ASX Rare Earth Stocks
|Company||ASX Code||Share Price (c)||Shares on Issue (M)||Market Cap (M)||Project|
|Alkane Resources||ALK||75||580||435||Dubbo, NSW|
|Arafura Resources||ARU||6.9||1054||73||Nolans Bore, NT|
|Crossland Metals||CUX||0.3||1011||3||Charley Creek, NT|
|Greenland Minerals||GGG||10.5||1190||125||Kvanefjeld, Greenland|
|Hastings Metals||HAS||5.3||1034||55||Yangibana, WA|
|Lynas Corp||LYC||154||697||1073||Mt Weld, WA|
|Northern Minerals||NTU||2.4||2655||64||Browns Range, WA/NT|
|Peak Resources||PEK||1.7||1405||24||Ngualla, Tanzania|
Alkane Resources Ltd
Most of Alkane’s market cap is related to its Tomingley gold operation (60k to 80k ozpa) and its Northern Molong Porphyry Project. The company has made some spectacular intersections at the latter, such as 965.7m at 0.21g/t gold and 0.11% copper.
The Dubbo Project in NSW has a resource of 75Mt at 1.89% ZrO2, 0.04% HfO2, 0.45% Nb2O5, 0.03% Ta2O5, 0.14% Y2O3 and 0.74% Total Rare Earth Oxides (TREO). The project has been awaiting development for a long time with a base case of 1mtpa costing $1.3B. It has yet to establish market offtake or finance.
Arafura Resources Ltd
The Nolans Bore project hosts a resource of 56mt at 2.6% TREO and 11% phosphate. Neodymium and praseodymium comprise 26% of TREO. This is significant as NdPr oxide is expected to contribute about 85% of revenue. It is currently selling at about USD40/kg. NdPr is used to make very strong permanent magnets, such as those in electric vehicles.
A DFS completed in early 2019 used a base case price of USD66.4/kg and a low of 58/kg. However, total operating costs per tonne of NdPr were USD26/kg, so there still appears to be a reasonable margin. The company is now at the stage of finalising offtake and finance.
Crossland Strategic Metals Ltd
At the end of March the company had $20,000 cash and total debt of $2.4M, mostly owed to parties related to some of the directors. It is not certain how the company intends to fund future activities, although it does say its creditors remain supportive.
REE’s at the Charley Creek project are hosted in low grade alluvial sand. A positive scoping study completed in 2013 was based upon an indicated resource of 387Mt at 500ppm (0.05%) TREO and an inferred resource of 418Mt at 290ppm TREO. The company is planning to re-establish the resource and complete a second scoping study. It is also planning bulk testwork.
Greenland Minerals Ltd
The Kvanefjeld project is located in southern Greenland with all year shipping, mild climate and good infrastructure. The company entered into an agreement to acquire the project in 2007. At that time it had a resource of 120mt at 400ppm uranium, having been explored and drilled since the 1950’s. At the time of acquisition, it was not possible to explore for or develop uranium in Greenland. This has led to a very long development timetable, although significant progress has been made in recent years.
The Kvanefjeld resource is 1Bt at 1.1% TREO, 266ppm uranium, 893ppm Y2O3 and 0.24% Zn. A feasibility study completed in 2019 returned very low operating costs of USD4/kg of TREO, net of by-product credits, for the production of 32,100t/a TREO. Capex is estimated at USD500m for an initial 37 year mine life.
Hastings Technology Metals Ltd
The Yangibana project, located in the Pilbara region of WA, is at the stage of finalising offtake and arranging finance. A 2017 DFS, with later updates, returned total capex (plus working capital and fees) of AUD593m. It has an NPV of AUD549 and IRR of 21%. The project will produce 15,000tpa of mixed rare earth carbonate (MREC), which will be sold for further processing. The company has an offtake contract with Sky Rock Baotou and is in negotiation with Schaeffler and Thyssenkrup. The company has conditional potential loans for around AUD450m.
The project has a reserve of 12.2mt at 1.13% TREO and a 21.25mt resource at 1.13% TREO. It is unique in having a very high NdPr to TREO ratio, thus making potentially one of the most valuable in the world.
Lynas Corporation Ltd
Lynas has a REE mine at Mt Weld in WA and a processing facility at Gebeng in Malaysia. The mine has reserves of 19.5mt at 8.5% TREO and resources of 55.2mt at 5.4% TREO. There is also a 37.7mt niobium rich resource. The plant at Gebeng completes cracking and leaching, solvent extraction and product finishing. The resources contain uranium and WA had banned any processing involving radioactivity at the time of construction. Now Malaysia has banned import of radioactive material as of July 2023.
The company plans to build a cracking and leaching facility at Kalgoorlie, WA. This would remove uranium, thorium and heavy metals prior to shipping to Malaysia. It also has an MOU to build an advanced REE plant in the US, producing separated heavy rare earths and specialty materials.
In the first half of 2020 the company had revenue of AUD180.1m and EBITDA of AUD44.2m, sales of 2,710t of NdPr and 7,693t TREO. It is the second largest REO producer and the largest outside of China.
Northern Minerals Ltd
The company has built a pilot plant at its Browns Range REE project in WA. To the end of 2019 it had produced 158t of mixed heavy rare earth carbonate. Once an offtake agreement was in place, the company commenced sales to its offtake partner, Thyssenkrupp. The plant is now on care and maintenance due to COVID-19. The company has two other early stage REE projects; John Gault in WA and Boulder Ridge in the NT.
Browns Range hosts a reserve of 3.3mt at 6.79TREOkg/t and resource of 9.19mt at 0.66TREO. The reserves and resources are quite high in dysprosium oxide, a valuable REE. In fact, it is one of the few such REE projects outside of China.
Peak Resources Ltd
The company holds a 75% interest in the Ngualla project, located in Tanzania. It hosts reserves of 18.5mt at 4.8% TREO, primarily NdPr, and resources of 214mt at 2.15% TREO. The company plans to build a mine and concentrator at Ngualla and then ship concentrate to a refinery in Tees Valley in the UK.
A BFS has been completed that shows a USD32.24/kg NdPr breakeven. Total capex is USD365 and opex USD91mpa. It has a post tax NPV8 of USD612m and IRR of 22% at NdPr of USD77.50/KG. According to Kitco Nd oxide is selling for USD58/kg and Pr oxide for USD60/kg.
A common theme amongst these companies is the long lead times to development. This is in part because specialty metals, such as REE, tend to have more complicated flow sheets. Another common issue is the association of radioactive elements with REE’s. This slows, or even stops, the approvals process. Nonetheless some are moving towards completing offtake and finance, so the sector is worth watching.