To read a newspaper article on something you know about and to finish it going, yes, he\’s got a decent grip on the subject there.
It\’s Ambrose E_P on the subject of China and rare earths. Yes, they supply 97% of the world, yes, they\’re restricting export and yes everyone\’s getting worried about it. Which is why all sorts of companies are looking for new sources. Perhaps new mines or perhaps extracting them from something which is already mined.
We\’re doing the latter and might have something interesting to say about that in a year or so.
However, if anyone wants to come and play in this sand pit in the hopes of making money I\’d advise a note of caution. There are plenty of known places where you can get mixed rare earths: ore really isn\’t the thing that\’s in short supply. It\’s being able to separate them which is the real lock that China has on the market.
And that, I think, is where someone could at least attempt to make some serious money. Designing a new method of separation. The current technology uses hundreds and, for some of them, thousands, of iterations of dissolving in acid and recrystalising. Something which either side=stepped or reduced this process would be very welcome indeed.
There are a couple of interesting ideas about how to do this out there in the ether and if anyone has a few hundred thousand they\’d like to throw at some basic research then, well, my email\’s here on the blog if you want to get in contact……