China and the Geoeconomics of Rare Earths

6th June 2019 | Reading Time: 6 minutes   14 Views
Share 

What are Rare Earths?

Most people have never heard of rare earths elements, often simply called REE, but these group of metals are essential for the high-tech industry and therefore they play a pivotal role in the contemporary economy. Daily products like smartphones and computers all contain rare earths, but they are also present in in green power generators like wind turbines, in medical devices and in military hardware.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, or IUPAC, has defined rare earths elements as lanthanoids with atomic numbers 57 to 71; but elements with similar properties like yttrium and scandium are also generally included in this group of transition metals characterized by their special electron configurations.

Contrarily to what the name might suggest, rare earths are actually not so rare. The problem is that they are hard to find in concentrations high enough to make their mining economically profitable. Rare earths elements can be used in different forms: mineral concentrates, mixed chemicals, oxides and metals, magnets, phosphors and powders.

In the 1980s, their main use was within the metallurgic industry; but after 2010 they became mostly employed in the medical sector for lasers, X-ray machines, or MRIs; or in electronics for producing cathode ray tube televisions, or energy-efficient fluorescent lamps.

Their magnetic properties are also very useful for the creation of wind turbines, laptops, smartphones and other hi-tech products. Magnets and phosphors have also application in the military sector for those technologies that require lasers or communication and transmission devices.

SUBSCRIBE TO READ FULL

Your subscription to KJ Vids will help keep us alive and be an invaluable form of support for us.

Reviews for China and the Geoeconomics of Rare Earths

There are currently no reviews for China and the Geoeconomics of Rare Earths
Subscribe or Contribute
Subscribe from £10 a month

Invest in yourself by investing in KJ Vids. Get full access to original, quality analyses and fresh perspectives on global issues

Invest in yourself by investing in KJ Vids. Get full access to original, quality analyses and fresh perspectives on global issues

Contribute to KJ Vids

We are completely independent and have no partisan bias. Help us keep it this way by donating as much as you can to help us grow

Donate Now
Scroll to top