Here's Why a $2 Million Coal Mine in Wyoming Could be Worth $37 Billion
November 10, 2023 - A former Wall Street banker who dished out $2 million for an old coal mine in rural Wyoming has possibly hit a $37 billion mother lode after the discovery of “rare-earth elements” at the site, according to a report.
Randall Atkins, the son of infamous oil tycoon Orin Atkins, bought the sleepy Brook Mine outside of Sheridan, Wyo., sight unseen, 12 years ago.
However, recent tests conducted by government researchers revealed that the 15,800-acre mineral reserve contains what might be the largest unconventional rare-earth deposit in the country, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Rare-earth minerals — such as gallium and germanium — are vital in the production of superconductors, and are also needed to power electric vehicles and offshore wind turbines.
When Atkins’ company Ramaco Resources first purchased the mine, the 71-year-old “didn’t know the difference between rare earths and rare coins,” he told the outlet.
Now, he’s working with government researchers to extract larger samples of Brook Mine for further analysis, drilling 700 feet into the ground to produce samples — deeper than it has ever drilled.
“Like any project of this magnitude it will take some time to assess the project’s full potential,” Atkins, a former banker for JPMorgan, told The Post.
“Given that rare earth deposits are measured in parts per million, it will also take careful analysis of the right extraction, separation and processing techniques before we are sure of the right direction.”
Should Atkins hit paydirt, the site would be the first rare-earths mine discovered in the US since 1952, according to The Journal.
It would also give the nation a boost in its battle with China for rare-earth materials.
On Aug. 1, the Communist regime limited the export of gallium and germanium as it seeks leverage in the cutting-edge semiconductor space.
Atkins’ dad built the multibillion-dollar energy giant Ashland Oil before getting caught up in a series of high-profile scandals, including Watergate, in his later years.
Orin Atkins was fined for an illegal payment to President Richard Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign, according to The Journal.
He later pleaded guilty for instructing associates to sell confidential Ashland documents to Iran, and was sentenced to probation and community service.
He died in 2007.
The younger Atkins told The Journal he was “deeply saddened by the whole situation he went through” and has learned from his father’s mistakes.