Explain the features of the rare-earth metals. Where do they come from?
Rare earths refer to a group of 17 elements that are known for their unique magnetic and electrochemical properties. Three public sector units namely National Aluminium Company (NALCO), Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd. and Hindustan Copper Ltd. are set to sign a joint venture agreement for making overseas acquisition of reserves of rare metals like lithium and cobalt.
Features of Rare-earth metals:
- Rare earth metals consist of yttrium and the 15 lanthanide elements (lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium)
- Scandium is also found in most rare earth element deposits and is sometimes classified as a rare earth element.
- Lithium and cobalt are not rare earth metals
- These rare metals used in many devices that people use every day such as computer memory, DVDs, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, catalytic converters, magnets, fluorescent lighting and much more
Reserves of Rare Earth Metals: Rare earths are not actually very rare. They can be found across the Earthï¿½s crust. They are often in low concentrations and are difficult and expensive to mine. Chinaï¿½is by far the worldï¿½s largest producer of rare earths and accounts for about 70% of global production. The country has some 37% of global reserves.