Less than a year after a company claiming to harvest useful materials from mine waste announced plans for a Beatrice location, the company’s co-founder and CEO has left the company.
Allen Kruse announced plans for Rare Earth Salts last November as the follow up to a related company, Rare Earth Solar, announced in 2011.
Rare Earth Solar opened a small satellite office in Beatrice, but the solar panel manufacturer never went into operation.
Rare Earth Salts set up a small lab in the Beatrice Business Campus west of town, with intentions to eventually build a large-scale plant in the area.
Glennis McClure, executive director of the NGage economic development group, said Kruse’s departure doesn’t signify the end of the company and added Joseph Brewer, co-founder of both Rare Earth companies, will continue on.
“They’re working on the technology and moving forward,” McClure said. “Joseph Brewer is CEO and one of the lead chemists. They’ve got some positive things moving forward.”
According to Kruse’s LinkedIn page, he accepted a position as a senior partner doing management consulting with CH Consulting Group.
“After five years of working hard, giving a lot of blood, sweat and tears – for first Rare Earth Solar and then Rare Earth Salts – I have now moved on,” Kruse wrote.
Calls to Kruse were not immediately returned.
Kruse previously stated the company plans to use new techniques to harvest rare earth elements from would-be mining waste around the world.
He said the company can extract trace amounts of the elements, which are used in items from cell phones to televisions, from the waste.
Last December, two requests totaling $326,800 in LB840 funds were approved by the Beatrice City Council.
LB840 funds are economic development dollars used to stimulate economic development in the area.
The first request of $76,800 was for a year’s rent at the company’s lab.
The second request approved by the council was for $250,000 to be distributed in three phases.
The first $100,000 was given to Rare Earth Salts when the application received final approval to assist in “speed to market” and be used for incentive packages to draw employees. There were no job or capital requirements with this phase.
The second phase of $75,000 was contingent on the company raising $6 million in capital by April 1, which the company failed to do. It also failed to create a required four additional jobs.
The final $75,000 would have been for creating four more jobs by July 1, 2015.
Kruse told the Citizens Advisory Review Committee – the group that considers LB840 requests and makes a recommendation to the council – last December that it would take an estimated $10 million to get a pilot program up and running before a long-term commercialization of the process. At that time, he said $3 million had been raised.