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posted: 7/21/2013 3:57 PM

Gold rush-era discards could fuel cellphones, TVs

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  • In this December 2012 photo provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, Ames Laboratory, materials scientist Ryan Ott, left, and research technician Ross Anderson examine an ingot of magnesium and rare-earth metals as part of a project to optimize the process to reclaim rare earths from scraps of rare-earth-containing magnets in Ames, Iowa.

      In this December 2012 photo provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, Ames Laboratory, materials scientist Ryan Ott, left, and research technician Ross Anderson examine an ingot of magnesium and rare-earth metals as part of a project to optimize the process to reclaim rare earths from scraps of rare-earth-containing magnets in Ames, Iowa.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
Associated Press

Across the west, early miners digging for gold, silver and copper had no idea that one day something else very valuable would be buried in the piles of dirt and rocks they tossed aside. there's a rush in the u.s. to find key components of cellphones, televisions, weapons systems, wind turbines, mri machines and the regenerative brakes in hybrid cars, and old mine tailings piles just might be the answer.

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