Arafura’s primary products from the Nolans project are rare earths. They are used in catalytic converters in automobiles, consumer electronics, energy efficiency lighting, optics, super alloys, advanced ceramics and high strength magnets. The latter are found in automotive applications such as electronic power steering motors, seat adjustment motors, fuel and water pumps, airbag sensors and main drive motors in electric vehicles (EV), wind turbine generators, power tools, robotics, speakers, mobile phones, and more.
Arafura intends to produce the following high purity rare earth products from the Nolans Project:
- Neodymium-Praseodymium (NdPr) oxide
- Mixed middle-heavy rare earths (SEG/HRE) oxide
NdPr oxide is Arafura’s flagship product for use by advanced magnet and magnet alloy customers. The Neodymium Iron Boron (NdFeB) permanent magnet market is the largest market for NdPr oxide and Arafura’s product mix is ideally suited to meeting demand from leading magnet producers in Japan and China, as well as automotive and wind turbine end users in Europe, Japan, Korea and the USA.
The project will also produce a marketable phosphate by-product, namely 54% P2O5 phosphoric acid suitable for use in granular fertilizers.
Rare earths are critical materials and essential to many important products in modern society. Demand for rare earths is forecast to grow strongly over coming years, driven by the following trends:
- Transition towards more renewable energy
- Advances in consumer electronic technology
- Low emission technology concepts
- Evolution in automotive and future mobility trends
Rare earths enable and facilitate magnetic, optical, catalytic, and electronic applications in key growth markets such as clean energy technology, automotive technology, and consumer electronics. Additionally, the oil refining, healthcare, lighting, industrial, aerospace and robotics sectors are expected to contribute materially to global rare earths demand through to 2025 and beyond.
NdFeB Magnet Materials – A Rapidly Growing Market
Permanent NdFeB magnets, which typically contain up to 30% NdPr metal (from NdPr oxide), are shaping the future of the automotive and wind power energy generation industries. Other important uses of NdFeB magnets include e-bikes, air-conditioning, consumer electronics, and robotics. Most significantly in terms of estimated future demand for NdPr oxide, maturing powertrain technologies in the automotive sector are driving growth for permanent magnet electric motors used in hybrid EVs (HEV) and battery EVs (BEV). With regulatory changes, technological advancements, and consumer preferences all coming into play, leading automotive manufacturers across the world are increasingly eschewing traditional petrol and diesel combustion engines for more efficient and cleaner HEV and BEV alternatives.
The magnet market segment is the largest rare earth market by volume and will continue to outperform other market segments and is forecast to account for 30-40% of the REO market by the end of the decade.