Exploration of Rare NE Mineral Deposit Put On Hold

elk-creek,-ne(AP) — A Canadian mining firm says it’s close to securing the funding needed to move forward with a plan to extract a valuable and rare heat-resistant element from beneath southeast Nebraska.

NioCorp Developments CEO Peter Dickie says he expects to secure financing for the Elk Creek, Neb., project within the next few weeks.

Once the company gets funding, it will resume drilling samples to determine how much niobium and other rare earth elements are present, and NioCorp will finish analyzing the samples it has already collected. Those elements are used in making steel and high-tech devices.

People who live near Elk Creek hope the mining project succeeds because it would boost the economy, but they’re not counting on it because there have been so many delays.