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‘Exceeded our wildest dreams’

Rare earth elements (USDA photo)

Rare earth elements (USDA photo)

Much of today’s high tech, for computer, automobile, communications and military applications, requires ingredients called rare earth minerals.

They are not widely available and China, with an estimated 44 million metric tons of resources, has been the source for some 95% of those components used around the world.

That makes the U.S. dependent on an unfriendly Communist regime for significant advances in its technology.

But that could be changing, as a report in the Daily Mail reveals that a mining company has announced the discovery of “more than 2.34 billion metric tons” in Wyoming.

“American Rare Earths Inc announced that the reserves near Wheatland dramatically surpass the Asian nation’s 44 million metric tons, saying it ‘exceeded our wildest dreams’ after drilling only about 25 percent of the property,” the report said.

It explained the results come from the company’s stake in hundreds of mining claims across 6,320 acres of land in the Halleck Creek Project, in southeastern Wyoming not far from Nebraska and Colorado, as well as mineral leases on another 1,844 acres of the Cowboy State Mine.

Already confirmed are minerals like neodymium, praseodymium, samarium, dysprosium and terbium.

Such are used in smartphones, hybrid vehicles, military applications and more.

For example, the report noted magnets made from neodymium “are used in hard disc drives and mobile phones, while praseodymium is used in high-strength alloys in aircraft engines. Dysprosium is used to make control rods in nuclear reactors, and terbium is used in low-energy lightbulbs and mercury lamps.”

Company CEO Don Swartz said China wants “market dominance,” but the issue now is “a race.”

The company began test drilling a year ago, with positive results right away.

Now, plans are being made for open pit mining, the most common method for mining projects, a process that allows mining of up to 20,000 tons a day.

The report noted that this is not the only positive news about rare earths coming out of Wyoming.

“U.S.-based Ramaco Resources has a stake near Sheridan, Wyoming that could be worth around $37 billion, ” the report noted.

There, Ramaco CEO Randall Atkins explained resources had been tested only down to about 200 feet, but research now is going down to 1,000 feet.

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