Since my friend Ian has posted an update on the state of Helium, I thought I might also make a brief update my original post on rare earths.
Things have continued pretty much on the trajectory I mentioned in the first article. China still controls 95% of the world’s total rare-earth supply. The restricted supply of rare earth elements has continued to keep prices high and this has in turn continued to encourage either opening or reopening new rare earth mining facilities.
In particular, the company Molycorp announced on August 27, 2012 that it had resumed production at the Mountain Pass mine in California.
From their press release:
We began construction on the project in January 2011. The project remains on track to begin producing at our Phase 1 annual rate of 19,050 metric tons of rare earth oxide equivalent (REO). Additionally, we are on track to achieve our Phase 2 annual production capacity of 40,000 metric tons per year by mid-2013.
They are also, actively mining of 2,800 short tons of fresh ore per day, 4 days/week.