Rare Element Resources Ltd. (RER) reported the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has finalized its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review of RER’s planned rare earth processing and separation demonstration plant to be built in Upton, Wyo. This completes the federal permitting activity prior to construction. The DOE NEPA review was consistent with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s NEPA review, with both resulting in a finding of no significant impact. The company is awaiting next-stage budget approval from the DOE, which is providing approximately 50% of the project costs, to commence construction. The demonstration plant will advance the company’s proprietary recovery and separation technology, and the operational and economic data generated will be essential to the design of a commercial-scale plant.

“The DOE’s completion of its NEPA review was the final federal licensing approval required, and we thank the DOE for its completion of this important task,” said Brent Berg, president and CEO of RER. “We are now advancing offsite fabrication and equipment assembly, while the DOE concludes the construction and operations budget approval, which was expected by the end of November 2023.” RER believes plant operations could begin as early as summer 2024.