Cerium Oxide Shortage Prompts Task Group Formation
March 28, 2011
The Glass Association of North America's (GANA) Mirror Division tackled the topic of the cerium oxide shortage during its Technical Committee taking place as part of last week's Glass Week event.
"It's a serious issue in getting this," commented Jim Ventre of Vitro in bringing this topic to the group.
China controls approximately 95 percent of the supplies of this rare earth element used in, among many other things, polishing glass, and in the last year has further limited supplies, consequently drastically raising prices.
The other mirror manufacturers in the room agreed that they, too, are experiencing the shortage of this product, which also is used in cleaning the glass before it's silvered, as Ventre explained. "From what I understand we may not be able to get it," he said.
Dave Evans mentioned Guardian Glass "is looking at other products ... not aware we've put anything on the line yet to try, but we're definitely talking about it."
"We anticipate it to be this way for the next two years, easy," commented Mike Willard of Salem Distributing. According to Willard, there are alternative mines to those in China, one in the United States and one in Australia - but neither is operational just yet. "The mines that are coming on board are not going to produce anything meaningful for at least two years," Willard said.
Given this group consensus, it was agreed to form a task group in the Division's Technical Committee to begin gathering information on alternative products to cerium.
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