James Kennedy works closely with the Thorium Energy Alliance to promote US legislation for the commercial development of thorium energy systems and rare earths. And when he asked me to review a video where he presents a paper entitled “Creating a Multinational Platform, Thorium, Energy and Rare Earth Value Chain – a Global Imbalance in the Rare Earth Market” – it occurred to me that Tracy’s frequently referenced ‘800 lb. gorilla’ in the proverbial rare earth room was overdue for discussion: thorium.
Kennedy’s essential argument is that the rare earth imbalance is largely the result of regulations with unintended consequences: “Rare earths and thorium have become linked at the mineralogical and geopolitical level.” In other words, thorium should be considered as a rare earth mineral.
The article concludes:
There are currently two bills before the US Congress “that if enacted would create a federally-chartered multinational rare earth cooperative that’s privately funded and operated, and it would be authorized to accept monazites and other thorium-bearing minerals. The thorium would be removed and stored on what Kennedy calls a federally-chartered ‘thorium bank’ for safekeeping. This will help mining companies, which help place liability to the bank, leaving the miners to produce higher value HREE’s.
My question is this: If, in our quest to be rare-earth independent, we start upping production of thorium – why not use it in a liquid fluoride thorium reactor to generate electricity?
The country badly needs more electrical power generation. We need to lessen our dependence on foreign sources (especially China) for rare earths. We can accomplish both by developing thorium reactor capacity and refining our own rare earths from monazite.
Or does this just make too much sense for the Imperial Federal government to buy in on?
Of course, we can always start aggressively developing our own traditional domestic energy sources as well – again, if the folks in the Imperial City deign to allow it. A common argument states that it would take X number of years to bring these domestic sources on line.
And that common argument has been in play for thirty years or more. It’s time to push that one into its long-overdue grave.