Rare Earth Elements

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RONALD
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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 7:27 am

Rare Earth Elements

Post by RONALD » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:21 pm

Here is something of interest off of the AFS emails that I receive.

Does this mean we no-longer have to depend on the Chinese or Russians for such elements that are used in all kinds of metal alloying.

Should we dig up all the coal ash that was used for fill on the RR's and other places for reprocessing?
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John Hasler
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Re: Rare Earth Elements

Post by John Hasler » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:30 pm

Most (if not all) of those elements can be mined in the US. It is just that it is slightly cheaper to do it in China and Russia. The "rare earths" (and lithium) mostly don't occur in concentrated ores as copper and iron do. Instead they are nearly uniformly distributed throughout the Earth's crust. "Nearly" means that there are spots where it is a bit cheaper to mine them (the largest lithium deposits are in South America), but only a bit. Some of those spots are in the US but mining is very expensive here. Lithium has been mined in the US: I recall reading that the mines were to be re-opened. Lithium is also recovered from brines.

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warmstrong1955
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Location: Northern Nevada

Re: Rare Earth Elements

Post by warmstrong1955 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:55 pm

There is only one operating lithium 'mine' in the US, in Silver Peak Nevada. It's a brine operation, so hydraulic mining & evaporation, and has been operating continuously since the mid 60's, under several owners. Present owner is Albemarle. I lived in Silver Peak in the 80's, but I worked for a Silver Mine there.
Thee are other potential US operations, but they are either still in exploratory stages, or awaiting permits, or both.

There are NO operating rare earth mines in the US. Most still comes from China.
The Mountain Pass Mine in California, filed for bankruptcy 3 or 4 years ago. China subsidizes their mines, and does not regulate them like here in the US, and MolyCorp couldn't compete.
Today's solutions are tomorrow's problems.

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