EDITOR: | January 24th, 2020 | 10 Comments

Jack Lifton on scandium, yttrium, rare earths and the US-China trade agreement

| January 24, 2020 | 10 Comments

Jack Lifton, InvestorIntel’s Sr. Editor, Host and a well-known Rare Earths Advisor and Tracy Weslosky, InvestorIntel’s Sr. Editor, Publisher and Rare Earths Consultant came together to discuss the US-China Phase 1 trade agreement and its effect on the rare earths industry in the United States.

Jack said that the US has never produced scandium or yttrium yet they have been included in the trade agreement. He added that the Chinese are no longer mining heavy rare earths in their country and they have production quotas on light rare earths but they can import as much as they want in the way of rare earth raw materials. Jack further added that the US-China trade agreement gives impetus to the United States to re-implement a total supply chain in the country.

To access the complete interview, click here


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  • Pete Rozelle

    According to Chemical and Engineering News, Michigan Chemical and American Potash were producing yttrium oxide in the U.S. as of January, 1967, and Yttrium Corporation of America had just built a production facility.

    January 24, 2020 - 8:31 AM

    • Jack Lifton

      I purchased rare earth chemicals from Michigan Chemicals for my work at Energy Conversion Laboratories (the predecessor in interest to Energy Conversion Devices) in the early 1960s. Those were produced by ion exchange from African and Brazilian ore concentrates. I don’t recall hearing of Molycorp until the mid to late 1960s when I worked on red cathodoluminescent phosphor development and we needed ultrahigh purity europium salts. I do not recall American Potash as a supplier then


      January 24, 2020 - 12:21 PM

      • Pete Rozelle


        The citation is C&EN, 2 January 1967, 14-15. The article talks about Michigan Chemical (cited as a major supplier of yttrium oxide) taking over the Porter Brothers Euxenite operation in Idaho, and also getting feedstock from Denison Mines (more found in Goode’s paper from 2013). I brought this up in response to the line in the above article about “the US has never produced scandium or yttrium”.


        January 24, 2020 - 4:01 PM

  • Jack Lifton


    I am not aware of any domestic mining resulting in an yttrium value recovery in the USA now or in the 1960s. I trust John Goode, but not C & E News. I will find out. Notwithstanding that I still do.not see any domestic American yttrium or scandium production for export to.China now or in the near term of ever.

    January 25, 2020 - 12:31 AM

    • Pete Rozelle


      Everyone likes the Bureau of Mines work. From IC 8476:

      “from 1955 to 1959 other rare-earth and yttrium materials, columbium, tantalum, and thorium and uranium were recovered by Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, a prime AEC contractor, from Euxenite concentrates produced by Porter Bros., Inc., at Bear Valley, Idaho.”

      “A ‘green mud’ residue from the processing operation was stored by the G.S.A. until 1965, when it was sold for its yttrium content.”

      “At its plant in Golden, Colo., Metal Traders, Inc., had a research contract with the Colorado School of Mines Research Foundation, Inc., whereby the green-mud residues bought from G.S.A. were processed for their yttrium and rare-earth content. By the end of 1966, a concentrate had been produced containing over 100 tons of yttrium oxide.”

      There’s also the story of Vitro’s scandium concentrate recovered from uranium leach solution (JOM, 1961), shipped to Chattanooga for scandium oxide production.


      January 25, 2020 - 1:57 PM

  • Jack Lifton

    Pete. Nothing beats cost plus subsidized work left over from WW2. But, so far, that is not today’s direction (infortuneately).

    January 25, 2020 - 2:21 PM

    • Pete Rozelle

      Federal support of the rare earth industry back then also included the AEC contracts for thorium purchase from monazite extraction plants. And then there is the case of who did the early assays and mapping at Mountain Pass.

      We’ll see where today’s direction leads.

      January 25, 2020 - 2:41 PM

  • Bruce watson

    Sir. i have located an ore in the northeast. Lab results the mains are vanadium Yttrium rubidium and zircon. .we need to talk.

    January 27, 2020 - 12:02 PM

  • Bruce watson

    Sir i have found a large outcrop of ore in the northeast. The mains are vanadium yttrium rubidium and zircon.

    January 27, 2020 - 12:08 PM

  • Christopher

    Jack on Ucore;
    ” no experience “.

    The Mgt owns a 40% HREE mountian since 2007, has accepted new technologies as needed, ie; open to cleaner and improved processes and decided to part ways years ago.


    January 27, 2020 - 11:56 PM

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