Discovery In The Bitterroot May Bring Big Implications

Discovery In The Bitterroot May Bring Big Implications

"A recent discovery in the Bitterroot Mountains has thrust Montana into a 21st-century gold rush, but unlike previous iterations, this gold rush is searching for something even harder to find: Rare earth elements."

A recent discovery in the Bitterroot Mountains has thrust Montana into a 21st-century gold rush, but unlike previous iterations, this gold rush is searching for something even harder to find: Rare earth elements.

But what exactly are rare earth elements? And how will this discovery impact America, Montana and the environment? Frontier Tech & Innovation policy analyst, Chris Isaacs unpacks the implications of the discovery in his most recent column.

Rare earth elements (REEs) are a group of rare, and extremely valuable minerals essential to the creation of many modern technologies. In short, REE’s are what make possible many of the tools and technologies we use on a daily basis.

In February, the Utah-based company US Critical Materials announced it discovered REE samples with grades exceeding any other domestic source at their Sheep Creek property, in the Bitterroot Mountains.

In his column Chris explains:

“If the deposit’s estimated value is true, it will have serious implications for America’s domestic economy, which has struggled to develop an REE source not subject to the whims of potentially hostile nations.

But it isn’t just America which could see major benefits, both Montana and the environment are positioned to be potential beneficiaries. By mining for REEs in a location with greater checks and balances, rather than a totalitarian nation with a track record of being one of the world’s biggest polluters, the environment will no doubt be better off. That’s not to mention the potential economic benefits Montana would receive from the mine and the resources it could provide in helping diversify Montana’s energy portfolio.”

Regardless of how you look at it, the Sheep Creek discovery is welcome news. Stay tuned for Chris’ next two columns as he will continue to unpack how these findings will impact America, Montana and the environment.

For Liberty,
Tanner Avery

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