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Hastings Rare Metals Changes Board

Hastings Rare Metals (ASX: HAS) has restructured its board with the appointment of its largest shareholder and investment banker Charles Lew as its chairman.

He has been involved in a wide range of investment banking activities, including global IPOs, equities' placements, corporate mergers and acquisition, debt/equity restructuring, private equity investments and venture capital financing.

After leaving ABN Amro, Lew started his own investment fund company, Equator Capital in year 2000.

Equator is primarily involved in trading global managed futures, US equities and options as well as private equity investing.

Lew was also active as a pre-IPO investor in a number of China based companies that listed on the Singapore Exchange between 2004 and 2008.

He is an independent non-executive director of RHB Investment Bank Berhad since 2004 and is also on the board of RHB Islamic Bank. He was on the board of RHB Capital Berhad between 2005 and 2007 and served as an independent director on the board of Singapore Medical Group between 22 June 2007 and 2 December 2013.

"I am excited to join the board and look forward to help take Hastings through to the next phases of development and eventually into production," Lew said.

"I have confidence in the projects Hastings has identified and I am optimistic about the future commercial and environmental prospects for the heavy rare earth deposits that Hastings controls and which it will now look to commercialise".

Lew is currently the largest shareholder in the Company, with recent share acquisitions bringing his personal holding to 14.98%

It has also appointed Simon Wallace as a non-executive director while former chairman Anthony Ho will continue as a non-executive director and chair the audit committee.

Wallace is a practising commercial and corporate lawyer with a particular expertise in the areas of project finance and fundraising.

He is a founder/partner of boutique Melbourne law firm Nick Stretch Legal, having previously worked at Gadens Lawyers for many years.

Wallace has considerable professional experience in investment banking, direct equity investment, structured product formulation and execution and has been especially involved in the establishment and operation of domestic and offshore managed investment funds.

Guy Robertson and Vaz Hovanessian have resigned from the board as of today though Robertson continues to be the chief financial officer and company secretary.

Lew has more than 25 years of investment banking experience, including serving as managing director of ABN Amro's investment banking business in Singapore from 1997 to 2000.

The company is currently investigating a low cost production opportunity for its Hastings Heavy Rare Earths Project in Western Australia that could fast-track commercial production.

This involves an offshore location study as well as evaluating and securing toll treatment partnerships for ore milling; extraction and separation; and final product refining.

Taking these functions offshore will also de-risk the project by significantly reducing capital costs, allowing the company to access lower cost funding and reducing overall processing operating expenses.

Hastings is a world class HREE project that is located within a favourable jurisdiction with excellent existing infrastructure and a current Resource of 36.2 million tonnes at 0.21% TREO and 0.18% HREO.

This is further differentiated from other projects by its predominantly heavy rare earths (85%) content, such as dysprosium and yttrium, which are substantially more valuable than the more common light rare earths.

It is the largest heavy rare earth project in Australia, and ranks fourth largest globally with resources for more than 25 years of production at over 1 million tonnes per annum to produce over 10,000 tonnes per annum.

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