World’s Largest Rare Earth Element Deposit May Be In Nebraska

| August 4, 2011 | Reply

Elk Creek, Nebraska is a tiny town of just 110 people. there is normally not a lot going on there and there’s no reason anything should be. In the past year or so, they have had a sort of boom town. A company came in, started renting farmland and staying in rented lodging and shopping at local establishments. The reason is simple; billions of dollars.

Rare earth elements are crucial in building clean energy technologies, smartphones, defense systems and even cars. Prices of the rare earth elements has gone way up as of late. Why is it there is no competitive pricing when there is a large supply of the elements? China accounts for 97% of the rare earth element production. Because of that they can get mad and simply cut off the supply chain for the whole world as they have done before. While the US knows it has about million metric tonnes of the elements that could be used, they really wouldn’t want to do it unless China really tried to do something dumb. Those 13 tonnes only equal about 1/3 of China’s reserves of rare earth elements. The last mine that could even process the elements in the US was closed in 2003 due to environmental issues but could reopen soon.

Now that I have given you a lesson on Nebraska and rare earth elements it’s time for the news. The USGS and Quantum Rare Earths Developments Corp have now agreed the small Nebraska town is sitting on the largest global resource of rare earth elements. Those 110 or so people with land in that town who also own the mineral rights to their land are about to be a lot richer. The cost per acre will surely go into the hundreds of thousands or millions if the USGS allows mining in the small town. Think if it as a modern-day gold rush if all of this pans out.

In the end this is very big news for technology. While it wont make huge headlines or anything it’s very important for the future of technology and the cost involved. It will certainly help production¬† costs of our beloved smart phones keep the same or go down in some areas.

Via: The Washington Times


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Category: Tech News

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