Published April 5, 2023

UND Receives Nearly $8 Million Critical Minerals Production Facility 

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The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

BISMARCK – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer, R-ND, member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced the U.S. Department of Energy awarded the University of North Dakota $7,999,999 to advance construction of an inaugural critical mineral extraction and separation facility. 

“Along with their industry partners and the U.S. Department of Energy, the University of North Dakota is on the cutting edge of our energy future,” said Cramer. “This award builds on the group’s efforts to research, find, and affordably extract rare earth elements and minerals in North Dakota. The significance of developing this domestic supply chain for national and energy security cannot be overstated.”  

These resources were allocated in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. They will support a UND study to recover and refine rare earth elements and critical minerals from state lignite mine wastes, with the goal of developing technologies to enable efficient production processes. 


Per DOE, the United States imports more than 80% of its rare earth elements and critical minerals, despite the billions of tons available domestically from sources like coal waste and ash, mine tailings, acid mine drainage, and discharged water. 

The department’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, National Energy Technology Laboratory, and Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains will manage this Phase I project. 

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