Rare Earths & Critical Minerals Week-in-Review (for the week ending September 13, 2013): The InvestorIntel Rare Earths & Critical Minerals members average was down an exiguous -0.26% overall, while the REE Leaders Index gained +3.8% for the week, up 14 points to close at 377 on Friday the 13th.
But do not let the overall members average fool you; as you’ll soon find out, there were some stellar performances from a number of our REE companies (Five InvestorIntel members’ share prices increased +20% or more for the week).
Coming in first place was Quest Rare Minerals Ltd. (TSXV: QRM | NYSE MKT: QRM). Quest shares jumped +28.70% on the American exchange, while gaining a very impressive +26.32% on the Canadian exchange last week. The market responded positively to the Company’s September 5th announcement that Quest had produced separate heavy and light rare earth concentrate from its Strange lake B-Zone deposit. The heavy rare earth, plus yttrium (HREE+Y) concentrate has a high purity level of approximately 84%, of which 75% is comprised of yttrium oxide. Quest has also successfully produced a separate light rare earth (LREE) concentrate and high-purity zirconia product using Strange Lake materials. I will be interviewing Quest President and CEO, Peter Cashin this morning as I am quite interested in an update.
Following very closely in second place is Arafura Resources Limited. (ASX: ARU), whose stock rose +27.78% for the week. On September 9th, the company announced that it had executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Shenghe Resources Holding Co., a Chinese-based rare earths producer and an industry leader in rare earths production and technology development, to further advance Arafura’s Nolan’s Project. Shenghe is a Shanghai Stock Exchange listed public company and operates a rare earths processing plant in Leshan City and markets specialty rare earth products to international and Chinese-based customers.
On September 12th, Gavin Lockyer published a letter to Arafura shareholders, announcing his new position as Arafura’s new Managing Director. Lockyer, who replaces outgoing CEO and Managing Director, Chris Tonkin, was previously Arafura’s CFO and Company Secretary. The following day, Ferrowest Limited announced a company update on its Yalyirimbi Iron Project — a joint venture with Arafura Resources.
Rare Element Resources Ltd. (TSX: RES | NYSE MKT: REE) was up +22.66% and +21.23% on the American and Canadian exchanges respectively – on no new announcements. Rare Earth Resources is developing the company’s Bear Lodge REE Property in Wyoming, located in one of the world’s best mining jurisdictions.
Northern Minerals Limited (ASX: NTU) gained a strong +21.05% last week on a bevy of company announcements. On September 10th the company announced new drilling at Wolverine prospect (one of the four rare earth prospects with xenotime mineralization) at the Browns Range heavy rare earth project delivers further success. With the commencement of a 4,000-metre drilling campaign at Wolverine in late August, Northern has already completed 832 metres to date. Northern’s Managing Director George Bauk said, “the latest results fuel further confidence in the future growth of the resource at Wolverine and Browns Range.”
The following day, Northern Minerals announced a project development update on its flagship REE Browns Range project. The company provided an update on its Brown Range heavy rare earth project, following the progression of a range of activities to support the ultimate development of the project. On September 12th Managing Director George Bauk released a webcast discussing the company being “on track” with Browns Range. With all the progress and milestones (and funding!) Northern Minerals has achieved to date, the company is on track for first production in 2016.
Be sure to watch our video interview with George Bauk from just a few short weeks ago, when George announced to InvestorIntel viewers that Northern Minerals was debt free with $58 million for the company’s heavy rare earth play.
Texas Rare Earth Resources Corp. (OTCQX: TRER) was up +20% on Chairman Anthony Marchese’s interview with yours truly. Marchese holds nothing back and really brings InvestorIntel viewers up to speed with all the latest developments at Texas Rare Earth Resources, including the company’s revised CAPEX from $2.1 billion to under $350 million (Anthony actually feels the final number will be under $300 million in the forthcoming revised Preliminary Economic Assessment), that TRER has the largest holmium deposit on the planet, the company’s low market cap, how the company’s resources (with a 100-plus-year mine life and a net present value of over $1 billion) is comprised of “critical” rare earths and the status of the company’s revised PEA.
Other topics discussed include: US REE sustainability and how Texas Rare Earth Resources’ land and the China clay deposits are the only REE deposits in the world to use heap leach extraction.
Hastings Rare Metals Limited (ASX: HAS) gained +17.65 % for the week on the September 10th news that Hastings signed a strategic alliance with a REE partner. Hastings has attracted a REE partner, which has significant experience in operating mines (specifically in mining and processing heavy rare earths) and investing in the mining industry. The strategic partner’s REE separation facility consistently achieves high purity and high recovery rates for key elements, including dysprosium and yttrium (purity of up to 99.999%). This could lead to staged funding of the Hastings Project in Western Australia towards commercial production and technical assistance.
Shares in Minco Plc (AIM: MIO) gained +10.71 last week on no news. Minco is a very impressive company and a consistently strong performer and we started following Minco when they acquired Buchans Minerals Corporation in July. Currently Minco has numerous projects around the world, including: England, Ireland Mexico and Canada (New Brunswick and Newfoundland).
Holding its own last week on the Canadian exchange, Tasman Metals Ltd. (TSXV: TSM | NYSE MKT: TAS) most recent news was on August 28th when they announced: Tasman Metals filed a preliminary prospectus in Canada and the US for an initial offering of up to $25 million (during the 25-month period that the prospectus remains active). The net proceeds from the sales of securities will be utilized for the further exploration and development of Tasman’s 100% owned Norra Karr project.
When Ian Chalmers speaks, we all enjoy listening as an industry leader. Be sure not to miss my exclusive interview (part II) with Alkane Resources Ltd. (ASX: ALK | OTCQX: ANLKY) Managing Director, Ian Chalmers. Ian, who is unquestionably one of the brightest minds in the REE business, provided InvestorIntel viewers with an update on his multi-commodity play and discussed just what is going on with the rare earth market currently, as well as zirconium, tantalum, what countries are increasing their stakes in niobium, and Ian’s picks for the most in-demand light and heavy rare earths for 2014.
InvestorIntel’s REE expert Robin Bromby covered the sector like no other last week, especially when it comes to REEs and Russia, China and Australia. Like many, Robin sees signs that the sector is bouncing back.
Dan McGroarty wrote a very popular article on why Russia’s far-eastern REE gambit will succeed. InvestorIntel can look forward to more commentary from Dan as he has agreed to become a regular commentator on InvestorIntel.