We are living a time of unprecedented technological innovation. The consequence is that the demand for primary resources has never been this high, in particular for those known as high-technology metals, which are fundamental in the manufacturing of both high- and green-technologies. Among these, the rare earth elements (REE), play a particularly strategic role.
This Special Issue groups 11 articles that deal with different aspects of the REE, from analysis of their supply chain, to an assessment of the mineralogy and petrology of their hosts, spanning from sedimentary rocks to carbonatites and other alkaline igneous rocks. The volume closes with a study on the potential impacts of increased REE production.
Overall, the papers in this volume provide a snapshot of REE resources currently under investigation and develop some of the integrating studies that are necessary to understand the influence of geology and mineralogy on the future supply of the REE. Such studies, coupled to work in resource recovery by recycling, will contribute to the future use of these metals in high technology and low-CO2 energy production. They are also linked to the further work required to establish the environmental impact of REE extraction and use which will underpin the legacy of the growth in usage going forward from the early 21st century.
Link to the issue (open access)