Company’s Round Top Project Contains 22 of the 50 Critical Minerals Included in Draft List Recently Released by the U.S. Geological Survey
December 10, 2021
USA Rare Earth LLC, the operator and owner of 80% of the Round Top (“Round Top”) Heavy Rare Earth, Lithium and Critical Minerals Project in Hudspeth County, Texas, together with its joint venture partner Texas Mineral Resources Corp (OTCQB: TMRC), commends the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for its revised list of 50 minerals deemed critical to U.S. national security and the economy.
"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. The list establishes that Round Top is a national strategic asset for supply chains essential to the U.S. economy,” said Thayer Smith, President of USA Rare Earth. “We commend the USGS for its robust evaluation of these important mineral commodities and for identifying the material constraints for American technology and national defense.”
In February 2021, the USGS identified Round Top as the largest gallium deposit in the United States. Gallium is a critical semiconductor chip material, for which there are currently no U.S. producers. The USGS also deemed 16 rare earths as critical, including neodymium, dysprosium, praseodymium, and terbium, which are used in the manufacturing of rare earth permanent magnets, and which will be produced by USA Rare Earth.
The company is creating a new fully domestic mine-to-magnet supply chain that will provide rare earth magnets and materials needed to ensure compliance with recent presidential executive orders. Rare earth magnets are necessary for defense, medical, green energy, and electric vehicle production. Currently, US companies get the vast majority of their rare earth materials and magnets from China.
In November, the USGS released a draft of the 50 mineral commodities proposed for inclusion in the 2021 Critical Minerals List. This is the first update since the Department of Interior identified 35 critical minerals in 2018. By federal statute, the Critical Minerals List is updated every three years.
USA Rare Earth is developing the Round Top project in Sierra Blanca, Texas, which is anticipated to become operational in 2023. Round Top is a uniquely enriched polymetallic deposit weighted toward heavy rare earths and contains 16 of the 17 rare earth elements, as well as lithium, gallium and other U.S.-listed critical minerals. At the planned initial production rate, Round Top has sufficient identified resources to operate for more than 100 years.
“USA Rare Earth is developing a fully domestic mine-to-magnet supply chain, while the lithium at Round Top will also support the manufacture of battery electric vehicles. These are two essential components to the future of electric transportation,” said Thayer Smith. “Our project is a geologically unique and diverse deposit that will help bolster U.S. critical minerals production.”