By Sarah Pridgeon
Rare Element Resources has announced that the results of a pre-feasibility study for the Bear Lodge Project show it to be both technologically and economically feasible with an initial projected mine life of 19 years. Meanwhile, significant amounts of gold have been found surrounding the Bull Hill rare earth prospect.
“We are very encouraged with these results,” says CEO Randy Scott. “The PFS was designed to provide an engineering and economic assessment of the viability of the Bear Lodge project and, more specifically, the Bull Hill Rare-Earth Element (REE) open pit mine, and these results clearly demonstrate the solid economics of this project.”
The small open-pit mine within Crook County will be a truck-and-shovel operation named the Bull Hill Mine, says Vice President George Byers. The second component of the project, the hydro metallurgical plant, will be located in the Upton Industrial Park in Weston County.
The pre-feasibility study addressed all aspects for the development of the project, such as infrastructure, open-pit mining, mineral concentration and hydro metallurgical processing. “We feel that conservative economic data were utilized in this report, so to receive such positive results clearly shows the merit of the Bear Lodge project and we will continue on with the development of a bankable feasibility study,” says Scott.
Companies both at home and abroad who use rare earth elements in manufacturing, says Linda Tokarczyk, Manager of Community Relations, are aware of both the potential resources within the mine and Wyoming’s very positive jurisdiction for mining and have expressed interest in the product. “There’s definitely a market and a demand,” she confirms.
Rare Element Resources has also announced discovery of significant amounts of gold surrounding the Bull Hill rare earth prospect. The find, says Exploration Manager John T. Ray, represents the highest and thickest gold drill intercept reported in the entire 50-year exploration of the Bear Lodge Alkaline Complex.
Three individual patches of gold have been identified: Carbon, northwest of the Bull Hill project, Taylor to the west and Smith to the southeast. “SUN-116 located at the Smith target area has the highest gold grades and thickest interval of plus 1 g/t Au ever reported for the entire district and is open in two directions,” says Ray.
The results are taken from a total of 36 rotary and core holes drilled during 2011’s exploration of what has now been titled the Sundance Gold Project. Rare Element Resources has called the results of this gold drilling assay “the best results ever.”
“We are excited about the discovery of this new prospect and anticipate determining the size and orientation of its high-grade nucleus,” says Ray. “Most of the holes in the East Taylor area have significant near-surface intercepts. Our goal of the 2011 drilling to find areas of higher grade gold mineralization was achieved. Over the next few years, additional drilling will be needed to determine the extent of this mineralization.”