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USGS Geoscience Data Catalog

Rare Earth Element Mines, Deposits, and Occurrences

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Frequently anticipated questions:

What does this data set describe?

Title: Rare Earth Element Mines, Deposits, and Occurrences
This dataset contains location, geologic and mineral economic data for world rare earth mines, deposits, and occurrences. The data in this compilation were derived from published and non-published sources.
This dataset consists of one Excel 98 workbook file, OF02189.xls. Fields include deposit type, deposit or district name, country,state or province, latitude, longitude, source of location information, tonnage-grade, source and date of estimate(s), production status, REE mineralogy, other ore or significant minerals, gangue and rock-forming minerals, age, age-dating method, host rock(s), company, comments, and references.
  1. How might this data set be cited?
    Orris, Greta J., and Grauch, Richard I., 2002, Rare Earth Element Mines, Deposits, and Occurrences: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-189, U.S. Geological Survey, Tucson, AZ.

    Online Links:

  2. What geographic area does the data set cover?
    West_Bounding_Coordinate: -166.5
    East_Bounding_Coordinate: 175.8667
    North_Bounding_Coordinate: 71.0
    South_Bounding_Coordinate: -41.1
  3. What does it look like? (PNG)
    Screen capture of ArcExplorer window showing these data plotted with boundaries of countries of the world. 1056x626 pixels, 47k bytes
  4. Does the data set describe conditions during a particular time period?
    Calendar_Date: 2001Currentness_Reference:
    The currentness of the data varies from site to site depending on the recentness of the source materials.
  5. What is the general form of this data set?
    Geospatial_Data_Presentation_Form: table
  6. How does the data set represent geographic features?
    1. How are geographic features stored in the data set?
      Coordinates are given for some, but not all, locations. The form of coordinates, when present, is degrees, minutes, and, rarely, seconds, accompanied by a letter indicating the hemisphere. Degrees and minutes are separated by a hyphen, and seconds, where present, are separated from minutes by a hyphen. Most sites also have place names associated with them; these provide regional reference rather than specific location. One location is specified using a range of latitude and longitude.
    2. What coordinate system is used to represent geographic features?
      Horizontal positions are specified in geographic coordinates, that is, latitude and longitude. Latitude and longitude values are specified in degrees, minutes, and seconds.
  7. How does the data set describe geographic features?
    The following attributes exist in the OF02189 spreadsheet of the data.
     1. Deposit Type
     2. Deposit or District Name
     3. Country
     4. State or Province
     5. Source of Location Information
     6. Tonnage-grade - resource tonnage and grade estimates
     7. Source - Source of tonnage-grade data, dates of estimates
     8. Production Status - active or past mine, potential resource, occurrence
     9. Rare Earth Minerals - rare earth-bearing minerals
    10. Other Ore or Significant Minerals
    11. Gange and Rock-Forming Minerals
    12. Age - mineralization age with age-dating method, mineral, and rock when available
    13. Host Rock(s)
    14. Company
    16. References

Who produced the data set?

  1. Who are the originators of the data set? (may include formal authors, digital compilers, and editors)
  2. Who also contributed to the data set?
    G.J. Orris and R.I. Grauch compiled the data on world Rare earth mines, deposits, and occurrences from previously published compilations, new published sources, "gray" literature, company internet sites, USGS databases, and other sources. Locations were commonly taken from published sources, no effort was made to determine the correctness of these data. Other locations were found using the GEOnet Names server on the National Imagery and Mapping Agency's website,, and other on-line gazeteers. Still other locations were determined using available maps of varying scales. Most of the latitudes- longitudes are believed to be within 5 minutes of their true locations, but some locations from published sources may be even less accurate.
  3. To whom should users address questions about the data?
    Greta J. Orris
    U.S. Geological Survey
    520 North Park Avenue Suite 355
    Tucson, AZ

    (520) 670-5583 (voice)

Why was the data set created?

This dataset was compiled for the University of Arizona's Center for Mineral Resources Rare Earth monograph, a summary document intended to reflect our current knowledge of the geology and mineral economics of the rare earths, including yttrium.

How was the data set created?

  1. From what previous works were the data drawn?
  2. How were the data generated, processed, and modified?
    Date: 2001 (process 1 of 2)
    Data were separated into various fields (categories) within the Excel spreadsheet.
    Date: 15-May-2002 (process 2 of 2)
    Creation of original metadata record Person who carried out this activity:
    Greta J. Orris
    U.S. Geological Survey
    520 North Park Avenue Suite 355
    Tucson, AZ

    (520) 670-5583 (voice)
  3. What similar or related data should the user be aware of?

How reliable are the data; what problems remain in the data set?

  1. How well have the observations been checked?
    The accuracy of file data attributes is highly variable, especially for some parts of Africa and Asia. Most locations are believed to be within 2-5 minutes of the exact location; some locations are for the nearest town, and other locations are of undetermined accuracy. Location errors are a result of inadequate or incorrect original data, error caused by multiple locations with the same name, and error introduced by data entry or location format conversion. The data tables were spot-checked against the original data.
  2. How accurate are the geographic locations?
    The latitudes and longitudes were largely taken from published data or determined from descriptions of the location using the maps available to us or internet-based gazeteers such as the GEOnet names server on the National Imagery and Mapping Agency's database. The accuracy of these locations varies with the detail of the original information.
  3. How accurate are the heights or depths?
  4. Where are the gaps in the data? What is missing?
    This report is the most complete compilation of rare earth mines, deposits, and occurrences known. However, it is highly likely that there are additional occurrences of rare earths that are not included. In addition, data for many of the sites are incomplete. Determination of latitudes and longitudes for some sites were impossible given the available data.
  5. How consistent are the relationships among the observations, including topology?
    Point data are given in degrees and minutes.

How can someone get a copy of the data set?

Are there legal restrictions on access or use of the data?
Access_Constraints: None.
This digital database is not meant to be used or displayed at any scale larger than 1:1,000,000.
  1. Who distributes the data set? (Distributor 1 of 1)
    USGS Information Services Open-File Report Sales
    Box 25286
    Denver, CO

    (303)202-4700 (voice)
    (303)202-4188 (FAX)
  2. What's the catalog number I need to order this data set? USGS Open-File Report 02-189
  3. What legal disclaimers am I supposed to read?
    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides these geographic data "as is." The USGS makes no guarantee or warranty concerning the accuracy of information contained in the geographic data. The USGS further makes no warranties, either expressed or implied as to any other matter whatsoever, including, without limitation, the condition of the product, or its fitness for any particular purpose. The burden for determining fitness for use lies entirely with the user. Although these data have been processed successfully on computers at the USGS, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made by the USGS regarding the use of these data on any other system, nor does the fact of distribution constitute or imply any such warranty. In no event shall the USGS have any liability whatsoever for payment of any consequential, incidental, indirect, special, or tort damages of any kind, including, but not limited to, any loss of profits arising out of use of or reliance on the geographic data or arising out of the delivery, installation, operation, or support by USGS.
  4. How can I download or order the data?

Who wrote the metadata?

Last modified: 13-Jun-2016
Metadata author:
Peter N Schweitzer
USGS Midwest Area
Collection manager, USGS Geoscience Data Clearinghouse,
Mail Stop 954
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr
Reston, VA

703-648-6533 (voice)
703-648-6252 (FAX)
Metadata standard:
Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (FGDC-STD-001-1998)

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