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The Non-Renewables of Green Tech

Rare earth metals are key to building nearly every technological device sold today. That means your cell phones, flat screen TVs – you name it!– as well as green technologies like hybrid cars, solar cells, and wind turbines.

But there’s a bit of a bad rep attached to these minerals. So why is that? To start, they:

  • are non-renewable resources;
  • cause significant environmental impact; and
  • require the use of toxic chemicals, acids, sulphates, plus a LOT of water

That’s without mentioning the economic reality – rare earth metals also:

  • show highly monopolized production and supply, and
  • are in higher and higher demand!

Now, how does that sound to you….A bit like the oil industry?

To address the environmental impact the mining process creates, China has recently announced that they are tightening regulation of this rare earth industry.

However, green technology is highly dependent on these rare earth minerals. Even to the point that there is speculation that green energy developments will halt if the supply of these minerals decreases!

Not surprisingly, experts project that global demand for rare earth metals will continue to rise. So you have to wonder, how will this global demand be met? Can we find a way to meet it sustainably?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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