Rare Earth Elements – Securing our supply

And it is past time to secure our supply. US Rare Earth Element Processors to Help Break China Stranglehold.

China has a virtual monopoly on Rare Earth Element (REE) mining and processing. These are things that are needed in everything, including military aircraft, and Tesla batteries (and in your cellphone), catalytic converters, etc. The list is quite long.

Rare earth elements are notoriously difficult to process and refine. While the United States and its allies also have considerable REE deposits, China’s lax environmental standards combined with low labor costs and a raft of government subsidies have allowed it to slash REE production costs, undercutting some processors in the West to the point of bankruptcy. Illegal and undocumented production is also commonplace in China, and is responsible for 20 to 40 percent of Chinese production, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). China’s virtual monopoly on the REE industry has meant that even the ore mined at California’s Mountain Pass mine is currently being shipped to China for processing.

But hey, electric cars are “environmentally responsible.” As long as you don’t look to closely at the environment in China, that is. (Hat tip to Instapundit.)

For a reference that is not Epoch Times, see Pilot rare earths processing plant, first one outside China, opens in Colorado – MINING.COM.

USA Rare Earth and partner Texas Mineral Resources have opened a pilot plant processing facility in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, which will purify rare earths, lithium and other critical minerals with the aim of helping Washington secure domestic supply of the key ingredients for military weapons, electric vehicles and phones.

The Department of Defense sees the lack of a domestic supply as a risk to our military.

6 thoughts on “Rare Earth Elements – Securing our supply

  1. Thanks for the info, Deb – it’s very important stuff and good to see domestic REM production starting up again.

    The US was the world leader in rare earth minerals until the Chinese pushed in by their usual methods, China’s lax environmental standards combined with low labor costs and a raft of government subsidies have allowed it to slash REE production costs, undercutting some processors in the West to the point of bankruptcy. Illegal and undocumented production is also commonplace in China, and is responsible for 20 to 40 percent of Chinese production,… It doesn’t hurt the Chinese that one of the major producers was in California (the Mountain Pass rare earth mine) where they’re only too happy to outlaw anything that might be considered industrial or (God forbid) strategic.

    An unofficial policy of the American greens is that pollution is fine if it’s in places they don’t see and never plan to visit.

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    • Actually, the last rare-earth mine was shut down by the EPA, as much as the state of Kalifornia.

      But I agree, the Greens don’t care about pollution they don’t see.

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  3. Rare earth elements are not rare….they are just WIDELY dispersed an thus difficult to extract and process into pure form. Doing so is expensive, intensive and if not done properly polluting. Up till now it was cheaper and more convenient to let the Chinese do the dirty work of extraction and just pay them. If necessary the US could be totally self sufficient….if we are willing to pay the costs AND string up the insane greenish fanatics that oppose ALL technology and progress.

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    • Fine. Everyone in the world (except you, apparently) calls them rare earths. And at least Cobalt is economically mined in only a few places.

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