If all neodymium was used for was to predict volcanic
eruptions it would be of zero interest to Libyans of the 21st
century. Neodymium is a rare earth element that is actually
not so rare, but rather uncommonly difficult to find and even
harder to refine. Rare earth elements have many interesting
chemical properties so they are now used as chemical
catalysts, in metallurgical applications and alloys, as
petroleum refining catalysts, in automotive catalytic
converters, in glass, glass polishing and ceramics, as  
phosphors for computer monitors, in specialty lighting, radar,
televisions, and in magnets and electronics, notably disk
drives, cell phones and processors. The average Toyota Prius
uses one kilogram of neodymium for the battery, and
neodymium magnets are the most powerful and efficient
available. Neodymium is most often found with other rare
earth elements in ores such as bastnäsite and mozazite. By far,
the major miner and refiner is China. However, portions of
southern Libya geologically resemble areas in Australia,
Malawi and Canada that are been actively prospected.
Neodymium currently sells for $420 per kilogram - the price
has doubled in 10 months.   
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