American Rare Earths is expanding its portfolio with the addition of a high-grade rare earths project near Mountain Pass, the only operating rare earths mine in the US. 

American Rare Earths (ASX:ARR) has staked itself 80 contiguous unpatented lode mining claims, prospective for rare earths and known as the Searchlight project, in the US state of Nevada.

This is a strategic acquisition for ARR’s wholly owned subsidiary, Western Rare Earths, giving it control of 1,620 acres just 35km away from Mountain Pass – the only operating rare earths mine in North America and responsible for nearly 16 per cent of global supply last year.

Location of the Searchlight REE Project. Pic: Supplied.

There was a mad rush to explore this ground back in 2011 when rare earths prices went for a run, but when the market bottomed prospectors in the region abandoned the ground and went elsewhere.

Fast forward to today and ARR has now got its foot on the ground, where sampling by the company confirmed historic results and returned samples grading as high as 1.48 per cent rare earth elements (REE) and containing significant high levels of heavy and magnetic REE.

“The historical data and new sampling results, which confirm the high-grade opportunity of the Searchlight Project, makes this an extremely attractive acquisition,” managing director Keith Middleton said.

“In addition, the proximity of the project to the only integrated operating and processing rare earths mine in the USA, the Mountain Pass mine, and the project’s unique positioning within the friendly mining jurisdiction of the State of Nevada, further highlights the project as a strategic acquisition for the company.

“Lastly, the Searchlight Project offers a unique REE property unusually endowed with heavy REE’s that warrants further study and exploration.”

Nevada is well known as a mining friendly jurisdiction, having been ranked the world’s top mining destination in the Fraser Institute’s 2020 Annual Survey of Mining Companies released in February this year.

The US is particularly supportive of the rare earth players in the region as it battles to secure an independent supply chain and break China’s stranglehold on the market.

Case in point is ARR’s La Paz project in Arizona, which has received the backing of government officials at not only a local level, but also a national level.

The key product produced from MP Materials’ Mountain Pass operation is NdPr (neodymium and praseodymium) — a critical component of permanent magnets used in electric vehicle motors and offshore wind turbines.

This is the same rare earth product American Rare Earths plans to produce and supply from the La Paz project, which has the potential to be the largest rare earths deposit in the US.

EVs and wind turbine applications are expected to be major growth areas for NdPr supply.

Making moves in Nevada

Western Rare Earths is in preliminary talks with the controlling interests of the claims adjacent to the new Searchlight project to acquire geological data within the project area.

The company is preparing its exploration plan for the project, which will include systematic surface geological sampling, detailed surface geologic mapping, and options for acquiring high resolution aerial imagery and LiDAR data.

The goal is to locate additional higher-grade veins at surface and generate targets for future exploration drilling.



This article was developed in collaboration with American Rare Earths, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.