Seriously people, at least try to get it right

The US government has sunk $25m in to a London-based mining group that specialises in producing rare earth metals, as it attempts to loosen China’s stranglehold on the global flow of minerals like cobalt and lithium.
The investment in TechMet will go towards developing a mine in Brazil that produces nickel and cobalt – both essential ingredients for mobile phones, electric vehicles, and batteries.

Nickel and cobalt – and even lithium – are not rare earth metals. It’s like describing a book as a dance. Sure, both arts or entertainments but we do still distinguish more finely.

Rare earths are lanthanum to lutetium plus yttrium and scandium. Nowt else.

19 thoughts on “Seriously people, at least try to get it right”

  1. TechMet.co.uk appears to be a recruitment company. TechMet.ie appears to be the company they are talking about, with a contact address in Dublin. From the looks listed on the LSE but hardly London based from what I can see.

  2. To be fair, the quote doesn’t say that nickel and cobalt are rare earth metals, only that the mining company in question currently specialises in them.

  3. I stopped having any comparative advantage in the business. So, nnot much point in continuing at that point.

    I did actually track down the one great repository of it, negotiate a deal to market it, all was top notch. Then the other side pulled out at the very last moment. Seriously a pisser but that’s capitalism….

  4. Off topic but “look at me, Look at me, Look at me!” attention seeking narcissist Spud is at it again.

    “I’ve had Covid 19. It was not fun. In fact, I think it was the most ill I’ve ever felt. I was not hospitalised, but it took a month to feel right again.”

    Anyone remember when he claimed to be one of the first to have Coronavirus? His output of tedious blogs never faltered from his usual half dozen a day during that time, nor did his “and seventhly, I agree with you agreeing with me” responses.

    Anyone who has had bad dose of flu knows that you can barely get out of bed, never mind pollute the internet, so his claims are pretty pathetic.

  5. I’d always understood that the real reason for Chinese dominance of the rare earth market was the fuss made about the thorium generally found in the ore. The global dread of radioactivity means that only in a dictatorship can the stuff be readily mined.

    But perhaps you can shoot me down in flames here, Tim.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Boganboy October 5, 2020 at 10:39 am – “I’d always understood that the real reason for Chinese dominance of the rare earth market was the fuss made about the thorium generally found in the ore.”

    Some ram jet engines were built with a thorium-alloy. Not a lot but some. The Talos AA system for instance.

    They are classed as medium grade waste now. Costly to dispose of. Should have fired more of them.

  7. Thorium is certainly a problem but not a killing one. There’s a refinery in France what had to close when its thorium storage was full and they weren’t allowed any more.

    Generally speaking you wouldn’t gain licences to use the most common ore but others will be OK.

  8. This should amuse our host….

    Thorium was indeed used in aerospace, alloyed with aluminium it improves the high temperature performance, e.g. of ICBM like the Titan missile.
    The radioactivity wasn’t considered a problem in the context of the payloads: outgoing and incoming.

    It did become an issue when the Titans were re-puposed as satellite launchers: there was a famous Titan blow up at Vandenburg, and one adjacent landowner had a big legal bust up with the USAF for compensation for the radioactive ash over her ranch.

    So thorium isn’t used for this type of alloy anymore. It’s been replaced by…drum roll…scandium!

  9. Well, sorta.

    Lithium is used in those aluminium alloys. Thorium has been used in certain nickel alloys concerning some types of jet and rocket engines. Had a long conversation about disposal of bits from F something or other engines once. Not heard of it in Al alloys at least.

    Scandium has replaced lithium in many Al alloys though that’s true…..

  10. And ThNi, as I now recall, in afterburner plates of some F-somethinging. The conversation I had was about recycling them for some reason.

  11. @Boganboy I think it’s rather the cinese already have a Plan in mind to use the stuff. So they’re not too bothered by it, and simply stock it until the turnips are grown…

    And really.. qua radioactivity Thorium is about as dangerous as a toddler with one of them plastic swords…
    The problem is not with Thorium, it’s with the PanicyPants that don’t understand radioactivity and are, quite frankly, barely qualified to process oxygen. Much to the detriment of the world in general.

  12. ‘Generally speaking you wouldn’t gain licences to use the most common ore but others will be OK.’ Thanks, Tim.

    ‘Thorium is about as dangerous as a toddler with one of them plastic swords.’ Yeah, Grikath. I do remember lolling on beaches which were to be mined or had been mined for rutile. I understand that thorium is usually associated with that ore. It doesn’t seem to have done me any harm. Unless those changes from 60 years ago aren’t caused by old age!!

  13. Came across a new use for Scandium in the semiconductor business. Everyone is hot about Scandium Gallium Nitride and Scandium Aluminum Nitride. New technology for power and RF semiconductors. It is used as a dopant, so the market is only a few kilograms of ultra-pure a year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *