Rare-earths developer Torngat Metals has completed a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on the Strange Lake project, in Quebec, completing another step towards its goal of producing separated rare-earth oxides by 2023.
The PEA was completed by consulting firm Micon International, which used a detailed geological model developed over four years.
“Selective mining and ore sorting have also been integrated into the plan, which in addition to improving processing parameters, advances our goal of minimising the environmental footprint of our operations,” said Torngat CEO Dirk Naumann.
The PEA demonstrates that the Strange Lake project has the potential to earn positive economic returns and is sufficiently robust to withstand adverse changes to the tested parameters.
Torngat said it would proceed to prefeasibility study (PFS), including full-scale pilot work.
Torngat believes that piloting will identify opportunities to optimise processing parameters, which could result in significant improvements to the economic model.
Strange Lake in the Nunavik region of Quebec is long known as one of the world's largest proven rare earth deposits that contains light and heavy types of rare earths.
Torngat will focus on rare earths critical for the manufacture of permanent magnets.
The global demand for rare earths is expected to grow significantly over the coming decades. Rare earths are used in numerous low carbon and high-tech applications, including emissions reducing catalysts, smart phones, lasers and medical imaging machines.
Many western governments understand the critical and strategic importance of rare earths and are creating plans to support the development of reliable and sustainable sources of supply. Torngat is in talks with the Quebec and Canadian governments on their critical materials strategies and is also in discussions with US government officials.