Rare earths miner Arafura Resources Ltd will test samples of concentrates from its Australian mine as potential feedstock for a refinery in Colorado owned by USA Rare Earth LLC, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Arafura plans to send samples of a refined liquor comprising middle and heavy rare earths, produced from its ores processed at an Australian government plant, to the USA Rare Earth’s pilot plant in Colorado to separate into individual heavy rare earths, the company said in a stock exchange statement.
Last week, USA Rare Earth said its rare earth and critical minerals pilot plant processing facility in Colorado had received its required permits, helping it move closer to its goal of building the first rare earth and critical minerals processing facility outside China.
The testing program follows an initial agreement signed by Arafura and USA Rare Earths in December.
The discussions are occurring as the United States vies to revive its rare earths industry to reduce its reliance on other countries for the supply of critical minerals and to break China’s control over the strategic rare earths sector.
Shares of Arafura fell as much as 1.6% on Wednesday.
(By Shreya Mariam Job; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)