The new Rare Earth Technology Alliance (RETA) today held its inaugural meeting with leaders from the industry representing manufacturers, users and researchers of rare earth elements. Rare earths are vital to the operation of an amazing array of modern technologies, including those in consumer electronics, computing and networking, clean energy, advanced transportation, energy efficient lighting, health care, environmental mitigation, and national defense. The new organization will be the leading voice for the rare earth industry and a central resource for information about this vital sector.
The estimated size of the rare earth sector is greater than $5 billion, with 120,000-130,000 tons of rare earth elements produced annually. One of the goals of the new Rare Earth Technology Alliance, an international group, is to encourage the development of a healthy and competitive global market for rare earth elements.
About Rare Earth Elements
Rare earth elements are essential to supporting a modern economy and have many applications. They are extensively used in miniaturized electronic devices, such as cell phones and laptop computers. Many advanced energy technologies such as the new generation of wind powered turbines and plug-in hybrid vehicles rely on rare earth elements. And in oil refining, they are used as a catalyst. Rare earth elements are also vital to the defense industry, from laser targeting and range finding to satellite communications. These are just a few of the many examples of how rare earth elements are used.
RETA represents a wide coalition of rare earth producers and processors; manufacturing companies that rely on rare earths for their products and technologies; and academic and research leaders in the rare earth sector. The group will be specifically dedicated to an education and outreach mission on rare earth elements and technologies.
The members of RETA are: Arnold Magnetic Technologies; Avalon Rare Metals; Boulder Wind Power; Colorado School of Mines; General Electric; Global Tungsten & Powders; Great Western Minerals Group; Iowa State University; Molycorp; Montana Tech; Quest Rare Minerals; Rare Element Resources, and; Solvay (Rhodia).
With its diverse and international membership, RETA is only rare earth association whose mission is to provide all stakeholders—the media, policymakers, regulators, manufacturers and users of rare earth technologies—with comprehensive, science-based information about rare earths and their associated technologies.
“The Rare Earth Technology Alliance is a broad-based effort that brings together producers, consumers, and those operating on the cutting edge of rare earth research and development,” said Mark Smith, president and CEO of Molycorp, Inc., and a member of the RETA Management Committee. “Given the wide range of advanced technologies across our economy that rare earths make possible, it is important to have an organization like RETA that can provide solid, science-based information on these critical materials and how vital they are to global economic growth.”
“Rare earth materials are key to several advanced technologies for the energy, lighting, health care, and transportation sectors. RETA helps GE understand the rare earth market, make connections with all levels of the supply chain, and helps educate our customers on rare earth technologies and issues,” said Steven Duclos, leader of the Materials Advanced Technologies Program at GE Global Research.
“The rare earth industry will be facing many interesting challenges over the next few years including growth of the markets, the creation of new supply chains, and the need for universities to develop technical and business leaders. RETA will help the industry meet its goals by achieving results that individual companies would have more difficulty achieving on their own,” said Pierre Neatby, vice president of sales and marketing at Avalon Rare Metals Inc.
“Rare-earth-enabled products and technologies help to provide advancements in clean energy, fuel economic growth, maintain high standards of living, and save lives. Students are highly motivated to work in these areas and it is vital that education programs are developed that meet the needs of the industry to capitalize on this high level of interest. RETA provides an excellent forum for matching university programs with industry needs,” said Alex King, professor of materials science & engineering at Iowa State University.
RETA will be housed and managed at the American Chemistry Council in Washington, DC. For more information about RETA, please visit http://www.americanchemistry.com/RETA.