Rare Earth Elements in Wyoming
Rare Earth Elements (REE) are vital to industrialized societies worldwide. REE are a group of 17 chemicals that occur together in the periodic table. Sixteen of these occur in nature and are typically found in varying proportions in the same ore deposits. Also called rare earth metals, they are used to produce a range of sophisticated technological products such as nuclear reactor components, cell phones, magnets, camera lenses, and batteries.
Mining is in the planning stages for one major Wyoming REE deposit in the Bear Lodge Mountains in Crook County. The potential exists for the occurrence of additional REE deposits in the state.
The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) completed an investigation and report in June 2013 on the state’s REE. With this scientific study the agency has confirmed REE occur in a variety of geologic settings across Wyoming. Knowledge of REE is the first step in the process of commercial exploration. Raw information presented from the WSGS investigation could lead to the exploration and discovery of new deposits of REE and other economic deposits in the state.
For information on Wyoming’s rare earth elements, contact WSGS Wayne M. Sutherland.