Rare Earths: USA to Tap Secondary Sources

15. February 2022 | Technologies

Pilot plant planned to recover raw materials from coal residues.

The United States wants to place the supply of critical raw materials on a broader basis. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the legacy of the coal industry, of all things, is to secure the supply of materials for future technologies. This is because the wastewater from coal mines, but above all the combustion residues of the fossil fuel, contain rare earths, among other things, which are of central importance for the production of electric cars.

The DOE now wants to tap those resources and build a plant to extract and process them. To that end, the department yesterday (Monday) issued a Request for Information on the design, construction and operation of a this facility. The request, addressed to representatives from business, government and academia, is also intended to help find a suitable location for the facility. The Appalachian region as well as Wyoming or North Dakota would be suitable locations because of the large quantities of coal waste, a ministry representative told CNN.

Construction is to be funded with $140 million from the infrastructure bill passed at the end of 2021. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2026, according to CNN, and the plant is expected to go into operation in 2028.

Photo: iStock/steved_np3

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