1. Twelve years ago, former Wall Street banker Randall Atkins bought an old coal mine outside Sheridan, Wyoming, sight unseen, for about $2 million. He thought the mine might eke out a profit. Instead, Atkins recently learned it could bring a windfall. Several years after Atkins bought the Brook Mine, government researchers came around asking if they could run some tests to see if the ground contained something called “rare-earth elements.” When Atkins acquired the mine, he says he “didn’t know the difference between rare earths and rare coins.” When he got the test results, including some as recently as September, he says he was surprised and humbled: His sleepy mine contains what might be the largest so-called unconventional rare-earth deposit in the U.S., according to government researchers. At current market prices, it could be worth around $37 billion. (Source: wsj.com)
2. The immense amount of energy needed to power generative artificial intelligence models, like the one behind ChatGPT, is creating a new market for data centers that run on alternative energy sources. Supply of electricity, which currently powers the vast majority of data centers, is already strained from existing demands on the country’s electric grids. AI could consume up to 3.5% of the world’s electricity by 2030, according to an estimate from IT research and consulting firm Gartner. Driven by energy demands and sustainability goals, Amazon.com, Microsoft and Google were among the first to explore an array of nontraditional energy sources, including wind and solar, to power their data centers. Now those companies and some newer players are looking at an even wider range of sources, including geothermal, nuclear and flared gas, a byproduct of oil production. (Source: wsj.com, italics mine)
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