Issue Date: June 18, 2012
GFS Will Expand Rare-Earths Output
GFS Chemicals will expand its Columbus, Ohio, facility to produce cerium intermediates that it formerly imported from China. Family-owned GFS produces cerium-based materials including cerium ammonium nitrate and anhydrous cerium chloride from cerium carbonate, oxide, and hydroxide intermediates. China, the world’s main supplier of cerium and other rare earths, sharply raised prices of these intermediates in 2010 by increasing export fees. In response, GFS President J. Steel Hutchinson says, the firm began talking to Molycorp, which was reopening a rare-earths mine in California. Working for more than a year with samples from Molycorp, GFS developed processes to manufacture intermediates it previously purchased from China. As part of this back-integration process, the company is now expanding a facility making rare-earth fluorides to also produce cerium intermediates. “We’re looking forward to gaining back market share that has been lost to the Chinese producers over the last decade,” Hutchinson says.
- Chemical & Engineering News
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