Exploration Efforts in Wyoming
Wyoming has good potential to produce rare earth minerals in the future. Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are found in several different geologic environments across state. However, only one deposit, near Sundance, is currently under serious investigation with the possibility of being mined. Over the last decade Rare Element Resources, Ltd. has been investigating the REE-bearing carbonatite dike complex in the Bear Lodge Mountains in Wyoming; one of the largest deposits in the United States.
In the 1950s, minor amounts of REE-bearing minerals were mined from a Precambrian pegmatite in Carbon County. Over the last three years, the Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) has sampled and analyzed a few of the potential REE host rocks within the state. Prior to this fieldwork, most early investigations identified the potential for occurrences of REEs in studies related to uranium and thorium, but did not produce detailed analyses due to high costs related to analytical technology of the time. However, modern technology has significantly reduced analytical costs, but follow up studies in Wyoming have been slow due to time and budget constraints. Increased geological knowledge has also suggested geological environments for potential investigation not previously considered.