US rare-earth mine reopened as DOE plans for shortages
By John Timmer | ARS Technica

Right now, the majority of rare-earth metals are mined in China, but the country has been running up against limits to its ability to supply both itself and its trading partners. The Chinese government has made it clear that it considers its own industry the top priority, and has even hinted at using its supplies as a diplomatic weapon. All of that has rekindled interest in US domestic production. That interest has now been highlighted by the first reopening of a US mine, an event that came on the heels of a Department of Energy study that rates five rare-earth elements as likely to face supply disruptions within the next five years. 

The reopening of a California mine may become a more common event. In the face of cheap supplies from China and environmental issues, the mine shut down in 2002. The economic equation changed as the supply dwindled and prices went up; it now apparently makes sense to update and reopen the mine. 

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