Background

The 17 natural elements collectively known as “Rare Earth” are vital to many U.S. manufacturing sectors, including advanced energy, electronics, automotive, medical, and defense. As such, these natural resources play an important role in innovation, economic growth, and national security. However, sourcing issues surrounding rare earth minerals coupled with diminishing amounts of other elements have created grave concerns over finite supplies.

The question at hand is this: What can we do as a nation to strategically and responsibly secure and manage the raw materials needed to continue to innovate and grow economically?

A patchwork of groups from the federal government, academia, and industry are currently studying the rare earth supply situation. EWI, the not-for-profit, North American thought leader in advanced materials joining technologies for government and industry, has reached out to these groups to create a cohesive framework for a national conversation.

On February 24, 2011, EWI hosted a roundtable discussion on The “Rare Earth” Situation: Managing Impacts on Innovation and Manufacturing with important representatives from these various groups. By providing a collaborative forum for public/private subject matter experts, the goal is to help move this national issue closer to resolution. Topics for discussion included:

  • Managing risk in the strategic materials supply chain
  • Substitution, repurposing and recycling of materials for manufacturing
  • Developing replacement materials
  • Identifying national educational needs

Materials/Information

Rare Earths – What They Are and Major Industrial Uses

1. Rare Earth Elements: The Global Supply Chain, Congressional Research Service, Marc Humphries, September 30, 2010.
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Supply, Demand, and Criticality
 
2. 2010 Critical Materials Strategy Summary – Department of Energy.
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3. U.S. Department of Energy, Critical Materials Strategy, December 2010.
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U.S. Defense Applications for Rare Earths
 
4. Rare Earths In Selected U.S. Defense Applications, James B. Hedrick, U.S. Geological Survey, 983 National Center, Reston, VA 20192, 40th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals, May 2-7, 2004.
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5. Rare-Earth Industry Overview & Defense Applications, James B. Hedrick, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, 18 February 2005, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.
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6. Rare Earth Materials in the Defense Supply Chain, GAO Briefing for Congressional Committees, April 1, 2010.
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Locations of Rare Earth Deposits and Resources
 
7. The Principal Rare Earth Elements Deposits of the United States—A Summary of Domestic Deposits and a Global Perspective, Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5220, Keith R. Long, Bradley S. Van Gosen, Nora K. Foley, and Daniel Cordier, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.
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8. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 087-02 2002.
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Insights to China’s Rare Earth Strategies
 
9. China’s Rare Earth Elements Industry: What Can the West Learn? , Cindy Hurst, March 2010, Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS).
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Competition for Resources
 
10. Global Scramble Looms for Vital ‘Clean Energy’ Minerals, NY Times, April 12, 2010.
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11. 4 Rare Earth Elements That Will Only Get More Important, Maggie Koerth-Baker, Popular Mechanics, May 21, 2010.
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12. The Global Scramble for Energy and Mineral Resources, Vincent Matthews Ph.D., Director, Colorado Geological Survey, TMS 2010, February 14-18, 2010 – Seattle, Washington.
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13. The Rare-Earth-Metal Bottleneck, IEEE SPECTRUM, January 2010.
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Restarting U.S. Supply
 
14. Molycorp, LLC home page
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15. Molycorp and Hitachi Metals Announce Agreement to Pursue Formation of Joint Ventures to Manufacture Rare Earth Alloys and Magnets in the U.S., Business Wire, December 21, 2010.
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16. Molycorp and Sumitomo Agree to USD$130 Million Equity and Debt Investment in Molycorp in Exchange for Rare Earth Supply Agreement, Business Wire, December 10, 2010.
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17. Molycorp Secures Last of Permits Needed for Construction Start of $531 Million Rare Earth Manufacturing Supply Chain Project, Business Wire, December 13, 2010.
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U.S. National Policies and Responses
 
18. Technology And Rare Earth Metals Conference 2010, Keynote Address, David Sandalow, Assistant Secretary For Policy & International Affairs U.S. Department Of Energy, Washington, D.C., March 17, 2010.
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19. Testimony before The Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the House Committee on Science and Technology, February 10, 2010, Steven J. Duclos – Chief Scientist and Manager, Material Sustainability, GE Global Research.
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20. The Specialty Metal Provision and the Berry Amendment: Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service, Valerie Bailey Grasso, October 5, 2010.
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U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Rare Earth Technical Program
 
21. Permanent Magnet Development for Automotive Traction Motors, 2010 DOE Vehicle Technologies Annual Merit Review, Iver E. Anderson, Ames Laboratory (USDOE), June 11, 2010, Project #APE015.
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