WSJ: If You Want ‘Renewable Energy,’ Get Ready to Dig
A single electric-car battery weighs about 1,000 pounds. Fabricating one requires digging up, moving and processing more than 500,000 pounds of raw materials somewhere on the planet. The alternative? Use gasoline and extract one-tenth as much total tonnage to deliver the same number of vehicle-miles over the battery’s seven-year life.
When electricity comes from wind or solar machines, every unit of energy produced, or mile traveled, requires far more materials and land than fossil fuels. That physical reality is literally visible: A wind or solar farm stretching to the horizon can be replaced by a handful of gas-fired turbines, each no bigger than a tractor-trailer.
Building one wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of nonrecyclable plastic. Solar power requires even more cement, steel and glass—not to mention other metals. Global silver and indium mining will jump 250% and 1,200% respectively over the next couple of decades to provide the materials necessary to build the number of solar panels, the International Energy Agency forecasts. World demand for rare-earth elements—which aren’t rare but are rarely mined in America—will rise 300% to 1,000% by 2050 to meet the Paris green goals. If electric vehicles replace conventional cars, demand for cobalt and lithium, will rise more than 20-fold. That doesn’t count batteries to back up wind and solar grids.
3 thoughts on “Any Rare Earths Under There?”
That’s a good question. I just emailed my brother who actually is a geologist. Granted he looks for precious metals around the world. He’s going to send me some research later. Says rare earth metals are probably not in abundance.
“Yes there might be rare earths but probably not. Let me send you something later today from an exploration geo posting on LinkedIn for Texas rate earths!”
Will share what he finds.
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so yes….? maybe?
My brother replied, “This is from a geo on linkin that studies REE and yes there is REE in Texas but not that great of a source. The only commercial quantity of REE is In California at mountain pass owned by molycorp.”
but he did share this
Michael Thomsen – Chairman of Taiex Ltd and Caribbean Minerals Ltd
MINERAL EXPLORATION MUSINGS – Gold and Rare Earths in Texas? Tejas, oh, Tejas, the Republic of Texas … Are you now becoming a metals focused State? First the Texas Bullion Depository is to be built for gold bullion storage outside of Austin … then the Lynas-Blue Line Corp joint venture is to build a Rare Earth Element processing facility outside of San Antonio. Gold and Rare Earths … what a great and timely combination. But did you know that nearby in Williamson County, there is an old and obscure Au-Ag prospecting area that the Spanish dug up hundreds of years ago … and some of those diggings are still visible today? As I recall (from my evaluation of that gold occurrence many years ago) the mineralization was associated with ferruginous clay fault zones in Cretaceous carbonates. There were pits all over the place that were overgrown with trees. I’ve always found this mineralization to be interesting but never had the opportunity to follow up. And then you have all of those old gold occurrences in the greater Balcones Fault Zone associated with numerous intrusive plugs forced up into that structural system. Gold, Rare Earths, and now a Cappuccino … what a combination!
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I’ve studied the political and environmental issues around rare earths a lot. I’m not a PHD or specialist in the area, but I can tell you that there are several concerns capping US production:
China has better geology, and fewer environmental laws related to rare earths. It’s much cheaper to extract and refine in China.
Mines can take decades to explore, develop, and bring online. By then, the rare earth you’re mining may not be the one we need.
Thorium regulations are the concern in the USA. Read Jim Kennedy for more info. http://threeconsulting.com/who.html
There are two wonderful books on the subject:
Molycorp failed for lots of reasons. It was viewed as a national security asset, but got in bed with China, negating the benefit.
Anyway, it’s a pipe dream. China has the world by the balls on this one. The trade war is about this, no matter what anyone says.
The US Government sold us down the river on this. Kennedy sounded the alarm and was ignored, even in face to face meetings with pretty much everyone in Washington that could fix it.
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