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OTCQB: REEMF

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Rare Element Resources Successfully Completes Pilot Plant

by Paul Barker | Feb 06, 2020
are Element Resources Ltd. is pleased to provide an update on the pilot scale test work which is demonstrating its proprietary rare earth separation technology…

Proprietary technology produces a separated Nd/Pr high-purity oxide for 
U.S. Rare Earth Magnet Supply Chain Advancement

February 6, 2020 – Littleton, Colorado – Rare Element Resources Ltd. (“RER” or the “Company”) (OTCQB: REEMF) is pleased to provide an update on the pilot scale test work which is demonstrating its proprietary rare earth separation technology in studies being conducted by Umwelt-und Ingenieurtechnik GmbH Dresden (“UIT”). UIT is an affiliate of Synchron, a significant shareholder in the Company and a General Atomics affiliated company. 

Since February 2019, UIT has operated a hydrometallurgical pilot plant in Germany utilizing ore from the Company’s Bear Lodge Project in Wyoming.  Using the Company’s enhanced proprietary technology, UIT operated the pilot plant designed to produce several products – a high-purity neodymium/praseodymium (Nd/Pr) oxide, lanthanum (La) oxide, and a mixed mid and heavy rare earth concentrate. 

In December 2019, UIT successfully completed demonstration of separation of Nd/Pr from total rare earth oxide (TREO) concentrate to produce a solid Nd/Pr product. The proprietary process separates Nd/Pr from a thorium/cerium free process stream to create product that is, from a practical and regulatory perspective, radioactivity free. This process involves fewer steps in a closed cycle environmentally sound method which means it is expected to have lower operating and capital costs than current technologies. In addition, the purity of the separated Nd/Pr and other rare earth products can be tailored to meet customer requirements through a limited number of highly efficient solvent extraction cycles. The high-purity Nd/Pr product will be utilized in the production of high-strength permanent magnets used in defense applications, electric vehicles, wind turbines, and other products. 

Over the last several months the U.S. Department of Defense has announced significant funding initiatives to advance the domestic production capability and capacity for rare earth production and separation as well as rare earth-containing permanent magnet production.  

Randall J. Scott, President and CEO of RER stated, “We are very encouraged by the pilot plant results using our proprietary technology to produce a thorium-free Nd/Pr oxide.  This product is key to unlocking the supply chain for rare earth magnet production in the U.S.  Our ability to produce this product is timely given the current interest and associated funding initiatives of U.S. governmental agencies. The Company recognizes the critical nature of the products produced from the Bear Lodge pilot plant and we will continue to work closely with those who can enhance our trajectory to full production.”

Additional testwork is planned for 2020 and will include the economic optimization of process steps, developing scale-up design criteria for a demonstration plant, and confirmation of operating and capital costs estimates.

Synchron and its affiliated General Atomics companies are a privately held group of companies engaged in advanced research, technology, products and systems for the energy and defense sectors. 

Rare Element Resources Ltd. is a publicly traded, strategic materials company focused on delivering rare earth products for technology, energy and defense applications by advancing the Bear Lodge Critical Rare Earth Project 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 high-strength permanent magnets, electronics, fiber optics, laser systems for health and defense, as well as many evolving technologies like electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines.

Please contact Randy Scott at +1 720-278-2460 or rscott@rareelementresources.com, for additional information.


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 impact of the proprietary process on costs and efficiencies of rare earth processing and separation, the timing and scope of further pilot plant test work, and the potential for government funding initiatives to be realized or its potential impact on the Company or Bear Lodge Project.  Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, results of continued processing test work, successful exploration and permitting activities for the Bear Lodge Project, availability of sufficient capital, and other matters discussed under the caption “Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, and our other periodic and current reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and available on www.sec.gov and with the Canadian securities commissions available on www.sedar.com.  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 uncertainties and risk factors set out in our filings made from time to time with the SEC and the Canadian regulators, including, without limitation, our reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this news release is based only on information currently available to us and speaks only as of the date on which it is made.  While we may elect to update our forward-looking statements at any time, we undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

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Bear Lodge Panoramic
Sample Drilling
Core Samples

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.