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Rare Earth Element Mines, Deposits, and Occurrences

June 1, 2002

Data on rare earth (including yttrium) mines, deposits, and occurrences were compiled as part of an effort by the USGS and the University of Arizona Center for Mineral Resources to summarize current knowledge on the supply and demand outlook and related topics for this group of elements. Economic competition and environmental concerns are increasingly constraining the mining and processing of rare earths from the Mountain Pass mine in California. For many years, the deposit at Mountain Pass was the world's dominant source of rare earth elements and the United States was essentially self-sufficient. Starting approximately 10 years ago, the U.S. has become increasingly dependent (> 90 percent of separated rare earths) upon imports from China, now the dominant source of rare earths. A knowledge of the known economic and noneconomic sources of rare earths is basic to evaluating the outlook for rare earth supply and associated issues.