Tasman CEO on the nepheline advantage from the Norra Karr heavy rare earth project
December 29, 2015 — In a special InvestorIntel interview, Publisher Tracy Weslosky interviews Mark Saxon of Tasman Metals Ltd. (TSXV: TSM | NYSE MKT: TAS) about the recent completion of a magnetic separation pilot plant for the Norra Karr heavy rare earth project. Mark explains that what they found in the course of their results was a way to commercialize the nepheline by-product. “The work we’re doing now is to get the nepheline into markets so we can understand the value…” and continues “the aim there to have a very low-waste mine or even a zero waste mine if possible.”
Tracy Weslosky: Mark you just recently put out some news about the completion of a magnetic separation plant for the Norra Karr heavy rare earth element project. Can you tell us about this news?
Mark Saxon: Yes, thanks Tracy. We just finished making a separation pilot plant. That was to do a scale up test of our beneficiation process, which for Norra Karr is mainly separation. That was a test run in Finland. It was paid for by the European Commission under our EURARE project. It performed very well. We’re very pleased with the results.
Tracy Weslosky: In addition to that there was something that I thought was very interesting in your news release. It said you’ve managed to take what was previously deemed waste product, nepheline by-product, and you found a way to commercialize this. Could you start by explaining to us at InvestorIntel and maybe the rest of our audience an understanding of what you have here? This sounds exciting.
Mark Saxon: Yeah most of it is. It’s a little bit different to what most companies are dealing with. In fact, the Norra Karr project was first worked by a Swedish mining company, Boliden, for nepheline rather than for rare earths. It’s had quite a long history there. Nepheline is a mineral. It’s not a metal. Nepheline will go into the ceramics industry, the glass industry. It can go into cosmetics. It can go into building fillers. It can go into many end-uses. Europe is a very large market for nepheline. When you think of roof tiles and bricks and when you think of Italian ceramics or Spanish ceramics all of that is using nepheline and so it’s a very large market. For the rock at Norra Karr about 65% of the material in the ground is in fact nepheline. The work we’re doing now is to get the nepheline into markets so we can understand the value of that in particular, but also understand the environmental benefit it could have as well because it is using our waste material. We’ve got the aim there to have a very low-waste mine or even a zero waste mine if possible.
Tracy Weslosky: So if we can just go back to the results, it seemed to me based on your comments in the news release that you were very pleased with the results. I think you said that it mirrors the bench scale test work. Can you tell us a little bit more about what this actually means? To access the complete interview, click here
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