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Mine waste finds new life as source of rare earths

Eric Onstad of Reuters reports on efforts to harvest rare earth minerals from mine waste.

The C3 Take
  • In an effort to reduce reliance on China, several countries are harvesting rare earth minerals from mining waste.
  • Six projects in Australia, Sweden, and South Africa are processing materials from mineral sands, fertilizer, and iron ore operations with the goal of collecting 100,000 tons of neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) oxide by 2027.
  • The U.S. Idaho National Lab estimates that over 100,000 tons of rare earth minerals are up in waste from producing phosphoric acid alone.
  • Importantly, these projects are easier and faster to scale up than traditional mines.

“Australia’s RMIT University estimates there are 16.2 million tonnes of unexploited rare earths in 325 mineral sands deposits worldwide, while the U.S. Idaho National Laboratory said 100,000 tonnes of rare earths each year end up in waste from producing phosphoric acid alone.”

Read the full article here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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