EDITOR: | December 29th, 2015 | 3 Comments

Tasman CEO on the nepheline advantage from the Norra Karr heavy rare earth project

| December 29, 2015 | 3 Comments

December 29, 2015 — In a special InvestorIntel interview, Publisher Tracy Weslosky interviews Mark Saxon of Tasman Metals Ltd. (TSXV: TSM | NYSE MKT: TAS) about the recent completion of a magnetic separation pilot plant for the Norra Karr heavy rare earth project. Mark explains that what they found in the course of their results was a way to commercialize the nepheline by-product. “The work we’re doing now is to get the nepheline into markets so we can understand the value…” and continues “the aim there to have a very low-waste mine or even a zero waste mine if possible.”

Tracy Weslosky: Mark you just recently put out some news about the completion of a magnetic separation plant for the Norra Karr heavy rare earth element project. Can you tell us about this news?

Mark Saxon: Yes, thanks Tracy. We just finished making a separation pilot plant. That was to do a scale up test of our beneficiation process, which for Norra Karr is mainly separation. That was a test run in Finland. It was paid for by the European Commission under our EURARE project. It performed very well. We’re very pleased with the results.

Tracy Weslosky: In addition to that there was something that I thought was very interesting in your news release. It said you’ve managed to take what was previously deemed waste product, nepheline by-product, and you found a way to commercialize this. Could you start by explaining to us at InvestorIntel and maybe the rest of our audience an understanding of what you have here? This sounds exciting.

Mark_SaxonMark Saxon: Yeah most of it is. It’s a little bit different to what most companies are dealing with. In fact, the Norra Karr project was first worked by a Swedish mining company, Boliden, for nepheline rather than for rare earths. It’s had quite a long history there. Nepheline is a mineral. It’s not a metal. Nepheline will go into the ceramics industry, the glass industry. It can go into cosmetics. It can go into building fillers. It can go into many end-uses.  Europe is a very large market for nepheline. When you think of roof tiles and bricks and when you think of Italian ceramics or Spanish ceramics all of that is using nepheline and so it’s a very large market. For the rock at Norra Karr about 65% of the material in the ground is in fact nepheline. The work we’re doing now is to get the nepheline into markets so we can understand the value of that in particular, but also understand the environmental benefit it could have as well because it is using our waste material. We’ve got the aim there to have a very low-waste mine or even a zero waste mine if possible.

Tracy Weslosky: So if we can just go back to the results, it seemed to me based on your comments in the news release that you were very pleased with the results. I think you said that it mirrors the bench scale test work. Can you tell us a little bit more about what this actually means? To access the complete interview, click here

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  • Jeff Thompson

    Good to hear the utilization of another portion of the total mass being extracted from the ground in the Tasman project. Like ancient hunters killing buffalos primarily for their meat, if they find ways to use the bones, organs, skin, and fur, then they don’t need to kill as many animals. Also glad to see Europe continuing to pursue it’s own primary source to further reduce the world’s dependence on China. Mr. Saxon’s point how the burden will shift to customers to either accept or reject the “illegal” mining from China was a key one. I have zero confidence that the Chinese government is willing to truly end the practice. I think they will be perfectly happy to turn a blind eye to it for the foreseeable future. The key is we should not even refer to it as “illegal” mining, with the Western connotation that if something is “illegal” that implies there is an effort underway to curtail it. Only enforced laws have any meaning. Unenforced laws are the same as a blank page in the legal code. Far more accurate was Mr. Lifton’s term of “off-the-books” mining, and in my mind it is likely to continue this way for quite some time. The only silver lining I think is that the damaging effect of “off-the-books” mining has already been priced in to the market rates for the oxides and metals, and to some degree into many companies share prices.

    Thanks for the update on Tasman.

    December 29, 2015 - 7:37 AM

  • Janet

    Very interesting interview as always Ms. Weslosky. Truth is, complex issues at play here and hearing the principals address the companies objectives and obstacles themselves gives me confidence in the company and my investments. Appreciate the interviews.

    December 30, 2015 - 1:56 PM

  • Ben

    I have been critical about Tasman for a long time and raised legitimate concern, which were washed away by certain people “as non credible”. Turned out today that Tasman lost ist mining license for Norra Karr due to a Swedish Supreme Administrative Court Decision, which is final. Since Tasman did not know what went wrong, they most likely don’t know how to sucessfully re-apply for a license. What we can say now is that Norra Karr is dead, as predicted by me some months ago. I would appreciate it if these kind of news would also be published once in a while.
    On that note: I have not seen any news either that Avalon has put it’s rare earth Nechalacho project on hold, calling it “inactive” for 2016. Basically, in plain language, this means that there is no use to re-calculate and re-calculate this project again, which has been done already way too often imho. Quest is as good as dead as we all know. Rare Element Resources has suspended all activities at Bear Lodge. Texas Rare Earth Resources, according to the recent letter to shareholders, stated that the capital market has caused them to scale back the process development work originally planned for the past year.

    The difficulties of REE explorers is getting bigger and bigger by the day. The only projects that still run forward are Peak and Commerce Resources. Both are projects, which make sense. Peak has the funding, Commerce has the size (mine life of up to 300 years).

    February 23, 2016 - 2:51 PM

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