A new report says that US has 13 million tons of rare earth elements that is used in devices such as disc drives, hybrid cars, lasers and aircraft used by the military. Rare earth is a term used for lanthanides - elements 57 to 71.

The US boasts the third largest reserves in the world after China and Commonwealth of Independent States of rare earth, but the domestic pipeline is rather thin, says the US Geological Survey on rare earths. China dominates the world supply of rare earths, holding 97per cent of the global supply.

"Then it's literally years before you start applying for permits to start mining or building infrastructure or putting processing facilities in place," says Gareth Hatch of consultancy firm Technology Metals Research in Carpentersville, Illinois, who was not involved in the new report.

It could be 10 years or more before any new mines open, the report suggests. US has operated only one rare earths mine at Mountain Pass, California. This mine is not active currently and it may reopen in two years. It could take as much as 10 years before a new mine opens, says the report.

Bokan Mountain on the southernmost island of Alaska is another prominent location for rare earth.