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Rare Earth Deposit Discovered In US

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the go-west-young-man dept.

China 338

s31523 writes "With China having 97% of the market share of rare earth elements, many countries are nervous about being able to get supplies of key elements needed for high tech gear. Quantum Rare Earths Developments Corp. has reported they have discovered a potential huge source of rare earth elements, right in the middle of the U.S. While the USGS reports that the U.S. has an estimated 13 million metric tonnes available for mining (about 1/3 of China's reserves), finding another regular source is crucial to global stability. The potential yield of the deposit, found in Nebraska, could be the world's largest source for Niobium and other rare earth elements. Could this be the next gold rush?"

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The U.S. is notoriously bad (3, Interesting)

poet (8021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989070)

At stewarding its own resources, preferring instead to buy resources from other countries that do not have the level of regulation we have. We have plenty of oil, gas, rate earth metals etc... we just don't go after it.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989136)

At stewarding its own resources, preferring instead to buy resources from other countries that do not have the level of regulation we have. We have plenty of oil, gas, rate earth metals etc... we just don't go after it.

That sounds like stewarding them well to me. What would be so great about digging up today resources that can be left for tomorrow, given that they can be cost effectively obtained elsewhere for now?

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (4, Insightful)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989244)

At stewarding its own resources, preferring instead to buy resources from other countries that do not have the level of regulation we have. We have plenty of oil, gas, rate earth metals etc... we just don't go after it.

That sounds like stewarding them well to me. What would be so great about digging up today resources that can be left for tomorrow, given that they can be cost effectively obtained elsewhere for now?

Bingo! Leaving it in the ground (or, better, undiscovered) until later represents future income. Dollar saved, dollar earned, and all that.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989246)

Mod parent up. The best possible stewardship of a NON-RENEWABLE resource is to not consume it at all.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989332)

Um, not using a resource makes it not a resource.

Holding out till the market is desperate and prices are so high you have no hope of intelligent management of the scarce resource hasn't always worked out the way people expect either.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (2)

PRMan (959735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989424)

It does when you are the most powerful nation on earth...

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989516)

Agreed. China is doing quite well at it.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989438)

Everything is renewable with the proper technology.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989260)

Stewarding our own resources might be be the correct term. More appropriate would be stewarding our own industry.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989610)

I'd rather buy oil from the middle east for now. Let them drive gold plated Bentleys and build indoor ski resorts. In a couple of generations, when it's really important, they'll be back in tents and we'll still have energy resources.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989138)

And why should we? If someone else wants to sell it to us cheap while we're allowed to preserve our own resources, great! When they run out of oil, minerals, etc, we'll still have some left.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (2)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989252)

Yeah, we buy everyone else's raw materials while they are cheap. When those start to go scarce or the price goes up, we tap into our own resources.

Part of it is strategy, part of it is economics.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989388)

Agreed. Even though shale oil endeavors (converting a not-yet-ripe version of oil to the oil we know and love) has been a bust repeated times, once the price of oil goes up high enough, the US (particularly Colorado - having the highest concentration of it in the world) will be the world's leading oil source and producer.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (2)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989294)

We get most of our gas (90%) and coal (we are an exporter) locally. The US does not have plenty of oil, nowhere does really, and the rare-earth discovery is in fact new, but with a huge land area, and a few different types of geology in the country it shouldn't be shocking that it was found.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989616)

we have plenty of oil, more than the middle east, tree huggers keep us from getting it though. hurrah for idiots.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (2)

punker (320575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989308)

This is not worth going after, because the ore grades are too low to pull out in an economically viable way. This is a common problem in mining for precious metals and rare earths. For a find to be viable, you need a higher material density or a second valuable mineral (iron, copper, phosphate, etc).

Also, regarding the regulations, those are probably good. Many chemicals used in mining are pretty nasty (arsenic for example). Keeping them controlled is just part of the price the public puts on anyone who wants to develop the resource.

Re:The U.S. is notoriously bad (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989612)

Pray tell, where is that abundance of oil? Distributed over the all those stripper wells putting out a couple of barrels a day?

What we really have....is (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989072)

that the US has no shortage of rare earth deposits...we have shortage of rare earth refining....

Re:What we really have....is (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989314)

Mod parent up. Factual.

Re:What we really have....is (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989578)

+1. Even with the spike in rare earth prices recently, it's still cheaper to get it from China than to source it locally.

next gold rush? (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989086)

next gold rush? nah the land, or at least the mineral rights will be bought by corporate interests who will make a ton of money and you won't see any individuals making it big off the rare metals, unless they happened to own the land and the mineral rights to it.

Re:next gold rush? (0)

MichaelKristopeit415 (2018852) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989122)

either way, absolutely no one will be rushing towards gold.

slashdot = stagnated.

Re:next gold rush? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989446)

you're fucking pathetic you dicksmoking bitch nigger.

Re:next gold rush? (1)

MichaelKristopeit425 (2018896) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989570)

ur mum's face're dicksmoking fucking bitch pathetic.

cower in my shadow some more, feeb.

you're exactly what you've claimed to be: NOTHING

Re:next gold rush? (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989264)

next gold rush? nah the land, or at least the mineral rights will be bought by corporate interests who will make a ton of money and you won't see any individuals making it big off the rare metals, unless they happened to own the land and the mineral rights to it.

It is not important who takes the risk, who holds the paper, who makes the money, off this deposit. Handing the title over to John Q. Public will not produce a better or worse outcome than signing it over to Alcoa. They will both seek maximum profit vis-a-vis the market's price.

What is important, is that this deposit is geographically located within our borders. That means that although the price will still follow the market, it will not be practical for the mine's output to be blockaded by Beijing if we got into a shoving match.

Re:next gold rush? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989286)

There is a very good reason for this. Rare earths aren't really that rare. What makes them "rare" (or I should say scarce) is how difficult it is to process them into their raw oxide. This is not an easy process. You can't just dig them out of the ground and sell the dirt to a laser making company.

So the next company that will be coming online is the Australian Lynas Corp with their processing plant in Malaysia and the worlds largest single rare earth deposit in Western Australia. The Malaysian processing plant is costing a lot of money to build - not the sort of capital an individual has.

Check this out:

http://www.lynascorp.com/page.asp?category_id=1&page_id=25

That gives you an idea of how rare earths have outpaced gold in the last 2 years.

Next I believe is USA's Molycorp (I may be wrong on that but I think that is right).

Re:next gold rush? (1)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989450)

Correct. And this article is old news. Quantum announced their acquisition of the rights in this general area a bit over a year ago. Development of the resource will be tricky; for example, disposing of tailings from mining and milling so that neither surface nor ground water is contaminated will be a challenge.

Re:next gold rush? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989614)

Of course not! Because the only people at the dig sites are the executives and fat cat bankers...oh, wait, they'll need people to operate the machinery? And managers and engineers to design the mines? And the mechanics fixing the equipment? and the construction workers and electricians who will build the processing plants? And the myriad of other people who are needed to actually *run* a business once you've got the funding?
And consumers won't benefit from lower prices as a result of increased supply?
Nah, of course not. Economics simply doesn't work that way!

Gold is the next gold rush (1)

e3m4n (947977) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989112)

with the ever increasing price per ounce of gold, Gold is the next gold rush ;-)

Re:Gold is the next gold rush (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989258)

You misspelled bubble.

Re:Gold is the next gold rush (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989538)

Going to be a long drawn out bubble, the Fed is already planning QE3. Part two of Double dip recession already getting started. If it lasts for five years or more, who cares if it's a "bubble".

We knew this... (4, Insightful)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989120)

We already knew that the USA had large deposits of rare earth elements.

It is just cheaper to buy them from China than to mine and process what is available domestically.

Re:We knew this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989238)

Yeah, because miners in the US are unionized to allow for unskilled workers to make much more than the work they do should permit.

Re:We knew this... (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989490)

Boo-hoo, the "captains of industry" shoulda thought of that before they decided to treat their workers like shit. They had their chance.

Also don't you think that the high risk of the job should count for something?

Re:We knew this... (5, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989522)

Actually, the cost of labor is miniscule next to the costs imposed by liberal tree hugging ecoterrorists that get all pissy when you dump all your toxic mine tailings and acidic processing wastes in the local river rather than burying them back underground where you got them.

Re:We knew this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989576)

This will change. Canada has always had great sources of oil, but was always to expensive to extract (oil sands).
With the price of oil up, it makes financial sense to extract and sell the oil.

Same will happen with the US rare earth minerals.

Environmentalists Everywhere... (-1, Flamebait)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989124)

...are buying more paint, poster boards, Redbull and getting ready to protest something. They aren't sure yet, but if the U.S. is going to mine resources, there has to be something worth getting their panties in a bunch about.

Re:Environmentalists Everywhere... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989262)

So where exactly are these environmentalists? Do you have a real citation, or do you just need an excuse to whine?

Posting anonymously because there are a lot of whiners around and many of them have mod points.

Re:Environmentalists Everywhere... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989628)

Probably the same phantom environmentalists that supposedly picket nuclear plants 24/7.

Conservatives Everywhere... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989366)

...are buing more lobbyists, congressmess, and getting ready to deregulate something. They aren't sure yet, but if the U.S. is going ot mine resources, there has to be something worth getting profit from.

Seriously? Being pro-environment does not automatically make somebody anti-business or anti-mining. Just like being pro-choice doesn't automatically mean you think people should have abortions. Or being a Christian doesn't automatically mean you hate non-Christians.

If you see protestors, and disagreee with them, by all means go ahead and rail against them. But this just reads like paranoia. I'm sure a safe, environmentally controlled mining operation would be welcomed by most. And some extremeist on both sides will always disagree. That's called freedom of dissent. That's one of the things Americans fight and die for. Get used to it.

We should harness the collective knee-jerk energy of the US as an alternative fuel source. Hell, the energy people spend daily looking over their shoulder for the next bogeyman could power Times Square for a week.

Re:Environmentalists Everywhere... (3, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989472)

There's IRONY in this here post! Wee-hee! *prospector dance*

Re:Environmentalists Everywhere... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989482)

Screw that, the reality is so long as we can get them cheaper elsewhere we should. That way we have them after the prices go up.

EUREKA! (1)

d.the.duck (2100600) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989128)

So Nebraska has something worthwhile! That is news!

Re:EUREKA! (4, Insightful)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989182)

So Nebraska has something worthwhile! That is news!

With the price of corn these days, I'd say they have something else that's worthwhile.

Re:EUREKA! (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989556)

I'm asking out of ignorance—is corn much higher lately? I know it's a little higher because I could only get 3 ears for a dollar at the store instead of four.

Re:EUREKA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989582)

We also have uranium mines, oil wells, and coal.. We don't need the rest of the states, we're seceding!!

In my pants! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989140)

I have rare earth deposits in my pants!

Re:In my pants! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989550)

Tell your mom to change your diaper then.

...Canadian company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989150)

The article mentions a Canadian company coming in and doing the work.
Not that I have a problem with Canadians, but you know, with jobs dying as they are, why couldn't we put this in the hands of some US workers?

Re:...Canadian company? (1)

magusxxx (751600) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989202)

Because maybe they are the ones we're going to sell it to? *shrug*

The name isn't helping (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989164)

After the last James Bond movie I'm slightly worried about any company called "Quantum" having control over a lot of resources in a specific area. I do have to say getting a monopoly on niobium is a lot more Bond-villainy than trying to charge a higher price for water in a poor South American country (seriously, lamest Bond villain scheme everrrr.)

More substantially, I'm not completely sure this sort of discover is a good thing in the long term. We need to get better at making advanced electronics without relying on these elements or we need to get much better at recycling electronics (preferably both). This sort of thing is good in the short-term but is to some extent delaying the inevitable. On the other hand, maybe it will give us more time to develop alternatives.

Note that TFA mentions the Mountain Pass Mine as shut-down for environmental concerns. However, that mine is undergoing renovation and modernization. It is suppose to resume operating soon. I'm not sure this new site has any intrinsic advantage over Mountain Pass, especially given that the estimates for this new site are still not strongly confirmed. The estimates discussed in the summary TFA may be quite optimistic.

Re:The name isn't helping (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989228)

You're worried about this because you saw a fictional company in a fictional movie that did bad things?

You need therapy. Jesus, what is wrong with you?

Re:The name isn't helping (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989282)

You're worried about this because you saw a fictional company in a fictional movie that did bad things?

You need therapy. Jesus, what is wrong with you?

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/joke [wiktionary.org] may help answer that question.

Re:The name isn't helping (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989428)

You need therapy. Jesus, what is wrong with you?

Physician, heal thyself.

Re:The name isn't helping (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989572)

I noticed that the initials are QRED, which would fit right into any dystopian cyberpunk novel. You could even call their employees "reds" for short.

So... (4, Insightful)

black soap (2201626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989174)

Can we refine them here and export the waste to China for 'disposal,' or do we only get to ignore the environmental problem if they produce the waste themselves?

hardly a (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989188)

day goes by where slashdot isnt comparing something to china.

Re:hardly a (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989448)

day goes by where slashdot isnt comparing something to china.

Makes a nice alternative to Hitler and Nazis.

Re:hardly a (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989536)

My god, it's almost as if the economis of the US and China are globally important, intertwined and affecting all of us every day.

Re:hardly a (2)

hubie (108345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989708)

I want to know how many cell phones this rare earth deposit is equivalent to.

nil chance (3, Interesting)

waddgodd (34934) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989190)

The last US Rare Earth mine closed because it was an ecological nightmare to smelt the ore, not because it ran out. Since this is a new vein and not a new smelting process, it'll be doomed to failure the exact same way, so will the (relatively) new vein in Idaho. Short of the EPA rolling over on a mine that will be a superfund site within months of opening in a Democratic administration (anyone want to figure the odds of that?), this mine will be a non-starter.

Re:nil chance (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989284)

Exactly, the fucking hippies have destroyed all our industry. I say we ship the hippies to China.

Re:nil chance (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989680)

Why don't you go there since they have the level of environmental regulations you like? Breathe in that thick city air and let that foul black river "water" slowly slide down your throat. Taste the unregulated capitalism. Mmmmmm...

Re:nil chance (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989682)

Exactly, the fucking hippies have destroyed all our industry. I say we ship the hippies to China.

Somehow, I don't think that trading hippies for pollution with China is going to help us. Unless this is all a master double-crossing plan, by which we expect the hippies in China to destroy their polluting industries, thereby creating a Chinese Tea Party that insists on importing those same industries right back, leaving us with no hippies and no pollution...

Yeah, don't think so.

Re:nil chance (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989642)

You should tell that to these guys http://www.molycorp.com/ [molycorp.com]

They just reopened a rare earth mine in CA. Quick, go tell them they can't do what they've already done! Molycorp developed a way to extract the minerals without the pollution. Pretty smart considering pollution needs to be cleaned up and that clean up costs a ton of money. But don't let long term cost savings get in the way of your hippy hate. And no, I'm not a hippy, but I see the value in reducing costs by eliminating or reducing clean up. China will one day have to clean up the waste and it's going to cost a pretty penny. They love it now, but that debt will come due. Molycorp following EPA guidelines should reduce the total tally we owe.

Re:nil chance (1, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989652)

Considering that Tea Party Republicans want to defund the EPA, there's a non-zero chance of this actually happening. We can then find out first-hand the costs that China is paying for being the world's foremost exporter of rare earth ore.

Gold rush my butt. More like a dirt rush. (3, Informative)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989220)

Most rare earth minerals are actually not that valuable. They're necessary and quite abundant. The reason China controls the trade is that they have been willing thus far to run operations which mine at great cost for minimal profit. They've been buying operations in Africa and on other continents where large stores are found. In order for a US company to want to mine these minerals there will have to be a critical uptick in price, and that will raise prices on a number of important manufactured goods.

Re:Gold rush my butt. More like a dirt rush. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989508)

In other words, China is able to outcompete the US when it comes to areas that require a lot of unskilled labor. No surprise there.

Re:Gold rush my butt. More like a dirt rush. (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989524)

The price is definitely the issue, but I don't know if the low price is because rare earth minerals aren't valuable. From what I've heard (couldn't find any solid documentation, just plenty of 'business as usual' references), most of the mining is done via slave labor or close to it, whether it's in China or Africa.. It'll be pretty hard to set up mining operations in the US that can compete with slave labor.

Re:Gold rush my butt. More like a dirt rush. (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989694)

Well they are comparatively rare. If you look at something like iron a 13 million ton deposit is basically nothing. There is an iron mine up in northern Minnesota [ironrange.org] that claims they have mined over 800 million tons of iron ore from just the one mine. There are a number of other mines up in the iron range all of which I believe have produced more than 13 millions tons each.

As a side note if you are in Minnesota it is worth the trip up to the iron range, especially if you have a son who likes big machines. the Hull Rust mine has an old 240 ton payload capacity truck that you can go and sit in. They are currently running 400 ton trucks in the mine now and don't use those smaller trucks anymore. I was up there a few weekends ago and my 2.5 year old loved it. We saw a number of mining sites.

Nebraska (4, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989230)

This is good news for Nebraska. The western side of the state is very sparsely populated, and getting more so as kids leave small towns for the city. More than half the state's population live in the two cities of Omaha and Lincoln. Getting development and jobs out there will help keep small town life alive for longer.

The troubling part is that western Nebraska is over the Ogallala aquifer that supplies water to much of the plains states. I shudder to think what would happen if it got contaminated with rare-earths.

Re:Nebraska (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989500)

I'm not a geologist, but I live in KC. That aquifer has been a scare for a while now, but the water supply seems to have stabilized lately. I've talked to a few friends with family way back West and they're parents don't seem to be concerned about the same armageddon of diminished water supply they were 10 years ago. For a while there, people were discussing migrating to a whole new economy in the West (like buffalo safaris and wild game hunting preserves).

Re:Nebraska (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989510)

More than half the state's population live in the two cities of Omaha and Lincoln.

So that other article was right. IQs are rising.

Re:Nebraska (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989588)

The troubling part is that western Nebraska is over the Ogallala aquifer that supplies water to much of the plains states. I shudder to think what would happen if it got contaminated with rare-earths.

I doubt you mean the rare earth materials themselves. It's the purification process that creates most of the nasties.

Interesting short piece [raremetalblog.com] about mining and purification of rare earths. Summary: Mining and primary concentration need to happen on site for economic reasons. However, it's the secondary purification steps that have most of the nasties. After it's been refined to a level of around 50% purity then it's economically viable to transport that material reasonably long distances for final smelting.

Thus, one could have a single rare earth refining plant, closely monitored and supported by numerous mines. If done correctly, that might mitigate a significant part of the environmental concerns. (If I'm reading the article correctly).

Re:Nebraska (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989602)

I don't think increasing the population of western Nebraska would be a good thing; a lot of people live out there because they like small towns and don't want to see them change. And for that matter, maybe it's a good thing to still have sparsely populated areas in the Midwest.

Re:Nebraska (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989714)

no one gives a flying fuck, dweeb. go shove something up your ass. faggot.

Could this be the next gold rush? (2)

subreality (157447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989248)

Er, no. Rare earths aren't actually that rare. The reason we get them from China isn't because they have a monopoly on the source. They just have the cheapest labor to dig them out of the ground.

Not that rare (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989256)

"Rare earths" aren't that rare. They're just at low concentrations, which makes for an inefficient mining operation. Getting rid of the waste products is a big problem. Molycorp [envisionreports.com] has re-opened a rare earth mine in California, and is expanding capacity.

There are other rare earth mines in the US. [popsci.com] There's no shortage of places to mine. It's just that, until recently, it wasn't profitable.

Re:Not that rare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989458)

afaiu china basically dumped the price till everyone else stopped mining it, then they upped the price again. they know that the politics of getting such a "dirty" industry restarted can take forever

Will environmentalists allow mining? (2)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989296)

So what if there are minerals? We have lots of natural mineral and petroleum and other fossil fuel resources all over the US. Every time anyone wants to mine or drill for them, the environmentalists step in a file lawsuits to stop or delay the mining or drilling.

In southern California, environmentalists are trying to stop solar power stations out in the desert by suing to prevent the power lines that would carry the electricity to where people live.

So there's a solution to the rare earths problem. What difference does it make if we won't be allowed to use it?

Re:Will environmentalists allow mining? (4, Informative)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989502)

You've been brainwashed by professional liars. The United States does not have "lots of petroleum". We do have lots of coal, and we dig it up at a rate of over a billion tons per year. We have lots of natural gas, and we mine it at a rate of tens of trillions of cubic feet per year.

The people you listen to are paid big bucks to keep you outraged and misinformed. Stop listening to them.

Re:Will environmentalists allow mining? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989548)

Have you every asked "why"? It's not just because those dirty looking miners are boogey men. Usually has something to do with the techniques employed and the effects on the human population (like the use of arsenic in gold mining). Yes, we have practical needs, but don't outright dismiss the concerns of "environmentalists" unless you understand the issue.

Location location location (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989324)

Thankfully it's in Nebraska and not some coastal la-la land ruled by environazis. After the currency collapse and break up it will be of some use.

Hawaii (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989336)

Wasn't there an abundant supply found by Japan near Hawaii recently. Even if the cost is more and there are ecological questions that need to be answered (and we better answer them) - these two recent discoveries shouldn't be ignored. We need to build up a local industry through tax breaks if necessary so that we don't remain dependant on China for this. There may come a day when we and China arn't the best of friends... like if we default on the debt we owe them... or something like that!

yeah, it was discovered last year or the year befo (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989346)

Yeah, yeah! I heard about it. It is called Unobtainium right?

global stability? (2)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989354)

"finding another regular source is crucial to global stability"

Ha! It's in the US, it's good for US stability! Sheesh, like the primary concern of the US is strictly the world at large. I'm a liberal and a citizen of the world (as much as anyone else), but let's be honest here.

The US is rich in natural resources. Yes, the jobs may go overseas - but our mineral deposits, forests, fisheries, energy resources (coal, to name 1), and all the other things I'm forgetting to mention - will stay here. (Assuming we don't let our international trade policy to become lopsided against our general well being.)

Oh for fuck's sake slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989378)

You cannot get "niobium and other rare earth elements" out of this mine, because niobium is not a rare earth. The deposit does contain niobium ores, and rare-earth ores, but they are not in the same category.

Is it too fucking hard to edit the submission to make it correct?

Hot Chile (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989416)

I'm betting it's Chile and its Atacama Desert that comes to the rescue.

The lobbying campaign has begun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989432)

The press kit is here. [youtube.com]

too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989436)

The US and Canada has plenty of rare earth metals, but our environmental standards make it too expensive to extract.

Opportunity (2)

guybrush3pwood (1579937) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989460)

Quick, everyone! Some country has a rare metal we can harvest. Grab a gun and let's invade.

Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989504)

No doubt someone will find some endangered lizard or flower and permanently fence the area off from any kind of mining.

Nobium is not a rare earth element (1)

Bender_ (179208) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989534)

Nobium is not a rare earth element [wikipedia.org] . It is however a part of coltan, which is a sought after mineral that is mined in congo and a major cause of civil war in that region.

The free market provides (again) (1)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989554)

China tries to put on the squeeze, prices go up, people get an incentive to start looking, and here we are. Stories like this show why scarcity is so often a myth.

Mineral Rights (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989560)

Most landowners got conned out of their mineral rights in the 60s and 70s.

plenty of REE deposits, but costly (2)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36989600)

The were either not developed or closed because they were more costly than offshore. But that is changing.

U.S. - one country to rule them all... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989638)

Many of the comments here seems to be made by U.S. citizens ... and they sound like U.S. is the only country on this planet. Like they were buying the resources from other planets until now.
Why would everyone share their resources with the whole planet (and mostly with U.S.) and why would U.S. not share theirs ? The others resources were cheaper ? Of course they are cheaper, at least until you start digging yours.
Why would U.S. wait until every others resources became extinct and then start mining theirs? Isn't this the same old strategy to live on the others back ? Like a virus ?
The same strategy like printing more dolars and voting for increasing the debt, so U.S. can print more money and make everyone else work for them by giving them "money/dolars" (actually papers) ?
Is it by accident that the resources are being found just now ?

Lot of questions in my head.... no answers...

But but but the environment! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36989664)

Sorry, using our natural resources for our own benefit harms the environment, so those resources are going to stay right there.

At least until some big corporation bribes congress into giving them a monopoly on the stuff. We can't have any of that pesky competition and free market forces driving down prices for consumers now can we?

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