The reason behind the demand for these elements is the huge wave of technological advances in the past twenty years. Rare earth oxides are used in all manner of electronic devices such as cell phones and computers, but they are also in great demand for "green" technologies like windmills and solar panels.
Rare earth metals and alloys that contain them are used in many devices that people use every day such as: computer memory, DVD's, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, car catalytic converters, magnets, fluorescent lighting and much more.The electric car, supposed to save us from the evil OPEC countries, relies heavily on rare earth oxides to make it's rechargeable batteries.
During the past twenty years there has been an explosion in demand for many items that require rare earth metals. Twenty years ago there were very few cell phones in use but the number has risen to over 5 billion in use today. The usage of computers and DVDs has grown almost as fast as cell phones.
Many rechargeable batteries are made with rare earth compounds. Demand for the batteries is being driven by demand for portable electronic devices such as cell phones, readers, computers and cameras.
Several pounds of rare earth compounds are in batteries that power electric vehicles and hybrid-electric vehicles. As concerns for energy independence, climate changeand other issues drive the sale of electric vehicles the demand for batteries made with rare earth compounds will climb even faster.Mud reported on his blog that China had 97% of the worlds supply of these elements, but that is not exactly true. China now produces 97% of the worlds usage, but their reserves are only about one third of the world's total. That's not really a relief, because opening new mines takes years, and China is going to cease all exports next year. So, as usual, America will be held hostage by a third world dictator because our EPA is against Americans making money. The cost of all our cell phones and computers will rise, and us poorer citizens will get even poorer. I don't suppose Mud realizes how this is tied directly to liberal policies, but he is now worried that the US will go to war with China over dirt. Frankly, I had worried about that myself, but I thought it would be over plain dirt due to China's outrageous population. I never would have thought they'd fight over dirt that won't even grow weeds.
|Commonwealth of Independent States|
|World total (rounded)|
Maybe we need to start drilling for oil, and cutting new coal mines. After all, "green" energy already costs too much, and now its likely to double or even triple. Do you suppose Obama knew about this when he said our energy prices would necessarily skyrocket? And how much stock does George Soros own in Chinese mining companies?
|Did You Know? Rare earth magnets are used in wind turbines. Some large turbines require two TONS of rare earth magnets. These magnets are very strong and make the turbines highly efficient. Rare earth magnets are used in turbines and generators in many alternative energy applications.|
Solar panels and wind turbines have a very short usable lifespan. It is my understanding that the most expensive parts of these technologies must be replaced every five years or so. How can that be considered "green"? We need to rethink all this new crap. And these rare earth elements have serious side effects. In short, they are really bad for the environment, giving off toxic waste that must be disposed of. That sure doesn't sound very green to me.
Plus look what it does to the landscape.