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GeoMegA has been particularly noteworthy as of late. The Company is focused on clean technology metals, which are those metals used in the production of clean technology products or components. Clean technologies are economically competitive and productive while using less material and/or energy, generating less waste, and causing less environmental damage than alternatives. As society demands more high-tech and “green” products, the supply of the metals used in the manufacture of these products is imperative. Rare earth elements, such as GeoMegA seeks to supply, have significant strategic importance in the 21st century as they are used in the production of electric vehicles, wind turbines, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), cell phones, fiber optics, lasers, hard disks, missile defense, and many other high-tech or “green” applications.
At present, approximately 97% of rare earths worldwide are produced at mines in China; however, China has begun setting stringent caps and increasing taxes on its rare earth exports. Such production quotas in China led to a 40% decrease in the country’s rare earth element exports in 2010. This contraction in supply combined with greater demand has caused significant price increases in the rare earths market and is leading consumers to reevaluate their supply chains. Thus, as China’s output declines, new rare earth mine potential is being developed around the world, such as GeoMegA’s Montviel carbonatite deposit in Quebec.
Demand for rare earths was 120,000 tonnes in 2010, up from approximately 30,000 tonnes annually in the 1980s. Demand, forecast to reach 200,000 tonnes per year by 2015, is anticipated to outpace supply over the next several decades. In contrast, current global REE production is only approximately 112,000 tonnes, creating opportunities for new suppliers.
Notably, GeoMegA operates in Quebec, which is frequently named among the best regionsworldwide for mining investment. Over the past two years, the Company has been accelerating exploration at its wholly owned Montviel carbonatite (one of a portfolio of 20 properties), and in September 2011, announced a significant National Instrument 43-101-compliant resource calculation, which identified 183.9 million tonnes (Mt) of indicated resources averaging 1.45% total rare earth oxides (TREO) in addition to 66.7 Mt of inferred resources averaging 1.46% TREO. The 43-101 calculation also demonstrated the presence of niobium and other critical rare earths, including considerable quantities of neodymium oxide, a key rare earth element used in the manufacture of permanent magnets.
A second stage of drilling is now ongoing, which in December 2011, already returned positive results.
We look forward to continuing to follow GeoMegA’s progress, as the Company completes Phase II drilling and conducts economic/feasibility studies.