DN Insight: What Rare Earth Shortages Mean for Engineers, Part 1

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Jon Titus
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Why rare-earth magnets work
Jon Titus   3/5/2012 1:18:34 PM
Wikipedia has an interesting submission that explains why these rare-earth magnets exhibit such good magnetic properties:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rare-earth_magnet.  The US Geolgical Survey offers an interactive map that shows worldwide mines, deposits, and occurrances or rare-earth minerals: http://mrdata.usgs.gov/mineral-resources/ree.html.  You'll see that rare-earth minerals are not particularly rare, although it's rare to find sites for economical mining.

Rob Spiegel
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What about Australia?
Rob Spiegel   3/5/2012 12:10:29 PM

Nice article, Kristen. And it's an important subject. I know Molycorp had come back online -- now that rare earth elements command a significant price again, but I didn;t realize that dysprosium would not come online for years yet. I know Australian mines have come back online. Will Australia help with some of these shortages? 

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Rare Earth Shortages
apresher   3/5/2012 8:16:59 AM
Excellent article.  Looking forward to the rest of the report on what these shortages mean for new designs and machinery.  Thanks.

Beth Stackpole
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Shortages seems to be new reality, so now what?
Beth Stackpole   3/5/2012 6:32:11 AM
Kristen, thanks for the overview on rare earth metals and specifically the background on what's causing the shortages. I think the three scenarios you keyed in on at the end of your post could be really instrumental for engineers looking for alternatives to these materials or at least a strategy for lessening their dependence on them for their designs. Given the state of the world economy and global tensions, constant price spikes seem to be the new order. I'm sure I speak for our audience when I say I'd love to hear more about each of those three strategies and I'm hoping subsequent posts in your series hit on these tactics.

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