The process of mining REEs from natural deposits is expensive and harmful to the environment

President Biden signed an executive order (EO 14017) in February 2021 to review the reliability of U.S. supply chains. For foreign exporters to establish the U.S. in the event of non-existent independence (REEs). REEs are important for health care, clean energy, and communication technologies such as electric vehicles, wind turbines, microchips, and batteries because of their unique physical and chemical properties. The process of mining REEs from natural deposits is expensive and harmful to the environment. Fortunately, advances in science in the field of agromining provide another way forward.

What are REEs?

REEs are known to be ‘rare’ not because they are rare, but because they are not available in pure form and require several extraction measures. Globally, there is a growing demand for advanced technology developed by REEs as consumer electronics (mobile phones and tablets), which is expected to reach $ 2.5 trillion by 2030. By 2020, the US exported more than 80% of the REEs from China due to a lack of domestic REE production capacity from unlimited mineral sources, or the removal of municipal waste as e-waste. A recent study confirms the removal of REEs from urban waste could be a promising way to meet the REE requirements needed to meet future technological needs, reduce environmental impacts, and later address national priorities such as President Biden’s mandate to “identify harmful minerals and other minerals”. strategies, including rare international resources (as determined by the Secretary of Defense), and policy recommendations to address these risks. ”

REE Again

REE releases on e-trash are beginning to gain momentum in the U.S. You may face risks of national provision. Recent research shows that only 25% of the 1.8 million tons of domestic e-waste was reused or recycled in 2018. According to the UN Environment Program, more than 53 million tons of e-waste were produced in 2019, about $ 57 billion REE materials and precious metals (platinum, gold, and silver). Despite the many scientific advances made so far, most REE extraction technologies exist at a very low level, which is why many countries export their waste to other countries such as China for extraction.
Japan used to rely heavily on China’s REE exports, but in 2010, Japan quickly turned to waste disposal costs and municipal e-waste to address their fragile minerals and materials such as REEs. The Japanese National Institute for Materials Science reported that their urban waste contains more than 290,000 tons of REEs, encouraging mining companies (such as Dowa Holdings in Kosaka, Japan) to build recycling facilities and extract unusual materials from the old electronic. To date, recycling methods have successfully acquired REEs and metals from semiconductors and a display unit.

What are the most common ways to reuse REE?

Two of the most widely used and advanced REE methods for leaching extraction and solvent extraction. Leaching is a simple process, requiring low power and providing high selection of REEs. However, it requires a large number of chemical reagents that can produce harmful products, and they do not work when used in low REE concentrations. On the other hand, solvent extraction is an effective separation method used for commercialization and produces high purity of REE or REE compounds, but it fights inefficiency, is time-consuming and requires a lot of labor. Other methods for extracting immature and developing methods such as photochemistry, ultrasonic leaching, and power separation. Biological and agricultural methods such as agromining and bio-leaching are emerging technologies that allow the natural extraction of REE from e-waste.
How Agromining Works

Promoting e-waste reuse can be achieved with new and sustainable strategies. Agromining can be a sustainable solution for older home electronics (cell phones, laptops, and TVs) with high REE focus. Agromining processes use plant species with very high climbing properties such as rapid growth in rich REE soils and accumulating high REE values. After REEs are absorbed into the body of a plant or a fungus with as many cells as mushrooms, the release of REE in certain substances can be achieved by several hydrometallurgical processes or pyrometallurgical processes. The use of increasing aggregation markers for agromining plants makes it an environmentally friendly and inexpensive method. However, it requires a lot of soil and normal plant care.

The issuance of REEs from the recycling of e-waste through agromining would be a good recommendation for President Biden’s high-order policy at US Agromining could address national priorities such as improving domestic employment and production opportunities, as well as reducing purchasing risk and impacts in the environment. Alternatively, agromining could help small to medium-sized companies and municipal landfills in the U.S. and developing countries to participate in REE extraction in the REE mining segment from depleted mineral resources.

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