Published on: February 27th, 2019 • Duration: 22 minutes
What kind of future are we building with the tools we have today? As Justine Underhill continues to answer that question, she examines the consequences of our reliance on rare earth metals, which play crucial roles in cell phones, laptops, TVs and speakers. These metals are also essential for new “green” technologies, including wind turbines and electric vehicle motors, but the way they are mined could be an environmental disaster. Justine investigates how China rose to dominance in rare earth production, and shakes the web of fragile supply chains, as she speaks with Julie Klinger, author of Rare Earth Frontiers, Masato Sagawa, the inventor of rare earth magnets, metals trader Michael Rapaport, and the owners and operators of MP Materials, the only rare earth mining site in the U.S. Filmed in 2018 and 2019 in New York, Boston, Las Vegas and Mountain Pass, California.