The race is on to secure rare earth metals in the U.S. All as China, which controls up to 80% of global rare earth supply threatens to cut us off. In fact, in recent weeks, China has already said would cut off rare earth supply to Lockheed Martin and other companies in retaliation for supplying Taiwan with military hardware. That move could cause big problems. After all, such materials are crucial to the U.S. military’s advanced weapons applications. For example, a Virginia class submarine requires 4.2 tonnes of rare earth metals. An F-35 fighter needs 450 kg. With such a threat, companies in the U.S., such as MP Materials are looking to restore the rare earth supply from the Mountain Pass mine in California in an effort to finally help eliminate U.S. dependence on China. The news is creating excitement for Defense Metals Corp. (TSXV:DEFN)(OTCQB:DFMTF), Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA), Fortress Value Acquisition Corp. (NYSE:FVAC), Texas Mineral Resource Corp. (OTC:TMRC), and MP Materials (NYSE:MP).
Defense Metals Corp. (TSXV:DEFN)(OTCQB:DFMTF) BREAKING NEWS: Defense Metals Corp. is pleased to announce that as part of its ongoing baseline environmental monitoring program (see Defense Metals News Release dated July 8, 2020) it has recently completed meteorological station installation, stream flow monitoring, and a property-wide high resolution airborne LiDaR (Light Detection and Ranging) survey at its 1,708 hectare (4,220 acre) Wicheeda Rare Earth Element (REE) Property located close to existing infrastructure near Prince George, British Columbia (BC). Craig Taylor, CEO of Defense Metals, stated:
“Defense Metals continues to advance the Wicheeda REE Project through completion of its highly successful 2020 updated mineral resource estimate, 26 tonne flotation pilot plant, and long-term baseline environmental mentoring programs. In addition, completion of high-resolution airborne LiDaR surveys allow for enhanced planning of critical project infrastructure as we look forward to the potential development of the Wicheeda REE Project. The Fortress Value Acquisition Corp.’s US$1.4 billion merger with MP Materials/Mountain Pass and listing on the NYSE has further added awareness to the REE industry and we anticipate that this sector will continue to attract the attention of investors, governments, and consumers all around the world.”
The Wicheeda project has indicated mineral resources of 4,890,000 tonnes averaging 3.02% LREO (Light Rare Earth Elements) and inferred mineral resources of 12,100,000 tonnes averaging 2.90% LREO. Flotation pilot-plant processing of a 26-tonne bulk sample of Wicheeda REE material yielded a mineral concentrate averaging 7.4% NdPr oxide (neodymium-praseodymium) critical magnet metals.
Hydologica Environmental Consulting Inc. and Swiftwater Consulting Ltd. of Vancouver, BC were commissioned to complete an assessment of regional climate data to support baseline monitoring activities and meteorological station installation at the Wicheeda REE Project. The regulatory requirement is for a minimum of two years of project-specific baseline data collection. As the Wicheeda REE Project advances, these data are analyzed along with regional climate data to characterize the project area and provide inputs to design and permitting. The Wicheeda site meteorological station install allows for continuous real-time telemetry monitored data collection including; precipitation, barometric pressure, solar radiation snow depth, wind speed and direction parameters.
Defense Metals retained subsequently Eagle Mapping Ltd. of Port Coquitlam, BC to collect LiDAR and color aerial photography over the Wicheeda REE Project. The LiDAR will be collected at a minimum density of 8 points-per-square-metre. Expected absolute accuracies of the LiDAR data will be less than +/- 15cm in the vertical and +/- 30cm in the horizontal. The color photography will be triangulated and orthorectified to the LiDAR bare earth model to produce an orthophoto mosaic with a 13 cm pixel resolution.
In addition to real-time climate monitoring and LiDaR survey, EDI Environmental Dynamics Inc. of Prince George, BC has completed hydrometric station installs within the Wicheeda REE Project. Hydrometric stations area designed to collect stream flow data in accordance with BC hydrometric standards for Grade A provincial standards in support of potential future project applications including: major mine permit applications proceeding through the BC Environmental Assessment Act, or regional mine permit applications via the Mines Act.
Other related developments from around the markets include:
Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) reported, “In the third quarter, we produced just over 145,000 vehicles and delivered nearly 140,000 vehicles. In terms of days of sales, new vehicle inventory declined further in Q3 as we continue to improve our delivery efficiency. Our net income and cash flow results will be announced along with the rest of our financial performance when we announce Q3 earnings. Our delivery count should be viewed as slightly conservative, as we only count a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct. Final numbers could vary by up to 0.5% or more. Tesla vehicle deliveries represent only one measure of the company’s financial performance and should not be relied on as an indicator of quarterly financial results, which depend on a variety of factors, including the cost of sales, foreign exchange movements and mix of directly leased vehicles.”
Fortress Value Acquisition Corp. (NYSE:FVAC), a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC announced that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has declared effective the registration statement on Form S-4, which includes a proxy statement/consent solicitation/prospectus in connection with its special meeting of stockholders to consider the previously announced business combination with MP Materials. MP Materials is the owner and operator of Mountain Pass, the only rare earth mining and processing site of scale in North America. FVAC has commenced mailing the definitive proxy statement/consent solicitation/prospectus relating to the special meeting, which will be held on Friday, November 13, 2020. The proxy statement/consent solicitation/prospectus is being mailed to FVAC’s stockholders of record as of the close of business on October 12, 2020. Should the Business Combination be approved by stockholders, FVAC and MP Materials anticipate closing the Business Combination the week of November 16, 2020, subject to satisfaction or waiver of customary closing conditions.
Texas Mineral Resource Corp. (OTC:TMRC) just reported, “Search Minerals Inc. and USA Rare Earth, LLC are pleased to announce that they have entered into a Technical Collaboration Framework Agreement to govern initial cooperation between USA Rare Earth and Search Minerals in a number of important areas of mutual interest. Search holds patented Direct Extraction Process technology and a 100% owned Critical Rare Earth Element District in SE Labrador, Canada. USA Rare Earth is establishing an integrated mine-to-magnet strategy independent of China, including funding and developing the Round Top Heavy Rare Earth and Critical Minerals Project in West Texas.”
MP Materials (NYSE:MP), the largest rare earth materials producer in the Western Hemisphere, announced the completion of its business combination with Fortress Value Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC. The combined company, MP Materials Corp., will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange, November 18th, under the ticker symbol “MP”. MP Materials owns and operates Mountain Pass, an iconic American industrial asset, which is the only rare earth mining and processing site of scale in the Western Hemisphere and currently produces approximately 15% of global rare earth content. The market for separated rare earth elements is expected to see significant growth, as these materials are critical inputs for the magnets that enable the mobility of electric vehicles, drones, defense systems, wind turbines, robotics and many other high-growth, advanced technologies. MP Materials’ integrated operations at Mountain Pass uniquely combine low production costs with best-in-class environmental standards, thereby restoring American leadership to a critical industry with a strong commitment to sustainability.
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