EDITOR: | January 21st, 2014 | 2 Comments

Tasman’s HREE project gets the ‘green light’ as Swedish Government confirms mining lease for Norra Karr

| January 21, 2014 | 2 Comments

imagesWYIU28RXTasman Metals Ltd. (“Tasman”, TSXV: TSM; FRANKFURT: T61; NYSE MKT: TAS) has announced that despite efforts from some stakeholders to appeal a 25 year mining lease for its Nora Karr heavy rare earth element (REE) project, the Swedish Ministry of Industry (Näringsdepartementet) has confirmed its Mining Lease. All appeals against the project were unsuccessful and that the Lease’s validity may no longer be challenged. Tasman holds the lease for an initial period of 25 years. When the mine becomes operational, the lease will automatically be renewable in 10-year increments. Tasman says there are some 70 million tons of ore at Norra Karr and with an annual mining rate of 1.5 million tons a year; the company expects the mine could run 40 years.

Norra Karr is said to be one of the world’s largest deposits of rare earths, which are used for wind turbines, mobile phones and electric cars. Investors will be pleased to know that the Swedish government’s approval – based on its conclusion that the mining at the site is not contrary to the Minerals – also requires “above all” that the deposit have the ability to become profitable and that to allow for technical extraction. As for environmental risks, the government has stated that there is nothing to suggest that the area near the mine – Lake Vättern – will be affected, citing that an environmental impact assessment was completed and approved by both the Provincial Government and the Mining Inspectorate has approved.

Sweden is has very strict environmental legislation and any project must, by default, address environmental risks in a very comprehensive manner. This also means that when permits are granted, they become assurances that the project will continue according to schedule and with little risk of regulatory or legal delays. The fact that the lease was granted despite opposition from environmental organizations and holders of private property who would be affected by the project, serves as an indication of Swedish authorities’ interest in securing a rare earth project in the country.The government’s support and lease confirmation only add to Tasman’s already unique potential. It is a heavy rare earths (HREE) play that stands out from competitors, as it is based in Europe with easy access to Europe’s main industrial areas. The project holds one of the highest concentrations (50%) of HREE vs. TREE, especially where high demand yttrium and dysprosium are concerned. It is situated close to first rate infrastructure and in one of the most politically stable regions of the world. Strong political support all but eliminates one of the main risk factors for potential investors.

Norra Kerr is one of two NI 43-101 certified rare earth mining properties in Western Europe. The other is also owned by Tasman, the Olserum heavy rare-earth element (REE) project, and it is also in Sweden. Olserum, rich in xenotime and monazite ores, has an estimated 34% heavy rare earths concentration from 4.5 million tons 0.6% grade total rare earth oxides (TREO). Sweden has a long history as one of Europe’s most important suppliers of metals to Europe’s automotive and engineering industries. Tasman will contribute to that tradition given how critical rare earths have become to these sectors. Sweden’s own industry could be serving as an important target market, and, in fact, because rare earths are such essential components in modern electronics. More importantly, Tasman is very interested in tapping into German industrial demand for rare earths and in an ideal position to address the EU’s goal to increase extraction of rare earth metals in friendlier jurisdictions. Moreover, German car manufacturers, from BMW and Audi to Mercedes Benz and Porsche are increasing the number of are earth intensive hybrid and electric vehicles in their line-up. Porsche, famous for its very high performance luxury vehicles, has actually just released a USD$ 1 million flagship supercar featuring a hybrid power plant.

As Europe’s main automobile – and industrial – producer, it is very important for Germany to establish secure supplies of rare earths. Given the European Union’s unique supply chain system, what is important to Germany is important to other member states.Geologically, it is worth noting that some of the earliest REE discoveries occurred in Scandinavia (scandium anyone? And what of Ytterbium from the Ytterby Quarry and Gadolinium named after chemist Johan Gadolin of Abo University). Norra Kärr is the fourth largest heavy REE project in the world, some saying it is “the most important deposit in the world for high strength permanent magnets”, due to its high concentration of dysprosium, one of the most sought after heavy rare earths. This makes Tasman a formidable competitor against China’s dominance in the sector, especially as far as heavy rare earths are concerned. Japan, which is still engaged in a geopolitical dispute with China over control of the Senkaku Islands (and one to last in the foreseeable future) will also be able to find secure access to HREE’s which are critical to all its industrial sectors. Given China’s own clampdown on illegal and environmentally unsafe mining, Tasman’s heavy rare earths are sure to raise interest in Beijing as well. In the immediate future, Tasman remains well funded as it proceeds toward building the mining and the processing facilities.


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  • Dave G.

    Nice to see this mess cleaned up. In the best interest of the EU to have Tasman move ahead successfully …. ideally providing a ‘friendly’ supply of rare earths. Good news.

    January 21, 2014 - 4:36 PM

  • Sue Glover

    Good article Alessandro, gives a really good overview .. wonderful to see this resolved.

    January 21, 2014 - 5:20 PM

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