In Mountain Pass Mine, California located in the Mojave Desert, the mine could hold the key to the US challenging China’s technological domination of the 21st century.
At the bottom of the vast site, beneath many metres of water, runs a rich seam of ores that are rapidly emerging as the building blocks of our high-tech future.
The mine is the largest known deposit of rare-earth elements outside of China. Eight years ago, it was closed in a tacit admission the US was ceding the market to China. Now the owners of the mine have secured final approval to restart operations and hope to begin production soon.