Earlier this year, the subsidiary of Australian company Western Rare Earths was named a member of the Critical Materials Institute, an innovation center of the US Department of Energy. Western Rare Earths will supply raw materials to US Defense Advanced Research Projects in La Paz and its Halleck Creek Project in Wyoming.
American Rare Earths CEO Chris Gibbs told MINING.COM that the game changer is the chemical makeup of the raw material they supply.
“There are a number of research programs or organizations seeking funding from the U.S. Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that are investigating advanced technologies and research for rare earth processing – which is exciting. about it is that these organizations use our raw material, and what makes our projects unique is that our stock is low in thorium, a highly radioactive element, which is found in most other rare earth projects ,” Gibbs said at the time.
Related: Recycling plant aims to turn America’s coal country into a rare earths powerhouse
The company drilled 821 meters and collected 677 samples from nine holes from February to April in La Paz and demonstrated a rock type associated with rare earth grades as well as two drill holes showing significant rare earth enrichment over strike lengths. greater than 50 meters.
“This supports the development of the rare earths supply chain in the United States and highlights the strategic value of assets to the U.S. government, as it identifies risks in the supply chain for critical minerals, including rare earth elements,” the company said in a press release.
The company said it is accelerating its activities to expand the JORC resources at La Paz, as it targets 742 to 928 million tonnes (MT) of rare earth mineralized rock to add to La Paz’s 170 MT resources.
“We are very excited about these results received from the drill program in the Southwest La Paz area,” CEO Chris Gibbs said in the statement.
“They confirm our exploration objectives and reinforce our belief that the area has significant potential to expand our current JORC resource at La Paz, which has the potential to be one of the largest rare earth projects in North America. , which makes our asset important in the development of the rare earths supply chain in the United States,” said Gibbs.
The United States has only one rare earth mine, Mountain Pass in California, owned by MP Materials, which is backed by a Chinese investor. The United States currently has no rare earth mineral processing capability.