Neodymium (Nd) is by far the most valuable RE metal by volume (few sellers).
Tons Per Year(tpy) vs Markup:
Global Iron Ore production 3.3 billion tonnes per year (tpy)
Global Steel Production 2.3 billion tpy
Conversion Markup: Oxide to Metal 200 to 500%
New Global Nd Oxide Production* ~ +30,000 tpy
New Global Nd Metal Production* ~ 25,000 tpy
Conversion Markup: Oxide to Metal ~ 10%
The chemical process of converting iron ore to steel and RE oxides to metal is exactly the same. Iron to steel tends to be large batch & mechanized, rare earths are produced in small batches, by hand (literally by hand)
Iron ore to steel is not the same as Nd oxide to Nd.
Iron ore to iron is the same reaction – extracting the oxygen even if it has to be done in a different way – but then you’ve got to get iron to steel by adding in carbon……