The rare earths are never separately extracted, once they form composed inorganic complex. Lanthanum is relatively abundant in the terrestrial crust and estimated to about 18 grams of the element for ton.

The minerals that contain lanthanum are monazite, bastnasite, allanite and cerite. Monazite is a rare-earth thorium phosphate and its main deposits are in India, USA, Brazil, South Africa and Australia. Bastnasite is a rare-earth fluocarbonate that contains about 40% of lanthanum. The main deposits of this ore are located in California and in New Mexico. Allanite and cerite are silicate of several elements, including lanthanum. The most important deposits are located in Sweden.