Metals known as ‘rare earth elements” are in growing demand worldwide. They’re vital for many of the high tech devices we all use. China has been the major source for rare earth minerals, but recently cut its exports. This has geologists in the U.S. searching for domestic deposits. As Robbie Harris tells us in part one of her report, they believe south eastern Virginia could be the place to look for the coveted elements.
The elements known as ‘rare earths,’ are a relatively new addition to the periodic table. And they have changed the world, ushering in the new age of technology because of their unique properties. They allow us to make smaller and more efficient devices for everything from smart phones to wind turbines. In part one of our report, we told you China, which been the largest provider of the exotic metals, has stopped exporting them, causing a worldwide shortage. But scientists now think similarities between the geology in southern China and the South Eastern U.S. could make this region a new source for rare earths. Robbie Harris has part 2.