Friday 26th April 2019

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘vanadium’

92 Resources increases its Quebec lithium-polymetallic potential with expanded acquisition

April 24th, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 24, 2019

An amended option with “no additional share, cash or work commitment” brings more land and greater prospects in northern Quebec’s James Bay region to 92 Resources TSXV:NTY. A 4,253-hectare increase to a previous 75% earn-in with Osisko Mining TSX:OSK now covers that company’s entire FCI property. Combined with 92’s adjacent and wholly owned Corvette project, the Corvette-FCI property now comprises three contiguous claim blocks in a 14,496-hectare parcel that stretches for over 25 kilometres along the Lac Guyer greenstone belt.

92 Resources increases its Quebec lithium-polymetallic potential with expanded acquisition

Past work at the newly acquired FCI West found 16 showings of base and precious metals along two parallel trends extending over 10 kilometres in length. Historic, non-43-101 assays from FCI West’s Golden Gap prospect included outcrop samples as high as 108.9 g/t gold, a 2003 drill interval of 10.5 g/t gold over seven metres and a channel sample of 14.5 g/t gold over two metres.

FCI West’s Tyrone-T9 prospect includes an historic, non-43-101 channel sample of 1.15% copper over 2.1 metres. Despite high-grade lithium showings at Corvette, FCI West has never been evaluated for the energy metal, the company stated.

Immediately south and west of 92’s new turf sits Azimut Exploration’s (TSXV:AZM) Pikwa property. Adjacently north of FCI West, Midland Exploration’s (TSXV:MD) 2018 field program on the Mythril project found outcrop and boulder samples grading 16.7% copper, 16.8 g/t gold and 3.04% molybdenum. 92 anticipates significant activity by multiple companies along the Lac Guyer greenstone belt this year “as the magnitude of the Mythril-style copper-gold mineralization unfolds.”

Regional infrastructure includes a powerline and the all-season Trans-Taiga Road 10 kilometres north of Corvette-FCI.

This year’s exploration program will follow evaluation of historic data, with work expected to wrap up in summer.

The amended option with Osisko would give 92 the additional claims by satisfying terms of the 75% earn-in on FCI East. That deal calls for an initial million shares, another million shares and $250,000 of work in year one, another $800,000 in year two and a further $1.2 million in year three, while Osisko acts as project operator. At that point the companies would form a 50/50 JV. Another $2 million in expenditures from 92 would raise the company’s stake to 75%. With FCI West now incorporated into that agreement, “no additional share, cash or work commitment is required by the company,” 92 emphasized.

The company retains a 100% interest in Corvette’s 172 claims.

92’s Quebec portfolio also includes the Pontax, Eastman and Lac du Beryl properties. Lithium-tantalum grab samples from Pontax have reached up to 0.94% Li2O and 520 ppm Ta2O5.

In British Columbia 92 holds the Silver Sands vanadium prospect and the Golden frac sand project. In the Northwest Territories, Far Resources CSE:FAT works towards a 90% earn-in on 92’s Hidden Lake lithium project.

92 closed a private placement of $618,000 last December.

Read more about 92 Resources here and here.

Pistol Bay Mining branches out to Nevada with vanadium acquisition

April 10th, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 10, 2019

Despite historic reports of what’s now a sought-after energy metal, this former mining region has never been systematically explored for vanadium. Pistol Bay Mining TSXV:PST hopes to change that by purchasing a new property in Clark County, Nevada.

Pistol Bay Mining branches out to Nevada with vanadium acquisition

Known collectively as the Vanadium Claims Group, the 397-hectare property covers two groups of claims, each about one by 1.6 kilometres hosting former mines and historic reports of vanadium. U.S. Geological Survey info from the 1920s states that one of the former mines shipped 14 tons of material to the American Vanadium Company, although no data on content or grade was available. The USGS also stated that outcrops within the current VCG project showed vanadium mineralization. 

Other occurrences of vanadium mineralization noted by the USGS suggest the potential for district-scale, low-cost exploration, as well as lead-zinc-silver byproduct potential, commented Pistol Bay president/CEO Charles Desjardins.

“We’re very excited about this new project and look forward to getting boots on the ground this month for sampling and other field work,” he said.

The price comes to an initial $15,000 (all amounts in U.S. dollars), $50,000 and eight million shares on TSXV approval and another $100,000 six months later. The vendor retains a 2% royalty, 75% of which Pistol Bay may buy for $1 million.

In northwestern Ontario, the company holds the largest land package in the Confederation Lake greenstone belt. The claims host several historic estimates as well as a 2017 43-101 resource for the Arrow zone. Using a base case 3% zinc-equivalent cutoff, the estimate outlines an inferred category:

  • 2.1 million tonnes averaging 5.78% zinc, 0.72% copper, 19.5 g/t silver and 0.6 g/t gold, for a zinc-equivalent grade of 8.42%

Contained amounts come to:

  • 274 million pounds zinc, 34.3 million pounds copper, 1.33 million ounces silver and 41,000 ounces gold

Results from last year’s three-hole 1,555-metre drill program “confirm the consistent nature of mineralization in the Arrow zone and give us more confidence in the existing mineral resource estimate,” Desjardins stated at the time. Assays reached as high as 5.15% zinc-equivalent over 12.85 metres.

Infographic: Climate Smart Mining and minerals for climate action

March 14th, 2019

sponsored by the World Bank | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | March 14, 2019

Climate Smart Mining Minerals for climate action

 

Countries are taking steps to decarbonize their economies by using wind, solar and battery technologies, with an end goal of reducing carbon-emitting fossil fuels from the energy mix.

But this global energy transition also has a trade-off: to cut emissions, more minerals are needed.

Therefore, in order for the transition to renewables to be meaningful and to achieve significant reductions in the Earth’s carbon footprint, mining will have to better mitigate its own environmental and social impacts.

Advocates for renewable technology are not walking blindly into a new energy paradigm without understanding these impacts. A policy and regulatory framework can help governments meet their targets, and mitigate and manage the impacts of the next wave of mineral demand to help the communities most affected by mining.

This infographic comes from the World Bank and it highlights this energy transition, how it will create demand for minerals and also the Climate Smart Mining building blocks.

Renewable power and mineral demand

In 2017, the World Bank published The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future, which concluded that to build a lower carbon future there will be a substantial increase in demand for several key minerals and metals to manufacture clean energy technologies.

Wind
Wind power technology has drastically improved its energy output. By 2025, a 300-metre-tall wind turbine could produce about 13 to 15 MW, enough to power a small town. With increased size and energy output comes increased material demand.

A single 3 MW turbine requires:

  • 4.7 tons of copper

  • 335 tons of steel

  • 1,200 tons of concrete

  • 2 tons of rare earth elements

  • 3 tons of aluminum

Solar
In 2017 global renewable capacity was 178 GW, of which 54.5% was solar photo-voltaic technology (PV). By 2023, it’s expected that this capacity will increase to one terawatt with PV accounting for 57.5% of the mix. PV cells require polymers, aluminum, silicon, glass, silver and tin.

Batteries
Everything from your home, your vehicle and your everyday devices will require battery technology to keep them powered and your life on the move.

Lithium, cobalt and nickel are at the centre of battery technology that will see the greatest explosion in demand in the coming energy transition.

Top five minerals for energy technologies

Add it all up, and these new sources of demand will translate into a need for more minerals:

 

  2017 production 2050 demand from energy technology Percentage change (%)
Lithium 43 KT 415 KT 965%
Cobalt 110 KT 644 KT 585%
Graphite 1200 KT 4590 KT 383%
Indium 0.72 KT 1.73 KT 241%
Vanadium 80 KT 138 KT 173%

 

Minimizing mining’s impact with Climate Smart Mining

The World Bank’s Climate Smart Mining (CSM) supports the sustainable extraction and processing of minerals and metals to secure supply for clean energy technologies, while also minimizing the environmental and climate footprints throughout the value chain.

The World Bank has established four building blocks for Climate Smart Mining:

  • Climate change mitigation

  • Climate change adaptation

  • Reducing material impacts

  • Creating market opportunities

Given the foresight into the pending energy revolution, a coordinated global effort early on could give nations a greater chance to mitigate the impacts of mining, avoid haphazard mineral development and contribute to the improvement of living standards in mineral-rich countries.

The World Bank works closely with the United Nations to ensure that Climate Smart Mining policies will support the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

A sustainable future

The potential is there for a low carbon economy, but it’s going to require a concerted global effort and sound policies to help guide responsible mineral development.

The mining industry can deliver the minerals for climate action.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

92 Resources plans 2019 advancement of Canadian energy metals projects

January 22nd, 2019

by Greg Klein | January 22, 2019

With a portfolio that features lithium projects in Quebec along with vanadium and frac sand properties in British Columbia, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY now has its new year agenda in preparation. Taking precedence will be the FCI claims, a recent acquisition that enhances the company’s adjacent Corvette lithium project in Quebec’s James Bay region.

92 Resources plans 2019 advancement of Canadian energy metals projects

High-grade channel sampling has brought
Corvette’s CV1 pegmatite to the drill-ready stage.

Under a 75% earn-in, 92 has a year one spending commitment of $250,000 on FCI. The company has been reviewing historic data while working with operator Osisko Mining TSX:OSK to plan a surface program for the spring and summer. Following that will be a new field campaign at Corvette to precede the first-ever drill program on the two bordering properties.

Encouraging developments from Corvette last year include channel sampling on the CV1 pegmatite that revealed lithium grading as high as 2.28% Li2O over 6 metres and 1.54% over 8 metres, along with tantalum results. The team discovered two more spodumene-bearing pegmatites that suggest a potentially large mineralizing system along strike and at depth, 92 reported. A substantial staking expansion to Corvette along with the FCI earn-in covers about 15 kilometres of potential strike.

Looking at other possible sources of Quebec lithium, 92 also has field programs planned for the Pontax, Eastman and Lac du Beryl properties. Pontax grab samples have graded up to 0.94% Li2O and 520 ppm Ta2O5.

Additionally, the 2019 agenda calls for surface sampling on the Silver Sands vanadium prospect acquired in B.C. last November. The property features regionally mapped rock units that potentially host vanadium-bearing horizons.

Last year 92 filed a 43-101 technical report for its Golden frac sand project in southern B.C., adjacent to Northern Silica’s high-grade Moberly silica mine.

In the Northwest Territories, 92 holds an interest in the Hidden Lake lithium project, the subject of a maiden drill program last year by Far Resources CSE:FAT. The latter company has completed 60% of a 90% earn-in from 92.

92 closed a private placement of $618,000 in late December.

Read more about 92 Resources.

‘The great enabler’

January 16th, 2019

A new era of energy depends on mining and especially copper, says Gianni Kovacevic

by Greg Klein

A new era of energy depends on mining and especially copper, says Gianni Kovacevic

 

Gold and precious metals can attract people seeking wealth or beauty, while diamonds and other gems convey an intrigue of their own. But who becomes downright passionate about a base metal? To those who’ve head him talk, Gianni Kovacevic quickly comes to mind. Copper’s his metal of interest but his real fascination is the future—that, and a vision of the importance this metal holds to a new era of energy history.

Chairperson of CopperBank Resources CSE:CBK, an authority on energy systems and author of My Electrician Drives a Porsche?, he’s an especially engaging public speaker who’s possibly more effective than anyone in communicating mining’s importance to non-mining people.

A new era of energy depends on mining and especially copper, says Gianni Kovacevic

The era of electrification offers promise to both
developed and emerging economies, says Kovacevic.

But those in the industry find his message captivating too. He calls mining, metals and especially copper “the great enabler” of electrification. And electrification’s the key to a new era in which copper usage will grow by magnitudes, he declares.

That’s happening already as developed countries wean themselves off fossil fuels and emerging countries use more and more electricity for consumer items and transportation or—from village to village and home to home—as they adopt electricity for the first time.

Among other vital metals are aluminum, lithium, vanadium and cobalt. “I like anything that enables electrification,” Kovacevic explains. “The sensitive one is cobalt. If people are talking about reducing cobalt in batteries or eliminating it altogether, who wins? Nickel. But no question about it, we will require hundreds of millions, in fact billions, of new battery cells.”

Overall, approximately 19% of energy use now comes from electricity, he says. But he expects the number to reach about 50% by 2050. His data for current and planned copper production, however, shows alarming shortfalls in capacity.

Half of the world’s primary copper production now comes from 25 mines. Just two countries, Peru and Chile, provide a combined 45%. One major copper mine, First Quantum Minerals’ (TSX:FM) Cobre Panama, has commissioning planned this year. Nothing else over 110,000 tonnes is expected until around 2022.

A new era of energy depends on mining and especially copper, says Gianni Kovacevic

First Quantum’s Cobre Panama will be the only
major new copper mine until about 2022, Kovacevic says.

In 2010 the 15 largest copper producers boasted average grades around 1.2%. The 2016 average was 0.72% and falling. Over the next half-century he expects average grades to slip below 0.5%.

Clearly more copper production will require much higher prices to make lower grades economic, Kovacevic emphasizes. He’s not alone in that outlook. Among others extolling the metal’s virtues is Robert Friedland, who also considers copper the key to electrification and maintains that declining grades will require higher prices.

Over the last nine months, however, prices haven’t co-operated. In late May spot copper approached a five-year high in the range of $3.30 a pound, but fell steeply after June 1. Current prices sit around $2.60 to $2.65, although that’s well above levels seen through most of 2015 and 2016. But Kovacevic says warehouse inventories suggest the market has reached a supply deficit.

Two decades of prices show an ironic connection with the commodity that fueled the previous energy era, he adds. “Copper’s never left its long-term bull market but it’s been pushed around by oil, because 90% of the time it’s correlated with oil. But now the prices have to decouple. Copper has to go much, much higher.”

Referring to himself as a “realistic environmentalist,” Kovacevic says the metals and mining crucial to the new energy era also remain crucial to emerging societies. Blocking new mines from development hinders new economies from development. “I can’t say to someone in India, for example, that they’re never going to have electricity or running water in their homes. You can’t say ‘build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone.’ People want basic human progress. Fortunately, as we go into this new pivot of energy we’re going to bypass the old ways of receiving energy in many applications.”

Kovacevic expands on his message in an illustrated keynote speech and also hosts a lithium investment panel discussion at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference on January 20 and 21. To avoid the $30 admission fee, click here for free registration.

Visual Capitalist: The bull case for energy metals going into 2019

January 10th, 2019

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | January 10, 2019

 

The rapid emergence of the world’s renewable energy sector is helping set the stage for a commodity boom.

While oil has traditionally been the most interesting commodity to investors in the past, the green energy sector is reliant on the unique electrical and physical properties of many different metals to work optimally.

To build more renewable capacity and to store that energy efficiently, we will need to increase the available supply for these specific raw materials, or face higher costs for each material.

Metal bull cases

Ahead of Cambridge House’s annual Vancouver Resource Investment Conference on January 20 and 21, 2019, we thought it would be prudent to highlight the “bull case” for relevant metals as we start the year.

It’s important to recognize that the commodity market is often cyclical and dependent on a multitude of factors, and that these cases are not meant to be predictive in any sense.

In other words, the facts and arguments illustrated sum up what we think investors may see as the most compelling stories for these metals—but what actually happens in the market, especially in the short term, may be different.

Overarching trends

While we highlight 12 minerals ranging from copper to lithium, most of the raw materials in the infographic fit into four overarching, big-picture stories that will drive the future of green energy:

Solar and wind
The world hit 1 TW of wind and solar generation capacity in 2018. The second TW will be up and running by 2023, and will cost 46% less than the first.

Electric vehicles
Ownership of electric vehicles will increase 40 times in the next 13 years, reaching 125 million vehicles in 2030.

Energy storage
The global market for energy storage is rapidly growing, and will leap from $194 billion to $296 billion between 2017 and 2024.

Nuclear
150 nuclear reactors with a total gross capacity of about 160,000 MW are on order or planned, and about 300 more are proposed—mostly in Asia.

Which of these stories has the most potential as a catalyst for driving the entire sector?

Based on these narratives, and the individual bull cases above, which metal has the most individual potential?

Visit Visual Capitalist at Booth #1228 at #VRIC19.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Click here for free VRIC registration up to January 11.

Read more about the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference.

92 Resources adds B.C. vanadium project to Quebec lithium package

November 20th, 2018

by Greg Klein | November 20, 2018

Expanding its portfolio of energy metals, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY moves into a vanadium exploration region in eastern British Columbia. The 3,735-hectare Silver Sands property sits directly east of Ethos Gold’s (TSXV:ECC) Pine Pass project, where a recent trenching program brought results including 0.48% V2O5 over 130 metres, part of a cumulative, non-continuous extent averaging 0.43% V2O5 over 218 metres. Ethos reports approximately 20 kilometres of subcrop strike distance on the property.

92 Resources adds B.C. vanadium project to Quebec lithium package

Silver Sands hosts similar features, 92 states. The company interprets the property’s rock types as “an adjacent thrust sheet, of analogous or identical lithologies” to those at Pine Pass, with both properties hosting “regionally mapped early Triassic-aged Spray River Group rocks (containing the Toad River and Grayling formations), which have been known to host vanadium-bearing horizons associated with phosphatic shales.

“Specifically, the project is host to the Lemoray phosphate prospect, a phosphatic horizon which has been historically noted in the academic literature, but its relation to vanadium mineralization has not yet been tested.”

92 hopes to begin initial field work once snow melts, says Neil McCallum of Dahrouge Geological Consulting.

92 president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux said the acquisition suits the company’s strategic plans. “With a focus on future energy metals such as lithium and frac sand, we have now positioned the company with a key vanadium asset in a mine-friendly jurisdiction. We will now evaluate and put together our winter exploration plans that should contain our Phase I drill program at the Corvette-FCI lithium project in Quebec.”

An option signed in September with Osisko Mining TSX:OSK gives 92 a 75% earn-in on the 10,000-hectare FCI claims adjacent to the flagship Corvette project. Corvette channel samples released that month averaged 1.35% Li2O, along with tantalum averaging 109 ppm Ta2O5.

Vanadium prices now approach an all-time high, having jumped over 550% since September 2016, Lamoureux added. Chinese steel accounts for most demand but vanadium-redox flow batteries offer additional future potential.

Pine Pass regional infrastructure includes Highway 97, the Canadian National Railway, transmission lines and natural gas pipelines.

92 gets Silver Sands by paying staking costs of $15,000, while the vendor keeps a 2% NSR.

In addition to Silver Sands and Corvette, the company holds three other Quebec lithium projects, Pontax, Eastmain and Lac du Beryl, as well as the Golden frac sand project in southern B.C.

Read more about 92 Resources.

Overwhelming majority puts Quebec in new hands, New Brunswick still deadlocked

October 1st, 2018

by Greg Klein | October 1, 2018

Overwhelming majority puts Quebec government in new hands

CAQ incoming premier Francois Legault argued against unacculturated immigrants,
made popular funding promises and vowed to cut taxes. (Photo: Coalition Avenir Québec)

 

Updated Quebec results (with 2014 figures in parentheses)

  • Coalition Avenir Québec: 75 seats, 37.4% of the popular vote (21 seats, 23%)
  • Quebec Liberal Party: 29 seats, 24.8% (68 seats, 41.5%)
  • Parti Québécois: 10 seats, 17% (28 seats, 25.4%)
  • Québec Solidaire: 10 seats, 16.1% (3 seats, 7.6%)
  • Independent: 1 seat

 

A seven-year-old party jumped from third place to government status as the Coalition Avenir Québec won the October 1 provincial election. Leading in a majority of seats half an hour after polls closed, the CAQ pushed the incumbent Liberals to second place, leaving the former official opposition Parti Québécois struggling to stay above fourth spot. Easily winning his riding of L’Assomption was incoming premier Francois Legault, a CAQ co-founder who previously created Air Transat and served as a PQ government minister. His CAQ has attracted disaffected Liberals as well as Péquistes.

PQ leader Jean-Francois Lisee lost his seat to a Québec Solidaire challenger.

Overwhelming majority puts Quebec government in new hands

Mining issues held little prominence as debate focused heavily on immigration but sidelined independence. Spending promises flowed freely with health care, education and child care giveaways coinciding with CAQ promises to cut taxes.

But just one week before the campaign’s official start date, the Liberal government announced $185 million of provincial money for the privately held BlackRock Metals’ iron ore-vanadium-titanium open pit development in the northern riding of Ungava. The money consisted of $100 million in loans and an $85-million investment, part of a total package of $1.3 billion attracted to the project. The Liberals also promised $63 million to build energy infrastructure in the Chicoutimi riding that would host BlackRock’s secondary processing facility.

Ungava’s Liberal incumbent placed third while the CAQ narrowly beat the PQ in a very tight three-way contest. In Chicoutimi, the CAQ won a strong victory over the PQ incumbent.

Last May Premier Philippe Couillard joined Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to announce $60 million in federal funding for an Alcoa NYSE:AA/Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO aluminum smelter to be built in the overlapping federal riding of Chicoutimi-Le Fjord. Three days later Trudeau called a by-election, only to see a Conservative defeat his Liberal incumbent.

The Quebec government invests heavily in projects ranging from junior exploration to operating mines through the Ressources Québec subsidiary of Investissement Québec. In August Legault said he would cut bureaucracy at Investissement Québec.

Quebec’s March budget posted a $1.3-billion surplus, but the province receives equalization payments that came to $11.8 billion this year and will rise to $13.3 billion in 2019. Currently the entire amount comes from the western provinces. Legault opposed the Energy East pipeline proposal from Alberta to New Brunswick.

Pundits might wonder to what extent the CAQ’s success depended on its proposal to expel unacculturated immigrants. But any criticism of la province spéciale will have to be muted, even if the plan calls for unwanted foreigners to be packed off to Anglo Canada.

The PQ’s demotion hardly spells the end of separatism now that the party shares the independence vote with QS and possibly the CAQ, which has equivocated on the subject.

As for last week’s New Brunswick election, results remain in limbo. With 22 seats, the Conservatives edged out the incumbent Liberals by a single riding. Speculation focuses on either party making a deal with the People’s Alliance or the Greens, which won three seats each.

The Green result triples its N.B. legislative standing, continuing the party’s progress in Canada. Last June the Ontario riding of Guelph elected that province’s first Green. Canada now has eight Greens elected provincially (three in N.B., three in B.C., and one each in Ontario and Prince Edward Island), along with one elected federally in B.C. In B.C.’s legislature, the party holds the balance of power under an agreement with the New Democratic Party minority government.

Can’t live without them

March 23rd, 2018

The U.S. Critical Materials Institute develops new technologies for crucial commodities

by Greg Klein

A rare earths supply chain outside China? It exists in the United States and Alex King has proof on his desk in the form of neodymium-iron-boron magnets, an all-American achievement from mine to finished product. But the Critical Materials Institute director says it’s up to manufacturers to take this pilot project to an industry-wide scale. Meanwhile the CMI looks back on its first five years of successful research while preparing future projects to help supply the stuff of modern life.

The U.S. Critical Materials Institute develops new technologies and strategies for crucial commodities

Alex King: “There’s a lot of steps in rebuilding that supply chain.
Our role as researchers is to demonstrate it can be done.
We’ve done that.” (Photo: Colorado School of Mines)

The CMI’s genesis came in the wake of crisis. China’s 2010 ban on rare earths exports to Japan abruptly destroyed non-Chinese supply chains. As other countries began developing their own deposits, China changed tactics to flood the market with relatively cheap output.

Since then the country has held the rest of the world dependent, producing upwards of 90% of global production for these metals considered essential to energy, defence and the overall economy.

That scenario prompted U.S. Congress to create the CMI in 2013, as one of four Department of Energy innovation hubs. Involving four national laboratories, seven universities, about a dozen corporations and roughly 350 researchers, the interdisciplinary group gets US$25 million a year and “a considerable amount of freedom” to pursue its mandate, King says.

The CMI channels all that into four areas. One is to develop technologies that help make new mines viable. The second, “in direct conflict with the first,” is to find alternative materials. Efficient use of commodities comprises the third focus, through improvements in manufacturing, recycling and re-use.

“Those three areas are supported by a fourth, which is a kind of cross-cutting research focus extending across a wide range of areas including quantum physics, chemistry, environmental impact studies and, last but certainly not least, economics—what’s the economic impact of the work we do, what’s its potential, where are the economically most impactful areas for our researchers to address,” King relates.

With 30 to 35 individual projects underway at any time, CMI successes include the Nd-Fe-B batteries. They began with ore from Mountain Pass, the California mine whose 2015 shutdown set back Western rare earths aspirations.

The U.S. Critical Materials Institute develops new technologies and strategies for crucial commodities

Nevertheless “that ore was separated into individual rare earth oxides in a pilot scale facility in Idaho National Lab,” explains King. “The separated rare earth oxides were reduced to master alloys at a company called Infinium in the Boston area. The master alloys were brought to the Ames Lab here at Iowa State University and fabricated into magnets. So all the skills are here in the U.S. We know how to do it. I have the magnets on my desk as proof.”

But, he asks, “can we do that on an industrial scale? That depends on companies picking up and taking ownership of some of these processes.”

In part, that would require the manufacturers who use the magnets to leave Asia. “Whether it’s an electric motor, a hard disk drive, the speakers in your phone or whatever, all that’s done in Asia,” King points out. “And that means it is most advantageous to make the magnets in Asia.”

America does have existing potential domestic demand, however. The U.S. remains a world leader in manufacturing loudspeakers and is a significant builder of industrial motors. Those two sectors might welcome a reliable rare earths supply chain.

“There’s a lot of steps in rebuilding that supply chain. Our role as researchers is to demonstrate it can be done. We’ve done that.”

Among other accomplishments over its first five years, the CMI found alternatives to both europium and terbium in efficient lighting, developed a number of improvements in the viability of rare earths mining and created much more efficient RE separation.

“We also developed a new use for cerium, which is an over-produced rare earth that is a burden on mining,” King says. “We have an aluminum-cerium alloy that is now in production and has actually entered the commercial marketplace and is being sold. Generating use for cerium should generate additional cash flow for some of the traditional forms of rare earths mining.”

Getting back to magnets, “we also invented a way of making them that is much more efficient, greatly reduces sensitive materials like neodymium and dysprosium, and makes electric devices like motors and generators much more efficient.”

All these materials have multiple uses. It’s not like they don’t have interest in the Pentagon and other places.—Alex King

Future projects will focus less on rare earths but more on lithium. The CMI will also tackle several others from the draft list of 35 critical minerals the U.S. released in February: cobalt, manganese, gallium, indium, tellurium, platinum group metals, vanadium and graphite. “These are the ones where we feel we can make the most impact.”

While the emphasis remains on energy minerals, “all these materials have multiple uses. It’s not like they don’t have interest in the Pentagon and other places.”

But the list is hardly permanent, while the challenges will continue. “We’ve learned a huge amount over the last five years about how the market responds when a material becomes critical,” he recalls. “And that knowledge is incredibly valuable because we anticipate there will be increasing incidences of materials going critical. Technology’s moving so fast and demand is shifting so fast that supply will have a hard time keeping up. That will cause short-term supply shortfalls or even excesses. What we need to do is capture the wisdom that has been won in the rare earths crisis and recovery, and be ready to apply that as other materials go critical in the future.”

Alex King speaks at Argus Specialty Metals Week, held in Henderson, Nevada, from April 16 to 18. For a 15% discount on registration, enter code RARE2018.

King’s Bay Resources reports initial drill results from Labrador nickel-cobalt project

January 16th, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 16, 2018

Although collared 150 metres apart, the first two holes on King’s Bay Resources’ (TSXV:KBG) Lynx Lake property both showed nickel-cobalt values above background levels over wide intervals.

King’s Bay Resources reports initial drill results from Labrador nickel-cobalt project

Lynx Lake has the Trans-Labrador Highway
bisecting the property, as well as adjacent power lines.

Hole LL-17-01 brought 0.058% nickel and 0.013% cobalt over 115.2 metres. LL-17-02 returned 0.057% nickel and 0.014% cobalt over 110.8 metres (not true widths). The thickness of the intervals and distance between the holes suggest “potential for a more localized zone of economic mineralization in the area,” the company stated. Assays for gold, platinum and palladium are expected later this month.

The initial drill campaign tested a small part of an approximately 24,200-hectare property. Under focus was the project’s West Pit, where airborne VTEM found a shallow anomaly of high resistivity measuring about 400 metres in diameter and 50 to 300 metres in depth. Historic, non-43-101 grab sample assays from the area graded up to 1.03% copper, 0.566% cobalt, 0.1% nickel, 5 g/t silver, 0.36% chromium, 0.39% molybdenum and 0.23% vanadium.

Other historic, non-43-101 grab samples from the property’s east side showed up to 1.39% copper, 0.94% cobalt, 0.21% nickel and 6.5 g/t silver.

King’s Bay now plans geostatistical and structural analysis to identify more drill targets. A field crew returns later this year.

Meanwhile a 6% copper grade highlighted last month’s results from the company’s Trump Island project in northern Newfoundland. Four of 15 outcrop samples surpassed 1% copper and also showed cobalt assays up to 0.12%.

In September King’s Bay offered a $250,000 private placement that followed financings totalling $402,000 that closed the previous month.