Electricity + Control

The prices of neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium, rare earths, representing 85% of the economic value of the rare earth deposits at the Steenkampskraal mine in the Western Cape, have increased by more than 50% last year. Total reserves at the mine have a market value of $2 billion.

Rare earths“Neodymium magnets are used in industries such as electrical motor manufacture, medical science and renewable energy which rely on high-strength neodymium magnets,” says Trevor Blench, chairman of Steenkampskraal Holdings, owners of the Steenkampskraal mine.

These magnets are also used for audio equipment such as microphones, acoustic pick-ups, headphones and loudspeakers, magnetically coupled pumps, door catches, motors and generators, MRI scanners, magnetic therapy, ABS (anti-lock braking) system sensors and lifting machinery, amongst many others.

Without neodymium magnets, many technological advancements over the last 30 years would not have been possible. Because of their great strength, performance and resistance to demagnetisation, neodymium magnets can be made in different shapes and sizes, even as small as 1 mm diameter.

Dysprosium is used to make alloys for various electrical and electronic devices. An alloy is made by melting and mixing two or more metals. The mixture has properties different from any of the elements. Some dysprosium alloys have good magnetic properties.

Enquiries: Charles Smith. Email charles@csa.co.za

Image credit: Copyright: bwylezich / 123RF Stock Photo

 
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