Image via WikipediaRare Earth elements are more in demand now than at any time in history, and for good reason. China produces almost 95% of ALL rare earth elements used in industry today, and they recently declared that they would no longer ship these valuable commodities out of their country, preferring to use them in their own industries. This places China in the drivers seat in this space, as they literally attempt to corner the market for REE's. However, a number of western countries and companies are now earnestly in the hunt for these highly valued elements.
Whether or not you are an investor in these commodities, or merely interested in learning more about them for investment purposes, you should know that many of the everyday items you use, would not be possible without them. From your computer, your laptop, your cellphone, your catalytic converter in your car, compact discs, low energy light bulbs, your flat screen TV, and the X-ray you got last week, REE's play a vital role in everyday life.
Here is a composite of these elements and their uses.
|Element||Uses in Modern Technology|
|Cerium (Ce)||catalytic converters for diesel engines|
|Praseodymium (Pr)||an alloying agent for aircraft engines|
|Neodymium (Nd)||a key component of high-efficiency magnets and hard disc drives|
|Lanthanum (La)||a major ingredient for hybrid car batteries|
|Samarium (Sm)||lasers and nuclear reactor safety|
|Promethium (Pm)||portable X-rays and a nuclear battery|
|Gadolinium (Gd)||shielding for nuclear reactors, compact discs|
|Dysprosium (Dy)||improves the efficiency of hybrid vehicle motors|
|Terbium (Tb)||a component in low-energy light bulbs|
|Erbium (Er)||fiber optics|
|Europium (Eu)||used in flat screen displays and lasers|
|Holmium (Ho)||nuclear control rods, ultra-powerful magnets|
|Thulium (Tm)||lasers, portable X-rays|
|Ytterbium (Yb)||monitoring equipment for earthquakes|
|Lutetium (Lu)||oil refining|