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Rare Element Resources Announces Selection of USFS Project Manager and Prime Contractor for Bear Lodge Project Environmental Impact Statement

by User Not Found | Dec 16, 2013
Rare Element Resources announced that Tetra Tech, Inc., Mining and Minerals, has been selected by the US Forest Service (USFS) Bearlodge Ranger District to act as the prime contractor to prepare the Bear Lodge Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Jeanette Timm has been selected by the USFS to act as Project Manager.

First steps will include development of an EIS project timeline and public participation plan

 

December 16, 2013 – Lakewood, Colorado – Rare Element Resources Ltd. (the “Company”) (NYSE MKT: REE and TSX: RES), a mineral resources company advancing development of the Bear Lodge Critical Rare Earth Project, is pleased to announce that Tetra Tech, Inc., Mining and Minerals, an  environmental, engineering, program management, construction management, consulting and technical services company, has been selected by the US Forest Service (USFS) Bearlodge Ranger District to act as the prime contractor to prepare the Bear Lodge Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  Additionally, the USFS Bear Lodge Ranger District has selected Jeanette Timm, a 25-year Forest Service professional currently assigned to the Black Hills National Forest, to act as Project Manager for the EIS. Ms. Timm will direct the efforts of the EIS consultant and provide oversight of the process to ensure the timely and thorough preparation of the EIS in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).    

“As we move into this next major phase in the development of the Bear Lodge Project, we are pleased to have such a talented team of environmental experts heading this important process,” stated Jaye Pickarts, Chief Operating Officer. “Ms. Timm has worked in the USFS Sundance Office for many years and is very familiar with the Bear Lodge Project. This experience makes her an excellent choice to manage this process.  When you combine this with the over 40 years of NEPA experience of Tetra Tech, we are confident that the EIS will be completed in a timely manner that will also ensure meeting the high standards of the NEPA process and with the full engagement of the public.”  

The NEPA process requires that proposed impacts are fully evaluated to help key decision-makers and stakeholders balance the related activities and their recommended mitigation steps with their impacts on the surrounding human and natural environment.  It is expected that the first activities undertaken by the EIS team will be the preparation of an EIS project timeline and a public participation plan, followed by project scoping.
 
Over the past three years, Rare Element has gathered environmental baseline data on the natural resources within the project and surrounding areas.  In addition, the Company has completed multiple environmental studies to provide the starting point for the assessment of potential impacts to human health and the environment. The data will be provided to the USFS for inclusion in the EIS. Additionally, the Company has conducted several public update sessions to ensure stakeholders are fully informed on the planned activities.
 
Rare Element Resources Ltd. is a publicly traded mineral resource company focused on exploration and development of rare-earth element deposits, specifically those with significant distribution of critical rare earths.  The Company is advancing development of the Bear Lodge Project, located in northeast Wyoming.  Bear Lodge is a significant mineralized district containing many of the less common, more valuable critical rare earths that are essential for electronics, fiber optics, laser systems for health and defense, as well as many evolving green technologies, like hybrid cars, solar panels and wind turbines.  Permitting and feasibility work on the Project is currently underway.

For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.rareelementresources.com or contact Robbin Lee at 720-278-2462 or rlee@rareelementresources.com.  

Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of securities legislation in the United States and Canada. Except for statements of historical fact, certain information contained herein constitutes forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are usually identified by our use of certain terminology, including "will", "believes", "may", "expects", "should", "seeks", "anticipates", "plans", "has potential to", or "intends" or by discussions of strategy or intentions. Such forward-looking statements include statements regarding the permitting process and timeline, processing test work and expected results, and project development plans for the future. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results or achievements to be materially different from any future results or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, the progress of our Bear Lodge Project, including the permitting process; fluctuations in demand for, and price of, rare earth products; success of process technology under testing; timing of and unexpected events at the Bear Lodge property; delay or failure to receive government approvals and permits; changes in U.S. and Canadian securities markets; and general economic conditions. There can be no assurance that future developments affecting the Company will be those anticipated by management. Please refer to the discussion of these and other factors set out in our filings made from time to time with the SEC and Canadian security regulators, including but without limitation, our reports on Form 10-K and Form 10Q. We expect that the above estimates as to development plans, technology and other processes, time frames and financial needs will change as new information is received and that actual results will vary from these estimates, possibly by material amounts. While we may elect to update these estimates at any time, we do not undertake to update any estimate at any particular time or in response to any particular event. Investors and others should not assume that any forecasts in this press release represent management's estimate as of any date other than the date of this press release.

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The Bear Lodge Project area is a significant mineralized district that contains one of the largest disseminated rare earth deposits in North America. This deposit contains many of the less common, more valuable critical rare earths that are essential for electronics, fiber optics, laser systems for health and defense, and many evolving green technologies, such as hybrid cars, solar panels and wind turbines. Rare Element Resources owns 100% of the project and, after completing a positive preliminary feasibility study in 2014, is current working with state and federal regulators to secure the permits and licenses necessary to move the Project toward development. 

Project Highlights

  • Solid Returns with Excellent Upside – the October 2014 PFS shows an after-tax 29% IRR, a NPV of $330 million using a 10% discount and an initial payback period of less than 3 years. It also identified several opportunities for upside including further operating cost reductions with refinement of the Company’s proprietary processing technology, the ability to recover Inferred mineral resource within the pit outline, the current investigation of further separation as a means to participate more fully in the value chain, and the ability to boost revenues by recovering certain by-products.
  • Superior Location – Wyoming is recognized by Canada’s Fraser Institute as one of the world’s top five mining jurisdictions. The site is ideally located near existing infrastructure, has access to low cost power and is generally supported by the local communities, who are well versed in natural resource development.
  • Robust Ore Body – the strength of our mineral resource is demonstrated by a 45 year Project life with a high-grade core that  results in a 2.9 year payback period.
  • Proprietary Technology – continued improvements to the Company’s patent-pending recovery technology have delivered a 99.999% pure, thorium-free TREO concentrate.  Recent work has identified an enhancement to existing separation technology that has produced a number of high purity, separated rare earth products in bench-scale testing.  The process is not only efficient and cost effective but environmentally friendly.  Pilot plant testing was started in July 2015. 
  • Permitting Advancing – the US Forest Service is preparing the Environmental Impact Statement on the site, the draft of which is expect in the second half of 2015.  The Company submitted its applications for key permits and license to the appropriate state and federal agencies in the second quarter of 2015. 
  • Optimization Work – optimization work identified in the PFS is currently being undertaken and will support detailed engineering and the Feasibility Study.