REE Production

Energy Fuels became the first US company in several years to recover rare earth elements (REE) from a high-value mineral called monazite.

At our White Mesa Mill in Utah, we are currently in commercial production of a mixed REE carbonate - a more advanced REE product than any other US company is currently producing. Since 2021, we have been sending our material to Europe for the next step in REE processing -separation because US REE has had no REE separation capabilities in the past few decades.

However, Energy Fuels is changing that. We are finalizing an initiative to produce separated REE oxides, and perhaps REE metals, alloys and magnets soon.

Here is why we think we are the best positioned US company to produce REEs - and most likely to be successful:

  • We are producing REEs from monazite, which contains about 30% higher NdPr (used in permanent rare earth magnets needed for EVs, wind generation, and other technologies) - and 95% more Dy and Tb - than the other main REE-bearing mineral, bastnaesite.
  • Monazite is more straightforward to process than other REE minerals (including bastnaesite) with higher rare earth recoveries. We won't go into the technical reasons here, but it boils down to the fact that monazite is a phosphate, while bastnaesite is a fluorocarbonate.
  • Monazite is already mined at heavy mineral sand operations in the US and around the world. These operations primarily target titanium and zircon minerals, producing monazite as a low-cost byproduct. As a byproduct, monazite is inexpensive to produce, and we don't need to license and develop new mines to get it out of the ground.
  • The White Mesa Mill is an existing processing facility, licensed and with infrastructure capable of managing the uranium and thorium naturally associated with monazite. Uranium and thorium are problems for most REE companies - but we want them!
  • Uranium is the fuel for carbon-free nuclear energy, and we are in the early stages of recovering the thorium for use in emerging, exciting "targeted alpha therapy" cancer treatments now entering human trials.
  • The proven method of producing separated REE oxides from monazite uses solvent extraction (SX) processing technology. The White Mesa Mill has used SX to produce uranium and vanadium for over 40 years. So producing separated REE oxides using SX is not fundamentally different from what we already do. Indeed, we are producing separated REE oxides in our lab right now.
  • Utah is a low-cost place to do business, with less expensive electricity, water, personnel and other costs.  We operate to the highest global standards for environmental protection, human rights and sustainability.
  • Nobody (including Energy Fuels) will supplant China's dominant position in REEs any time soon, but we plan to offer a US-centric, fully-integrated REE supply chain alternative soon.