USA Rare Earth takes 80% stake in Round Top project in Texas
Investors are increasingly interested in exposure to rare earths – 17 minerals used in military applications, ceramics, wind turbines, electric cars and medical equipment. China is the world’s largest producer and has threatened to stop exporting these minerals to the United States.
Last year, the governments of Canada and the United States reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the North American supply chain for essential minerals – essential to the national security and economic growth of both countries. Boosting domestic production of rare earths has become a priority in Washington as relations with China have increasingly frayed and US lawmakers fear relying on a rival for essential defense components.
USA Rare Earth has now completed a $ 50 million funding round and is now funded through the completion of the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS), which includes the Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS), the pilot plant and a demonstration plant to be built at the Round Top site later this year that will include heap leach test buffers and continuous ion exchange treatment (CIX).
The demonstration plant will support the DFS and permits as well as the production of representative materials for evaluation by potential customers. The Round Top joint venture has received stormwater construction permits from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and has started a 20,000 tonne bulk sample to support feasibility studies and the demonstration plant.
“We are pleased to finalize our joint venture with the creation of Round Top Mountain Development LLC”, Anthony Marchese, President of TMRC said in a press release.
“I was impressed with their unwavering vision of helping the United States create a supply chain of essential minerals based on the domestic market,” said Marchese. Their recently completed financing and the expertise of their financial advisors reinforce our belief that our joint venture will have the resources to succeed.
The mid-2019 PEA Round Top includes a net present value (NPV) of $ 1.56 billion at a 10% discount rate, before taxes; 70% internal rate of return (IRR), a capital cost of $ 350.4 million, including a complete on-site rare earth oxide (REO) and mineral separation plant, and a contingency allowance 25% of $ 65.7 million.
The extraction rate is estimated at 20,000 tonnes per day (TPD), with all ore processing at the site. REO production is expected to average 2,313 tonnes per year (TPY) in total, including approximately 180 TPY of neodymium (Nd) and 67 TPY of praseodymium (Pr). The lithium resource is estimated at 9,800 TPY of lithium carbonate production.
“We have a very unique deposit in a number of ways – we have 16 of the 17 rare earths, many of which fall into rare earth categories that relate to a number of defense and manufacturing applications. It is possibly the largest heavy rare earth deposit in the world outside of China, ”USA Rare Earth CEO Pini Althaus told MINING.COM last year. The company hopes to get it up and running by 2023.
MP Materials Corp, which controls California’s Mountain Pass mine, the only active rare earth mine in the United States, went public last year in a nearly $ 1.5 billion PSPC deal. of dollars.