The rare earth concession area covers approximately 238km2 and is held under exploration licence PR 6698 (the “Exploration Licence”), which grants exclusive rights for prospecting and research. The rare earth concession area is located in the eastern part of the Ampasindava Peninsula, in the province of Antsiranana in north-western Madagascar, approximately 500km north of the capital, Antananarivo. The nearest major town and administrative centre is Ambanja, some 40km to the northeast of the rare earth concession area.
The Exploration Licence was originally granted in 2008 for five years and was renewed for three years in January 2014. The Group received the approval for the second-renewal Exploration Licence in November 2018 for another three years, starting 6 November 2018 to 5 November 2021. Prior to the expiry of the Exploration Licence, it will be necessary to make an application for a PE mining licence.
With the acquisition legally completed on 3 January 2019, the Group is able to commence its next phase of work, which includes accomplishing the preparatory works such as feasibility and engineering studies, as well as environmental impact assessment. The Group will be required to apply for a full mining licence before commercial production can commence. The Group will ensure that the operations abide by the laws and regulations of Madagascar, including environmental laws and standards.
The technical report commissioned by the Company and issued by Behre Dolbear Australia Pty Limited dated 21 September 2017 and updated on 20 September 2018, in accordance with the requirements of the VALMIN Code (Australian Code for Public Reporting of Technical Assessments and Valuations of Mineral Assets – 2015) and in compliance with the Code and Guidelines for Reporting Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves – Joint Ore Reserve Committee of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Australian Institute of Geoscientists and Minerals Council of Australia – December 2012; concluded that rare earth elements can be readily extracted from the deposits found within the concession area.
An estimated base case resource statement from the technical report is as follows:
The world demand is expected to grow as rare earth metals were designed into a wide variety of defence, aviation, industrial, and consumer electronics products.
Applications: television screens, computers, cell phones, silicon chips, monitor displays, rechargeable batteries, camera lenses, light emitting diodes (LEDs), compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), baggage scanners and marine propulsion systems
Applications: high strength magnets,
metal alloy, stress gauge, ceramic pigments, colorants in glassware, chemical oxidizing agents, polishing powders, additives for strengthening other metals and automotive catalytic converters
Applications: X-ray machines, X-ray tubes, magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) contrasting agents, nuclear medicine imaging, cancer treatment applications,
and for genetic screening tests, medical
and dental lasers
Applications: lasers, optical glass, fibre optics, radar detection devices, nuclear fuel rods, mercury-vapor lamps, highly reflective glass, computer memory, nuclear batteries and high temperature superconductors
Applications: hybrid automobiles, wind turbines, rechargeable batteries and biofuel catalyst
Applications: night-vision goggles, laser range-finders, guidance systems, communications, fluorescents and phosphors in lamps and monitors, amplifiers in fibre-optic data transmission, permanent magnets that are stable at high temperatures, precision-guided weapons, “white noise” production in stealth technology
The Group has invested progressively in Straits Hi-Rel Pte. Ltd. (“SHR”) since 2017. SHR is a start-up focusing on speciality testing and back-end manufacturing for high reliability integrated chips and electronic modules for end-user application in the automotive, energy (oil and gas) and industrial sectors.
Currently, the Group owns 12.5% stake in SHR and has the option to increase its investment up to 25%. Any further investment into SHR will be measured against the milestone achievements stipulated in the investment agreement.