May 2012 Updates To The TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index

by Gareth Hatch on June 2, 2012 · 10 comments

in Rare Earths, Tools & Metrics

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I recently updated the list of projects on the TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index, to reflect three new rare-earth mineral-resource estimates that were announced recently. I also made some other updates. The specifics:

  • GBM Resources Ltd. (ASX:GBZ) announced a JORC-compliant mineral-resource estimate for its Milo project in Australia, on February 29, 2012. According to the associated press release, 103 Mt of the resource is at the Inferred level @ 0.08% TREO, at a cut-off grade of 0.04 wt% TREO.
  • On May 10, 2012, Rare Earth Metals Inc. (TSX.V:RA, OTCQX:RAREF) announced a NI 43-101-compliant mineral-resource estimate for its Lavergne-Springer project in Canada. According to the associated press release, 4.2 Mt of the resource is at the Indicated level @ 1.14% TREO and 12.7 Mt is at the Inferred level @ 1.17% TREO (each at a cut-off grade of 0.9 wt% TREO).
  • Crossland Uranium Mines Ltd. (ASX:CUX) announced a JORC-compliant mineral-resource estimate for its Charley Creek project in Australia, on May 15, 2012. This is a joint venture with Pancontinental Uranium Corp. (TSX.V:PUC). According to the associated press release, 386.9 Mt of the resource is at the Indicated level @ 0.03% TREO and 418.4 Mt is at the Inferred level @ 0.03% TREO (each at a cut-off cost of $4.30/t).

I have also updated the pricing used in the Index data, to reflect the average monthly prices for May 2012 and the moving three-year average price for separated rare-earth oxides.

In addition, to the new projects above, two companies with projects on the Index announced updates to their existing resource estimates:

  • On May 7, 2012, Rare Element Resources Ltd. (TSX:RES, AMEX:REE) announced an update to its NI 43-101-compliant mineral-resource estimate for the Bear Lodge project in the USA. According to the associated press release, 2.0 Mt of the resource is at the Measured level @ 3.95% TREO, 4.9 Mt is at the Indicated level @ 3.72% TREO and 31.3 Mt is at the Inferred level @ 2.83% TREO (each at a cut-off grade of 1.5 wt% TREO).
  • Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. (TSX.V:GWG, OTCBB:GWMGF) announced a NI 43-101-compliant mineral-resource estimate for its Steenkampskraal project in South Africa, on May 31, 2012. According to the associated press release, 82.1 kt of the resource is at the Indicated level @ 16.85% TREO and 94.0 kt is at the Inferred level @ 15.77% TREO (each at a cut-off grade of 1.0 wt% TREO).

FYI, TMR is tracking a total of 429 rare-earth projects under development associated with 261 different companies in 37 different countries.

You can access the updated details via the Index page.

Disclosure: at the time of writing, Gareth Hatch holds no shares or stock options in any of the companies mentioned in this article, or in any publicly traded rare-earth company, nor is he doing paid consulting for any such company.

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1 Paul June 17, 2012 at 11:52 am

There is a German company “Deutsche Rohstoff AG” which claims to be about to start a drilling program in Germany for JORC standard REE resource estimates at a site known to contain some REEs:
http://www.rohstoff.de/geschaftsbereiche/hightech-metalle-seltene-erden-zinn-wolfram/storkwitz/?lang=en

2 Robert O'Connor June 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Dear Sir / Madam,
RE:…..Disclosure:
I find the information from TMR interesting and informative reading but the fact that your writer, Gareth Hatch holds no shares in the companies he writes about says it all. Perhaps TMR would be brave enough to include the companies it, or its contributors, does hold shares in. In fact that should me a mandatory prerequisate for a public opinion piece don’t you think, not the other way around? Imagine the weight that would give to your opinions for your readers I’ll leave that with you, Regards.

3 A.VEERAMANI June 20, 2012 at 6:49 am

Dear Sir,
I admire and love to read your articles and I would sincerly request you to please throw some light on which purity of individual rare earths are used in industry and please come out with an article which will surely help all people learning and updating the information on which industry required which purity and so on.

I am eagerly waiting for such an article to be published in your site who are no doubt knowledge hup and the authors are experts.

regards.

4 Gareth Hatch June 25, 2012 at 7:41 pm

@Paul: thanks for the note – we are tracking the German project in our master list of projects, currently at 429 projects.

@Robert O’Connor: I’m afraid that we’ll have to agree to disagree on your perspective concerning disclosures.

@A.VEERAMANI: thank you for your suggestion – we’ll give some thought to incorporating your request for future articles.

5 Fred June 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Dear Gareth, over a year ago I had posted some questions regarding a company then known as Exploration Orbite and now known as Orbite Aluminae. Last April they announced for the first time the presence of rare earths in their aluminous clay deposit found in the Gaspe Peninsula. To be honest, I was taken aback by your flippant dismissal of Orbite and its potential to offer a meaningful solution to the rare earth supply problem for North America. Now, a little over a year later, Orbite has made waves in the rare earth field again by announcing that they have successfully extracted 99.9% pure rare earth oxides using their patented technology. It would seem the rare earth field has kept their heads in the sand by ignoring Orbite and their remarkable achievements. I don’t doubt the reasons why, Orbite’s technology makes it possible for the inexpensive production of the full suite of rare earths from the tailings of industrial metal mining operations and effectively marginalizes the need for primary production of rare earths. My only hope is that now with this achievement from Orbite, experts such as yourself will begin to be more openminded in your commentary and coverage of such important developments.

For your reference, here is a copy of our previous correspondence:

Fred April 19, 2011 at 9:57 pm
Gareth, I don’t know if you are aware but last week a small Quebec company published a report suggesting they could extract rare earth oxides from a clay deposit they are developing to 99.99% purity. The quantities aren’t huge but the technology seems to be quite impressive. You can check them out here:
http://www.explorationorbite.com/
I’d be curious as to your thoughts regarding the potential of this technology.

Gareth Hatch April 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm
@Fred: I did see the news on Exploration Orbite. Including scandium, their initial data indicates a material grade of 0.05% of rare earths maximum. This is very low … the La and Nd apparently present, for example, is at maybe twice the average crustal abundance for these elements – i.e. nothing particularly noteworthy. Any process used to recover these elements, even as byproducts, would have to be extremely low cost for it to be worthwhile.

10 Fred April 20, 2011 at 8:49 am
Yes, I agree with you about the low grade. However, it is my understanding that the extraction process is quite cheap and that they are testing it on other deposits where the rare earth content is higher… definitely something to keep an eye on. It is particularly relevant when you consider that most rare earth projects don’t have a cheap or easy way to recover oxides in high purity.

11 Gareth Hatch April 20, 2011 at 9:46 am
@Fred: there’s low grade, and then there’s LOW grade… there are advanced projects out there with grades over 300 times richer in rare earths than this one. Understand that the value of the potential primary product in this case, aluminous clay, does not give very much wiggle room in terms of the cost of extraction of any rare earths present.

6 Gareth Hatch June 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm

@Fred: are you a shareholder of Orbite Aluminae? I am not, for the record.

Companies make bold claims about many things, and not just in the rare-earth sector. I will not apologize for being skeptical of any such claims when they are not accompanied by meaningful, public-domain data. As the Russian proverb goes, “trust – but verify”…

The potential to apply the Orbite process to the remediation of red-mud tailings ponds is exciting, if it can be done on a large scale. You comment that this process provides for the “inexpensive production” of rare earths; if this is the case, than it is certainly of significant value to the rare-earth industry too.

I haven’t seen the cost data that you apparently have, that would affirm your characterization of the process as being inexpensive; would you mind pointing me in the right direction for that? Thanks in advance.

7 Fred June 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Gareth, thank-you for the quick reply and yes, I am a shareholder of Orbite Aluminae. And my apologies for not providing you with sources to back up my statements. Orbite’s announcement regarding the extraction of heavy rare earths can be found here:
http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/orbite-successfully-produces-first-separated-heavy-rare-earth-oxides-from-north-american-tsx-ort-1673464.htm
They recently published a PEA outlining the costs for extracting rare earths that can be found on their website:
http://www.orbitealuminae.com/media/upload/whitepapers/PEA_Orbite_May30-Final.pdf
In it, you find a description of their process for producing metallurgical alumina. As part of an acid recovery loop, the rare earths are concentrated and purified to the point where they can easily be separated and covered in to single, purified oxides. The costs being born on the back of alumina production makes the rare earth processing very cheap, almost free. That is, when costs are apportioned per tonne of alumina produced, the OPEX goes from ~$201 to $209… an $8 cost.

8 Fred June 29, 2012 at 8:29 am

Gareth, in case you missed it, the past few days have seen more press releases for Orbite that are very pertinent to their leadership in the rare earth industry outside of China. In addition to yttrium, scandium and erbium oxides the company announced today that they have produced dysprosium, neodymium, cerium, gallium oxides along with high purity 99.999% aluminum oxide. Yesterday they confirmed that they will be operational in early 2013 and will also be able to process third party rare earth concentrate.
http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/orbite-produces-its-first-5n-purity-commercial-grade-high-purity-alumina-samples-tsx-ort-1675293.htm

http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/orbite-confirms-it-will-be-capable-processing-separating-rare-earth-rare-metal-concentrates-tsx-ort-1674804.htm

9 Gareth Hatch July 12, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Fred: you might be interested to know that Orbite’s project is now listed on the TMR Index:

http://www.barnswood.com/tmr/wp/2012/07/june-2012-updates-to-the-tmr-advanced-rare-earth-projects-index/

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