U.S. Rare Earths, Inc., a domestic rare earths exploration company with approximately 22,000 acres of mining claims in Idaho, Montana and Colorado, announced that the company has received approval from the U.S. Forest Service to access a stockpile located on USRE-held mining claims, which are part of the company's ongoing exploration efforts at the Last Chance prospect claims in the Lemhi Pass region of Idaho and Montana.
The company intends to begin to remove and conduct metallurgical sampling of the material immediately.
The company believes this stockpile contains at least 10 to 12 tons of highly concentrated rare earths enriched material.
The company also said that for purposes of exploration, it plans to reopen existing adits, horizontal tunnels extending underground more than 400 meters or 1,300 feet which are known to intersect one of the largest identified mineralized veins of heavy and critical rare earths located within the continental United States. The company believes that it would be the first company to proceed with rare earth underground exploration and sampling in the continental United States.
In 2012, 2013, and 2014, the company conducted extensive exploration-related field work. Work began in 2012 with the detailed independent evaluation of the company's extensive historic data warehouse, as well as other detailed historic mapping of its claims and prior geologic field work, including both historic and new channel, core and grab sampling, core drilling, and metallurgical and chemical engineering data collection activities.
All of the company's field work was compiled using NI 43-101 compliant methods, including work at the Last Chance, Lemhi Pass, North Fork and Diamond Creek projects. These methods ensured and verified the accuracy of the historic data, in addition to providing new field work and metallurgical and chemical engineering data. The exploration team consisted of 20 professionals, including four qualified geologists who supervised and conducted all of the field work, in coordination with the team's research, geotechnical, geological, and drilling teams.
The stockpile was extracted by Idaho Energy and Resources Co. (IERCO) as part of rare earths exploration. Based on data published by IERCO, the company estimates that the stockpile contains a substantial amount of rare earths enriched material, with high percentages of both heavy and critical rare earth elements.
The company said that its exploration teams and extensive field work have verified the richness of all of its other historic data. In addition, the teams provided new exploration data, especially in the targeted areas of the Last Chance, Lemhi Pass, North Fork, Diamond Creek, and its Rudolph Hill, and Wet Mountain project claims in Colorado.
"It is really exciting to be part of the team that realizes access and exploration to the company's Last Chance project, which is believed to have the only known rare earth underground workings in North America," said Howard Dunn, Principal of Process Engineering. "The existing adit located on U.S. Rare Earths' property has the potential to be rehabilitated, allowing for advanced exploration right here in the continental United States."
Additionally the company completed its latest on-site field review with U.S. Forest Service personnel on July 10th, 2014. The company anticipates receiving a formal permit within the next 90-120 days, which will allow for the re-opening of the Last Chance underground northern adit and to begin proceeding with underground exploration and sampling in the continental United States.
Rare Earth element minerals were extracted previously by IERCO during its historical underground adits (tunneling) activities associated with rare earth exploration on the Last Chance vein. Historical data indicates that substantial amounts of rare earths are held in the stockpile.
"We are delighted to have been granted permission to access and remove the 10 to 12 tons of material from this stockpile," said Kevin Cassidy, CEO of U.S. Rare Earths. "This approval comes with the culmination of over three years of data collection and thorough research and development of our properties, concluded in compliance with NI 43-101 standards, including both the broad and detailed exploration and drilling results conducted to date. We believe this national treasure and invaluable American resource enhances our potential and positions U.S. Rare Earths to be the first U.S.-based business to provide a domestic supply chain solution to America of both heavy and critical rare earths sourced here in the continental United States."
Earlier this year, the company announced that it had completed preliminary exploration and assessment of a portion of its claims in Lemhi Pass, including the Last Chance claims. U.S. Rare Earths holds more than 142 claims covering more than 2,300 acres in the Lemhi Pass region. The independent survey, prepared by Process Engineering and compliant with the NI 43-101 standard, showed a significant concentration of both critical and heavy rare earths in the company's Lemhi Pass projects.