SUNDANCE (WNE) – Rare Element Resources (RER) confirmed this week that the next stage of development for its planned rare earth mine will take place in Upton.

This is the location originally chosen for the company’s full-scale separation activities once the mine was up and running.

The demonstration plant will further test the company’s patented rare earth separation and processing and will use funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE).

“A major decision has been made to choose Upton as the site for this unique facility, which will be the first of its scale in America to produce commercial-grade neodymium/ praseodymium (NdPr) rare earth high-purity oxide for high-strength permanent magnets,” said George Byers, RER. “The Upton plant will help us further optimize our innovative, patented separation process. Our ability to produce extremely high-purity, separated rare earth oxides involves significantly fewer steps plus attendant environmental benefits and lower operating and capital costs compared with current technologies employed elsewhere in the world.”

The DoE announced in January that it had selected RER and its partner, General Atomics and affiliate Synchron, to receive an award of $21,989,530 to construct this demo plant. The plant is expected to cost around $35-40 million.

“Since then [we] have been finalizing details of the pre-award negotiations,” said Byers.

Funding is expected within the next six to eight weeks, according to Byers, and construction of the demonstration plant is then set to be complete within 18 to 24 months.

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