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CEO Corner

Starting Off Strong

Ken Mushinski / May 17, 2024

During my first weeks serving as the President and CEO of Rare Element Resources, I have had the opportunity to join our team in several key events as we progress construction on our innovative rare earth recovery and separation demonstration plant project in Upton, Wyoming. 

The day I commenced my tenure, on May 1st, I personally experienced the support the Company has from the great state of Wyoming when I participated in the Wyoming Energy Authority’s Next Frontier Energy Summit in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The event was well attended by business leaders from throughout the state and provided the opportunity to showcase our Company on the Rare Earth Panel, as well as collaborate with others who call Wyoming home and are looking to strengthen the natural resource sector within the state.

Next, I visited the Upton construction site. While I was involved in a majority of the activities that led to the decision to construct the demonstration plant during my previous time on the board (2017-2022), it was great to get boots on the ground and see firsthand the progress that has been made. The site has been transformed. Due to the mild winter, a majority of the exterior work has been completed. Interior work is progressing well, and I was pleased to get to participate in the milestone of having the first equipment skid arriving onsite. Additional skids are expected over the next several weeks and, once the building improvements are completed, we will start integrating the units for the production line.

It has been nice to reconnect with the Board members who I worked with during my previous tenure on the Board.  I have also had the opportunity to meet with the new Board members as well as the management team and the consultants whose work has brought the Project so far over the last two years. After spending time on site with the construction team and with Tom Cannon, the new plant manager, I am getting a good understanding of what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done.  Equally important, I am getting a better understanding of the Department of Energy’s commitment to our project, and the interest we are getting from numerous federal agencies, all who are interested in breaking China’s strangle hold on the rare earth supply chain.

On May 9th, I had the pleasure of hosting Governor Mark Gordon (R-WY) and members of his staff on a tour of the demonstration plant. Governor Gordon impressed me as a man determined to make sure his State continues to support existing natural resources industries while also seeking to diversify its economic base to ensure longer-term prosperity. In our case, he is looking to support development of a domestic rare earth supply chain by supporting mining companies like ours while also working to attract downstream manufacturers and magnet makers to the State. I found the Governor to have a deep understanding of natural resource development, a long-term vision of what he would like to see for his state and a passion, common for those that come from Wyoming, to do what it takes to ensure a bright future for his State and its people.

The pace of my first few weeks is a reflection of the momentum the Company has built, and I look forward to continuing that progress as we work toward startup of operations at the demonstration plant later this summer.