Progressing to HREE production in Australia, Hastings Rare Metals’ appoints new Chairman
The owner of Australia’s largest heavy rare earth project, Hastings Rare Metals Limited (ASX: HAS), has restructured its board, and in turn, appointed its largest shareholder Charles Lew as its Chairman. Recent share acquisitions increased Mr. Lew’s ownership to 14.98% of the company. “I am excited to join the board and look forward to help take Hastings through to the next phases of development and eventually into production,” commented Lew. “I have confidence in the projects Hastings has identified and I am optimistic about the future commercial and environmental prospects for the heavy rare earth deposits that Hastings controls and which it will now look to commercialize.”For over 25 years, Lew has been involved in a wide range of investment banking activities, including global IPOs, equities placements, corporate mergers, and acquisition, debt/equity restructuring, private equity investments and venture capital financing. In 2000, Lew started his own investment fund company, Equator Capital, trading in global managed futures, US equities and options, as well as private-equity investing. Lew was also active as a pre-IPO investor in a number of China-based companies that listed on the Singapore Exchange between 2004 and 2008. He is an independent non-executive director of RHB Investment Bank Berhad since 2004 and is also on the board of RHB Islamic Bank. He was on the board of RHB Capital Berhad from 2005 to 2007 and served as an independent director on the board of Singapore Medical Group.
The Hastings Board of Directors has also appointed Simon Wallace as a non-executive director. Mr. Wallace is a practicing commercial and corporate lawyer, specializing in project finance and fundraising. His extensive experience at Gadens Lawyers, led Wallace to establish (founder and partner) boutique Melbourne law firm, Nick Stretch Legal. Wallace has considerable professional experience in investment banking, direct equity investment, structured product formulation, and execution — and has been especially involved in the establishment and operation of domestic and offshore managed investment funds.
Mr. Anthony Ho, former Hastings Chairman, will continue as a non-executive director and chair the audit committee. Guy Robertson and Vaz Hovanessian resigned from the board on December 10th, though Mr. Robertson continues to serve as Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary.
Hastings is currently investigating and advancing a low-cost production opportunity for its Hastings Heavy Rare Earths Project at Halls Creek in in Western Australia, that could potentially fast track to commercial production. This involves an offshore location study, currently underway, as well as evaluating and securing toll treatment partnerships for ore milling; extraction and separation; and final product refining. Taking these functions offshore will also de-risk Hastings’ 100%-owned project by significantly reducing capital costs, allowing the company to access lower-cost funding and reducing overall processing operating expenses.
Hastings Heavy Rare Earth Elements Project is widely regarded as a world-class, leading HREE project that is located within a favorable jurisdiction with excellent existing infrastructure (and a current JORC-compliant Resource of 36.2 million tonnes at 0.21% total rare earth oxide and 0.18% heavy rare earth oxide). This is further differentiated from other REE projects by Hastings’ predominantly heavy rare earths (85%) content, such as dysprosium and yttrium, which (as most InvestorIntel readers are aware) are significantly more valuable than the more common light rare earth elements. Hastings represents the largest heavy rare earth project in Australia, and ranks fourth largest globally, with resources for more than 25 years of production at over 1 million tonnes per annum (to produce over 10,000 tonnes per year).
The new Hastings directors and major shareholder — with strong ties to Asia — are anticipated to bode extremely well for the company as it advances through the next phases of development and eventually into production. Shares in Hastings Rare Metals jumped +35.4% after the December 10th Board Restructure announcement (from 4.8c to 6.5c).
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