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Cerium: Multipurpose Rare Earth Element

Prepared as Background Material by the Staff of Lynas Corporation

Cerium exists as the most abundant and one of the most widely useful of the chemical elements known as rare earths. Although found in significant amounts in the earth’s crust, these elements are “rare” because scientists typically find them difficult to extract from the their ores. First identified in the early 19th century and named after the asteroid Ceres, cerium occurs as a soft, silvery substance in its pure state that turns iron gray in most commercial applications. With an atomic number of 58, it holds a key position among the lanthanides on the periodic table, and when combined with its sister element, lanthanum, plays an important role in the manufacture of catalytic converters.

Moreover, cerium and other rare earths perform vital functions in the high technology and energy industries, including as a glass-polishing and glass color-removal agent in optical equipment manufacturing, a catalyst in petroleum refining, an alloy, and, under high pressure, an effective semiconductor. In combination with lanthanum and other relatively flammable rare earths, it holds a place as an essential component of Misch metal, used to create lighter flints. Carbon arc and projection lights for movie sets also rely on cerium for their manufacture.

A fast-growing company dedicated to the environmentally and socially responsible mining and marketing of rare earth elements, Lynas Corporation operates a mine in Western Australia and a plant in Malaysia.

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Lynas Corporation: Helping to Create a Greener World

By providing rare earth elements for clients around the globe, Lynas Corporation Ltd. will have a direct impact on the future. In addition to committing itself to environmental sustainability in its mining and refining practices, Lynas Corporation’s rare earths will find use in numerous “green” technologies.

One such technology is the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), the recent innovation in lighting technology that can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by other forms of lighting. Available in the commercial market for several years now, CFLs use a quarter of the energy needed by conventional light bulbs, partially through the use of rare earth phosphors like europium and yttrium.

Another green application of rare earths can be seen in today’s hybrid vehicles. Hybrid technology requires rare earths in most components, from the neodymium and praseodymium in the regenerative brakes to the lanthanum in the nickel-metal hydride batteries.

Regardless of the application, rare earths will play an important role in the future of our environment. As a leader in the rare earths industry, Lynas Corporation is poised to take part in shaping tomorrow’s technology.

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.