Rare earth elements (REE) are metals that have many uses in current key technologies, such as cell phone screens, wind turbines and even are used for electric motors. As the infographic shows, any one in need any of the 17 chemical elements will have a tough job sourcing them from anywhere but China. The People's Republic of China has the world's largest reserves of these not so rare metals.
An analysis by the United States Geological Survey suggests that around 44 million tons of REO (rare earth oxides) lie dormant in the Chinese soil. The second largest stockpile is in Vietnam, but the estimates by geologists suggest that it equals to only half of what China has, that is around 22 million REO tons. Similarly, more than 20 million tons are believed to lie hidden beneath the grounds of Russia and Brazil.
While not projecting it to a rare earth superpower, Sweden just declared the discovery of what could be the biggest known deposit in Europe – a space estimated to have over one million metric tons of Rare-Earth oxides (REO). At this time, rare earths are not being mined anywhere in Europe, and 98 percent of rare earths were used in the EU in 2021 and were imported from China.
China is in control of around 61 percent of global mine production and as a result it mines by far the biggest share of the elements traded on the world market. On the other hand, even though The United States has second spot on the global mine production list, it is still a small player comparatively speaking, with a market share of around 15.5 percent.
Infographic by: statista