Senate Promotes Alaska’s Rare Earth Minerals
JUNEAU — Following up on promising geological surveys of Alaska’s rare earth elements, the Alaska Senate passed a resolution aimed at promoting the in-state exploration and production of elements critical to building high-tech consumer electronics, military and clean-energy technology.
Senate Joint Resolution 8 is sponsored by Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, and urges the federal government and state agencies to support development of rare earth elements.
“The United States used to be almost self-sufficient in rare earth elements, but now we almost completely rely upon foreign sources for those important minerals,” she said. “We need to move now to become a dominant world player in the development of rare earth elements which are critical for military and economic security, as well as renewable energy systems.”
China is the main producer of rare earth elements, accounting for nearly 95 percent of the world’s supply. The resolution, which passed unanimously, calls on the state to help develop and promote private extraction and refining of rare earth elements.
Recently, the state has worked to map out the location and density of deposits of critical elements such as yttrium, neodymium and others.