As electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are gaining in popularity, so is the need for the rare earth material currently used in the production of electric motors.
China controls roughly 90 percent of the rare earth resources and has chosen to restrict exportations outside of its territory. While some efforts are being made to manufacture motors without rare earth, the material is still very much needed.
In order to source rare earth here in North America, Denver-based Great American Energy, Inc. entered into an option agreement to acquire an undivided 60-percent interest in the Bear Creek Rare Earth Property.
The property consists of 10 mining claims containing about 7,311 acres (2,959 hectares) a few miles northeast of the mining community of Trail, in British Columbia, Canada.
Rare Earth Elements are critical to a wide range of products, including many emerging green energy technologies (e.g., electrified vehicles, wind turbines, compact florescent lighting); high tech applications (e.g., computer disk drives, cell phones); defense systems and many other applications.
According to a report by Dr Stewart A. Jackson, PhD, P, GeoI., (Feb. 2011), the Bear Creek Property contains potential for significant resources of Rare Earth Elements (REEs).
Samples collected from 32 locations on the property provided indications of four elements as major potential contributors to value: Scandium (4 g/t), Neodymium (33 g/t), Samarium (6 g/t) and Europium (1.78 g/t). Lesser potential contributions are represented by Holmium (0.51 g/t), Gadolinium (5.5 g/t), Yttrium (17 g/t), and Ytterbium (1.5 g/t). Levels indicated to date for Dysprosium (3.2 g/t), Erbium (1.5 g/t), Lutetium (0.22 g/t), Praseodymium (9 g/t) and Thulium (0.21 g/t) point to those elements potentially contributing to smaller extents.
The report notes that the REE values are based on surface samples only, and due to the type of deposit on the property, there is potential for higher grades at depth.
The report concludes the Bear Creek REE project warrants further work due to the geological formations in the area as well as the discovery of Carbonatite-affiliated rock type at two sites.
This type of carbonatized rock is possibly an epizonal intrusive with unlimited depth. The two discoveries cover an area of 100-plus meters by 350-plus meters each, and lie 2,000 meters apart with the obvious topographical formation connecting the two sites.
At presumed depth extent of 500 meters, the Jackson report suggested a tonnage in the order of 1 billion tons for the Bear Creek Property. The suggested tonnage equates to substantial potential value even at a modest profit margin, and warrants considerable exploration effort to determine the possible presence of such a resource.
The Company feels that the in-place value per metric ton of REE and other rare elements in the intrusive Carbonates are sufficient to warrant examining the possibility of developing a large-scale open-pit mining operation, dependent on a process being developed to concentrate the rare earth minerals.
The Bear Creek Property is located in rolling uplands. Excellent infrastructure, accommodations and supplies exist at the entrance to the area just 3 miles (5 km) from site. Full support services for operations are available at Trail, a substantial mining and smelter center for over 100 years. The community is mining oriented and favorably inclined toward industrial development. Abundant power and water are also available as needed.
These facts plus the cash infusion brought by Great American Energy mean there are good chances of seeing this site being mined for REE.
Great American Energy’s CEO, Felipe Pimienta, commented: “With China controlling about 90 percent of the rare earth elements currently being consumed worldwide, the Bear Creek Property represents the potential to develop a greatly needed North American supply of REEs. Our next step is to better determine the mineral and economic potential of the property through further exploration work.”