Industry Bulletin: Highlights from the Magnetics 2014 Conference in Orlando January 29-31, 2014
Avalon's Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Pierre Neatby, delivered the keynote address for the Magnetics 2014 conference. In his remarks, Mr. Neatby showed forecasts of increasing demand for rare earths used in magnets over the next few years, and showed that a shortage of heavy rare earths was forecasted starting in 2016. Mr. Neatby challenged the audience to actively support the establishment of a rare earth supply chain outside China to create jobs and ensure security of supply in the long term.
In his presentation entitled "Be Careful What You Wish For", Ed Richardson, Vice President of Thomas & Skinner suggested that the World Trade Organization case against China could increase China's monopoly over rare earths by increasing the quantity of rare earths available outside China, lowering prices and thereby negatively impacting non-Chinese rare earth producers such as Lynas and Molycorp.
Mr. Richardson also discussed the expiration in 2014 of a specific Hitachi patent on NdFeB ("Neo") permanent magnets that could open the door for production of lower cost NdFeB magnets as no royalty would be due to Hitachi. The situation may not be that simple, as Hitachi has other patents that do not expire. The issue of the Hitachi patents has been discussed for years and several people at the conference had different opinions on the impact of the expiration in 2014 of the Hitachi patent.
In her presentation "Current Situation of NdFeB Magnets and Rare Earth Materials in China" Christiana Chen, founder of Magnetic Energy Corp., described the overcapacity and fragmented nature of NdFeB production in China with 300,000 tonnes per year of capacity divided amongst 200 companies, in a global market of only 120,000 tonnes per year. China produces 90% of the world's NdFeB magnets, but also imports some high quality magnets from Japan.
Overall, there seemed to be continuing concern among the attendees at Magnetics 2014 about China as the dominant producer rare earth oxides and rare earth magnets. Many felt it was now time to begin to establish a rare earth magnet supply chain outside China.
About Avalon Advanced Materials Inc
Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (TSE:AVL) (OTCMKTS:AVLNF) (formerly Avalon Rare Metals) is a Canadian mineral development company specializing in niche market metals and minerals with growing demand in new technology. The Company has three advanced stage projects, all 100%-owned, providing investors with exposure to lithium, tin and indium, as well as rare earth elements, tantalum, niobium, and zirconium. Avalon is currently focusing on its Separation Rapids Lithium Project, Kenora, ON and its East Kemptville Tin-Indium Project, Yarmouth, NS. Social responsibility and environmental stewardship are corporate cornerstones.
Avalon Advanced Materials Inc