Rare Earth Elements Use & Reserves

REE reserves india upsc

Rare Earth Elements global use distribution

Rare Earth Elements (REE) are a collection of seventeen metallic elements. These include the periodic table’s fifteen lanthanides (15 elements that range in atomic number from 57 (lanthanum) to 71 (lutetium), as well as scandium (atomic number 21) and yttrium (atomic number 39).

Due to their unusual physical and chemical properties, such as unique magnetic and optical properties, REEs have diverse applications that touch many aspects of modern life and culture.

India possesses the world’s fifth-largest deposits of rare earth minerals. Due to the radioactivity of monazite sands, Indian Rare Earths Ltd is the sole manufacturer of rare earth compounds under the Department of Atomic Energy.

REE & alloys, their use

  • In consumer electronics, computers and networks, communications, clean energy, advanced transportation, healthcare, environmental mitigation & defense technologies, etc.
  • They are utilized in many everyday technologies, including computer memory, dvds, rechargeable batteries, mobile phones, catalytic converters, magnets, fluorescent lights, and many more.


Rare Earth Elements, end use:

  • Most elements find their uses as catalysts and magnets in traditional and low-carbon technologies. Other important uses of rare earth elements are in the production of special metal alloys, glass, and high-performance electronics.
  • Alloys of neodymium (Nd) and samarium (Sm) can be used to create strong magnets that withstand high temperatures, making them ideal for a wide variety of mission critical electronics and defense applications.
End-use % of 2019 Rare Earth Demand
Permanent Magnets 38%
Catalysts 23%
Glass Polishing Powder and Additives 13%
Metallurgy and Alloys 8%
Battery Alloys 9%
Ceramics, Pigments and Glazes 5%
Phosphors 3%
Other 4%



Global Reserves of Rare Earth Minerals

China leads in mine production and reserves. Vietnam and Brazil follow. China also controls the mining in many African and south American countries.

Country Mine Production 2020 Reserves % of Total Reserves
China 140,000 44,000,000 38.0%
Vietnam 1,000 22,000,000 19.0%
Brazil 1,000 21,000,000 18.1%
Russia 2,700 12,000,000 10.4%
India 3,000 6,900,000 6.0%
Australia 17,000 4,100,000 3.5%
United States 38,000 1,500,000 1.3%
Greenland - 1,500,000 1.3%
Tanzania - 890,000 0.8%
Canada - 830,000 0.7%
South Africa - 790,000 0.7%
Other Countries 100 310,000 0.3%

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