Race for Rare Earth Metals

They have strange names like dysprosium, praseodymium and samarium, yet they are present in everyday objects like earbuds, LCD TV screens and camera lenses. They are a key component of hybrid vehicles, smartphones, wind turbines and catalytic converters. In fact, most 21st century industries rely on them. They are the rare earth metals, a group of 17 chemical elements that were unheard of a few generations ago. Now they have become essential to modern life – but at a price.

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