Global rare earth oxide production

While the U.S. led the world in rare earth production in the 1960s and 1970s, China emerged as the dominant producer in the 1980s. Click the dots to learn more.

Source: U.S. Geological Survey, "China's Rare Earth Industry"


Demand for rare earths shot up in the mid-1960s with the invention of color TVs


U.S. is the world’s top producer of rare earths, led by Mountain Pass Mine in California


China enters the market


China becomes the world’s leading producer


Unable to compete with China, Mountain Pass Mine and other producers around the world shut down.


Demand for rare earths skyrocket as they become critical components in consumer electronics, industrial equipment, and defense technology