Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dig Baby Dig

Shortage of Rare Earth Elements Could Thwart Innovation

Despite the inherent redundancy of a headline containing the words "shortage" and "rare", this article is worth reading between its lines as the message hiding there is that our eco-policies do not benefit America but China.
Yet the world's production of rare minerals relies mainly upon China, and the Chinese government warned last year that its own rising demand will soon force it to stop exporting the precious elements.

"Countries and companies that have or plan to develop industries that need rare earth minerals to make products are concerned about China's growing consumption, which they fear will eliminate China's exports of rare earths," said W. David Menzie, chief of the international minerals section at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

China has also encouraged companies that use rare earths to locate their manufacturing facilities in China, Menzie told TechNewsDaily. But some companies fear moving because of concerns about intellectual property protection, he added.

Deposits of rare earth elements exist in the United States, Canada and other countries. But only China's government supports the mining and refining industries capable of processing the resources from start to finish.
Europium: This extremely rare but critical chemical makes the red color for television monitors and energy-efficient LED light bulbs. China is the only country today that produces europium, dysprosium and terbium, which are necessary for either boosting the efficient operating temperature of magnets or for producing red in color displays. In December, USGS scientists discovered Alaskan deposits of europium, but even the few U.S. companies that mine rare earth elements must send the resources to China for processing.

Neodymium: This represents a main component of the permanent magnets at the heart of the most efficient wind turbines. China's own wind production efforts could consume all the available neodymium production and leave nothing for the rest of the world's booming wind industry
By the way, all those "green jobs" building wind turbines won't happen in America. This is yet again another example of America's resources being held hostage by leftwing environmentalists and putting our country's technological and manufacturing industries at risk. Not only should we drill, baby, drill but also dig, baby, dig.

1 comment:

  1. Just FYI, there are a whole class of minerals that are known as "rare earths". Both words together, not "rare" as an adjective to "earths", so actually saying something as silly as "rare rare earths" would be correct. Awkward, but correct.