As an aside, the United States has two enormous rare earth mines. One is in California, and the other in Texas, under a lake.
The Mountain Pass, California deposit contains 8% to 12% rare earth oxides. It is regarded as a world-class rare-earth mineral deposit. The metals that can be extracted from it include: Cerium, Lanthanum, Neodymium and Europium.
Known remaining reserves were estimated to exceed 20 million tons of ore as of 2008, using a 5% cutoff grade, and averaging 8.9% rare earth oxides.
Baringer Hill lies on the former west side of the Colorado river, beneath Lake Buchanan. It has an abundance of minerals, including many of the rare earth elements. But a complete, modern survey has not been conducted, for obvious reasons.
These elements are called “rare-earth” because they are, well, rare.
O ye of little imagination! EVERY element is dissolved, at some level of concentration, in sea water. In the billions of years since the earth has been cool enough for liquid water to collect as lakes and seas and oceans, the mineral content of its crust has been continuously leached from the soil, and ends up a part of the mineral content of the ocean.
The means of recovery is remarkably simple in its concept - take a quantity of sea water, evaporate it down, and in the remaining brine or even solid encrustations, the elements will be much more concentrated. By heating the brine or solid mass of salt until it is molten, the various elements may be concentrated by crystalization, in stratified layers, as the molten solid cools.
And where does the potential heat source come from? The development of nuclear power, using ocean water as the cooling medium, drying down the brine, and by generation of electrical power, heating the crystals of sea salt to molten liquid. By using already known applications of engineering knowledge, most of the heat energy may be recaptured and kept in the system, with the object of producting the concentrated mineral content.
We are not providing for the future economic growth a tenth of how well we already know. What is lacking is the vision and dedication to make this new development of already existing resources a viable and expanding means to reinvent ourselves.
THANKS for posting this! I started looking into RE as a possible investment not long ago. This information helps. FReegards.