US Critical Materials Corp. recently announced the highest reported total rare-earth oxide grades (TREO) of any rare earth deposit in the United States at the Sheep Creek deposit in Montana. The levels have been confirmed by analyses from Activation Labs, an independent analytical laboratory in Ancaster, Canada.
“We have confirmed that Sheep Creek is the highest-grade rare-earth deposit in the United States, with a multibillion-dollar resource value,” said Jim Hedrick, US Critical Materials president and former rare-earth commodity specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
US Critical Materials has nearly 9 percent TREO (89,932 ppm), far ahead of any other domestic rare earth resource. The deposit also has readings of 2.4 percent (23,810 ppm) combined neodymium and praseodymium, which are both essential for the green economy.
US Critical Materials has recently confirmed carbonatite mineralization at depth, below high-grade surface samples of 17.05 percent TREO and 16.44 percent TREO. The Sheep Creek, Montana, property under claim by US Critical Materials totals seven square miles.
For context, the Swedish government announced on January 12, 2023, that a Swedish state-owned mining company had discovered Europe’s largest deposit of rare earths, with an average grade of 0.18 percent TREO.
US Critical Materials’ goal is to supply consumers, industry, and the U.S. government with the critical minerals required to meet technology, manufacturing, and defense needs, with the overall objective of addressing the necessity to obtain rare earth materials from “friendly” sources as defined by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The United States is more than 90 percent import-dependent on rare earths, most coming from China.
The Sheep Creek claims contain 12 of the most essential critical minerals needed for the world’s evolution toward electrification and a “green economy.” In addition to their high rare earth levels, the claims are particularly low in radioactive thorium, thereby shortening the permitting process.
US Critical Materials is working with a national laboratory to develop efficient and environmentally safe processes for domestically refining the rare earths found at Sheep Creek.
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