Long-term outlook for global rare earth production

Jianliang Wang, Meiyu Guo*, Mingming Liu, Xinqiang Wei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Rare earths are increasingly important in modern industry. It is thus critical for both users and policy makers to understand the future production of rare earth resources. This paper presents a quantitative analysis of the long-term production of world rare earths using a flexible bell-shaped curve-fitting model. The results show that world rare earth production may increase for many decades. However, the production rate, which is key to understanding the balance between the supply and demand of rare earths, may differ sharply with variation in the value of ultimately recoverable reserves and the model's curve shape. Our highest projected for peak production and peak year are 1.28 Mt (rare earth oxide equivalent) and 2115 respectively, and our lowest projections suggest that production will peak at 0.4 Mt in 2118. Given the many potential constraints on production, this paper suggests that our lowest projection may best represent the actual production pathway. Finally, the paper suggests measures to deal with a potential imbalance between supply and demand from both the supply and the demand side.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101569
JournalResources Policy
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • Curve-fitting model
  • Production forecast
  • Rare earths
  • Ultimate recoverable reserves


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