Review of 8 rare earth projects

Oct 26, 2023 | Blog

NioCorp Developments Elk Creek, Nebraska project has titanium and ferroniobium dominating the resource yet it is a scandium project with NdPr, Dy and Tb. This hard rock carbonatite would be mined underground after a capital investment of US$1.1 billion. Rare earth mineralogy (avg 0.35% TREO) is a combination of both bastnaesite and monazite and processing will be a chemical-intensive hydrometallurgical process.

Rainbow Rare Earths intends to support decarbonization through recovering NdPr, Dy and Tb from waste streams (gypsum stacks) at hard-rock carbonatite phosphate mining operations. Their focus areas include South Africa, Morocco and Brazil. Anticipated capital is ~$300 million for their South African project which contains low levels of radioactive elements. They intend to produce a mixed rare earth sulphate at 65% recovery from a 30.4 million ton resource averaging 0.44%TREO.

Energy Fuels Inc – the USA’s only facility with the licenses and capabilities to process monazite and produce rare earth element products completed an acquisition earlier this year for a mineral sand project covering 58 square miles on Brazil’s east coast. Besides abundant monazite, the resource contains titanium minerals and zircon whose sales will certainly bolster development economics.

Lynas Rare Earths Ltd is a rare earth material producer of critical importance outside of China. Lynas is conducting near mine exploration at Mt Weld (Australia) to assess potential for deeper mining to support their capacity increase from 7ktpa to10.5ktpa NdPr (kilo-tons per annum) for their Malaysian rare earth facility. Lynas has received nearly US$300 million to aid in developing the heavy and right rare earth plants.

Defense Metals Corporation has the Wicheeda project in British Columbia containing rare earth minerals parasite, monazite and bastnaesite with a goal of producing 20k tons/yr TREO. The measured and indicated resource averages 2.02%TREO with 34.2 million tons and anticipated capital investment of US$350.

Australian Rare Earths discussed their Koppamurra ionic clays project which has produced a rare earth carbonate at “ambient temperature and pressures” with low cost off-the-shelf equipment as part of their pilot study. Their resource contains 186 million tons with an average of 712-ppm TREO.

Aclara Resources has ionic clays in southern Chile with on-going exploration in Chile, Brazil and Peru. For their Penco Module, they foresee a capital expenditure of US$130 million for their deposit having an average of 1,999 ppm TREO (0.20%) and recoveries in the 20%s.

Métaux Torngat Metals Ltd. received a funding injection of $50million for their remote resource in northeastern (Nunavik) Canada at Strange Lake. The deposit could have a 30 yr mine life providing separated NdPr, Dy and Tb oxides from a proposed refinery in Quebec.

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