A multi billion dollar industry sits on hold while China dominates the market all because of outdated policies and concerns over what to do with the Thorium which is only mildly radioactive and is not water soluble. We know some companies like FLIBE Energy and others have done extensive research on how to use Thorium but the backward over zealous fear mongers in the government won’t let the industries move forward.
What is a rare earth element REE? There are 17 of them (Scandium, Yttrium, Lanthanum, Cerium, Praseodymium, Neodymium, Promethium, Samarium, Europium, Gadolinium, Terbium, Dysprosium, Holmium, Erbium, Thulium, Ytterbium, Lutetium).
So it is considered environmentally dangerous to mine because the tailings include Uranium and Thorium which have been known to affect the region near the tailings.
90% of the current supply of REE comes from China (mostly Mongolia) and Japan buys 60% of it. The powerful magnets created from Neodymium, Samarium, Gadolinium and Dysprosium are behind modern devices like wind turbines, computers, cellphones, medical scanners and electric cars.
A ten year supply of REEs exist under a volcanic mountain in Afghanistan totalling 1.3 million metric tons of elements including cerium and neodymium are estimated to be worth $7.4 billion. Greenland also has huge deposits. We also know the US, Mexico and Canada have significant deposits.
We know how to send a Robot to Mars and keep it running for two years yet we have trouble improving practices at the messy mining operations that give all the others a bad name. Waste water from the mines and Uranium dust are raised as concerns that potentially affect human health. Even Greenpeace recognizes that mining done correctly can actually assist in the creation of renewable energy. GP likes wind and solar but followers of this blog know that Thorium and Uranium are the ingredients we need for molten salt reactors and other types of nuclear reactors. So NRC start deregulating and give the economy and the whole world a break and let us participate in making the world a better place by allowing REE industry to grow locally.
Big business can help this process by lobbying for the changes we need and demonstrating through R and D efforts that we don’t need to store or throw away Thorium. We can use it for clean cheap energy for bothe industrial heat processes and electricity.
See video on youtube called “THE THORIUM PROBLEM – Danger of existing thorium regulation to U.S. manufacturing and energy ”
Also David LeBlanc – Molten Salt Reactor Designs, Options & Outlook @ TEAC4
and Jim Kennedy – Link Between Thorium and Self Reliance in Rare Earths & Energy @ TEAC4