Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2021
(SIERRA BLANCA) — On the West Texas stop of his Good for Texas Tour: Supply Chains Edition, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar today toured USA Rare Earth Inc., a critical mineral supply chain company that, along with its joint venture partner Texas Mineral Resources Corp., is building a transformative project here to produce American-made rare earth magnets. These components are used to power devices such as smartphones, large-scale batteries, wind turbines and fighter jets.
“USA Rare Earth is jumpstarting the rare earths industry and providing a vital supply of materials for a range of fast-growing Texas manufacturers, including employers in the electric vehicle, defense and electronic sectors," Hegar said. “Their project here will add to our state's business-friendly climate – which includes low taxes, low regulation and low-cost electricity – by ensuring that vital materials can reach Texas manufacturers more efficiently and reliably.”
Rare earth elements — which are a group of minerals essential for producing permanent magnets, catalysts, rechargeable batteries and LED lights and displays — are found all over the world, but deposits containing economically usable concentrations are less common. In 2020, for example, the United States imported 100 percent of its usable rare earth compounds and metals, and 80 percent of that came from China.
USA Rare Earth owns an 80 percent equity interest in the Round Top Mountain deposit in Hudspeth County. Texas Mineral Resources owns the balance. In 2023, USA Rare Earth will begin mining 950 acres of state land that are expected to yield more than 300,000 metric tons of rare earth oxide. Combined with USA Rare Earth operations elsewhere, this domestic supply chain of rare earth magnets would meet 17 percent of projected demand in the United States.
The Round Top project is expected to be a boon for the local and state economy, yielding 130 to 195 direct full-time permanent jobs in Texas with annual salaries above the Texas average. It also is expected to add about $26 million each year to the state's public education system.
There are other rare earth projects in Texas coming soon. In February, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced a $30 million agreement with Australian company Lynas Rare Earths, the largest producer outside China, to begin separating rare earths in Hondo, in partnership with San Antonio-based Blue Line Corp. In addition, Urban Mining Co. in San Marcos inked an $860,000 agreement with the DoD to support its efforts to recycle rare earth elements from electronic waste and produce new permanent magnets.
During his latest Good for Texas Tour, Hegar is sharing the results of a new Comptroller’s office study detailing the vital role supply chains play in enhancing production efficiencies and reducing costs for producers and consumers. The study also examines the risks to supply chains and how businesses and the federal government are responding to those risks.
For more information on the tour, including video and social media graphics, go to the Comptroller’s website.