From Steve Fisher for New America Media, the story of an element needed for cell phones, weapons, and hybrid cars – available to be mined in Alaska. Its discovery brings hope to the unemployed, but concern for the environment: “Dysprosium, a “rare-earth” element, is essential in the production of technologies as varied as iPhones, wind turbines, smart bombs and predator drones. China currently dominates the global dysprosium market, but the discovery near Hydaburg could change all of that by supplying U.S. production demands for decades to come.
Not everyone in Hydaburg, however, is enthusiastic about the idea of a mine. Despite the promise of jobs, some residents say a mine will lead to pollution of their salmon fisheries – amounting to a sacrifice of the town’s economic and cultural lifeblood for a mining prospect that, environmentally and economically, raises more questions than it answers.” Read more.