Rare Earth Metals

These metals are the fifteen elements of lanthanides together with Scandium and Yttrium. Despite their name, rare metals are plentiful in earth’s crust, e.g. the 25th most abundant element being of Cerium. The reason why they are labeled as “rare” is due to their distribution in earth’s crust. They tend to exist together in nature and are difficult to separate from one another economically.

Reserves of rare metal oxides in China and Brazil have been approximated as 55 and 22 million tons, respectively. These two countries mount up for almost 60% of total global reserves. China, as the most dominant mineral producer of rare metal oxides, produced 105 thousand tons in 2015.

Iran has not been active in rare elements extraction so far, but Atomic Energy Organization of Iran plans for extraction of these worthy elements as the by-products of uranium extraction. By extraction of these expensive elements, costs of uranium extraction will be considerably reduced. Iran hopes to join the few countries of rare element producer by the end of 2016.

China, Japan and Unites States are the greatest consumers of rare metals. Chief consumptions of rare earth metals are to produce high-tech electronic devices used in smart phones, health care products, fluorescent lighting, computer memories, DVDs, catalytic convertors, etc. Although tiny amounts of rare earth metals are consumed in electronic devices, but their short life span, lack of REE recycling and rapid technology developments cause a steadily raise in these metals demands.

 
 

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