Rare Element Resources on their ‘Heavies’ and Rare Earths Recovery Patented Technology
March 18, 2014 — Randy Scott, President and CEO of Rare Element Resources Ltd. (‘RER’, TSX: RES | NYSE MKT: REE) speaks to Tracy Weslosky, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of InvestorIntel, about the RER’s developments in 2013 as one of the ‘super four’ in the rare earth industry worldwide. Randy says that 2013 was a very important year in all aspects. RER had two drilling programs — the first increased the heavy rare earth enriched zone at Whitetail by about 80% and the other more modest effort further delineated the high grade core of the Bull Hill zone shows that RER will be able to achieve a much higher grade – “50-100% higher.”
More significantly, Randy said that RER has “made progress on our processing. We’ve identified and patented technology for rare earths recovery and thorium removal and then we move that technology directly into pilot plant testing and we were able to produce a significant quantity of that material, which is now out with customers and the material now is greater than 97% pure rare earth bulk concentrate.” This means it is almost thorium free. RER is now looking forward to some feedback from the half dozen or so customers that are testing the product.
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Randy also offers some more insight into the TREO (Total Rare Earth Oxide) content that was announced last December. RER announced that drilling in 2013 of the Bear Lodge Critical Rare Earth Project resulted in the TREO at the Whitetail Ridge deposit increasing by some 80% – or 10% when considering the project as a whole. It so happens that the Whitetail deposit, is the “heavy rare earth enriched area of our project”, said Randy. He adds that while that may be important, “the other part is what we’ve done to delineate this high grade zone at the Bull Hill deposit. This high grade zone will allow us to mine at a grade that is 50-100% higher than our average grade and the work we’re doing on the engineering and mine planning show us that that could happen for at least the first five to 10 years.”
Indeed, Tracy stresses that there is a misunderstanding that RER is just about light rare earths, when, in fact, it is a true ‘heavyweight’ both in market capitalization and in the value of the resource. Randy admits that “we have for some time been lumped in with the light rare earth producers. Our distribution of elements is very much skewed towards what we call the critical rare earth elements. While we will produce important quantities of lanthanum and cerium, approximately 85% of the value of our resources is from other elements, including magnet materials. We also have the second highest grade europium deposit in the world…we keep skewing the distribution towards the even more valuable rare earths.” Perhaps RER doesn’t toot its own horn too much, but it does give the company a ‘stealth-like’ or below the radar strike potential in market terms.
As for processing, about a year and a half ago, RER put out a preliminary feasibility study to show that the Company would produce a 45% bulk carbonate concentrate. Given that this first marketable product would not command very high prices, RER tried to enhance the value of the project. Thanks to its proprietary processing, RER was able to achieve in pilot plant testing, which was completed in November, a 97% pure rare earth concentrate.
On the permitting front, the company has moved into the US based NEPA process, with work currently underway on an Environmental Impact Statement on the project.
Disclaimer: Rare Element Resources Ltd. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel
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