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Strategic Study of CAE doi: 10.15302/J-SSCAE-2024.03.007

Quantifying the Praseodymium Recycling Supply in China and Its Improvement Strategy

1. School of Economics and Management, China University of Geosciences (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China;

2. Institute of Natural Resources Strategic Development, China University of Geosciences (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China

Funding project:中国工程院咨询项目“我国战略性金属矿产的‘进口 ‒ 储备 ‒ 循环 ‒ 应急’战略研究”(2023-XY-21);国家自然科学基金项目(72274183);北京市社会科学基金项目(21DTR059) Received: 2023-11-29 Revised: 2024-01-25 Available online: 2024-06-03

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Praseodymium (Pr) is a critical mineral for the global clean energy industry. The global demand for Pr continues to increase. China possesses the largest proven reserves and highest production of Pr worldwide. However, a future Pr supply-demand gap still could occur in China. Developing a circular economy and promoting material recycling are considered solutions to the potential supply constraints. This study adopts a material flow analysis method and combines it with the recycling input rate (RIR) indicator to estimate the potential quantities of the Pr recycling supply in China from 2011 to 2020. The key findings are as follows: (1) From 2011 to 2020, 7.902 × 104 t Pr entered the anthropogenic cycle system in China from the supply side, of which 1.639 × 104 t Pr originated from recycling; (2) 1.369 × 104 t Pr was recycled from NdFeB magnet production scraps, with the RIR remaining stable at approximately 17%; (3) theoretically, 2.7 × 103 t Pr could be recycled from end-of-life (EoL) products, and the RIR of EoL products could increase from 0.04% to 5.17%. In view of the major challenges in realizing Pr recycling from EoL products, this study proposes improvement strategies to promote Pr recycling in China. They include improving the extended producer responsibility of China, progressively establishing consumer responsibility for relevant products, and guiding the industry to formulate recycling-related technical specifications and industry standards.

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