Rare earth elements (REE) are used in myriad advanced technology systems, including many alternative energy products. While rare earths are not rare, they are not often found in concentrations that are economically viable for development. China, however, has most of the world’s proven REE reserves and has virtually cornered the rare earth market with over a 97 percent market share. During 2010, this near-monopoly has had significant repercussions on supply, demand, price, and exploration to find new REE deposits. This SBI Bulletin examines the past and current market for rare earth elements, and projects demand and supply for these minerals through 2020. New sources of rare earths are identified, particularly in terms of their effect on the world rare earth market. The effect of REE supply and price on alternative energy systems is discussed in depth as well as potential alternatives to REEs. Political, environmental, social, and economic impacts are delineated as they relate to the production and use of rare earth elements.