Skip to comments.U.S. Spends $120M USD to Set up Rare Earth Research Center to Counter China
Posted on 01/12/2013 8:28:33 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Chinese price manipulation has taken its toll on the U.S. economy
Rare earth metals are an increasingly integral part of everything from automobiles to television sets. But the precious metals are tightly controlled by China, with an excess of 95 percent of current suplly coming from Chinese-owned mines and refineries. The degree of control has allowed China to manipulate prices, cutting back on demand to sell less material for the same amount of profit, any businessperson's dream.
I. New Private-Public Partnership Sets Aim on Chinese Mineral Hegemony
The problem is that it takes several years or more to bring rare earth metal mines and refineries online; and the capital costs of such facilities are very high. It took China decades of clever planning to set itself in its current peachy position of rare earth hegemony. Now the U.S. is racing to try to recover, before Chinese price manipulation deals too much of a blow to the U.S. economy.
The U.S. Department of Energy has committed a relatively large investment of $120M USD to establish an Energy Innovation Hub under the supervision of Ames Labs to research ways to expand domestic rare earth production and otherwise cut reliance on Chinese rare earth supplies.
The U.S. is investing deeply to try to cut its reliance on Chinese rare earth metal supplies.
[Image Source: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg]
The new lab, dubbed the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), will be a joint effort between a number of large domestic firms in the private sector, universities, and top government research labs.
In addition to Ames Lab, other national labs involved include Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). On the university side, major contributors will include Brown Univ., the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), Purdue Univ., Rutgers Univ., Univ. of California-Davis (UC Davis), Iowa State Univ. (IA State), and the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute.
Corporate partners include General Electric Comp. (GE), OLI Systems Inc., Spintek Filtration, Advanced Recovery, Inc., Cytec Industries, Inc. (CYT), Molycorp Inc. (MCP), and Simbol, Inc. (Simbol Minerals).
II. Attacking the Problem From All Angles
Among the research projects will be:
The U.S. has no domestic producers of neodymium magnets. [Source: ThinkGeek]
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a 2011 research report [PDF] suggests that the U.S. rare earth supply chain, phased out in the 1980s at a time when the 17-element family looked non-critical, will take approximately 15 years to rebuild. The new lab aims to assist in that slow and arduous recovery.
The U.S. also will continue to purse action against China before the World Trade Organization (WTO) where it has filed complaints about the Chinese price manipulation.
Sources: DOE, Ames Lab
If the Red Chinese bitch about it, then I generally will be in support of the concept.
Seems like a rather puny amount when compared to the amount spent on Global Climate Change / Global Warming "research" and "alarmist " Propaganda
Ames Lab is at iowa State University.
For THAT chump change, I bet it’s a real dump! But, just weight ‘til they get moved in!
It’s gonna be:
Granite counter tops.
Hardwood floors throughout.
Gotta have a top of the line air conditioning unit.
Oh, and a 32 car garage.
We have REEs here, and it’s restarting production, but tiny in comparison to the Chi-Commies:
Weight should be wait.
Or, was that a secret message? Hmmmm?
Try prospecting for REE’s, and developing any viable claims. The EPA, BLM, and the forest service, in cahoots with their chinese directed washington masters will shut you down in a heartbeat.
And why has the Federal government waited this long. The problem has been known for a number of years.
I have been ready about MolyCorp’s mine in the Mojave Desert for years. They finally got approval to re-open it in 2010.
Where is the product from this mine?
If the need were that critical, they should have been in production in 2011.
Does this mean Obizmo and Salazar are going to permit the reopening of rare earth mines turned into parks under Clinton?
Or just spend a lot of money thinking about rare earths?
I went to one of their concert’s many years ago..
About time, now bring back some factories.
So he can say something in the State of the union address.
Try not to hold your breath on that idea coming to past in a meaningful way.
We thought they'd never end.
The problem with MolyCorp is that their RRE resources are of the light rare earth variety. They do not have a large percentage of the valuable neo and dysprosium that are used in the most powerful magnets.
Another issue with rare earth mining is radioactive materials. RRE like to be found with uranium and other radioactive elements. This was the original issue with MolyCorps mine in the desert.