Economy March 14, 2017 | 4:17 pm

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The country has rare earth elements, maybe

Santo Domingo.- Energy and Mines minister Antonio Isa Conde on Tuesday said there are “serious indications” of the presence in the country of rare earth elements, which are used in the manufacture of high-tech products, but cautioned against false expectations.

“There are clear indications. We worked on a research project with the National Geological Survey,” the official said, quoted by El Nacional.

“These are rigorous studies to try to obtain all relevant technical and scientific information on the topic. We don’t want to create false expectations, so we prefer to wait for the results of the studies,” Isa said.

Rare earth elements are a group of 17 chemicals indispensable for modern technology. They are used in fields as diverse as the manufacture of magnets for hard disks, halogen lamps or the construction of nuclear magnetic resonance diagnostic equipment.

Despite what their name indicates, they are no scarcer than lead or gold, but are often difficult to separate from the accompanying minerals. China is the main world producer, but this could change in the coming years, according to scientists.

Newspaper Hoy reports that National Geological Service researchers estimate that the bauxite deposits at Pedernales (southwest) could contain rare earth elements.

The official said joint research with the SGN and the Universities of Barcelona and Navarre, Spain, was carried out at a cost of RD$73.4 million.

Rare earth elements: cerium (Ce), dysprosium (Dy), erbium (Er), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), holmium (Ho), lanthanum (La), lutetium (Lu), neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), promethium (Pm), samarium (Sm), scandium (Sc), terbium (Tb), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb) and yttrium (Y).

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