American Rare Earths Ltd (ASX:ARR, OTCQB:ARRNF) has revealed a new method to extract rare earth elements in a more cost-effective and sustainable manner.
The company is hoping to put the method to use at its flagship Halleck Creek project in Wyoming, which houses a total of 1.46 billion tons of rare earth minerals, including key magnet metals like neodymium and praseodymium.
Working with researchers at Penn State and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, American Rare Earths and its research team are developing a new method that employs a protein isolated from bacteria to extract and separate rare earth elements more sustainably.
The process has a higher potential for scalability, American Rare Earths said in a statement.
Rare earth elements are in the spotlight lately as a critical component of electric car batteries, wind turbines and other industries like aerospace and defense.
China is the dominant rare earths producer, accounting for over 85% of the market, leaving supply exposed to any political tug-of-wars between China and the rest of the world. Earlier this week, the Chinese government revealed plans to enforce export controls on certain metals that play an integral role in manufacturing semiconductors for artificial intelligence (AI) systems.
American Rare Earths is aiming to develop Halleck Creek into a flagship mining operation in North America, which could help fill the supply gap with a domestic source of low-cost, environmentally-friendly rare earths. The company’s project portfolio also includes La Paz in Arizona, and Searchlight in Nevada.
“To address the critical industrial and national security requirements of the United States and other countries, American Rare Earths is committed to sustainable practices, inclusive principles, and leading technologies,” the firm’s president Melissa ‘Mel’ Sanderson told shareholders in a statement.
“As part of this commitment, the company is actively engaged in US Government-funded research aimed at developing cleaner and cheaper processing methods for rare earths, utilizing biological techniques.”
First founded in Australia, American Rare Earths is now strengthening its focus on the US market by redomiciling as a US company incorporated in Delaware and adding American executives to its board of directors.
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