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Ziemkiewicz will speak on rare earth elements to United States Energy Association, May 31

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz will be presenting “Coal Mine Drainage as a Domestic Source of Rare Earth Elements” by webinar to the United States Energy Association located in Washington, D.C. on May 31.

The importance of rare earth elements in today’s world of electronics can’t be over stated.  They are essential for advanced technologies from smartphones and robots to national defense systems. Rare earth metals have remarkable chemical properties but are so evenly dispersed throughout the earth’s crust that economically attractive concentrations are extremely rare.

As a result, the U.S. imports nearly all its rare earth elements from China.  Fortunately, researchers at West Virginia University lead by Dr. Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute, found that acid mine drainage from Appalachian coal mines naturally concentrates rare earth elements and the metal residues contain readily recovered concentrations that match many of the world’s best deposits.

This and other current research, supported by USDOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory and industry, is developing extraction technology to set the groundwork for a domestic rare earth industry.

More information and registration can be found on the USEA website.