US Critical Materials Corp. has revealed that they have uncovered the highest-grade rare earth deposit ever identified in the US.
Results from analyses performed by Activation Labs – a highly-respected independent analytical laboratory in Ancaster, Canada – have confirmed that the rare earth deposit has the highest reported total rare earth oxide (TREO) in the US. The discovery could be essential in furthering domestic supply chains for rare earths that will be essential in the green transition.
Jim Hedrick, US Critical Materials President and former rare earth Commodity Specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), explained: “We have confirmed that Sheep Creek is the highest-grade rare earth deposit in the United States, with a multibillion-dollar resource value.”
What are the results of the rare earth deposit?
US Critical Materials’ Sheep Creek property in Montana encompasses seven square miles. Analysis revealed that the rare earths have a substantial 9% (89,932ppm), which is significantly higher than any other domestic rare earth resource in the US.
Additionally, the deposit demonstrated 2.4% (23,810ppm) combined neodymium and praseodymium, both of which are essential materials for a green economy. The investigation also confirmed carbonite mineralisation below high-grade surface samples of 17.05% TREO and 16.44% TREO.
In contrast, Sweden’s State-owned mining company recently identified Europe’s largest rare earth deposit, which yielded 0.18% TREO – significantly lower than Sheep Creek’s 9% TREO.
Sheep Creek contains 12 of the most vital critical minerals required to facilitate the planet’s electrification goals and a green economy. The site is also low in radioactive thorium, which decreases the time of the permitting process.
The next steps of the Sheep Creek project
The goal of US Critical Materials is to supply consumers, industry, and the US Government with the critical minerals required to meet technology, defence, and manufacturing needs. This is essential due to the US currently relying on 90% of their rare earths being imported, with the majority coming from China.
The aim is to cultivate rare earths from friendly sources that are outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The company is currently collaborating with a major national laboratory to design highly efficient and environmentally friendly processes for refining the rare earths located at Sheep Creek.
The composition of the site will allow the company to make the resource available for production and delivery in rapid time. US Critical Materials is also evaluating its next steps, such as financing and business development opportunities for the project.