Elements of Webb EP04: Beryllium. Where Does Beryllium Come From?
So Utah is home to many valuable materials – copper, magnesium, uranium, gold and silver. But most of the world’s beryllium is mined here. And engineers chose beryllium for Webb’s mirrors because it is lightweight, it is strong and it is dimensionally stable.
We are actually standing on the beryllium ore seam. Beryllium is in the volcanic ash dust. It was hydrothermally deposited millions of years ago and then coved by volcanic rock. We have to remove the volcanic rock on top of the ore seam and then use a scraper and a bulldozer to extract the ore that we’re standing on top of. 90% of the beryllium that was mined in the world came from this deposit.