We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Video: Supply of critical rare-earth elements used in smartphones to expand


Tucked in the middle of the Desert, near the Nevada Border, Molycorp’s Mountain Pass, California mine specializes in finding rare earth elements hiding in regular-looking rocks.

Out of this barren desert-scape comes the critical elements for the devices many people count on.

Mark Smith, Molycorp CEO “If you and I can only buy Blackberry’s and iPhones that require rare earths but the only rare earths that go into them come from China—what happens if they pull that out of the supply chain?”

Molycorp is in a rush of building and improving its site to answer the U.S. call for more rare earth minerals, immediately.

John Burba, Molycorp vice-president of technology, “It’s very modivating… everyone is dedicated because they fully understand we have to supply non-Chinese elements to the industry.”

Molycorp is the only U.S. mine producing rare earth right now, during a period of upheaval and uncertainty in the rare earth market. The company invited reporters into its facility as it prepares to start processing rare earth, not just mining it, after nearly 10 years.

The process starts with collecting ore-laden rocks and crushing them. From here, the powder needs to be given a chemical bath to extract the elements.

Keith Long, U.S. Geological Survey “It’s stiff competition for the developing world…”

Keith Long is a mineral economist and geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He teaches graduate-level courses in mining at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

He says now is a critical time for non-Chinese sources of rare earth material to be harvested.

Keith Long, USGS “It’s a high priority from our government to advance for wind energy and rare earth. So we’re very concerned about the security and supply of those.”

Long is a consulting scientist for the Obama Administration’s scientific working group, looking into critical mineral supplies that China has cornered the market on.

More geologists like him will soon be combing the desert and plains of the U.S., most likely by next summer, to reexamine existing ore deposits for rare earth potential, and scout for new ones. In Mountain Pass, California, Kerry Davis, IDG News Service.

Video Source: IDGNS San Francisco
Article Author:
Video Category: News

Share this video



Comments

Most Popular Videos
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 video review: the best new compact tablet of 2014 play video

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 video review: the best new compact tablet of 2014

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is the best new compact tablet of 2014. Check out our video review of the smaller Samsung Galaxy Tab S.
watch video »


5 reasons why PCs are better than Macs: Mac vs Windows PC - which is best? play video

5 reasons why PCs are better than Macs: Mac vs Windows PC - which is best?

What is best: Mac or PC? Here we examine five key areas, and help you to decide if you should buy a Mac or a Windows PC or laptop. (Answer: get a Windows machine.)
watch video »


Sony Xperia T3 video review: budget smartphone has a specific customer in mind - is it you? play video

Sony Xperia T3 video review: budget smartphone has a specific customer in mind - is it you?

The Sony Xperia T3 is Sony's latest phablet, which will appeal to customers wanting a large screen at a fair price. Watch our Sony Xperia T3 smartphone video review.
watch video »




IDG UK Sites

Windows 9 release date, price, features: Microsoft teases new OS ahead of 30 September unveiling

IDG UK Sites

From the iPhone 6 to the iWatch and a new Apple TV we look at the products Apple is set to launch...

IDG UK Sites

September 2014 creative trends: 5 things you must see

IDG UK Sites

What to expect from Apple in autumn/winter 2014: iPhone 6, iPhone Air, iWatch, iPad 6, new Apple...