Skip to comments.California metal mine regains luster (- Mountain Pass Mine in the Mojave Desert.
Posted on 10/14/2009 7:27:18 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
The pond that fills the bottom of the Mountain Pass rare-earth metal mine reflects the terraces. Digging is expected to resume by the second half of 2011 after the water is pumped out. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Reporting from Mountain Pass, Calif. -
Fear of a shortage of rare-earth metals used in high-tech military and industrial products has spawned global efforts to reopen abandoned mines, including the formidable Mountain Pass Mine in California's Mojave Desert.
Discovered in the 1940s by uranium prospectors, Mountain Pass contains an array of rare earths, including cerium and lanthanum, in concentrations almost double those found at the world's biggest rare-earth mine, China's Bayan Obo.
"You're looking at the greatest rare-earth deposit in the world," says operations manager John Benfield as he ushers a visitor around the 2,200-acre site 60 miles southwest of Las Vegas.
Benfield's employer, Molycorp Minerals in Colorado, has just begun a two-year effort to restore Mountain Pass to its former role as a leading global producer. Those plans were given a boost recently amid fears that China was poised to ban exports of some of the scarcer rare-earth metals and to sharply limit shipments of others.
Although the Chinese government has sought to allay those concerns, a possible ban served as a reminder that the Asian nation is nearly the sole source worldwide for rare-earth metals and is likely to remain so for at least the next two years.
"You always want multiple sources for your raw materials," said Jim Hedrick, commodity specialist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "There could be a natural disaster that significantly disrupts the supply, or there could be geopolitical issues. . . .
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
Has anyone actually looked on a map to figure out where Mt Pass California is? I have. Now reading some of these comments, one particular one. The one about the spills, children from nearby schools getting sick, crap in the carpet of that school.....etc..... I ask you this....What school is within 50 miles of Mt Pass??? 75 Miles??? 100 Miles??? how close is “nearby”???? There is NOTHING with 50 miles of that mine!! It looks to me like some enviromentalist is trying to twist facts, or flat out make them up, to try to close the mine down again. And like most people. no one cares enough to do a little research on the facts. Google it folks. There is no school near Mt Pass. Primm Nevada has no school. Jean Nevada has no school. Baker, california, well, it is Baker. So where is this school???
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