Rare earths and scandium drill results at Imperial’s Crater Lake continue to ‘exceed all expectations’

As electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers focus on achieving great energy efficiency and range lightweighting using a scandium-aluminum alloy continues to gain traction. By lowering a vehicle’s weight the range can either be improved or if kept the same the cost can be reduced by using fewer batteries.

Scandium oxide demand has potential to rise from 175 tpa to 5,000-10,000 tpa if lightweighting is adopted widely across the EV sector

Source: Imperial Mining company presentation

Scandium junior miner Imperial Mining Group Ltd. (TSXV: IPG | OTCQB: IMPNF) (“Imperial”) 100% owns the Crater Lake Scandium-REE Project in northeastern Quebec, Canada. The Project has a large 6km diameter complex host to high-grade scandium and some rare earths deposits. Drilling has defined a mineralized zone of over 600m in total strike length and from surface to a vertical depth of up to 200m. Scandium oxide drill result grades have ranged from 0.0235% to 0.056% (235-506 g/t) which makes the resource look potentially to be commercially viable, as viable scandium grades are typically >200-300 g/t. There is also a parallel niobium target showing grab assay results of between 0.20% and 1.42% Nb2O5 which sits 250m west of the scandium target.

Scandium is best known for increasing the strength and hardness of aluminum and is therefore used commercially for lightweighting in the automotive industry, space industry, for fuel cells and defense applications. Niobium is used mostly in the steel industry to significantly increase steel strength, resulting is less steel required and overall cost savings.

Announced on April 28, 2021, recent drill results at Crater Lake included results of 92.5 m @ 291g/t scandium oxide (Sc2O3). Elevated levels of total rare earth oxides plus yttrium of up to 0.42% were also found. Imperial stated in the release that “at a gold price of $1,750US/oz and a scandium oxide price of $1,250US/kg, the intersections represent a gold-equivalent value of 6.5 to 8.0 g/t Au”,  Imperial’s President and CEO Peter Cashin stated:

“The winter drilling results for the Crater Lake property continue to exceed all expectations….. mineralization has been traced by drilling over 600m in total strike length from surface to a vertical depth of up to 200m. Importantly, the zone appears to get wider and higher grade with depth.

Imperial Mining’s Crater Lake Scandium-REE Project in northeastern Quebec, Canada

Source: Imperial Mining corp. website

Further drill assay results announced on May 27, 2021, included an intercept of 111.9 m @ 298 g/t Sc2O3. Elevated levels of total rare earth oxides plus yttrium (TREO+Y) of up to 0.38% were also found across the scandium-bearing horizon. Given current high prices for the magnet rare earths such as neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, the rare earth oxides found should help boost the projects by-products and hence project economics. The current drilling program is now completed with a total of 14 drill holes having tested the TG Zone.

Next steps and business strategy

Imperial will now undertake a 43-101 preliminary Resource Estimate of the TG zone for delivery in June 2021. Imperial’s strategy is to become a producer of scandium and valuable rare earths using simple process recovery methods. Imperial would like to be a scandium disruptor and to capture market share. Over time the Company’s goal is to move downstream to deliver high-margin scandium-aluminum alloy products for the automotive, aerospace, defense and fuel cell sectors. The Project’s location in Canada’s aluminum capital of Quebec should also lead to further market opportunities.

One such opportunity has already emerged with Eck Industries (“Eck”) with a letter of intent (“LOI”) to develop scandium-modified aluminum alloys for transportation, defense and aerospace markets. The research work will be directed towards developing a novel scandium-enhanced version of the currently commercially available 535 Aluminum which Eck uses for a wide array of applications. The initial scope of work will include casting and testing of various compositions as well as characterization of the finished alloys.

Closing remarks

Imperial is still in the early stages of proving up a resource. But given scandium at economic grades is rare the Company is doing very well by finding good grade scandium and valuable rare earths. The Resource estimate is a significant near term catalyst, which would typically be followed by a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) or PFS.

All of this is ahead, so given the current market cap of just C$29 million, investors with a long-term time frame can have a chance at a potentially big reward if all goes well. The usual risks of junior miners also apply.




Betting on scandium-aluminum lightweighting to take off, Imperial Mining Group is set to benefit from EV market demand

Imperial Mining Group Ltd. (TSXV: IPG | OTCQB: IMPNF) is an early stage scandium junior miner (also with two prospective gold properties) in Quebec hoping to cash in on the move towards scandium-aluminum alloys for lightweighting of vehicles such as spacecraft, airplanes, and especially electric vehicles (EVs).

Scandium is still not widely used due to limited supply and scandium being expensive. This means the scandium supply chain is minimal as the industry has not yet grown. The current global scandium supply is only about 35 tonnes pa of scandium oxide. Demand is forecast to boom to as high as 1,800 tonnes pa by 2035 (Bloomberg forecast, 2018). If that were to happen, it would mean a 51-fold increase in scandium demand over the next 15 years. Interestingly the 2020 Bloomberg forecast for electric vehicles is for them to rise from 2.2M in 2019 to ~54M by 2040. That would be a ~25-fold increase. So clearly the EV boom has the potential to be a strong driver of scandium demand if scandium-aluminum lightweighting becomes widely adopted.

Another estimate of the impact of surging EV sales on the potential demand for scandium

Source: Imperial Mining Group investor presentation

A major issue with EVs is getting their purchase price down which should lead to mass adoption this decade. If an EV weighs less then it can use a smaller battery to get the same range, thereby lowering the EVs cost. Looking ahead this decade if scandium-aluminum alloys become much more widely used, this should lead to a virtuous cycle of cheaper scandium as supply expands and far greater scandium use.

The airline industry and the space industry are other examples where lightweighting becomes vitally important to reduce fuel costs.

This brings us back to Imperial Mining Group, which has one of the lowest market caps (currently C$25M) of all the junior scandium miners as shown below.

Scandium junior miners market cap comparison as of early March 2021

Source: Imperial Mining Group investor presentation

The Crater Lake Scandium-REE Property/Project

Imperial Mining’s focus is on the development of its high-quality scandium-REE Crater Lake Property in northeastern Quebec, Canada. The 100% owned property consists of 57 contiguous claims covering 27.8km2. It has a large 6km diameter complex host to high-grade scandium and niobium deposits. Imperial Mining is currently working to expand the resource.

Previous drilling has defined a mineralised zone of over 250m in strike and 170m in depth. Scandium oxide grades ranged from 0.0235% to 0.0319% (235-319 g/t), which is good. Commercially viable grades (>200-300 g/t) of scandium are very rare. Early drill results included 528 g/t scandium oxide over 8.8m.

2020 TG Zone drilling intersected intervals grading up to 253 g/t Scandium Oxide (Sc2O3) over 29.14 m. These are again very good drill results. Imperial Mining stated in Nov. 2020:

  • “The scandium rich zone also contains elevated levels of total rare earth oxides plus yttrium (TREO+Y) grading up to 0.419%.
  • The scandium mineralized zone is estimated to be up to 110 m in true thickness and continues to be open at depth below 200 m down-dip and along strike.
  • The evident increase in scandium grades with depth is also very encouraging, however more work needs to be done to fully quantify the scandium and REE resource potential on the property.”

Imperial Mining’s goal is to define a scandium-REE mineral resource of a minimum of 10 Mt. Recoveries to date have been strong at 97-98% for scandium and 79% for rare earths.

Well funded after recent oversubscribed capital raises, Imperial Mining plans to spend C$2M to achieve their 2021 plans. These include further drilling, metallurgical recovery additional method testing (April), a 43-101 Resource report (May), and a PEA (July-August). Beyond that next will be permitting and a completed Feasibility Study by end 2023, subject to financing.

The Company plans the Crater Lake Project to be a small open-pit operation with on-site magnetic concentrator and/or sensor-based sorting resulting in high scandium recoveries. It is expected that the Project will be a low CapEx, OpEx due to the high grades and using simple process recovery methods.

Closing remarks

Imperial Mining Group has recently started trading on the OTCQB Venture Market in the U.S., which provides US investors with a pathway to invest and participate in the Imperial Mining Group story.

Given the potential exponential growth ahead if scandium lightweighting takes off in a big way, first mover scandium junior miners such as Imperial Mining Group can be big winners.

Risk is high and patience is needed. One plus for investors is Imperial Mining also has some gold prospective properties in Quebec (La Roncière  and Opawica), with a recent increased interest in La Roncière. Always good to have some gold as insurance.

We will continue to follow the Imperial Mining Group story as it unfolds. Stay tuned.




China, Biden and the Rare Earths Bull Market – InvestorIntel MI3 Technology Metals Summit Series Starts Thursday, February 4, 2021

Toronto, January 28, 2021 — InvestorIntel.com, the stock source, is pleased to announce a new regular Thursday evening technology metals investment series, co-sponsored with MI3 Communications. Starting with China, Biden and a Rare Earths Bull Market, the first InvestorIntel MI3 Technology Metals Summit Series will be held online on Thursday, February 4th, 2021 from 6:30-8:30 PM EST.

China, Biden and a Rare Earths Bull Market will address trends for investors and how current events are driving new investment opportunities. MI3’s Mario Drolet and InvestorIntel’s award winning analyst and critical materials expert Frederick Kozak will moderate and introduce the topic. Rare earths industry leaders who will each present 10-12 minutes on their rare earths companies, include:

A panel discussion on China, Biden and a Rare Earths Bull Market will be part of the Summit, moderated by the Technology Metals Show host Peter Clausi, with the following sector experts to participate:

Mario Drolet of MI3 is the event host and commented: “MI3 is very proud to organize our first rare earths summit for the financial community with critical materials coverage leader InvestorIntel. The feedback we are receiving from our audience provides substantial evidence that the investment community understands that investing in rare earths requires an understanding of both the supply chain and the impact of geopolitics on the demand.”

“We have been leading the market for coverage of the rare earths market since 2008,” said InvestorIntel founder Tracy Weslosky. Adding “There is no question that between the burgeoning EV market demands that that we have a bull market rising in the rare earths sector, just look at our InvestorChannel Rare Earths Watchlist where we track this sector daily – https://investorchannel.com/watchlist/rare-earths/.

InvestorIntel Corp., which has hosted 7 annual Technology Metals Summits in Toronto annually since 2010, is working with Mario Drolet and the team of MI3 Communications to create a virtual summit that will feature 3 critical materials sector presenters, our next one will be February 11th and will feature lithium.”

Registration:

Click here to register for the upcoming virtual event, attendance is free.

If you are interested in attending or participating on our 1st virtual Technology Metals Summit on Thursday, February 4th from 6:30-8:30 PM, please click here to register and we will send you a hidden link the day of the event. Again, registration is free. If you have any additional questions, contact Raj Shah for InvestorIntel at Raj@investorintel.com.

About InvestorIntel.com

InvestorIntel.com is a leading online source of investor information that provides public market coverage for both investors and industry alike. Offering coverage of emerging markets and investment opportunities to discerning investors, InvestorIntel is considered an online influencer in analysis, videos and podcast reports, and cohosts Investor Talks for self-directed investors weekly online in partnership with MI3 Communications.

About MI3

Launched in 2007, MI3 is a Montreal-based new-age financial communication company geared for today’s fast-paced global economy. MI3’s services were developed to leverage the trading and market experience of our bilingual team to provide public & investor relations, market-making activities and market intelligence to Canadian public companies.




Clausi, Cashin and Kovacevic on the rising demand for scandium in aluminum alloys

In a recent InvestorIntel interview, Peter Clausi speaks with Peter Cashin, President and CEO of Imperial Mining Group Ltd. (TSXV: IPG) and Gianni Kovacevic, CEO of CopperBank Resources Corp. (CSE: CBK), about growth opportunity in the scandium space and the factors affecting demand.

In this InvestorIntel interview, which may also be viewed on YouTube (click here to subscribe to the InvestorIntel Channel), Gianni went on to say, “Scandium is a market, that in my opinion in this decade can grow 20 fold.” Peter added, “There is just not enough production capacity in the world to be able to satisfy what the potential growth in demand could be.” Peter then went on to talk on the primary uses of scandium and explained that the factor holding back demand is limited supply of the metal. He continued, “If you can find the supply, I think the players and consumers are there waiting for it.”

In the interview Peter also provided an update on Imperial Mining’s Crater Lake Scandium project in Quebec and explained how the project benefits from being located in Quebec, which is the aluminum capital of Canada.

To watch the full interview, click here

About Imperial Mining Group Ltd.

Imperial is a new Canadian mineral exploration and development company focussed on the advancement of its copper-zinc, gold and technology metals properties in Québec. Imperial is publicly listed on the TSX Venture Exchange as “IPG” and is led by an experienced team of mineral exploration and development professionals with a strong track record of mineral deposit discovery in numerous metal commodities.

To know more about Imperial Mining Group Ltd., click here

Disclaimer: Imperial Mining Group Ltd. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.




Imperial Mining Sets Comprehensive 2021 Plan at Crater Lake after $2.6M Financing

After a positive summer drill program at its flagship scandium-rare earth Crater Lake Property in northeastern Quebec, Imperial Mining Group Ltd. (TSXV: IPG) successfully closed a $2.6 million financing in December to accelerate the project forward in 2021.

Imperial Mining plans to use the proceeds to complete definition drilling at Crater Lake’s “TG Zone”, and to deliver both a 43-101 Resource Report and a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) by the end of June 2021.

Last trading at $0.16, Imperial Mining Group has a market cap of $20 million and a PEA could re-rate the company, shifting it closer to the $175 million market cap of NioCorp Developments Ltd. (TSX: NB | OTCQX: NIOBF) that has a Feasibility Study at its Elk Creek niobium-scandium project in Nebraska, United States.

Peter Cashin, President & CEO of Imperial Mining Group, recently commented, “I am very pleased of the positive response that the market has shown for our private placement. The financing was oversubscribed, and we believe that it was motivated by the recent significant announcements in the critical metal space, in particular for scandium and the rare earths.”

Scandium Alloys at Home and in Space

Manufacturers in many industries, including automotive, aerospace, and defense, recognize that scandium-modified aluminum alloy materials could become a critical input into their production processes.

With the push for lighter and stronger materials to make vehicles more fuel-efficient and the need for tough and durable metal alloys for the resurgence in space activity, scandium-aluminum “superalloys” have been already used by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).

In a March 2020 speech at the Satellite 2020 Conference, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and SpaceX stated that the aerospace engineers at SpaceX were going to switch to a different alloy “pretty soon” to replace the current stainless-steel alloy, known as 301.

Scandium-aluminium alloys are highly valued as an important lightweight material and are one-third the weight of steel and 60 % of the weight of titanium alloys.

Scandium-aluminium alloys are also corrosion-resistant and can be used in a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, and consumer products, such as baseball bats, bicycle frames, and golf clubs.

A small percentage of scandium alloyed with aluminum enables aluminum to be effectively welded to another piece of scandium-aluminum alloy, without the need for heavy hardware to join the pieces together.

Scandium-aluminium alloys are currently being used by California-based Relativity Space, a private aerospace manufacturing company. Relativity Space’s massive 3D printer can create a rocket from raw material to flight in 60 days.

The automotive industry could be a large market opportunity for scandium. With scandium-aluminum’s self-welding abilities, engine blocks could be constructed using 3D printers.

In addition, according to a recent report, the average passenger vehicle contains over 150 kilograms of aluminum and the average light truck contains over 230 kilograms of aluminum. If only 1% of the traditional aluminum used in the approximately 17 million light vehicles (cars and light trucks) produced in the United States each year, switched to scandium-aluminum, that impact would create a demand for 35 tonnes of scandium each year.

With current scandium production estimated between 25-35 tonnes per year as such, this type of demand would immediately double the current supply requirement.

Scandium

Scandium is an element, sometimes classified as a rare earth metal, and currently, there are no primary scandium mines. Supply comes from the by-product of other mineral extractions from deposits in China, Russia, and more and recently, Australia.

Scandium is not traded on any metal exchange and the price is negotiated between buyer and seller. According to the most recent USGS data sheet on scandium, over the past five years, the price for scandium-oxide has averaged $4,560 per kilogram.

Scandium and other “critical metals” were thrust into the spotlight last year when President Trump signed an Executive Order addressing the threat to the United States’ supply chain from relying on “critical minerals” from “foreign adversaries”, specifically identifying China. The 35 mineral commodities deemed critical under the definition included aluminum, gallium, graphite, lithium, manganese, niobium, the rare earth elements group, and scandium.

Crater Lake Property – Scandium & Rare Earth Metals

The 100%-owned Crater Lake Project is located 200 kilometres northeast of Schefferville, Quebec, and covers 2,780 hectares (approximately 6,900 acres). The project hosts three zones of mineralization (Boulder, TG Zone (TGZ), and STG), determined by scandium-rich outcrops, boulders, and recent drilling.

Highlights from the summer drill program included Hole #CL20037 from the TGZ that returned intervals grading up to 253 grams per tonne (g/t) Scandium Oxide (Sc2O3) over 29.14 metres (m), including 9.3 m grading 299 g/t Sc2O3 and 21.69 m grading 271 g/t Sc2O33 including 9.16 m grading 299 g/t Sc2O3.

Importantly, the true thickness of the scandium mineralized zone is estimated to be up to 110 m and is open at depth and along strike.

The company sees major positive factors with the project, including:

  • The resource is exposed at the surface, so it is amenable to a low-cost open-pit operation.
  • The deposit is high grade relative to its peers and could reduce the CapEx to develop the mine and the OpEx to run the mine.
  • The preliminary metallurgy showed strong scandium mineral recoveries.
  • The project is in the mining-friendly jurisdiction of Quebec and supported by Quebec’s recently launched $90 million “critical minerals” development fund and Plan Nord, Quebec’s economic development strategy to develop natural resource extraction in northern Quebec.
  • The deposit is located in close proximity to the 9 aluminum smelters and one alumina refinery in Quebec.

Final Comment

Look for the definition drill results, 43-101 Resource Report, and the PEA to potentially lift the stock price higher this year.




Kozak on Imperial Mining’s proximity to Quebec’s aluminum production corridor

Just six months ago, the share price of Imperial Mining Group Ltd. (TSXV: IPG) was range-bound between CAD$0.05 and CAD$0.06/share.  This was a good thing, because only a month before, the company was trading at $0.04 or less! The company closed 2020 at approximately $0.09/share but currently trades around $0.16/share with a market capitalization of approximately CAD$20 million.

What happened? As followers of the rare earth space know, the market is catching on to the notable rare earths companies and the need to recreate a domestic US/non-China based supply. In addition to the company’s gold and base metal assets, Imperial’s Quebec hardrock property has excellent exposure to scandium. This was highlighted on December 31, 2020 in a year-end interview, where scandium and Imperial Mining were mentioned by name. On January 4, 2021, the stock soared to $0.16 and continues to trade at that level.

As you probably know, scandium is an additive to aluminum alloys that hardens and strengthens the end product, (not unlike titanium alloys) and allows for lighter weight but equivalent (or better) strength components. Notably, two Russian jet fighters (MiG-21 and MiG-29) use scandium alloys in their construction. Other uses for scandium alloys include (but not exclusive to) automobiles, fuel cells and other defense products.

Peter Cashin, President and CEO, recently explained how Imperial Mining’s 100%-owned Crater Lake Project “provides a strategic opportunity for an exciting new line of lightweighting [sic] products.” The project contains rare earths but is highly leveraged to scandium.

“How it (Crater Lake Project) stands out is that it is a primary bedrock opportunity in Quebec,” said Mr. Cashin. “The grades are exceptionally high relative to our peers for a bedrock deposit. It is exposed at surface so it would be amenable to an open pit operation. Our preliminary metallurgy shows that we have very strong recoveries and high rejection rates of the gangue minerals from our metallurgical work so far. We are ideally located very close to the aluminum capital of Canada.”

In other words, a potential source of a critical metal element for the aluminum industry right on its doorstep in Canada!

After an active 2020 field program, which included 130-line kilometers of detailed ground magnetic surveys, in August the company announced the discovery of several new areas of scandium mineralization on the Crater Lake Project. These new areas lie within the same 14-km magnetic trend hosting the three previously defined mineralized zones on the property (Boulder, TGZ and STG). Subsequent 2020 drilling confirmed strong scandium resource potential on the property, which was announced last November.

The market clearly liked those results. Imperial went on to successfully raise CAD$2.6 million on closing of an oversubscribed, non-brokered private placement of flow-through shares and units in early December 2020.

Looking into 2021, Imperial is in an enviable position in the scandium industry owing to their close proximity to Quebec’s aluminum production corridor, where 90% of Canada’s aluminum is produced. While there is already competition from the recently announced scandium plant by $100 billion market capitalization Rio Tinto, the Crater Lake Project appears to have all of the traits of a high-quality, low cost project which is getting better delineated with every drilling program. Still a competitive advantage, the project has easy egress to the aluminum smelters plus low-cost electricity and a supportive political environment.

While it is too early to say that the Crater Lake Project will be the next (hardrock or otherwise) scandium supply source for Quebec aluminum, the project is getting ever closer to the decision to proceed with a new mining development. There are still a significant number of steps to go before that decision, but the company appears to have a promising future ahead.




Lifton, Clausi, Cashin and Putnam on how the time for scandium is now

The Technology Metals Show hosts Jack Lifton and Peter Clausi talk to Peter Cashin, President and CEO of Imperial Mining Group Ltd. (TSXV: IPG) and George Putnam, President, CEO and Director of Scandium International Mining Corp. (TSX: SCY), about scandium, which is a critical material and the scandium market overall.

The full interview available exclusively to subscribers of the Technology Metals Show, this a promo clip from the panel’s discussion on the overall scandium market, commercial uses of scandium and the latest research and development that has been done in this area. George said, “Scandium has some unique aspects to it that make it well suited as an aluminum alloy along with some exciting uses in a number of areas specifically in battery technology.”

In the interview, Peter Cashin provided an update on the Imperial Mining’s Crater Lake Scandium-Rare Earth
property located in the Canada’s aluminum capital – Quebec.

To access the complete interview subscribe to the Technology Metals Show and get exclusive access to member-only content through this exclusive site. Or Log-In Here for the latest conversations, debates, updates and interviews with the leaders, thought leaders and investors focused on issues relating to sustainability in the critical materials sector.

For more information on the Technology Metals Show email us at info@technologymetals.com or reach us direct at +1 (416) 546-9233.