Pegmatites, rare earth elements and mining
rare earth elements
Pegmatites have long been a favorite place to field collect for this rockhound.I have many minerals,crystals and rocks collected from New York and New England pegmatites.Pegmatites have long played an important role in mining and industry.Pegmatites contain the large crystals of mica needed for the production of isinglass and insulators during the 1800s and early 1900s.They also contain beryl used to produce beryllium an important metal used in the aerospace industry.And tantalite and columbite used in steel alloys and in rocket and jet engines.Gems are found in pegmatites in the form of beryls aquamarine and heliodor,garnet,kunzite and rose quartz.And the rare earth elements are also found in pegmatites in the minerals Aeschynite,allanite,euxenite,fergusonite,lanthanite,monazite,polycrase and samarskite are some of the rare earth minerals found in pegmatites.many contain one ,two or more of the rare eart elements.Pegmatites with a high concentration of these rare earth minerals are mined for the rare earth elements.Rare earth elements are 17 elements often seen as REEs.Here is the list of elements
China has been the main producer and supplier of rare earth elements.They have supplied over 90% of the world supply of these elements for sometime now.Recently China has announced that exports of REEs will be cut back.This has left governments world wide looking for new sources of these elements.
Here in the USA mining companies are scrambling for new sources of these REEs.Why all the scrambling to find these rare earths?Well the REEs are called the "21st century gold".With all of the industrial and technological applications demand may soon exceed supply.
Here is a short list of some of the uses and gadgets that use these rare earth elements.Lasers,x-ray machines,MRIs,LEDs,plasma TVs,ipads,earphones,wind turbines,Electric cars,stereo speakers,metal hydride batteries,fluorescent light bulbs,hard drives,catalytic converters.Modern technology and green energy relies on these elements.The military and medicine.Cell phones,computers and touch screens.Flat screen TVs and rechargeable batteries.You visit the doctor he says you need an MRI or you make a call on the cell phone both of these activities are possible because of REEs or rare earth elements.You may have never heard of rare earth elements but you probably use something every day which uses these crucial elements.
There are several mining companies here in the USA exploring areas in California,Colorado and Nevada in hopes of starting mining operations.my hope is that they will be successful and supply new jobs and hopefully new minerals for the rockhound and mineral collecting communities.
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rare earth minerals
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