Author(s): Du X, Graedel TE
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Abstract Even though rare earth metals are indispensible in modern technology, very little quantitative information other than combined rare earth oxide extraction is available on their life cycles. We have drawn upon published and unpublished information from China, Japan, the United States, and elsewhere to estimate flows into use and in-use stocks for 15 of the metals: La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, Lu, and Y. Here, we show that the combined flows into use comprised about 90 Gg in 2007; the highest for individual metals were ∼28 Gg Ce and ∼22 Gg La, the lowest were ∼0.16 Gg Tm and ∼0.15 Gg Lu. In-use stocks ranged from 144 Gg Ce to 0.2 Gg Tm; these stocks, if efficiently recycled, could provide a valuable supplement to geological stocks.
This article was published in Environ Sci Technol
and referenced in Journal of Chemical Engineering & Process Technology