Over the past 12 months, the rare earths industry has struggled to come to terms with reserves outside of China and an increase in new production. As a result, prices have significantly dropped from the highs recorded in 2011.
However, a number of exploration and production companies remain bullish on the sector's long-term future, especially considering the promise of heavy rare earth elements (HREEs).
Rare Earth Investing News (REIN) sat down with Daniel McGroarty, president of US Rare Earths (OTCBB: UREE), a US-based rare earth development company, to find out more about what his company has been up to and to gauge his thoughts on the market as a whole.REIN: Can you give us a brief summary of US Rare Earths and tell us what the company is focused on at present? DM: US Rare Earths is a rare earths development company, headquartered in New York City, with six properties in three states: Idaho, Montana and Colorado. We went public as Colorado Rare Earths in December 2010, and with the acquisition of our Idaho and Montana properties, we changed our name to US Rare Earths in the second half of 2011. We've assembled a portfolio of properties that have shown significant rare earth element (REE) expression, with an emphasis on HREEs. Given the growing demand for REEs in the US and worldwide, our task in 2013 is to conduct an aggressive drill program that will help us assess which properties present the most promising potential. REIN: Please tell us a little bit about US Rare Earths' recently announced plans to start drilling for samples in Montana. Can you describe the company's aims/goals? Has there been any historical work done to date, or are you headed into unchart ed territory? DM: There is historical work and varying degrees of data for all of our Idaho and Montana properties. What we're doing is layering new work — surface samples, trenching, drilling and even aeromag work — over the historic material to help us focus on the most promising areas. In 2013, we'll be looking to validate some of the most interesting historical work through our drill program. Sheep Creek in Montana is the site of our newest permit, received just this month, and we're excited to factor drill results there into our considerations. We've done recent surface sampling there that compares very closely to historic work done 50 years ago. One objective for our 2013 program will be to validate this historic work, which will fast track us to a full understanding of the high-grade potential of this property.