American Rare Earths reveals Halleck Creek’s zircon co-product potential

American Rare Earths (ASX:ARR) reports zircon could potentially be a co-product alongside rare earths processing at itsHalleck Creek Project, US, as part of a research collaboration with the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming. 

Zircon could be a significant contributor to the project, the company says. The widely used metal is applied in engines, electronics, spacecraft and the ceramics industry. 

American Rare Earths CEO Donald Swartz says zircon is a minor product obtained from processing heavy mineral sands and has high-value applications across several industries. 

American Rare Earths, which has a market capitalisation of $133.52 million, aims to understand the significance of zircon within the rare earths bearing Red Mountain pluton at Halleck Creek.  

“This potential was only recently identified, as part of our previously announced REE processing program modifications emphasising Dense Medium Cyclones work led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,” Swartz says. 

“This opportunity has the potential to generate significant additional revenue and enhanced project economics.”

Preliminary work indicates that metamict zircon cores exhibit an enrichment in rare earths, compared to their rims. 

The initial collaboration comprises performing a quantitative evaluation of minerals (QEMSCAN) analysis, which provides automated, rapid, and accurate mineralogical analysis, alongside benchtop-scale rare earths leaching to assess how metamictisation of zircon affects extraction of rare earths from zircon.

American Rare Earths notes further exploration and metallurgy work will be focused on separating zirconium concentrate as a co-product and heavy rare earths extraction from metamict zircon. 

The Halleck Creek project has a 2.34 billion tonne resource and spans 3,304 hectares in Wyoming, US. 

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Images: American Rare Earths 
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.