Each direct-drive wind turbine requires a considerable quantity of rare earth elements (REE), used primarily in the manufacture of permanent magnets, including neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium. Wind turbines are praised for their relatively low environmental impact, however, many are not aware of the large-scale extraction and processing of REE required. While they are quite abundant, REE are predominantly found in low concentrations, so in addition to the considerable cost of acquiring them, there has been growing unease over the UK’s ability to ensure their supply. Currently, the principal source of REE is China. However, the western world is undergoing a rare earth revolution, as countries hastily attempt to establish independent and responsibly sourced supply chains, from new suppliers such as Australia, Canada and Vietnam.
For anyone looking to get involved in this rapidly expanding market, knowledge is key. A selection of GeoLogica’s short courses examine the need for such critical metals, including the geoscience and economic context of REE exploration – find out more here.
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