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The development pattern dominated by China's rare earth industry

2020-06-12 11:45:41

The development pattern led by China's rare earth industry has been dominated by six major rare earth groups since 2013. The background of the integration of the six major rare earth groups is to improve the concentration of the rare earth industry, facilitate the government supervision, strengthen the rational allocation of domestic resources, further upgrade the industry and process, and avoid the occurrence of unlicensed mining that leads to the waste of rare earth resources and damages to the interests of the industry.

Promulgated by the State Council on May 10, 2011 the State Council on promoting the sustained and healthy development of rare earth industry several opinions, set the tone for China's rare earth enterprise development pattern, and put forward by the ministry to form a "1 + 5" large rare earths group of the country's plan, promote domestic rare earth enterprise asset optimization, merger and reorganization, forming a rare earth company north and the south five rare earth new pattern of the company.

In 2013, the state approved the establishment of six rare earth groups, Including China Rare Rare Earth Co., Ltd. (chinalco), China got Rare Earth Co., Ltd. (China Minmetals corp, Minmetals Rare Earth group Co., Ltd.), northern China Rare Earth (group) hi-tech Co., Ltd. (baotou iron and steel (group) Co., Ltd.), south China Rare Earth group Co., Ltd. (group, cooper group of ganzhou, jiangxi Rare metals tungsten industry group Co., Ltd.), the Rare Earth industry group Co., Ltd. Of guangdong province (guangdong sheng assets management Co., Ltd.), Rare and Rare Earth (group) Co., Ltd of fujian province (xiamen tungsten industry).

In 2014, six rare earth groups filed records one after another.

In January 2015, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology held a working meeting of key rare earth provinces (regions) and enterprises. It was made clear that by the end of 2015, the six major groups would complete the goal of integrating national rare earth mining and smelting and separation enterprises. The reorganization of the six major rare earth groups is an important arrangement for China to protect domestic rare earth resources and enhance the voice of international rare earth.

China began publishing figures for total rare-earth mining in 2006. The reason for controlling the total volume index is that there was vicious competition in China's rare earth industry at that time, and mutual bargaining became the norm in the market, leading to a sharp drop in international rare earth prices.

The existence of China's "black industrial chain" of rare earths has made mandatory plans of rare earth production fail to achieve the desired effect. Illegal mining, processing and sales of rare earth products are one of the important factors hindering the healthy development of the domestic rare earth industry. On the one hand, the lack of lasting effect of the national crackdown on rare earth products; on the other hand, the temptation of excessive profits makes it more difficult to crack down on illegal mining without paying any taxes. Since 2012, the price of rare earth has remained low, and the large impact of "black rare earth" on the market is the main reason. The existence of "black rare earths" has led to the waste of national strategic resources, and the country has become more resolute in cracking down on illegal rare earths. In June 2017, the Rare earth Office of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) set up an expert group to rectify the order of the rare earth industry, aiming to crack down on illegal production of rare earths on a regular basis. Meanwhile, Guangxi, Jiangxi, Shanxi and other places have also launched special actions to crack down on illegal rare earth production.

The "normalisation" crackdown has shut down a large number of non-compliant mining sites. 12 ministries and commissions such as 2019 years, the ministry issued "about continuing to strengthen the notice of the reorganization of the rare earth industry order, requirement focus on the private digging illegal mining, processing of rare earth minerals and other problems disturbing the order of the industry, establish multi-sectoral joint supervision mechanism, for the first time in one specific inspection every year, which means that rare earth clean up industry entered a permanent basis.

Domestic rare earth mining, smelting and separation indicators are uniformly distributed by the six major rare earth groups. In 2019, the north, south and Aluminum Corporation of China account for the largest proportion of rare earth mining indicators, accounting for 93.8% of the total. In the rare earth smelting and separation index, northern rare earth, southern rare earth and Aluminum Corporation of China also account for the largest proportion, reaching 84.1% of the total index. In the past two years, the mining and smelting indexes of light rare earths have gradually increased. The mining and smelting targets for medium and heavy rare earths will remain unchanged in 2019.

Rare earth magnetic materials are the largest area of rare earth consumption

Rare earth has irreplaceable excellent magnetic, optical and electrical properties, which play a great role in improving product performance, increasing product varieties and increasing production efficiency. Rare earth has been widely used in metallurgy, military, petrochemical, glass, ceramics, agriculture and new materials and other fields.

China, Japan and the US are the world's largest consumers of rare earths, accounting for 57 per cent, 21 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively. Customs data showed that China exported 46,300 physical tons of rare earths in 2019, including 16,700 physical tons to Japan, accounting for about 36 percent of the total exports. In addition, according to Japan's import data, in 2019, Japan imported a total of 27,100 physical tons of rare earths, accounting for about 62% of the total imports from China. Therefore, Japan is highly dependent on China for rare earths. In addition, China accounted for about 34 percent of its rare earth exports in 2019 to the United States, which is also highly dependent on Chinese exports.

There are many downstream applications of rare earth, among which magnetic materials account for the highest proportion, accounting for 26% of the global rare earth consumption. In addition, rare earth online data show that in 2018, China's consumption and output of rare earth permanent magnet materials accounted for 42% and 75% respectively. Among them, the rare earth Ndfeb permanent magnet material is the third generation of rare earth permanent magnet material. It is the magnetic material with the best magnetic property and the best comprehensive performance at present. It is applied in the emerging fields such as wind power generation, new energy vehicles and auto parts, energy saving frequency conversion air conditioning and so on. The production of NdFeb in China accounts for more than 90% of the global output. It is the largest producer of NdFeb magnets.

China's ndFeb production is mainly concentrated in Zhejiang, Shanxi, Shandong, Inner Mongolia and other places. Among them, Zhejiang has the advantages of concentrated industry, numerous enterprises and comprehensive development of industrial chain. Its annual output capacity is 115,600 tons, accounting for 38.7% of the total domestic output capacity. The production capacity of NdFeb in China is still on the rise, mainly reflected in the growth of high-end NdFEB industry. The production of ndfeb sintered in China will be about 175,000 tons in 2019.

The overall production capacity of China's rare earth ndfeb permanent magnetic materials is surplus, but the low-end and high-end markets are clearly differentiated.

A large number of small and medium-sized enterprises compete in the low-end NdFeb market. The industrial capacity is relatively dispersed, and the products are highly homogeneous. The main reason is to gain market share through pressure on labor cost and environmental protection cost. In contrast, the domestic high-end NdFeb market is short of production capacity, because the high-end market has a high entry threshold in terms of technology, capital, talent or downstream enterprise certification.

From a more practical point of view, manufacturers in the market tend not to distinguish between low-end and high-end capacity according to technical standards, but according to the demand for downstream products. Low-end ndfeb magnetic, magnetic separation, adsorption is mainly used in electric bicycles, luggage clasp, door buckle, toys and other fields, and the high performance ndfeb is mainly used in high technical barriers in the field of magnetic steel of various types of motor and speakers, including energy-saving motors, auto motors, wind power, advanced audio-visual equipment, elevator motors, etc.

Wind power: permanent magnet direct drive motor permeability gradually increased

Wind power generation is currently the new energy and energy conservation and environmental protection industry for high-performance Neodymium iron boron magnetic steel is the largest demand field. Wind turbines can be divided into permanent magnet direct drive type, semi-direct drive type and doubly-fed asynchronous type. Among them, permanent magnet direct drive type and semi-direct drive type use high-performance NdFeb magnetic steel. Domestic manufacturers of permanent magnet direct drive type wind turbines are concentrated, mainly in goldwind technology. According to data from Baichuan, each kw of installed capacity corresponds to about 0.67kg of NdFeb. In 2019, the new installed capacity of global wind power units will be 60.4GW, including the direct drive motor permeability of about 35%. According to this, global wind power consumption in 2019 will be about 14,600 tons, which is equivalent to about 16,000 tons of blank. In the future, the global newly installed capacity of wind power units is expected to maintain an overall growth rate of more than 5%. Meanwhile, the permeability of permanent magnet direct drive motor will also increase year by year, which will continue to drive the consumption of high-end NdFeb permanent magnet materials in wind power.

Automobile field: New energy automobile is the core growth point of future consumption

The application of rare earth Ndfeb permanent magnet in automobile field mainly includes new energy driving motor and traditional auto parts micro special motor. According to the data of Baichuan, each EPS system of traditional automobile consumes 0.15kg ndFeb magnet, which is equivalent to 0.25kg blank. According to the calculation of global auto output of 91.78 million units in 2019 and the 50% permeability of EPS system, the global consumption of ndFEB in EPS system rough is at least 11,500 tons. The penetration rate of EPS system in The Chinese market is currently 40-45%, while the penetration rate in the European and American markets has reached over 80%, and the penetration rate in Japan has even reached 90%. Therefore, there is still a lot of room for domestic market demand.

New-energy vehicle consumes NdFeb 5-10kg per pure electric vehicle, 2-3kg per plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and 1-2kg per hybrid electric vehicle. Based on the global production of new energy vehicles of 2.5 million in 2019, the consumption of neodymium iron boron in rough is estimated to be at least 12,000 tons. The development trend of global electrification of vehicles is very clear. Global public health emergencies disrupt the short-term rhythm, but do not change the pattern of medium - and long-term development. According to the analysis of several lithium electric power enterprises and consulting institutions, it is estimated that the annual sales of electric vehicles will exceed 16 million in 2025 and 35 million in 2030. In conclusion, the consumption of Ndfeb, the raw material of electric vehicles, will reach 80,000 tons in 2025 and 175,000 tons in 2030.

Variable frequency air conditioning: The improvement of national energy efficiency standards will bring long-term policy support

Variable frequency air conditioner is a frequency converter added on the structure of conventional air conditioner. Compressor is the core of air conditioning, its speed directly affects the use efficiency of air conditioning, inverter is used to control and adjust the compressor speed control system, so that it is always in the best speed state, so as to improve the efficiency ratio.

Industry online data statistics, in 2019 the domestic household air conditioner production is 153 million units, of which the output of frequency conversion air conditioning is 69.405 million units, high frequency conversion air conditioning is expected to be about 40%, the permeability of each high frequency conversion air conditioning, on average, need to use high performance ndfeb permanent magnet material is about 0.28 kg, so it came out in 2019, domestic consumption of frequency conversion air conditioning blank summary of over 7500 tons. June 18, 2019, the National Development and Reform Commission and other seven ministries jointly issued by the "green efficient refrigeration action plan" put forward: "to household air-conditioning refrigeration products in China market in 2022 the level of energy efficiency more than 30%, green efficient refrigeration products market share increased by 20%", "encourage enterprises to increase frequency, temperature (wet) degree of precise control the proportion of high-end products such as green supply", the frequency conversion air conditioning policy support in the long run. In the future, it will continue to drive the consumption of high-end NdFeb permanent magnet materials.

In addition to these areas, in the military, rare earths can significantly improve the tactical performance of alloys used in weapons and equipment. Rare earth has excellent physical properties such as photoelectromagnetism, and the addition of rare earth elements can greatly improve the tactical performance of steel, aluminum alloy, magnesium alloy and titanium alloy used in the manufacture of tanks, aircraft and missiles.

Rare earths are also used as lubricants for many high-tech applications, including electronics, lasers, the nuclear industry and superconductivity.

Once rare earth technology is used in the military, it can bring the progress of military science and technology.

To sum up, although there is an overall surplus of NdFeb magnetic material production capacity in China, the supply of high-end production capacity is insufficient. In the future, with the increase of high-end demand such as new energy vehicles, the consumption of medium and heavy rare earths and other resources will be effectively boosted. The development pattern dominated by China's rare earth industry

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