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5 rare earth element (REE) stocks with production potential (T.AVL) (V.MAT) (V.GEM) (V.ORT) (T.QRM)

Stockhouse Editorial
3 Comments| June 30, 2014

On November 2013, a Canadian Parliament House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources launched a study on the rare earths elements industry in Canada.

The purpose of the study was to gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities related to the development of rare earth elements (REE) in Canada and around the world.

A document titled The Rare Earth Elements Industry in Canada – Summary of Evidence summarizes witness testimony presented to the committee during the course of four meetings.

Key points

Rare earth elements are a group of 17 metals (including scandium and yttrium), which exhibit similar properties and occur in many of the same mineral deposits.

Contrary to what the term “rare earths” may suggest, rare earths are relatively abundant in the earth’s crust. However, rare earths seldom occur in concentrations that are economically exploitable. Instead, they are found together with other elements and as a result, are difficult to separate for extraction.

High technology goods that require rare earth elements include: hybrid vehicles, rechargeable batteries, mobile phones, LCD screens, laptops, wind turbines, medical imaging equipment, radar systems, catalytic converters, alloys that are more corrosion resistant.

Global production of rare earth elements is approximately 130,000 tonnes per year, material that is estimated to be worth US$4 billion annually.

China is the world’s largest producer of rare earth elements, and accounts for more than 95% of rare earth’s global production.

Since 2005, China has been implementing restrictions on its rare earths exports, which has resulted in significant rare earth element price increases on a number of occasions.

In light of supply challenges and demand projections for rare earth elements, witnesses indicated that many governments, private companies and research organizations are making significant investments to support the rapid development of rare earth resources outside of China.

Efforts to diversify supply have been made by various industry stakeholders.

According to Luisa Moreno, Senior Research Analyst at Euro Pacific Canada, many rare earth element companies were formed between 2008 and 2010, and over $3 billion has been investment in major projects outside of China, such as Molycorp Inc. (NYSE: MCP, Stock Forum) in the U.S. and Lynas in Australia.

Globally, 28 rare earth projects are in their advanced exploration and development stage, and another 28 are in the resource identification stage.

Steve Wilson, Senior Vice-President at the SGS Canada and a member of the Canadian Rare Elements Network (CREEN), pointed out that out of these 56 projects, 19 are located in Canada.

Witnesses remarked that Canada is “endowed with world-class rare earth deposits,’’ which account for approximately 40% to 50% of the world’s known REE reserves.

Wilson stated that “essentially” half of the rare earths that are available for exploitation outside of China are available in Canada.

Pierre Neatby, vice-president at Avalon Rare Metals Inc. (TSX: T.AVL, Stock Forum), remarked that “Canada is in a race with Australia, the U.S. and others to develop an [rare earths elements] industry.”

Current rare earth exploration activity and projects in Canada

Currently, there is no rare earths production or refining in Canada.

However, there are more than 200 individual exploration projects across the country at various stages of development.

The 20 most currently active projects in Canada amount to some 38 million tonnes of contained rare earth oxides, [accounting for roughly 30% of the global total].

Government officials identified 11 rare earth element projects in the advanced exploration stage, all of which are Canadian owned.

Amongst these projects, five (owned by Avalon, Quest Rare Minerals Ltd. (TSX: T.QRM, Stock Forum), Matamec Explorations Inc. (TSX: V.MAT, Stock Forum), Pele Mountain Resources Inc. (TSX: V.GEM, Stock Forum) and Orbite Aluminae Inc. (TSX: T.ORT, Stock Forum) are expected to reach production in the next four or five years.

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Orbite is 3 months away from their high purity alumina plant startup, and 4 months from 3 tons per day of production. A green company that will revolutionize the aluminum industry IMO
1.5 stars
July 27, 2014
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Sorry but none of these companies are anywhere near producing Rare Earths.
2.5 stars
July 1, 2014
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Orbite is T.ORT, they left the venture exchange over 2 years ago.
1 star
June 30, 2014
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