Rare earth elements (REE) are widely used in high technologies, medical devices, and military defense systems, and are especially indispensable in emerging clean energy. Along with the growing market of green energy in the next decades, global demand for REE will increase continuously, which will put great pressure on the current REE supply chain. The global REE production is currently mainly concentrated in China and Australia; they respectively contributed 85% and 10% in 2016. However, there are 178 deposits widely distributed in the world, and reported REE resources as of 2017 totaled 478 megaton (Mt) rare earth oxides (REO); 58% of these deposits contained exceed 0.1 Mt REO; 59 deposits have been technically assessed. These resources could sustain the global REE production at the current pace for more than a hundred years. It is noted that REE demand from clean technologies will reach 51.9 thousand metric tons (kt) REO in 2030, Nd and Dy, respectively, comprising 75% and 9%, while these two elements comprise 15% and 0.52% of the global REE resources, respectively. This indicates that Nd and Dy will strongly influence the development of exploring new REE projects and clean technologies in the next decades.
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