A company is making a big financial investment to find new uses for the state’s coal mining waste.
Gov. Jim Justice was in Wyoming County Thursday afternoon to announce Omnis Sublimation Recovery Technologies will invest $60 million in the county to extract rare earth metals from coal waste impoundments.
“We’ve given our sweat, our lives and every single thing we have to produce the coal that we’ve produced and the waste bears these rare earth metals,” Justice said.
Rare earth metals are relatively abundant and are used in many modern electronics, most notably smartphones, but their extraction and refinement is technically difficult and traditionally environmentally damaging.
Justice said Omnis’ new technology will allow for safer extraction.
“The problem is we’ve never been able to find a way to extract them that was environmentally sound and on and on,” Justice said.
Omnis claims their technology can extract pure metals from coal impoundment mineral waste using ultra-high heat without acids or harmful chemicals. The technology recovers 100 percent of the metals, including all critical, strategic, and rare earth metals, with zero waste and no harmful emissions.
China currently produces more than 80 percent of the world’s rare earth metals.
As part of his infrastructure plan, President Joe Biden has prioritized creating a domestic supply chain for rare earth metals.
Omnis has committed to hiring and training 100 team members to operate this technology in a safe, clean environment in the state.