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.
You, yefragetuwrabrumuy see the reasons as "obvious" because you understand the situation. Cool. That said, what are the obvious reasons?
Platinum Group Metals (PeGgyMays): below is the solution. We have the technology to mine, smelt, and manufacture in space - we just have to have the determination. China might just be the shock and prod the US needs to get going on this project.
“The scarcity of the precious metals is not really that there are not lots of them on Earth, it is just that over 4 billion years of tectonic mixing they have mostly moved to Earth’s core. What little is near the surface is hard to find and therefore expensive (like $10,000 per pound for platinum).”
“These same metals are not hidden on asteroids, since there has been no tectonic action and almost no gravity. There is more precious metals in one asteroid than we could every hope to mine from all the crust of the Earth.”