Rare earth metals are a set of 17 similar metallic elements and are in increasing demand as they are essential in the production of consumer electronics and devices. They aren’t rare, contrary to their designation, and can be found all over the world. However, they are considered “rare”, in a sense, due to them being scattered in small deposits, rather than clustered together.
They are often found mixed with other substances and elements, which means they must be harvested and separated, which is a costly and difficult process involving different phases. Rare earth metals have conductive and magnetic properties, which have allowed us in recent times to make smaller and smaller devices.
Demand for rare earth metals has grown significantly, primarily due to China’s growth and their own increasing demand. Also, as more countries develop and purchasing power increases among various populations for consumer electronics, demand will only continue to rise.