US backs production of rare earth elements with $19m

The scheme will support projects in communities where the coal industry downturn has left without the jobs they once relied on

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced new $19 million (£13.6m) funding for 13 projects designed to increase the production of rare earth elements.

Rare earth metals are a group of metals commonly used in the manufacturing of electric vehicle (EV) batteries and wind turbines.

The beneficiaries’ projects are all located in former fossil fuel-producing areas.

It is believed that China has built a monopoly over rare earth metals that has made the rest of the world more reliant on them.

Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said: “The very same fossil fuel communities that have powered our nation for decades can be at the forefront of the clean energy economy by producing the critical minerals needed to build EVs, wind turbines and so much more.

“By building clean energy products here at home, we’re securing the supply chain for the innovative solutions needed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, all while creating good-paying jobs in all parts of America.”

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