Rare Element Resources, the folks developing their Bear Lodge project in northeast Wyoming, were pleased to inform markets today that they have kicked off their 2013 development drilling program at Bear Lodge, where an exceptional alkaline-igneous complex holds one of the biggest disseminated critical rare-earth element deposits in all of North America (USGS 1049D - and it also has some nice gold secondaries).
The company is going laser-focus this year on the HREO-enriched (heavy rare earth oxide) resources in the Whitetail Ridge area, slating some 10k feet of targeted drilling in the material. Also in this year's program will be further geological mapping to reinforce the evolving model, as well as the necessary rock chip and soil sampling for geochemical analysis.
A key aspect here is the critical rare earths component, which can buffer the economics of the project nicely as the abundance of higher-valued elements at Whitetail are projected on the whole to appreciate quite favorably in coming years, riding big demand curves and obvious long-term price support. A considerable amount of analytical effort expended thus far by REE has resulted in a high-resolution portrait of the Bear Lodge geology, and management is confident that the potential exists to add over 1M tons of HREO-enriched material to the overall Bear Lodge resource.
The Whitetail Ridge resource area, as per the May 2013, NI 43-101 report, affords some juicy potential metrics, with an (1.5% cutoff) indicated resource of 2.25M tons at 2.61% TREO (total rare earth oxides). We are talking a 7.6% HREO distribution in the indicated resource here, a figure that should be compared to the measured and indicated 3.6% HREO in the adjacent Bull Hill deposit. Again, we have quality economics too, as the resource contains high-value U.S. DOE-defined critical rare earths like Dysprosium, Europium, Terbium, and Yttrium (think yttrium iron garnets for cellular communications). In addition we have Erbium, Gadolinium, Holmium, Lutetium, Thulium, and Ytterbium, all highly sought after for a variety of high-tech applications ranging from magnets and lasers to various materials and phosphor applications.
VP of Exploration for REE, Dr. James Clark, was quite pleased with the design of this year's drilling program and noted that it was much smaller and more finely tuned than in previous years, with two rigs currently going onsite. The first salient horizon for the program will be a concerted improvement of the mapping on a huge chunk of the Whitetail resource to get an M&I-class delineation going for upcoming pit work. This will set REE up for great success with the feasibility study later this year, and Dr. Clark clearly conveyed the enthusiasm of everyone at the company over this imminent bolstering of the Bear Lodge resource profile. The secondary horizon for the program will be an expansion of the high-grade block, which currently represents (3.0% cutoff) some 0.51M tons at 4.1% TREO.
To get a closer look at Rare Element Resources, visit www.RareElementResources.com
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