Driving the green revolution

The shift away from fossil fuels to a greater utilisation of renewable energies and widespread adoption of green technology is essential for the future of the planet. However, the low-carbon technologies required to drive the green revolution carry an intensive demand for minerals.

Central to this demand are rare earth elements (“REEs”) – in particular, Neodymium, Praseodymium (together “NdPr”), Dysprosium (“Dy”) and Terbium (“Tb”) – which are used to make compact high-strength permanent magnets employed in a variety of modern-day industry, with uses in hybrid and electric vehicles (“EVs”) and wind turbines, as well as satellite technology for the aerospace and defence sectors.

Energy and renewables expected to drive rare earths market

According to Argus Media, magnet applications (i.e. in EVs and wind turbines) accounted for 23% of the market volume but 71% of value in 2020. By 2031, magnets are expected to represent 40% of the market by volume and almost 84% of the value.

Across their varied sector uses, it is estimated that REEs directly impact between US$5 trillion to US$10 trillion in global GDP.

According to IEA, REEs may see three to seven times higher demand by 2040, when compared to 20211. To put this into a local UK context, in their letter to the Committee on Climate Change, leading UK scientists noted that, to replace all UK-based vehicles with EVs, at least 7,200 tonnes of Neodymium and Dysprosium would be needed, requiring a 70% increase in annual production2.

NdPr in EVs and wind turbines

There are currently no acceptable substitutes for NdPr in permanent magnets for EVs and wind turbines. Whilst battery chemistry is still evolving, the motor technology required across all EVs drives NdPr demand regardless of battery chemistry.

  • Projected 22% growth in EV sales to 20303.
  • Growth in EV production is forecast to lead to increase in demand for NdPr of 25-90% by 2030.
  • Each new EV requires between 1-2kg of NdPr.
  • Average annual NdPr demand from EVs forecast to increase by ~4,200 – 9,600tpa from 2020-20254.
  • Value of global magnet rare earth oxide consumption to increase from US$2.98bn to US$15.65bn by 20305.


Permanent magnet electricity generators for wind turbines are driving NdPr demand.

  • Wind turbines consume around 600-830kg of rare earth oxides per Megawatt6.
  • It is estimated that the offshore wind turbine market will grow ~25% per annum between 2020 and 2030, with ~235GW of additional capacity installed7.
  • Growing to +1.9TW of total wind capacity by 20508.


1. IEA, The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions
2. Natural History Museum
3. Argus Media Group
4. Curtin University
5. Adamus Intelligence
6. Curtin University
7. Argus Media Group
8. NDRC-ERI “Aggressive Scenario”
Source for graphs:
Argus Media Group