North Korea is home to one of the world's largest rare earth mineral deposits, but its policy of isolation has long deterred foreign investment.
Indonesia's recent ban on mineral ore exports aims to force foreign companies to start processing in the country.
A West Virginia chemical spill, which has cut off water to hundreds of thousands of citizens across nine counties in the state, is used in the coal industry. The compound involved in the chemical spill into West Virginia's Elk River – 4-methylcyclohexane methanol – is used to clean coal.
Cleantech industry-watchers should take heart, Kachan writes. A quiet recovery is already underway in cleantech, a process that should gain even more momentum through 2014.