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gold rush-era discards could yield valuable rare earths, scientists say

by:Newland     2019-09-27
Scientists Ryan Ott (left) and research technician Ross Anderson studied a single ingot of magnesium and rare magnesium.
Rare earth metals as part of the project to optimize the recovery of rare earth processes from rare earth wasteearth-
American magnet.
Source: early miners who dig gold, silver and copper throughout the United States do not know that one day they throw dirt and rocks on one side and bury other very valuable things
In the United States, there is a rush to find key components for mobile phones, televisions, weapon systems, wind turbines, MRI machines and regenerative brakes in hybrid cars, and the answer may be the old mine tailings pile.
They may contain a group of multi-functional minerals called the periodic table of rare earth elements.
\"Uncle Sam may be sitting on a gold mine,\" said Larry minath, director of the Mineral Resources Program at the U. S. Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia.
S. Geological Survey and the Department of Energy are competing across the country to make the magnet lighter for elemental deposits, bringing balanced fluorescent lighting and color to the touch screen of the smartphone to break China\'s control over these supplies.
They were surprised to find that the key elements can be clearly seen in the ruins considered to be eye nails and toxic waste.
Garbage in an era may become the wealth of this era.
\"These things have almost never been analyzed, except for what they are mining,\" Mr Meinert said . \".
\"If they prove valuable, it\'s a win-win situation --
Win on several fronts
Let\'s get rid of our dependence on China and have the resources we don\'t know.
\"The 15 rare earth elements were discovered long after the gold rush began to subside, but as electronics became smaller and more complex, demand for them began to grow in the last 10 years.
They start with la 57 and end with lute 71, a group of metal chemical elements that are not rare, and because they are small in number and often stick together, it is difficult to mine.
Unlike the higher metals on the table, such as silver and gold, there is no good reagent that can dissolve such closely connected elements in the atomic structure without destroying the target.
This makes their mining both tedious and expensive.
\"The reason they were not investigated in the US is because everything is fine as long as China is ready to export enough rare earths to meet demand --
Like an oil cartel.
Ian Ridley said: \"When China began to use rare earths as a political tool, people began to see the vulnerability of the US economy to sources of rare earths, \"director of the Center for mineral and environmental resources science at the Colorado Center of the U. S. Geological Survey.
China raised prices two years ago.
For nd used to make the Prius electric motor stronger and lighter, from $1 kg in 2009 to $ in 2011, while tin oxide for laser and halogen lamps increased from $1 kg in 2010 to $830 in 2011.
This is also the time for China to cut supplies to Prius manufacturers Japan in international fishing territorial disputes.
At that time, the US government entered a state of emergency and sent geologists to find new domestic resources.
\"We are facing a contradiction between supply and demand.
This is a global problem.
The growing middle class around the world means more and more people want things like cell phones, \"said Alex King, director of key materials research institute at Ames Research Lab, Iowa Energy Department.
\"Our job is to solve the problem as best we can.
University of Nevada-
Renault and the University of Colorado School of Mines, the US Geological Survey scientists used lasers to check a large number of rock and ore samples collected from Stanford University and the California Institute of Technology during the gold rush.
Alan Koenig said: \"If we can recycle some of this waste and get some of the waste from it a few years ago, not today\'s, it\'s certainly a goal, USGS scientists in charge of the tailings project.
A sample collected in 1870 from a region near Sparks, Nevada, showed hope and looked for more clues for researchers.
They found that some rare earths were present with minerals that were previously unknown.
\"The copper mine has never been put into production, but now after such a long period of analysis, we find that it has a high gold content, which is used in photovoltaic panels.
\"It has never produced copper economically, but it gives us an insight into some associations that we didn\'t know before,\" Mr Koenig said . \".
Indium was also found in an abandoned copper mine in the southern Arizona Art town of Bisbee.
Mr. Koenig and his colleagues are working to understand the composition of all major deposits in the country in the past 150.
In some cases, the gold or copper of these mines has dried up, but the remaining rocks are piled up with the pits and pits, which may form a modern mine.
\"We are reviewing history,\" he said . \"
They are compiling data for 2,500 samples to better understand if it is possible to predict where rare earths may be hidden based on the presence of other elements.
Mr Koenig said: \"If I had to risk a number, I would say that we have found dozens of new locations that rise in one or more of the key metals.
\"With this project, our goal will be to provide this huge database that will enable us to anticipate and form new associations.
\"At present, in the Southern California desert pass, there is only one American mine that produces rare earths.
Molycorp Inc. aims to reopen the abandoned mine by this summer, which includes the oxidation ce for polishing telescope lenses and other glass, 20,000 tons of rare earth elements
USGS expect companies like Molycorp to use the information they collect to discover other easily discoverable informationto-
Deposits on federal land and elsewhere.
\"If there is no rare earth, we will return to black --and-
Mr Ridley of USGS said: \"The white phone has appeared again . \"
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