Christmas Chemistry

Rare Reasoners on Rare Earth  🙂

Please meet the beautiful Rare Earth crystals … 



… which get refined into these shiny Rare Earth metals …


… which get manufactured into essential (and the currently PC & morally correct Green-Friendly 😉 )Rare Earth technologies like …

… and get used far and wide.

“It has taken the rare earths over 200 years to make the journey from [a] humble mine in Ytterby, Sweden, to the computer screen on which you may be reading this [blog post]. See this GREEN? That’s thanks to Terbium (Tb) phosphors in your computer screen! See this RED? That’s Europium (Eu)! It was worth the wait. Our world is now brighter, larger, smaller, faster, more efficient, and increasingly more fantastic because of the rare earths.”

Now, who could possibly want to stop this marvellous process of modern civilization?  

Please meet our radical environmentalists and new merchantilists:

“Back in 1978 (The US Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Rupert Cutler and Forest Service Chief John McGuire) … defend prohibiting any kind of energy or mineral exploration in wilderness study areas …”  and at the same time the Denver Sierra Club wilderness coordinator said “Americans use too much energy, and they’re not going to change voluntarily … The only way to make them change is to take the resources away. And the best way to do that is put them in wilderness.”

Over the last 40 years or so there have been numerous examples of the locking up huge areas of  the Earth’s surface for fear of humans despoiling nature forever. The sizes of these protected spaces are astounding (compared to the pin prick like development proposals) such as up to half the public lands of the US, most of the continental shelves surrounding countries and whole continents (Antarctica).  Up to now this emotional stampeding, public fear campaign has been winning. This unquestioning almost religious conviction that development means destruction, not human and environmental prosperity, is crying out for some critical thinking. 


However, it seems like a bit of reason is now being shone on this Environmentalist induced problem. The good news is that it appears that The Science says that the Rare Earth Metals are not particularly rare at all. 

You can see here that the Rare Earths are more common than elements like gold (Au-79) and about as common as lead (Pb-82). Maybe a bit of skepticism and critical thinking might lead to the seditious thoughts that concentrated pockets of  rare earths could be found all over the Earth? 😉 Not just concentrated by politics and green ideology as these charts below seem to indicate.


A bit of critical thinking might lead to the conclusion that this is more about politics than science.


Though the US DOE seems to be caught in a Catch-22 situation here, advocating price supports to counteract the original US EPA induced cost increases. Isn’t politics fun 😉

 But do not despair! The Australians are coming to the rescue.

Sojitz, the top Japanese trader in rare earths, said it had forged a deal with the Australian mining company Lynas to start shipping 3,000 tons a year of the minerals from a new mine, Mount Weld, beginning late next year. Sojitz and Lynas, based in Sydney, aim to increase shipments to more than 9,000 tons a year by early 2013″ 

Greenland too is looking to mine its Rare Earth metals – The Kvanefjeld deposit is located on the southwest tip of Greenland and is one of the largest undeveloped multi-element (rare earth elements, sodium fluoride and uranium) occurrences in the world. A pre-feasibility study estimates the mine can produce 43,729 metric tonnes of rare earths oxides and 3895 metric tonnes of uranium a year during a 23-year lifespan.” 

OK … what’s going on here? Hands up all those places that have Rare Earths stashed away.

Well, it looks like our politically and Green produced Rare Earth Elements Scare is showing alot of holes in its argument. So we again will end the year on a positive note 🙂


Note  Here is some Chemistry and Rare Earth music bound to liven up (and educate!) the children when bored on a Christmas Season afternoon 🙂

The Periodic Table of Rock   Note


Soooo … my maybe not so rare reasoners, have a Merry Christmas!!! … a Wonderful New Year and a Prosperous 2011… kindly brought to your computer screen  by our not so rare Rare Earths – Terbium and Europium, a sign of Earth civilization at its best.

Click HERE for your Christmas card

Bye for now gentle readers, see you next year on our again slightly more kinder and better planet!

Rare Earthed Brady 

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