Coal and Mining Sector

CSIR scientists identify Rare-Earth deposits in AP


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Rare earth elements

Mains level: Not Much


Scientists at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) in Hyderabad have discovered the presence of rare-earth elements (REEs) in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh.

What are Rare-Earth Elements?

  • Rare-earth elements (REEs) are a group of 17 elements, including lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, yttrium, hafnium, tantalum, niobium, zirconium, and scandium.
  • These elements are widely used in modern electronics, such as smartphones, computers, jet aircraft, and other products, due to their unique magnetic, optical, and catalytic properties.
  • These elements are crucial components in various electronic devices and have industrial applications in sectors like imaging, aerospace, and defense.

SHORE Project and discovery of REEs

  • The discovery was part of a study funded by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) under a project called ‘Shallow subsurface imaging Of India for Resource Exploration’ (SHORE).
  • NGRI scientists found enriched quantities of REEs in “whole rock analyses”.
  • Drilling for at least a kilometer deep will help ascertain the consistency of the elements’ presence underground.

Significance of the discovery

  • The discovery of REEs in Anantapur district is significant as these elements are in high demand worldwide, and their supply is limited.
  • REEs have become a subject of geopolitical concern due to their increasing demand and limited supply.
  • China is currently the world’s largest producer and exporter of rare-earth elements (REEs), accounting for more than 80% of global production.
  • The country has significant reserves of REEs and has invested heavily in mining and processing infrastructure.

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