The word rare earth metals often causes people to wonder what kind of metals are being discussed. A good number of people are usually confused by the term and often associate it with metals that are so precious that they can hardly be found on earth. This is actually true in as far specialty is concerned. However, the rare earth metals are actually common in the earth’s crust. They contribute to a huge fraction of the elements in the earth’s crust. Countries that are highly industrialised are able to extract these metals from beneath earth’s surface. For example, Chinese producers of these metals are able to extract them from beneath the earth’s surface using sophisticated extraction methods.
A rare metal belongs to the group of metals that are used to manufacture high tech products and weaponry. A good number of high products that are available on the market today have a component which has been made of a rare earth metal or at least contain some of it. This also applies to some of the sophisticated weaponry that is available today and only owned by elite armies such as American and British armies. Due to the major purpose for the mining and processing of these metals, they are often referred to as tech metals. This is the name that is commonly used on the stock market platforms. They are quite expensive to buy and they often fetch huge sums of money on the metal exchange market. This may explain why many people are taking advantage of investments in technology metals.
These metals are often said to be rare because they are not common on the surface of the earth and they are only produced by selected countries. Today, China is the leading producer of rare earth metals. More than 90 % of the total fraction of rare earth metals that are available on the market today are produced by china. A few other producers are spread in various parts of the world including the United States where mining for such metals is quite serious. Another notable source of rare earth metals is Australia which is currently merging forces with American companies in a bid to escalate the mining and processing of such metals. There are also a few African countries which are considered as being among notable producers of the metals.
Rare earth metals are used in the manufacture of high tech products and a good number of electronic products because of the properties that they possess. In particular, they are said to possess unique magnetic properties and certain special electrochemical attributes. They are also light enough to fit perfectly in any electronic device or product. There are numerous examples of rare earth metals that are known today. They number up to 17 and their atomic numbers range between 20 and 72. There is Ytterbium, Lutetium, Thulium, Erbium and Holmium whose atomic numbers are 70, 71, 69, 68 and 67 respectively. Lithium has recently become popular because of its contribution to the making of batteries for the storage of electrical energy.