DOE launches critical minerals hub to support American innovation

Posted on January 18, 2013 by Minerals Make Life

This week, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory opened a $120 million Innovation Hub for Critical Minerals in Ames, Iowa. The new Hub, officially known as the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), will make domestic rare earth mining economically viable over the next five years by developing alternative methods for extracting rare earth elements from ore, helping to reduce importing and production costs.

The DOE believes critical minerals are essential for American competitiveness in the clean energy sector, and that the CMI will develop solutions to the domestic shortages of rare earth metals and other materials critical for U.S. energy security.

The United States’ lack of mineral development poses a critical issue for companies including GE and Apple that are looking to increase their domestic operations. In fact, 65 percent of renewable energy CEOs and 73 percent of automotive CEOs believe that their businesses face a critical minerals scarcity. With the revitalization of American manufacturing a high priority for the current administration, the DOE’s specific focus on minerals is a step in the right direction as these critical minerals are integral to the technologies that define innovation today.

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