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Appia Rare Earths & Uranium by the numbers

Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp. (CSE: API | OTCQX: APAAF) recently reported results from its 2021 drilling program and work completed this year on its Alces Lake property in Northern Saskatchewan. While results are still pending from the 34 holes drilled at the recently renamed site Magnet Ridge (formerly Augier), other areas returned values as high as 14.95% TREO over 0.66 metres. This is high compared to most deposits. As of early July Appia has drilled over 14,000 metres in 2022 and plans to drill up to 20,000 metres this year, which should provide them with valuable information on the Alces Lake deposit. Magnet ridge is interesting as Appia has reported it outcrops at surface with a strike length of about 300 metres and a width of 175 metres, and has been penetrated to over 100 metres deep.

The mineral hosting the rare earths at Alces Lake is monazite. Monazite is regularly processed in China to produce rare earths, so making a concentrate and separating the rare earths is an established technology. In several jurisdictions, this could be a problem as monazite is typically associated with the radioactive elements Thorium (Th) and Uranium(U). However, it comes down to the old paradigm, location, location, location. Being situated in Saskatchewan, Appia is in a jurisdiction that understands radioactive materials and that they can be properly handled and stored, and in the case of uranium can be a valuable resource. The other advantage for Appia being in Saskatchewan is that the Saskatchewan Research Council is building a pilot plant for rare earth separation over the next 2 years. This will give Appia the ability to test their material locally, which is a significant advantage.

A 2020 Appia presentation indicates Neodymium (Nd) oxide levels of 17.4% and Praseodymium (Pr) oxide of 5.4% which gives a combined total of just under 23%. This is close to the Lynas levels from its Mt. Weld deposit, which Roskill’s Market Outlook 2015 indicates to be 23.8%. The Mountain Pass Mine, the deposit in California owned by MP Materials, has Nd+Pr levels at 16.3%. so they would have to process up to 50% more material to get the same revenue levels as Appia or Lynas. In addition, Appia’s report shows added value in Terbium (Tb) and Dysprosium (Dy). Looking at recent pricing in Shanghai Metal Markets (SMM), the Nd/Pr holds 87.8% of the total value. Terbium and Dysprosium add another 0.3%. This assumes that all the elements are sold, which typically is impossible, especially the Cerium, which is over 49% of the total volume. However, there may be markets in North America and possibly Europe for Cerium and Lanthanum. Their current price in China is $1.22 and $1.15 per kg respectively and freight can be a high proportion of the total cost of the product outside of Asia.

One way to look at the value of the deposit is to see what potential revenue can be generated from the four main magnetic elements (Neodymium, Praseodymium, Terbium and Dysprosium). Assuming the long range plans would be to build a 20,000 TPY plant, which is similar to the previous Molycorp output and just below the Lynas present output of around 22,000 TPY, their projected revenues would be around US$500 million per year. This assumes 90% recoveries and revenues only from Nd+Pr. Any sales of Cerium and Lanthanum would be minimal but an added bonus.

In addition, Appia has properties in the Elliot Lake area in Ontario. This is in the right area code as from the mid-late 1950s to 1990 there were 10 mines producing Uranium. Again location, location, location. Given the push for electric vehicles and the corresponding increase in electrical demand, countries are going to review their long term needs including Germany and China, and possibly India, and given alternative producing options nuclear is a cleaner way than coal or gas to produce electricity. Also given the current Russian situation more focus will come on nuclear and correspondingly Uranium. Thorium may also come into demand as it can reduce the operating temperature and thereby improve safety.

All things considered, Appia has an interesting opportunity and with the grades shown so far, and is poised to take the next steps to becoming a potential domestic producer of rare earths.




Pierre Gauthier of Auxico Resources talks about recent off-take agreements and rare earths trades

In this InvestorIntel interview with host Tracy Weslosky, Auxico Resources Canada Inc.’s (CSE: AUAG) Chairman and CEO Pierre Gauthier talks about recently announced off-take agreements for tantalum and tin and successful trades of rare earths from its DRC project.

In the interview, which can also be viewed in full on the InvestorIntel YouTube channel (click here), Pierre explains that “we’re in the rare earth business but the byproducts are as important as the earths themselves… What we’re looking at is to start off by producing a concentrate of tin with off-take agreements for tin. It’s a large market and easy market to access.” Auxico’s Massangana project in Brazil has 30 million tons of tailings with a 0.65 tin content, as well as niobium, tantalum and monazite. “It puts us on third base in terms of a project in terms of cash flow,” he tells Tracy, and “if we could be making cash flow from tin and niobium then those are tremendous credits against rare earths and reduce our cost of producing rare earths just about down to nothing.”

Pierre also discusses Auxico’s rare earths project in the DRC, which has already made two successful trades of rare earths monazite sands. He explains how it has a low extraction cost as a sand compared to hard rock mining, and uses their unique, patented ultrasound technology to separate and recover the rare earths metals at a fraction of the usual time and cost.
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About Auxico Resources Canada Inc.

Auxico Resources Canada Inc. (“Auxico” or the “Company”) is a Canadian company that was founded in 2014 and based in Montreal. Auxico is engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral properties in Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

To learn more about Auxico Resources Canada Inc., click here

Disclaimer: Auxico Resources Canada Inc. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.

This interview, which was produced by InvestorIntel Corp., (IIC), does not contain, nor does it purport to contain, a summary of all the material information concerning the “Company” being interviewed. IIC offers no representations or warranties that any of the information contained in this interview is accurate or complete.

This presentation may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and assumptions of the management of the Company as of the date made. They are inherently susceptible to uncertainty and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Additional risks and uncertainties, including those that the Company does not know about now or that it currently deems immaterial, may also adversely affect the Company’s business or any investment therein.

Any projections given are principally intended for use as objectives and are not intended, and should not be taken, as assurances that the projected results will be obtained by the Company. The assumptions used may not prove to be accurate and a potential decline in the Company’s financial condition or results of operations may negatively impact the value of its securities. Prospective investors are urged to review the Company’s profile on Sedar.com and to carry out independent investigations in order to determine their interest in investing in the Company.

If you have any questions surrounding the content of this interview, please contact us at +1 416 792 8228 and/or email us direct at info@investorintel.com.




Iluka Resources looks to join exclusive club of rare earths producers

Iluka Resources Limited, (ASX: ILU) an Australian mineral sands company, is poised to add rare earth elements to its portfolio of products. The company’s main products are zircon, titanium, plus iron and carbon materials from its processing plants in Australia. It also has recently announced the de-merger of its Sierra Leone company, Sierra Rutile Holdings Limited, to end up with two ASX listed companies.

The plan announced by Iluka is to start concentrating monazite and xenotime in the second half of this year from its mineral sands operation in Western Australia. Cracking and leaching will begin next year followed by separation to produce rare earth oxides in 2024 at Eneabba, Western Australia, which is a 3 hour’s drive north of Perth. According to public company information, the planned output is 17,500 tons per year of Total Rare Earth Oxides (TREO). They note the plant will have a full capacity of 23,000 TPY of TREO with all circuits fully utilized. It is reasonable to assume that they are looking for additional monazite to fill their plant as the capacity is more than they can produce themselves.

Based on the feed rate of 17,500 TPY TREO Iluka expects to produce 4,000 TPY of Nd/Pr plus 500 TPY of Dy/Tb. Typically, Dy:Tb ratio varies from 2:1 to 5:1. At today’s pricing of $135/kg USD for Nd/Pr oxide, Dy oxide at $362/kg USD, and Tb4O7 at $2.056/kg USD, Iluka’s annual revenue could be in the range of US$1 billion.

The projected capital costs are AU$170-200 million for the cracking and leaching, and AU$320-390 million for the separation and finishing. Additional costs include plant and infrastructure AU$110-140 million plus indirect costs, contingency, commissioning and miscellaneous costs of AU$400-470 million for a total of AU$1-1.2 billion. According to the company, there will be support from the Australian government in the form of a loan from the government’s Critical Minerals Facility fund and a risk-sharing agreement that would include non-recourse debt, royalty payments to Iluka, and flexibility in repayment schedules.  This is what is necessary to get these projects off the ground – government support and vision to see that risk sharing is very important.

Raising this amount of capital in the markets today is a challenge and also very dilutive as their current market cap is AU$3.8 billion.  An advantage Iluka has over many other planned entrants into the rare earth space is their existing cash flow from current operations, as it will take time to generate revenues from this operation after construction begins this year and until the first output is expected to be seen in 2025.

Source: Iluka Company presentation, April 4, 2022

Based on using their existing stockpile at Eneabba, Iluka could produce 12,400 TPY TREO with an operating cost of AU$13/kg or about US$10/kg which is competitive with Chinese costs. I am assuming they put no value on the feed material as it is in a stockpile.  They have not included any transfer costs from other sources in their expanded production estimates with other sources of feed. The stockpile feed would produce 2,700 TPY of Nd/Pr or about half of the capacity of 5,500 TPY of Nd/Pr. This stockpile would be exhausted in 9 years, so they are actively looking for other sources to fill the plant.

One question that is not clear is whether they will take a Molycorp plant design approach or the Lynas approach.  Molycorp originally designed a single train 20,000 TPY TREO capacity. Lynas built four 5,500 TPY TREO trains so that if supply or demand changed, or there was a problem in one train, they did not lose all their production.  This came to light over the COVID era when demand dropped.  This is a major consideration of any new plant design as economies of scale are limited or offset by potential operational problems.

Overall this may well be one of the players to cross the finish line in the race for more production of rare earths outside China.




DoD awards Australia’s Lynas $120 million to build a heavy rare earths facility in the USA: I have questions

Updated June 28, 2022: Lynas’ Managing Director Amanda Lacaze provides answers below

 

I was intrigued last week when the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) made the announcement that it had awarded US$120 million to Lynas Rare Earths Ltd. (ASX: LYC) to build a 3-5 kta heavy rare earth separation system in the USA. This is in addition to the $30 million the DoD awarded to Lynas (to be matched by Lynas) in February 2021, for the same thing. My guess is that since Lynas built and operates the world’s largest light rare earth separation system in Malaysia where it processes ore from its Mt. Weld Australia monazite mine (the world’s largest worked deposit of monazite), it seemed like an easy decision for the DoD, provided it was prepared to overlook the skills of the domestic American market and the mandate to buy American and reshore. 

But, since the DoD had already agreed to provide US$30 million of an estimated (by Lynas) US$60 million to build such a facility in Texas, why, I asked myself was an additional US$120 million necessary? 

So, I drafted a set of questions for Lynas, the answers to which would be particularly important in a due diligence study for the project, in case the DoD either did not do a due diligence (my guess) or would not publicly answer the same questions citing national security concerns, or some such nonsense. 

Here are the questions I sent to Lynas at the beginning of this week: 

  1. What is the project’s location?
  2. What is the detailed CAPEX and the estimated OPEX for the system?
  3. When will the permitting be finished?
  4. Is the plant design finished (It would have to be for the permitting to be finalized)?
  5. What is the timeline for construction and first output?
  6. What exactly will be the composition of the plant’s output in individual rare earths and tonnages of each, and when will the (nameplate) target capacities be reached?
  7. Will the costs per KG of each individual rare earth and blend be competitive with the Chinese costs? 
  8. Will the US DoD be the only customer?
  9. Will any of the heavy rare earths be consigned to specific metal/alloy/magnet makers? and,
  10. From where, exactly, will the feedstocks be sourced? 

Question number 10 is extremely important since there is today no commercial production of heavy rare earths outside of China. Also of note is the fact that Lynas has never commercially produced any separated individual heavy rare earths, nor is its Malaysian plant equipped to do so. 

I am awaiting a reply to these questions from Lynas, but I will let you know when I get them. 

Publisher’s Update:

In response to the above questions InvestorIntel editor Jack Lifton received the following answers by email from Amanda Lacaze, Managing Director of Lynas on June 27, 2022:

1What is the project’s location?

Following a detailed site selection process, the facility is expected to be located within an existing industrial area on the Gulf Coast of the State of Texas.

Texas is an excellent location from which to serve our U.S. customers and support the U.S. government’s moves to strengthen its industrial base and make supply chains more resilient through a diversified supply.

2.  When will the permitting be finished? / Is the plant design finished? / What is the timeline for construction and first output?

The design of the Heavy Rare Earths plant was completed as part of the Phase 1 contract. The construction timeline will be confirmed following the completion of detailed engineering and planning. The plant is targeted to be operational in financial year 2025.

3.  What exactly will be the composition of the plant’s output in individual rare earths and tonnages of each?

A typical Heavy Rare Earths separation facility of this type would produce between 2500-3000 tonnes of heavy rare earths per year.  We would expect our Heavy Rare Earths production to be in this range.

We have publicly stated our expectation that the Light Rare Earths plant will produce approximately 5,000 tonnes per year of Rare Earths products, including approximately 1,250 tonnes per year of NdPr.

4.  Will the US Department of Defense be the only customer?

This will be a commercial facility and will be designed to serve both the U.S Defense Industrial Base and commercial manufacturers.

5.  Will any of the heavy rare earths be consigned to specific metal/alloy/magnet makers?

This facility is a positive step towards reinvigorating the domestic Rare Earths market, and we will work to encourage investment in value-added downstream processes including metal and magnet making.

6.  From where, exactly, will the feedstocks be sourced?

Feedstock for the facility will be a mixed Rare Earths carbonate produced from material sourced at the Lynas mine in Mt Weld, Western Australia. Lynas is building a new Rare Earths Processing Facility in Kalgoorlie to process the Rare Earth concentrate from Mt Weld. The material produced in Kalgoorlie will be further processed at the new Rare Earths separation facility in the United States. Lynas will also work with potential 3rd party providers to source other suitable feedstocks as they become available.




Mark Chalmers of Energy Fuels talks about acquiring a major rare earths project in Brazil

In this InvestorIntel interview with host Jack Lifton, Energy Fuels Inc.‘s (NYSE American: UUUU | TSX: EFR) President and CEO Mark Chalmers talks about returning from Brazil with a signed agreement for the acquisition of the major rare earths Bahia Project.

In the interview, which can also be viewed in full on the InvestorIntel YouTube channel (click here), Mark discusses the 60 square mile acquisition of the very high quality heavy mineral sand deposit by Energy Fuels north of Rio de Janeiro. “This is a big step for our company,” Mark explained, “as it could supply ultimately because of its size between 3,000 to 10,000 tons a year of monazite sand.” This could translate into between “1500 to 5 000 tons of REO per year,” he continued, making it “important as a base load for the White Mesa mill.”

Mark also talks about how the Bahia Project, expected to close in 90 days subject to due diligence, is a step towards Energy Fuels’ vertical integration plan for producing rare earth products, which is already shipping high purity mixed rare earth carbonate from its White Mesa mill in Utah to customers. He also discussed a recent announcement that Energy Fuels has signed three material contracts with two major U.S. nuclear utilities to supply uranium products.

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About Energy Fuels Inc.

Energy Fuels is a leading U.S.-based uranium mining company, supplying U3Oto major nuclear utilities. Energy Fuels also produces vanadium from certain of its projects, as market conditions warrant, and is ramping up commercial-scale production of rare earth element (“REE“) carbonate. Its corporate offices are in Lakewood, Colorado, near Denver, and all its assets and employees are in the United States. Energy Fuels holds three of America’s key uranium production centers: the White Mesa Mill in Utah, the Nichols Ranch in-situ recovery (“ISR“) Project in Wyoming, and the Alta Mesa ISR Project in Texas. The White Mesa Mill is the only conventional uranium mill operating in the U.S. today, has a licensed capacity of over 8 million pounds of U3Oper year, and has the ability to recycle alternate feed materials from third parties, to produce vanadium when market conditions warrant, and to produce REE carbonate from various uranium-bearing ores. Energy Fuels is also evaluating the potential to recover medical isotopes for use in targeted alpha therapy cancer treatments. The Nichols Ranch ISR Project is on standby and has a licensed capacity of 2 million pounds of U3O8 per year. The Alta Mesa ISR Project is also on standby and has a licensed capacity of 1.5 million pounds of U3Oper year. In addition to the above production facilities, Energy Fuels also has one of the largest SK-1300/NI 43-101 compliant uranium resource portfolios in the U.S. and several uranium and uranium/vanadium mining projects on standby and in various stages of permitting and development.

To learn more about Energy Fuels Inc., click here

Disclaimer: Energy Fuels Inc. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.

This interview, which was produced by InvestorIntel Corp., (IIC), does not contain, nor does it purport to contain, a summary of all the material information concerning the “Company” being interviewed. IIC offers no representations or warranties that any of the information contained in this interview is accurate or complete.

This presentation may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and assumptions of the management of the Company as of the date made. They are inherently susceptible to uncertainty and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Additional risks and uncertainties, including those that the Company does not know about now or that it currently deems immaterial, may also adversely affect the Company’s business or any investment therein.

Any projections given are principally intended for use as objectives and are not intended, and should not be taken, as assurances that the projected results will be obtained by the Company. The assumptions used may not prove to be accurate and a potential decline in the Company’s financial condition or results of operations may negatively impact the value of its securities. Prospective investors are urged to review the Company’s profile on Sedar.com and to carry out independent investigations in order to determine their interest in investing in the Company.

If you have any questions surrounding the content of this interview, please contact us at +1 416 792 8228 and/or email us direct at info@investorintel.com.




In-house production key to making Energy Fuels the world’s lowest cost producer of rare earth metals

Energy Fuels takes giant step towards complete, in-house, vertical integration in the production of rare earth permanent magnet alloys

Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU | TSX: EFR) has just this week announced that it will buy, subject to due diligence, a huge Brazilian deposit of heavy mineral sands, which it will mine to produce a concentrated mineral mix that will contain zircon, ilmenite (titanium), and monazite. This concentrate is expected to be sold to partner companies, which will extract the zircon and ilmenite as payables, and the residual monazite, a waste product in zircon/ilmenite processing, will be conveyed at a nominal cost (as part of the arrangement to supply the heavy mineral sands to partners) to Energy Fuels’ White Mesa, Utah, where the monazite will be cracked and leached to extract a clean rare earth content as a mixed carbonate and to extract and sell or legally dispose of its uranium and thorium content.

Energy Fuels is already buying, and processing monazite produced in the above way from the zircon/ilmenite operations of Chemours in Georgia, but the Brazilian purchase will allow Energy Fuels to diversify and lower its cost of monazite concentrates.

The in-house production of monazite rich heavy mineral sands by Energy Fuels will be the foundation of its program for the vertically integrated (in-house) production of rare earth metals and alloys from (in-house) separated and purified individual and blended rare earth salts.  

Energy Fuels operates the only operating uranium processing “mill” in the United States and the only facility in the United States in the U.S. capable of processing monazite for the recovery of uranium for sale to nuclear power plants, and the recovery or legal disposal of the thorium and other radionuclides associated with monazite. 

The company has already begun processing purchased monazite into a mixed rare earth carbonate, and currently has the capacity to produce thousands of tons of such mixed rare earth carbonates per year. Energy Fuels’ mixed carbonate is the most advanced rare earth product being produced at a commercial scale in the U.S. today. The company is also making major strides in producing separated and refined individual and blended rare earth products at its mill.

Comparatively, monazite contains up to 50% more of the recoverable core magnet metals, neodymium and praseodymium than the bastnaesite mined at Mountain Pass, California.

Energy Fuels is finalizing a scoping study for a dedicated, rare earths, solvent extraction separation system and is finalizing the commercialization of a new rare earth metals and alloys production process demonstration.

Within 24-36 months Energy Fuels has the potential to be the world’s lowest-cost producer of separated individual rare earths and will therefore the lowest cost producer of rare earth metals and alloys. No government subsidies have been needed. Just managerial knowledge, experience, and skill. 

Energy Fuels already is a major domestic supplier of uranium and vanadium In fact, the company announced at its AGM, earlier this week, that it has signed a decade long supply deal with two American utilities to provide them with more than 4,000,000 lbs of uranium. This contract will bring in more than USD$200,000,000 over its life. 

Energy Fuels is a producing and growing domestic American critical metals processing hub.

Disclosure: Jack Lifton is a member of  the Advisory Board for Energy Fuels Inc., and may hold securities or options in some of the companies mentioned in the above article.




Hunting the big North American rare earths elephant

“Amazing discovery… I keep making this point that there is a deficit of rare earths worldwide and Appia is the premier rare earths discovery in North America.” — Jack Lifton, Global Critical Materials Expert

A mineral discovery is the natural occurrence of a specific chemical compound or a mix of chemical compounds, which may be processed mechanically and chemically to isolate one or more forms of individual chemical elements, and then be purified and converted into useful forms for industrial use. If the discovery is extensive enough and the contained chemical compounds are of a sufficiently high enough grade for efficient and economical separation of them from each other and then can be further processed into forms that can be utilized industrially, then the large-scale production and concentration of the initial mineral concentrate is called mining.

How do you evaluate a rare earth discovery? The best way is to determine if it contains “valuable” rare earth elements, which can be economically and efficiently recovered in the jurisdiction in which it is located, in such quantities that the capital expended can be recovered at a profit.

The old-timers (aka, experienced exploration geologists and mining engineers) have just two simple metrics they use in first determining whether or not there is any point in answering this question: Grade and accessible tonnage.

Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp.‘s (CSE: API | OTCQB: APAAF) rare earth discovery at Alces Lake, Saskatchewan, meets the first of the above requirements, and the company is now in the process of a comprehensive drill program to determine if the second one is met as well.

The Appia discovery is of the mixed rare earth mineral, monazite, the most desirable rare earth bearing mineral on the planet. Monazite was the original rare earth mineral mined commercially in the late nineteenth century, not for rare earths, but for its contained thorium, which was heated, as an oxide in the form of a mixed ceramic mantle, with natural gas, to produce a brilliant white light for illuminating the stage in theatrical performances. Monazite fell out of favor as a mineral resource after World War II because of thorium’s natural radioactivity being highlighted as a danger in the early atomic age. Of course, electric lights, had by then long eclipsed the need for thorium.

In the 1950s though, thorium again became of interest when it was discovered that nuclear reactors for the commercial production of electricity could be fueled with thorium, which could not easily be used to make nuclear weapons. Anglo-American Mining in that period discovered the highest-grade thorium and rare earths deposit then known in the world in South Africa and began producing thorium for the UK’s civilian nuclear reactor program. Thorium reactors fell out of favor by the mid 1960s and thorium (monazite) mines were shut down, even though they were associated with high grade rare earths, because of the problems of disposing of the thorium and the then extremely expensive processes for separating the rare earths from each other, ion exchange, and fractional crystallization.

The discovery of a huge primary, accessible, mineable deposit of the rare earth mineral bastnaesite at Mountain Pass, California, in the late 1940s, and the development in the 1960s of the commercial application of solvent extraction to the separation of the rare earths, led to the eclipse of the use of high thorium monazites by bastnaesite as the primary mineral for rare earth mining.

The development of the rare earth permanent magnet in the late 1970s, at first using the rare earth element, samarium, and the rare earth elements neodymium and praseodymium, revived interest in monazite, because monazite contains 50% more, by weight, of neodymium and praseodymium, than bastnaesite.

However, the low thorium bastnaesite in California, because of its accessibility, became the world’s largest source of the magnetic rare earths, samarium , neodymium and praseodymium by the early 1980s. It was eclipsed by the bastnaesite recovered, more economically, as a byproduct of  iron mining in China’s Inner Mongolia by the late 1980s. The Chinese iron deposits also contained some monazite, and this was processed there also to recover the rare earths. The thorium co-produced was stored, but its radioactivity ultimately led China to bring its control under the aegis of its China Nuclear Corporation (CNC), which stored it along with any other thorium produced as a byproduct of rare earths or its own uranium minerals processing.

Today, as Chinese bastnaesite grades seem to have declined from high grading and as pollution (environmental) consciousness has come of age in China, monazite, as a source of magnetic rare earths has revived dramatically in China. And China has become the world’s largest processor of monazite. Chinese mining and processing companies already import nearly 40% of their rare earth ore needs annually. They get bastnaesite from California and CNC is licensed to process up to 5o,ooo tons per year of monazites containing up to 30,000 tons of rare earths. All monazite imported into China must first go to CNC for thorium and uranium removal, before it goes to the Chinese purchaser, which will then recover the rare earths contained. China buys monazites as ore concentrates from the USA (until very recently), Brazil, Madagascar, Australia, and Myanmar, and Chinese companies are scouring the world seeking more.

The Chinese had the use of monazites as a source of magnetic rare earths to themselves until 2017, when Australia’s Lynas Rare Earths (ASX: LYC) went into commercial production and separation of the individual rare earths from its massive monazite mine at Mt. Weld, Australia. Then. in 2020, the only privately owned licensed uranium ore processor and thorium storage facility in the USA, Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU | TSX: EFR), began a project to process monazite for its rare earths and to stockpile and sell the uranium recovered and store the thorium. Energy Fuels is and remains the sole such facility in the Americas. Its business plan is to become vertically integrated by building, on-site, a separation facility, and a rare earth metals and alloys operation also.

Energy Fuels has acquired domestically produced American monazite from the heavy mineral sands operations of The Chemours Company, and is actively seeking additional materials both domestically and internationally. Energy Fuels has already produced and sold commercial quantities of mixed rare earth carbonates cleaned of uranium and thorium.

Now, at last, we come to Appia and Canada’s entry into the rare earths’ mining and processing arena.

Australia’s Vital Metals Limited (ASX: VML | OTCQB: VTMXF) is now mining bastnaesite just outside of Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territory from a high-grade deposit discovered by Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (TSX: AVL | OTCQB: AVLNF) and licensed to Vital. The ore concentrate will be first sent to an operation being built by the Saskatchewan Resource Council (SRC), a Crown Corporation, where the uranium and thorium will be removed and a mixed rare earth carbonate produced for use in further downstream processing. The first such production has already been pre-sold to both American and European processing customers.

But the SRC has plans to construct not only a cracking, leaching, and radioactive recovery and storage system (Saskatchewan is Canada’s largest uranium mining and processing province, so the business there is well established and understood), but also a rare earths separation system in the form of a dedicated solvent extraction facility, the first of its kind in Canada.

Now we come to Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp., a Canadian company, originally exploring for uranium in Saskatchewan’s world-famous Athabasca Basin. About 5 years ago its then geologist discovered a dramatically high-grade sample of monazite on the company’s Alces Lake Property in Saskatchewan. He soon found that the sample had come from an outcrop showing extensive monazite veining. He continued to explore the area and predicted that the monazite field was extensive.  Analysis of samples he took showed that it was also the highest grade neodymium rich monazite ever found in North America.

I was a speaker that year at a Metal Events’ Rare Earth Conference in Henderson, Nevada, and the Appia geologist, James Sykes, was an attendee. I had never met him, but we shared a cab to the airport, and he excitedly told me the Alces lake, monazite, story. I was intrigued, but I had reservations about the thorium and uranium that would be present in such a high-grade material. I thought of the highest grade rare earths deposit ever worked, Steencompskraal, in South Africa, which was actually worked as a thorium mine with no interest (in the 196os) in the rare earths contained. I didn’t then know of the monazite project in China or CNC’s role in it. I listened politely to Mr Sykes and wondered what anyone would do with this discovery if it were confirmed to be extensive enough to qualify as a NI 43-101 resource.

Did I mention that James Sykes also said that he believed the extended discovery to be near surface, so that a quarrying operation would obviate the need for underground operations?

It is now the Spring of 2022, and Appia has raised approximately $15.5 million in the last year. This funding is for a drilling program which is underway to prove a resource.

Energy Fuels is processing monazite, the Saskatchewan Resource Council has approved $31 million to acquire monazite, and other rare earth ore concentrates, and build a first of its kind in Canada cracking and leaching and separation facility dedicated to rare earths, and Canada’s Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSXV: UCU | OTCQX: UURAF) has begun construction of a Strategic Metals Center in Alaska for the central processing of critical metals, beginning with rare earth mixed carbonates from a variety of sources including Canadian and Australian monazites.

Appia’s drilling results so far are very encouraging, and have been extensively reported.

I think we may see the highest grade neodymium-rich monazite in the America’s flow from Alces lake before 2025. If so, It will certainly be in high demand.

Did I mention that the Appia monazite discovery contains 1% of xenotime, the hard rock mineral source of yttrium, dysprosium, and terbium? A one-stop-shop for magnet makers?

The stars and this planet are coming into alignment for this one. Monazite is back.

Disclosure: Jack Lifton is a member of Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp.’s Advisory Board and  the Advisory Board for Energy Fuels Inc., and may hold securities or options in some of the companies mentioned in the above article.




Auxico Resources’ Pierre Gauthier on being the first NA company to commercially produce and sell monazite into the world market

Pierre Gauthier, Chairman and CEO of Auxico Resources Canada Inc. (CSE: AUAG) recently spoke with InvestorIntel’s Byron W. King about Auxico’s just licensed patent for ultrasonic disintegration process technology. This technology allows a rapid decrease in the time, temperature, and pressure necessary to crack hard rock ores and extract valuable minerals by disintegrating the ores without the need for extensive crushing and grinding. The ultrasonic process allows a high level of extraction efficiency by greatly increasing the surface area to volume ratio of the minerals to allow rapid leaching out of the payable metals. Pierre emphasized the broad application by Auxico of this ultrasonic technology. In particular, it has allowed class-leading rapid high-level extraction of nickel and of rare earths from their ores. This saves water, energy, and most of all, time, which, of course, reduces costs.

Pierre went on to say that Auxico has also developed a new simplified chemical process for removing the radioactive elements from the very rich in magnetic rare earths mineral, monazite, after it has been treated ultrasonically. Auxico, he continued, has located monazite bearing mineral sands in Columbia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well as monazite rich residues from tin mining in Brazil, Bolivia, and the DRC. It will treat them ultrasonically, where necessary, to improve and facilitate the removal of radioactive thorium and uranium and their safe disposal in the countries of origin in order to be able to ship the monazite for extraction and separation into individual rare earths in a plant to be constructed in Quebec or the USA.

Auxico’s monazite from the DRC is low enough in thorium and uranium so that the mineral can be shipped out of the country without processing. Pierre finally pointed out that Auxico has already sold and shipped 100 tons of monazite from its DRC operation to a customer in Asia.  Auxico plans to ramp up the shipments from the DRC to 1000 tons per month by the end of 2022.

This makes Auxico the first Canadian company to commercially produce and sell monazite into the world market. As Byron W. King said, “This has been a fabulous interview.”

To access the complete interview, click here

About Auxico Resources Canada Inc.

Auxico Resources Canada Inc. is a Canadian company that was founded in 2014 and based in Montreal. Auxico is engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral properties in Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

To learn more about Auxico Resources Canada Inc., click here

Disclaimer: Auxico Resources Canada Inc. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.

This interview, which was produced by InvestorIntel Corp., (IIC), does not contain, nor does it purport to contain, a summary of all the material information concerning the “Company” being interviewed. IIC offers no representations or warranties that any of the information contained in this interview is accurate or complete.

This presentation may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and assumptions of the management of the Company as of the date made. They are inherently susceptible to uncertainty and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Additional risks and uncertainties, including those that the Company does not know about now or that it currently deems immaterial, may also adversely affect the Company’s business or any investment therein.

Any projections given are principally intended for use as objectives and are not intended, and should not be taken, as assurances that the projected results will be obtained by the Company. The assumptions used may not prove to be accurate and a potential decline in the Company’s financial condition or results of operations may negatively impact the value of its securities. Prospective investors are urged to review the Company’s profile on Sedar.com and to carry out independent investigations in order to determine their interest in investing in the Company.

If you have any questions surrounding the content of this interview, please contact us at +1 416 792 8228 and/or email us direct at info@investorintel.com.




Mark Chalmers on Energy Fuels planned vertical integration into commercial rare earth products

In a recent InvestorIntel interview, Tracy Weslosky spoke with Mark Chalmers, President and CEO of Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU | TSX: EFR) about developing a fully-integrated rare earths supply chain in the US with commercial scale rare earths separation capability at Energy Fuels’ White Mesa Mill.

In this InvestorIntel interview, which may also be viewed on YouTube (click here to subscribe to the InvestorIntel Channel), Mark Chalmers said that Energy Fuels is currently seeking to secure additional monazite supply for their White Mesa Mill in Utah and is in advanced discussions with half a dozen monazite suppliers globally. “If we had more monazite right now, we could process it immediately into mixed rare earth carbonate,” he added. With the rare earths market rising sharply, Mark went on to provide an update on Energy Fuels’ collaboration with the French chemical engineering firm, Carester SAS, to support development of a downstream rare earth separation system at its operating White Mesa, Utah, uranium and vanadium processing mill.

To watch the full interview, click here.

About Energy Fuels Inc.

Energy Fuels is a leading U.S.-based uranium mining company, supplying U3Oto major nuclear utilities. Energy Fuels also produces vanadium from certain of its projects, as market conditions warrant, and is ramping up to commercial-scale production of REE carbonate. Its corporate offices are in Lakewood, Colorado, near Denver, and all of its assets and employees are in the United States. Energy Fuels holds three of America’s key uranium production centers: the White Mesa Mill in Utah, the Nichols Ranch in-situ recovery (“ISR“) Project in Wyoming, and the Alta Mesa ISR Project in Texas. The White Mesa Mill is the only conventional uranium mill operating in the U.S. today, has a licensed capacity of over 8 million pounds of U3Oper year, and has the ability to produce vanadium when market conditions warrant, as well as REE carbonate from various uranium-bearing ores. The Nichols Ranch ISR Project is on standby and has a licensed capacity of 2 million pounds of U3O8 per year. The Alta Mesa ISR Project is also on standby and has a licensed capacity of 1.5 million pounds of U3Oper year. In addition to the above production facilities, Energy Fuels also has one of the largest NI 43-101 compliant uranium resource portfolios in the U.S. and several uranium and uranium/vanadium mining projects on standby and in various stages of permitting and development. The primary trading market for Energy Fuels’ common shares is the NYSE American under the trading symbol “UUUU,” and the Company’s common shares are also listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the trading symbol “EFR.”

To learn more about Energy Fuels Inc., click here.

Disclaimer: Energy Fuels Inc. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.

This interview, which was produced by InvestorIntel Corp., (IIC), does not contain, nor does it purport to contain, a summary of all the material information concerning the “Company” being interviewed. IIC offers no representations or warranties that any of the information contained in this interview is accurate or complete.

This presentation may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and assumptions of the management of the Company as of the date made. They are inherently susceptible to uncertainty and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Additional risks and uncertainties, including those that the Company does not know about now or that it currently deems immaterial, may also adversely affect the Company’s business or any investment therein.

Any projections given are principally intended for use as objectives and are not intended, and should not be taken, as assurances that the projected results will be obtained by the Company. The assumptions used may not prove to be accurate and a potential decline in the Company’s financial condition or results of operations may negatively impact the value of its securities. Prospective investors are urged to review the Company’s profile on Sedar.com and to carry out independent investigations in order to determine their interest in investing in the Company.

If you have any questions surrounding the content of this interview, please contact us at +1 416 792 8228 and/or email us direct at info@investorintel.com.




Byron King, Mark Chalmers and Jack Lifton on Energy Fuels becoming ‘a domestic Gigafactory for critical minerals’ in the USA

In this episode of Critical Minerals Corner, Byron King and InvestorIntel Editor-in-Chief and Member of Advisory Board at Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE: UUUU | TSX: EFR) Jack Lifton are joined by Mark Chalmers, President and CEO of Energy Fuels Inc. to discuss how Energy Fuels “could be a domestic gigafactory for critical minerals in the United States of America.”

Mark Chalmers started by saying that Energy Fuels is the only company in North America that provides exposure to the critical materials uranium, vanadium, and the rare earths. Providing an update on Energy Fuels’ agreements with Neo Performance Materials Inc.’s (TSX: NEO) and Nanoscale Powders, Mark went on to explain why Energy Fuels is “more advanced than any other company in North America” and provides an alternative to China for producing rare earths from monazites in the U.S., while operating at world-class standards. Jack Lifton added, “Energy Fuels is the only commercial producer of downstream rare earth products today in North America.”

To access the complete episode of this Critical Minerals Corner discussion, click here.