Life cycle assessment of rare earth production from monazite

Callum Browning, Stephen Northey, Nawshad Haque, Warren Bruckard, Mark Cooksey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Other

7 Citations (Scopus)


The environmental life cycle impacts of conceptual rare earth production processes were assessed. An average greenhouse gas emission of 65.4 kg CO2e/kg was estimated for the 15 rare earths produced from monazite, ranging from 21.3 kg CO2e/kg for europium to 197.9 kg CO2e/kg for yttrium. The average water consumption of rare earth production was 11,170 kg/kg ranging from 3,803 kg/kg for samarium and gadolinium to 29,902 kg/kg for yttrium. The average gross energy requirement for production was 917 MJ/kg, ranging from 311 MJ/kg for samarium and gadolinium to 3,401 MJ/kg for yttrium. Given the low concentration of HREE in monazite, the high impacts across all categories for yttrium and other HREE are not necessarily representative of HREE sourced from all rare earth resources. Further studies into other rare earth mineral resources (e.g. bastnasite and xenotime) are recommended to improve the overall understanding of environmental impacts from rare earth production.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationREWAS 2016
Subtitle of host publicationTowards Materials Resource Sustainability
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9783319487687
ISBN (Print)9781119225812
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Greenhouse gas
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Metals
  • Rare Earth Elements
  • Sustainability

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