Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute at WVU, explains the importance of extracting rare earth elements from acid mine drainage and what it will mean to the state of West Virginia in the above video by the Department of Environmental Protection. The sludge is a byproduct of the water treatment process and was a waste product with no value, until now.
Example of acid mine drainage polluting rivers and streams in West Virginia.
CAN WVU's METHOD FOR EXTRACTING RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM ACID MINE DRAINAGE BE A COMMERCIAL SUCCESS?
The pilot plant is located at West Virginia University's National Research Center for Coal and Energy in Morgantown.
POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF THIS RESEARCH
- Erect plants on existing, easy-to-access, permitted, AMD treatment sites
- Produce 800 tons per year of REEs from acid mine drainage sludge for national security needs
- Generate new revenue for coal and coal-based industries
- Create financial incentives to treat abandoned mine sources of AMD
- Employ existing workforce and infrastructure
- Diversity Appalachia's economy
- Restore watersheds