Unlike metals higher up on the table such as silver and gold, there's no good agent for dissolving elements so closely linked in atomic structure without destroying the target. It makes mining for them tedious and expensive."The reason they haven't been explored for in the U.S. was because as long as China was prepared to export enough rare earths to fill the demand, everything was fine â¿¿ like with the oil cartels. When China began to use them as a political tool, people began to see the vulnerability to the U.S. economy to having one source of rare earth elements," said Ian Ridley, director of the USGS Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center in Colorado.
Gold Rush-era Discards Could Fuel Cellphones, TVs
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