Chinese scientists recently discovered a new heavy rare earth mineral named Bayanoboite-Y, at the Bayan Obo Rare Earth Mine in Baotou, located in North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, local media outlet Baotou Daily reported.
Bayanoboite-Y is a new mineral with distinctive chemical composition and crystal structure, containing heavy rare earth elements such as yttrium, dysprosium, gadolinium, erbium and lutetium. It is also the world’s first discovery of a fluorocarbonate heavy rare earth new mineral, scientists said.
The discovery is a major breakthrough in the occurrence of heavy rare earth minerals, and also provides a new understanding of the formation and evolution of mineral deposits, according to scientists.
So far, the rare earth element composition and content of Bayanoboite-Y have not been mentioned in relevant reports.
Analysts pointed out that although rare earths are called “rare,” the reserves of light rare earths that are widely used in the market are not low.
However, medium and heavy rare earths are relatively scarce, and they are widely used in aerospace, the military, national defense, new material synthesis and other high-tech fields, analysts said.
Since 1959, a total of 18 new minerals have been found at the Bayan Obo Rare Earth Mine.
Baotou is a region rich in mineral reserves. It possesses 83.7 percent of China’s rare-earth reserves, accounting for 37.8 percent of the global reserves, official data showed.
The city aims to further develop its rare-earth new material industry during 2024 and hopes to expand its rare-earth industrial scale to 100 billion yuan ($14.08 billion), according to guidelines issued by the municipal government on January 4.
As the world’s leading producer of rare earths, China has been a world leader in research in the industry. On September 17, 2023, a team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences revealed major breakthroughs in rare-earth mining that shorten mining time by about 70 percent and increase the recovery rate of rare earths by about 30 percent.