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Researchers say Treasure Worth Billions is Buried in North Dakota
Post Date: Dec 16 2015

By Valley News Live
UND researchers are hunting for buried treasure in western North Dakota they say, is far more valuable than oil, coal and natural gas.

UND’s College of Engineering and Mines has received a federal grant, to retrieve Rare Earth Elements. Rare Earth Elements are found in western North Dakota coal and the ground that surrounds it.

Elements with names like Scandium metal and Terbium oxide can be worth hundreds of dollars a teaspoon, because they’re critical components in things we use every day.

Steve Benson, UND Engineering & Mines: “They’re used in a wide range of applications, ranging from the new batteries that are out, to components in wind turbines, to material in your cell phone.”

UND researchers now have a 900-thousand dollar grant to develop a method to commercially mine Rare Earth Elements.

The first step in the project will be trying to extract them from the stream of coal used to fire North Dakota power plants.

Steve Benson, UND Engineering & Mines: “Once we identify the best laboratory method, then we’ll build a skid mounted system we can take to a plant and test there.”

It’s research that has the potential to unlock billions of extra dollars into the State’s energy economy.

The United States currently needs to import Rare Earth Elements from China, despite the fact we have them in our own backyard.

Researchers say Treasure Worth Billions is Buried in North Dakota - Valley News Live
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