American Rare Earths rejects $400 million SPAC takeover offer

Halleck Creek rare earths project in Wyoming. (Image courtesy of American Rare Earths.)

American Rare Earths (ASX: ARR) said it won’t sell its subsidiary Wyoming Rare in an all-share deal valued at $400 million that a NASDAQ-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) proposed on Friday.

Wyoming Rare holds the 2.3-billion-tonne Halleck Creek rare earth project, which was named by Mining Intelligence last year as one of the world’s top 10 rare earth projects measured in total rare earth oxides (TREO).

Explorers are combing Wyoming for these materials so it could become America’s answer to China’s grip on the market. The United States has only one producing rare earths mine, Mountain Pass in California, owned by MP Materials (NYSE: MP).

Australian-headquartered American Rare Earths published last month the results of a scoping study for Halleck Creek, which confirms its potential to become a world-class rare earth elements project.

Based on a mineral resource estimate updated in February, Halleck Creek holds 2.34 billion tonnes grading 3,196 parts per million (ppm) TREO, including neodymium and praseodymium oxides, for 7.48 million tonnes of contained TREO. This includes 1.42 billion tonnes in the measured and indicated category.

The new figures represent a 128% increase over an estimate last year at a grade of 3,295 ppm TREO.

The buyout concept would have resulted in Wyoming Rare being listed with the SPAC as a separate entity on the NASDAQ. American Rare Earth said there were potential benefits since it would have followed a route taken by MP Materials, which listed Mountain Pass using a combination with a SPAC.

“However, the board is mindful of the significant potential of Halleck Creek, and the need to maximize returns to shareholders, while minimizing dilution and has declined to advance at this time,” American Rare Earths said in a release.

“The inbound interest received in American Rare Earths underscores the immense value and strategic significance of our Halleck Creek rare earth project,” chairman Richard Hudson said in the statement.

“As we navigate potential pathways for growth, we remain committed to maximizing returns for our shareholders while advancing our mission of sustainable resource development,” Hudson said.

American Rare Earths shares closed more than 16% stronger on the ASX on Friday at A$0.32 apiece. The company has a A$155 million market capitalization.