Rare earth minerals, rare earth metals, LREE, HREE, electric motors, hybrid vehicles

Rare Earth Minerals

The rare earth elements (REE) are a continuous series of fifteen elements from lanthanum to europium, comprising the light fraction (LREE), and gadolinium to lutetium accompanied by yttrium and scandium that comprise the heavy fraction (HREE). Despite their group name these elements are more common than many better known elements and they are metallic in character.

The REE are relatively abundant in the earth’s crust, but minable concentrations are less common than for many other ores. REE have been steadily growing in importance because of their value in many cutting-edge technologies such as automotive catalytic converters, wind power generators, phosphors for flat screens, LED and CFL lighting, high strength magnets, chemicals and petroleum refining catalysts, pharmaceuticals and metallurgical additives and alloys. For this reason there is today substantial exploration and evaluation of REE deposits around the world.

Besides the total REE concentration, the value of a certain deposit is determined by the balance between the LREE, which usually comprise 97-99% of the resource, and the HREE such as dysprosium and terbium which are of much higher value.

For further information, please click here.