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Rare Earth Minerals

For The Gadget Guys ‘n Girls

Imagine if the world was void of iPhones, iPads, tablets and other technical devices? Sounds like something out of a horror movie. Did you know that none of these devices could have been made if it had not been for Rare Earth Elements (REE) or otherwise known as Rare Earth Metals?

What Are Rare Earth Elements

The Rare Earth Elements are a group of seventeen chemical elements that occur together in the periodic table. These are the 15 lanthanide series elements plus yttrium and scandium. These elements are quite plentiful in the Earth’s crust but they are dispersed and not often found in concentrated forms known as rare earth minerals.

“So why are they called "rare" earths? The name alludes to their elusive nature, since the 17 elements rarely exist in pure form. Instead, they mix diffusely with other minerals underground, making them costly to extract.” (

Uses Of Rare Earth Minerals

The device you are using right now to read this has been created with the use of Rare Earth Elements. These elements have been used in the production of cell phones, fluorescent lightning, DVD’s, rechargeable batteries, magnets, hybrid cars, air purifiers, wind turbines, polishing compounds and military weapons.

Production Of Rare Earth Minerals

China supplies more than 97 percent of the global market for the rare earth minerals but new mining operations are starting in Russia, Brazil, Australia, India, South Asia and the U.S. However, due to the explosion of technical products (there are over 5 billion cell phones in the world) these deposits are becoming depleted and there is currently insufficient substitutes for their use.

Mining and refining rare earths is a costly venture, leaving most countries to leave their own reserves undeveloped, even as worldwide demand rises. However, deposits are being found in countries like Australia, Canada, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka and it will eventually become a necessity for mining operations to begin, in order to supply the demands of this technically oriented world.


Rare Earth Minerals are 17 elements mixed with minerals underground. They are used abundantly in the production of technical equipment, military weaponry, pollution-control equipment and even in cars.

Ninety-five percent of the world’s production is controlled by China but as demand soars more countries are going to have to start mining for these rare earth elements.

If you would like to learn more about minerals and mining visit our Mining and Metals page.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

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