InvestorIntel’s Rare Earths & Critical Minerals Month in Review Signals Road to Recovery
InvestorIntel’s Rare Earths & Critical Minerals Month in Review (July 2013): Evidence of a July turnaround for the beleaguered sector starts with the REE Leaders Index up a dramatic +20.30% (based on June 28th’s close of 335 points compared to the July 31st close of 403 points), coupled with the InvestorIntel members averaging a notable increase of +17.03%, indicating that the sector may very well be headed for higher ground.
On July 10th, Northern Minerals Ltd. (ASX: NTU) announced that the company had closed a Rights Issue on July 5th and the Australian-based company’s stock increased an outstanding +70.83% for the month as a result. Australia Conglin International Investment Group Pty Ltd (ACIIG) agreed to fully underwrite the Rights Issue, raising approximately $26 million towards the funding of the work program for Northern Minerals’s Browns Range Heavy Rare Earth Project through to completion of a Bankable Feasibility Study. ACIIG requested and received a time extension for the payment of a portion of its underwriting obligation to Northern Minerals from the company’s Board of Directors. The balance of the underwriting will be made in staged installments, with the final installment from ACIIG due September 16th. ACIIG had recently made two interest-free offset loans to Northern Minerals, totaling $8 million, credited against the underwriting agreement – making Northern Minerals debt free. On July 16th, the company announced it had received an additional $6 million from ACIIG and, again, on July 31st, Northern Minerals announced that it had received a further $1 million in funding (for a total of $15 million) from ACIIG, as part of its $26 million closed Rights Issue. The remaining $10+ million outstanding will be paid to Northern Minerals by September 16, 2013. Also, on July 31st, the company announced it had appointed Mr. Conglin Yue, Chairman and CEO of ACIIG, to the Board of Northern Minerals as a Non-Executive Director.
Quest Rare Minerals Ltd. (TSXV: QRM | NYSE MKT: QRM) shot up +64.21% and +60.76% in Canada and the U.S., respectively. On July 9th, the company announced that it had entered into a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI) with TAM Ceramics Group of NY, LLC, a leading US-based marketer and manufacturer of zirconia chemical products. The LOI specifies that TAM will agree to purchase up to 24,000 tonnes of zirconia annually from Quest, which the company expects to mine from its Strange Lake deposit and that Quest will deal exclusively with TAM for the sale of this quantity of product. This LOI constitutes 100% of the Canadian-based exploration company’s anticipated annual zirconia production from Strange Lake. On July 25th, Quest announced that the company had completed a fully subscribed $2.7 million private placement, which will provide the company $2.2 million for exploration of its properties in Québec, and over $500,000 for working capital.
Tasman Metals Ltd. (TSXV: TSM | NYSE MKT: TAS) jumped +61.40% in Toronto and +63.16% in New York. Tasman was busy with a number of announcements in July that helped dramatically increase the company’s stock price. On July 12th, the company announced that it had filed amended and restated technical reports on its Norra Karr and Olserum properties, as well as provided an update on its Norra Karr mining lease. Days later, on July 17th, Tasman announced that its wholly owned Swedish subsidiary, Tasman Metals AB, had been selected as a key mining industry partner in the recently launched EURARE project. EURARE is a research project co-funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities. The EURARE project was initiated collaboratively by European research and industry, with the aim to “develop a sustainable exploitation scheme for Europe’s rare earth ore deposits.” Tasman Metals’ Norra Karr project is among the 4 deposits selected to be part of the EURARE consortium and advance into full pilot scale technology demonstration. Needless to say, Tasman Metals’ President and CEO, Mr. Mark Saxon, was quite pleased with the news. On July 23rd, the company announced the submission of an application for a Mining Lease covering the Olserum Heavy Rare Earth Element Project in Sweden. However, Tasman witnessed the biggest jump in its stock price for the month when the company, on July 25th, announced that it had been granted a bulk surface sample permit for its Norra Karr project. This was rather exciting news as the company’s project is one of the most significant heavy REE resources in the world.
Other InvestorIntel REE Member Highlights…
Mkango Resources Ltd. (TSXV: MKA) had a strong July, closing out the month up +50%. On July 10th, Mkango Resources announced a base case metallurgical flow sheet for the Songwe Hill rare earth project in Malawi. Proof of concept test work on a bench scale had demonstrated that the flow sheet has potential to produce a high-grade mixed rare-earth carbonate or hydroxide product. Recently, I was able to catch up with Mkango’s very impressive President and CEO, Mr. William Dawes, to discuss the company’s latest major milestone as well as Mkango’s strategy in the rare-earth race to production.
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Alkane Resources Ltd. (ASX: ALK | OTCQX: ANLKY) increased +40.07% in the U.S. and +37.70% in Australia. On July 31st, the company released its comprehensive quarterly report, which was very well received by the street.
Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. (TSXV: GWG | OTCQX: GWMGF) increased +35.10% and +26.09% in New York and Toronto, respectively. On July 2nd, the company announced that it had appointed Mr. Thomas G. Mair as Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Mair most recently was President and CEO and a board member at Golden Star Resources Ltd. On July 25th, GWMG announced that it had completed its U. S. Department of Defense (DoD) Yttria Study. The company delivered its high-purity yttrium oxide supply chain assessment to the DoD. In close coordination with major U.S. defense contractors, GWMG found that military requirements from 2011 to 2015 for high-purity yttria are 40 to 50 tonnes per year higher than previous DoD life-cycle sustainment estimates, and that there are processing gaps in the supply chain.
Arafura Resources Ltd. (ASX: ARU) moved up +29.63% in July. On July 30th, the company released an extremely positive quarterly activities and cashflow report. Arafura continues to pursue the company’s core initiatives, which aim to reduce CAPEX costs and enhance the overall funding of its Nolans Project. At the end of June, the company had cash reserves in excess of AUD$32 million, which will allow Arafura to advance the development of Nolans towards financing and production.
Shares of Medallion Resources Ltd. (TSXV: MDL | OTCQX: MLLOF) increased +30.55% in US and +22.03% in Canada. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Arab Mining Company, a Jordan-based, Pan-Arab mining-industry investment firm.
IBC Advanced Alloys Corp. (TSXV: IB | OTCQX: IAALF) was up by +25% in Canada and +20.18% in the U.S. On July 9th, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology validated the feasibility of IBC’s patented beryllium oxide (BeO) nuclear fuel technology. As a result of the Fukushima Nuclear meltdown, industry officials and governments are developing alternative strategies and increasingly reviewing the safety benefits of accident-tolerant fuels.
Stans Energy Corp. (TSXV: HRE, OTCQX: HREEF) was up again in July +19.86% in the U.S. and +9.68% in Canada. Stans Energy put out a news release late June on securing an extension on the Aktyuz exploration licence approved by the State Agency for Geology and Mineral Resources of Kyrgyzstan.
Rare Element Resources Ltd. (TSX: RES | NYSE MKT: REE) was up a very impressive +21.94% in the U.S. and +20.10% in Canada. Rare Element Resources did not have any news in July; however, the Colorado-based mineral resources company did make four announcements in June, including the commencement of the company’s 2013 development drilling program at the heavy rare earth oxide (HREO)-enriched Whitetail Ridge resource area for Rare Element’s Bear Lodge Project in northeast Wyoming.
Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSXV: UCU | OTCQX: UURAF) gained +19.62% in New York and +16.36% in Toronto. On July 16th, the company announced that the work program is underway to develop the initial Plan of Operations for the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Project in Southeast Alaska. Third-party engineering firms have been contracted to advance the preliminary designs of the engineered facilities as set out in the Ucore’s recently-issued Preliminary Economic Assessment. The results of these engineering studies will be used to finalize the Plan of Operations, which will include a proposed footprint of the Project site. The successful completion of the Plan of Ops will trigger the permitting process – an important milestone in mine development.
Crossland Strategic Metals Ltd. (ASX: CUX) was up +13.64% on the month. The company released an end-of-month quarterly activities report, outlining Crossland’s recent corporate name change, as well as an update on the Charley Creek Alluvial Rare Earth Project.
Montero Mining and Exploration Ltd. (TSXV: MON) was up a cool +10% on the heels of an update on test work performed on the bastnaesite-rich carbonatite material from the Wigu Hill Rare Earth Project (Wigu Hill) in Tanzania on July 29th. It was just a month ago that Montero received an environmental impact assessment certificate for Wigu Hill.
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