Rare earth metals are a group of 17 elements which are found in the earth's crust. They are essential in the manufacture of high-tech products and in green technologies, such as wind turbines, solar panels or hybrid cars. Known as "the vitamins of high-tech industries," REMs are minerals necessary for making everything that we use on a daily basis, like smartphones, LCDs, and notebook computers. Some Rare earth metals, such as cerium and neodymium, are crucial elements in semiconductors, cars, computers and other advanced technological areas. Other types of REMs can be used to build tanks and airplanes, missiles and lasers.
South Korea estimates the total value of the North's mineral deposits at more than $6 trillion USD."