Rare earth elements (REE) are a group of 15 elements referred to as the lanthanide series in the periodic table. Scandium and yttrium, while not true REE, are also included in this categorization because they exhibit similar properties to the lanthanides and are always found in the same ore bodies. REE are key components in many electronic devices that we use in our daily lives, as well as in a variety of industrial applications.
REE are used in a variety of industrial applications including electronics, clean energy, aerospace, automotive and defence. Global demand for REE was estimated at roughly 130,000 tonnes in 2016.
The manufacturing of permanent magnets represents the single largest and most important end use for REE, accounting for 24% of total consumption.
Permanent magnets are an essential component of modern electronics used in cell phones, televisions, computers, automobiles, wind turbines, jet aircraft and many other products. REE are also widely used in high-technology and “green” products because of their luminescent and catalytic properties.