American Resources Corporation (NASDAQ:AREC) has launched a new subsidiary, American Rare Earth LLC, to organize, consolidate, evaluate and develop its owned portfolio of high-quality, low-cost rare earth mineral sites.
The company built American Rare Earth through acquisitions of multiple mining complexes over the last few years, it said Wednesday. The new subsidiary has identified and ranked its first ten rare earth mineral beneficiation sites in terms of monetizable deposits.
The ten sites located in eastern Kentucky, within Pike, Letcher and Knott counties, have already been evaluated and are being engineered to recover and concentrate the rare earth elements (REEs). Additional sites are being evaluated in Floyd and Perry counties.
The company said it has established a unique model based on work by the University of Kentucky for testing its sites that enables an efficient evaluation of the deposits' quality and overall potential.
"The historical rare earth developments conducted by the University of Kentucky, with funding provided by a US Department of Energy Cooperative Agreement, has been at the forefront of studying and producing nearly pure rare earth concentrates from coal sources using an environmentally-conscious and cost-effective process,” CEO Mark Jensen said.
“Their successes are certainly noteworthy in that they have been able to produce a 98 percent pure rare earth concentrate from coal sources in one of the most environmentally conscious and cost-effective ways. In fact, Appalachia may be one of the few regions in which extracting rare earths has a positive environmental impact."
US energy indepedence
Jensen is a strong proponent of extracting REEs as a means of increasing the US’s resource independence.
"The need for rare earth elements is a growing economic theme given the growing global demand from industries such as technology, automotive, aerospace and renewable energy,” Jensen said. “With China accounting for approximately 80% of the global supply, restoring the United States' resource independence has become an increasingly important topic.”
The company estimates that American Rare Earth's initial site has the ability to produce rare earth oxides having a mix of approximately 20% neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium, in addition to healthy levels of cobalt and lithium, all important elements used in the production of permanent magnets, electric vehicles (EVs) and other technologies.
Furthermore, the company said, sites in this region are unique in that, unlike most sites in the domestic market, they possess a low level of thorium and other radioactive elements that can be harmful to the environment and the process.
“As a forward-thinking company, we take pride in our ability to innovate, adapt and unlock value from all of our existing assets,” Jensen said. “As such, we are truly excited about the discoveries we have made at a number of our already-developed, beneficiation ponds to capture these rare earth elements, and we are committed to swiftly selecting a path that best unlocks the value of these assets for our shareholders while we continue to focus on growing our business."
Evaluating REE options
American Rare Earth anticipates that as part of its rare earth development, the workforce expansion could result in 15 near-term, permanent jobs created in the local community with the goal of ramping to approximately 120 jobs in the next few years.
Looking ahead, the company plans to explore various strategic options to unlock the value of its REE assets, including grants and government-based funding; joint ventures or the sale of assets; and a spinoff.
In a later announcement, American Resources said it agreed to a registered direct offering worth $13 million, the company announced Wednesday.
The raw materials supplier will offer 5.3 million shares at a price of $2.50 per share. The offering is expected to close on Friday, the company said.
The company's stock closed 59% higher to $2.60 per share.
—Updated to include direct offering info and stock quote—
Contact Andrew Kessel at [email protected]
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