Skip to comments.Neb. mine find to challenge China’s dominance of vital rare minerals
Posted on 08/07/2011 8:18:28 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Elk Creek, Neb. (population 112), may not be so tiny much longer. Reports suggest that the southeastern Nebraska hamlet may be sitting on the worlds 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.
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.
Its 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, thats 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 ...
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.
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.
Where do I sign up? I’ll be more than happy to help extract those rare-earth elements from the earth.
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?
Only if they get caught :>}
Or Elk Creek is about to become a national park and wildlife refuge.
Im from Beatrice, myself.
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.
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.
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.
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/
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.