Rare Element Resources announces appointment of Wayne Rich as CFO

Wayne Rich, Chief Financial Officer, Rare Element Resources Ltd.

Rare Element Resources Ltd. (the “Company” or “RER”) announced the hire of Wayne Rich as its Chief Financial Officer and provide a progress update on the rare earth processing and separation demonstration plant project. Mr. Rich is a financial executive with more than 20 years of experience in the resource industry, including with mining and metals companies.

What is Wayne’s industry expertise?

His experience includes serving as Chief Financial Officer of Star Mountain Resources, Inc., Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance for Prospect Global Resources, Inc., and Treasurer and Director of Corporate Finance of Thompson Creek Metals, Inc.

Mr. Rich has extensive experience in public accounting and reporting, internal controls, and financial modeling. Mr. Rich holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Illinois State University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Accountancy from Eastern Illinois University.

“Wayne is a proven financial professional with experience in not only the resource sector, but also in public company accounting and reporting,” said Randall Scott, the Company’s CEO.

“With his executive mining experience, specifically in financings, strategic planning, and public company reporting, Wayne is an excellent addition to our uniquely qualified team as we move forward with our rare earth processing and separation demonstration plant in Wyoming.”

What are the other pipeline plans at the Company?

As earlier reported, RER, along with team members General Atomics, and its affiliates, and LNV, an Ardurra Group, Inc., is developing a rare earth demonstration plant in Upton, Wyoming near the Company’s Bear Lodge property. The project is currently progressing through the design phase which includes detailed engineering, licensing and permitting. 

The Company anticipates that plant design, permitting and licensing, and construction will be complete in 18–26 months. The processing and separating of rare earth elements from stockpiled Bear Lodge Project material is expected to take an additional 12–14 months.

Approximately one-half of the demonstration project cost will be funded through a Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewal Energy (DOE/EER) Assistance Agreement to General Atomics, which was finalized on October 1, 2021.

The non-federal cost share funding, in the amount of approximately $21.9 million, is being provided by the Company as a subrecipient of the award through a Cost Share Agreement between the Company and General Atomics. The Company’s cost share funds were raised through a successful rights offering which closed in December 2021.

Randall Scott commented: “The rare earth processing and separation demonstration plant, incorporating the Company’s proprietary technology, is progressing through the first budget period of the overall project. The total timeline of approximately 40 months includes project decision points along the way, the first being in late September 2022.”

“This budget period includes the finalization of the design of the plant and progression of permitting and licensing, along with identification of materials to be procured that require longer lead times. With our partner General Atomics in the lead, the team is focused on meeting each milestone, in light of the environment of supply disruptions and higher costs.”

The planned demonstration plant will utilize the Company’s proprietary processing and separation technology which is a closed-cycle process with fewer steps resulting in expected attendant environmental benefits and lower costs compared with current technologies.

The plant is expected to produce commercial-grade neodymium/praseodymium (Nd/Pr) rare earth high-purity oxide that is used in producing high-strength permanent magnets. These commercial-grade high-strength permanent magnets are a key component in the manufacture of electric vehicles and wind turbines, among other technology uses.