American Rare Earths’ metallurgical test work continues to lay smooth groundwork for the huge Halleck Creek project to become a commercial reality.

While assay grades can get big headlines, metallurgical test results are pivotal to a project’s viability and its environmental impacts.

This is especially true for rare earths projects, where the relative ease of separating the high-value magnet metals Neodymium and Praseodymium (NdPr) from the ore is a key indicator of success.

American Rare Earths (ASX:ARR) latest metallurgical tests on Halleck Creek ore back up past results that demonstrate it can be an operation requiring low capital and operating expenditure, with a robust ESG profile.

The company’s 100% owned Halleck Creek has potential to be one of the largest rare earths projects in North America given its JORC resource of 1.43Bt and more upside still being explored.

Importantly, the most recent test work confirms the ore responds well to conventional technology, with a high 77% of waste material rejected in early processing stages before the flotation circuit phase of separating the elements essential for the clean energy transition and everyday electronics.

In terms of specific economics of the project, current internal studies are focusing on annualised ore processing rates of 10, 15 and 20 million tonnes per annum feed rate to the concentrator to establish optimal returns.  This equates to a modelled production of 3800 tonnes, 5700 tonnes and 7600 tonnes respectively of the highly valuable NdPr oxides contained in Mixed Rare Earth Carbonate (MREC) as a saleable product to be processed within the US.

The anticipated capex and opex savings are further enhanced by the negligible thorium and uranium in the Halleck Creek ore. These radioactive elements are commonly found in higher quantities at other rare earths projects, lifting their processing costs and environmental hazards.

The most recent testwork was completed by globally renowned engineering company Wood, which also managed the previous rounds.

CEO and Managing Director Chris Gibbs said:

“Rare earth projects typically have complex metallurgy. Under the technical leadership of Wood PLC, these outstanding test results provide confidence for a simple process flow sheet.

“Halleck Creek ore continues to pass all the key tests from a processing perspective: good recovery using conventional processing methods, low radioactive penalty elements and the ability to produce a mixed rare earth concentrate product.

“In short, Halleck Creek has the right rare earths (NdPr) and low penalty elements. This means a valuable product, simple metallurgy, and lower costs. Most importantly, the project is in the heart of the USA, the largest economy in the world.

“As an exploration company I’m also excited to advance our exploration activities at Halleck Creek. to support the economic and feasibility studies currently underway.

“With less than 25% of the area drilled, the deposit remains open at depth and with significant upside potential. To further enhance the project economics, we are keen to test the depth of the deposit, seek to upgrade resources and explore potential higher-grade zones within the project footprint.”

ARR is also advancing its La Paz project in Arizona, which has a  current JORC Resource estimate of 170MT and drilling targeting ~742-928MT of rare earths mineralised rocks to establish a JORC resource for the SW area.

Like Halleck Creek, La Paz has almost negligible radioactive elements and this has led to ARR ore being chosen by a number of leading US research organisations racing towards developing a North American critical minerals supply chain.

These include the Department of Defense funded DARPA EMBER project, a Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office funded project and a DOE Critical Materials Institute funded project, reflecting the US Government’s support of the American rare earths industry.




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.