According to major lamp manufacturers, the cost of fluorescent lighting continues to grow due to the shortage of rare earth metals. The prices are expected to increase between 5 to 75 percent, depending on the following factors: lamp tube, lamp color, color mix, wattage and diameter.
The price increase, which is expected to be as much as 1,000%, will be applied starting this November.
The main problem is that China, which produces 97% of the world’s rare earth metals, has recently reduced the production and increased the mining taxes of those elements.
Currently, the global production for rare earth elements is approximately 124,000 tons a year and the demand is 134,000 tons a year. That’s a deficit of 10,000 tons/year.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy 2010 Critical Materials Strategy Summary “China is only predicted to produce 160,000 tons/year in 2014, leaving a deficit of 40,000 tons/year.”
However, the analysts are also optimistic, believing that the situation may actually get better in 2014 when relief will come from new mines and processing facilities.