Most congresspeople probably haven't thought about chemistry since high school, but they'll soon have to in order to protect the economy. In March, Colorado representative Mike Coffman introduced a bill to ramp up mining of 17 "rare-earth" elements, so called because large deposits of them are hard to find. Some are essential for electric auto motors and laser defense systems, and with demand for those rising, now is the time to stock up.
Launch the gallery here
Rare-earths combine particularly easily with other elements to form useful compounds and alloys, such as neodymium-iron-boron, the strongest, lightest magnet for motors. "No other element can do that," says Jack Lifton, an independent metals consultant. "Once we've used them up, the periodic table is closed for business." Similar stories are playing out across the table. For many elements, we'll eventually need to find more, recycle, or move on to another. Launch the gallery for a status report for 10 of them.
Sandeeep you seem to have a good grasp of all the element except palladium reserves. Palladium has risen 100% in price in the last 11 months why if it so abundant? Check out wiki on
how much palladium exist on the planet. Why is it concentrared
only in Siberia Russia.
Why no mention of Rhodium? At $35k a pound its gotta be one of the rarest and most expensive elements there is.
is this the part where if we want more we have to mine beyond earth say a asteroid field?
No, this is the part where we actually recycle. It cost too much money to go to outer space. Actually, I'm hoping some genius finds out how to replicate the properties of those metals with abundant minerals. Let's hope alchemy somehow works for us.
New proposals regarding the formation of DNA involve a form of phosphorus & this is confusing since phosphorus is organic or inorganic from rock but isn't the rock sedimentary which makes it from organic? Confusing but sure is becoming less available. First Harp bouncing echos and heating up the ionosphere so using Sundew to ultrasound the deep sea floor for metal deposits & since we own the technology of deep sea floor drilling & all the 5,000 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, I'd say that was a fair exchange for letting other make the cars while we made the deep sea rigs.
Back to phosphorus; there are only so many years available & I asked myself why were we wasting this precious mineral on making a super weed which is what we are doing with glympsophate from Monsanto. Shouldn't we be banning the use of phosphorous on this gone-bad idea?
this is the part where we need to recycle AND get more from out there in the solar system. not that asteroid mining will happen in the immediate future, but we need to be taking steps in that direction. recycling can only go so far, and synthetic replacements often come with thier own limitations.
with the recent success of SpaceX's Falcon 9 test launch, not to mention the dozen or so other commercial space companies, we are getting closer to economic private sector space exploration every day. it would suprise me if we don't start mining the moon or asteroids inside 20 years.
How is the stockpile diminishing exactly? We have billions of tons of all these elements! Some are harder to get than others, but we are talking hundreds or thousands of years before the earth is "mined out". By then we will probably be able to replicate elements we arent able to dig up. Why worry?
The story makes out sound like earth is a country store and we are down to our last can of beans, and this just isn't the case.
@ PaulAdams. Not to be rude, but it's people like you who destroy this planet without trying to reverse it. Some of us however, even if we are damaging the planet strive for a way to reduce or eliminate our impact. -_-
These are very good points regarding recycling. Think about how many electric motors and magnets laying in junkyards, dumps, or behind old barns. I've seen thousands in my life. Many thousands.
Good news! Afghanistan is LOADED with lithium, copper, iron and other rare earth minerals!
Or course, it'll take decades to get mining infrastructure out there and producing all those resources...but estimates of the mineral deposits are something like $1 trillion dollars...with a "T"!
Fugget about recycling! All our problems are solved!
lol...just kidding. Although, it WILL help when we transition to electric cars...those lithium batteries won't be so damn expensive. And, hopefully, this discovery will allow many Afghan farmers to drop the opium farms and mine legal minerals to provide for themselves. Maybe that will be enough to cause people to stop making farming opium for the Taliban and maybe the war will come to an end sooner rather than later.
They're saying Afghanistan could be the "Saudi Arabia" of lithium or so...