Molycorp Discovers Heavy Rare Earth Deposits in California

Molycorp (NYSE:MCP) has discovered a heavy rare earth ore deposit on mining claims it owns near one of its facilities in southern California, the company said in filings on Tuesday.

The only American producer of rare earths must do extensive test drilling on the land located near its Mountain Pass, Calif.-based facility to determine the quantity and quality of the deposit.

The company said there can therefore be “no assurance” as to whether the deposit will become proven or probable reserves.

A discovery could help lower its dependence on China for certain rare earth materials, which are used in a range of green-energy technology such as compact fluorescent light bulbs and hybrid cars. China currently has a stronghold on the heavy rare earths industry, producing 99% of global supply, according to the New York Times.

Heavy rare earths are far less common than regular rare earths, and currently sell for as much as $2,600 a pound, according to the Times.

Molycorp said it will provide further details at an industry conference sponsored by the Energy Department, the European Commission and Japan’s trade ministry later on Tuesday.