A new processing facility being built in Saskatoon could be part of the solution to a recent global shortage of computer chips and semiconductors for vehicles and electronics.
There are 17 rare earth elements: cerium, dysprosium, erbium, europium, gadolinium, holmium, lanthanum, lutetium, neodymium, praseodymium, promethium, samarium, scandium, terbium, thulium, ytterbium and yttrium.
These naturally occurring minerals are key components in modern electronics. They are used in making everything from electric cars to cell phones and wind turbines.
University of Saskatchewan geological sciences professor Kevin Ansdell told Saskatoon Morning’s Leisha Grebinski that rare earth elements are essential to modern global economic development.
“I would foresee that the demand for the rare earth elements will certainly continue to increase, particularly with the drive globally to try and electrify transportation through electric vehicles,” Ansdell said.
“Every single electric vehicle has rare earth element components within it.” Almost all of the mining and processing of these elements is done in China.