Rare earth metals such as cerium and tantalum are needed to make everything from iPods and hybrid car batteries to wind turbines. China is the world’s biggest producer of rare earths. And the country’s looming decision to cut off exports could put a major strain on global supply. This has some technical colleges in the West ramping up their curriculum to train students to meet future demand.
Ten days after the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reported its working theory about the deadly Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion, mine owner Massey Energy presented its latest findings Friday to reporters and the families of the 29 miners killed.
"Our conclusion to date is different," said Massey Vice President and General Counsel Shane Harvey.
For four hours Tuesday night, investigators from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) laid out their working theory about what happened April 5, just before a West Virginia coal mine exploded and 29 miners were killed.
They went through the explosion scenario step-by-step in an MSHA auditorium in Beckley, W.Va., filled with relatives of the victims, some weeping at times at the painful implications of the evidence.