Rare Metals Trigger the Advancement of Technology

Lanthanum. (Picture from:
Many people do not know or are not even aware of the presence of rare metals (rare earths) in the vicinity. In fact, one might say, without rare metals there will be no television, hand-phones, LCD screens, DVD, camcorders, automatic gas lighters, nuclear detectors, and other technological tools.

Rare metals there is also a call or rare earth metals is the name for the elements located in group Actinide and Lanthanide elements in the periodic system, plus the elements Yttrium, Scandium, and Lanthanum. The addition of these three elements are based on the nature and structure similarity. Although the number of positions including metal this category there are 31 rare metals, which are widely used in industry is only 17.
List of Rare Earth Metal. (Picture from: http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/)
Application of this rare metal is quite broad. In fact, to say the use of these rare metals has fueled the development of new materials that contribute to the development of technology which is quite significant. For example developments in the magnet. The presence of rare metals in magnets technology capable of producing neomagnet, ie magnets that have magnetic fields much better than ordinary magnets that encourage the creation of a more powerful dynamo that can propel the car. Rare metals also allows the creation of an electric-powered cars that can be used for long trips (hybrid cars). 

In metallurgical applications, the addition of rare metals in the manufacture of High Strength Low Alloy Steel (HSLA), high carbon steel Super Alloy, Stainless Steel, to increase strength, hardness, and heat resistance of a material. For example in magnesium and aluminum alloys, the presence of rare metals in the form of additive or alloy increases the alloy hardness significantly.

In accordance with the name, rare metals or rare earth metals, these elements are quite rare or hard to find in the earth's surface in high concentrations. In addition, these elements were not found in nature in free form, but in the form of complex compounds of phosphate or carbonate, for example, bastnaesite (CeFCO3). Is a fluoro-carbonate of cerium containing 60-70 percent of rare earth metal oxides such as Lanthanum and Neodymium. Bastnaesite minerals are a source of rare earth metals in the world. Bastnaesite cabonatite found in rocks, dolomite breccia, pegmatite and amphibole skarn.
Rare Earth Elements.(Picture from: http://www.darkgovernment.com/)
Monazite ([Ce, La, Y, Th] PO3). Is a rare earth metal phosphate compound containing 50-70 percent Rare Earth Metal Oxides. Monasite taken from heavy mineral sand which is a byproduct of other heavy metal compounds. Monasite thorium contain high enough mineral has radioactive properties. Xenotime (YPO4) is a compound yttrium phosphate containing 54-65 percent of Rare Earth Metals, including erbium, cerium, and thorium. Xenotipe minerals also found in heavy mineral sands and rocks such as igneous rocks.

Zzircon, zirconium silicate is a compound found in which thorium, yttrium and cerium. In obtaining the above minerals, can not be obtained easily because the amount of minerals is very limited. Moreover, the mineral was not separated himself, but mixed with other minerals. Islands such as the Pacific Islands, the mineral monazite is a byproduct of tin mining, so before getting the minerals, the separation process is required in advance.

Minerals dominate in rare metal compounds above is Lanthanum, Cerium, Neodymium. Utilization of these three minerals is very high compared with other rare metal minerals so that the economic value of these three minerals is also quite high.

In accordance with the call it anyway, this metal was not found uniformly on the surface of this earth. Only found in several places, such as Past Mountain, California, Mount Weld Austria, and in several other places. Yet, surprisingly, 93-97 percent of the inventory of these metals that may be enough for the next 500 years there were in the area of ​​inner Mongolia, China. That is why Chinese dominate the market so that when the rare metals of China in early 2011 issued a policy that will reduce the export of rare metals, it is immediately drawn protests importing countries, especially America and Japan.

In 2005, China is capable of producing 43 million tons of rare metals that capacity was 50 percent of world production of rare metals. With the production of rare metals such magnitude, China could encourage the growth of industrial technology that currently China controls the world electronics market.
Rare Earth Metal Production. (Picture from: http://tommytoy.typepad.com/
With its wealth of rare metals and the ability to cultivate it, make China not only master the electronics market, but almost in all lines of industry such as steel, automotive and other manufacturing at competitive prices.

What is unique of this rare metal, is an irreplaceable nature, although the experts try to use other metals, the resulting capability is not as good as rare metals. Recycling efforts were experiencing difficulties due to extracting rare metals from complex compounds is difficult enough. Moreover, recycling of sustainable products such as windmills and hybrid cars are durable, would require a greater cost.

Properties of rare metals as high-tech materials and rare metals indispensable to make a vital material and trigger the birth of new technologies.

Great potential of these rare metals will be very beneficial if Indonesia participated expanding it. Moreover monazite sand as a source of rare metals used as a garbage disposal only lead in some areas in Indonesia. In fact, it would be great advantages obtained, when the waste is processed further, make a new material (rare metals) which have sale value exceeds the price of gold. Utilization of rare metals that exist in Indonesia, Indonesia will be able to open up to the mastery and development of technology, especially electronic technology that has been several years in and develop. This rare metal processing capabilities will be able to improve the quality of the metallurgical industry in Indonesia with the resulting specification of new steels and metal alloys with better quality and competitive price.

Of course, this rare metal processing needs help and support of government, namely the existence of a regulatory determination that supports the processing of this mineral, such as the creation of facilities and infrastructure, protection of the initial marketing as an incubator of national industry. Especially capital assistance for the establishment of this industry so that by having the equipment and the processing itself (not import) will be able to reduce production costs so that future products produced will have a competitive price. With the processing of rare metals, it is hoped will be able to boost the economy of Indonesia. *** [Y. ZAKIAH A | PIKIRAN RAKYAT 06112012]
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