It seems recently that everything good comes from China. In the department of rare earth elements, however, there is some promising news or the U.S. Currently, the the world depends on China for its supply of rare earth elements, but Molycorp Minerals announced last week that it has found significant ore deposits containing heavy rare earth elements at a mine the company owns in Mountain Pass, CA, according to a report in Technology Review. The company also announced that it foresees beginning production in two years, but there are questions about whether the mine will live up to its promises.
Multiple are earth elements are often found at the same site, with light elements generally more prevalent that heavy elements. These materials are crucial for a variety of electronic components and equipment, including LCD screens, fluorescent light bulbs, and industrial magnets used in hybrid car batteries and in wind turbines.
The search for more mining sites is on, as the world becomes increasingly dependent on Chinese sources. A number of sites are being investigated in Canada, Alaska, and Australia, according to Technology Review, but only Molycorp's California site has been declared a viable new source.
For more insights into whether Molycorp will be successful and what it's investing in the new site, see the full article in Technology Review.