Skip to main content Skip to navigation

All Rare Earth Elements Education Resources

Select tags to filter on

International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)- ‘Green Conflict Minerals: The fuels of conflict in the transition to a low-carbon economy’

Detailed report on the social conflicts and local grievances which may be exacerbated by green mineral extraction. Looks at country cases where governance of the mining sector is ‘weak’, meaning a higher risk of human rights abuses, labour exploitation, social conflicts and environmental damage. Uses the example of REE mining in Baotao, China. Alongside facts and figures, includes an interactive map to highlight country-level measures of fragility and corruption across critical mineral deposits.

Science History Institute- ‘Rare Earth Elements: The Intersection of Science and Society’

Video showcasing talks and discussions on the intersection of science and society around REE developments, including as they relation to production and recycling and low-carbon futures:

NPR- ‘The Strategic Value Of Rare Earths’

A short podcast on the supply chain dimensions of rare earths and on the US seeking to becoming self-sufficient in REE production, focusing on the Mountain Pass mine in California, the only REE mine in the country (at the time):

University of Birmingham- ‘How can we secure a responsible supply of critical materials for the 21st century economy?’

Research being carried out on finding technological solutions to supply chain and sustainability challenges with REE production, notably through the development of technologies to recycle and reuse lithium-ion batteries or alternative kinds of batteries

The Guardian- ‘The race for rare earth minerals: can Australia fuel the electric vehicle revolution?’

Recent article on the geography of REE production, China’s dominance of the REE supply chain and how Australia is planning to develop its own REE extraction and production sites to meet growing demand

Toxic News- ‘Rare Earthenware: photography, pottery, and pollution’

On the uneven toxic geographies of REE extraction and processing through the showcasing of a collaborative photography/documentary project (called ‘Rare Earthenware’) to make these issues visible. Uses photos and a short film to show the toxic journey from source to product, including the extraction site, factory and shipping container.

Green Biz- ‘Reimagining rare earth elements in a sacrifice zone-free future’

Short article on the environmental degradation caused by rare earth mining in Baotao, China using the concept of ‘sacrifice zones’. It also highlights alternative visions for more sustainable and more just production of REEs, for instance through green chemistry or product re-design.

China Dialogue- ‘The bottleneck of a low-carbon future’

Article highlights the supply constraints challenges associated with depleted rare earth reserves for developing the technologies needed for a low-carbon future with a focus on the context of China (looking at both domestic and global demand). Explains the background of the development of rare earth industry in China and its environmental consequences, using infographics and maps.

Seeker- ‘These Rare Elements Are Key to Renewable Energy, But What If They Run Out?’

Short explainer video on the importance of REEs for renewable energy expansion, while pointing out the environmental and health impacts of REE extraction/processing and resource supply constraints.

International Energy Agency- ‘The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions’

Detailed report from the IEA on the key role of critical minerals including REEs in shifting towards renewable energy and mitigating against climate change through the use of key statistics and useful graphs. Also highlights the challenges to energy security posed by the available and reliable supply of critical minerals.

‘Rare Earth (2021)’

A short film highlighting the environmental impacts caused by REE mining in Baotou, China:

The PRI (Principles of Responsible Investment) Podcast- ‘Rare earth minerals’

A short podcast with Hongqiao Liu from China Water Risk on the environmental sustainability issues with the supply of REEs, including the technology used for the mining process

Kleinman Center for Energy Policy- ‘Rare Earth Elements: A Resource Constraint of the Energy Transition’

An explainer on the growing for REEs as a clean energy solution- including useful graphs such as REE demand by sector- but also the environmental costs of REE mining and policy solutions.

New Security Beat- ‘As China Adjusts for “True Cost” of Rare Earths, What Does It Mean for Decarbonization?’

A summary article based on the report, ‘Rare Earths: Shades of Grey,’ published by China Water Risk, a Hong Kong non-profit initiative, describing the regulatory plans and clean-up developments in China in response to the environmental and health costs caused by REE mining which are not captured in the current prices of REEs (hence, these are not the true costs).

Harvard International Review- ‘Not So “Green” Technology: The Complicated Legacy of Rare Earth Mining’

A summary article about the negative and health effects of rare earth mining, particularly groundwater contamination and toxic waste, drawing on examples from China.

Older news