Hastings Rare Metals’ (ASX: HAS) shares could rise today with a Strategic Alliance agreement now in place with a strategic partner for staged funding of the Hastings Project in Western Australia towards commercial production.
The un-named partner has an existing investment in an integrated Rare Earth business with expertise in mining and processing of Heavy Rare Earths.
It also has significant experience in operating mines and investing in the mining industry.
“We are extremely pleased to have identified a partner who shares our enthusiasm and commitment for Heavy REE’s, and brings a wealth of technical and financial skills which complement and enhance our assets,” chairman Tony Ho said.
“As part of the alliance, we have commenced work to reduce the capital costs to derisk, and to maximise the NPV of the Hastings project.”
The Strategic Alliance Memorandum of Understanding will investigate funding requirements for future testwork, pilot studies, Bankable Feasibility Study and to establish commercial production.
It will identify the optimal processing of ores including toll treatment opportunities.
Funding will include potential offtake arrangements, refining and marketing agreements.
The Alliance allows for an initial period of further mutual due diligence to formalise a detailed plan to move the Hastings Project into production.
The new partner has access to low cost capital and a deep technical understanding of the separation and refining process required for Heavy Rare Earths.
Its REE separation facility consistently achieves high purity, and high recovery rates for key elements including Dysprosium and Yttrium (purity up to 99.999%).
The strategic partner has an existing team of scientists and production staff with a world class capability in the Rare Earth Industry. The business specialises in the separation, refining and trading of REE with a focus on the more valuable heavy rare earths.
Hastings brings to the alliance a world class HREE project with a completed scoping study, located within a favourable jurisdiction, with excellent existing infrastructure, a proven technical team, and the ability to move to being production ready, based upon the funding framework in this Alliance.
The Hastings deposit has a current Resource of 36.2 million tonnes at 0.21% TREO and 0.18% HREO and is differentiated from other projects by its predominantly heavy rare earths (85%) content, such as dysprosium and yttrium, which are substantially more valuable than the more common light rare earths.
It is the largest heavy rare earth project in Australia, and ranks fourth largest globally with resources for more than 25 years of production at over 1 million tonnes per annum to produce over 10,000 tonnes per annum.
To top it off, recent rock chip sampling has returned its highest ever assay results including 5,237ppm total rare earths.
This also confirmed two new zones of near surface, high-grade mineralisation with potential for very attractive, near surface, low strip ratio resources that importantly, are located within 4.5 kilometres from the current JORC Resource.
Levon is at least 400 metres long and averages 65 metres wide on surface while Haig is at least 500 metres long and averages 50 metres wide on surface.
Demand for rare earths
China currently supplies over 95% of rare earths and had in 2010 imposed export quotas that reduced supply to around 30,000 tonnes per annum.
Tightening the future supply further is that China also prohibited new operations/expansions and eliminated 20% of processing capacity in 2012, while in the past year has been concentrating supply to a few.
Rare earths are critical to a wide variety of current and new technologies, including smart phones, hybrid cars, wind turbines and energy efficient light bulbs.
Hastings Rare Metal’s valuable heavy rare earths dominant deposit has demonstrated its attractiveness by drawing in the as yet unnamed investor.
Importantly, the investor will pave the way for funding of the Hastings Project towards commercial production while assisting with the technical aspects along the way.
Proactive Investors Australia is the market leader in producing news, articles and research reports on ASX “Small and Mid-cap” stocks with distribution in Australia, UK, North America and Hong Kong / China.