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American Rare Earths Identifies High-Value Zircon as Potential Co-Product

American Rare Earths Ltd. has discovered high-value zircon as a possible co-product with rare earth elements (REEs) at its flagship Halleck Creek Project in Wyoming.

A study collaboration with the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources (SER) has shown that due to its density, zirconium can be easily separated and improved as part of the Halleck Creek flowsheet’s REE preconcentration steps.

Zircon is in limited supply and needed in high-growth sectors, including electronics, ceramics, and nuclear energy, which has led to a surge in worldwide demand. As a co-product, producing it with REEs might have a substantial economic impact.

Revenue Potential

Zircon is typically a minor product obtained from processing heavy mineral sands and has many high-value applications across multiple industries. We are thrilled to announce the discovery of a potential co-product in our Halleck Creek project. This potential was only recently identified as part of our previously announced REE processing program modifications emphasizing Dense Medium Cyclones work led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This opportunity has the potential to generate significant additional revenue and enhanced project economics.

Donald Swartz, Chief Executive Officer, American Rare Earths Ltd.

More Prevalent

The findings of both historical and initial exploration assays point to a sizable zircon co-product potential at Halleck Creek, in addition to rare earths.

According to historical laboratory data, the average in-situ grade of zirconium is 2,077 ppm. For comparison, the typical crustal abundance is 300 ppm.

Like allanite, zircon is a potential major contributor of heavy REEs (HREE) to the project since it includes REE elements.

ARR believes zircon is more common at Halleck Creek than previously thought because of a study collaboration with the University of Wyoming.

University Collaboration

Dr. Lily Jackson, a sedimentology, tectonics, and geochronology specialist at SER, conducted this study.

The initial collaboration includes doing QEMSCAN analysis at the University of Wyoming to offer quantitative mineral analysis and benchtop-scale REE leaching to determine how zircon metamictization influences REE extraction from zircon.

According to SER's research, zirconium can be easily separated and upgraded as part of the REEs pre-concentration phases in the Halleck Creek flowsheet.

The gravity separation program (spiral testing) under the REEs program resulted in a 13.7× upgrade, which equates to approximately 2.3 %.

Ongoing Work

Beneficiation work comprises testing to separate and concentrate zirconium utilizing gravity separation and magnetic removal of paramagnetic minerals to improve the material further.

The laser ablation assay of zircon crystals revealed increased amounts of heavy REEs, offering a significant upside.

This study takes a huge step forward in comprehending the potential of zircon in the Red Mountain pluton at Halleck Creek.

The following prospects will be the focus of future metallurgy and exploration work:

  • Separated zirconium concentrate as a co-product; and
  • Heavy REEs extraction from metamict zircon

Swartz added, “Further details will be provided as we continue our assessment and evolve our strategy to maximize value for our shareholders.

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