Companies Join Forces to Open U.S. Rare Earth Mining and Processing Facilities

Published March 17, 2020

In a move intended to lessen the stranglehold China has on rare-earth production and processing, Texas Mineral Resources and USA Rare Earth are joining forces to open a mining operation in Texas and a minerals processing plant in Colorado.

The companies have partnered in a pilot plant processing facility in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, which purifies rare earth minerals, lithium, and other critical minerals mined at the Round Top rare earth and critical minerals project in Texas.

This is about securing domestic supplies of key ingredients for green energy technologies, electronics, and military weapons, said USA Rare Earth CEO Pini Althaus in a press release.

“Taken together, Round Top and our pilot plant constitute essential links in restoring a domestic U.S. rare earth supply chain, extracting rare earths and processing them …without the material ever leaving the United States, thereby alleviating the current dependence on China for the both raw materials and mineral processing,” Althaus said.

Better for the Environment

This deal is a win-win, says Nick Loris, the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow in Energy and Environmental Policy at The Heritage Foundation.

“It’s great to see on all fronts: economically, environmentally, and for market diversification,” Loris said. “Operating in the United States will create jobs and stimulate economic growth and will continue to take advantage of the wealth of natural resources our country has been blessed with.

“We all want our air and water quality protected, but our ability to develop anything in the United States, whether it’s a mine, a highway or a pipeline, is hamstrung by a burdensome regulatory process and seemingly endless litigation, meaning development is often going to occur in places with much worse environmental, health, and safety standards.” Loris said. “American mines will be safer and more environmentally friendly than those operating in China.”

Kenneth Artz ([email protected]) writes from Dallas, Texas.