• 4 minutes Is $60/Bbl WTI still considered a break even for Shale Oil
  • 7 minutes Oil Price Editorial: Beware Of Saudi Oil Tanker Sabotage Stories
  • 11 minutes Mueller Report Brings Into Focus Obama's Attempted Coup Against Trump
  • 15 minutes Wonders of Shale- Gas,bringing investments and jobs to the US
  • 2 hours Apartheid Is Still There: Post-apartheid South Africa Is World’s Most Unequal Country
  • 5 hours Evil Awakens: Fascist Symbols And Rhetoric On Rise In Italian EU Vote
  • 1 day IMO 2020 could create fierce competition for scarce water resources
  • 5 hours Total nonsense in climate debate
  • 5 hours IRAN makes threats, rattles sabre . . . . U.S. makes threats, rattles sabre . . . . IRAQ steps up and plays the mediator. THIS ALLOWS BOTH SIDES TO "SAVE FACE". Then serious negotiations start.
  • 2 days IMO2020 To scrub or not to scrub
  • 17 hours Theresa May to Step Down
  • 2 days Devastating Sanctions: Iran and Venezuela hurting
  • 8 hours Will Canada drop Liberals, vote in Conservatives?
  • 46 mins Australian Voters Reject 'Climate Change' Politicians
  • 5 hours Apple Boycott in China
  • 1 day Magic of Shale: EXPORTS!! Crude Exporters Navigate Gulf Coast Terminal Constraints
  • 1 day Level-Headed Analysis of the Future of U.S. Shale Oil Industry
Trinidad And Tobago Doubles Down On Gas Production

Trinidad And Tobago Doubles Down On Gas Production

An increase in gas production…

Vietnam Is On The Verge Of An Energy Crisis

Vietnam Is On The Verge Of An Energy Crisis

As Vietnam looks down the…

US Begins Mining Rare Earth Elements after more than 10 Years

Rare earth elements are vital to many modern technologies, and the National Resource Council, which advises the US government on topics of science and engineering, claim that rare earth elements are the most critical minerals in the world. Unfortunately they are incredibly scarce, mined in only a handful of sites around the world, and for all intents and purposes there seem to be no practical substitutes.

Before the 1990s the US produced enough rare earth elements to meet most of its growing demand, however new regulations, and growing competition from China saw their domestic production decline, and by 2000 the US was entirely reliant on imports, with 94% of the international market supplied by China.

But China has restricted supplies in recent years, sending prices soaring by 400% between 2005 and 2011, and creating tension between China and the US, EU, and Japan.

Related article: Demand Could Soar Exponentially For Clean Energy Metals

The National Resource Council then warned the government that growing demand in China could lead to falling supplies on the global market, which could negatively affect the US manufacturing sector, so, after more than a decade rare earth mines are beginning to reopen.

In 2012 Molycorp resumed mining at its Mountain Pass mines in California, and plans to boost production this year to 19,050 tonnes of rare earth oxide a year, enough to meet 10% of global demand.

Mountain Pass rare earth mine
Molcorp’s Mountain Pass rare earth mine. (CNN Money)

Related article: Emerging Green Technologies to Invest in

Unfortunately, whilst prices are high at the moment, niche commodities such as rare earth elements can suffer brutal price cycles, with huge booms suddenly turning into crippling busts. China has already increased its supplies to the market and prices have fallen since 2011 leaving some producers struggling to survive. Constantine Karayannopoulous, the chief executive officer at Molycorp, has even admitted that once “we achieve our full production run rate, it may make sense to dial back production until we can run the facility at lower cost.”

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • jon on August 03 2013 said:
    If these are strategic materials why doesn't the US stockpile them in order to support local production and dter attempts by the Chinese to control the market?

Leave a comment

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