China discovers rare earth material that could transform electric car industry

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Niobium, a robust and lustrous metal, is derived from the mineral columbite. Its applications range from alloys used in jet engines and rockets to being a vital element in semiconductors. While Brazil and Canada are primary sources of niobium, Chinese geologists recently discovered niobobaotite, a rare earth iron ore containing niobium, in Inner Mongolia’s Bayan Obo Mining District.

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