Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers -

Waste and Resource Management

ISSN 1747-6526 | E-ISSN 1747-6534
Volume 165 Issue 1, February 2012, pp. 3-11
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Rare earth elements (REE) have come into focus in many scientific and economic communities as they are required for climate-relevant applications such as wind turbines and hybrid cars. Moreover, these REE have a very broad application arena and are only partly substitutable. For several years the REE were of little economic value, and China’s entry into production brought prices of REE down, which in turn led to the closure of several non-Chinese mines. Next to the unquestionable advantages and positive material characteristics there is one critical issue: currently more than 90% of the global production of REE is mined and produced in China. There is principally no other mine in the world that produces significant quantities for the world market, so that specialists fear that this monopolistic situation could eventually lead to a partial lack of availability of REE. This paper provides some more details concerning REE.

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