January 21, 2020
USA Rare Earth LLC, the funding and development partner of the Round Top Heavy Rare Earth and Critical Minerals Project in West Texas, together with Texas Mineral Resources Corp. (OTCQB: TMRC), commends the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC) decision to add mining as a covered sector.
The action, taken under the FPISC’s authorities as set forth in its founding legislation in 2015, took place on January 15, 2020. The Round Top Project was nominated as a high-priority infrastructure project by Texas Governor Greg Abbott under his authority as established by Executive Order 13766 (January 24, 2017). The Round Top nomination was accepted by the Council on Environmental Quality, and advanced to FPISC.
Aside from the significant concentration of heavy rare earths (HREE’s) and lithium, the Round Top deposit also includes aluminum, beryllium, gallium, hafnium, uranium, and zirconium – all of which are on the U.S. Government’s Critical Minerals List. Production at Round Top will contribute significantly to renewable energy applications. The rare earths and lithium are essential to electric vehicles, solar and wind power and efficient lighting, while aluminum sulfate is used in wastewater treatment. The Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) – with its mandate to support green technologies – is a strategic investor in both of USA Rare Earth and TMRC. At the time of its investment in 2019, NTEC’s CEO noted, “We consider the mineral deposits being developed by USA Rare Earth and TMRC to be vital to future battery and other green energy related technologies.”
All told, more than 60% of the materials produced at Round Top will be used directly in green or renewable energy technologies.
“We are pleased to see the President and the Administration take action to encourage domestic production of critical minerals and metals that are essential to green tech, renewable energy and to our national security,” said Pini Althaus, CEO of USA Rare Earth. “This is a major step towards reestablishing a U.S. critical minerals supply chain and moving away from the reliance on China for these materials. With revitalizing a robust and efficient mining sector, through a streamlined permitting process, the President and the Administration are ensuring that the United States is future-ready, and once again an exporter of innovation and not only a consumer.”
“We thank the President, Presidential advisor and Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt for their commitment to see the U.S. develop its own sustainable supply of rare earths and other critical minerals. We also commend FPISC Director Alexander Herrgott for his leadership on this issue and his commitment to an unprecedented level of transparency, predictability and accountability to the public, all while ensuring the private sector always has a reliable Federal partner as we advance critical infrastructure projects,” added Mr. Althaus.
“We thank Governor Abbott for nominating Round Top, and for the support our nomination has received from Congressman Will Hurd and Texas General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush. Round Top will become a significant economic asset to U.S. manufacturing and technology development, and the innovation economy the U.S. needs to dominate the 21st Century,” said Anthony Marchese, Chairman of TMRC. “This designation by the FPISC marks a critical component of bringing the Round Top project into production in a timely manner. We are encouraged by the efforts of the Federal government to prioritize the importance of critical mineral self-sufficiency.”