ABSTRACT

Principal Rare Earth Elements Deposits of the United States-A Summary of Domestic Deposits and a Global Perspective   [open pdf - 4MB]

"The rare earth elements (REE) are fifteen elements with atomic numbers 57 through 71, from lanthanum to lutetium ('lanthanides'), plus yttrium (39), which is chemically similar to the lanthanide elements and thus typically included with the rare earth elements. Although industrial demand for these elements is relatively small in tonnage terms, they are essential for a diverse and expanding array of high-technology applications. REE-containing magnets, metal alloys for batteries and light-weight structures, and phosphors are essential for many current and emerging alternative energy technologies, such as electric vehicles, energy-efficient lighting, and wind power. REE are also critical for a number of key defense systems and other advanced materials. […] The objective of this study is to provide a nontechnical overview of domestic reserves and resources of REE and possibilities for utilizing those resources. At the present time, the United States obtains its REE raw materials from foreign sources, almost exclusively from China. Import dependence upon a single country raises serious issues of supply security. In a global context, domestic REE resources are modest and of uncertain value; hence, available resources in traditional trading partners (such as Canada and Australia) are of great interest for diversifying sources of supply. This report restates basic geologic facts about REE relevant to assessing security of supply, followed by a review of current United States consumption and imports of REE, current knowledge of domestic resources, and possibilities for future domestic production. Further detail follows in a deposit-by-deposit review of the most significant domestic REE deposits (see index map). Necessary steps to develop domestic resources are discussed in a separate section, leading into a review of current domestic exploration and a discussion of the value of a future national mineral resource assessment of REE. The report also includes an overview of known global REE resources and discusses the reliability of alternative foreign sources of REE."

Report Number:
Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5220
Author:
Publisher:
Date:
2010-11-16
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Geological Survey: http://www.usgs.gov/
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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