01 Geography of rare earth materials deposits
The formulation of "rare earth materials" itself can be explained very simply: it’s called so due to the fact that the presence of all 17 elements assigned to the mentioned category of "rare earths" in the crust is minimal.
For the first time the word "rare earth" appeared at the end of the 19th century. By that time, the specialists did not know well and in full the geography of deposits of these rare earth metals.
Seventeen rare-earth elements mostly have a silvery-white, sometimes yellowish shade. Their chemical properties are similar. No wonder, because many of them stay next to each other in the Earth’s crust, and their individual existence is possible only as a result of a laboratory experiment.
One of the world leaders in the extraction of rare earth metals is the People’s Republic of China. The amount of rare-earth materials extracted from the depths of the rich Chinese land annually constitutes approximately 100 thousand tons, which is more than ½ of the total world production.
The largest amount of reserves can be found in the mining area of Bayan-Obo (Inner Mongolia).
The second place is occupied by the United States, which accounts for about 13% of the global product. It should be noted that the US reserves are quite impressive. At the same time, this country is not in a hurry to develop its own deposits, so they import rare-earth raw material from abroad.
Why? It is not "laziness." Pragmatic Americans carefully study the cost of rare earth metals. Their calculations are not mandatory components in the period while they are relatively cheap. Get and sell at a higher price when the time comes.
The Russian Federation has good stocks of rare-earth materials. Many scholars agree that it is Russia, and not the States, that should be given a place as No. 2 in the leadership troika. The real “Klondike” is the Murmansk region, where about 70% of all identified deposits are concentrated. Rich in the Republic of Komi and Sakha. Krasnodar region is not deprived of this resource.
In the long run, experts predict a growing interest in the extraction of rare earth materials. It will be directly proportional to the decline in world oil and gas reserves. After all, it is obvious to everyone that they are not infinite.
The high real and prospective cost of rare-earth materials can be predicted, relying not only on geographical, but also on political factors.
The territorial interests of the United States extend to North Korea. There, not so long ago, one of the largest deposits of rare-earth metals was discovered, the potential volume of which exceeds 5 billion tons.
US Geological Survey is aware of the presence of deposits in the territories of Afghanistan, which today are under the control of the Taliban. The total value of the deposits is estimated by the Afghan government at 3 billion. dollars.
There are good reserves in Africa (cobalt deposits are located on the territory of the Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic). World treasuries of rare-earth materials automatically become a factor that underlies decisions, including those of a political nature.
Structure of world reserves of rare earth metals