Canadian Mining Journal

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RARE EARTHS: New PEA cuts Strange Lake costs in half

LABRADOR – Toronto-based Quest Rare Minerals has improved the outlook for its Strange Lake rare earths project by cutting the construction costs roughly in half. The new number, $1.321 billion, is 48.5% less than the $2.565 billion number...



LABRADOR – Toronto-based Quest Rare Minerals has improved the outlook for its Strange Lake rare earths project by cutting the construction costs roughly in half. The new number, $1.321 billion, is 48.5% less than the $2.565 billion number arrived at just last fall. According to the updated preliminary economic assessment, sustaining costs has been reduced by $182 million as well.

Besides reducing pre-production capital requirements, the PEA has a simplified process flowsheet and a reduced environmental footprint. By adding a mill at the mine site, the amount of material and the cost of transportation to the refinery has been reduced as has the site of the residue management area.

The PEA project has robust after tax, unlevered economics: an internal rate of return of 16.7% and a net present value (8% discount) of $1.236 million. Strange Lake is estimated to generate revenue of $758 million annually over a 30-year mine life by shipping 578,000 t/y of concentrate. The concentrate would contain 4,400 tonnes of heavy rare earths plus yttrium and 6,000 tonnes of light rate earths yearly.

Quest is proposing an open pit mine with crushing, milling and flotation facilities on site. The mill would treat 46.1 million tonnes of ore annually. The concentrate would be shipped in containers via road and shipped to Becancour, QC. The concentrate will be upgrading using acid bake and water leaching technology to produce a mixed rate earth concentrate that will then be separated and refined to produce pure metal oxides.

Additional details about the Strange Lake project are posted at QuestRareMinerals.com. A photo gallery of the project is coming soon.