University of North Dakota researchers have received a major grant to help them search for treasure in western North Dakota – and it’s not oil, coal or natural gas. What they are searching for are Rare Earth Elements.
Rare Earth Elements with names like Scandium metal and Terbium oxide can be worth hundreds of dollars a teaspoon, because they’re critical components in things we use every day.
Steve Benson, UND Engineering & Mines says: “They’re used in a wide range of applications, ranging from rechargeable batteries, to components in wind turbines, to materials in your cell phone.” The grant will be used to develop a method to commercially mine these elements.
North Dakota’s oil, coal and gas help reduce our dependence on oil from the volatile Middle East. North Dakota’s cache of Rare Earth Elements will help reduce our dependence on imports from China, the current supplier of most of our Rare Earth Elements.
It would be a great benefit to North Dakota if they could find another industry to boost their economy so that they would not be so dependent on the ups and downs of the energy industry. This research that has the potential to inject billions of extra dollars into the State’s economy.
The University of North Dakota (UND) is the state’s oldest and largest University. Located in Grand Forks, UND is right at home in this vibrant college town of over 50,000 people located on the border of North Dakota and Minnesota.