Rare Earth Elements

The uses, applications, and demand for rare-earth elements has expanded over the years. This is particularly due to the uses of rare-earth elements in low-carbon technologies. Some important uses of rare-earth elements are applicable to the production of high-performance magnets, catalysts, alloys, glasses, and electronics. Nd is important in magnet production. Rare-earth elements in this category are used in the electric motors of hybrid vehicles, wind turbines, hard disc drives, portable electronics, microphones, speakers. Ce and La are important as catalysts, and are used for petroleum refining and as diesel additives. Ce, La and Nd are important in alloy making, and in the production of fuel cells and Nickel-metal hydride batteries. Ce, Ga and Nd are important in electronics and are used in the production of LCD and plasma screens, fiber optics, lasers, as well as in medical imaging. Additional uses for earth elements are as tracers in medical applications, fertilizers, and in water treatment. The common uses of Rare Earths are listed below:

Scandium: Aerospace framework, high-intensity street lamps, high performance equipment.


Yttrium: TV sets, cancer treatment drugs, enhances strength of alloys.


Lanthanum: Camera lenses, battery-electrodes, hydrogen storage.


Cerium: Catalytic converters, coloured glass, steel production.


Praseodymium: Super-strong magnets, welding goggles, lasers.


Neodymium: Extremely strong permanent magnets, microphones, electric motors of hybrid automobiles, laser.


Samarium: Cancer treatment, nuclear reactor control rods, X-ray lasers.


Europium: Colour TV screens, fluorescent glass, genetic screening tests.


Gadolinium: Shielding in nuclear reactors, nuclear marine propulsion, increases durability of alloys.


Terbium: TV sets, fuel cells, sonar systems.


Dysprosium: Commercial lighting, hard disk devices, transducers.


Holmium: Lasers, glass colouring, High-strength magnets.


Erbium: Glass colourant, signal amplification for fiber optic cables, metallurgical uses.


Thulium: High efficiency lasers, portable x-ray machines, high temperature superconductor.


Ytterbium: Improves stainless steel, lasers, ground monitoring devices.



Since El Wady Phosphoric acid Project is relying on Continuous Ion Exchange (CIX) purification scheme, most of these cationic elements are being adsorbed on the surface of the resin together with the other metallic impurities. The resin is regenerated using diluted Sulfuric Acid in order to return back to the purification of the phosphoric acid cycle, while the spent regeneration solution takes the bulk of impurities together with the REEs to an effluent stream.


K-Technologies indicated that this Minor Elements Sulfate effluent stream can be used as a feedstock for a CIX system dedicated for the recovery of REEs specially the most expensive one.


WAPHCO is putting the above mentioned scheme on the top of its future expansion plans and is welcoming any external party interested to participate in the same.

Analyte REE Content in Weak Acid
Cerium (Ce) 71 ppm
Dysprosium (Dy) 12 ppm
Erbium (Er) 111 ppm
Europium (Eu) 4 ppm
Gadolinium (Gd) 25 ppm
Holmium (Ho) 4 ppm
Lanthanum (La) 46 ppm
Lutetium (Lu) <1 ppm
Neodymium (Nd) 38 ppm
Praseodymium (Pr) 26 ppm
Samarium (Sm) 11 ppm
Terbium (Tb) 6 ppm
Thulium (Tm) 0 ppm
Ytterbium (Yb) 10 ppm
Scandium (Sc) 20 ppm
Yttrium (Y) 104 ppm

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