When completed, the plant will be able to process 32,700 tons per year of beneficiated ore from the Ngualla rare earth mine and processing plant that is currently moving through the build stages in Tanzania.
African rare earth miner Peak Resources (ASX:PEK) has entered into an option agreement for a long term lease for the future home to the Teesside rare earth refinery and separation plant.
When completed, the plant will be able to process 32,700-tons-per-year of beneficiated ore from the Ngualla rare earth mine and processing plant that is currently moving through the construction stage in Tanzania.
Once finished, the Teesside plant will help Peak secure its spot as a premier rare earth supplier. The project will also set the company apart from others in the industry, making Peak the only developer producing saleable rare earth oxide products in-house. The move will allow the company to sell its products directly to end-users and manufacturers.
Peak, the sole owner of the Ngualla rare earth mine, is also hoping that the proposed refinery will also add value to the project as a refined concentrate draws higher prices than a less refined mixed carbonate ore.
“Peak invested a significant sum of money and time into developing and piloting the leaching and separating of the rare earths for our feasibility study. This pilot work, supplemented by extensive first-hand experience of processing rare earths, means that Peak is one of only a handful of companies outside of the current producers to have the required knowledge to produce high purity rare earth oxides,” Rocky Smith, Peak’s CEO said in the press release.
He continued: “As a result we will not be reliant on Chinese or other third party refineries for toll processing our material and thus we will be in a position to maximize the value of our products.”
If everything goes according to plan, the Teesside refinery will produce high purity rare earths including 2,800 tonnes of mixed neodymium (Nd) and praseodymium (Pr) oxide, two of the most in demand rare earths.
Nd and Pr are considered critical metals and are essential in the manufacturing of permanent magnets that are used in the high-efficiency electric-motors and generators. These minerals will play a key role in the push towards low carbon energy and will be instrumental in the future of a variety of things including: electric vehicles, wind energy, robotics and many others.
Peak has entered into a 2-year option for the property and has the option to negotiate for a long-term 250-year lease.
Shares of Peak Resources were down slightly on Thursday (July 12), and ended the day at AU$0.036.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.