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Environmental Impact Statement Commenced on Rare Element Resources’ Bear Lodge Project

by User Not Found | Feb 06, 2014
Members of the US Forest Service, Tetra Tech, the prime contractor, and Rare Element Resources met last week and officially commenced preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement on the Bear Lodge Project under the National Environmental Policy Act.
February 6, 2014 – Lakewood, Colorado – Rare Element Resources Ltd. (NYSE MKT: REE and TSX: RES), a mineral resources company advancing development of the Bear Lodge Critical Rare Earth Project, announced that members of the US Forest Service, Tetra Tech, the prime contractor, and the Company met last week and officially commenced preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Bear Lodge Project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The meeting was led by Jeanette Timm, the Forest Service’s Project Manager for the EIS, and included an introduction of the Forest Service’s inter-disciplinary resource team, Tetra Tech’s resource and technical specialists, and the lead contacts for Rare Element Resources.  

The first step in the NEPA process will be the publication in the Federal Register of a Notice of Intent to prepare the EIS and the announcement of public scoping meetings.  Scoping is the mechanism by which the public becomes involved with the EIS at the onset of the NEPA process.  The purpose of scoping is to identify the significant environmental issues that are then used to develop the alternatives to be analyzed in the EIS.

“The team the Forest Service has assembled for the preparation of the Bear Lodge EIS includes an impressive collection of technical experts covering many disciplines that will ensure the completion of a document that carefully and sufficiently considers and addresses the impacts of our proposed operations,” stated Jaye T. Pickarts, Rare Element’s Chief Operating Officer.  “We believe the Bear Lodge Project is an important component of America’s expressed desire to re-establish a secure, domestic source of critical rare earths, and we are committed to developing a project that meets the highest standards of environmental stewardship.  We look forward to working with the Forest Service and Tetra Tech to advance the EIS process as efficiently and timely as possible while ensuring completion of a thorough assessment.”

Critical rare earth elements were identified by the US Department of Energy in a report published in late 2011 entitled “Critical Material Strategy” and include Neodymium, Europium, Terbium, Dysprosium and Yttrium – all elements present at the Bear Lodge Project.  The study evaluated the role of these rare earths in the green energy economy and identified them as “critical” due to the supply risk associated with their lack of availability outside of China.  

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 progress, the 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, 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 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.