National Geographic : 2011 Jun
China United States Other 1956 1960 1970 Rare earth production, metric tons SEVENTEEN ESSENTIALS e rare earths are 17 metals that cluster together on the periodic table---15 of them, from lanthanum to lutetium, form a continuous series---and in ore deposits too. Malleable, reactive, magnetic, refractive, they're small ingredients of many big things. Sc 21 SCANDIUM Y 39 YTTRIUM La 57 LANTHANUM Pr 59 PRASEODYMIUM Ce 58 CERIUM Sm 62 SAMARIUM Gd 64 GADOLINIUM Eu 63 EUROPIUM Ho 67 HOLMIUM Tm 69 THULIUM Er 68 ERBIUM Who produces them As rare earth mining took off in China, U.S. and other producers could no longer compete. The world market now depends on China, which already uses most of its output to supply its own booming factories. But other countries still have large minable reserves of rare earths. Scandium and yttrium lie outside the rare earth series but are chemically similar.