Rare earth elements (REE) are vital to the future of clean energy adoption, as they are used in magnets for LED lights, electric car batteries, and solar panels. The below stories highlight new rare earths mines being developed in the United States. Most of these mining projects are on public lands and adjacent tribal lands. Each state has a very different history of environmental regulation of mining operations, and different coalitions of environmental and economic development groups either supporting or resisting mining.
We track the progress of these mines in acquiring permits and access to land. Mining scholars have evoked the term “social license” to describe how a mining company gains the support of local communities. We explore if and how new mining projects are achieving a social license to operate in the 21st century.
The map and table below provide a snapshot of stories from the US and the level of public support for these initiatives.
|Location||Metals||Developer||Level of Controversy*||Status|
|Bear Lodge Mine||Crook County, Wyoming||Dysprosium, Europium, Neodymium||Rare Element Resources, Ltd.||High||Stalled|
|Bokan Mtn. Mine||Prince of Wales Island, Alaska||Dysprosium, Terbium, Yttrium||Ucore Rare Metals Inc.||Moderate||Construction Underway|
|Elk Creek Mine||Johnson County, Nebraska||Niobium, Scandium, Titanium||NioCorp Developments||High||Permitting Underway|
|Lemhi Pass Mine||Lemhi Pass, Idaho||Neodymium, Thorium||US Rare Earths Inc||Moderate||Stalled|
|NorthMet Mine||Saint Louis County, Minnesota||Copper and Nickel||PolyMet||High||Permitting Underway|
|Pea Ridge Mine||Washington County, Missouri||Cerium, Dysprosium, Lanathium, Thorium, Yttrium||MFC Industrial Ltd. / Alberici Constructors||Moderate||Stalled|
|Round Top Mtn. Mine||Hudspeth County, Texas||Beryllium, Dysprosium, Thorium, Uranium, Yttrium||Texas Mineral Resources Corporation||High||Stalled|
|Silver Peak Mine||Esmeralda County, Nevada||Lithium Carbonate||Albemarle Corporation||Low||Complete|