Milestones and achievements characterize US Critical Material’s journey: In the last year, we have experienced several successful findings, a steady flow of innovations, and expansions through organic growth. The following timeline affirms our successes within a very short time frame. These are vital checkpoints as they identify breakthroughs that we are very proud of.
According to the USGS, “The goal of Earth MRI is to improve our knowledge of the geologic framework in the United States and to identify areas that may have the potential to contain undiscovered critical mineral resources. Enhancement of our domestic mineral supply will decrease the nation’s reliance on foreign sources of minerals that are fundamental to our security and economy.”
US Critical Materials has previously announced that its Sheep Creek deposit has the highest reported total rare-earth oxide grades (TREO) of any rare earth deposit in the United States. Sheep Creek also has exceptionally low radioactive thorium, which will allow for more environmentally friendly extracting and processing.
US Critical Materials has nearly nine percent TREO (89,932ppm), far ahead of any other domestic rare earth resource. The deposit also has readings of 2.4 percent (23,810ppm) combined neodymium and praseodymium, which are both essential for the green economy.
US Critical Materials president Jim Hedrick, a rare earth commodity specialist formerly with the USGS, stated, “The combination of high-grade rare earths, low thorium, and multiple carbonatites is a geological phenomenon that does not exist in other reported US deposits. Over the course of my career, I have never encountered a US property with the high rare earth grades being generated by Sheep Creek.”
Last week US Critical Materials Corp., a private rare-earth exploration and development company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, announced that its holdings on Sheep Creek located in the Bitterroot Mountains south of Painted Rocks Reservoir contains the highest reported total rare-earth oxide grades of any rare earth deposit in the United States. Their goal, the company states, is to develop its properties with strategic partners who have the capital and expertise to explore, mine, and extract its critical minerals in order to supply consumers, industry, and the U.S. Government with the critical minerals required to meet technology, manufacturing, and defense needs, with the overall objective of addressing the necessity to obtain rare earth materials from “friendly” sources as defined by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
US Critical Materials has nearly nine percent, 9 % TREO (89,932ppm), far ahead of any other domestic rare earth resource. The deposit also has readings of 2.4% (23,810ppm) combined neodymium and praseodymium, which are both essential for the green economy. US Critical Materials has recently confirmed carbonatite mineralization at depth, below high-grade surface samples of 17.05% TREO and 16.44% TREO. The Sheep Creek, Montana, property under claim by US Critical Materials totals seven (7) square miles.
One characteristic that sets Sheep Creek apart from most other rare earths projects in the U.S. is the fact that significant mineralization has been accessed and sampled underground via pre-existing mine workings.
US Critical Materials has recently confirmed mineralization at depth below high-grade surface samples of 17.04 % TREO and 16.44% TREO. Based on the presence of mineralization at depth, the technical team intends to focus exploration efforts on these promising zones. Two of three historic adits, Adit #3 and Adit #1, have been successfully opened and sampled Rare earth samples taken from 125 feet below ground in the adits confirm over 10% (100,000 ppm) of total rare earth oxides, (TREO) including high levels of neodymium and praseodymium. These rare earth readings far exceed any other domestic rare earth resource. The results included channel samples from 2 underground adits (tunnels) that were unsealed in October 2022 and sampled in November 2022. These adits are dug up to 400 feet horizontally and are 125 feet below the surface. The analytical results were obtained from Activation Labs, Ancaster, Canada. Results from opening, mapping, and sampling of the underground workings will support the filing of a Plan of Operation with the U.S. Forest Service for summer 2023 drilling.
Begins systematic investigation of overlooked rare earths project in SW Montana.
While high-grade rare earths were identified at Sheep Creek while exploring for niobium on the property in the early 1960s, there were virtually no uses for these 15 elements at that time. As such, the property went largely unnoticed for the past six decades.
The company received analytical results for 41 chip/channel and grab rock chip samples collected during the Fall of 2022. The sampling covered new carbonatite exposures north, south and west of adits 1 and 2. Samples were analyzed by Activation Laboratories (Actlabs), located in Ancaster, Canada.
These new results allow us to expand the potential drill targets.
A total of 37 carbonatite samples revealed rare earth mineralization with grades up to 171,317ppm (17.13%) Total Rare Earth Elements and as high as 22,910ppm (2.29%) combined neodymium and praseodymium ('NdPr') which are the most sought after of the LREE group.
The initial Fall 2022 exploration phase consisted of geologic mapping of the Project at a scale of 1:6,000. Drill sites will be mapped at the expanded scale of 1:1000 in 2023. This scale will permit US Critical Materials geologists to define the surface extent of carbonatite dikes, which are known to contain the REEs. In addition to defining the orientation, length and width of the carbonatites, the fall program has facilitated the delineation of additional work, including more detailed sampling, drilling and geophysics. Mapping has served as the basis for the design of the rock and soil sampling programs along with the construction of geologic sections needed for the permitting and drilling program.