Rare Earth News
Significant rare earth deposits discovered in Afghanistan
On September 14, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced that nearly 1 million metric tons of rare earth elements exist below ground in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, a welcome find after China, the world's largest rare earth exporter, recently limited its international shipments of the precious elements.
According to Industry Week, the area has major potential for the excavation of several light rare earth metals, including lanthanum, cerium and neodymium. The USGS has compared the find to the world-class deposits recently discovered in North America and the known resources of China.
Acting director of the Department of Defense's Task Force for Business and Stability Operations Regina Rubey stated that the discovery could have a major impact on the war-torn nation.
"This is just one more piece of evidence that Afghanistan's mineral sector has a bright future," she said.
According to Bloomberg, the discovery further highlights China's decreasing monopoly on the rare earth market, as projects exploring the feasibility of economic production of other deposits are currently taking place in Canada as well.
Studies have shown Canada contains 56 percent of the world's rare earth minerals outside of China, with Quebec showing the most potential. Currently, more than 40 exploration projects are underway in the region.