Jim Puplava has a Big Picture on Rare Earth Minerals and Metals - they are called Rare Earth Elements (REE) in his podcast as well:
Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are a group of specialty metals with unique physical, chemical and light-emitting properties that are seeing dramatic increases in demand, owing to their technological applications. The unique properties of REEs make them critical materials to many emerging technologies which are becoming increasingly commonplace in today’s society. While global consumption has been steadily increasing, supply of REEs has tightened dramatically.
For the last 10 years, China has dominated global supply, but owing to the importance of REE availability to internal industries, China is prioritizing its domestic markets through steadily increasing export taxes on REEs in tandem with reducing export quotas. As a result, REEs are in short supply, and with demand forecast to progressively increase, the world drastically needs new suppliers of REEs.
The REE group is considered to include the 15 lanthanide elements: lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, promethium (does not occur naturally), neodymium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium. The elements yttrium and scandium are also included as they have similar chemical properties, making 17 REEs in total. The resource and market details refer to REEs in the oxide form and the group is collectively discussed as Rare Earth Oxides (REO)."
More information on Rare Earth Elements and Rare Metals:
"If we decided to drive electric cars and charge their Lithium battery with wind, solar and other green power generated energy - time is study Rare Earth Elements. Every time you click on your Blackberry, iPhone or use your PowerBook you are at the mercy of all these elements.
Neodymium magnet is at the heart of Green Energy Revolution - strongest rare earth magnet available it allows to make a smaller lighter and more powerful electric motors used in hybrids, electric cars and wind turbines.
"Today everybody is exited about REE, tomorrow Peak Oil time will come and Lithium will make the headlines again. During excitement stage it is easy to make the wrong decision and chase the mini bubbles only to see them to pop - do not mistake the mega trends, Next Big Thing and parabolic rises. There is time to buy and time to sell. REE gives us a very good example - what can happen with a very small sector, when the all world depends on it. Peak Oil realisation will be next. With GM Volt and Nissan Leaf on the streets you will see the future - The Future is Electric."
James Dines has started it all with REE more than one year ago:
"Jim Puplava has made a segment with James Dines on Uranium, Gold and Rare Earths recently. James Dines gave a very interesting description about beginning stage of the real Bull market. We think that Lithium is exactly at the same stage now: people look at the sector, but do not realise its real potential. James Dines has already started the fire in REE market space in Spring 2009."