ARR hits home run with big increase in rare earths, scandium grades at La Paz
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American Rare Earths continues to hit the ball out of the park when it comes to proving up the potential of its La Paz project in Arizona, this time substantially raising the grade and lowering processing costs.
American Rare Earths (ASX:ARR) today revealed it had achieved a massive 216% increase in total rare earth elements (TREE) grade and a 90% hike in scandium grade, along with a 76% drop in ore mass during preliminary testwork on La Paz samples.
This is a great economic outcome for ARR, indicating La Paz ore can be processed using conventional methods and at a lower cost.
The news drove shares up over 10% on Tuesday morning to an intra-day high of 16c.
ARR shares have been on a tear of late thanks to continued success at its La Paz projects and several positive moves by the US, which is looking to secure its rare earth supply chain.
This latest development comes close on the heels of an increase in resource that places La Paz firmly in the lead to become one of North America’s largest rare earths projects.
“These results demonstrate that ore material from La Paz can be effectively concentrated using proven technologies,” managing director Keith Middleton said.
“Reducing ore material by 76% while recovering nearly 75% of TREE, with a 216% increase in TREE grade, is an important step in the technical evaluation of La Paz, where we plan to deliver, low-cost rare earth elements, for the US domestic and military supply chain.”
Rare earths are considered critical minerals by the US because they are essential to manufacturing strategic products including electric motors, airplanes, and defence equipment.
The US is pushing hard to shore up its domestic supply of rare earths in a bid to break China’s control over the market. Legislation is currently being considered to give rare earth magnet makers tax breaks if they source their supply from domestic rare earths mines.
Scandium is also classified as a critical mineral, making it highly sought after. It’s added to aluminium products to make them lighter, stronger, more corrosion-resistant and heat-tolerant.
Scandium can sell for as much as $US3,400/kg, according to recent price reports by BAIINFO (Beijing).
Preliminary test work demonstrates that ore from La Paz can be effectively concentrated using conventional magnetic separation, selective grinding and direct RE flotation.
The results show that plant feed material (pulverised ore) could be reduced by 76.3% while recovering 74.7% of the available TREE and 43.8% of the available Scandium.
TREE grades were concentrated from 552 parts per million (ppm) to 1744 ppm – an increase of 216%. Scandium grades were concentrated from 16 ppm to 30.4 ppm – an increase of 90%.
The benefits to ARR are not just lower processing costs, but it also means rejected ore mass can be returned to the open pit, simplifying environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) and reclamation.
The La Paz resource is pretty unique in that it has lower uranium and thorium grades than most other projects in the market.
According to ARR, the La Paz project has the lowest thorium levels of any US REE mine, which is a big advantage for an emerging rare earths producer.
The company also recently revealed a potentially big new rare earths discovery in Arizona, after drilling the Southwest area, about 4-7km southwest of the maiden La Paz resource – an area that has never been drilled before.
ARR has now started advanced metallurgical work through Nagrom in Western Australia with the aim of significantly improving on these preliminary results and developing an advanced processing and metallurgy flow sheet.
This article was developed in collaboration with American Rare Earths, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.