Rare Earth Elements
Rare Earth Elements (REE) are a group of 17 metallic elements consisting of the 15 lanthanoids in the periodic table, in addition to yttrium and scandium. Based on their atomic masses, REEs are often classified as light rare earth elements (LREE) or heavy rare earth elements (HREE).
Their special physical and chemical properties make them key in the manufacture of most high-tech products – including smart phones, hard drives, medical devices, defence applications and renewable energy technology.
The rare earth elements neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr) and dysprosium (Dy) are needed to produce high-strength permanent magnets, used in electric traction motors and wind turbines.
In fact, rare earths are found quite abundantly in nature, but they rarely occur in economically viable amounts and are difficult to process.