Aim-listed Rainbow Rare Earths says it is well-positioned to meet the anticipated future demand for rare earths, owing to its Phalaborwa project, which is in development in South Africa, especially given its high-grade, low-cost nature and use of processing technology.
“Rainbow has the near-term opportunity to develop an independent, western rare earths supply chain and become a significant, responsible producer of neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr), with regulatory oversight,” the company acclaims.
This growing demand is posited to come from the resolution that follows the discussions at COP26 and the affirmation of the Paris Agreement to adhere to net-zero carbon emissions commitments, with this set to be a crucial factor in the considerable increase of sustainable forms of energy production.
The deal struck has codified new rules to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, including the gradual phasing down of fossil fuel consumption and the reduction of the global carbon market.
Key to achieving this will be the advancement of the green revolution, which aims to considerably curtail the use of internal combustion engines and facilitate the greater use of renewable energies and widespread adoption of green technology. These low-carbon greener technologies, however, have an intensive mineral demand.
Central to this demand are rare earth elements (REE) – in particular, NdPr and dysprosium, which are used to make compact high-strength permanent magnets used in the motors of hybrid and electric vehicles and wind turbines powering the greener electrification era for the international community, notes Rainbow.
While rare earths are not rare from a geological perspective, they are not commonly found in economically viable concentrations, and, in addition to being generally low grade, often have high levels of radioactivity owing to the presence of thorium, which increases processing requirements and heightens safety concerns both operationally and environmentally, Rainbow explains.
Moreover, it says that 85% of the world's REEs are currently produced by China, which has a significant impact on global supply and demand dynamics.
"Rainbow Rare Earths is in a pivotal position to provide the foundational materials required to advance this clean technology and the green revolution,” CEO George Bennett says.
"The Phalaborwa project can be brought into production quickly, with low capital and operating expenditure, in an environmentally responsible manner to deliver a high-grade oxide. In the processing of material from the existing gypsum stacks at Phalaborwa, we aim to deliver a clean rare earths project, removing environmental liability and redepositing benign gypsum on a new stack, built according to International Finance Corporation performance standards and Equator Principles.
"The codification of international net-zero carbon targets cements Rainbow's position as company working towards a green future, directly contributing to the alleviation of climate change through a responsible, sustainable and independent supply chain for REEs,” he adds.