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Rare earth elements - Statistics & Facts

Rare earths include a list of 17 chemical elements. Within the last decade these elements have become extremely sought after. The end uses of rare earths include the production of magnets, catalyzers, displays, and more. Many industries are highly dependent on rare earths as a result of their functionality. Global rare earth element production amounted to around 210,000 metric tons of rare earth oxides in 2019. With the largest known rare earth reserves worldwide, it is not surprising that China alone produced roughly 60 percent of that total amount. Canada, Greenland, and Australia are also expected to offer significant sources into the future.

Leading rare earth producing countries: China and the United States

China remains the largest global rare earth producing country after years of having this distinction. The most important provinces for Chinese production are Inner Mongolia and Sichuan. In 2019, the United States was distantly the world's second largest producer of rare earth elements, having produced some 26,000 metric tons of bastnäsite concentrates in rare earth oxide equivalent. Nevertheless, the U.S. is also a major importer. Some 80 percent of all U.S. rare earth imports originate from China, while the rest comes from France, Japan, and other countries.

Rare earth mining companies

Due to the fact that the Chinese rare earth industry is controlled by the state, there are only a few larger companies from other countries that dominate the market. Among the the best known non-Chinese rare earth companies is Lynas Corporation from Australia. Prior to filing for bankruptcy in June 2015, the United States-based Molycorp was a leading non-Chinese rare earths company. Other leading companies are Iluka Resources, Galaxy Resources, and Kidman Resources, all from Australia. With Mountain Pass in California, Molycorp formerly held the largest deposit of rare earth elements outside of China. As of June 2017, Mountain Pass sold for 20.5 million U.S. dollars to MP Mine Operations LLC, an American-led consortium that includes the Chinese company Leshan Shenghe Rare Earth Co. as a non-voting minority interest.

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Rare earths industry worldwide

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