Not so rare after all: Lynas Corporation’s rare earth refinery in Malaysia

September 23, 2011 • Hilary Lewis


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We use rare earths in a wide range of modern conveniences, from consumer electronics to hybrid car batteries. 

Recently, rare earths have been in the news thanks to skyrocketing prices. High prices are a result of increased demand due to new technologies and artificially limited supply – artificially limited by China, which currently controls more than 90% of global rare earth mineral production, but less than 40% of known deposits.

Rare earth minerals are expensive and dangerous to mine, not to mention the environmental impacts common to all mining, in addition to radioactive waste concerns.