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When the rare earth castle came crashing down

Molycorp, which last week filed for bankruptcy, is a bet gone awry as reports of scarcity proved unfounded

Investors who bought into Molycorp at its July 2010 IPO at US$14 a share saw it touch US$79.16 in May 2011. Its California mine was pitched as the only North American source of rare earths.

New York

IN late 2010, two questions were on the minds of many commodities investors: What are rare earths? And where could they buy some?

The group of 17 obscure, difficult-to-pronounce minerals, used in hot-ticket items like smartphones, electric cars and wind turbines, were...

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