Rare Earth Minerals

A combination of single or multiple Rare Earth Elements forming  a mineral is called Rare Earth Mineral. It is usually found in a combination with Alkaline, Carbonatite Intrusive or Alkaline Magmas in Peralkaline Igneous Rocks and in Permatites Rocks. The Rare Earth Elements with a combination of alkaline complexes is most commonly found in the Pervoskite mineral occurring areas. A different and wide variety of Rare Earth Elements are found in hydrothermal deposits, which is usually found with alkaline Magmatism.

These minerals were previously termed as earths, which were spread throughout the earth's crust and were considered sparse, which gained them the name of Rare Earth Minerals.  They consist of 17 elements which are used for many new technological products including computer and electronics, advanced transport, clean energy, health care and national defense. Almost all the minerals were derived from the mines present in the Ytterby village, Sweden, and the first excavated mineral was Gadolinite which is a combination of Iron, Yttrium, Silicon, Cerium and many other elements.

Rare Earth Element
The Rare Earth Elements out of which, the Rare Earth Minerals are formed are actually the most commonly found elements under the crust but in a small proportion. It is a set of chemical elements that can be found in most places, but not in a concentrated form. Elements like yttrium and Scandium are always found in the same location where the Lanthanides Ore is discovered; hence they too were included in the list of Rare Earth Elements. The Rare Earth Element is also often called as Rare Earth Metal (REM) and our Earth's crust is loaded with these useful metals. One element named Celium is the 25th most common and adequately available element in approximately 68 parts out of the 1 million. Except the radioactive Promethium, almost all the others are very commonly found under the crust.

Here is the list, of all the Rare Earth Elements out of which, Rare Earth Minerals are formed,

Symbol Name of the Element Atomic number
 Sc Scandium 21
La Lanthanum 57
Pm Promethium 61
Y Yttrium 39
Ce Cerium 58
Gd Gadolinium 64
Pr Praseodymium 59
Sm Samarium 62
Dy Dysprosium 66
Eu Europium 63
Tb Terbium 65
Lu Lutetium 71
Ho Holmium 67
Yb Ytterbium 70
Er Erbium 68
Nd Neodymium 60
Tm Thulium 69

Uses of Rare Earth Elements

  • Scandium

It is used in making framework in Aerospace, street lamps and high performance commodities.

  • Yttrium

It is used in the production of drugs for cancer treatment, TV sets and to increase the durability of alloy.

  • Lanthanum

It is used for hydrogen storage and in battery electrodes and camera lenses.

  • Cerium

It is used in manufacturing colored glass, catalytic converters and steel production.

  • Praseodymium

It is used for making lasers, welding goggles and strong magnets.

  • Neodymium

It is useful in making electric motors, microphones and permanent and extremely strong magnets.

  • Promethium

It is an uncommon mineral which is least found in the environment.

  • Samarium

It is helpful in cancer treatment, test of genetic screening and in making fluorescent glass

  • Europium

It is also included in making fluorescent glass, screen for color TV and used to test for genetic screening.

  • Gadolinium

It is useful in the propulsion of nuclear marine, nuclear reactor shielding and to enhance the durability and strength of the alloy.
 The other elements are also useful in one way or the other.

List of Rare Earth Minerals

  • Aeschynite

This mineral is referred as Aeschynite-(Nd) and its chemical formula is (Nd, Ce, Ca, Th) (Ti, Nb) 2 (O, OH) 6, Aeschynite-(Ce) with chemical formula (Ce, Ca, Fe, Th) (Ti, Nb) 2 (O, OH) 6 and the last one is Aeschynite-(Y) and (Y, Ca, Fe, Th) (Ti, Nb) 2 (O, OH) 6 is its chemical formula.

  • Apatite
It is a combination of phosphate minerals like, chlorapatite, hydroxylapatite and fluorapatite which possess crystals with high concentration of Cl−,  OH− and F−,  ions. Its chemical formula is Ca10 (PO4) 6 (OH, F, Cl) 2.
  • Parisite

It is a group of Rare Earth Elements like lanthanum,  cerium, and, calcium Fluoro-carbonate. Its formula is Ca (Ce, La) 2 (CO3) 3F2.

  • Bastnasite
Also known as the Bastnaesite, it consists of fluoride-carbonate minerals. It is also referred as Bastnasite-(Ce) and has the formula is (La, Ce)CO3F, Bastnasite-(Y) which is expressed as (Y, Ce)CO3F and Bastnasite-(La) expressed as (La, Ce)CO3F.

 

Britholit
The Britholite-(Ce) is a compound of many el) ments like calcium, cerium, thorium, silicon and many other items. The chemical formula is  (Ce,Ca,Th,La,Nd)5(SiO4,PO4)3(OH,F).

  • Brockite

It is a radioactive  mineral due to the presence of thorium.. It is actually a phosphate mineral made out of many Rare Earth Elements. The formula is  (Ca,Th,Ce)PO4H2O. The crystallization of this mineral is in the hexagonal form.

  • Cerite

It is a complex mineral group of silicate, which also consist of cerium and the formula is (Ce,La,Ca)9(Mg,Fe+3)(SiO4)6(SiO3OH)(OH)3

  • Fluocerite

It is a rare earth mineral that consists of fluoride, cerium and lanthanum. Its formula is (Ce,La)F3. The other two forms are Fluocerite-(La) and Fluocerite-(Ce). The crystallization occurs in the hexagonal habit.

  • Fluorite 

It is also known as Fluorspar and it is a Rare Earth Mineral consisting of calcium fluoride. It is a member of halide minerals and the crystallization occurs in the isometric cubic system. The chemical formula is CaF2.

  • Gadolinite
It is a silicate mineral which mainly consists of silicates like neodymium, cerium, beryllium, lanthanum, iron and yttrium. The chemical composition is  (Ce,La,Nd,Y)2FeBe2Si2O10.

 

Monazite

It consists of rare earth metals and has a reddish-brown shade. It is mainly a phosphate mineral which is usually formed into small crystals in isolated form. It is referred as Monazite-(La) - formula (La, Ce, Nd) PO4.

Monazite-(Sm) - formula (Sm, Gd, Ce, Th) PO4
 Monazite-(Ce) – formula (Ce, La, Nd, Th)PO4 
 Monazite-(Nd) – formula (Nd, La, Ce)PO4.

  • Stillwellite-(Ce) 

It is a broad-silicate mineral and is considered as a rare earth mineral. The chemical formula is(Ce,La,Ca)BSiO5.

  • Synchysite 

It is a rare earth mineral consisting of carbonate minerals. The formula for Synchysite is Ca (Ce, La) (CO3) 2F.

  • Titanite

It is also referred as Sphene, derived from a Greek word which consists of  aluminum and iron traces. It is a calcium titanium nesosilicate mineral which also consists of some Rare Earth Elements like yttrium and cerium. The chemical formula is CaTiSiO5.

  • Wakefieldite

It is a Vanadate rare earth mineral and is comparatively very uncommon. The chemical formula is ((La,Ce,Nd,Y)VO4).

  • Xenotime

It is a phosphate mineral in which the main component is Yttrium Orthophosphate. The chemical formula is  (YPO4).

  • Zircon 
It is a rare earth mineral which belongs to the Nesosilictes group. It is chemically referred as Zirconium Silicate and ZrSiO4 is the chemical formula.
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