American Rare Earths Inc announced that the reserves near Wheatland dramatically surpass the Asian nation’s 44 million metric tons, saying it ‘exceeded our wildest dreams’ after drilling only about 25 percent of the property.
The company has a stake in 367 mining claims across 6,320 acres of land in the Halleck Creek Project, along with four Wyoming mineral leases on 1,844 acres on the same project now called Cowboy State Mine.
The types of minerals at the site are used in smartphones, hybrid car motors and military technologies – among others.
American Rare Earths Inc announced that the reserves near Wheatland dramatically surpass the Asian nation’s 44 million metric tons, saying it ‘exceeded our wildest dreams’ after drilling only about 25 percent of the property
As much as 95 percent of processed rare earth minerals come from China – and the US imports 74 percent of its supply from the nation.
However, China recently announced a ban on rare earth extraction in December 2023.
Don Swartz, CEO of American Rare Earths, stated following the nation’s announcement: ‘China is driven to maintain its market dominance.
‘This is now a race.’
Now, two months later, Swartz and his team are working to break China’s lock on the market.
American Rare Earths conducted the first drilling in March 2023, which determined there were 1.2 million metric ton estimates in northeastern Wyoming, the Cowboy State Daily reported.
But a second attempt in the fall uncovered 64 percent more.
American Rare Earths conducted the first drilling in March 2023, which determined there were 1.2 million metric ton estimates in northeastern Wyoming (map shows mining site)
These results are illustrative of the enormous potential of the project when the resource increased by 64 percent during a developmental drilling campaign, which increased measured/indicated resources by 128 percent,’ Shwartz said in a statement this week.
‘Typically, you’ll see the resource decrease as infill drilling takes place – instead, we’re seeing the opposite, with only 25 percent of the project being drilled to this point.
The rare earth minerals uncovered at the site included oxides of neodymium, praseodymium, samarium, dysprosium and terbium.
Magnets made from neodymium are used in hard disc drives and mobile phones, while praseodymium is used in high-strength alloys in aircraft engines.
Dysprosium is used to make control rods in nuclear reactors, and terbium is used in low-energy lightbulbs and mercury lamps.
The extraction process would use an open pit on the surface, which is the most common method used throughout the world for mineral mining.
The rare earth minerals uncovered at the site included oxides of neodymium, praseodymium, samarium, dysprosium and terbium
One example is the particularly massive Bingham Canyon mine near Salt Lake City, Utah, which is about three-quarters of a mile deep and about 2.5 miles wide.
While open-pit mining is an environmental hazard, it is still the fastest way to extract minerals – companies can pull as much as 20,000 tons a day.
The gaping hole in the ground is also safer for workers, compared to tunnels that go miles below the surface.
American Rare Earth is not the only company in the new gold rush’ out west, as US-based Ramaco Resources has a stake near Sheridan, Wyoming that could be worth around $37 billion.
Ramaco Resources CEO Randall Atkins told Cowboy State Daily: ‘We only tested it for 100, 200 feet, which is about the maximum you’d ever want to do a conventional coal mine.
‘Much deeper than that, and the cost would be prohibitive to mine for $15-a-ton coal. But there are seams that go down almost to 1,000 feet. So, we’re drilling down into the deeper levels to see what’s down there.’
Ramaco estimated in May that it had 800,000 metric tons of rare earths, but then announced in December that amount was up to 1.2 million.
Neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium have also been found at the site – but the amount does not compare to what American Rare Earth has uncovered.