recover and separate individual rare earth elements from these materials. This could pave the way to the generation of extra added-value for phosphate producers, and to the broadening of the international production base of rare earth elements in high demand by the global economy.


Earth Sciences
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hal-03663796 , version 1 (10-05-2022)



Patrice Christmann. A Forward Look into Rare Earth Supply and Demand: A Role for Sedimentary Phosphate Deposits?. Procedia Engineering, 2014, 83, pp.19 - 26. ⟨10.1016/j.proeng.2014.09.005⟩. ⟨hal-03663796⟩


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