Magnets, Are We Running Out?
The short answer is actually no. Although a few years ago the Chinese would have had you believe we were. Neodymium magnets are used in everyday life, in fact since these magnets came about they have been the silent partner in the rise in technology we are currently having. From personal gadgets, smartphones, headphones, turbines, satellites and hybrid cars.
The magnets we sell are known as “rare earth” and to be fair, they are neither rare or earth. They are known as “rare” because it is very unusual to find them in a pure form, but it turns out there are deposits of some of them all over the world. The term “earth” is simply an archaic term for something you can dissolve in acid. And China is currently the country supplying the world with 85% of rare earth metals.
The Process of Magnets Extraction
And, this is where the problem started. China’s mining industry was in a mess. Pollution problems and poisonings of local towns and rivers to the destruction of the environment. It seemed at one point they were just going to get this stuff out of the ground by hook or by crook. The process of extraction involves leaching out the elements. They flood the high ground with chemicals, and then precipitate out the metals, leaving behind a lake of carcinogenic waste fluids. The Chinese Government tried to clean up the act, however, ultimately failed. They cannot stop production due to the reliance on these metals in today’s technology as we pointed out earlier.
Zen wisdom of China
China, in their great Zen wisdom put out that Rare Earth Metals could be exhausted within 20 years, causing panic in global commodity markets. The result was that the price of the metals went through the roof. Costing 10-15 times more than gold in some cases. A spike during 2010-2012 showing a rise in over 3,000% for some of them. However, as you can see in the graph below; Prices have since fallen back, but the shock was enough to prompt companies to begin to explore producing and refining rare earth elsewhere in the world.
Rare Earth Elements Magnets Mining
For instance, neodymium exists in large abundance outside China. There are a couple of companies that could keep us in magnet metals for thousands of years. There are currently more than 400 projects related to rare earth exploration outside of China. Interest in Rare Earth Elements mining has likewise increased: feasibility studies are ongoing at 40+ new sites being evaluated in the US, Canada, Australia, India, Malawi and South Africa. All this doesn’t bode well for the environment, but it surely will keep us in fridge magnets and mobile phones for years to come!
Contact Us And Hit The Shop Today
Finally, we do appreciate the limitations of a website; you may want to ask questions or view the product more closely. Therefore, we ensure it is extremely easy for anyone to make direct contact with us either by telephone or e-mail. In conclusion, we believe in talking to our customers. This is why we have a dedicated and expert sales team who are available Monday to Friday from 8.30 am.
Whatever your Magnet and or Blacksmith Supplies requirement, needs or you just wanna chat with Alan. Sekao is here to help. You can catch us at our showroom in Geebung Brisbane, or just give us a call. But, should you wish to pop down the shop, shoot the breeze with Alan, buy some bamboo socks as well. These things are bloody lush on your feet, and they are pretty cheap too!