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Rare Earth Elements Found In Jamaican Mud 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the worth-more-than-the-common-and-uncommon-earth-elements dept.
stevegee58 writes "Jamaica was once home to a thriving bauxite (aluminum ore) industry. While Jamaican bauxite mining may have fallen on hard times, it seems that the bauxite tailings in the form of red mud are rich in rare earth elements. Japanese researchers have discovered rare earth elements in high concentrations in this red mud and have already invested $3M in a pilot project to extract them. Perhaps Chinese dominance of rare earth deposits is on the wane as global manufacturers continue to search for and find other deposits of these valuable minerals."
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Rare Earth Elements Found In Jamaican Mud

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  • by trdtaylor (2664195) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:32PM (#42599709)

    You make it sound like China is the only place in the world for Rare Earth metal deposits. The United States has the largest known deposits of Rare Earth metals, with mining plans in the works as we speak.

    Most important part of this story is extraction of rare earth metals that does not harm the local environment / still profitable

  • by Carnildo (712617) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:57PM (#42599843) Homepage Journal

    "Rare earths" aren't really all that rare. What's rare is finding them in high concentrations.

  • Failed operation (Score:5, Informative)

    by SysKoll (48967) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @12:18AM (#42599937)
    The Chinese government had grabbed the rare earth market by cutting down prices (yes, labor camps and lax pollution rules help). Then they restricted supply, attempting to force Western manufacturers to bring to China all productions of materials using rare earths. Within months, out-of-China RE production that was shut down because of cost resumed, and prices actually went down. It's all in this amusing article [theregister.co.uk] written by a guy who used to trade this stuff.
  • by nu1x (992092) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:40AM (#42601267)

    Academi, formerly known as Xe, formerly known as Blackwater -- killing people, for money !

    Ahoy !!

  • by careysub (976506) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @11:05AM (#42603363)

    Uhm why not just put the Thorium back into the mine, where it came from?

    That is often impossible in an active mine, and in a strip mining situation there is no "mine" to put it into.

    By its nature mining takes solid consolidated rock in which nasty materials are locked up (which is why they are there to be found in concentrated form) and turns it into powder from which is now easily leached or transported by water and wind. It is possible to find ways to secure the tails, but that costs money and drives up prices (making the product less competitive) or cuts into profits, both of which mining companies hate. Only strict outside (usually government) oversight keeps mining companies from turning most every mine site into a leaky, ugly toxic waste dump.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

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