Two Australian rare metals companies could be planning to work together to provide a range of both light and heavy rare earths.
According to the daily financial newspaper, The Australian Financial Review, neither Nick Curtis of Lynas Corp (ASX:LYC) nor Ian Chalmers of Alkane Resources (ASX:ALK) would deny the two companies had been having some discussions. The plan according to the newspaper, is that, in essence, Lynas – whose Mt Weld project is dominated by LREE – would process Alkane’s concentrates – in which there is a high proportion of HREE – at its Mt Weld processing plant. Curtis told the newspaper that “Lynas is always interested in increasing its feedstock for supplying customers, particularly for heavy rare earths”.
The newspaper quotes studies that show it would take Lynas up to four years, and cost more than $1 billion, to crack the problem of extracting the HREE in the Crown and Swan deposits that are part of the Mt Weld project area. Alkane’s Chalmers confirmed to the newspaper that he had spoken to Lynas, Molycorp, Japanese and European companies about his development plans.
The newspaper’s report has caused a buzz of excitement in the Australian REE sector.
Meanwhile, drilling has begun at the Charley Creek REE deposit in the Northern Territory. Crossland Uranium Mines (ASX:CUX), which recently raised an additional $A2.9 million, hopes to define viable volumes and grades of REE and zircon to support a long-term sand mining operation.