An essential objective of the Powder River Basin carbon Ore, rare earth, and critical mineral (CORE-CM) project is to provide an economic benefit to the people who live and work in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana by stimulating new resource development centered around the nation’s largest coal mines. This objective will be accomplished by establishing a strategic plan to maximize the development potential of carbon ore, rare earth elements (REE), and critical minerals, while leveraging the highly trained workforce, existing coal technologies, energy infrastructure, and wide public acceptance of energy technology in the Powder River Basin. Additionally, this project will offer a low-cost pathway to the national security benefits associated with domestic REE, critical mineral, and carbon ore industries. The Powder River Basin CORE-CM project will address all aspects of the CORE-CM value chain and bring together a committed network of stakeholders.
The Powder River Basin carbon ore, rare earth element, and critical mineral (CORE-CM) project will advance a basin-wide approach to expand and transform the use of coal in the largest coal-producing basin in the United States. The Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana boasts many attributes that make it a compelling location to grow new coal-based industries, including:
The Powder River Basin is home to the Bear Lodge Complex, one of the largest unmined conventional rare earth element deposits in the U.S., providing synergistic opportunities with coal-based rare earth element sources to improve the basin-wide economics of rare earth element processing and production.
Planned research activities include:
The target communities of beneficiaries for this project are the people who live and work in the Powder River Basin and the CORE-CM stakeholders committed to the project. The goal of the project is to promote economic development and job creation in this energy-focused region.
A preliminary assessment of existing basinal infrastructure has been completed. The University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources has hosted multiple webinars to address CORE-CM topics and stakeholder engagement is growing.
The project team is working on all tasks concurrently. Resource assessments are being conducted for all potential rare earth element and critical mineral feedstocks, including coal, coal by-products, and traditional rare earth element deposits. Powder River Basin specific waste streams are being inventoried for their potential as CORE-CM resources. A preliminary assessment of existing basinal infrastructure has been completed. Technologies geared toward mining and processing of Powder River Basin coal, coal by-products, and other feedstocks are being evaluated. The University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources has hosted multiple webinars to address CORE-CM topics and stakeholder engagement is growing. The first annual stakeholder forum for this project was held August 31-September 1, 2022, in Gillette, Wyoming, with over 70 project partners and stakeholders in attendance.