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West Virginia Legislative Energy Committee learns about benefits of extracting rare earth elements from acid mine drainage

By David Beard, The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Energy got a look on Tuesday at a West Virginia project to extract valuable rare-earth elements (REEs) from acid mine drainage and got a first look at a bill to answer the question of who owns the runoff and the REEs in it.

Before answering that question, though, it’s useful to know what REEs are. The U.S. Geological Survey says the 17 metallic elements “are necessary components of more than 200 products across a wide range of applications, especially high-tech consumer products, such as cellular telephones, computer hard drives, electric and hybrid vehicles, and flat-screen monitors and televisions. Significant defense applications include electronic displays, guidance systems, lasers, and radar and sonar systems.”

About 97% of the world REE production is from China, USGS says.

Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of WVU’s Water Research Institute, told the committee that only one site in the U.S., in California, produces REEs and it’s 10% owned by Chinese interests, and all of the product goes to China…

To read more: https://www.dominionpost.com/2021/11/16/legislative-energy-committe-learns-about-benefits-of-extracting-rare-earth-elements-from-acid-mine-drainage/

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