A mining company will further explore its promising rare earth resources in Wyoming

Rare earth elements – like neodymium and praseodymium – are highly desirable materials used in a variety of products from cell phone batteries to flat-screen TVs.
Researchers study deposits at the Halleck Creek site in Southeast Wyoming (Dane Rhys / American Rare Earths)

by | Sep 12, 2023 | Environment

This story comes through a content-sharing partnership with Wyoming Public Media.

The mining company American Rare Earths is conducting more exploratory drilling this month at its Halleck Creek site in Southeast Wyoming. The Australian-based company hopes to discover an increase in the breadth and depth of its already promising resource.

Rare earth elements – like neodymium and praseodymium – are highly desirable materials used in a variety of products from cell phone batteries to flat-screen TVs. Currently, there is only one rare earth mining and processing facility in the U.S., and the Biden Administration has said these elements are key for economic and national security.

“There is potential to significantly increase the size, quality, and grade of this deposit. This new program is focussed on adding value by targeting high grade zones,” said American Rare Earths CEO Donald Swartz in a statement. “We are looking forward to executing this drill program and advancing Halleck Creek as the logical solution for the U.S. Government to reduce dependency on Chinese rare earths.”

The company plans to drill 23 additional holes at Halleck Creek, with one extending to a depth of 1,000 feet. The site is located in Albany and Platte counties and already has the potential to be among the largest rare earth mines in the world, according to previous explorations. To further expand the company’s presence in the western U.S., American Rare Earths is also opening an American headquarters near Denver.

Rare earth minerals, along with other “green” elements like cobalt and lithium, have gained attention in recent years due to their importance in the transition away from fossil fuels. As operations expand in the West, more environmental impacts from open-pit mining and conflicts with tribal communities could pop up.

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About Will Walkey

Will is KHOL's first full-time reporter and producer. Originally from Tacoma, Washington, he recently graduated from Columbia University with a Master's Degree in journalism. He likes to read and write about housing, local politics, and history, and spends most of his free time fishing or biking. He's excited to be living in Wyoming, and looks forward to honing in on his unique radio voice by highlighting the locals that make Jackson special. Contact Will with tips at will@jhcr.org, and follow him on Twitter at @WillWalkey.

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