Will the United States mine for rare earths and exotic minerals? – OpEd – Eurasia Review


A conservationist cost the $ 1.7 trillion clean energy transition needed to mine copper, cobalt, lithium and other rare earths and exotic metals and minerals. This transition would be expected to power electric vehicles (EVs) cheaper than gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2027, and cheaper electric SUVs by 2026, according to BloombergNEF. Additionally, the International Energy Agency (IEA) in a new report found that renewable installations for power to electricity “soared to 280 GW globally in 2020, up 45% from compared to 2019 “, with” renewable energies (solar and wind) representing 90% of electrical capacity installations in 2021 and 2022.

These are the main reasons the Biden administration is set to approve the first large-scale offshore wind farm, “an 800-megawatt project off the coast of Massachusetts.” Unbeknownst to the US President, this wind farm installation will result in the destruction of a magnificent coastline on huge land and ocean / sea needs for renewable energies, and increased emissions as renewable energies must be supported by fossil fuels or a zero carbon nuclear when the sun does not. shines and the wind does not blow.

President Biden wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030 without giving a detailed plan on a transition from fossil fuels and nuclear that will be incomprehensibly expensive and technologically impossible. In addition, renewables used for basic electricity needs have led to grid outages in Texas, California, Germany and Australia.

Clearly, tens of millions of tonnes of rare earth and exotic mineral extraction are needed for this low carbon future. For now, renewables, electric vehicles and large-scale storage depend heavily on China for rare earths / exotic minerals needed for solar panels, wind turbines and battery storage systems to perform as advertised. The US Geologic Survey has identified 35 key rare earth elements used in “clean” energy technologies, but imports represent 14 of the 17 most basic elements.

Low-carbon futures, clean energy transitions, decarbonized power grids or a Green New Deal will only succeed with “a significant increase in mining and processing in the United States – unless (we) wanted to make America even more dependent on China and Russia ”. A recent the Wall Street newspaper article exclaimed: “A good battery is the best defense against a military assault.” These are national security minerals and metals for 21st technologies of the century. The case can be made that rare earth metals and exotic minerals are the realistic new balancing option between the United States and China for global hegemony.

Currently, rare earth metals and minerals mined in the United States are processed in China “to pay the cheapest prices associated with processing under China’s abominable pollution, wage and workplace safety rules.” . The United States can no longer ignore geopolitical risks, environmental degradation and Chinese hostility if it is to build a green, carbon-free economy. The Biden administration has a mining conundrum to overcome. Eco-activists have largely succeeded in banning mining in the United States; on the United States having an abundant amount of metals and minerals needed to support and build clean technologies.

The United States has only one operating rare earth mine – Mountain Pass – which lost more than two years of production due to bankruptcy in 2016. Mountain Pass sends its mined ore to China for processing in because of the high costs of environmental compliance – including regulatory minefields and a Byzantine dilemma of local, state and federal rules. Typical permits can take 2-3 decades to begin basic mining operations on mineral-rich federal and state lands.

In the last few months of the Trump administration, the United States Bureau of Land Management expanded its mining operations on federal lands, authorized accelerated mining permits, approved a new lithium mine in Nevada, and approved a agreement to exchange land in Arizona for a copper mine. All of the actions took effect on January 15, 2021 and were applauded by Rich Nolan, president of the National Mining Association, saying:

“US mining is essential to successfully repairing our nation’s infrastructure, (and) the very technologies essential to our recovering economy will be built on a foundation provided by mining.”

These measures allow the Biden administration to meet critical demands for rare earths and exotic minerals. The downside is that China can hinder progress with its “unjust advantages from ‘unethical’ and ‘dirty’ mining and forced labor practices.” China has ravaged the health of their environment and enslaved Chinese citizens because of the mining of these clean-energy minerals and metals. Will Democrat-aligned lawmakers and environmentalists allow these atrocities to continue?

Probably, since Biden’s vice president is adamantly opposed to further mining on climate change, his Home Secretary opposes fast-track approvals for mining, and the green groups that support Biden as well as the Native American tribes are all fighting new mines in Minnesota, Nevada and Arizona.

The sad reality is that all solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, utility and household scale energy storage systems “are much richer in minerals and metals than conventional sources such as fossil fuels “. Whether you like it or not: “Renewable energies (all types) need a huge supply of minerals. “

If mining doesn’t take place in the United States, then China, Russia, the Congo, and other human rights abusers will thrive. The reason why, the climate masquerade which will be solved with the help of renewable energies, electric vehicles and large-scale storage. But mining will take place somewhere. Reckless energy and mining policies continue as climates constantly change. When humans didn’t exist, it was hotter than today.

We are constantly told that if we don’t do something about climate change now, the world will end as we know it, however, the United Nations “expects the average person by 2100 to earn 450% of the world. income today. Climate (change) will reduce that to 434%. End of the world problems invented during the false story the world is on fire when in fact the United States is not in transition renewable energies for electricity soon according to energy professor and author Vaclav Smil.

Foolish reasons not to harness and create billions in economic benefits and tens of thousands of jobs because of politicized climate change. Three climate scientists, Steven Koonin, Richard Lindzen and William Happer, have convincingly demonstrated that the earth has warmed by around 1 degree Celsius during this century. It’s not a disaster, it’s time to properly mine in the United States


About Darnell Yu

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