51 COM, Rare Earths 2012—PDF

Since the mid-1980s, we have seen a significant and accelerating number of advancements in technology which continue to enhance our quality of life. These technologies, be they in the areas of renewable energy production, energy storage or demand-side energy efficiency, hybrid vehicles, tablet computers, smartphones, digital displays or lasers all rely on materials made possible by the rare earth elements (commonly referred to as “rare earths”). Consumer and policy-driven demand for these advanced technology products has strained the supply of available rare earths. The rare earth supply chain, from mine to final product, is complex and relatively long, and faces a number of unique challenges particularly as it is in its relatively early stages of development. It is therefore critically important to conduct research on all steps of the supply chain, from geology, extraction, separation and refining, to final product design, and lifecycle management and recycling. Also important is an understanding of the economic and environmental issues related to meeting the demand for rare earth based materials. This inaugural Rare Earths Symposium at the Conference of Metallurgists aims to provide a collaborative forum to discuss these critical and timely issues.


J.R. Goode, G. Moldoveanu, M.S. Rayat

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Keywords: Rare earths, extractive metallurgy, uranium, thorium, environmental issues, separation and metal production, physical metallurgy, recycling