Global Industry, Markets & Outlook

Roskill forecasts that rising demand for rhenium in aero engines will likely be satisfied by increasing supply of secondary rhenium contained in ‘engine revert’ produced from end-of-life gas turbine parts.

At the 2015 Paris Air Show the big three aero engine manufacturers, GE Aviation, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, announced billions of dollars of new sales. This was excellent news to rhenium suppliers since consumption is dominated by the nickel-based superalloys that are used in gas turbine aero engines and also, to a lesser extent, in industrial gas turbines (IGT). Since 2005 total demand from the superalloy sector has grown at a CAGR of 7% and in 2014 accounted for 78% of total demand. However, while a straightforward correlation between gas turbine construction and rhenium demand held true in the past, today the picture is less clear due to a mature recycling industry and the increasing quantity of reprocessed end-of-life gas turbine parts consumed as ‘engine revert’.

In 2014 Chilean refineries produced 40% of primary rhenium from a combination of Chilean and imported molybdenum concentrates. The USA is the second largest producer at just under 20% and other important sources included Poland and China. Kazakhstan’s state-owned rhenium refinery, historically a major producer, produced very little in 2014 due to a lack of raw materials. Secondary supply of rhenium, as pure metal or ammonium perrhenate (APR), increased considerably from 2007 to 2012, in response to high prices and a large investment in new recycling capacity. However, since 2013, against a backdrop of steadily falling spot prices, several recyclers have experienced challenging economic conditions and as a consequence production of secondary rhenium metal and APR has fallen slightly.

Contents of the Rhenium report

  1. Executive summary
  2. History, occurrence, properties and resources
  3. Recovery and processing
  4. World production
  5. Current and potential rhenium-producing countries and companies
  6. Supply/demand balance
  7. End-uses
  8. Market outlook
  9. International trade
  10. Prices
  11. Appendices