July 2020
Volume 72    Issue 7

Misconceptions, dreams and realities in the high-stakes game of rare earths

Mining Engineering , 2020, Vol. 72, No. 7, pp. 100-100
Theng, Chee


Following its funding opportunity announcement late last year for rare earth element (REE) separation and processing, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) granted initial funding to two projects to establish heavy-REE separation facilities in the country. Both awards, however, appear to have been put on hold after concerns were raised by U.S. senators.

MP Materials said on April 22 that the DoD’s phase 1 funding would support detailed planning and design for a U.S.-based facility, with further awards for commercial-scale production possible based on the results. The company, which owns and operates Mountain Pass Mine in California, the only REE mining and processing facility in North America, is 9.9 percent owned by a Chinese company, Shenghe Resources Holding Co. Ltd.

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