MORGANTOWN. W.Va. — The House of Delegates on Monday passed its version of the bill to allow the state or private entities to sell rare earth elements and critical minerals extracted from mine drainage.
Delegate Riley Keaton, R-Roane, offered his view on why he and many others think the bill — HB 4003 — is important.
“This bill is the beginning of some really really great things,” he said, in terms of creating good jobs and attracting advanced manufacturing.
Rare earth elements and critical minerals, he said, are key components in such things as defense technology and chip manufacturing.
The Dominion Post has reported that they are used in more than 200 products across a wide range of applications, including cell phones, computer hard drives, electric and hybrid vehicles, flat-screen monitors and TVs, and in defense guidance systems, lasers, and radar and sonar systems.
About 97% of the world’s rare earth element production is from China, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Keaton said China has five times the processing capacity of the rest of the world combined, which affects national security. …