CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A company will hire 100 people and invest $60 million in southern West Virginia to extract rare earth metals from coal waste impoundments, Gov. Jim Justice said.
Omnis Sublimation Recovery Technologies is expected to build its Wyoming County facility and install equipment by mid-2023, the governor's office said in a statement.
"Coal is such a big part of our state's livelihood, and it's amazing that we can now take the coal waste and turn it into something the world desperately needs, all while providing jobs to our hard-working people and investment to our great state," Justice said in the statement Thursday.
Currently most of the world's supply of rare earth elements comes from China. Rare earth metals are necessary for manufacturing smartphones, computers and other high-performance electronic devices.
"OSRT is giving new life to West Virginia's coal waste impoundments by using the only commercially viable process to extract strategic metals and rare earth elements without any waste and no negative environmental impact," said Michelle Christian, the company's vice president of global sustainability and innovation.
In March, Justice announced that Omnis Building Technologies will build a $40 million facility in Bluefield to make housing materials.