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Freegrass

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Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« on: August 16, 2022, 09:45:51 PM »
I didn't find a threat on mining here, so I made this new one about it. I think it's an important topic that needs to be discussed as we continue to dig up more rare-earth and other minerals. The impact on geopolitics and the environment is enormous.

To start off this discussion, here's a good video about it that explains the challenges we face.

When factual science is in conflict with our beliefs or traditions, we cuddle up in our own delusional fantasy where everything starts making sense again.

vox_mundi

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2022, 05:26:29 PM »
Sulfur Shortage: A Potential Resource Crisis Looming as the World Decarbonises
https://phys.org/news/2022-08-sulfur-shortage-potential-resource-crisis.html

A projected shortage of sulfuric acid, a crucial chemical in our modern industrial society, could stifle green technology advancement and threaten global food security, according to a new study led by UCL researchers.



The study, published in the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) journal The Geographical Journal, highlights that global demand for sulfuric acid is set to rise significantly from '246 to 400 million metric tons' by 2040—a result of more intensive agriculture and the world moving away from fossil fuels.

The researchers estimate that this will result in a shortfall in annual supply of between 100 and 320 million metric tons—between 40% and 130% of current supply—depending on how quickly decarbonization occurs.

A vital part of modern manufacturing, sulfuric acid is required for the production of phosphorus fertilizers that help feed the world, and for extracting rare metals from ores essential to the rapidly required green economy transition, like cobalt and nickel used in high-performance Li-ion batteries.

Currently, over 80% of the global sulfur supply is in the form of sulfur waste from the desulfurization of crude oil and natural gas that reduces the sulfur dioxide gas emissions that cause acid rain. However, decarbonization of the global economy to deal with climate change will significantly reduce the production of fossil fuels—and subsequently the supply of sulfur.

This study, led by researchers at University College London (UCL), is the first to identify this major issue. The authors suggest that unless action is taken to reduce the need for this chemical, a massive increase in environmentally damaging mining will be required to fill the resulting resource demand.

Study lead author, Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography), said: "Sulfur shortages have occurred before, but what makes this different is that the source of the element is shifting away from being a waste product of the fossil fuel industry.

... they prompt crucial questions about whether it would make economic sense to invest in alternative production methods, given it is not currently possible to predict how quickly the supply of sulfur as a waste product from oil and gas desulfurization will decrease as decarbonization of the global economy is only just starting.

Sulfur: a potential resource crisis that could stifle green technology and threaten food security as the world decarbonizes, Geographical Journal (2022)
https://rgs-ibg.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/geoj.12475
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vox_mundi

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2022, 02:59:03 PM »
Rare Earths Processor Buys Rights to Mine In Greenland
https://techxplore.com/news/2022-08-rare-earths-processor-rights-greenland.html

One of the world's few rare earths processors outside China has bought exploration rights to mine in Greenland, opening an avenue for diversifying supplies of the minerals critical for advanced and green technologies

Toronto-based Neo Performance Materials, the rare earths processor, said Monday it plans to develop the Sarfartoq deposit in southwest Greenland and will send the ore to its facility in Estonia in Eastern Europe. It's one of only two plants outside China that processes rare earths to a high degree.

Neo aims to have the mine running in two to three years. It will be the company's first major mining project. CEO Constantine Karayannopoulos said that by opening the mine, he hopes to shield the company from volatile rare earth prices, which have shot up in recent years due to supply disruptions and strong demand.

Karayannopoulos called it "business, not geopolitics." But in recent years, rare earths have attracted the attention of policymakers in Washington, Beijing and other capitals given their importance to the global high-tech supply chain. The U.S., Europe and Japan call their dependence on China's rare earths a "national security risk" and have sought to diversify their supply.

Meanwhile, supplies of rare earths have shrunk, and some mines are raising ethical and environmental concerns. Mining rare earths is a dirty business when done cheaply, and China, the world's largest miner, has shuttered many mines in recent years to curb environmental damage.

... Some of that mining has been outsourced to Myanmar, where a lack of oversight is masking a dirty secret. An Associated Press investigation this month found the Myanmar mines are linked to environmental destruction, the theft of land from villagers and the funneling of money to brutal militias, including at least one linked to Myanmar's secretive military government. The AP traced rare earths from Myanmar to the supply chains of 78 companies, including major auto makers and electronics giants.

... Plans for another rare earths mine in Greenland failed after voters put in power a left-leaning government that blocked development. The site had high concentrations of uranium, raising concerns over how radioactive waste would be disposed.
There are 3 classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus

Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2022, 04:27:40 PM »
Thanks for posting this Vox! That's exactly why I opened this thread. Us greenies have to face the fact that all that new "clean" tech has a dirty side attached to it... Climate deniers on the extreme right love to use these facts to bash the green revolution... And who can disagree with them? It's a serious problem we have to deal with...
When factual science is in conflict with our beliefs or traditions, we cuddle up in our own delusional fantasy where everything starts making sense again.

NeilT

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2022, 07:50:31 PM »
It's a serious problem we have to deal with...

In general, once.  Because recycling, even of REE, is evolving very quickly and will eventually provide the vast majority of the REE we require for our ongoing vehicle renewal.

Contrast this with fossil fuels where we dig them up, continuously, burn them and then pollute the atmosphere with them for decades or centuries to come.

The extreme right want to deflect the fossil fuel burning issue by conflating it with a one time cost (or at least an initial high cost followed by a very low cost thereafter), with the manufacturing of fossil fuel vehicles.  Completely ignoring the ongoing pollution of fossil fuel emissions.

Whilst it is right to try and ensure that these metals are mined in as clean a way as possible, it is wrong to support the extreme right in their attempts to delay action on CO2 emissions which are going to destroy the liveable biosphere of the planet.
Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

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Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2022, 09:14:30 PM »
It's a serious problem we have to deal with...
it is wrong to support the extreme right in their attempts to delay action on CO2 emissions which are going to destroy the liveable biosphere of the planet.
Not sure how you got to that conclusion, that I'm somehow supporting the extreme right. Please withdraw that lie! That was completely unnecessary and offensive. All I'm saying is that we need to come up with answers to those arguments, because you're not making much sense at the beginning of your post either. The amount of rare- earth metals that we'll need to electrify all the cars in the world, and to build all other clean technologies that we need, is massive! Recycling will help us a little, but it'll take 100 years before we can stop digging them up on a massive scale. So we better do it right, without polluting the entire planet.
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NeilT

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2022, 10:15:56 PM »
Not sure how you got to that conclusion, that I'm somehow supporting the extreme right. Please withdraw that lie!

When you present the product of extreme right propoganda as something which should stop the progress towards renewable energy and zero emissions transport, you support their agenda.

Back at the beginning of the millennium there was a strong movement to educate scientists to stop them being manipulated by the media.

The media would ask "was this event caused by Global Warming".  Well of course the answer is "the cause of no single event can ever be tied down to Global Warming".

What the scientists were encouraged to say was.

"This is the wrong question.  Turn it around.  Would this event have happened if we had not caused Global Warming.  To which the answer is Almost Certainly Not".

You see this is a true statement which cannot be challenged.  It is a 5 sigma event.  Not absolutely certain but almost so.

So when you present these hit pieces about the mining of rare earth minerals, you have to remember that they are specifically produced with an environmental slant to make the person in the street think that EV's are doing more harm than good.

The producers of these "concern trolling" pieces are the far right.

So I won't withdraw what I said.  I will clarify what I said.  Make absolutely certain of whom it is that are pulling your strings when you find articles like this.

This sort of thing was rife in the late 90's.  It is much less so now as people have become more aware of the reality of the situation.

Yes there is a need to govern the actions of the mining companies.  But this kind of thing is going on all over the world every day.  Not just for critical EV materials.  We should address bad mining companies for ALL the materials they do this with.  Not just EV materials.  Then we will see the true size of the problem and understand that focusing on EV materials is for the benefit of the Fossil Fuel industry.  Not for humanity.
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Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2022, 10:59:32 PM »
Not sure how you got to that conclusion, that I'm somehow supporting the extreme right. Please withdraw that lie!
When you present the product of extreme right propoganda as something which should stop the progress towards renewable energy and zero emissions transport, you support their agenda.
When did I say we have to stop the progress towards renewable energy? We should not. To accuse me of supporting right wing propaganda is ridiculous. If you would have read some of the things that Vox posted, you would have known what the problem is. Stating a problem is important. It's the truth. It's a fact. Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away...

Quote
Plans for another rare earths mine in Greenland failed after voters put in power a left-leaning government that blocked development. The site had high concentrations of uranium, raising concerns over how radioactive waste would be disposed.
https://techxplore.com/news/2022-08-rare-earths-processor-rights-greenland.html
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be cause

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2022, 11:24:55 PM »
every day I see friends sharing photos from mines in Africa and Chile and exploding buses etc .. it's never been so easy to divide and conk her .
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NeilT

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2022, 11:27:31 PM »
When did I say we have to stop the progress towards renewable energy? We should not.

OK granted.  Perhaps I'm just too sensitive to misdirection from the fossil fuel lobby.

For that I apologise.
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Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2022, 11:41:55 PM »
When did I say we have to stop the progress towards renewable energy? We should not.

OK granted.  Perhaps I'm just too sensitive to misdirection from the fossil fuel lobby.

For that I apologise.
Thank you. We have to understand their arguments, and come up with good answers. If we can't come up with good answers, we lose the debate, and that's what the FF industry really loves, because then they win the argument, and it becomes much more difficult for us greenies to convince the masses. And that's the last thing we need...

That's why I'm also against those idiots that glue themselves to museum pieces. It's the worst thing you can do if you want to convince the unconvinced...

Our problem is that we don't have ships dumping barrels of nuclear waste into the ocean. Greenpeace really made a difference with their little boats back then. The climate debate is a lot more difficult to explain to people, and sometimes you just have to admit that it's a difficult problem to solve, that we'll have to dig up a lot of minerals, and use a lot of energy to build all the things we need to change the world... It's not all rosy...
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oren

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2022, 08:20:32 AM »
Agree with last post. Answers are needed (and are usually easy to come by.)
And today's pollution is mostly invisible and slow-acting, though no less harmful.

KiwiGriff

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2022, 09:35:19 AM »
We have to dig it up once.
it is not used up, once introduced into the economy it can go around and around indefinitely.
With fossil fuel its mined then burned... that is it.
A recent argument I had on line about lithium battery's.
We already recycle about 99% of the lead in lead acid battery's
Once we have enough lithium based battery's to support the industry we will recycle a similar proportion.
The basic laws of Physics tells us the amount of fossil  fuels  recycled is and must always be zero.     
 
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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2022, 01:07:01 PM »
Freegrass,

Please abstain from using expressions such as:

"us greenies trying to convince the masses"

You are holding on to the wrong end of the stick, when you try to make a distinction between 'us' and the 'masses'.

Mining in Greenland is in itself a difficult undertaking, and doing it in sustainable way is a particular challenge, despite the waste hydropower resources available just 'around the corner'.


Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2022, 03:06:39 PM »
Freegrass,

Please abstain from using expressions such as:

"us greenies trying to convince the masses"

You are holding on to the wrong end of the stick, when you try to make a distinction between 'us' and the 'masses'.
It was just a facetious little comment. Don't take it too seriously...
When factual science is in conflict with our beliefs or traditions, we cuddle up in our own delusional fantasy where everything starts making sense again.

Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2022, 08:53:29 PM »
Interesting video on deep sea mining.
The things we want to destroy to become green...    :(
Ties in nicely with the battery discussion on the GH2 thread, and why I don't like them if they require rare earth minerals...

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SteveMDFP

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2022, 09:45:11 PM »
Ties in nicely with the battery discussion on the GH2 thread, and why I don't like them if they require rare earth minerals...


There are many, many chemistry combinations that can power batteries.  Many do not use any rare earth elements or chromium, or other problematic metals.  Nobody ever said lithium was the optimal metal to use, it was just the only chemistry that was available in bulk at the time that Musk wanted to provide virtual power stations for Australia.

Personally, I'm a fan of Sadoway's liquid metal batteries.  I'd call it molten metal, myself.  Very long life, and simple construction.  He just needs  better investment to finish getting it off the ground.  See:


NeilT

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2022, 10:57:00 PM »
Not only that but on the batteries thread we've got a lot of information about flow batteries.  Which also work with Grid level storage.  But have few or none of the material or life issues that Li have.

BTW, Lithium is not required from the nodules.  It mainly comes from brine evaporation or rock mining.  Barring additional work on clay's which is currently in development.

We cannot point to Li batteries and nodules and say "See GH2 is a far better option".  Because so are a lot of other options.

It just so happens that the grid level storage which is going into high volume is mainly coming from Tesla and Tesla is Li based.

When the east coast of the UK became largely disconnected due to lightning and other issues, it could have been a lot worse, bar a flow battery which was sitting connected to the grid.

I agree that GH2 will have a place in a world awash with renewables which will need varying longevity of storage.  But to claim it is "far better than batteries", general, because of very specific issues with NMC batteries, is stretching the reality a bit.

But it's good right?  I agree that GH2 has a place.

Where it does not have a place is Greenwashing and that seems to be a large chunk of the energy suppliers focus with it.
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Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2022, 11:31:25 PM »
Not only that but on the batteries thread we've got a lot of information about flow batteries.  Which also work with Grid level storage.  But have few or none of the material or life issues that Li have.

BTW, Lithium is not required from the nodules.  It mainly comes from brine evaporation or rock mining.  Barring additional work on clay's which is currently in development.

We cannot point to Li batteries and nodules and say "See GH2 is a far better option".  Because so are a lot of other options.

It just so happens that the grid level storage which is going into high volume is mainly coming from Tesla and Tesla is Li based.

When the east coast of the UK became largely disconnected due to lightning and other issues, it could have been a lot worse, bar a flow battery which was sitting connected to the grid.

I agree that GH2 will have a place in a world awash with renewables which will need varying longevity of storage.  But to claim it is "far better than batteries", general, because of very specific issues with NMC batteries, is stretching the reality a bit.

But it's good right?  I agree that GH2 has a place.

Where it does not have a place is Greenwashing and that seems to be a large chunk of the energy suppliers focus with it.
I thinks its better if you move this to the GH2 thread Neil. I'll give a response there tomorrow. I'm a little bit tired now, and ready to go to bed.

I don't have a real problem with batteries. I should have been more specific in saying that I'm against Lithium Ion batteries. I thought everyone understood that. But I guess I should have been more clear about that. My bad...

But like I said, lets continue that discussion on the GH2 thread tomorrow. Time to go zzz now...
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Human Habitat Index

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2022, 06:49:54 AM »
Hemp – batteries

With over 50,000 uses for the hemp plant claimed it may come as no surprise that none of the plant need go to waste. Researchers are using so called waste fibres and fines from the decortication of the stem to create lower-cost energy storage.

Alternet Systems, a company dedicated to energy storage and EV tech, has purchased land in New York to grow and process hemp as a component in supercapacitors, a form of energy storage that can be charged much faster than lithium-ion or any other type of battery.

https://ihempwa.org/batteries/
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kassy

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2022, 04:33:53 PM »
Well Freegrass there is a green alternative.  ;)
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2022, 04:44:39 PM »
Well Freegrass there is a green alternative.  ;)
I would almost get excited to see them go up in flames... 🤣

Quote
By heating the hemp bast for 24 hours at 350 F, then adding even more heat afterwards, Mitlin found they can turn the bast into carbon nanosheets, just like the conventional graphene nanosheets. In a 2014 interview with American Chemical Society, Mitlin noted: “We’re past the proof-of-principle stage for the fully functional supercapacitor,” he says. “Now we’re gearing up for small-scale manufacturing.”
Quote
supercapacitors have been left on the sideline due to their extremely high cost and their low energy density. While lithium-ion batteries can hold 100 to 200 watt-hours of electricity per kilogram, supercapacitors can only hold about 5 watt-hours per kg.

This makes supercapacitors worthless as energy storage for renewable systems, as they can’t hold enough energy to really be useful. However, in situations where short bursts of high energy are needed, supercapacitors are the perfect fit. For example, supercapacitors in hybrid buses equipped with regenerative braking are able to quickly harness that energy produced during braking, then immediately release it seconds later to help the hybrid bus accelerate.

Cannabis truly is an amazing plant... :)
Thanks for that HHI!
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Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2023, 06:34:54 AM »
A pretty good documentary on the exploitation of cobalt miners in Congo. It starts all the way back in the days with our Belgian King Leopold II. Definitely worth your time! It's also a good new YouTube channel that I just found.

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2023, 07:50:31 PM »
x-post on elect gen thread


A once-shuttered California mine is trying to transform the rare-earth industry
A U.S.-based rare earth supply chain could boost clean energy and electric vehicles — and military weapons.

https://grist.org/energy/a-once-shuttered-california-mine-is-trying-to-transform-the-rare-earth-industry/


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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2023, 01:24:39 AM »
Iron Nitrides: Powerful Magnets Without The Rare Earth Elements   2022


What happens is that the nitrogen atoms get incorporated into the interstitial space of the crystal, elongating one side. This asymmetry is similar to the tetragonal crystal structure of neodymium magnets. Coupled with the ferromagnetic properties of iron, the result is a strongly magnetizable alloy without the need for rare-earth metals.
(snip)
Low-temperature nitridation is also possible, using iron oxide nanoparticles as a starting material. In this method, the particles are treated with ammonia gas to get the nitrogen into the crystal structure. Alternatively, iron oxide can be mixed with ammonium nitrate in a planetary ball mill; after a few days of milling at 600 rpm, the stainless steel balls decompose the ammonium nitrate into elemental nitrogen, which diffuses into the iron nanoparticles. The resulting α”-Fe16N2 is then separated by magnet and can be formed into solid shapes. This method seems like it would easily scale up to an industrial process.

https://hackaday.com/2022/09/01/iron-nitrides-powerful-magnets-without-the-rare-earth-elements/


doi:10.1098/rspa.1951.0155

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2023, 10:52:39 PM »
China imposes export controls on rare minerals used to make semiconductor chips

Beginning Aug. 1., the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said exports of the metals germanium and gallium will be allowed only if exporters secure licenses from the ministry, a move it called essential to “protect national security and interests.”

Although the ministry did not go into detail about the reasons for the new restrictions, an editorial in the state-owned China Daily following the announcement blasted the Netherlands for its export controls on semiconductor components.

The editorial also noted that the U.S. is home to the largest germanium mines in the world but “seldom exploits them.” Russia, Belgium and Canada also produce germanium, while Russia, Ukraine, Japan and South Korea also produce gallium.

China leads the world in total production of both metals. The country produces about 650,000 kilograms of gallium per year, about 94 percent of global production. The nation has been dramatically increasing production since 2019, when environmental measures curtailed the use of similar metals.

The U.S., by contrast, has no current domestic source of the metal, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. China was also the largest germanium producer as of 2021, producing about 95 metric tons."

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/4079680-china-imposes-export-controls-on-rare-minerals-used-to-make-semiconductor-chips/

Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2023, 03:44:46 AM »
Why should anyone be talking about mining rare-earth and other minerals? Not important, right?
Who cares... I buy all my clean energy stuff in the store...
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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2023, 10:54:12 PM »
(Looks like Bidens stop in Vietnam was really more about blocking China dominance than we suspected with the proffer of the F-16s.)


Inside Vietnam's plans to dent China's rare earths dominance

(...)
Still, rare earths at Dong Pao are relatively easy to access and are mostly concentrated in bastnaesite ores, according to the Hanoi University of Mining and Geology.

These are typically rich in cerium, used in flat screens, and lanthanides, such as praseodymium and neodymium, which go into magnets.

Tuan said VTRE hoped to win a concession that would allow it to extract about 10,000 metric tons of rare-earth oxide (REO) equivalent a year, roughly one-third of the mine's expected annual output. Production could start around the end of 2024, he said.

That would put Dong Pao's output slightly below that of California's Mountain Pass, one of the world's largest mines, which produced 43,000 metric tons of REO equivalent in 2022, according to the USGS.

Vietnam also plans to develop additional mines. In July, Hanoi set a target to produce up to 60,000 tons of REO equivalent a year by 2030. China set a domestic quota of 210,000 tons last year.

Those goals would see Vietnam producing 5% to 15% of China's projected output by the decade's end, said David Merriman, a research analyst at consultancy Project Blue, who expects China to increase production over that period.

Vietnam's targets were "ambitious, though they are not entirely out of the question", he said.
U.S. ENCOURAGEMENT

The U.S. agreed during Biden's visit to help Vietnam better map its rare-earths resources and "attract quality investment", according to a White House fact sheet, a move that could encourage U.S. investors to bid for Vietnam's new concessions.

Reuters could not determine whether concrete plans involving U.S. investors exist at this stage. Officials at the U.S. embassy in Hanoi, the White House and Department of Commerce did not reply to requests for comment.

https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/inside-vietnams-plans-dent-chinas-rare-earths-dominance-2023-09-25/

morganism

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #28 on: September 30, 2023, 02:12:20 AM »
France taps nuclear know-how to recycle electric car batteries

Bagnols-Sur-Ceze, France (AFP) Sept 27, 2023

In the cradle of France's atomic programme, researchers are using their nuclear know-how for a key project in the country's energy transition: recycling the raw materials in old electric car batteries, solar panels and wind turbines.

The European Union has made building up its recycling capacity a key part of its strategy to become less reliant on Asia for critical metals such as lithium, nickel and silver.

The 27-nation bloc is trying to close the gap with China, which already recycles car batteries and has its own massive reserves of raw materials and refining capacity.

Reusing old components could help countries such as France, which do not have mines and rely on imports, narrow the gap.

The French atomic and alternative energy commission (CEA) is using its research facility in the southern centre of Marcoule to find ways to recycle the components used for clean technologies.

The sprawling campus, where France's nuclear weapons and energy programmes were born, is so sensitive that images of its location are blurred out or pixelated on Google Maps.

But the CEA gave reporters a rare tour to show off its recycling work ahead of a conference on critical metals to be hosted by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris on Thursday.

Many of the techniques used by Marcoule researchers come from their knowhow in recycling nuclear waste, an area in which France is a world leader.

The goal is to recover the materials and use them on an industrial scale, said Richard Laucournet, head of the new materials department at the CEA centre.

"We are looking at how to store, convert and transport electricity, and how to make the energy transition efficient," said Laucournet.

"Thanks to the simulation tools developed here, we can reprocess rare earths from magnets."

- Black mass -

In one lab, researchers peer into a metre-thick window as they operate large, bike handle-like robotic arms to cut out irradiated fuel rods.

The alloy sections are placed in hot acid solutions to make the metal dissolve. Afterwards it can be extracted again via the use of organic solvents and decanters.

The process can recover lithium, nickel, cobalt and graphite from the black mass that comes from crushing the automobile electric battery cells.

Researchers say the technique developed at Marcoule will be useful for recycling fuels from future fourth-generation nuclear reactors as well as rare earths from magnets.

This technology is all the more useful since there is "no real magnet recycling sector" in the world except scrap in Asia, said Laucournet.

Another technique at the centre is to use carbon dioxide to detach and inflate solar panel cells, allowing the recovery of silicon and the silver contained inside.

For wind turbine blades, the CEA is applying the same process with "supercritical water" that it has been working on for 20 years in a bid to remove radioactivity from metals in a liquid state.

Supercritical water at very high temperature and high pressure has the power to penetrate inside the materials and to break the polymer chains of the fibreglass or carbon composites that make up wind turbine blades and hydrogen tanks.

- Nuclear waste -

The CEA is also working on the possibility of extracting critical rare materials from radioactive waste.

"It contains very rare and very expensive metals, generated by the nuclear reaction itself," including palladium, rhodium or ruthenium, said Philippe Prene, circular economy manager for low-carbon energies at the CEA.

The materials include palladium, rhodium and ruthenium, all of which can be used as catalysts in the electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen.

"We started studies to extract them and it works," Prene said.

He added that recycled materials could one day account for 35 percent of Europe's needs to become self-sufficient to make batteries.

But he warned that "in no case" will such recycling make France and Europe completely self-reliant.

https://www.energy-daily.com/reports/France_taps_nuclear_know-how_to_recycle_electric_car_batteries_999.html

morganism

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2024, 08:38:44 PM »
Iron extracted from hazardous waste of aluminium production

Millions of tonnes of ‘red mud’, a hazardous waste of aluminium production, are generated annually. A potentially sustainable process for treating this mud shows that it could become a source of iron for making steel.

Steel and aluminium are the world’s most-produced metals1, but both have high environmental costs. The production of steel requires a fossil fuel (coal) and generates approximately 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide per tonne of steel2. Aluminium production generates 2–4 tonnes of environmentally problematic waste per tonne of aluminium...
(paywalled)

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-024-00071-2?error=cookies_not_supported&code=b77d72d4-6e6f-4db8-accb-552dab85fed5

Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2024, 10:25:25 PM »
Pretty good comprehensive video from Rosie about mining and its emissions.

When factual science is in conflict with our beliefs or traditions, we cuddle up in our own delusional fantasy where everything starts making sense again.

morganism

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #31 on: March 18, 2024, 10:36:50 PM »
(gotta love LowTech magazine, always intriguing and fab gardening tech too..)

 How to Escape From the Iron Age?

We cannot lower carbon emissions if we keep producing steel with fossil fuels.

(...)
The massive presence of steel in industrial society is not so obvious.5 At home, we find several steel appliances such as the refrigerator, washing machine, water boiler, bathtub, and cooking, heating, and cooling appliances. However, only 2-3% of total steel production ends up in domestic appliances.678 Outdoors, there’s a lot of steel in the form of vehicles. These are especially passenger cars that use around 10% of all steel globally (20% in rich countries). Busses, trucks, trains, and ships add another 4-5%. Altogether that is still less than 20% of the global steel output.

    Most steel is embedded in other materials, located underground, or far away from residential areas.

Most steel is embedded in other materials, located underground, or far away from residential areas. More than half of global steel production goes into construction, which includes buildings (residential, commercial, industrial) and infrastructures (bridges, tunnels, harbors, canals, runways, oil rigs, refineries, pipelines, power plants, transmission lines, railways, subways, and so on). Much of that steel is embedded in concrete. Reinforced concrete is the world’s primary building material, and concrete is the only material that can match the output of steel (1,819 Mt in 2021).

Roughly 15% of global steel production serves to make machinery, including machine tools, industrial equipment, electrical hardware, and construction, mining, and farming machines. Even products made of other materials – such as other metals, plastics, and wood – are shaped by steel tools.5 The final 15% of steel production ends up in a variety of objects, from screws over food packaging to furniture and shipping containers.
(snip)
However, despite all these advantages, the global iron and steel industry consumes more energy and produces more carbon emissions than any other industry. The total primary energy use of crude steel production was 39 exajoules (EJ) in 2021, which corresponds to 7% of all energy used worldwide in that year (595 EJ). The greenhouse gas emissions are even higher because around 75% of energy use comes from coal – the fuel with the highest carbon emissions. In 2021, the iron and steel industry produced 3.3 Gt of carbon emissions, roughly 9% of global emissions (36.3 Gt).12 The concrete industry follows closely with 8% of global emissions.

The estimates above come from the World Steel Association and the International Energy Agency. These data are available for all metals and have been documented over a long period, allowing for historical comparisons. However, they only refer to the smelting of the metal. They do not include the energy use and carbon emissions for mining and transporting iron ore, coal, limestone, scrap, and steel products. Nor do they include the energy and emissions for coke production and ore preparation – all essential to the steel production process.7

Scientific studies that have set wider boundaries for the iron and steel industry conclude that the energy cost of steel production increases by 50% to 100%.13 One report concludes that the methane emissions from metallurgical coal mining alone could increase emissions by 27%. Another study estimates that seaborne transport of iron ore and steel adds 10-15% extra emissions.1415 Iron and steel production also create other environmental problems, such as high water use, solid waste production, and significant air and water pollution.

The carbon footprint of the iron and steel industry is incompatible with current ambitions to eliminate net carbon emissions by 2050, even less so because steel production is very likely to expand further. Steel production grew tenfold since 1950 and doubled between 2000 and 2020, growing faster than many researchers had predicted.16 Furthermore, efficiency gains have decreased, and there is a scientific consensus that current technologies have reached their thermodynamic limits.7917 During the last two decades, the average energy use for the production of 1 ton of steel has remained around 20 GJ/t
(more)

https://solar.lowtechmagazine.com/2024/03/how-to-escape-from-the-iron-age/

(can research the use of bamboo for structural concrete strengthening- replacement of rebar)

morganism

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #32 on: March 22, 2024, 10:35:57 PM »
The Feds Are Trying to Get Plants to Mine Metal Through Their Roots

Some species can absorb extreme amounts of nickel from soils. Such “phytomining” could help provide batteries essential for the renewable revolution.

Of the 350,000 known plant species, just 750 are “hyperaccumulators” that readily absorb sky-high amounts of metals and incorporate them into their tissues. Grow a bunch of the European plant Alyssum bertolonii or the tropical Phyllanthus rufuschaneyi and burn the biomass, and you end up with ash that’s loaded with nickel.

“In soil that contains roughly 5 percent nickel—that is pretty contaminated—you’re going to get an ash that’s about 25 to 50 percent nickel after you burn it down,” says Dave McNear, a rhizosphere biogeochemist at the University of Kentucky. “In comparison, where you mine it from the ground, from rock, that has about .02 percent nickel. So you are several orders of magnitude greater in enrichment, and it has far less impurities.”

Now the US government’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, aka ARPA-E, wants in on the action. Today it’s announcing up to $10 million in funding to explore ways to use plants for extracting nickel from American soils. They’re calling the exploratory topic “Plant HYperaccumulators TO MIne Nickel-Enriched Soils,” or PHYTOMINES, encouraging partnerships between scientists, farmers, and the battery and mining industries. The idea is to find the right kind of hyperaccumulator—ideally a native North American species—that can grow quickly and suck up a lot of nickel. That could bolster the domestic supply of nickel, which the feds consider a “critical material”—an essential ingredient in the batteries that are themselves essential to the renewable revolution.
(more)

https://www.wired.com/story/the-feds-are-trying-to-get-plants-to-mine-metal-through-their-roots/

morganism

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #33 on: March 24, 2024, 11:20:18 PM »
The toxic rare earth mining industry at the heart of the global green energy transition

China has long dominated the world's supply of heavy rare earths, minerals needed to build electric vehicles and wind turbines. Demand for these products is skyrocketing as we rush to meet climate goals, but there is a problem at the root of the supply chain.

The processes used to extract heavy rare earths are highly polluting, ravaging landscapes and poisoning waterways. As concerns over the environmental toll of extraction have grown in China over the past decade, more and more domestic mines have been shut down. Yet global demand is growing rapidly, and China remains the world's largest processor.

But with many of its own mines now closed, where is China's supply of these minerals coming from?


In 2014 Myanmar exported just $1.5M of rare earths to China

By 2021 this sum had reached $780M

A six-month investigation by Global Witness followed the outsourcing of this highly toxic industry across the Chinese border into Myanmar.

There, heavy rare earth mining has exploded so quickly that within just a few years a mountainous corner of Myanmar, known as Kachin Special Region 1, has become the world's largest source of supply. This region is a semi-autonomous territory run by militias that are affiliated to Myanmar's brutal military regime. The mining is illegal under Myanmar's laws, and hardly exists on paper.

Yet the damage that global demand for products manufactured by international companies is fuelling in this remote, lawless part of the world is all too real for the communities who are now risking their lives to defend their land.

https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/natural-resource-governance/myanmars-poisoned-mountains/

(snip)
Zau's job is to remove vegetation and drill holes into the mountains. Then ammonium sulphate solution is injected into the holes, effectively liquefying the earth. Once the chemicals have percolated through the mountainside, the solution is drained into bright blue collection pools, where minerals are precipitated out in a process called in-situ leaching.

After this mountain has been leached, Zau and his colleagues will abandon the contaminated site, moving to the next place and starting all over again.

vox_mundi

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #34 on: May 15, 2024, 11:30:23 PM »
Peak Copper: Report Shows Copper Can't Be Mined Fast Enough to Electrify the US
https://techxplore.com/news/2024-05-copper-fast-electrify.html

Copper cannot be mined quickly enough to keep up with current U.S. policy guidelines to transition the country's electricity and vehicle infrastructure to renewable energy, according to a University of Michigan study.

The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in 2022, calls for 100% of cars manufactured to be electric vehicles by 2035. But an electric vehicle requires three to five times as much copper as an internal combustion engine vehicle—not to mention the copper required for upgrades to the electric grid.

"A normal Honda Accord needs about 40 pounds of copper. The same battery electric Honda Accord needs almost 200 pounds of copper. Onshore wind turbines require about 10 tons of copper, and in offshore wind turbines, that amount can more than double," said Adam Simon, U-M professor of earth and environmental studies.

"We show in the paper that the amount of copper needed is essentially impossible for mining companies to produce."



The study examined 120 years of global data from copper mining companies, and calculated how much copper the U.S. electricity infrastructure and fleet of cars would need to upgrade to renewable energy. It found that renewable energy's copper needs would outstrip what copper mines can produce at the current rate. The study, led by Simon and Cornell University researcher Lawrence Cathles, was published by the International Energy Forum and discussed in a webinar, "Copper mining and vehicle electrification."

Copper is mined by more than 100 companies operating mines on six continents. The researchers drew data for global copper production back to the year 1900, which told them the global amount of copper mining companies had produced over 120 years. They then modeled how much copper mining companies are likely to produce for the rest of the century.

The researchers found that between 2018 and 2050, the world will need to mine 115% more copper than has been mined in all of human history up until 2018 just to meet "business as usual." This would meet our current copper needs and support the developing world without considering the green energy transition.

To meet the copper needs of electrifying the global vehicle fleet, as many as six new large copper mines must be brought online annually over the next several decades. About 40% of the production from new mines will be required for electric vehicle-related grid upgrades.

Copper Mining and Vehicle Electrification, IEF, (2024)
https://www.ief.org/focus/ief-reports/copper-mining-and-vehicle-electrification

-------------------------------------------------



« Last Edit: May 16, 2024, 12:36:20 AM by vox_mundi »
There are 3 classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus

Sigmetnow

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2024, 03:16:09 PM »
Peak Copper: Report Shows Copper Can't Be Mined Fast Enough to Electrify the US

"A normal Honda Accord needs about 40 pounds of copper. The same battery electric Honda Accord needs almost 200 pounds of copper.“

Reducing copper requirements in vehicles
 
Cybertruck tech advances:  Tesla reduced total wiring by 77% and copper by 1/2 by introducing full 48 Volt architecture, plus Ethernet power + data connections through the CAN bus.
The auto industry has wanted to make the switch to 48V for decades, but couldn’t get their suppliers to do it. Now, they’ll have to.
 
An entertaining explanation begins at 9:25 in this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6WDq0V5oBg&feature=youtu.be

 
All this and more at:
https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,3286.msg389088.html#msg389088

Below:
- Copper wiring in a normal ICE car.
- Copper in a Cybertruck
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

vox_mundi

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2024, 12:24:55 PM »
Energy Transition Risks Critical Mineral Shortage: IEA
https://www.iea.org/news/sharp-declines-in-critical-mineral-prices-mask-risks-of-future-supply-strains-as-energy-transitions-advance

The sharp drop in prices for minerals critical to the green energy transition is masking a looming shortage due to inadequate investment, the International Energy Agency said Friday.

In its second annual review of the market for such critical materials, the IEA noted prices for minerals key for electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels fell back to pre-pandemic levels as supplies caught up with and surpassed demand.

Global Critical Minerals Outlook 2024 Report: https://www.iea.org/reports/global-critical-minerals-outlook-2024

While the price drops are good news for consumers, the Paris-based agency expressed concern it will deter investment needed to meet demand, which is set to soar as many nations try to phase out sales of new internal combustion engine cars in the next decade.

Detailed project-by-project analysis suggests that announced projects are sufficient to meet only 70% of copper and 50% of lithium requirements in 2035 in a scenario in which countries worldwide meet their national climate goals.

Both metals are key for manufacturing electric vehicles.

Lithium and copper are the most vulnerable to supply and volume risks, while graphite, cobalt, rare earths and nickel face more substantial geopolitical risks. For graphite in particular, today’s project pipeline indicates that the available supply outside of the dominant player meets only 10% of the requirements in 2030, making announced diversification goals highly challenging to achieve. Most minerals are exposed to high environmental risks.

... Some $800 billion of investment in mining is required between now and 2040 to get on track for a 1.5 °C scenario. Without the strong uptake of recycling and reuse, mining capital requirements would need to be one-third higher.

... But representatives of local communities warned the rush for critical minerals was already inflicting "serious costs" on indigenous people and their traditional lands, said Galina Angarova of the Buryat ethnic group from Siberia.

"If we continue down the current path, we risk building the destruction of nature, biodiversity, and human rights" into the economy-wide shift away from fossil fuels, she told reporters.
There are 3 classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus

Sigmetnow

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #37 on: May 17, 2024, 03:45:33 PM »
Energy Transition Risks Critical Mineral Shortage: IEA

Cheaper clean energy and increased robotic labor will massively increase recycling, which, being cheaper than mining and a better source of already-processed materials, will be the preferred supply. 

Any material in limited supply invites competition to find other products to replace it.

Tesla Co-Founder JB Straubel Built an EV Battery Colossus to Rival China
https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,2686.msg399295.html#msg399295
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

vox_mundi

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #38 on: May 30, 2024, 08:57:10 PM »
Research Reveals Scale of the EU's Dependency On Imports for Critical Minerals Needed for Green Transition
https://techxplore.com/news/2024-05-reveals-scale-eu-imports-critical.html



On 23 May, the EU's Critical Raw Materials Act comes into force. The Act is a first attempt to provide Europeans with a regulatory bedrock to develop domestic resources, diversify sourcing and strengthen the resilience of supply chains and the circularity of critical raw materials in the EU, all while striving to ensure the highest social and environmental standards.

The new rules outline three goals for the EU's annual consumption of raw materials: 10% are to originate from local extraction, 40% to be processed in the bloc and 25% to come from recycled materials. The act also claims that no more than 65% of a given mineral can be sourced from a single non-EU country. As a sign of urgency, the Act was adopted in record time—only eight months from its original publication.

In our work at the EU's Joint Research Center (JRC), we showed that in the case of many of the strategic clean energy technologies, the bloc is entirely dependent on single sources—most often China—for raw materials, and also for other segments of the value chain. Our finding that demand for rare earths will increase fivefold by 2030 to satisfy our wind turbine needs alone, was quoted by President von der Leyen when she announced the Commission's intention to introduce the Critical Raw Materials Act.

The proposed Act was published last year alongside our comprehensive forecast on critical materials supply chains and demand. Our study analyzes the supply chains of 15 technologies crucial to achieving the green and digital transitions and the EU's defense and space agenda, across five key sectors: renewables, electromobility, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), industry and aerospace & defense. The study also helped to establish the concept of strategic raw materials, and the list of materials it encompasses. Strategic raw materials fulfill some additional criteria: they are key to technologies which are strategic for the EU's energy and digital transition and its security goals; their demand is forecast to increase rapidly, perhaps outstripping supply; options for substitution are limited; and scaling up production is difficult.

The study shows a rapid, multi-fold increase in the demand for the critical raw materials which are key to the EU's green, digital and security goals. The EU relies heavily on imports for these materials. In fact, for raw materials supply, the EU share in global production is never higher than 7%.

For example, while the EU is a global leader in wind turbine production, it is fully dependent on China for the permanent magnets and the rare earth elements used in them. China is also the major world supplier for crystalline silicon solar photovoltaic cells and modules, the main technology that will be deployed to achieve the almost fivefold increase in the EU's solar PV capacity by 2030.

Raw materials are also key for hydrogen electrolysers, especially as the bloc's plan to wean itself off Russian energy imports by 2027, REPowerEU, requires a tenfold increase in electrolyser manufacturing capacity in Europe by 2025. Global shortages in materials such as iridium loom in the 2020s and 2030s, as supply is unlikely to keep pace with demand unless significant actions are taken.

We predict a rapid increase in demand for critical raw materials not only in the EU but also in all regions of the world, precipitating competition for them across countries and sectors. For example, compared to 2020, lithium demand for batteries in the EU is expected to grow 12 times as large in 2030 and 21 times as large in 2050. Globally, the surge with respect to 2020 is 18 times in 2030 and 90 times in 2050.

A similar pattern is found for graphite (natural and synthetic), which is used for components of solar and wind industries and batteries. Demand is expected to increase 14 times by 2030 and 26 times by 2050, compared to 2020

... The EU needs to monitor the supply disruption risk and to prepare for these events. Or, as Stephen King said, "we can hope for the best for as long as we are prepared for the worst."

The Act requires that stress tests are carried out for the supply chain of each strategic raw material at least every three years. These are what-if scenarios, analyzing the potential impact of severe supply disruption events and the way supply chains would react. The EU and its Member States would need to know, for example, what sectors would be affected by a potential disruption in the supply of a particular material, what shortages or price spikes might follow, and the cascading effects of those. Such stress tests are not unusual in other sectors such as banking and energy supply, and can provide useful insights into the resilience of supply chains. ...

Supply chain analysis and material demand forecast in strategic technologies and sectors in the EU – A foresight study European Commission Joint Research Center (JRC) Publications Repository
https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC132889
There are 3 classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus

morganism

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #39 on: May 30, 2024, 10:18:25 PM »
Fracking wastewater has “shocking” amount of clean-energy mineral lithium
40% of US need for lithium could be covered by Pennsylvania's fracking byproduct.

In 2007, a geoscientist at Penn State named Terry Engelder calculated that Pennsylvania could be sitting on more than 50 trillion cubic feet of accessible natural gas deposits. Engelder later revised his calculation upward, to 489 trillion cubic feet, enough to meet U.S. natural gas demand for 18 years. These massive numbers set off the fracking boom in Pennsylvania, leading to drilling across the state. Since the rush began, there have been 13,000 unconventional wells drilled in Pennsylvania.

Now, a new “astounding” calculation has caught the attention of the gas industry: A study from researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory shows the wastewater produced by Pennsylvania’s unconventional wells could contain enough lithium to meet 38 to 40 percent of current domestic consumption. Lithium is a critical mineral that’s an “essential component” of many clean energy technologies, including batteries for electric vehicles.

The study used chemical and production compliance data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to estimate that approximately 1,160 metric tons of lithium per year could be extracted from this produced water, which is a combination of fluids used for fracking and water from natural formations underground that returns to the surface during the drilling process. The lithium in Pennsylvania’s produced water likely comes from ancient volcanoes that were erupting at the time the natural gas deposits were being formed. This volcanic ash contained lithium that eventually seeped into the water underground
(more)

https://arstechnica.com/science/2024/05/fracking-wastewater-has-shocking-amount-of-clean-energy-mineral-lithium/#p3


(interesting. Along with the Salton Sea project, and debrineing of salt water, could cover most lanthinides without hard rock mining?)

morganism

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #40 on: June 02, 2024, 02:43:54 AM »
Artificial geysers can compensate for our mineral shortages
Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Take a close look at these seabed minerals! Green copper minerals are seen here precipitated in a sectioned sulphide sample, retrieved from a scientific cruise conducted by the Norwegian Offshore Directorate across the Mohns Ridge in 2020.

By imitating nature, it may be possible to recover seabed minerals by extracting hot water from the Earth's crust. We can harvest green energy and be sensitive to the environment—all at the same time.

Seabed minerals: Here's something you probably don't know. The copper found in the Norwegian mines at Røros and Løkken, and which once made the country very wealthy, was formed from smoking "chimneys" on the ocean floor.

In the Earth's remote past, this copper was carried up through the crust by seawater that had originally been drawn downwards into the scorching depths. If we humans can learn to imitate part of this process, it may be possible to apply it to sensitively recover a variety of minerals from the oceans offshore Norway.

At SINTEF, we believe that seabed minerals should only be recovered if we can develop methods that minimize any negative environmental impacts. We are now in the process of identifying one such method.

Or, in other words, of obtaining the "building blocks" being called for by the green transition. At the same time, we can obtain valuable geothermal heat that we can convert into emissions-free energy.
From the scorching depths to the deck of a platform

In the heated debate currently raging about seabed minerals, now fueled once again by WWF's recent notification to sue the Norwegian state, many people have expressed their fear of negative ecological consequences resulting from the exploitation of these resources.

At SINTEF, we believe that seabed minerals should only be recovered if we can develop methods that minimize any negative environmental impacts. We are now in the process of identifying one such method.

Our idea is to transport the mineral-rich water and bypass the process of precipitation on the seabed, recovering the minerals directly from the scorching depths in the Earth's crust from where they originate. Extraction will take place on the deck of an offshore platform.

Water heated by molten rock

Below the sea surface, some distance from land, there are several locations where so-called black smoker geysers eject mineral-rich waters brought up from the depths of the crust.

This phenomenon is the result of water first having been drawn down into fractures in the volcanic rocks of the seabed and then all the way down into the mantle, which is the layer of molten rock lying beneath the crust. Here, the water is subject to intense heat and is able to take up particles of metals and minerals. These are exactly the materials we need to make our batteries, wind turbines and electric vehicle engines.

Then, the mineral-rich water rises from the mantle, through the crust, and up to the seabed, where it is ejected from the black smoker geysers.
Electricity from steam

At SINTEF, we are working on the idea of imitating part of this process by constructing artificial geysers. Firstly, by drilling wells for sending seawater down into the mantle—and then others for transporting the mineral-rich water back to the surface.

This water will be transported in pipes up to platforms where the particles will be separated.

The pressure at the Earth's surface will cause the water to boil. Our idea is to use the steam to generate electricity, which will then be sent onshore. The revenues from selling the electricity will be used to pay for parts of the mineral recovery process.

Discovered in the 1970s

SINTEF has been here before—demonstrating that imitating nature can be a very fruitful venture. Specifically, that the properties of underwater shales are ideal for dealing with abandoned oil wells.

The phenomenon that we are seeking to imitate today—these "black smokers" on the seabed—was discovered in the 1970s in an area of the Pacific Ocean at the boundary between two tectonic plates.

Many underwater geysers of this type have been identified on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in Norwegian waters. These are locations where molten magma still occurs close to the seabed. Some of them are probably still active today.

Sulfide minerals

The smoker chimneys are made up of particles that are precipitated when the hot, mineral-rich water is ejected from the geysers into the cold seawater. Other fractions of the ejected mass of particles have sunk to the seabed, forming great mounds of gravel at the base of the chimneys.

As time passes, many of the chimneys stop ejecting. They seal up and die, tipping over onto the "piles of gravel."

These gravel piles represent the biggest and most concentrated occurrences of sulfide minerals on the seabed. The sulfide family is one of the two main groups of seabed minerals known from Norwegian oceans.

Key metals

According to the Norwegian Offshore Directorate, the natural geysers have deposited minerals containing key metals such as zinc, cobalt, nickel, vanadium, tungsten and silver. Not to mention copper, which occurs in concentrations much greater than those we encounter in mines onshore.

Our idea assumes that humans will succeed in drilling wells that can withstand the temperatures they will encounter close to bodies of molten rock. Experts are already working on this problem..

"Our concept will not be put into practice tomorrow, but it may not be too far into the future either. The timing will depend on the efforts that we are prepared to put into developing the idea. We still need more data about the subsurface, combined with some smart technological innovations.
Supply security for the green transition

If our idea succeeds, this will help the European Parliament, the Norwegian government and everyone else who is looking to safeguard supply security for the green transition.

We have great faith that our concept represents a sensitive and realistic approach to minerals recovery, and are looking forward to continuing with its development.

https://phys.org/news/2024-05-artificial-geysers-compensate-mineral-shortages.html

morganism

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2024, 11:59:33 PM »
A cracking discovery: Eggshell waste can recover rare earth elements needed for green energ

A collaborative team of researchers has made a cracking discovery with the potential to make a significant impact in the sustainable recovery of rare earth elements (REEs), which are in increasing demand for use in green energy technologies. The team found that humble eggshell waste could recover REES from water, offering a new, environmentally friendly method for their extraction.

REEs, which are essential for the technologies used in electric cars and wind turbines, for example, are in increasing demand but in relatively short supply. As a result, scientists must find new ways of extracting them from the environment—and in sustainable ways, with current methods often harmful.

Here, the researchers discovered that calcium carbonate (calcite) in eggshells can effectively absorb and separate these valuable REEs from water.

The researchers placed eggshells in solutions containing REEs at various temperatures from a pleasant 25°C to a scorching 205°C, and for different time periods of up to three months. They found that the elements could enter the eggshells via diffusion along the calcite boundaries and the organic matrix, and, at higher temperatures, that the rare earth built new minerals on the eggshell surface.

At 90°C, the eggshell surface helped recover formations of a rare earth compound called kozoite. As things got hotter, the eggshells underwent a complete transformation with the calcite shells dissolving and being replaced by polycrystalline kozoite. And at the highest temperature of 205°C, this mineral gradually transitioned into bastnasite, the stable rare earth carbonate mineral that is used by industry to extract REEs for technology applications.

This innovative method suggests that waste eggshells could be repurposed as a low-cost, eco-friendly material to help meet the growing demand for REES, as the eggshells trap distinct rare earths within their structure over time.

Lead author Dr. Remi Rateau says, "This study presents a potential innovative use of waste material that not only offers a sustainable solution to the problem of rare earth element recovery but also aligns with the principles of circular economy and waste valorization."

Principal Investigator, Prof. Juan Diego Rodriguez-Blanco, emphasized the broader implications of the findings, adding, "By transforming eggshell waste into a valuable resource for rare earth recovery, we address critical environmental concerns associated with traditional extraction methods and contribute to the development of greener technologies."

https://phys.org/news/2024-06-discovery-eggshell-recover-rare-earth.html


Utilization of Eggshell Waste Calcite as a Sorbent for Rare Earth Element Recovery, ACS Omega (2024)

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsomega.4c00931

morganism

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #42 on: July 13, 2024, 04:06:03 AM »
Mining rare earth metals from electronic waste

ETH researchers are developing a process inspired by nature that efficiently recovers europium from old fluorescent lamps. The approach could lead to the long-awaited recycling of rare earth metals.

In brief

    A small molecule that naturally serves as a binding site for metals in enzymes also proves useful for separating certain rare earth metals from each other.
    In a proof of concept, the process extracts europium directly from fluorescent powder in used energy-saving lamps in much higher quantities than existing methods.
    The researchers are now working on expanding their approach to other rare earth metals. They are in the process of founding a start-up to put the recycling of these raw materials into practice.

(...)
Inspired by nature

Marie Perrin, a doctoral student in Mougel's group and first author of the study, explains: "Existing separation methods are based on hundreds of liquid-liquid extraction steps and are inefficient – the recycling of europium has so far been impractical." In their study, they show how a simple inorganic reagent can significantly improve separation. "This allows us to obtain europium in a few simple steps – and in quantities that are at least 50 times higher than with previous separation methods," says Perrin.

The key to this technique can be found in small inorganic molecules featuring four sulphur atoms around tungsten or molybdenum: tetrathiometallates. The researchers were inspired by the world of proteins. Tetrathiometallates are found as a binding site for metals in natural enzymes and are used as active substances against cancer and copper metabolism disorders.

For the first time, tetrathiometallates are now also being used as ligands for the separation of rare earth metals. Their unique redox properties come into play here, reducing europium to its unusual divalent state and thus simplifying separation from the other trivalent rare earth metals.

"The principle is so efficient and robust that we can apply it directly to used fluorescent lamps without the usual pre-treatment steps," says Mougel.

The researchers have patented their technology and are in the process of founding a start-up called REEcover to commercialise it in the future. They are currently working on adapting the separation process for other rare earth metals such as neodymium and dysprosium, which are found in magnets. If this is successful, Marie Perrin wants to build up the start-up after her doctorate and establish the recycling of rare earth metals in practice.

https://ethz.ch/en/news-and-events/eth-news/news/2024/07/mining-rare-earth-metals-from-electronic-waste.html

.....

Recovery of europium from E-waste using redox active tetrathiotungstate ligands

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-024-48733-z

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-024-48733-z.pdf


In the present work, we aimed to explore the use of fully inorganic, redox non-innocent ligands that could be triggered by an external stimuli to induce Eu(III) reduction and subsequent separation from complex lanthanide mixtures (Fig. 1a). The redox-non innocence of ligands is a widely observed phenomenon in enzymatic systems, and has been shown to enable kinetically controlled separation of REEs. Inspired by the redox-non innocence of sulfur-containing ligands observed in a large number of metalloenzymes and metallocofactors, we targeted here the investigation of redox non innocent sulfur-containing ligands for rare earth complexes. Sulfur claims a special role in ligand redox non-innocence thanks to its unique redox properties: reduced sulfide ions (S2−), are reasonably strong reducing agents, which can convert to disulfide (S22−) or elemental sulfur while concurrently reducing the metal center they coordinate21. These redox properties can be enhanced by a synergistic interaction with the ligands incorporating these sulfur ions, or the metal centers they coordinate. A unique example of a strong redox interplay between sulfur and metal centers is provided by tetrathiometallates anions of early transition metals (MS42− with M = V(V), Mo(VI), W(VI), Re(VII)). These fully oxidized d0 metal centers can nevertheless act as strong reducing agents in the presence of an external oxidizing agent22. Such counter-intuitive reactions, where an oxidation triggers a reduction, are named induced internal electron transfers (IIET) or redox-induced electron transfers. In the present case, it has been proposed that the oxidation of one sulfide of the tetrathiometallate induces the formation of S22− by oxidation of a second sulfide ligand, concomitantly resulting in the reduction of the metal center. In addition to their redox properties, tetrathiometallates display a very versatile coordination chemistry and can bind to other metal centers via bridging sulfide ions, stabilizing low-valent transition metals. But despite the very rich coordination chemistry of these ligands, we identified only two reports involving REEs, both combining tetrathiometallates with lanthanocene precursors
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