Company To Invest $456 Million To Develop Huge Wyoming Rare Earths Deposit

American Rare Earths on Sunday said the $456 million it expects to invest in its rare earths mine near Wheatland is a realistic plan to begin production over the next few years. The site could be the world's richest, the company says.

Pat Maio

March 17, 20243 min read

The Halleck Creek site in Wyoming, now called the Cowboy State Mine site.
The Halleck Creek site in Wyoming, now called the Cowboy State Mine site. (Courtesy American Rare Earths)

American Rare Earths Inc. said Sunday that its rare earth minerals project near Wheatland could need $456 million to begin mine development and production, money that still needs to be raised by the tiny mining company valued at about one-fifth the initial project’s size.

American Rare Earths CEO Donald Swartz told Cowboy State Daily that the investment is a realistic path to tangible production over the next few years at the Halleck Creek mine site, recently renamed as the Cowboy State Mine.

The company is still going through state permitting to begin mining and build a processing operation on the Wheatland land, which is perhaps a few years away.

Swartz said that his company’s board of directors recently recommended that the project advance to the next stage of development. The initial phase will produce “a modest amount of separated rare earths, within a project area which is highly scalable over time,” he said.

The $456 million capital investment estimate was included in a “scoping study” along with other cost estimates and economic projections on development at the Halleck site in the Overton Mountain area, plus the value of the minerals that could potentially be mined over the next 30 years.

Production levels are expected to reach more than 64 million tons during the mine’s life, he said.

The company has previously reported that the Wyoming site could be the richest rare earths deposit in the world with an estimated 2.34 billion tons of rare earth minerals.

“This exceeded our wildest dreams, and we only drilled on about 25% of the property,” Swartz told Cowboy State Daily last month.

Private Money Expected

Importantly, Swartz said that his company won’t need government help to begin development, as has been the case with other mammoth-sized projects in Arizona and Australia, where his company is headquartered.

“We think we are the most likely to get a pathway to production without the need for massive government intervention,” he said.

American Rare Earths is the U.S.-based unit of an Australian-founded exploration company working in Wyoming.

As examples announced in the past week, Swartz cited the U.S. Department of Energy’s recent plan to lend Canadian-based Lithium Americas Corp. nearly $2.3 billion to build Nevada’s Thacker Pass lithium project, and Australia’s investment of $550 million in a rare earths project.

The lithium investment is one of the largest ever by the federal government in the mining industry. The U.S. wants to boost domestic production of critical minerals that are needed for clean-energy projects, such as those needed for battery-powered electric vehicles.

The rare earth minerals bonanza is the result of consumers starved for magnet metals integral to the green transition to electric vehicles, wind turbines, consumer goods, robots and military drones, missiles and chips needed for sophisticated computer power.

To begin advancing its mining project, American Rare Earths recently raised $9 million to begin some drilling of wells to test the metallurgical properties of the rare earths at the Halleck Creek area.

American Rare Earths wants to mine and process these magnet metals, particularly neodymium and praseodymium, through its Wyoming Rare (USA) Inc. unit.

That business controls 367 mining claims on 6,320 acres of a mix of state, federal and private land across the Halleck Creek Project area near Wheatland, and four Wyoming mineral leases on 1,844 acres on the same project.

Pat Maio can be reached at

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Pat Maio


Pat Maio is a veteran journalist who covers energy for Cowboy State Daily.