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Neb. mine find to challenge China’s dominance of vital rare minerals
The Washington Times ^ | Wednesday, August 3, 2011 | Claire Courchane

Posted on 08/07/2011 8:18:28 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

Geologist Matt Joeckel displays a core sample of carbonatite rock containing niobium and rare-earth elements, which was taken from a deposit near Elk Creek, Neb., in early February. (Associated Press)Geologist Matt Joeckel displays a core sample of carbonatite rock containing niobium and rare-earth elements, which was taken from a deposit near Elk Creek, Neb., in early February. (Associated Press)

Elk Creek, Neb. (population 112), may not be so tiny much longer. Reports suggest that the southeastern Nebraska hamlet may be sitting on the world’s largest untapped deposit of “rare earth” minerals, which have proved to be indispensable to a slew of high-tech and military applications such as laser pointers, stadium lighting, electric car batteries and sophisticated missile-guidance systems.

Canada-based Quantum Rare Earths Developments Corp. last week received preliminary results from test drilling in the area, showing “significant” proportions of “rare earth” minerals and niobium.

The only people more excited than Quantum? The residents of Elk Creek, where nearly one in seven people live under the poverty line, but whose economy has been booming ever since the company showed up late last year to start laying the groundwork for a possible mining bonanza.

“It’s been a very, very positive experience for our community,” said state Sen. Lavon Heidemann, an Elk Creek farmer. “When Quantum came in here, they put money in the local community. And any time you have money flowing in a small town, that’s a positive.”

The potential mining operation, the first in the U.S. in a decade, could have an international impact as well. U.S. officials and lawmakers in Congress have been eager to break the near monopoly on global production of the 17 rare-earth .....


(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; US: Nebraska
KEYWORDS: carbonatite; china; geology; hitech; mattjoeckel; nebraska; niobium; rareearths
H/T to HardOCP.
1 posted on 08/07/2011 8:18:33 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

2 posted on 08/07/2011 8:24:01 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

dat’s funny!

china spending all that money to corner the rare earths market.

now, the california mine has re-opened; then a report found rare earths common to much of the ocean, within meters of the surface; and now nebraska.


3 posted on 08/07/2011 8:24:57 AM PDT by ken21 (ruling class dem + rino progressives -- destroying america for 150 years.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Rock on.


4 posted on 08/07/2011 8:24:57 AM PDT by pieceofthepuzzle
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Tiny town. I came from neighboring Beatrice, NE, where they have been giving away land if you put a house and live on it. This could bring in some people. Good for them.


5 posted on 08/07/2011 8:25:06 AM PDT by saint (God forgive us, we're killing babies made in His image.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Where do I sign up? I’ll be more than happy to help extract those rare-earth elements from the earth.


6 posted on 08/07/2011 8:25:30 AM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Don't worry, Obama's EPA will put an end to such nonsense...


7 posted on 08/07/2011 8:25:34 AM PDT by darkwing104 (Lets get dangerous)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Wonder if they found any Thorium.

Good news all around. At least until Obama reads it and shuts them down because we can’t allow the USA to exceptional, now can we?


8 posted on 08/07/2011 8:26:22 AM PDT by allen08gop (Insert appropriate picture here...)
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To: darkwing104

Only if they get caught :>}


9 posted on 08/07/2011 8:27:36 AM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: darkwing104
"Don't worry, Obama's EPA will put an end to such nonsense..."

Or Elk Creek is about to become a national park and wildlife refuge.

10 posted on 08/07/2011 8:32:00 AM PDT by Flag_This (Real presidents don't bow.)
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To: saint
"Beatrice, NE"

Nice Airport.

11 posted on 08/07/2011 8:35:37 AM PDT by Paladin2
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To: saint

Im from Beatrice, myself.


12 posted on 08/07/2011 8:36:12 AM PDT by Husker24
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Who wants to wager that the Gov’t and Enviro Weenies will find an endangered worm or gnat that they have to protect against the BIG evil Mining corporations?

Let’s hope they are able to extract the minerals without sabotage.


13 posted on 08/07/2011 8:42:31 AM PDT by submarinerswife (Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting different results~Einstein)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I think China kinda messed up. The rare-earth minerals are really not that rare. What you need is a concentration of the minerals AND a willingness to extract them. Pollution is a major byproduct of extracting the minerals and China has for a long time been willing to ignore the consequences. Now there will be economic incentive to find and extract these minerals from around the world.


14 posted on 08/07/2011 8:43:57 AM PDT by doggieboy
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To: submarinerswife
Don't you know? Mining itself is "evil." They won't need to find an endangered species to vilify and regulate this to death.

Time to do away with the EPA and all of the other government run, cottage industry of regulation.
15 posted on 08/07/2011 8:47:33 AM PDT by Sudetenland (There can be no freedom without God--What man gives, man can take away.)
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To: saint

This could bring in some people. Good for them....But...here come the Greenies, EPA, NHS, and you name it. “Stop this rape of the land!” I hope they can harvest this mineral deposit, but I’ll be surprised if they can. Just look at the Marcellus Shale in PA.


16 posted on 08/07/2011 8:47:54 AM PDT by Safetgiver (I'd rather die under a free American sky than live under a Socialist regime.)
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To: ken21
The problem isn't in finding the so-called "rare earths" ~ it's been known for decades that they are quite commonly found EVERYWHERE.

At the same time they are found in mineable quantities in a limited number of spots ~ a good dozen are in New Mexico alone (just for example).

Because of the concentrations of the rare earths mixed together in the ore bodies the resulting processing for extraction is quite complex. Then there's this problem with THORIUM ~ which is mildly radioactive ~ and as the processing proceeds it gets "concentrated" and next thing you know it's a "radioactive waste" product.

Just busting up these ore bodies at the mechanical crushing stage releases radioactive materials ~ so most mines treat it all initially as posing some degree of radioactive danger to people ~ EXCEPT IN CHINA.

You might want to read this piece to get an idea of the problems faced in mining, processing, extracting and working with the rare earths, et al. http://geology.com/usgs/ree-geology/

17 posted on 08/07/2011 9:14:54 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: doggieboy

http://geology.com/usgs/ree-geology/


18 posted on 08/07/2011 9:16:31 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

thanks.


19 posted on 08/07/2011 9:16:37 AM PDT by ken21 (ruling class dem + rino progressives -- destroying america for 150 years.)
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To: doggieboy

You are exactly right...once metal prices rise to a trigger level, low-grade, marginally profitable occurances no longer become rare. Rare earth elements are so-named because when they were originally identified they were not commonly found.


20 posted on 08/07/2011 9:23:41 AM PDT by Cuttnhorse
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To: muawiyah

Thorium is not an REO


21 posted on 08/07/2011 9:26:45 AM PDT by Cuttnhorse
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To: Cuttnhorse

http://geology.com/usgs/ree-geology/ says it’s found in the same ore bodies, hence the problems in processing the ore.


22 posted on 08/07/2011 9:33:52 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

Yep, commonly found with REOs, but not is not one.


23 posted on 08/07/2011 9:43:14 AM PDT by Cuttnhorse
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

bttt - for potential good news if the hands on the levers of power don’t hamstring us!


24 posted on 08/07/2011 9:44:29 AM PDT by TEXOKIE (Anarchy IS the strategy of the forces of darkness!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; ...

Thanks Ernest.
Geologist Matt Joeckel displays a core sample of carbonatite rock containing niobium and rare-earth elements, which was taken from a deposit near Elk Creek, Neb., in early February.
How long before Zero signs an executive order turning the deposits into a national park?


25 posted on 08/07/2011 9:50:29 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Yes, as a matter of fact, it is that time again -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Oh, the “environmentalists” will find some bug or lizard or caterpillar or weed that they get to be declared “endangered” and China wins again.


26 posted on 08/07/2011 10:17:14 AM PDT by eCSMaster (Democrats: the Party of NO!)
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To: darkwing104
Don't worry, Obama's EPA will put an end to such nonsense...

Does anyone want to take bets that this mine won't be allowed to continue its work? They'll find something to be called "endangered" somewhere on the land, and shut it all down, or they'll simply delay the permitting process and try to run the company out of money. Probably both.

27 posted on 08/07/2011 11:17:22 AM PDT by zeugma (The only thing in the social security trust fund is your children and grandchildren's sweat.)
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To: darkwing104
Don't worry, Obama's EPA will put an end to such nonsense...

Beat me to it...glad I scrolled down.

28 posted on 08/07/2011 12:05:41 PM PDT by hattend (As always...FUJM)
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To: SunkenCiv; thackney; cpdiii; Smokin' Joe; Miss Marple; LS; WOSG

I think this is pretty cool. Rare Earths are supposed to be found in pegmatites. I suspect that much will be discovered in the Rockies.


29 posted on 08/07/2011 4:45:13 PM PDT by CPT Clay (Pick up your weapon and follow me.)
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To: CPT Clay
Iirc, they can be eroded out of pegmatites, and possibly concentrated with host minerals.

I know of some very pure niobium/Tantalum Rutile deposits--but they'll likely never be mined. Too close to a major urban water supply, but they are in a carbonate, too.

30 posted on 08/07/2011 8:30:13 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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