PDAC is about to descend on us, but it’s the brochure for the Technology Metals Summit that must be done at midnight that is really driving me here.
Peak Resources just released a new video outlining the company’s recent successes in its Ngualla Rare Earth Project in Tanzania that was particularly good. I have been telling companies for years that video will be the cornerstone for online content in the next couple of years, so it really stands out when a company does such an excellent job.
In the video, Peak explains that the maiden mineral resource for the project totals 170 million tonnes at 2.24% Rare Earth Oxides, which ranks it as the 5th largest rare earth deposit outside of China, and shows the highest grade resources in the world’s 7 largest rare earth deposits. In this video it is clear that Peak has made rapid progress in guiding the Ngualla operations from its exploration discovery in August 2010 to its current status as one of the largest and highest grade rare earth deposits in the world.
Peak plans to bring the Ngualla resource into its production phase by 2016, and this speedy timeline should help curb an expected global market decline in available supplies of critical rare earth oxides (CREO). Progress positioning Peak to benefit from a combination of favorable market dynamics, supplying competitively priced materials to growing industries at a critical time. As consumers show rising enthusiasm for digital products and environmentally friendly technologies, global demand for CREOs will continue to increase, and this puts CREO suppliers like Peak on the fast-track to become leading names in low-cost rare earth concentrate production.
Peak’s Diverse Range of CREO Products. Peak’s Ngualla Rare Earth Project has several fundamental, geological aspects that offer distinct advantages for development when compared to the other current rare earth projects of similar size. Accordingly, what separates Ngualla from those deposits is that its elements are highly concentrated in economically (this will be key topic discussed at the Technology Metals Summit) exploitable forms, as high-grade mineralization is found as a large, solid, continuous deposit with high grades that is amenable to open pit mining (and low strip ratios). Low uranium-thorium levels and favorable rare earth carbonate mineralogy (bastnaesite and synchesite) add to the advantages found at the location.
So far, Peak has located five high-purity CREOs in Ngualla. One of the most abundant in the group is Neodymium, which is used as a raw material for wind turbines and electric vehicles. Other examples include Europium Oxide (which is used in energy efficient lighting products and computer monitors), and CREOs prominent in the high-tech, defense, and healthcare industries.
Unique Mining Methods Help Cut Costs. When using its planned sulfuric acid leach process, Peak’s preliminary economic assessments show extraction rates that are as high as 82%. This approach cuts capital requirements by 50%, providing confirmation that Peak’s unique and innovative methods support the economic viability of the project. Peak separates itself from lower-grade rare earth projects using low-cost mining and production methods that help free the company from the common costs of dealing with radioactive materials. All of these factors show the company is sound in terms of mining approaches and cost management for its projects.
Overall, the Ngulla development is an exciting new discovery, and comes at a time when the world is looking for alternative suppliers of rare earth products. The Ngualla project has natural, geological advantages that put it head and shoulders above most other rare earth projects, and by 2016 Peak plans to reach its production phase. Once feasibility studies are complete and the pilot plant is completed (expected by 2015), Peak will be on course to reach its ultimate goal to be firmly set in the production phase by early 2016. Hmmm, and now that’s something to talk about…