EDITOR: | February 5th, 2015 | 14 Comments

Lifton with Engdahl of Star Minerals on mine to market manganese batteries

| February 05, 2015 | 14 Comments
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Lifton-EngdahlFebruary 5, 2015 — Jack Lifton, the host of InvestorIntel’s One-on-One speaks to Jim Engdahl, Director, President and CEO, of Star Minerals Group Ltd. (CSE: SUV) about the metamorphosis into a mine to market manganese company. Jack and Jim have a long history, and in this One-on-One, they discuss issues relating to manganese as a critical material and how battery companies such as Panasonic lean towards manganese batteries.

Jack Lifton: I’m speaking today with Jim Engdahl who is the CEO of Star Minerals. He’s in his office in Saskatoon where he’s going to tell us what Star Minerals is about and what it wants to accomplish and when that might be. Over to you Jim.

Jim Engdahl: Thanks Jack. Well, Star Minerals is a junior company that’s been around a long time and it’s metamorphosed into different businesses, but when I became the management of the company, the CEO, and Gary Billingsley came on my board it was done with the specific intention of using the public vehicle that Star, as it was called at the time, Star Uranium, to create a public company in which we could in turn develop strategic metals. The start of that— the first was to joint venture to Great West Minerals’ project, Hoidas Lake, into that.

Jack Lifton: Yes.

Jim Engdahl: That’s our original plan.

Jack Lifton: Okay. What has happened? As we know from battle plans, the minute the battle starts the plan changes. What’s happened since then?

Jim Engdahl: Well, market conditions always dictate a lot of those changes, as you know Jack. I think what happened with us is we initially as it turns out commenced a preliminary economic assessment report with Barr Engineering out of Minneapolis, who are very familiar with the Hoidas Lake project. That is in the process right now. Also, as we started moving forward the general markets were terrible in terms of raising capital to really do a whole lot of things and so we were looking towards other ways of thinking out of the box to create some things. Also, we did develop a strategic plan to work towards developing other strategic metals, particularly as it related to the battery world.

The first opportunity that came to us was an opportunity via our engineering group out of Minneapolis and a manganese project in Minnesota and a very exceptional deposit of manganese that the company that owned it before was not their history to be in the mining industry. They spent a lot of money trying to develop it, specifically for some technology purpose. As things developed one of the things that did happen was that they got approached by a company that had developed a new battery technology. That company was OTI out of Vancouver. That particular battery was manganese based. As such, our mine to market model that we’ve used in the past came into play. That’s where Gary and myself decided that this would make a lot of sense to now work towards building a strategic company with strategic metals focused in the battery world and with Hoidas Lake also being clearly one of our prime projects as well for the rare earth sector.

Jack Lifton: I’ve always— As you know, I’ve always been a supporter of the mine to market concept. In fact, Gary was the first person I knew who ever enunciated that theme, mine to market, and it stuck in my mind for these many years. I think that basically mine to market is a strategy looking for a solution. I’m glad to see that this has expanded beyond the rare earth space…to access the rest of the interview, click here

Disclaimer: Star Minerals is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel.


Tracy Weslosky

Editor:

Tracy Weslosky is the CEO of InvestorIntel Corp., a company formed to provide investor relations in 2001 that today now provides online media marketing, social ... <Read more about Tracy Weslosky>


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Comments

  • Fixed

    The one stop shop you are so impressed with is currently being done by Jim’s old company. You really need to go one one one with Marc Levier now that would be interesting could you?… Never did hear anymore on this…”I will have information on European capabilities and capacities along the REE supply and value chains in a day or two.” I am polling them now. In the mean time I would like to ask you, Springtrader, of you can name for me any Slovenian rare earth permanent magnet makers.The REPM industry is well established there as I’m sure you know. – See more at: http://investorintel.wpengine.com/rare-earth-intel/european-holy-grail-rare-earths-tasman-metals/#sthash.1e88pLmX.dpuf

    February 5, 2015 - 5:57 PM

  • Jack Lifton

    Fixed,

    When I attended the biannual Rare Earth Permanent Magnet Congress in Bled, Slovenia, three years ago I met representatives of several Slovenian rare earth permanent magnet makers. Germany and Slovenia are well known by those who actually know something about the topic for academic work in rare earth magnetics as well as for commercial ventures in the field. I have decided not to,list European ventures as they are mostly in-house operations or otherwise customer dedicated.
    I would be glad to speak with Marc Lavier. There have been several times in the recent past when I have been told he is going to contact me. So far it hasn’t happened.
    My name is Jack Lifton. May i ask what yours is?

    February 5, 2015 - 6:20 PM

  • Fixed

    Jack Fix ..Born in Minapolis Mn and now live close to Lakeland Fl….thanks …again would love to see you one on one with Marc and would also like to know your opinion on Minteks new pilot plant…MINTEK’S HYDROMETALLURGY DIVISION is involved in a number of rare earth element processing projects. In addition, they are also developing a sustainable flow sheet for a centralised processing facility.
    According to Dr Leon Kruger, Manager at the Hydrometallurgy division, Mintek holds a unique position within the rare earths sphere, providing services across the entire R&D spectrum, from mineralogy through to metal. As far as I am aware, no other research institute can offer the full range of services for this niche sector. We also have strong modelling capabilities across the entire process and are registered to acquire, possess, use, transport, import and export radio-active material which is critical when dealing with rare earths, which in many instances contain thorium and uranium.
    No other R&D facility can offer the same capabilities as our recently commissioned REE Extraction pilot plant. Mintek’s REE solvent extraction plant, built for the fractionation of the REE groups and the isolation of individual REE clearly demonstrates Mintek’s ability to process rare earths from beginning to end, with minimal operational expenditure.
    It is evident that rare earth element capabilities at Mintek are becoming increasingly recognised, locally and internationally. Since the 1970’s, Mintek has been involved in almost every REE project in Africa, providing a variety of testing and verification services to multiple juniors in South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania and Malawi.

    February 5, 2015 - 7:35 PM

  • Fixed

    Oh and Jack I do enjoy your articles and really do like some of your quotes like ….”Okay. What has happened? As we know from battle plans, the minute the battle starts the plan changes”. What’s happened since then?
    From what Isee Jim has moved on and Marc is battling to get a real vertically integrated rare earth mine to not “market” but “metal” company into production which I feel has a “Great” chance once financing is accomplished. So as a shareholder who does still believe GWMG is perfectly sized and structured is well beyond those you consider as potential future suppliers but what do i know compared to you the “expert” nothing as i am just an ordinary reader but till you prove you are right and i am wrong i will continue to post my opionion as a free man living in America i have that right …right or wrong… again keep trying to get Marc to talk but if he can’t would like to know why… ? Maybe you know? ask Jim i’m sure he knows more about it all…?
    – See more at: http://investorintel.wpengine.com/rare-earth-intel/lifton-engdahl-star-minerals-mine-market-manganese-batteries/#comment-406669

    February 5, 2015 - 8:22 PM

  • Jack Lifton

    Mr Fix

    I have no idea why Mr Lavier doesn’t contact me. I really do not know him.

    I have been following Mintek for some time. I have done some consulting for NovX21 in Quebec, which is building a plant to extract platinum group metals from automotive exhaust emission catalytic converter scrap by chlorination of the substrate material at room temperature and pressure followed by solvation of the volatilized chlorides into a buffered relatively dilute HCL solution. I know that they have had extenisve contacts with Mintek, which I believe is working on a similar type of system for treating low grade mining residues to recover PGMs and other metals that way. I do not know much about their (Mintek’s) work on rare earth recovery, but I do know that extensive research has been done in Japan on direct chlorination as a method of extracting rare earths from low grade materials, and I believe that it is such a system that Mintek has been working on. I also have heard that Mintek was going to construct an SX plant for tolling work in South Africa, but I do not have any direct knowledge of their progress on that either. If you have such information and would be willing to share it I would be much obliged.

    Jack

    February 5, 2015 - 9:47 PM

  • Fixed

    Thank you for that information Mr. Lifton. Glad to hear you have knowledge of mintek and do wish you could interview Mr. Levier. I think it could be a very interesting interveiw especially if he could actually talk on or of any subjects or questions that you would ask without replying that he can’t talk on that subject because of non disclosure type restrictions. As far as mintek i am interested in there work with GWMG on the progress of the pilot plant in regards to Steenkampskraals monazite ore. Guess i will have to wait as that’s what the REE sector is just wait and wait some more. Someday maybe one will actually do more then talk and that sometimes those who don’t just may be actually doing as the saying goes talk is cheap…but as an interested investor or one who follows the progress of those who hope to produce rare earth metals it would be nice to know what the insiders know. Thought you could go visit mintek and see what’s going on Tracy could send you out there to do a bit of investigative journalism right…lol…thanks again and keep up the entertainment i do enjoy the noise in this boring wait till somebody actually does something REE sector.

    February 6, 2015 - 8:26 AM

  • SteauaOilers

    Mr. Lifton,

    Mintek’s annual report has some information (and a picture :-)) about the pilot separation facility. As of March 2014, the date of the report, Mintek stated that it was using Steenkampskraal’s Rare earth carbonate material for the pilot campaign.

    See page 25 of the report:

    http://www.mintek.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Download-Complete-Report.pdf

    February 6, 2015 - 9:22 AM

  • Fixed

    Find it odd that though Jack has followed mintek for sometime now and the knowledge he has on rare earths and all he knows very little or nothing about minteks development of a pilot plant and the work mintek is doing. Sorry just doesn’t add up…

    February 6, 2015 - 9:47 AM

  • motherearth

    I could see Mintek and GWG having a JV to move the SKK project forward, but first GWs management team and the bondholders have to struck a deal, when the funding is in place, things will be announced. Jack did say that Marc is the man to get this done, time will tell.

    February 6, 2015 - 11:17 AM

  • Jack Lifton

    Mr Fix,

    Mintek is a state-owned corporation like ANSTO in Australia. Look at their web site. It doesn’t even tell you who the board members are. It doesn’t do marketing in the USA, or anywhere else that i know of. We, YOU and I would only know if there were a deal between Mintek and GWMG if ONE OF THEM told us about it. I doubt very much if the telling would come from Mintek; they are very discrete. So we need to ask GWMG if it is working with Mintek. As to a pilot plant for SX tolling I read a blurb last year about that on one of the web sites devoted to mining news. Other than that I have no news at all. As I mentioned earlier I spoke with Mintek about NovX21 two years ago ( at their request at the time) and in passing we discussed rare earth extraction by volatilizing chlorides as a method of treating low grade materials. I would love to have further discussions, but that is their call.

    Jack

    February 6, 2015 - 12:42 PM

  • Fixed

    Well it seems pretty obviuos they are working together on Steen’s ultra high grade ore…highest grade in world according to some. With all the knowledge you have i am supprised you do not know that.

    February 6, 2015 - 4:58 PM

  • Fixed

    to this end the Steenkampskraal’s Rare earth carbonate material is currently being treated in a pilot campaign in

    a joint project with Mintek. the entire circuit as designed from the laboratory phase of work is being followed with the

    aim of confirming design parameters for the full-scale plant.

    http://www.mintek.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Download-Complete-Report.pdf. Rare Earth Element Extraction Plant
    MINTEK’S HYDROMETALLURGY DIVISION is involved in a number of rare earth element processing projects. In addition, they are also developing a sustainable flow sheet for a centralised processing facility.

    According to Dr Leon Kruger, Manager at the Hydrometallurgy division, Mintek holds a unique position within the rare earths sphere, providing services across the entire R&D spectrum, from mineralogy through to metal. As far as I am aware, no other research institute can offer the full range of services for this niche sector. We also have strong modelling capabilities across the entire process and are registered to acquire, possess, use, transport, import and export radio-active material which is critical when dealing with rare earths, which in many instances contain thorium and uranium.

    No other R&D facility can offer the same capabilities as our recently commissioned REE Extraction pilot plant. Mintek’s REE solvent extraction plant, built for the fractionation of the REE groups and the isolation of individual REE clearly demonstrates Mintek’s ability to process rare earths from beginning to end, with minimal operational expenditure.

    It is evident that rare earth element capabilities at Mintek are becoming increasingly recognised, locally and internationally. Since the 1970’s, Mintek has been involved in almost every REE project in Africa, providing a variety of testing and verification services to multiple juniors in South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania and Malawi.

    http://www.mintek.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Mintek-Bulletin-157.pdf.
    GWMG Successfully Produces Rare Earth Carbonate from Mini Pilot Plant Testing
    Jan 21, 2014 12:36 PM | by Editorial Staff | NO COMMENTS
    Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. (GWMG) has completed a mini pilot plant test with its proposed process flow sheet with extremely successful results. The pilot plant has confirmed the results from laboratory scale testing.
    “This is a significant milestone for us,” said Marc LeVier, Company President and CEO. “We optimized the metallurgical process and successfully operated a pilot plant which produced a mixed rare earth carbonate product. We now have a process flow sheet that is being engineered in our ongoing SKK feasibility study. The study remains on track for completion around the end of the first quarter of 2014.”
    A bulk sample was taken from the mine at Steenkampskraal and processed through the mini pilot plant at MINTEK in Johannesburg, South Africa. A mixed rare earth carbonate product was produced which is being used for further characterization and evaluation in separation of the rare earth elements. Radioactive components of the sample were selectively removed from the product. As a result, the product demonstrated only background radiation levels.

    Read more at http://www.stockhouse.com/companies/bullboard/v.gwg/great-western-minerals-group-ltd#MBOAG8h2ViOHSdOG.99

    February 6, 2015 - 5:17 PM

  • Fixed

    I simply googled board members mintek.Mintek Board
    Mintek’s Board brings a significant technical and business expertise to the company, ensuring that both the technical and the social targets will have a meaningful impact on the present and future economy of South Africa.
    Members of the Board are:
    Adv Linda Makatini
    CHAIRPERSON
    CEO: Ngwane Mining
    Advocate Linda Makatini is the CEO of Ngwane Mining, Former Chairperson and now member of the State Diamond Trader Board, Member of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa. She is formerly the Chairperson of the Petroleum Agency of South Africa and Legal Advisor to the Deputy President of South Africa from 1999 to 2005. Prior to that she was the Legal Advisor to the Minister of Minerals and Energy. Adv Makatini also chairs the Jacob Zuma Educational Trust.

    Adv Derick Block
    Commercial Law, Procurement and Contracts Specialist
    Advocate Derick Block is serving a second three-year term on Mintek’s Board of Directors. An Advocate of the High Court of South Africa, Block has been involved in law since 1994 and is a specialist in commercial law, procurement and contracts. He has held various executive management positions at Sasol, South African Rail Commuter Corporation, South African Airways, arivia.kom, GijimaAST and Barloworld Logistics. He has served on the Boards of the Medical Research Council, National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications and the Johannesburg Roads Agency and is currently a Board member at the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors. He is also on the Audit Committee of the National Department of Transport and the Free State Departments of Agriculture and Tourism & Economic Development.

    Cathy Leso
    Chief Information Officer: Department of Mineral Resources
    Ms Cathy Leso is the Chief Information Officer at the Department of Mineral Resources. She is responsible for business investments, providing efficient systems and overall business enablement as well as resource, stakeholder and overall ICT management. She was previously a Portfolio Manager at Standard Bank responsible for implementation of IT and strategic projects. Ms Leso has excellent strategic leadership skills and ICT, stakeholder management and solution delivery expertise.

    Dr Chris Nhlapho
    Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Technology, Innovation and Partnerships: Cape Peninsula University of Technology
    Dr Chris Nhlapo is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, a position he has held since 2008. Dr Nhlapo has held several academic and executive management positions at various universities and institutions including as Manager: SA/UK Networks, NRF; Manager: Institutional Research Development Programme, NRF and Manager: Institutional Chairs for Entrepreneurship. He was also Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Head of Chemistry at the University of the Free State. He was also Commissioner of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). Dr Nhlapo holds a PhD in Catalysis and a Higher Education Diploma (HED).

    Imraan Patel
    Deputy Director-General: Department of Science and Technology
    Mr Imraan Patel is the Deputy Director-General at the Department of Science and Technology responsible for socio-economic innovation partnerships. He is charged with establishing strategic partnerships with other national, provincial, and local government departments as well as industry and science councils with respect to using science and technology for economic and social development. He was previously Programme Manager: Research and Knowledge Management at the Centre for Public Service Innovation where he was tasked with strengthening knowledge and action on innovation through knowledge sharing and management. Mr Patel has extensive experience in the management of research and policy processes.

    Khomotso Mthimunye
    Managing Member: KR Mthimunye CA (SA)
    Mrs Khomotso Mthimunye is a Chartered Accountant with vast experience in the financial services sector. She is the Managing Member of KR Mthimunye CA (SA) where her responsibilities include provision of general financial, accounting and auditing services, analysis of operational efficiencies and evaluation of policies and procedures. Mrs Mthimunye is also a part time member of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and also serves on the boards of both private and public companies including the State Information Technology Agency, Council for GeoScience and the audit committees of the Central Energy Fund and Strategic Fuel Fund. Her corporate experience was acquired at companies including BHP Billiton SA, where she was Manager: Strategy and Business Development, Gensec Bank and ABSA, Southern Bank of SA and Thebe Investments Limited.

    Dr Vuyelwa Toni Penxa
    Managing Director: IiNgcaphephe Metallurgical Services (IMS)
    Dr Vuyelwa Toni Penxa is the Managing Director of IiNgcaphephe Metallurgical Services (IMS), a company that specialises in the provision of chemical analytical services to the coal mining industry. She is formerly the managing director of Onderstepoort Biological Products (a State-owned company mandated to research and manufacture animal vaccines and other related biological products), CEO of the Safety and Security SETA (SASSETA) and Director for Quality Assurance and Development at the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). Dr Toni Penxa has extensive experience in science and mathematics education and training and she holds an MSc degree and a PhD in Public Affairs, focusing on Policy Development and Implementation.

    Nompumelelo Zikalala
    Managing Director: De Beers Kimberley
    Ms Nompumelelo Zikalala started her mining career as a De Beers bursar while pursuing a BSc Chemical Engineering at Wits University and she has since worked in various leadership roles at De Beers before she became General Manager at Kimberley Mines, a position she occupied prior to moving to Voorspoed. Ms Zikalala chairs the Ponahalo/De Beers Equal Allocation Trust and is passionate about development of young people.

    Abiel Mngomezulu
    EX OFFICIO, CEO
    Mr Abiel Mngomezulu is the current CEO and President of Mintek, a non- executive director of the African Exploration, Mining and Finance Company, a non- executive director of Merafe Resources and one of the six finalists for the title of the Boss of the year 2009. He started his working career in 1979 as an exploration geologist where he made a few discoveries. He later worked on the Wits Gold mines, both as a mine geologist and also as an exploration geologist mainly on Deep borehole drilling. He later joined the Department of Minerals and Energy (the DME) as a Director: Mineral Economics and left the DME as the Deputy Director General for Mineral Policy and Promotion in 2007. Abiel is the past non executive director of the Council for Geoscience, Mintek, the South African Diamond Board and the State Diamond Trader.

    February 6, 2015 - 5:24 PM

  • Fixed

    Jack we agree to disagree and that is the “Great American Way” good luck to you and the Fab Four hope you get to production soon. Though Great Western Minerals Group as I bet Jim could tell you is the best bet…

    February 6, 2015 - 8:49 PM

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