Rare earth elements are strategically critical materials, as they play an essential
role in high-tech manufacturing markets, renewable energy technologies and national
defense. The demand for rare earths has increased rapidly around the world because
of its diverse applications. Recent rare earth supply restrictions within this
context require new or alternative sources to be found.
Although the global reserves for rare earths were estimated as 130 million metric
tons, finding highly concentrated rare earth deposits for economically viable extraction
processes remain a challenge. To meet the demand, extracting rare earths from alternative
sources such as coal and coal byproducts has gained extreme significance. The development
of advanced separation technologies that enable the extraction of rare earth in
a technically feasible, environmentally and economically benign manner is vital
to revitalizing the United States domestic rare earth supply chain.