Rare earth elements (REE) are typically considered to be scandium, yttrium and the lanthanide series elements. Sought after products such as magnets, digital screen components and LED, motors, batteries, and various catalysts frequently require REEs. The ever increasing shift to new technologies is leading to a significant increase in REE demand.
REEs are considered critical minerals. The criteria are summarized by the Wyoming State Geological Survey in three points:
A non-fuel mineral or mineral material essential to the economic and national security of the United States
The supply chain of which is vulnerable to disruption
That serves an essential function in the manufacturing of a product, the absence of which would have significant consequences for our economy or our national security
The balance of supply and demand for REEs has earned them this spot on the critical minerals list and this status is predicted to hold for the foreseeable future. These materials, though found around the world, have been known to be difficult to extract and purify especially in significant volumes. Large, concentrated deposits of REEs are seemingly rare compared to other elements such as gold and silver, but Wyoming has a few attention-worthy projects currently underway.
Rare Element Resources has been leading the operations at the Bear Lodge deposit in northeast Wyoming and estimates a total of 1,099 million pounds of Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO) material are available in the resource – highlights of the composite include cerium, lanthanum, and neodymium.
Additionally, Wyoming Rare (USA) Inc. (a Western Rare Earths and American Rare Earths subsidiary) has been exploring the Halleck Creek region of southeast Wyoming with promising results showing up to 0.60% TREO in the currently sampled areas which include significant portions of neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium.
Disa is equipped to process ore and coordinate testing for exploratory campaigns and is proud to currently support and advocate for local and nationwide operations in the REE mining industry. Developments throughout the world show there’ll be no slowing down on this exploration!