A rare earths supply chain outside China? It exists in the United States and Alex King has proof on his desk in the form of neodymium-iron-boron magnets, an all-American achievement from mine to finished product.
But the Critical Materials Institute director says it’s up to manufacturers to take this pilot project to an industry-wide scale. Meanwhile the CMI looks back on its first five years of successful research while preparing future projects to help supply the stuff of modern life.
The CMI’s genesis came in the wake of crisis. China’s 2010 ban on rare earths exports to Japan abruptly destroyed non-Chinese supply chains. As other countries began developing their own deposits, China changed tactics to flood the market with relatively cheap output.
Since then the country has held the rest of the world dependent, producing upwards of 90% of global production for these metals considered essential to energy, defence and the overall economy.
That scenario prompted U.S. Congress to create the CMI in 2013, as one of four Department of Energy innovation hubs. Involving four national laboratories, seven universities, about a dozen corporations and roughly 350 researchers, the interdisciplinary group gets US$25 million a year and “a considerable amount of freedom” to pursue its mandate, King says.
For the rest of this article: http://resourceclips.com/2018/03/23/can%E2%80%99t-live-without-them/