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Exploration in the Rocky Mountain Rare Metal Belt

While there are well over 400 rare earths exploration projects underway in many locales around the world, what has been named the Rocky Mountain Rare Metal Belt in British Columbia represents a unique opportunity for both explorers and resource stock investors.

China controls about 97% of rare earth production and because they have severely cut back on exports, there is tremendous demand for these very special elements.

Rare earths are used in cell phones, televisions, lighting, speakers, computers, lasers, and are also utilized for electricity generation and military applications. According to their various applications, demand for rare earth elements is different for each rare earth.

Rare metals such as tantalum and niobium are also in demand. Miniature tantalum capacitors make cell phones possible; tantalum capacitors are used for many electronic applications. Demand for tantalum is growing as buyers are now shunning sources in Africa that are tainted by conflict. Niobium is used to make lamp filaments, alloys and superconductive magnets.

Stretching for some 2,500 km from just above the Idaho and Montana borders in the south to the Yukon border in the north, Mother Nature has created the right geological environment along the Rocky Mountain Rare Metal Belt for the emplacement of both rare earth elements and rare metals.

Some explorers have been active along the belt for several years, while others have recently joined this select group of companies. For example, Taseko Mines Ltd. (TSX: TKO) acquired its Aley Niobium Project, 140 km north of Mackenzie, in 2007; it was actually discovered by Cominco in 1980. The Aley Project hosts an extensive body of niobium mineralization as indicated by the 2010 drilling. The deposit is wide open to expansion in at least three directions and to depth.

Since 2006, Commerce Resources Corp. (TSXv: CCE) has been advancing its Blue River Tantalum-Niobium Project north of Kamloops where substantial resources have been defined.

More recently, Chris Graf’s private company Spectrum Mining Corp. made a significant rare earths discovery on its Wicheeda property, north of Prince George, in 2009 where 11 drill holes intersected very encouraging mineralization. The best drill intercepts included 48.64 metres grading 3.55% rare earth elements, 72.0 metres of 2.92% REEs and 144.0 metres of 2.20% REEs.

This discovery prompted a staking rush in the region and over a dozen companies are currently conducting exploration programs. There was further encouragement when Canadian International Minerals (TSXv: CIN) drilled its 75%-owned property adjacent to the Wicheeda discovery and intercepted 37.3 metres grading 1.43% total rare earth oxides.

The Rocky Mountain Rare Metal Belt is a fast-developing exploration play that deserves the attention of resource stock investors.

Explorers in Search of Rare Earth Elements:

  • Arctic Star Exploration
  • Bolero Resources
  • Canadian International Minerals
  • Commerce Resources
  • Critical Elements
  • Electric Metals
  • International Montoro Resources
  • Northcore Resources
  • Rara Terra Minerals
  • Spectrum Mining

Explorers in Search of Rare Metals:

  • Commerce Resources
  • Critical Elements
  • Rara Terra Minerals
  • Taseko Mines

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