by Tom Tanton
American Legislative Exchange Council
December 13, 2012
This report discusses the strategic and economic importance of so-called rare earth elements (REE) and uranium to the United States. Several of the various states blessed with such mineral resources can expand domestic production while simultaneously benefiting their own economies and state budgets. At the heart of the opportunity are 17 little-known elements with whimsical names like europium and praseodymium, which are found in a variety of products from computers to defense equipment to CAT scan machines to wind turbines. Traces of the metals can be found around the world, but rarely in high enough concentration for profitable mining. Uranium serves an even more pervasive role in daily life, providing almost 20 percent of the nation’s electricity.