Reviews complete for RER demo plant
November 30, 2023
Rare Element Resources (RER) reports that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized its review of the demo plant that the company anticipates will soon be built in Upton, officially completing the federal permitting process prior to construction.
The DOE’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review was consistent with the one performed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, RER says, with both finding no significant impact.
This previous NEPA review will allow RER to make use of around 1000 tons of stockpiled material from the Bear Lodge Project near Sundance in the operation of the demo plant.
The DOE is funding around half the cost of the rare earth processing and separation demo plant through a grant award of $21.9 million and RER is now awaiting the next stage budget approval in order to begin constructing the plant.
“The DOE’s completion of its NEPA review was the final federal licensing approval required, and we thank the DOE for its completion of this important task,” said Brent Berg, President and CEO, in a press release.
“We are now advancing offsite fabrication and equipment assembly, while the DOE concludes the construction and operations budget approval, which is expected by the end of November 2023. This DOE approval will clear the way for the commencement of site renovations and equipment installation. We have completed the relocation of our Bear Lodge sample material to a nearby location, as well as the selection of our construction contractor.”
The demo plant represents the next step of RER’s journey towards operating a rare earth mine and processing plant, with the mine itself in the Bear Lodge Mountains just outside Sundance.
It will further test the company’s proprietary extraction technology, and the data from this test will be used to design and complete an economic evaluation for a full-size commercial plant, as well as the Bear Lodge Project mine site.
RER has said it will also validate the cost and environmental benefits of this proprietary process as compared to traditional recovery methods.
According to RER’s estimates, construction could begin as early as next month and the plant may be operational as early as next summer.
“Following our planned construction period, we could see plant operations begin as early as summer 2024,” Berg said.