"The only operating rare earth mine in the United States sends all of their valuable resources to China for processing. Congress does not know this. They think this [mining] company is supplying the U.S. value chain, [and] is supplying the military. It is in-fact, the opposite. They are part of the Chinese monopoly. They're taking powder and shipping it to China, and it comes back as a magnet, or an alloy, or a bolt-on component." - Jim Kennedy
To address this issue, contact your legislators to support H.R.4883 https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr4883
Why can't Molycorp, Lynas or any other 'western' rare earth company succeed?
China's production and market advantage in Rare Earth Elements (REE) is largely the result of NRC and IAEA "Source Material" regulations with unintended consequences.
Source Material: Materials containing any ratio or combination of Thorium and Uranium above .05%. Producing or holding these materials within the regulatory threshold (.05%) requires extensive and wide-ranging licensing, storage, transportation, remediation disposal and compliance costs, including prohibitive liability and bonding issues. Consequently any potential supplier of byproduct / co-product rare earth resources that would be designated as "source material' disposes of these valuable resources to avoid liability and compliance issues.
NRC / IAEA regulations regarding "Source Material" played a key roll in undermining the economic viability of all 'western' rare earth producers and are a critical factor in China's current 'market advantage'. Producers like Molycorp and Lynas, with low Thorium deposits, can never compete with China.
Resources are abundant and available: U.S mining companies currently mine as much as 50% of global Rare Earth Elements demand every year. But these resources are diverted in tailings lakes or are redistributed back into the host ore body, due to NRC and IAEA regulations defining Monazite and other Thorium bearing rare earth resources as "Source Material".
H.R. 4883 would solve the "Thorium Problem" by creating a federally chartered multinational Thorium Energy and Industrial Products Corporation ("Thorium Bank"). Privately funded and operated, this would decouple thorium from rare earth production. The Thorium Corporation would also have Congressional Authority to develop Thorium energy systems and industrial products. Environmental regulations are not scaled back... rather this enables thorium to be stored safely & securely, rather then being treated as "waste".
H.R. 4883 thus also addresses the U.S. Weapons Systems current 100% Dependency on China for Rare Earths.
Federal Legislation governing Strategic Materials, 10 USC 2533b, does not specify rare earths, but includes metal alloys containing limited amounts of manganese, silicon, copper, or aluminum, chromium, cobalt, columbium, molybdenum, nickel, titanium, tungsten, vanadium, nickel and iron-nickel, cobalt, Titanium and Zirconium alloys. Federal Regulations require that these materials be melted in the U.S. Most of these materials are utilized in rare earth alloys, magnets and components in the defense industry.
The bill does NOT reclassify thorium. It does NOT alter current environmental protection. It simply resolves "The Thorium Problem" which cripples United States domestic rare earth mining, processing and value-adding processes.
Jim Kennedy @ IAEA: http://youtu.be/fLR39sT_bTs
Jim Kennedy interview @ TEAC6: http://youtu.be/Dih30mUexrA
Jim Kennedy Talk @ TEAC6: http://youtu.be/CARlEac1iuA
Stephen Boyd @ TEAC6: http://youtu.be/z7qfOnMzP9Y
Stephen Boyd @ TEAC4: http://youtu.be/J16IpITWBQ8
John Kutsch @ TEAC6: http://youtu.be/MgRn4g7a068