American Elements Announces Top Five “Endangered Elements” That Will Gravely Affect U.S. Manufacturing
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — There will be no more “Made in the USA,” with millions of jobs lost if the United States doesn’t start mining and stock piling certain strategic metals, according to Alisha A. Ahern, co-director of the Academics & Periodicals Department at American Elements, the global chemical and metals manufacturer which published the list. Today the company released the 2011 U.S. Endangered Elements List (EEL11) naming the five metals that can most upset American industry, especially if the countries that the U.S. imports the metals from decide to shut off supply.
American Elements funded preparation of the EEL11 to help manufacturers, the government and consumers better understand the gravity of the situation. 20th Century metals such as copper, iron, nickel and tin have given way to 21(st) Century critical metals, particularly the rare earths, of which the U.S. mines almost none.
“Today China mines a whopping 97 percent of all global rare earth production. America no longer has the resources to manufacture the things we invent,” says Ahern. “New metals like the rare earths have become essential to thousands of household goods including computers, cell phones, cars and nearly all electronics. If we lose access or run out of these elements, there will be no more ‘Made in the USA.’ “
According to American Elements CEO Michael Silver, the List goes to America’s fundamental ability to generate prosperity, create jobs, defend itself and compete in the global economy. He adds, “Innovation is only the starting point. To manufacture the products flowing from great ideas, a nation must also have access to the critical materials on which the discoveries are based.”
The complete Endangered Elements List (EEL11) can be found at: (www.americanelements.com/2011Endangered_Elements_List.html.)
THE 2011 ENDANGERED ELEMENTS LIST
Tungsten has been called the “strongest” metal on the periodic table and it is harder than many grades of steel. Tungsten is used in countless aerospace, electronics and defense applications including bullets and armor. The United States discontinued all tungsten production in the 1990s. Today 85 percent of global tungsten production occurs in China and Chinese leaders have indicated it may soon discontinue exporting tungsten due to increasing domestic demand.
Indium is a shiny soft metal that when synthesized to form indium tin oxide (ITO) it is essential to the production of flat panel devises such as televisions and computer screens and when synthesized as copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), it’s a fundamental ingredient for solar energy panels. In metallic form it has numerous other electronic applications. America does not mine indium. More than 50 percent of world production is concentrated in China. Experts estimate that the indium world supply may run out within the next 20 years.
Tellurium is technically not a metal; it is classified with elements known as “Metalloids”. It is presently primarily used in steel alloys to make them more machinable, but is increasingly an essential layer in solar panels. The world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, First Solar, smartly acquired a Mexican tellurium mine this year to assure it has a long term continued supply. But many question whether global demand will outstrip supply. Annual global production is approximately 200 tons, yet demand is projected to reach 800 tons by 2013.
Lanthanum has dozens of applications, but the most critical is as the essential ingredient for electric car metal hydride batteries. Each Toyota Prius(TM) contains 15 lbs. of lanthanum. Access to lanthanum will determine which nations will build the millions of future electric cars. Lanthanum is one of 17 “rare earths,” each with its own unique set of properties critical to some future trillion dollar industry. As a group, their availability will determine which countries will dominate high technology manufacturing in the 21(st) Century.
Named by our team of experts as “The most essential metal of the 21st Century”, the numerous technologies that rely on neodymium combined with its near complete control by China makes it the primary 2011 U.S. Endangered Element. When alloyed with Iron and Boron, it forms the world’s strongest magnet which is essential to electric motors in cars, wind energy generators, IPod(TM) headphones and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) medical equipment. When used in glass or crystal, it has unique optical properties that are today required in most welding goggles, camera lenses, military optical equipment and in many other technologies. For example, all laser eye surgery is performed using neodymium laser crystals and GE’s Reveal(TM) Light Bulb produces a whiter light using neodymium. China presently has a complete monopoly on neodymium production and the cost of the metal has soared from $10 per pound in 2009 to more than $400 per pound in 2011.
American Elements is the world’s manufacturer of engineered & advanced materials with corporate headquarters and primary research & laboratory facilities in the United States and manufacturing & warehousing in the United States, China, Mexico and the United Kingdom. www.americanelements.com
Contact: Rob Wynne, firstname.lastname@example.org, 310.540.7204
SOURCE American Elements