• 10 mins Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 1 hour OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 2 hours London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 3 hours Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 6 hours Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 12 hours India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 17 hours Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 21 hours Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 1 day Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 1 day Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 1 day Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 2 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 2 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 2 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 2 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 2 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 2 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 2 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 2 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 2 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 3 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 3 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 3 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 3 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 3 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 3 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 6 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 6 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 6 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 6 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 6 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 7 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 7 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
  • 7 days Husky Energy Set To Restart Pipeline
  • 7 days Russia, Morocco Sign String Of Energy And Military Deals
  • 7 days Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs
  • 7 days China Set To Continue Crude Oil Buying Spree, IEA Says
  • 7 days India Needs Help To Boost Oil Production
  • 7 days Shell Buys One Of Europe’s Largest EV Charging Networks
  • 7 days Oil Throwback: BP Is Bringing Back The Amoco Brand
Alt Text

What’s Stopping An Oil Price Rally?

Oil prices rallied in Q3…

Alt Text

How Vulnerable Is The Electrical Grid?

Hurricane Maria knocked out the…

Alt Text

Oil Prices Spike On Middle East Tensions

Oil prices jumped upwards on…

Stuart Burns

Stuart Burns

Stuart is a writer for MetalMiner who operate the largest metals-related media site in the US according to third party ranking sites. With a preemptive…

More Info

Mine Tailings Hold Little Hope for US Rare Earth Industry

Mine Tailings Hold Little Hope for US Rare Earth Industry

Articles such as ABC News’ coverage of recent USGA research reporting that the US has untapped vast potential resources of rare earth elements waiting to replace Chinese supplies, are missing the point.

The USGA has correctly identified that even better than a deeply buried lode of rare earth minerals, there are extensive mine tailings left from as far back as the days of the gold rush, dug up and sitting on the surface ready to be processed. Some have already been re-worked once for gold, silver and other metals, and so have been mechanically crushed to conveniently small physical sizes, and to the extent that some other minerals have been removed, concentrated to just the rare earths and substrate gangue.

The USGA has also identified locations in Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Colorado as being economically viable – but therein lies the problem.

Related article: Emerging Green Technologies to Invest in

Molycorp’s Mountain Pass facility will be producing 13 of the 17 rare earth elements this year, but its success is not the economic nature of the resource in the ground or principally the mix of elements in the resource. It is the extensive high-technology refining facilities that can turn a 3% compound in the rock into a 100% pure oxide useable by industry.

That’s what sets Mountain Pass and the Chinese apart from all these resources in the ground. That’s the barrier to entry for competitors and why most of these resources will never be exploited.

One valuable point ABC News does observe is the time just to bring a mine to producing ore, before refining is even considered. As the article points out, under current laws and regulations, the average time required to get a new mine permitted (or to rework an old one) tops 10 years.

For some time to come, Mountain Pass and the Chinese are going to be the biggest shows in town, whether we like it or not.

By. Stuart Burns




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Aat Oskam on August 06 2013 said:
    Aren't you leaving out Lynas Corporation? Potentially 22k tons of REE, currently 11k Possible already....

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News