Rockstone Research's Mining Analyst Stephan Bogner recently published an article on rare earth elements and the crucial importance of producing a marketable mineral concentrate mentioning various REE development projects.
The full article, incl. an interview with geologist Darren Smith of Dahrouge Geological Consulting Ltd., can be read via the following link:
There are many aspects to the success of a rare earth element ("REE") deposit being developed into a mine. Yet the question arises: Why are so many REE projects not put into production while standing still with "robust" economic studies?
John Kaiser of Kaiser Research Online argues that there are 3 deal breakers when assessing the quality of a REE deposit: 1) rock value; 2) tonnage footprint; 3) distribution of metals. Does any of that include cutting the wheat from the chaff a.k.a. metallurgy?
Chinese refineries process mineral concentrate feeds of +30% TREO with +60% recoveries, and so this is what they are looking for. Consider that!
With REE deposits, it all comes down to acid consumption; typically the largest cost. Less material means less acid, which means less deleterious elements into solution, which means less cost to deal with that solution, and less complications throughout the process. The ability to produce a salable mineral concentrate is paramount for REE companies aiming at developing their deposit into a mine.
However, finding public disclosure details on mineral concentrates is difficult or impossible in the REE sector as most tip toe around it. An obvious reason for this is the complexities in making a concentrate which meets the criteria of a refinery. It is often the case that only part of the information is disclosed, so that the reader cannot fully assess its significance.
The full article, incl. an interview with geologist Darren Smith of Dahrouge Geological Consulting Ltd., can be read with the following link:
Please read the disclaimer within the article and on http://www.rockstone-research.com/
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