As industrial nations continue to shift towards a greener future and explosive demand for EVs and the associated demand for magnetic materials shows no signs of abating it’s time to take another look at Search Minerals Inc. (TSXV: SMY). Search holds a 100% interest in a rare earths deposit within the Port Hope Simpson – St. Lewis District of South East Labrador that is road accessible and on tidewater, which is a leg up on a lot of their North American counterparts. The company already has a favourable Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for their FOXTROT deposit, a resource estimate for Deep Fox and a third discovery has been identified at Fox Meadow. There are also more than 20 additional exploration prospects identified along the 70 km long and 8 km wide region controlled by Search including Silver Fox and Awesome Fox.
The PEA highlights a 14 year mine lifespan on Foxtrot (8 years open pit, 6 years underground) that would recover approximately 7.4 million tonnes of Indicated and 2.0 million tonnes of Inferred Resources. Mineralized zones typically show high concentrations of many of the magnetic materials in demand (Nd, Pr), and some of the most revered critical materials including but not limited to: Dysprosium (Dy) Neodymium (Nd), Praseodymium (Pr), Terbium (Tb) and Yttrium (Y). However, the newest prospect at Silver Fox hosts significantly higher grades of Zirconium (Zr) and Hafnium (Hf).
But this is only the start of the story. What makes Search different from most other critical materials’ explorers is the development of its breakthrough Patented Direct Extraction Metallurgical Process. With the mining of many commodities, it’s not as simple as taking the rock from the ground, crushing it up and sending it to market. Think back to Imperial Metals Mount Polly tailings pond breach in 2014. Mining rare earths are no exception and can have their own environmental nightmare lurking if not addressed properly, just ask China. Fortunately, Search has found an elegant answer for an environmentally conscientious solution for managing waste residue that also significantly reduces CAPEX and operational costs. Without getting into the details (you can read more about it here), this is a big deal.
To further the development of this proprietary process, Search signed an MOU with the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) on Oct 29, 2020. The MOU outlines a collaboration with SRC as they build their Rare Earths Processing Facility in Saskatchewan, Canada. It is anticipated that using the SRC conventional solvent extraction process will enable Search to validate the ability to produce the individual rare earth oxides necessary to enter the rare earths supply chain.
Another intriguing development in progressing this patented process is the Nov 10, 2020 entry into a Technical Collaboration Framework Agreement with USA Rare Earth, LLC. This will involve technical assistance through joint technical meetings, sharing of data, site visits and reviews and collaboration around the engineering and development of Critical Material projects. Subsequent to this agreement on March 11, 2021 USA Rare Earth participated in a Search Minerals private placement with a strategic investment of C$630,000.
Search Minerals is a company that has identified an optimally located, economic resource in a commodity that is likely to continue to see increasing demand, has exploration upside and a proprietary process to get its product cost-effectively to market in an environmentally conscious way. This has obviously attracted the interest of others in the industry. That’s how you set yourself apart from the rest of the pack.