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The rare earth metals, from intriguing materials to political hot potatoes

This project will be a comprehensive review of the rare earth elements (REE) . These contemporary metallic elements are the basis of electronic gadgets, luminescent materials, magnets and electric vehicles. There are vast reserves in Australia, as well as Africa. Several Australian companies have rights to the reserves in Africa and are planning exploration in the future. China is currently the major provider of REEs worldwide, producing some 80% of all RE minerals. The production of these has become quite a political issue, with price gouging and restrictions of exports from China to the rest of the world. Many countries, including the USA and Japan are looking for alternative suppliers so access to these metals is not restricted. Lynas Rare Earths in Australia is the only producer of REEs outside China at present, but other Australian companies are moving into production soon. With rights to African reserves, there is no doubt mining and production could begin over the next few years in Africa. It is the intention of this review to highlight the uses, properties, economical and political aspects of REEs and what the future could hold, but also the links between Australian and African businesses in rare earths.


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Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].