New rare earths processing facility announced in Appia Energy’s backyard
Government announcement is more good news following Appia’s successful results and expansion
Any mining company will tell you that success is the result of a combination of good decisions and good fortune, and Appia Energy Corp. (CSE: API |OTCQB: APAAF) (“Appia”) has recently had both.
On August 28 the Saskatchewan Research Council (“SRC“) and the Government of Saskatchewan announced their plan to develop a “first-of-its-kind” Rare Earth Processing Facility in Saskatchewan, Canada – essentially in Appia’s Alces Lake high grade rare earths project’s backyard. This is a highly significant announcement as it has enormous potential to benefit Appia down the track, as they can potentially leverage of what is already provided by the local government. The facility is planned to be fully operational in late 2022 and will be capable of processing both hard rock ores (monazite and bastnaesite), and converting them into saleable individual rare earth oxides. This matches perfectly with Appia’s shorter term needs and would be North America’s first rare earths processing facility.
Speaking exclusively to InvestorIntel, Appia President and CEO, Tom Drivas, welcomed the news. “Appia congratulates the Saskatchewan Research Council and the Government of Saskatchewan for their initiative to develop a first-of-a-kind rare earth processing plant in Saskatchewan, Canada,” he told InvestorIntel. “Appia is very pleased and excited to learn that the Saskatoon rare earth processing plant will be up and running by the end of 2022, especially since it is in such close proximity to Appia’s high-grade critical rare earth Alces Lake project. Having the SRC plant in the same province as our project will substantially benefit Appia and its shareholders. Appia’s Alces Lake project’s rare earths are hosted in monazite, which the SRC plant will be processing. Appia has a well-established working relationship with SRC.”
This comes on the heels of a recent string of exploration and other news for Appia. In July 2020 Appia reported a 1.0 meter channel sample line grading 0.471 wt% total rare earth oxide (“TREO”) at Appia’s Loranger Property. Appia also found over 65 metres of continuous uranium mineralization at surface grading 0.018 wt% U3O8 at their Eastside Property.
“The composite U3O8 grades from Eastside are comparable to other world-class open pit uranium mines,” said Appia Vice-President, Exploration and Development, James Sykes, “such as the Rössing and Husab uranium mines in Namibia. Based on historic assay results and those obtained from Line 3 of Area 51, we believe zones with higher uranium grades are possible on the Property. The Property remains underexplored.”
On August 4 Appia announced that it had staked 8,014 additional acres at its high-grade rare earth Alces Lake Property, expanding the total property to an area of 17,577 hectares (43,434 acres). The new staking around Hawker ensures that all of the historic surface occurrences and potential geological trends are located within the Alces Lake Property. The two new land acquisitions now provide Appia with an additional 11 km of prospective trends to explore for additional high-grade rare earth element and uranium zones, bringing the total to 41 km along a continuous regional geological trend.
On August 6 Appia announced that they had discovered at least seven surface rare earth and uranium zones on the Alces Lake Project. Mr. James Sykes said: “We continue to discover more of the REE mineral system at surface, and for many kilometers outside of the main area where we’ve been focusing exploration for the past couple of years. This suggests we’re looking at a very large system across the property and also at depth.”
Some uses for rare earths and hence a strong decade ahead
The Alces Lake Property (100% owned by Appia)
The Alces Lake property has monazite ore that is enriched in valuable critical rare earth elements, particularly Neodymium (Nd), Praseodymium (Pr), Dysprosium (Dy), and Terbium (Tb). These four elements account for between 23-25% of the TREO, or ~85% of the potential value at Alces Lake. Alces Lake hosts the 2nd highest average REE grade in the world. At a 4 wt% Total Rare Earth Oxides (TREO) cutoff, Alces Lake average grade is exceptionally high at 16.65 wt% TREO. The Alces Lake Project’s rare earths are near surface and hence suitable for an open pit mine. Permitting should be smooth being in northern Saskatchewan Canada and the CapEx and OpEx should be reasonably low given the good grades and near surface resource. Finally the recent development by the Government of Saskatchewan to develop a “first-of-its-kind” Rare Earth Processing Facility in Saskatchewan is extremely promising for Appia.
Appia Energy Alces Lake Project has one of the highest grade rare earths in the world with favorable monazite ore
Appia Energy continues to expand their rare earths and uranium resource potential via a very significant neighboring land acquisition and further exploration in their Summer campaign. Phase 1 has already uncovered numerous targets and phase 2 plans 2,000 to 3,000m of new diamond drilling on their Alces Lake Project.
The announced new SRC Saskatchewan rare earths processing facility is a potential game changer for Appia. All the pieces of the puzzle are coming into place – very high grade rare earths, expanded land package with exploration upside and success, and finally a nearby processing facility. As the renewable energy and EV boom take off this decade the demand for a secure supply of western-made rare earths will intensify. It is starting to look like Appia Energy can be a significant player one day with continued good results and good fortune.
At a current market cap of just C$18m the stock still looks to be very cheap. The low market cap is primarily due to its early stage, and lack of awareness some investors.
Matthew Bohlsen is a Senior Editor for InvestorIntel.com. With a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment, and a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning. He ... <Read more about Matthew Bohlsen>