India Stresses Rare Earth Element Exploration and Development

Tirupati: The rare earth minerals, due to their high-end uses, have become part of day-to-day life and contributing in keeping the environment clean, said the Chairman and Managing Director of Indian Rare Earths Ltd., and President of Rare Earths Association of India (REAI) D Singh.

He participated as chief guest in the 3-day International conference on ‘Science, Technology and Applications of Rare Earths (ICSTAR-2018)’ that began at Hotel Fortune Kences here on Sunday.

Delivering his lecture, Singh underlined the importance of rare earth elements and said that fierce competition among global consumer electronics giants to have qualitative superiority led to situation of supply security and precipitation in terms of Chinese domination in the rare earth sector.

With China curbing supplies of rare earths especially to Japan in 2010, the prices skyrocketed in 2011 to an all-time high and led to scouting out for alternate source of supply. With this, number of projects for production of rare earths had got lined up, he said.

Also, the spurt in prices led to announcement of new rare earth projects and to adopt unconventional methods for extracting rare earths like recycling, extracting from fly ash etc. The worldwide production of rare earth minerals during 2017 was estimated at 1.6 lakh tonnes, in comparison, the world production of crude steel was 1691.2 million tonnes which reveals that the production of rare earth elements was negligible.

He opined that all stakeholders need to put in their efforts on research and development to find new application, technology and new products and the government should explore the possibilities of extending incentives to renewable energy.

The Chairman of the organising committee Prof CK Jayasankar has said that the main goal of the conference was to exploit resources efficiently towards production and application of rare earth elements. Though the country has abundant quantities of rare earth elements, somehow it could not meet its own demands and still depending on imports and losing enormous foreign exchange.

The diverse nuclear, metallurgical, chemical, catalytic, electrical, magnetic and optical properties of rare earths have led to ever increasing variety of applications. He said that the next conference will be held at BARC, Mumbai in October 2019.

About 200 delegates from national and international destinations have been taking part in the conference. The Secretary of REAI Dr MLP Reddy delivered the welcome address, Treasurer of ICSTAR Prof B Deva Prasad Raju proposed a vote of thanks.

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