Rare Earth Elements, Geopolitics, and the Fight for Control of the World.

What is a Rare Earth Element?: Rare earth elements are a group of seventeen chemical elements that occur together in the periodic table (see image). The group consists of yttrium and the 15 lanthanide elements (lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium). Scandium is found in most rare earth element deposits and is sometimes classified as a rare earth element. Link rare-earth-elements-periodic-table How are rare earth elements used and why are they important?: The USA originally used “rare earth elements” when we started to make color television sets in the 1960’s. Europium was the essential material for producing the color images. The Mountain Pass Mine began producing europium from bastnasite, which contained about 0.1% europium. This effort made the Mountain Pass Mine the largest rare earth producer in the world and placed the United States as the leading producer. Link “Rare earth metals and alloys that contain them are used in many devices that people use every day such as computer memory, DVDs, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, catalytic converters, magnets, fluorescent lighting and much more.” Link  During the past twenty years, there has been an explosion in demand for many items that require rare earth metals. Twenty years ago there were very few cell phones in use, but the number has risen to over 7 billion in use today. Link uses-of-rare-earth-elements Control over the commodity, “rare earth elements” became important for the economic health of the USA. The Italians built their empire, in part, based on the trade of salt. To the ancient Chinese, silk production gave them an advantage. The British Empire sailed the world for spices. Control over a highly desired commodity gives a country leverage, power, economic advantage, and creates the hegemons throughout history. The Chinese began to encroach on American advantage and our leaders did not protect this industry. We had it……and we didn’t fight to keep it. Control the Commodity, Gain Advantage, Control the World: Beginning in the 1980’s, the Chinese returned to an age old strategy of cornering the market on a particular commodity, rare earth elements. Once the Chinese obtained significant control of these mines, they dropped the prices, and ran the American mines out of business. This is the “rinse and repeat” model for the Chinese as they adopted this philosophy across all industries, from common housewares to fabric production, and from stone to satellites. The Chinese Model:  The Chinese gain a significant foothold in a particular industry. Then, via subsidies, they drop the prices to run all other competition out of business. Because the USA does not support industries or sectors in such a way, our manufacturing is ripe for the picking. Going forward, with no competition in sight, ….. the Chinese set the market price (prices have risen over 500%). Using this chart, we can begin to see the divergence between the USA and China, starting in the mid-80’s. By the late 90’s, China was setting the price. The USA…….. blinked. rare-earth-elements-production-history Other Commodities Worth Mentioning: China also looked beyond their borders to control world mines as demand increased for various resources. Cobalt and Lithium are NOT rare earth elements but the Chinese model is similar and worth mentioning in this context. Several POUNDS of rare earth elements are needed to manufacture electric car batteries. When lithium (used for cell phone batteries) and Cobalt (used for car batteries) were discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the race for control over the mines began…. along with human rights abuses. Somewhere between 35,000-40,000 children are excruciatingly exploited in these mines. Link  The video from this WaPost article of the mines will make your blood curdle. Link  While UK Daily Mail’s article focused on a 4yr old who worked in the mine, this Guardian article highlights a 7yr old. Link American Child Labor laws and OSHA mining safety requirements don’t exist when the Chinese come to play….. Because “trillions are at stake” and because Control = Power. The Election of President Trump Presents a Problem for the Chinese: With the election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency and the confrontation of illicit Chinese trade practices dominating our headlines, the Chinese have resorted to their old playbook. Those rascally Chinese still think we’re stupid and/or Donald Trump is the same as other US Presidents….. Surprise! China, once again, is threatening to withhold rare earth elements in the recent trade tension with the USA. The business channel pundits are in full meltdown because the prospect of their IPhone upgrade is in danger. Yet, WE ARE THE NEWS, now, and we remember the last time the Chinese played this card. To understand this recent threat from China, we need context and the history of the LAST TIME China tried to extort Japan in the same way. No, it’s not the first time China has taken such a position. They tried it with Japan back in 2010, when China controlled 95% of the world market. Why aren’t the pundits telling us about the same Chinese playbook? Back in 2010, prices rose another 10% globally because of China’s extortion and the dust-up with Japan. The issue was taken up by the WTO and China was forced to begin exporting once more. Does China think we have forgotten their past deeds? Link  Well, apparently the pundits have forgotten. We also remember how the world reacted to the Chinese extortion over rare earth elements. Other countries began to search for additional resources. This chart shows China’s rise in rare earth elements and their subsequent decline as other countries became wise to Chinese treachery. rare-earth-oxide-production-by-country   Look at the bottom right of the chart. See the rise of Australia right after the dust-up of 2010? Look at the top left of the chart. See the elimination of the USA after we let China into the WTO in 2001? Coincidence? What you DO NOT SEE is Japan’s reaction…… yet, or more precisely, Japan’s search for a consistent supply of rare earth elements for their economy. Keep in mind, China is the #1 consumer of rare earths, Japan is #2, and the USA (was) #3.  Link So, where do you find rare earth elements? They’re sometimes formed from volcanic activity, but mostly they were formed from the supernova during the creation of the earth. Over millions of years, wind and weather eroded the mountains, which is why these elements are scattered across the earth. To find these elements in concentrated abundance is rare. To find an undisturbed cache of rare earth elements, it makes sense to look in a place which has remain undisturbed for millions of years….. the earth’s crust….. which is exactly where the Japanese went looking. 5ad0bbd3146e7129008b4819-960-619 See this picture above? Take a look at the date of the photo from Reuters. “Yasuhiro Kato, an associate professor of earth science at the University of Tokyo, displays a mud sample extracted from the depths of about 4,000 metres (13,123 ft) below the Pacific ocean surface where rare earth elements were found, at his laboratory in Tokyo July 5, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao” That’s right, July 5, 2011. After the dust-up of 2010, the Japanese went looking for their own supply of rare earth elements…… and Japan found them. I’m not just guessing Japan targeted their own supply of natural rare earth elements, CNBC and Reuters were reporting on it back in 2014. Link The study says Japan found 16 million tons. Here is the study – heavy on the technical, make a pot of coffee to get through it all.  Link “The cache lies off of Minamitori Island, about 1,150 miles southeast of Tokyo. It’s within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, so the island nation has the sole rights to the resources there.”  “There’s enough yttrium to meet the global demand for 780 years, dysprosium for 730 years, europium for 620 years, and terbium for 420 years.”  Link     From mid-2018. “This is a game changer for Japan,” Jack Lifton, a founding principal of a market-research firm called Technology Metals Research,  Link.   A game changer. Ya’ think? Since rare earth elements are needed for manufacture in the fastest growing segment of all global economies, the procurement of rare earths would be quite important. ……… And a good relationship with countries who produce/control a large supply of rare earth elements would be a good thing…… right? d Dearest China, tell me again….., tell me how stupid you think the Americans are…… And to the business pundits, who ignore their own prior reporting on these discoveries, mislead the public, create tension and discord, while President Trump is dealing with China on trade negotiations…… shame on you. And one more thing, since I’ve mounted the soapbox. Let’s speculate, as our dearest business pundits love to do. If the President and his administration can clear enough red tape to allow the build of an 11 billion dollar LNG port in a swamp in Cameroon Parish, Louisiana, in about 18 months, how long do we think it would take for the Trump Administration to PLOW THE ROAD for mining to continue at USA facility – Mountain Pass Mine in California. Mountain_Pass_900x500 Note: the company who owned Mountain Pass, Molycorp, took a 1.7 BILLION dollar loss because of Chinese subsidies, running competition out of the market, and the company went bankrupt in 2015 – selling the mine for 20.5 Million dollars —- yes, our leaders were stupid.) Link   You won’t believe this BUT, at one point, Mountain Pass produced 50K tons/yr and sent the minerals TO CHINA for processing…… yes, that’s how stupid our leaders were. Yes, Americans remember. We never forget. We are the news now! We remember well. For me, it was 6th grade, Social Studies, when we studied South America. I had to report on the country of Chile. Mandated by Mrs. Dodson, my teacher, necessary on our reports were the locations of copper, silver, iron ore, and bauxite (necessary for aluminum production) mines, as well as other natural resources, rich and abundant fisheries, and historical versus modern trading routes. Carrying the “bigger than me” white poster board to school to present my project was cumbersome. I lost one of the silver dimes glued on to represent a Chilean silver mine…. distressing to a 6th grader, and the goldfish crackers I glued off the coastline, to represent fisheries, were broken. I grumbled. Mrs. Dodson, surely was unreasonable, making us do these extravagant reports about a far away country, and mines wherein I had no interest………. Little did I know…….. Thank you, Mrs. Dodson. We would be remiss, however, if we did not consider ALL locations for natural resources. Right? Think bigger. Have you ever heard the name Naveen Jain? He was an Indian national who came to the USA with $5 in his pocket. He wants to mine the moon. It’s an estimated 16 QUADRILLION worth of metals. His companies name is Moon Express. Link …….. And just think…… we were puzzled when President Trump and Prime Minister Abe talked about going to the Moon and Mars together. Does it all make sense now? spaceforce It’s all possible with great leaders. End.  
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It’s also possible there is an array of Rare Earth Elements hidden under the sea, near Midway, Guam, Hawaiian Islands, near Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands.
Heck, the things could become NotSoRare Earth Elements with a little time and exploration.


Of course, they don’t DARE mine rare earths close to Guam, because that might cause it to tip over.

Plain Jane

Is that guy still in congress waiting to impeach PT?

Jan Phillips

Daughn, your articles are so great, we need to get them out everywhere!!! Thank you, Ms. Dobson!!!


Damn we literally have no border any more.
Damn America is literally now supporting all the Tom Dick & Harrys of the world.
Regardless of how little anyone thinks our governmental supplements are, they do much better with our system, especially when one is working under the table with fake IDs.
Americans have already been put at the line as to free tuition, housing, education and etc.
Essentially with all the discrimination laws in place now, Americans are going to most likely be put so far back in the line it won’t even be funny, especially Caucasians.
DHS: ‘100 %’ Border Crossers with Children Being Released into U.S., Given Work Permits


Sure wish we could put them in tents, like Joe did in AZ. Not sure why we can’t. And if we can, why aren’t we?


But then that would be treating them like criminals


Had a feeling the alt new sites were freaking out a little too fast.


Should be ‘news’ but whatever


I learned a few things about rare earths back in the ’90s, when the company I was with started making Erbium-Doped Fiber Amplifiers. There are two windows for sending light through fiber for telecommunications — 1310 nm and 1550 nm. Turns out that there’s a really cool physics trick you can do in the 1550 window.
If you have a length of fiber that is dosed with Erbium, you can “pump” it with a 980 nm laser — at which point the Erbiums all get excited. When excited Erbiums are exposed to 1550 photons, they emit more 1550 photons — so your signal is effectively amplified as light — without using a receiver to move the signal into the electrical domain and re-emitting it as light again.
Of course, to make this into a commercial product gets you into all sorts of fun about how much doping you need, what contaminants are acceptable, etc. etc.


Very, very interesting.
The REEs all have interesting optical and magnetic properties; and sometimes their uses are proprietary. Many get used to render the color of fluorescent lighting acceptable. Theodore Gray, in his book on the elements (highly recommended–it’s beautifully illustrated) told the story of how he mentioned to another (equally geeky) friend that he knew of no uses whatsoever for thulium, and that guy’s jaw about hit the floor. He worked for a company that made lighting, and apparently thulium was very, very useful–but it was a proprietary secret. (And it’s possible I am thinking of the wrong rare earth element, too.)

Elizabeth Carter

daughn, Thanks for a great job explaining all this.


Where else would I learn this?


More than a smile…a chortle!


Your larger point is quite spot on. We need to get our domestic source(s) rolling and damn the environmentalists.
But this one paragraph seems to betray some technical confusion; it’s conflating the elements themselves with deposits of ores of the elements.

So, where do you find rare earth elements? They’re sometimes formed from volcanic activity, but mostly they were formed from the supernova during the creation of the earth. Over millions of years, wind and weather eroded the mountains, which is why these elements are scattered across the earth. To find these elements in concentrated abundance is rare. To find an undisturbed cache of rare earth elements, it makes sense to look in a place which has remain undisturbed for millions of years….. the earth’s crust….. which is exactly where the Japanese went looking.

The elements themselves were formed in supernovas prior to the formation of the solar system (through what’s known as the R process) with perhaps some formation occurring due to the S process in those stars before they went “kaboom!” Also, much more recently realized is that collisions between neutron stars are largely responsible for a lot of the heavier nuclei out there (e.g., almost all gold and platinum, and most of the Rare Earth Elements). The only process operating on Earth that creates new elements is radioactive decay, and that tends to create lead from uranium and thorium; there’s the very infrequent spontaneous fission that creates traces of lighter elements but it’s responsible for only a vanishingly small trace of the rare earth elements we have today.
But in no case are the elements themselves formed in volcanic activity. Volcanic activity, however, can (and does) form minerals and rocks, which might have concentrations of the rare earth elements. In other words, volcanic activity can create concentrated ores, not just of rare earth elements, but others as well. Other geological activity can also do this.
In many cases, when the earth formed some metals sunk into the core, others tended to stay near the surface. Iron is very, very plentiful, but the vast majority of it ended in the core (leaving a substantial amount behind, but that huge amount is a tiny fraction of what the Earth as a whole has in it). Iron took with it metals like platinum (and five other metals all called platinum-group metals); gold as well, though gold was very slightly more likely to stay near the surface as it has an affinity for quartz. If we ever exploit the earth’s core–or more likely, metallic asteroids–platinum group metals will become relatively more common than gold (though it still won’t be common in absolute terms, nor cheap). In any case, there’s one set of abundances for the universe as a whole…and another for the earth’s crust, because of this separation that happened when the earth first formed.
“The earth’s crust” includes mountains, and so on and much of it gets disturbed often. (It seems like you’re trying to draw a distinction between the mountains and something else that’s the earth’s crust.) Essentially NO part of the Earth’s crust has been around since the Earth was formed. Sea floors, for instance, are all less than 250 million years old (as compared to 4,500 million years for the age of the earth); they’re both destroyed and created as part of the process of continental drift. Some parts of the continents are a lot older (with grains of minerals pushing 4 billion years) but still don’t go back to the Earth’s formation. In any case, erosion does, as you say, tend to wear down rock and ores can be scattered that way, but volcanoes tend to be the Earth’s recycling system, and spew what was once at the bottom of the ocean back onto the surface–the process of melting and resolidifying creates minerals that can concentrate various elements into ores. Without them, and the process of continental drift that causes them, earth would long ago have eroded flat, and would be a water world with no land poking above the ocean.
Or to state a lot of this in a different way that may “resonate” better with people: Cerium (one of the rare earths) is the 27th most common element in the earth’s crust. Neodymium, lanthanum, and yttrium come right after it in the list, scandium is #36, and lead–good old lead, commonly found in dead criminals–is #37. Samarium is #38 and praseodymium is #40. (It’s more common than people who can pronounce it. 🙂 ) Gadolinium, dysprosium and ytterbium are all in the 40s and tin–yes, good old tin, is #49. So in absolute terms many of them are not all that rare! (The rarest of them is lutetium at #61 on the list, and it is ahead of antimony, cadmium silver, mercury, and even iodine–to say nothing of gold, rhenium, and the six platinum group metals.)
The crucial difference, though, is that tin and lead are readily findable in ores where they are nice and concentrated, whereas a good concentrated ore of the rare earths is quite hard to find–hence the mess we find ourselves in today.
One other factor that complicates the rare earths is that until a few decades ago it was very difficult to separate them chemically from each other, because they are so similar–we’ve solved this problem. But this just made it hard to use them back then; it’s easier now, if we can find a good ore deposit.
OK if anyone is still reading this…it’s more than you wanted to know, surely.


“Rare-earth minerals can be formed by volcanic activity, but many of the minerals on our planet were formed initially by supernova explosions before Earth came into existence. When Earth was formed, the minerals were incorporated into the deepest portions of the planet’s mantle, a layer of rock beneath the crust. ”
(From your source).
It says rare earth minerals are formed by volcanic activity. Quite correct!


Japan’s rare earths are somewhat of a consolation prize for their chronic volcano grief. That’s a lovely thought.


I mean ‘earthquake grief’.
But do earthquakes work anything like volcanos for this purpose?


For sure.


Daughn thank you for putting this up since some Treepers were concerned and asking me for my opinion.
On January 4th I wrote the following:
2018 was bad for the Chinese Economy. 2019 is going to be much worse!
The election of President Bolsonaro in Brazil will have ramifications for China not just in the immediate future but for years to come.
President Xi of China understands those ramifications.
As the Chinese Military Leaders talk about sinking two of our aircraft carriers, President Xi realizes why that would lead to the DEATH of his people and his country without us having to take any military action.
Let’s never forget that China is the baby of the Big Club, CoC, the Bushes, Clintons, Obama, Uniparty, Globalists etc. All these different people have been elevating China while taking us down over the past three decades.
NAFTA and having China join the WTO were their way to move their goals forward. Up until the Presidency of Donald J. Trump, the plan was going better than they could have ever envisioned.
Why do I feel confident that no military action would ever need to occur with China.
Here is why:
The majority of soybeans consumed in China come from two nations; the USA and Brazil. Those two countries alone could bring the entire population of China to its knees.
From the article linked above:
Chinese ministry of agriculture predicts 10 million tonne drop in soybean imports, analysts not convinced that will happen
Analysts are having a tough time believing China is about to dramatically curtail its soybean consumption.
But Nelson doesn’t believe that a country that accounts for 60 percent of the world trade in soybeans will be able to wean itself off of the product.
Remember the fact that the Chinese recently had to kill a large portion of their pigs because of the African Swine Fever.
From the article linked above:
A deadly and highly contagious virus is threatening pork production in China in the run-up to Chinese New Year, when demand for the country’s most commonly eaten meat is at its highest level.
Over the past three months, African swine fever has spread to 12 Chinese provinces, an area home to more than half the country’s pig population. The virus, passed through contaminated feed or exposure to infected animals, has a near-100% fatality rate and there is no vaccine.
On Monday, officials identified two new cases in the south, the first in that region. About 70,000 pigs have been culled so far to prevent the spread of the virus, according to the ministry of agriculture, and much of the country’s pig-producing provinces are on lockdown.
American and Brazilian farmers are benefiting from the issues that are plaguing China. Especially since the cost of soybeans have been on the rise recently.
Life is funny sometimes. One man’s misery is another man’s victory.
To those farmers that were paying a price for our President’s tough stance with China, they are about to WIN BIGLY!


So instead of the doughboys we had in World War I, we’ll have the soyboys….
Wait, that made no damn sense whatsoever. Never mind.

Cuppa Covfefe

Ahhh, so. The Soy Boys in the famous movie, Tofu! Tofu! Tofu!


In other words, China will trade Rare Earth Elements for food?


I thought about your pet, Flep, when I read about Pig Ebola…
Keep that cutie safe!


Love that you are addressing this. Can’t post more thoughts right now, but will do so later! This is awesome!


Like watching the markets, Daughn.
Almost everyone watches “averages, etc.” A much better indicator is “volume” as to where the traders are making THEIR money. Just sayin’ … 😉

Pat Frederick

thanks for the wonderful and easy to understand explanation!
(oh my–I loved the goldfish crackers—wonderful visual!!!)

A Fortiori

Daughn — Thanks for drawing attention to this topic.
Allow me to add a little factoid supporting why we should care: Virtually all the high technology equipment our military uses to defend us is manufactured using REE. Computers, Avionics, Satellites, Communications, Command and Control, Navigational aides, Advanced Warnings systems… you get the idea. We went through a period of time where our most advanced and sensitive systems could only be manufactured using Chinese materials (the bulk of this manufacturing took place in Japan, so it unless you dug into it appeared we were merely buying from our good friends).
This is a major strategic vulnerability.

Cuppa Covfefe

Another use of REEs is the “Energiewende” (energy turnabout, as it were), where atomic and fossil-fuel (oil, gas, coal, LNG, etc.) power generation is replaced by solar panels, wind turbines, and the bird-cooking (look up “streamers”) solar towers). Each one of these supposedly renewable energy sources requires REEs, a lot of energy to produce/manufacture, and often human lives are lost in the mining of these elements.
So another source of demand serves to impinge on the supply. Although as Steve points out, Rare Earths are not as rare as the name implies. And electric vehicles add even more demand to the mix…
(although I’d call it duh-mand, as it’s a fool’s errand, in most cases, to use electric vehicles to lower CO², etc.)…


More useless–but possibly interesting–info on rare earth elements.
They were first noticed in 1787, when a previously-unknown mineral turned up at a quarry near Ytterby, Sweden. The mineral was thus named “ytterbite.” On analysis, there was a previously unknown oxide (or “earth” as they were called then) in the mineral, which was named “yttria.” Another mineral was discovered and analyzed and the earth in it was named “ceria.” Both of these earths were believed to contain previously-unknown metals, named yttrium and cerium, as of 1803. But then things started going crazy. More detailed analyses of yttria and ceria by Mosander revealed them to be mixtures of very similar earths. By 1839 ceria had been separated into three parts, one retained the name ceria, the others were lanthana and didymia. (didymia was a “twin” of lanthana, hence its name.) Mosander then turned his attention to yttria and separated out erbia and terbia from it (now three oxides, hence three elements, named after Ytterby) in 1842. So at this point, we have the elements (still never seen in pure form, but inferred) yttrium, cerium, lanthanum, didymium, erbium and terbium. And there things sat for about 30 years, until people started using spectroscopy for chemical analysis. In 1879, another mineral, Samarskite, was discovered, and it yielded samaria/samarium–which was later separated into two parts, samaria and gadolinia. Then europia/europium was discovered. And didymia, named for being the twin of lanthanum, actually turned out to be two elements itself, neodymium and praseodymium. And I haven’t even mentioned three or four more.
This was getting ridiculous. These rare earth elements, with the exception of yttrium (and scandium, but that was discovered quite a bit later), all had atomic weights in a certain range, but it seemed as if there would be no end. It seemed as if any analysis of a sample would turn up yet another element with an atomic weight in that range. How many of these damned rare earth elements were there? Some guessed as many as twenty nine.
Fortunately, a man named Henry Mosely discovered x ray spectroscopy and there, each element gave off a wavelength that could be directly related to a whole number, and our modern concept of the atomic number came from this. This is how we know that carbon is element number six and nitrogen is number seven and there isn’t an undiscovered one in between them. Similarly, we were able to figure out the numbers of the elements before, within, and after the rare earth elements and we could tell, finally, that we had found them all, scandium (21), yttrium (39) and lanthanum (57) through lutetium (71), except for number 61.
#61, it turns out, has no stable isotopes, and any that ever existed on earth when it first formed was long gone before the earth’s crust had solidified. It was eventually made in nuclear reactors and named promethium. It, at least, is not “in play” with this whole deal with China.

Cuppa Covfefe

Except it’s getting overtures from Beethoven (maybe even baked in…). The rate of lutetium…
Fascinating infos! And here I thought the CRT was the Zenith of the use of these “embattled” Earths…
(Tyler, be a goodboy now Jonnie…).

Sadie Slays

North Korea is supposed to be rich in rare earth metals as well. When President Trump hints at helping North Korea’s economy, this may be what he’s referring to.


Yes. Somewhere a few decades ago, I tread that. Never understood why NK didn’t exploit that for hard cash. If nothing else, another country could have used it as an investment tool with NK. A pertnership with NK of sorts.


Daughn, Thank you for the Readers Digest version of rare earth elements…being not so “rare. Quite educational for the likes of me.
A repetitive fact since president Trump’s Inauguration.
Apply a “business perspective” and we win. President Trump has been applying “business” solutions across the spectrum. Our economy, International relations…
President Trump makes everything seem so easy.
Politics, politicians and MIC screw things up hugely. IF only MCM would report the truth.

Plain Jane

Fab article DNW. Linked it to all my peeps.
Although not a rare earth metal, For years I’ve speculated that Afghanistan was “special” was because of all the lithium in the mountains.

Plain Jane

Yep. We have been suckers for years. I was skeptical way back with some of Nixon’s/ China rhetoric. I couldn’t put my finger on what my skepticism was all about, but then, I didn’ have the info we now have here at wqth.:-)


Hey Daughn, silly little story here.
In some of my initial foryers into my international biz career way back when, I was hired to go to Bolivia and check out some suppliers of barium sulfate, see if they were legit, and bring home some samples to deliver to my clients in Houston, who were big into the oil exploration biz.
Oh, sorry, for everyone else … barium sulfate is a very important compound used in drilling mud …
… and it looks just like brown horein.
So when we landed in Miami on Lan Chile (I’ll tell you that story another time) we went through immigration and then customs as usual. When the customs agent asked if I had anything to declare? Like a damn fool, I said, “no sir, but I do have this barium sulfate in my briefcase I’m bringing to a client.”
Alarm bells, the rotating, flashing red light; a swoop in of Feds, drug sniffing dogs and FBI later, I’m taken to a room there the “head guy” slices open the pouch, sticks his knife in (just like the movies) and tastes the barium sulfate only to say, wow, this is strange!!” This is followed by the the geek with the chemical tester coming in and checking the barium sulfate to make sure it’s not brown heroin and confirming that it’s not.
An hour later the let me go, still not convinced that my barium sulfate wasn’t heroin.
Probably Muller’s gang, just sayin’ … 😉


It should also be noted that barium sulfate is the magic ingredient in medical barium scans, about which is said, “Barium is not without its side effects, however. Patients ordered to undergo a CT scan with barium often report that drinking barium is the hardest and most uncomfortable part of the procedure. This is in part because of just how much must be consumed, as well as its chalky, thick texture and generally unpleasant taste. Its side effects, which include nausea and loose bowels, can be long-lasting. The scan itself, in contrast, is usually quite fast and painless. “


Excellent, Daughn. I especially loved you throwing in your 6th grade anecdote with posters, dimes & goldfish.
We live in interesting times.

Gail Combs

Great article, Daughn!
Thanks for putting this up!
There has to be a way to mine for REE’s here in our own country, that will satisfy the enviro concerns.
If we’re not going to eliminate the EPA…then I think we need to repurpose it to start doing the Research necessary to HELP our businesses achieve their goals, by offering ways to operate without polluting.
The EPA has been used as a cudgel to destroy businesses, instead of working to eliminate the pollution problems.
And double thumbs up for mentioning the potential of finding new sources of REE’s in Space!
LOVE that patch!
That is so cool!
I have thought for a long time, that there are untold possibilities of even More Elements out there…than what exists on our own little planet.
Our Moon could be a cornucopia of minerals and materials.
China and Russia are in a race to get there and start mining for Helium3…and whatever else they can find there.
Our VSG President sees that Space Exploration is essential to our future.
And having a Space Force is crucial…for our security and the security of our Space Exploration.


Reblogged this on RedLegLeader Blog and commented:
This info needs to be spread far and wide — it’s up to us since the MSM will ignore all of it.


Wow, Daughn – I am in awe of your research and writing skills, as well as your versatility. Teach us about rare earth elements and how to make the best potato salad in the same week!
To put it in perspective, my total knowledge on REE is that ‘dysprosium’ was an answer to a crossword puzzle on an episode of Friends. LOL!
Thank you for all you do to add to our knowledge and learning.

Sylvia Avery

I was hunting for your post earlier today when you mentioned that China was it for refining, and then here a couple hours later BLAM!
So glad you saw it, I was dying for you to know! I’m thrilled.