China’s dominance of vital rare minerals challenged by find in Nebraska mine

rare minerals

Matt Joeckel displays a core sample of carbonatite rock containing niobium and rare-earth elements, which was taken from a deposit near Elk Creek, Neb.

The small Nebraska town of Elk Creek (population 112), may not be so small much longer. Reports suggest that the southeastern Nebraska town may be sitting on the world’s largest untapped deposit of “rare earth” minerals, which have proved to be indispensable to a slew of high-tech and military applications such as laser pointers, stadium lighting, electric car batteries and sophisticated missile-guidance systems.

 

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American Economy Vulnerable to Rare Earth Shortages

minerals

China produces nearly all the world’s supply of the minerals.

The United States is too reliant on China for minerals crucial to new clean energy technologies, making the American economy vulnerable to shortages of materials needed for a range of green products — from compact fluorescent light bulbs to electric cars to giant wind turbines.

 

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