Old coal mines get repurposed to extract rare earth elements

The use of coal to produce energy is a thorny issue. Critics slam the fossil fuel’s huge impact on the environment. Discussions about how to use coal to make the energy transition to a more sustainable future have gained momentum.

In May 2023, U.S. firm Ramaco Resources took the lead in offering some insight into how coal mines can play a more positive role as far as sustainability is concerned. The firm has recently discovered rare earth elements (REE) at one of its mines.

The discovery of REE at these mines assumes significance for several reasons, including:

  • The mining of REE will be more economical than conventional REE mines
  • Funding for such projects will ensure the development of a pioneering method to extract REE and critical minerals from coal waste

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