Tasman Metals, which has assembled an impressive mineral portfolio of claim holdings across Sweden, Finland, and Norway, the very region where rare earth elements (REEs) were first discovered (widely known as the home of REEs), reported some excellent news today out of their Norra Karr zirconium-yttrium REE project, as the mining lease and full mineral rights have been granted by the Swedish Mining Inspectorate (Bergsstaten) for an initial 25 year period, with 10-year increment renewal so long as the mine continues to operate.
President and CEO of TAS, Mark Saxon (B.Sc. Geology), an 18-year exploration and resource geology veteran who is also a founding director over at Mawson Resources and manages their uranium projects across Europe (as VP Exploration), broke today's news to markets and called reception of the mining lease a major milestone for Tasman. Saxon was eager to thank staff and consultants who helped make this a reality, noting the rigorous social impact studies done thus far in order to fully highlight positive regional impact from the developments at Norra Karr. The lease comes in after considerable stakeholder consultation and while, as per standard practice for all such new mining leases, said stakeholders will have a five-week interval to appeal, this is a clear green light given how the extensive independent environmental/social impact assessment process played out.
Regular community meetings, several years of data compilation looking at flora/fauna (biogeochemistry of local plant life) and water quality in streams/lakes for the environmental baselines, study of lake, river, and soil sediments, even waste-rock and tailings composition analysis were done to bring TAS to this point. They even did the leaching analysis and made determinations about where to put future tailings, engaging local and regional government officials at every step, with zero impediments to project furtherance kicked up at any point during this in-depth research process.
The 100%-owned Norra Karr (1 claim of some 1,359 acres) is a premium REE site and one of only two NI 43-101 compliant resources in the EU, making the development a no brainer for the entire EU region from a strategic growth standpoint, especially amid REE curtailment of output by major global producer China at the start of 2013. The best part is TAS owns the only other such REE site outrightly as well, a sizeable hydrothermal (metasediment-associated), xenotime-rich heavy REE resource named Olesrum (also apatite, monazite, and minor allanite), just 62 miles or so east of Norra Karr, which has been validated by 24 holes of drilling to date. Norra Karr is very analogous to REE mines in Russia's Lovozero province and bears a striking geological resemblance to the rich REE, niobium, and zirconium well-known to be found in abundance there. Inferred Mineral Resource is 60.5M tonnes at 0.54% TREO (total RE oxides) and 1.72% ZrO2 (zirconium oxide), with 53.7% of the TREO being the higher value heavy rare earth oxide.
The economics here are delicious, with denser values for the key REEs dysprosium, neodymium, terbium, and yttrium making Norra Karr one of the biggest and most feasible projects among potential peers, especially considering the advantages of having infrastructure already in place and an easy-to-process mineral profile (ambient temperature pressure processing will suffice nicely). This is an REE bonanza in the heart of the EU (about 9 miles northeast of Granna, some 186 miles southwest of Stockholm) with superb access to markets and logistics (operating ports, power, road, rail, and even skilled personnel sources). The extremely short interval of time elapsed from initial discovery to application for the lease should tell markets everything they need to know about the advantages of operating in a mining friendly jurisdiction like this, where political stability, a long history of government working with industry, and a transparent Mining Act all contribute to promoting operational momentum for developers like TAS.
Saxon was happy to assert that Norra Karr can handle the EU's demand for REEs for some 40 years or so and couldn't help his pride over the fact that the supply security this project will create for EU industries will no doubt have a profound, long-term impact on European markets as a whole. With some 95% of much-needed REEs coming into EU markets from China, TAS is poised to deliver the high-tech metals that EU markets will require moving forward via a low-risk, stable locale where the deposit is also exceptionally low in radioactive content (under 15ppm uranium/thorium).
Learn more about Tasman Metals at TasmanMetals.com
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