In a June 5th article, US Takes Action on Foreign Dependence as Rare Earths Scare Continues, the Investing News Network discusses the release of the unsecured document “A Federal Strategy to Ensure a Reliable Supply of Critical Minerals”, which was uploaded on June 4th by the US Department of Commerce, and the report’s call for other government bodies to help find domestic deposits of key resources in order to free the country of its dependence on foreign nations for critical metals. INN states that “With six distinct calls to action, the goal, as outlined in the document, is to make America’s economy and defence more secure. It asks the Department of the Interior (DOI) to: locate domestic supplies of critical minerals; ensure access to information necessary for the study and production of these minerals; and expedite permitting for minerals projects”.
When asked for comment, David Anonychuk, Managing Director of M.Plan International Limited, pointed out that it takes quite a long time to get a rare earth mining project off the ground. “Most rare earth juniors are at an exploration or early project stage, so it will take considerable time to fully develop projects, perhaps seven to 10 years from resource estimate to project production. The exploration phase can last two to three years,” he said to the INN. “The project study phase for mineral resource through to feasibility study can take five to seven years or more, with environmental permitting and social being the longest path. Project construction is about two years to get to commissioning.”
However, the announcement could entice explorers and mining companies to start the long process.
“The investment community will be taking a new look at rare earth junior mining companies and projects. That is the upside given the US/China trade dispute and recent media attention on rare earths,” said Anonychuk. “Exploration programs should pick up; however, (companies) will need to secure new funding given the renewed interest.”
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