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Milestones in the History of Rare Earths and Recent Events

The most important milestones in the discovery and utilisation of these Rare Earths prior to the discovery of the Jongju “Super Mine “are summarised in the tables below.

Rare Earths - Technological and Commercial Milestones

Period Inventor(s)/
1787 Karl Axel Arrhenius (Stockholm, Sweden) Found the mineral ytterbite from a mine near Ytterby, Sweden
1789 Johan Gadolin (Uppsala, Sweden) Isolated yttrium oxide and introduced the term “rare earths”
1800s   Each of the individual rare earth elements was discovered and named.
Late 1800s Carl Auer von Welsbach (Vienna, Austria) Introduced the first commercial use of rare earth elements in incandescent gas lamps
1950s   Demand of rare earth elements began to grow, with main use in TV phosphors.
1965 -1985   The U.S. was the main producer of rare earths.
1985 and beyond   China increased production of rare earths and eventually became the leading supplier of rare earths.