USA Rare Earth promises to deliver close to half of critical minerals listed on USGS

Texas-based USA Rare Earth has announced that it expects to produce nearly half of the critical minerals listed in the US Geological Survey’s (USGS) revised list of raw materials deemed crucial for national security and the economy.

The miner said in a press release that it is committed to developing the Round Top heavy rare earth, lithium and critical minerals project in West Texas, in tandem with partner Texas Mineral Resources.

The project was identified by the USGS in February 2021 as the largest gallium deposit in the US, according to USA Rare Earth president Thayer Smith. Gallium is a critical semiconductor chip material, for which there are currently no US producers.

“USA Rare Earth will bring into domestic production nearly half of the critical minerals identified by the USGS, including gallium, which tops the new Critical Minerals List,” said Smith.

“We commend the USGS for its robust evaluation of these important mineral commodities and for identifying the material constraints for American technology and national defence,” he continued.

The Round Top project is described as a uniquely enriched polymetallic deposit, weighted toward heavy rare earths and containing 16 of the 17 existing rare earth elements and other US-listed critical minerals.

It is due to become operational in 2023 with a run rate of 20,000 tonnes per day. At this planned initial production rate, the mine has sufficient identified resources to operate for more than 100 years.