A Rapidly Emerging Rare Earth Project in Labrador, Canada – Interview with Greg Andrews, President and CEO of Search Minerals Inc.
By Editing NAI01/06/2017 4:02 a.m.
- What is Search Minerals currently focused on and what are the opportunities?
Search Minerals Inc.
- Search is focusing on 5 of these critical rare earth elements which have constricted supply and increased demand: Dysprosium (Dy), Neodymium (Nd), Terbium (Tb), Europium (Eu), and Yttrium (Y). Permanent Magnets for electric motors (wind turbines, hybrid and electric vehicles); Catalysts for emissions, phosphors for energy efficient lighting, electronic devices, x-ray machines, aerospace and defense. New technology – magnetic refrigeration (gasless).
- Search has a District in SE Labrador Canada which is 70km x 8km. It currently hosts the FOXTROT projecy - a 14 year mine (8 yr open pit – 6 yr underground). Two other prospects have channel sampling: Deepwater Fox has up to 15% higher grades and could be up to 3 times larger than FOXTROT . Fox Meadow our third discovery is very similar to Foxtrot in terms of grade and dimension. There are up to 20 other potential prospects to explore in the District.
Considering these discoveries are road accessible, essentially tidewater and remarkably consistent geologically with FOXTROT, we believe that the opportunity could extend well beyond the 14-year mine life contemplated in the FOXTROT PEA.
- Search has a low capital cost project ($152M with $ 33M contingency) which is scalable to meet future development in the district.
- The Search opportunity also includes a proprietary metallurgical process which will eliminate the need for costly grinding and the use of traditional bubble flotation extraction. This simpler process is expected to provide three significant advantages:
- Lower CAPEX costs
- Lower production costs
- Significant environmental advantages as the waste is a dry stackable residue, and not wet tailings contained in a pond.
This process has a patent pending and we believe it could be licensed to other producers.
2. What is the resource potential at the flagship Foxtrot Project?
- Foxtrot has a 14 year mine life – other prospects would add years to the mine life of the District. Net Revenue for Life of Mine at Foxtrot Only is $ 1.7B.
While we have yet to drill the Deepwater Fox and Fox Meadow discoveries, surface assays at FOXTROT have held up in the drilling results at depth. We believe the same will hold true for these other two FOXTROT-like deposits as they are both in the same geological sequence. Or belief is that FOXTROT is one of many.
3. What are the local government and aboriginal tribes’ views on the project? Has there been any environmental issues?
- Relationships with all levels of government have been open and transparent and are described by arties as excellent. Search has been partially funded by the Federal and Provincial governments to validate the metallurgy process, and governments are being extremely helpful with our roadmap leading up to environmental assessment. The governments are currently providing $ 1.25M towards the current $1.9M pilot plant, which is nearing completion.
- Our proprietary process produces a dry stackable residue as opposed to wet tailings which we believe offers a safer, more manageable and acceptable environmental footprint. We are able to measure the contents of that residue as we do our pilot plant testing addressing environmental concerns well ahead of construction.
- Search engaged with the local aboriginal interest early in the exploration stage (2012), and have a very positive working relationship including an exploration agreement.
- We have initiated environmental application process which is being led by an experienced firm that has a relationship with local aboriginal peoples. The local aboriginal government is very supportive of the overall project and we see no problems negotiating a fair and reasonable agreement with them.
4. What are the company’s recent activities?
- Completing the second-round bench testing on a more representative bulk sample 3 of FOXTROT Ore and expect to complete all Pilot Plant testing by the End of February 2017. The work has been going extremely well and because this is a much-simplified process with fewer stages, we anticipate no major issues.
- Decision to move forward with the environmental assessment process.
- Completed oversubscribed private placement (Nov 2016) – raised $ 859,355 – selling 12,276,500 units at $0.07 per unit. One share and one warrant for one year at $ 0.14 per share
- Reduced legacy debt in the company for shares at $ 0.10 (premium to market) and $ 85M forgiveness of debt. Improved the balance sheet with these transactions
- Strong management – a proven track record with the board members. Metallurgy process developed and supervised by Dr. David Dreisinger, Phd, - Metallurgy Chair of University of British Columbia.