Extracting rare earth minerals from coal could revive the flagging sector and wean the U.S. off Chinese mineral providers, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said.

“I don’t think we can overstate how important the development of rare earth minerals out of our anthracite coal is, and the potential that it’s going to have,” Perry said Sept. 28, standing in the shadow of an 8,000-ton, 50-year old excavating machine at the Jeddo Coal Mine in Hazleton, Pa.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry speaks at the Jeddo Coal Mine in Hazleton, Pa., on Sept. 28, 2017.
Stephen Lee/Bloomberg BNA