China, the leading producer of rare earth metals, faces competition from other top nations. Here is a breakdown of the top 10 countries in rare earth metal production for 2022, based on data from the US Geological Survey.
- China: China remains the dominant player, producing 210,000 metric tons (MT) of rare earths in 2022. This output continues to rise, reinforcing China’s significant market share.
- United States: The US produced 43,000 MT of rare earths in 2022, with supply primarily coming from the Mountain Pass mine in California. The country’s rare earths demand has been classified as critical minerals, given trade concerns with China.
- Australia: Australia’s rare earths production, while falling slightly to 18,000 MT in 2022, has shown a steady increase in recent years. The nation holds significant reserves and aims to boost neodymium-praseodymium production through companies like Lynas.
- Myanmar: (Burma) Myanmar mined 12,000 MT of rare earths in 2022, experiencing a significant decrease from the previous year. Political instability may have impacted reported production levels.
- Thailand: Thailand witnessed a decline in rare earths production to 7,100 MT in 2022, after a significant increase in 2021. The country’s reserves are not well-documented, but it remains a notable producer.
- Vietnam: Vietnam’s rare earths production skyrocketed from 400 MT in 2021 to 4,300 MT in 2022. The nation’s interest in clean energy, including solar panels, has driven its focus on rare earth production.
- India: India’s rare earths production remained steady at 2,900 MT in 2022, accounting for a small portion of global supply. India possesses significant beach sand mineral deposits, which are potential sources of rare earths.
- Russia: Russia produced 2,600 MT of rare earths in 2022 and aims to increase its share of global production through various projects. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has raised concerns about supply chain disruptions.
- Madagascar: Madagascar’s rare earths extraction declined sharply to 960 MT in 2022. The country holds the Tantalus rare earths project with substantial rare earth oxide reserves.
- Brazil: Despite holding vast rare earths reserves of 21,000,000 MT, Brazil only produced 80 MT in 2022. Limited focus and energy have been allocated to exploiting the discovered deposit.
The rise in global rare earth metal production reflects growing demand driven by renewable energy and technological advancements. While China maintains its lead, these top nations play significant roles in diversifying the global rare earths supply chain.