The Rare Earth Elements Demonstration Facility Program is designed to demonstrate the feasibility of a full-scale integrated rare earth element extraction and separation facility and refinery.



Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains and Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management

New Program:


Funding amount:


Funding Mechanism:



Academic Institutions

Period of Availability:

Available until expended

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The facility established shall-- (A) provide environmental benefits through use of feedstock derived from acid mine drainage, mine waste, or other deleterious material; (B) separate mixed rare earth oxides into pure oxides of each rare earth element; (C) refine rare earth oxides into rare earth metals; and (D) provide for separation of rare earth oxides and refining into rare earth metals at a single site.

Download the Request for Information (Closed)

Download the Funding Opportunity (Deadline is 11/21/2022)

Read the Press Announcement

Selections announced - April 4, 2023. The projects announced today will study how they can extract critical minerals from coal mine waste streams as the first of two project phases.  

  • The University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, North Dakota) will complete a study to recover and refine rare earth elements and critical minerals from North Dakota lignite mine wastes. The project aims to advance technologies that can enable a cost-competitive, environmentally sensitive process to produce rare earth metals and critical minerals from domestic coal waste. (Award amount: $7,999,999).
  • West Virginia University (Morgantown, West Virginia) will complete a study for producing rare earth elements and critical minerals using acid mine drainage and mineral tailings feedstocks with at-source pollution treatment. Intermediate products will be processed to high-purity oxides, salts, or metals depending on specific market needs. (Award amount: $8,000,000) 

Over a period of about 15 months, these detailed engineering and cost studies will identify risks and costs, and will solidify plans for developing economically viable processes to extract, separate, and produce rare earth elements and critical minerals from the nation’s vast quantities of mining wastes that won’t be harmful to the environment. Following completion of the studies and a period of technical review, these projects will have the opportunity to apply for Phase II funding for construction and operation of the demonstration-scale facility.

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