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Rare earth elements project illustrates potential for profits and AMD cleanup

Acid mine drainage geotubes
Geotubes, located outside of Morgantown, W.Va., drying acid mine drainage sludge.

DEP partners with WVU to extract rare earth elements from acid mine drainage

Morgantown, W.Va. - The video below by the Department of Environmental Protection explains the process by which rare earth elements are extracted from acid mine drainage and how this process can decrease the amount of AMD in rivers and streams.

Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute at West Virginia University
Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute at West Virginia University

Early estimates indicate there is potential for a developed rare earth elements industry to generate somewhere between $400 million and $1.2 billion of economic activity per year in the central and northern Appalachian Basin, according to Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz.  Ziemkiewicz is the director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute at West Virginia University and has been actively involved in AMD research since the late 1980's.

This potential profit can provide industry with an incentive to cleanup acid mine drainage with geotubes instead of allowing it to pollute rivers and streams.  



-NRCCE-

CONTACT:  Paul Ziemkiewicz, director, West Virginia Water Research Institute
Paul.Ziemkiewicz@mail.wvu.edu; 304.293.6958