Blast at Mountain Pass Initiates U.S. Rare Earth Mining Again
As the high resolution photo shows, active mining at the Mountain Pass Rare Earth Facility resumed today for the first time since 2002, bringing back into active production one of the world’s largest and richest deposits of rare earth minerals outside of China.
Smith says resumption of active mining operations at Mountain Pass is ahead of schedule, underscoring the fact that they are on track to meet their end-of-2012 deadline for achieving a full-scale production rate of 20,000 metric tons per year of rare earth oxide equivalent.
“While Molycorp has been producing significant quantities of rare earth materials for the past three years, we are very pleased and proud to resume active mining of fresh rare earth ore at Mountain Pass.”
Mark A. Smith, Molycorp Chief Executive Officer
The groundbreaking of construction of Molycorp’s new, state-of-the-art rare earth oxide manufacturing facility, at Mountain Pass, is scheduled for January 2, 2011.
Molycorp is integrating a wide range of breakthrough technologies at its new facility that will dramatically shrink the environmental footprint of rare earth mining and processing. A short backgrounder on these new technologies can be seen in a PDF on the company’s website.
Colorado-based Molycorp, Inc. is the only rare earth oxide, (REO) producer in the Western Hemisphere. They currently produce approximately 3,000 metric tons of commercial rare earth materials per year.
Following the execution of Molycorp’s “mine-to-magnets” strategy and the expected completion of its modernization and expansion efforts at its Mountain Pass, California processing facility by the end of 2012, Molycorp expects to produce at a rate of approximately 20,000 metric tons of REO equivalent per year.
Molycorp plans to offer a range of rare earth products, including high-purity oxides, metals, alloys, and permanent magnets.