Following 18 months of extensive core drilling and independent chemical analysis, Ramaco Resources and researchers from the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory believe that the former’s Brook mine in Wyoming contains perhaps the largest unconventional deposit of rare earth elements discovered in the United States.
In particular, the mine ranks among the highest relative concentrations yet discovered of magnetic REEs such as “heavy” REEs Terbium and Dysprosium, as well as lighter REEs such as Neodymium and Praseodymium. Initial estimates are that approximately 28% of deposit concentrations may be in the form of MREEs.
Ramaco said it plans to analyze the appropriate mining, processing and mineral development plan for the REEs, along with a comprehensive economic analysis. The miner’s board of directors has authorized continued assessment of this opportunity, and additional testing results will be released periodically.
“We view this as an exciting and perhaps transformative new direction for our company,” said Ramaco CEO and Chairman Randall Atkins. “We will approach the potential to develop critical minerals with the same conservative capital expenditure and development discipline that we have applied to our core metallurgical coal business. We are also well positioned to allocate initial capital to begin a step-by-step development program.
“If additional diligence continues to confirm the opportunity, then Ramaco can expand its national footprint into becoming both a low-cost supplier of strategic REE critical materials from Wyoming, as well as continuing as a producer of metallurgical coal in Central Appalachia.”
There is currently only one active mine for magnetic REEs in the United States, located near the Mojave Desert in California.
Source: Ramaco Resources