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Weekly Rare Earth Roundup with James Tekune – Week 10, 2024

Brazil unveils Strategic Minerals Investment Fund

Last week Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) launched a $200M strategic minerals investment fund.

The fund aims to spur exploration and development of strategic minerals in Brazil through investments in 15 to 20 promising companies.

BNDES will put up a 25% share of the fund through a $50M investment and additional domestic and foreign backers will be sought for the remainder to broaden the investor base.

Junior to medium-sized companies engaged in mineral projects that advance energy transition, decarbonization and sustainable food production are the fund’s target.

The launch coincided with the 2024 Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference held this week in Toronto, giving the fund an opportunity to pitch to interested players.

Adamas take: The strategic mineral fund will have growing list of promising rare earth projects in Brazil to consider.

With at least 8 advanced projects in the state of Minas Gerais, 4 in Goiás, 3 in Bahia, as well as projects in Amazonas, Rondonia and Tocantins states, the fund managers will have their pick of the litter.

Industry players sought to boost rare earth production in Malaysia

On Wednesday, Nik Nazmi, the Malaysian Minister of Natural Resources, said the country was open and receptive to investments to develop rare earth resources in the country.

Mr. Nazmi made the statement during this week’s parliamentary question session and stated that enterprises from China and Western countries were equally welcomed.

He further mentioned that the Malay National Mineral Council (MMN) will assess a proposal to establish a government-linked company for rare earth extraction.

Towards that end, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had previously requested the resource ministry to assess the feasibility of mining REEs from current and former forest reserve areas to curb illegal mining activity.

Adamas take: In September 2023, Prime Minister Ibrahim stated that the government is considering a ban on export of unprocessed rare earth concentrate to bolster domestic REE processing.

Details and timeline for enactment of such a ban have not been provided since the announcement but potential investors will no doubt seek clarity before pledging funds.

Maiden MRE announced for Appia’s PCH project

This week Appia Rare Earths & Uranium announced a maiden mineral resource estimate (MRE) for its ionic adsorption clay PCH project in Goiás, Brazil.

The MRE completed by SGS Canada estimates the project has total resource of 52.8 Mt grading 2,841 ppm TREO, which was based on 139 drillholes (138 RC, 1 diamond) completed at the Target IV and Buriti Zone areas.

Assays from the 1,869 samples yielded by its drill campaign outlined an inferred resource of 46.2 Mt at 2,888 ppm TREO and an indicated resource of 6.6 Mt at 2,513 ppm TREO.

The hard rock zone below 24m was not included in the MRE despite the presence of mineralization due to the difference in mineralogy and development requirements.

Adamas take: Interestingly, Appia noted that the Target IV and Buriti Zone (hosts to the maiden MRE) cover just 483 hectares of the project’s massive 40,000-hectare total.

Ongoing auger drilling on the property to identify additional exploration targets could bear fruit and add to the project’s resource.

USA Rare Earth and ReElement sign REO offtake agreement

Earlier this week, USA Rare Earth (USARE) signed an offtake agreement with ReElement Technologies (ReElement) for supply of rare earth oxides to the former’s Stillwater, Oklahoma magnet manufacturing facility from 2025, expanding to 900 tonnes per year by 2028.

ReElement, a subsidiary of American Resources Corporation, uses a proprietary ligand-assisted chromatography technology to separate and refine REOs from virgin ores and end-of-life products at its facility near Indianapolis, Indiana.

USARE expects production of sintered NdFeB magnets to begin in 2024 with an initial target capacity of 1,200 tonnes per annum and potential to ramp to 4,800 tonnes per annum thereafter.

Adamas take: A synergistic agreement for both sides and a timely one as USARE looks to start magnet production as early as this year.

Given USARE’s existing offtake agreement with Australian Strategic Materials (ASM) for NdFeB alloy, we see potential for the REOs acquired from ReElement to be toll-metallized and made into NdFeB alloy by ASM in South Korea given the current lack of capacity to produce either in the US.

Chixia Laos buys majority stake in Mengkang project

This week Chixia Laos Holding, a joint venture between Chifeng Jilong Gold Mining and Xiamen Tungsten, announced they have bought a 90% stake of China Investment Mining Laos and its 86%-owned Mengkang rare earth project in Xiengkhouang, Laos.

According to reports, the ionic adsorption clay (IAC) deposit has a resource of 101 million tonnes grading 280 ppm TREO and has a mining license valid until December 27, 2025.

Chixia’s $19M purchase will fund the completion of ongoing mine construction. Production is scheduled to start in Q2 2024 with a targeted annual output of 3,675 tonnes of mixed rare earth oxide concentrate.

Adamas take: With domestic heavy rare earth resources dwindling in China and political turmoil in Myanmar, there are around 20 Chinese-funded companies in Laos that have recently applied for REE mining licenses.

The projects are primarily in Xiengkhouang and Houaphanh provinces, which host the lion’s share of the nation’s REE-enriched clay deposits. According to the Adamas ‘EV Motor Materials Monthly’ intelligence service, Laos exported nearly 5,700 tonnes of mixed rare earth carbonate to China last year.

 



James Tekune, Associate at Adamas Intelligence

James is an Associate at Adamas focused on the global rare earths industry. He tracks and analyzes exploration and development projects, emerging processors and recyclers, and end-users around the world.

James has 3 years experience in mining and geophysics in the nickel, iron and gold sectors.

He completed his Bachelors of Science (Hons) in Geology at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. He also holds credentials in Finance and Geographic Information Science.

 


 


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