Hastings Rare Metals Limited’s (ASX: HAS) stock is up 7.69% in afternoon trading and shares are currently trading at AUD$0.14 with a market capitalization of AUD$10 million. This morning Hastings released a letter to shareholders commenting on their accomplishments over the last year along with a strategic plan for the remainder of 2012. I personally am a fan of their Technical Director Steve Mackowski because he is one of the few qualified engineers in mineral processing with over 30 years technical and operational experience in rare earths. I enjoyed his interview on SquawkBox last week about the rare earth markets outside of China. (See below to access the video.)
Here’s a summary of Hastings’ activities and an overview of their key accomplishments:
- Hastings completed a successful drill campaign in September 2011 which led to the announcement of a Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) compliant resource estimate of 36.2 million tonnes for the Hastings heavy rare earths project with indicated and inferred results of 0.21% total rare earth oxides, 0.35% niobium oxide and 0.89% zirconium oxide. This was a significant milestone for Hastings and proved a JORC resource for more than 20 years of operation.
- The drill program greatly increased the grade of zirconium, niobium and yttrium oxides, allowing the first accurate estimate of the full range of rare earth oxides. It also increased exploration potential with additional strike identified in the south.
- The project has now moved from the exploration stage to the development stage and an internal study from November 2011 confirmed that historical test work.
The next steps for Hastings will be:
- To validate and verify previous work that has been conducted;
- To optimize their flow sheet for better focus on the heavy rare earth oxide opportunities for dysprosium and yttrium;
- To work through the scoping studies to verify the business case; and
- To verify chemistry changes at the pilot plant level.
To accomplish these next steps and move the project forward Hastings has assembled a qualified team. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) has been engaged to fast track development of the project so that Hastings can capitalize on the extensive historical work that has been done on the project. The ANSTO development engineers working on this project have also successfully developed projects for Lynas Corporation Ltd. (ASX: LYC) and Arafura Resources Ltd. (ASX: ALK).
An Australian Stock Exchange notice released today also announced that A1 Investments & Resources Ltd. (ASX: AYI), a Japanese controlled investment firm with a particular focus on Australian mining and resource companies, has acquired 8 million shares at AUD$0.10 per share of Hastings Rare Metals. An earlier Australian Stock Exchange notice dated April 17, 2012 also indicated that Swift Venture Holdings Corporation of Singapore has become a substantial shareholder in Hastings by acquiring 7 million ordinary shares at AUD$0.10 each. Combined both companies have a stake in Hastings of over 10%.
Earlier this year in February, a capital raise for AUD$5.4 million was announced and closed oversubscribed with two significant Asian investors joining the roster. Clearly Hastings is attracting international investors and garnering increased attention from investors. Hastings now has the funding in place to undertake the next stage of development.
*Prices taken at 1:11 PM EST 2012-04-18.
Disclaimer: Hastings Rare Metals Ltd. is a sponsor of RareMetalBlog.