The top 10 countries for rare earth metal production are the overwhelming beneficiaries of what is estimated to be a $8.1 billion industry, and is only expected to grow significantly in the next few years. Rare earth metals aren’t just one specific metal, as is perhaps obvious by the name; they are a group of seventeen chemicals which together are known by this name. And while you may think that rare earth metals are, again as seems obvious by the name, rare, but in reality, they are actually quite common within the Earth’s crust.
The reason behind the incredible value of the rare earth industry is that they are incredibly useful and important to the technology industry, which is one of the biggest industries in the world. They are integral to clean energy, computers, advanced transportation, national defense and consumer electronics. Another industry which is hugely dependent on rare earth metals is the renewable energy industry, and these metals are especially common in wind turbines. Further, as I mentioned earlier, these metals are quite plentiful and as more mining areas are discovered, the production will consequently increase as well. This is one of the reasons why, in addition to increased demand of course, that global production of rare earth metals increased to 210,000 metric tons, an increase of 11% from 2018.
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In the United States alone, production of rare earth metals increased by a whopping 44%. While rare earth metals are quite abundant, finding them in minable quantities is not quite as easy. This is one of the reasons why the production and supply is dominated by just a handful of countries. Nearly all of the rare earth metal supply comes from these countries alone.
To find out the top 10 rare earth metal producing countries in the world, we headed on over to the Mineral Commodities Summaries 2020, which has data on tons of metals and minerals. If you’re interested in other minerals, you might want to consider taking a look at the top 9 lithium producing countries in the world. To determine our ranking, we took a look at the production of each country in both 2018 and 2019, and then calculated the average of both years to compute the ranking. If the ranking was coming out equal between two countries, we gave a higher rank to the country with higher production in 2019. So let’s take a look at the countries which give us rare earth metals, starting with number 10:
Production of rare earth metals in 2018 (in metric tons): 920
Production of rare earth metals in 2019 (in metric tons): 900