Strategic Rare Metals

Background_National Strategic Project for Metal Elements

An opportunity to facilitate early recovery from a crisis caused by lack of access to rare metals and augment the industrial structure with virtuous circle

  • Price volatility, supply contraction, and intensified competition for demand → Increasing calls for measures to obtain self-reliance in rare metals
  • Weak value chain in the material industry → Increasing demand for boosting up materials industry with enhanced research capacities and improving self-reliance in raw materials
National Strategic Project for Elements: Background, Strategies and Prospects Changes focused on the International Community: Industrial countries → Resource-rich countries → Economic crisis due to supply shortage An opportunity to establish an industrial structure preemptively to enhance self-reliance regarding rare metals during the Paradigm Shift to Green Growth

External Conditions (serious challenges)

Domestic Conditions (Korea in Peril)

Improvement Strategy (Integrated SMART)

  • Multi-dimensional strategy focused on materials
  • A strategic project for elements tailored to Korea
  • Korea Institute for Rare Metals

Prospects (Opportunities for Improvement)

  • The materials industry promoted
  • Self-reliance regarding rare metals enhanced
  • Industrial structure reinforced

Strategy_Differentiated research and development that factors in conditions of domestic industry, technological level of materialization, value change, and demand trends.

Differentiated supply-stabilization strategy reflecting maturity of domestic industry for each metal element.

  • 태동기 : 물질 흐름 전반에 걸쳐 국내 산업이 없는 소재군
  • 성장기 : 미약하나 일부산업이 형성되어 있는 소재군
  • 성장기 : 국내 광물자원 부존 소재군
  • 정착기 : 합금철 중심의 철강산업同 소재군
원소별 국내산업 성숙도에 따른 차별화된 공급 안정화 전략1(구분, 자원, 기초소재, 중간소재, 재활용으로 구성되어 있습니다)
category resource base material intermediary material recycling
· Domestic industries already exist, mostly using alloy iron
· Mutual growth with the steel industry, the main consumer
in Sight
· Domestic industries already exist, mostly using alloy iron
· Mutual growth with the steel industry, the main consumer
· Domestic industries already exist, mostly using alloy iron
· Mutual growth with the steel industry, the main consumer
· Domestic industries already exist, mostly using alloy iron
· Mutual growth with the steel industry, the main consumer
원소별 국내산업 성숙도에 따른 차별화된 공급 안정화 전략2(유형, 발전전략, 기대효과로 구성되어 있습니다)
Types Development Strategy Expected Effects
Industries Matured Securing overseas resources, strategic stockpile Connecting the self-reliance regarding rare metals with demand
Industrial infrastructure for new growth of expert enterprises
Self-reliance in Sight Developing domestic resources, promoting base material industry, fostering recycling materialization
Infrastructure Being Established Reinforcing the materialization industry, materialization of reductive/alternative elements, recycling technology
Industries Non-existent Supply stabilizing, establishing infrastructure of the materials industry, introducing new technology

Early transformation of five top-priority elements into growth engines→ Extended application of five priority elements in the near future.

- Identification of weak points in the material cycle of “resources-materialization-products-recycling” for each element → Completion of virtuous circle though obtainment of required technologies

* Technologies with priorities of development: 20 technologies (five top-priority elements in 2015) → 40 technologies (5+5 elements in 2020), and 10 world-leading technologies

중점 개발 대상기술(품목, 국내산업 Weak Point, 세계 1등 기술로 구성되어 있습니다)
Items Weak Points of Domestic Industries World's Top Technology
Gallium Ore→(Base materials)→(Intermediary materials)→Products Materialization technology for high-purity large LED
Platinum Ore→(Base materials)→(Intermediary materials)→Products Homogeneous dispersion of high-functional hyperfine particles
Indium Ore→(Base materials)→(Intermediary materials)→Products Materialization technology for a large target with an alternative to indium
Tungsten Ore→(Base materials)→(Intermediary materials)→Products Low-carbon green refinement, technologies of alternative materials
Rare Earth Ore→(Base materials)→(Intermediary materials)→Products High-functional magnet materials for hybrid vehicles

- For the elements with high instability of supply, which results from prospect of resource depletion and uneven regional distribution of reserves, it is an imperative to reduce the consumption of related elements and develop alternative materials and recycling technology → Facilitation of domestic self-reliance

대체 소재 및 재활용 기술 개발(분야, 예시, 효과로 구성되어 있습니다)
Fields Examples Effects
Materialization technology→ Performance improvement→ Reduction in consumption
Reduction of platinum as auto exhaust catalyst Decline in net inflow of platinum
General materials→ Development of new functions→ Alternative to rare metals
Display made of alternative transparent conductive materials Rare metals-free industry
Scraps→ Waste materials→ Collection of rare metals
Recycling of W and Co in the whole process of cemented carbide alloy Recycling→ enhancement of self-reliance

Strategic Measures_Comprehensive and flexible R&BD, utilizing mid-level organizations of specialized research labs.

Multi-dimensional research development considering the following flow: target elements→ current status of enterprises→ level of technology→ ripple effects on the market

  • Business model geared towards infrastructure building : To develop core strategic industrial technologies, centered around seed companies, and engage with consumer companies
  • Business model without domestic industries (domestic product companies exist): To establish a pilot infrastructure through research conducted by both production companies and intermediary organizations → to expand the business of existing corporations and seek start-up corporations
  • Business model for leading the industry: To use intermediary organizations as material supply bases for pioneering research (new products, reduced and alternative elements) → When mass-produced, developed products and materials can be useful for business advances of materials firms.
  • To avoid sporadic support, common for current R&D business, and, instead, adopt multi-dimensional, simultaneous execution of strategy for early achievement of outcomes → To stabilize supply and maximize ripple effects on the industry through the omni-dimensional deployment of material technology and circulatory materialization technology for base materials of each element, intermediate materials, and reduced/alternative materials
국내산업현황, 소재화 기술수준, 가치사슬, 수요추이 등을 감안한 차별화된 연구개발(구분, 1단계 2단계로 구성되어 있습니다)
Category Phase I (2015) Phase II (2020)
Items Gallium, Platinum, Indium, Tungsten, Rare Earth Elements Nickel, Lithium, Magnesium, Cobalt, Phosphorescent Rare Earth (Gallium, Platinum, Indium, Tungsten, Rare Earth Elements)
Strategic Technology 20 strategic technologies
Global top 5 technologies
40 strategic technologies
Global top 10 technologies
Expected Effects Specialized Firms 49 companies 112 companies
Job Creation 2,400 jobs 7,450 jobs
Production 5.9 billion dollars 13.2 billion dollars
Self-reliance 56% 79%