Skip to comments.Here's What You Need To Know About The Politics Behind Rare Earth Metals
Posted on 10/03/2010 7:33:27 AM PDT by george76
Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate held hearings on a bill to jumpstart domestic production of rare earth minerals, in order to break Chinas near-monopoly on these little known but essential raw materials...
Rare earth refers to a collection of 17 elements from the periodic table, with Star Trek-sounding names like holmium, europium, neodymium, and thulium. They tend to be found together, and exhibit similar chemical properties that make them useful and in many cases vital for a whole host of high-tech applications, such as superconductors, magnets, and lasers. Rare earths are essential ingredients in many emerging green technologies, including wind turbines and batteries for electric cars. A lot of advanced U.S. military hardware, including tank navigation and naval radar systems, also depends on rare earth-based components.
Despite their name, rare earth minerals actually arent that rare. Theyre commonly found throughout the earths crust. However, there are only a handful of places in the world where rare earths are found in high enough concentrations to make extracting them commercially feasible...Then demand took off, especially for europium for use in making color television sets. Over half of this expanded global demand was met by a single mine, Mountain Pass, in the deserts of southeast California.
China began mining rare earth minerals in the 1980s, and by the mid-90s was well surpassing the U.S. in production. China had several competitive advantages over the U.S. First, it has some of the best concentrations of rare earths in the world... Second, it had cheaper labor costs. Third, it had laxer environmental rules...
Theres no question that China can extract rare earths at the cheapest price, in purely monetary terms. But now Chinas trading partners must be seriously wondering, what could the real price amount to, when the bill eventually comes due?
(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...
“The most prominent feature of the town, and its reason for existence, is the Mountain Pass rare earth mine, an open pit mine for rare earth elements. The mine, which is owned by Molycorp Minerals, is currently inactive, but has plans to open in 2011.”
Excellent article... I agree with most all of it, except that last line... I don't think the fishing crawler incident changed things all that much.... China's near ban on RE exports back in July did the trick. It's a VERY aggressive move, and had already prompted all RE user's to start scrambling for secure long-term sources...
[PDF] PATTERNS OF ZONATION IN RARE.EARTH.BEARING MINERALS IN NEPHELINE ...
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Hopefully, the Mountain Pass rare earth mine can be re-opened.
The ecos communists will fight it, delay it, and increase the legal expenses of the Mountain Pass rare earth mine.
The pocess might be faster if the Bill Clinton Library Trust Fund gets a large Riady ( and the LIPPO GROUP ) size donation.
I saw someone speaking of that (yesterday?) . . . I thought the Riady thing was about coal.
I seem to recall that Afghanistan also has rare earth elements.
Thank you for the ping.
We already made a bundle on MCP(Molycorp) when this embargo started. One of the best investments we ever made. No telling what will happen now with Congress getting involved.
Great on MCP..!!
and campaign cash ...
How the disgraced James Riady, barred from travel to the U.S., made it back
I’m sure you’re right about the eco nazis going ballistic about reopening the mine and costing the company big bucks.
There’s few places in the country that would affect people less than reopening that mine, it’s desolate. I was born about 100 miles west of there in the middle nowhere and don’t want to go back. :)
I get that . . . I never got the impression that the Riady-thing was about rare earth minerals.
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