Founder of American Elements on minerals and global geopolitics

Posted on October 17, 2013 by Minerals Make Life

“All elements are not created equal,” said Michael Silver, founder and CEO of American Elements, during a New York Mineralogical Club (NYMC) lecture last week. Some minerals that play a crucial role in today’s technologies, he explained, are rarer than others.

According to NYMC, “Silver built a strong case for the geopolitical importance of rare earth and other essential strategic elements in today’s and tomorrow’s technology.”

Silver discussed just how critical enhanced access to these minerals is to American innovation and referenced the annual Endangered Elements list, which, in 2012, featured five elements ranked by their scarcity and technological importance. The primary purpose of this list is to bring attention to the minerals scarcity crisis and to educate Americans as to which elements are critical, what makes them essential and endangered, and what other nations are doing to assure they can obtain and produce minerals.

Although China currently controls 97 percent of the world’s supply of rare earth minerals, the reopening of Molycorp Minerals’ Mountain Pass mine in southern California means the United States can now develop some of these important minerals.  However, the United States needs a long-term strategy for securing all necessary minerals, which should start with improving access to domestic resources. 

Silver: “The ‘value added’ from growth in manufacturing, and production from easy access to strategic raw materials leads to new jobs, a growing middle class, and increasing economic power.”

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