An anonymous reader writes "In recent times, the world's supply of rare-earth minerals has suffered from both increased demand, due to their use in modern technological devices, and uncertain supply, as China restricts the flow of exports. Now, Molycorp's mine in California has re-opened, and another in Australia is set to open later this year, easing — but not erasing — worries about skyrocketing costs. '[The mine had closed] in 2002 following radioactive wastewater spills and price competition. The largest spills, from a pipeline to Nevada, occurred in the late 1990s, in protected lands in the Mojave Desert. The company has since changed its ownership structure. ... It's being rebuilt to produce up to 40,000 metric tons of rare-earth elements by 2013, which would be a 700 percent increase from its production target for the end of this year."