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China to cut export of rare-earth materials in 2011

Posted: 08 Feb 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:linear motors? torque motors? rare-earth magnets?

IMS Research's latest report on the world linear and torque motor market reveals that the biggest challenge facing the industry to date is sustainable supply of rare-earth magnets. Further worrying linear and torque motor makers are supposed plans by the Chinese government to cut exports of rare-earth material by 35 percent in the first half of 2011.

China produces 97 percent of the world's rare-earth material, thus controlling the global rare-earth material market. According to China Custom Statistics, in 2010 China exported 39,813 tons of rare earth material, much less than its nine-year average of 60,000 tons a year (as estimated by www.chinamining.org).

The market for linear and torque motors had recovered to pre-downturn levels by the end of 2010 and is set for further growth in 2011 and 2012. However, industry players ask: How are direct-drive motor manufacturers going to ensure continuity of supply of rare-earth magnetic components? What is the motivation behind the Chinese government's of rare-earth supply? Is the government simply driving up the price of a commodity under its control, or is it looking to increase local value-added production and technology levels?

The increasing number of direct-motor manufacturers opening production facilities in China or entering into partnerships with Chinese companies to produce rare-earth magnetic components suggests the latter. With the price of rare-earth material increasing with restricted exports, China is making a healthy profit from companies that choose to import rare-earth raw materialscertainly a win-win situation.

- Phil Ling
??EE Times





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