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Supply-and-demand geoeconomic analysis of mineral resources of rare earth elements in the United States

Mining Engineering , 2012, Vol. 64, No. 93, pp. 74-82

Nieto, Anthony; Lannuzzi, Morgan


Rare earth elements (REEs) are crucial to green technology such as hybrid-electric vehicles, wind turbines and fluorescent light bulbs. As of 2011, China dominates the global production of REEs and is reducing its export quotas. To predict the supply of rare earths in the United States based on future supply scenarios, a web-based database and geographic visualization tool was built. Five case scenarios with varying levels of REE demand were created by varying several economic conditions including (1) international trade policy, (2) greenhouse gas regulations, (3) environmental mining regulations and (4) tech applicability ratio of REEs. The most likely scenario, which is based on current international demand levels, indicates the importance of expediting the development of extractive operations of current REE resources within the United States. The results of the different case scenarios are supported by using dynamic geographic maps indicating the location of rare earth ore (REO) resources.