Recently the Chinese government published a white paper stating the current status and possible future outcome of its rare earth minerals industry – it wasn’t good news. There are several huge challenges that face the industry and need to be rectified in the near future if we want to continue to use rare earth minerals. Our renewable energy technologies are made using rare earth minerals, as are many products from within the computer industry. The health and defence sectors also rely heavily on these minerals so it is imperative we start looking for new ways to meet the increasing demand. The problem is not the amount of minerals left but the way in which we can extract them – the systems used now are not designed to cope with the demand expected in the near future. We have based much of our future environmental goals and plans on using clean energy, yet we may not be able to access the materials needed to make the energy sources. This is an enormous problem as electric cars, hydro energy, water treatment, fuel cells, wind turbines, catalytic converters and solar energy will be the key to a sustainable future. This infographic by vouchercloud explains the problems facing us, the many crucial applications of rare earth minerals and what we can do to improve things in the future.
October 4, 2012 Leave a Comment