Zoya Naumchik and Owen Nickle
Rare Earth Element
Lanthanum is a crucial rare earth element to our modern economy because it plays an integral component in modern technologies such as: laptop computers, electric automobiles, and hand-held electronic devices such as cellular phones. Lanthanum basically acts as a battery source to the above devices modern technologies. Lanthanum is also make glass and lastly to reduce the level of phosphates in patients with kidney disease. Geologists obtain Lanthanum through the process of solvent extraction of light rare earth minerals such as bastnaesite, monazite, allanite and cerite. Lanthanum is also found in felsic igneous rocks and to a lesser extent, lower ultramafic rocks. Lanthanum has a complex multistage extraction process in which the extraction of monazite is involved. There are three main steps which are implemented in the extraction process. First step is the extraction of lanthanum hydroxide from monazite by using caustic soda, second step is the digestion with nitric acid and precipitation with ammonium hydroxide and the final step is calcination of Lanthanum oxalate to Lanthanum oxide. The leading producer of REEs in the world is China; they account for more than 48 percent of the world’s REE reserves. More than 70% of light rare earth elements (which includes Lanthanum) are supplied from one mine in China; Bayan Obo mine. China’s stronghold over the REE industry compels us to have good relations with them. Other producers are Brazil, Malaysia and India. There may be other places in the world that may have Lanthanum but they do not use it in a particularly capital intensive way. For instance high values of Lanthanum (>36 mg kg-1) is found in the sub soils of northern Portugal and Galicia in Spain, in the Italian alkaline magmatic province and in karst of Slovenia and Croatia. Through reasonable diplomatic deliberation the U.S can coerce these countries to allow them to turn their values into a...
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