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Rare Earth Extraction Facility

Researchers at the West Virginia Water Research Institute are extracting rare earth elements from acid mine drainage at a pilot plant located in the NRCCE Building at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va. 

The pilot plant is testing the commercial feasibility of turning a regional liability into a valuable national resource.  Rare earth elements are found in all electronics and right now 80 percent of REEs come from China.  Developing a domestic sources from acid mine drainage will help the U.S. economy and our environment.

Potential Impacts
  • Erect plants on existing, acid mine drainage treatment sites
  • Employ existing workforce and infrastructure
  • Generate new revenue for coal and coal-based industries
  • Create financial incentives to treat abandoned mine sources of acid mine drainage
  • Diversify Appalachia’s economy
  • Restore watersheds
  • Produce enough rare earth elements needed for national security

Contact Paul Ziemkiewicz to learn more.