June 19, 2024

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Rare earth discoveries mean coal mines could have a future

2 min read

Coal plays a huge role in global electricity generation, but has a significant impact on the environment.

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From Pennsylvania to the north of England, coal mines helped to power the Industrial Revolution, turbocharging the economic growth of countries around the world.

Today, however, the production and use of coal has become a thorny issue, with critics slamming the fossil fuel’s huge impact on the environment.

Organizations like Greenpeace describe coal as “the dirtiest, most polluting way of producing energy.” From the UN Secretary General to the International Energy Agency, talk of phasing out coal is becoming increasingly common.

But the global picture is a complex one. A multitude of factors are in play, not least the desire of some countries, especially those in emerging markets, to use coal as a tool for their own economic development.

As the debate surrounding coal continues, discussions about using it — and the infrastructure linked to it — in the shift to a more sustainable future have become one of the more paradoxical aspects of the energy transition.

In May, U.S. firm Ramaco Resources offered some insight into how coal may have a role to play in the years ahead.

Together with researchers from mining consultancy Weir International and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, it published an independent report containing a technical assessment of rare earth elements, or REE, found at one of its mines in Wyoming.

The findings appear to be significant. “Following eighteen months of extensive core drilling and independent chemical analysis, NETL researchers and Ramaco now believe that the Brook Mine property contains perhaps the largest unconventional deposit of REEs discovered in the United States,” Ramaco said.

Speaking to CNBC’s Kelly Evans on “The Exchange” earlier this month, Ramaco CEO Randall Atkins explained why his firm had bought the site in the first place, and how its plans had…

2023-11-24 01:49:00

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