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March 31st – Comment Deadline DOE – Rare Earth Elements demonstration facility.

March 31, 2022 @ 6:00 pm

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) wants public input by Thursday, March 31st 2022 on DOE’s plan to design, construct, and build-out a demonstration facility enabling domestic rare earth element (REE) and critical mineral (CM) supply chains .

Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), DOE is required to fund a Rare Earth Elements (REE) demonstration facility. The information being sought is intended to assist DOE in the development of priorities and initiatives to enable the design, construction, and build-out of a facility to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of a full-scale, integrated REE extraction, separation, and refining facility – all while considering environmental justice, energy transition, Tribes, and other impacted communities.

Send your comments to REEdemoRFI@netl.doe.gov with the subject line”DE-FOA-0002686-RFI” no later than 6:00 pm Mountain Time on Thursday, March 31, 2022.

For more information on what DOE wants, see hyperlink: file:///Users/mac/Downloads/FundOpp_DE-FOA-0002686.pdf


Rare earths are a group of minerals that have a number of uses in technology such as cell phones, batteries, and magnets.  Mining for rare earths will excavate and pulverize lots of rock at the mine and when processing ore at a mill, will use a variety of toxic chemicals and leave radioactive waste.

A rare earth mine has been proposed north of Sundance, WY, in the western Black Hills (Bear Lodge), with a plan is to truck the ore 50 miles to Upton, WY, for processing.  The Forest Service, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Wyoming Department of Environment Quality, put the Company’s applications and approval process on hold in early 2016, at the request of the Company. The Company stopped work on a BHNF DEIS on a proposed mine due to short fall of revenue, at a time when the market conditions on rare earth minerals changed. For more information visit: [bhcleanwateralliance.org/rare-earths/]

It is possible that Rare Element Resources (RER) will restart, at any time, the moving forward of its’ application process for the proposed rare earth mine north of Warren Peak, in the Bearlodge and associated mill at Upton, Wyoming.  Formal notice on restart has not been given yet to the Black Hills National Forest, that we are aware of.  We believe General Atomics got a 21.9 million dollar grant award in 2021 from DOE  that would partly fund a demonstration rare earth processing plant and RER is a  a sub-recipient of  General Atomics


The facility proposal on which DOE is currently seeking input on, could involve processing not only mined rare earth ore, but also trucking in mine wastes, raw acid mine drainage, and/or “other deleterious materials”.  Rare earths are low-level radioactive.

If such a site is developed in our area, it would likely be at Upton Wyoming – which has been  proposed as a rare earths processing site. It sits at the headwaters of two river systems that flow around the Black Hills and east into the Missouri River.  It is also in an area with greater sage grouse habitat on the Thunderbasin National Grasslands.


March 31, 2022
6:00 pm