Flash News on Rare Earths

22 03 2010

Rare Earths are becoming a politically salient issue in the U.S. House Representative Mike Coffman introduced the RESTART Act, a legislation aimed at developing a domestic supply of rare earths. The Act contemplates measures to increase domestic exploration, secure new overseas supplies (supply chain development),reduce the amount of rare earths needed through research, increase recycling of REE materials and even stockpiling. In light of China’s resource hoarding of rare earths elements, the evaluation of international trade practice is also considered.

The article on this topic can be found on Mineweb. For the courageous, more details on the RESTART Act can be found on the US Congress website.

Knowledge Infrastructure Lacking in the U.S. Representatives of academia met by the House Committee on Science and Technology in the context of the RESTART Act have emphasized the need for the US to re-build its knowledge infrastructure in the area of rare earths. Industrial capacities in the field have declined with the emergence of China has the only remaining market player in the rare earths market in the 1990s. Scientists present have called for the establishment of National Research Center on Rare Earths and Energy and the National Research Center for Magnetic Cooling. Scientists have indicated that China and even Mongolia had such research centers for rare earths.

New Rare Earths Plays Outside of China

Just as we expect Chinese domestic demand to outpace supply by 2012, massive projects are coming on stream. Here’s a few who have made headlines lately.

Arafura Resources’ (ASX:ARU) Nolan’s phosphate uranium project is expected to be in production by 2013. Feasibility and project optimisation are still being assessed. Arafura has a resource from the measured to inferred categories of 30.3 million tonnes that contains 850,000 tonnes of rare earths (REO). The project would include a processing plant.

U.S. Rare Earths has a USGS validated deposit of rare earths in Diamond Creek, Idaho and in the Lehmi Pass in Montana. These are significant deposits of heavy rare earths. Edward Cowle, President and CEO of the company lately stated that; “according to the USGS report, the company’s ore bodies contain enough accessible and minable lanthanum, neodymium, dysprosium, terbium, and europium to make the United States independent from reliance on foreign suppliers.

Another deposit has the potential of becoming one of the largest rare earth mines. Greenland Minerals and Energy’s (ASX:GGG) Kvanefjeld project could produce rare-earth concentrate and uranium oxide for roughly 20 years. The deposit’s is JORC-Compliant and contains 4,79 million tons of rare earths oxides. Production would be commencing in 2015 according to its pre-feasibility study. In the meantime the work programme for this project focuses on social and environmental impact studies, beneficiation studies, improvement of recoveries and improving mine schedule. Via Mining Weekly

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