Rare Earth Elements: Essential to Modern Manufacturing Public Service Backgrounder by the Staff of Lynas Corporation

posted at rareearthinvestingnews.com All Rights ReservedToday’s high-technology world runs largely on rare earth elements, and in coming years, the demand for resources may hinge not so much on supplies of oil and gas as on substances such as lanthanum, cerium, neodymium, and dysprosium. These and 13 other elements on the periodic table, most of them in the lanthanide series, are known as rare earths.

Life today for many people would be unimaginable without fluorescent lighting, photovoltaic cells, colored glass, catalytic converters, and digital devices. Emerging energy-efficient technologies, such as regenerative braking systems and the lanthanum-containing batteries in hybrid cars and trucks, depend on rare earths. Computer hard drives process information thanks partly to dysprosium, and wind turbines turn in part because of neodymium. Europium is essential to the manufacture of the red phosphors in color television screens. Many other industries also depend on rare earths, which have the potential to increase the efficiency of even commonplace items such as magnets.

Discovered in the late 1700s, rare earth elements are now in such demand that forecasts for 2015 predict that world industry will require 185,000 tons of them, an increase of 50 percent from 2010. Though far more abundant than gold, rare earths are rare because they are seldom found in large enough quantities, and in configurations easy enough to extract, to be commercially viable.

Since 2010, when China announced that it would cut back on exports of these elements, prices have soared sometimes hundreds-fold, and other nations have sought to increase their own production and develop new supply sources.

Australia-based Lynas Corporation aims to step into this void as a major, fully integrated mine-to-market supplier of rare earth minerals to the global marketplace.

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