Critical Minerals: Rare Earths and the U.S. Economy

Policy Backgrounders | Energy and Natural Resources

No. 175
Friday, September 26, 2014
by Ann Norman, Xinyuan Zou and Joe Barnett

Rare earths are 17 elements in the Earth’s crust used in a variety of applications, from hybrid cars and x-ray units to cell phones and wind turbines. When it comes to little-known resources, rare earths are probably the world’s most important — they are small but necessary components of a vast range of consumer goods that account for hundreds of billions of dollars in gross domestic product.

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