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Supply of critical rare-earth elements about to expand

Kerry Davis | Nov. 1, 2011
There are rare-earth elements in your computer, digital camera, television, smartphone, in the batteries of hybrid vehicles, in long-lasting lightbulbs and serving as critical magnets in guided missiles.

It takes 10 to 15 years for an ore deposit to develop into a rare-earth mining site, due to funding and permitting, which meant China's export hold put the world supply of rare-earth elements in jeopardy.

"We were fortunate that two projects were in advanced stages when this crisis hit," Long said.

Still, geologists expect that the demand for rare-earth minerals will exceed the available world supply until at least 2015.


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