Toronto-based Avalon Rare Metals Inc., a publicly traded mineral development company, plans to buy property in the Gulf Coast area for a $302 million rare earth elements separation plant.

Avalon said it has completed a pre-feasibility study for the plant based on a Louisiana site.

The Gulf Coast offers low-cost, bulk transportation --- by rail and water, Don Bubar, Avalon’s president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. The Gulf Coast is also close to both suppliers of the chemical reagents needed to separate the rare earth elements and to Avalon’s potential customers.

Avalon is proceeding with due diligence investigations and negotiations with local landowners to determine the suitability of each property for its needs. In addition, the company continues to review potential alternative locations for the separation plant both in the United States and in Canada.

Avalon did not disclose the potential locations.

The separation plant would treat chemical concentrates containing light and heavy rare earth elements. Rare earths are used in green technology and high tech manufacturing.