High Rare Earth Prices Stable; RareX & Canada Rare Earth; Vital & REEtec; Lynas Grilled In OZ; Rajastan Monazite; Pensana Explore For What?

2020 Rare Earth December 24

There is nothing really new about rare earth prices this week, other than they are holding on to the newly established levels. All is good.

RareX announced that they will acquire nearly 25 million shares or about 12.26% of Canada Rare Earth shares from Talaxis (Noble Group). RareX will need to pay-up before February 21, 2021.

End of September 2020 RareX held AU$ 4.7 mio in cash. The Canada Rare Earth shares will cost RareX about AU$ 1.02 mio.

Jack Lifton, originator of the term “Technology Metals” and one of the few rare earth experts of his generation left in the West, joined InvestorIntel a short while ago.

There he published an article Jack Lifton on the real challenge of China Incorporated on the global supply of rare earths.”

With regard to China’s ban on rare earth technology since 2001 he criticises that China may have obtained the original know-how from Molycorp by controversial means.

We’d like to humbly submit that Molycorp’s know-how based on bastnaesite. Avid readers of The Rare Earth Observer will have long understood, that the rare earth technology that China bans for export is related to extraction of rare earths from ionic clays and downstream know-how past rare earth oxides, entirely beyond Molycorp’s scope.

Lifton complains about the utter lack of rare earth expertise in the West, however, he just doesn’t seem to be talking to younger people. RE is difficult, but it is not rocket science, after all.

With regard to US policy we are utterly unconvinced that Cruz’s tax relief, a blanket subsidy at the expense of the US tax payer, is the right way of handling it, as it may create infinitely subsidy-addicted corporate Frankensteins. Tariffs are the proven default option to protect a nascent industry. Higher RE prices shouldn’t be a problem for user industries, many of whom are in Cruz’s Texas. But they pay higher campaign contributions than the average tax-payer.

China Inc. is not really China Inc., even though Beijing would love it that way and thus make it easier for Lifton. In fact is a sprawling jungle of private and state-owned companies, home to thousands of vastly different players and equally different interests, local and federal bureaucrats, political intrigue and private business power-play, local and national interest, that the central government in Beijing tries to control.

The Market Herald’s write-up about Vital’s and REEtec’s link was not very good. Better read Vital Metals ASX announcement for more clarity about the whats, ifs and whens. It is undoubtedly helpful for Vital to sign with such a potent partner for the long road ahead.

Pensana announced soil sample results from exploring the Coola Project located 16 kilometres north of its flagship Longonjo project.

That is marvellous news, it is fantastic and so absorbing.

But it begs the question what is the point of further exploration, in view of Longonjo holding 4.4 mio tons of total rare earth oxide according to Pensana, which is comfortably good enough for 15 years entire world consumption. Further exploration would be as necessary for Pensana as growing a third shoulder.

However, if one looks closely, the annual report 2020 says on page 23:

What is the “Measured and Indicated Weathered Zone mineralisation”? See here:

So, they are not talking about 4.4 mio t TREO, but 0.948 mio t, a tad less than touted.

If you then consider a potentially low recovery rate sub 50% (see sulphate below) and certain other impediments we hear of, then Pensana’s desire to explore further becomes conceivable.

Meanwhile, the Pensana bankable feasibility study announced for November has quietly evaporated, as did the much fanfared China financing option before that.

Reason for this, among others: “The company is investigating the production of a rare earth sulphate which could considerably lower capital and operating costs.” Now, considering Colonel Murphy’s omnipresence, let us not hope that this is not an unproven, experimental process for a world-scale facility of a supposedly several million tons TREO deposit, costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, the feasibility study for the UK refinery has been announced for January. We’ll not be holding our breath and check back for the status of this one during March.

The company got approval at the recent shareholder meeting, we assume to buy back and retire its own stock, rather than using funds in the project itself:

This all is purely conceptual. We are looking forward to seeing considerably more substance from Pensana.

This will be our last posting for this year, unless something really interesting happens. We wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy Rare Earthy New Year of 2021!

Please don’t forget to donate to your favourite charity. Your donations were never as important as they are today. Please do it.


EPA hurdle for $500 million Kalgoorlie rare earths plant

Lynas wants to build a $500 million plant to process rare earths mined at Mount Weld in the northern Goldfields, providing a jobs boost welcomed by the local council.

But some have raised concerns over the project and its associated low-level radioactive waste.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) received 25 out of 27 public submissions that requested a public environmental review but decided to undertake a different level of assessment.

"The EPA has now determined the level of assessment to be — referral information with additional information required, which means that Lynas is required to provide additional information for the assessment," an EPA spokesman said.

Vital Metals (ASX:VML) signs rare earth offtake agreement with REEtec

courtesy of Rare Earths Investor

Vital Metals (VML) has signed a five-year agreement with REEtec AS for the sale of its rare earth oxide (REO) product from its Nechalacho mine

The agreement sets out the terms for a 1000 tonnes REO per annum offtake and profit-sharing agreement between the two companies

Today, VML Director Philip Coulson also announced his resignation, effective immediately

Comment: For Philip Coulson it is mission accomplished.

High grade rare earths confirmed at Coola

Pensana Rare Earths Plc is pleased to report high grade rare earths in soils from the first sampling programmes completed at its 7,500 square kilometre Coola Project located 16 kilometres north of its flagship Longonjo project in Angola. Also reported is the appointment of accomplished economic geologist Grant Haywood as Exploration Manager together with an update on recent site activities at the Longonjo.

Assay results received from soil sampling over the Coola carbonatite identify a high tenor soil anomaly up to 4.69% REO extending over a 1.3 x 1.4 kilometre area.

Comment: What is the point of exploring more? Is Longonjo already nearing depletion before it is off the ground? The feasibility study announced for November evaporated, as did the big fanfare China financing before that. Stated reason this time: the UK refinery should be integrated in the FS.


Mine Waste in the Eastern Adirondacks May be Untapped, Accessible Source of Rare Earth Element Minerals

Waste rock from long-closed mines in the eastern Adirondack Mountains, New York, may prove valuable due to its rare earth element content, according to newly published research. The results are from airborne and ground surveys conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and collaborators.

Reserves of rare mineral monazite found in Rajasthan, now China's monopoly will be broken

Barmer Reserves of rare mineral monazite have been found in the soil of the Siwana region of Barmer, a border district of Rajasthan. After finding reserves of monazite at Sewana, Mokalsar, Sindhri in the survey of the land department, the central team had explored its potential in the earth of the Sewana area. Preparations are now being made to issue a tender to a Karnataka firm for a mining lease.

Comment: You are going to see some rare earth surprises from India.


What’s The Impact Of Non-Recycled E-Waste On The Planet?

Experts estimate that the human race generates 50 million tons of electronic waste, or e-waste, every year. That’s roughly equal to throwing away 1,000 laptops every second of every day. According to the EPA, only about 12.5% of that waste makes it to recycling. Everything else ends up dumped in landfills, leaching potentially toxic heavy metals and chemicals into the environment.


How the Moon’s Far Side Got Its Radioactive Spots

For years, scientists have been puzzled by the asymmetric distribution of the so-called KREEP signature on the Moon, which is an acronym for the chemicals potassium (atomic symbol K), rare Earth-elements (R-E-E), and phosphorus (atomic symbol P). 

These elements are linked to lunar volcanism, which can partially explain why they are so heavily concentrated on the near side of the Moon, as this face was far more volcanically active in the past. But this raises the question: how did anomalous hotspots of KREEP end up in SPA, on the far side, where volcanism was rare?

Skyrmions — the basis for a completely new computer architecture? — ScienceDaily

The research group led by Hans Josef Hug at Empa has now succeeded in solving this problem: “We have produced a multilayer system consisting of various sub-nanometer-thick ferromagnetic, noble metal and rare-earth metal layers, in which two different skyrmion states can coexist at room temperature,” says Hug. His team had been studying skyrmion properties in ultra-thin ferromagnetic multilayer systems using the magnetic force microscope that they developed at Empa. For their latest experiments, they fabricated material layers made from the following metals: iridium (Ir), iron (Fe), cobalt (Co), platinum (Pt) and the rare-earth metals terbium (Tb) and gadolinium (Gd).