Alaska Likely to be a Future Part of Rare Earth Elements non-Chinese Supply

Rare earths are vital to everything from consumer electronics to military weapons systems, and while the minerals are highly coveted there is a limited market that could be supplied by just a few producing mines.

Alaska is positioned well to meet those needs, and the strategic mineral survey now under way is giving mining companies a strong set of indicators on where to start digging.

Readers of this blog are well aware that Alaska is likely to be a future part of  rare earth elements non-Chinese supply, if only by following developments at Ucore Rare Metals Inc. Ucore is likely to be first to production in Alaska, if only because their main focus is “the 100% owned Bokan – Dotson ridge REE property in Alaska. The Bokan – Dotson ridge REE project is located 60 km southwest of Ketchikan, Alaska and 140 km northwest of Prince Rupert, British Columbia and has direct ocean access to the western seaboard and the Pacific Rim, a significant advantage in expediting mine production and limiting the capital costs associated with mine construction.”

But according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, the State Division of Geologic and Geophysical Surveys, is now undertaking a $3 million program to catalog the states strategic mineral deposits, by re-examining old samples collected in the 1970s and 1980s collected by the U.S. Geologic Survey. In July they released the results from 2011’s effort. My guess is that we will hear a lot more about REEs in Alaska over the next few years, although playing catch-up to Ucore is all but impossible there, it seems to me.

Alaska geologists scour state to find gold, rare earth minerals
by Andrew Jensen / Alaska Journal of Commerce  Aug 26, 2012
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Speaking geologist is a foreign language to most, but understanding excitement is universal.

It is written all over Melanie Werdon’s face and loud and clear through her voice as she talks about the good old fashioned detective work of Alaska state geologists that led to significant findings of gold and strategic mineral anomalies during 2011 both in William Henry Bay north of Juneau and at the Moran deposit west of Fairbanks.

Werdon is the Mineral Resources Section Chief and economic geologist for the state Division of Geologic and Geophysical Surveys. The division is now engaged in a $3 million program to catalog strategic mineral deposits, which include both the valuable rare earth elements as well as others such as cobalt, platinum and yttrium.

Werdon used old mineral samples collected in the 1970s and 1980s by the U.S. Geologic Survey as a starting point for where to look in the Moran area, and on July 13 the division r eleased its results from 2011 showing new gold bearing drainages and high rare earth element concentrations.

The 2012 program is focusing on prospects near Moran around the Ray Mountains north of Fairbanks. The land is currently held by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, but is under consideration for the state as it finalizes its final 4 million or so acres of land selections.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner is a morning daily newspaper that serves the city of Fairbanks, Alaska, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the Denali Borough, and the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area in the United States state of Alaska. It is the farthest north daily newspaper in the United States, and one of the farthest north in the world. It is the oldest continuously operating daily newspaper in Alaska, and by circulation, it is the second-largest daily newspaper in the state.