American Rare Earths says scoping study confirms potential of Wyoming project

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

Australia’s American Rare Earths (ASX: ARR) published on Monday the results of a scoping study for its Halleck Creek project in Wyoming, United States, which confirms its potential to become a world-class rare earth element (REE) project.

The preliminary technical and economic study on the viability of the project is based on a scenario that includes developing an open pit mine, constructing a beneficiation facility onsite and a refinery offsite.

The report, compiled by independent firm Stantec Consulting Services, highlights a three million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) operating scenario. 

Net present value (NPV) is pegged at $673.9 million at an 8% discount rate and $505.1 million at a 10% discount rate (pre-tax), yielding an internal rate of return of 22.5%.

The payback period is estimated at 2.9 years, with total initial capital expenditures (capex) of $456.1 million, including a $76 million contingency.

Based on a mineral resource estimate updated in February, Halleck Creek holds 2.34 billion tonnes of material grading 3,196 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxides (TREO), including neodymium (Nd) and praseodymium (Pr) 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 the 2023 estimate, at a grade of 3,295 ppm TREO.

Rare earths, a group of 17 minerals critical to the energy transition for their use in electric car batteries and wind turbines, are also crucial to national security for use in aerospace and defence applications.

Wyoming has become an exploration hotbed for these materials in hopes it could become America’s answer to China’s lock on the market. The Halleck Creek project was named by Mining Intelligence last year as one the world’s top 10 rare earth projects, measured in total rare earth oxides (TREO).

On top of the scoping study for Halleck Creek released Monday, the company will also need to acquire the necessary licences to explore on Wyoming state mineral leases in order to collect rocks for bulk material testing and pilot-scale metallurgical test-work.

After that, American Rare Earths will prepare and implement a detailed baseline environmental plan and will also start working on a permit application to mine on state mineral leases.