Re-thinking Rare Earths: Demand, Sustainability and the Reality of Alternatives
This paper reviews briefly demand, sustainability and the reality of alternatives of rare earth elements REEs in high performance permanent magnets. It gives a short account of the rare earth oxide production leading up to the so-called Rare Earth Crisis and describes some of its consequences, both in economic and scientific point of views. The Rare Earth Crisis triggered around the world a number of renewed and sometimes significant, compare Japan, research activities into the development of resource efficient new high performance permanent magnets. It is interesting to compare the efforts put into this ques in terms of financing, timing and focus between the US, Europe and Japan, this paper looks also into the fundamentals of what is at all possible with 3d ferromagnets and ends with a criticality assessment of Co in order to understand whether cobalt-based magnets could be an alternative to Nd-Fe-B-type magnets.