Recently, there has been a concern over the short supply of a group of elements called ‘rare earth metals’. Why?
- China, which is the largest producer of these elements, has imposed some restrictions on their export.
- Other than China, Australia, Canada and Chile, these elements are not found in any country.
- Rare earth metals are essential for the manufacture of various kinds of electronic items and there is a growing demand for these elements.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
[UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2012 Prelims]
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Rare Earth Metals
- Rare Earth Elements or Rare Earth Metals are a set of 17 chemical elements in the periodic table — the 15 lanthanides, plus scandium and yttrium, which tend to occur in the same ore deposits as the lanthanides, and have similar chemical properties.
- At present, China refines approximately 80%-90% of the world’s Rare Earths, thereby having substantial control over their supply. Hence, statement 1 is correct.
- These elements are important in technologies of consumer electronics, computers and networks, communications, clean energy, advanced transportation, healthcare, environmental mitigation, and national defense, among others. Hence, statement 3 is correct.
- 10 countries that mined the most rare earth metals in 2019, as per the latest data from US Geological Survey.
- The US
- Vietnam Hence, statement 2 is not correct.