Earlier this year, the Australian company’s subsidiary Western Rare Earths was named a member of the Critical Materials Institute, a US Department of Energy Innovation Hub. Western Rare Earths will supply feedstock to US Defense advanced research projects from both La Paz and its Halleck Creek project in Wyoming.
American Rare Earths managing director Chris Gibbs told MINING.COM the game changer is the chemical composition of the feedstock they are supplying.
“There are a number of research programs or organizations seeking funding from the US Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA) looking at breakthrough technology and research for rare earths processing — what’s exciting about this is these organizations are using our feedstock, and what makes our projects unique is that our stock is low on thorium, a highly radioactive element, which is found at most other rare earth projects,” Gibbs said at the time.
The company drilled 821 meters and collected 677 samples from nine holes from February to April at La Paz and demonstrated rock type associated with rare earth grades as well as two drill holes showing extensive rare earth enrichment over lengths exceeding 50 meters.
“This supports the development of the US domestic rare earths supply chain and highlights the strategic value of assets to the US Government as it identifies risks in the supply chain for critical minerals including rare earth elements,” the company said in a media release.
The company said it is accelerating activities to expand JORC resources at La Paz, as it targets 742 – 928 million tonnes (MT) of rare earths mineralised rocks to add to the 170MT La Paz resource.
“We are very excited by these results received from the drill program at the La Paz Southwest zone,” CEO Chris Gibbs said in the statement.
“They confirm our exploration targets and reinforce our strong view that the zone has significant potential to expand our current JORC resource at La Paz, which has the potential to be one of the largest rare earths projects in North America, making our asset significant in the development of the US domestic rare earths supply chain,” Gibbs said.
The United States has only one rare earths mine, Mountain Pass in California, owned by MP Materials, which is backed by a Chinese investor. The US currently has no capability to process rare earth minerals.
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