Niobium can be found in steel, particle accelerators, MRI machines, and rockets, but sourcing it is largely limited to a handful of countries including Brazil and Canada. Earlier this month, however, Chinese news outlets announced the discovery of a never-before-seen type of ore deposit in Inner Mongolia containing potentially vast amounts of the superconductive rare earth element. According to Antonio Castro Neto, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the National University of Singapore speaking with the South China Morning Post, the new resource trove could even be so large that it would make China self-sufficient in its own niobium needs.

The ore found in Inner Mongolia—dubbed niobobaotite—also contains large quantities of barium, titanium, iron, and chlorine, according to a statement from China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) earlier this month.

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