Minerals Make Life – a national, non-profit mining association – has recently developed an illuminating infographic indicating the increased demand for rare earth minerals. Presence of these minerals in the earth’s crust is common, but much less common in terms of minable concentrations. While demand for rare earths is rising, the current state of U.S. minining permit processes lacks efficiency and decreases output significantly. Currently, China dominates the rare earths market, controlling 90+% of the world’s production of rare earths. China also tightly regulates their export, resulting in severe shortages and unpredictable price increases for manufacturers seeking to import rare earths.
The demand for 2015 will increase by approximately 35% from 2010, resulting in difficulty for United States manufacturers who must import nearly all rare earth minerals. One primary reason for the increase in demand is the need to support critical industries, such as the tech and energy industries. Rare earth minerals are also essential for uses pertaining national security (to provide radar, satellite communication, and mine detectors to U.S. troops).
For more information regarding the importance of mining rare earth minerals, visit Minerals Make Life.