The Japanese call them “the seeds of technology.”  The US Department of Energy calls them “technology metals.”

They make possible the high tech world we live in today – everything from the miniaturization of electronics, to the enabling of green energy and medical technologies, to supporting a myriad of essential telecommunications and defense systems. 

Here is everything you ever wanted to know about … RARE EARTH ELEMENTS!


  • Rare earth elements (REE) are a group of seventeen chemical elements that are key components in many of the electronic devices that we use in our daily lives.
  • Rare earth elements are not as "rare" as their name implies. Most are actually widely dispersed throughout the earth’s crust. What is rare is finding them in concentrations high enough to make mining them economically feasible.
  • With rare earths, a little goes a long way.  The amount of rare earths used in high tech equipment is tiny but almost always critical to the unit’s performance.  For example, an iPhone uses eight rare earths – for everything from its colored screen, to its speakers, to the miniaturization of the phone’s circuitry. 
  • China is the world’s largest producer of rare earth elements, accounting for about 90% of global annual production.

Rare earth elements are essential to making electronics so small, fast and powerful.