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Water Purification Technology Launched Based on Rare Earths

Water pouring into a glass (Greg Riegler/Flickr)Molycorp Minerals Inc., a producer of rare earths in Greenwood Village, Colorado, says it has launched of a new rare earth-based water purification technology called Xsorbx. Rare earths are a collection of mineral elements, such as cerium and lanthanum, used in advanced and strategic manufacturing products — e.g. electric car batteries, flat-screen TVs, and wind turbines — as well as for water purification.

The company says Xsorbx (pronounced ZOR-bex) is a non-toxic, end-use water treatment product, now sold commercially for wastewater, recreational, pool and spa, industrial process, and other water treatment markets. Ken Brummett, president of Bio-Chem Industries, a maker of water treatment products in Tulsa, Oklahoma and one of Molycorp’s customers, says “We’re seeing a greater than 20 percent increase in the removal of a wide range of impurities, such as nutrients, heavy metals, dyes, and other problematic contaminants” since integrating Xsorbx into its own products.

On the Molycorp Web site, CEO Mark Smith says nearly all technologies based on rare earths are dependent on China for their raw materials, a situation that China has increasingly sought to exploit for its advantage. Smith says, however, “the U.S. has one of the world’s largest and richest rare earth deposits at Molycorp Minerals’ facility in Mountain Pass, California.” Smith adds that “plans are in place to bring the facility back into full production following an extensive modernization and expansion project.”

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Photo: Greg Riegler/Flickr

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