Gunnison Titanium Deposits May Supply High-Tech Future
KREX News Room
It's no secret that Colorado is rich in natural resources, but a deal to send a bulk of those resources overseas may come as a surprise. A Pennsylvania company's aggressive plan to dominate the nation's rare earth metals market starting with Gunnison's Iron Hill property, the nation's largest unmined deposit of titanium, also holds large concentrations of rare earth oxides--critical metals in today's technology.
"They're used for everything from precision-guided weapons to critical components used in computers and cell phones and in green renewable energy technology," said Mike Coffman. Representative Coffman recently proposed the Rare Earth Supply Chain Technology and Resource Transformation, or RESTART, Act of 2011 in response to China's long-held monopoly of the world's rare earth metals.
"To break our dependence upon the Chinese," Coffman said. "I think it's dangerous to be dependent on the Chinese because they are not allies of the United States. They undermine the world market to gain a near-monopoly status of 97% of rare earth metals and they're using that leverage to move manufacturing to China."
Colorado Rare Earths, Inc., acquired the Iron Hill and Wet Mountains properties in Colorado, then made an exclusive deal potentially worth billions of dollars with Korea's Union Financial and Investment Corp. for access to Korean companies.
"They're actually introducing us to Korean corporations out there that are in need of rare earth. We don't have any deals in place right now with any particular company," said Mike Parnell, the CEO of Colorado Rare Earths, Inc.
What will the mining operation mean in terms of Colorado jobs?
"A full operation should probably see in excess of 200 people," said Parnell.
The Iron Hill property holds 1.6 billion metric tons of titanium. Parnell said that the company is only focusing on extracting the rare earth elements at this time.
The company also acquired Rare Earths, Inc., which includes large deposits in Idaho.