China controls close to 90-percent of overall global rare earth production including 99% of heavy rare earth production and, largely through export restrictions, enforces a virtual monopoly on rare earth manufacturing. The creation of a North American rare earth supply chain is essential if Canada and the U.S. are to maintain competitiveness in strategic industries such as green energy, high technology, and defense. Canadian rare earth deposits must be developed for the creation of a secure North American rare earth supply chain, which has the potential to generate billions of dollars of economic activity through value-added manufacturing.
Pele’s flagship project is its 100-percent owned Eco Ridge Mine Rare Earths and Uranium Project. Eco Ridge is located in Elliot Lake, Ontario, a proven historic mining camp with past production exceeding 300-million pounds of uranium oxide (“U3O8”) and the only mining camp in Canada to have achieved commercial production of rare earth oxides (“REO”). Elliot Lake has outstanding regional infrastructure including highways, railway, electricity, natural gas, airport, deep-water ports, and a qualified workforce.
Pele announced the results of an updated economic review of Eco Ridge, prepared by Roscoe Postle Associates Inc. (“RPA”). The Economic Review is a sensitivity analysis on Pele’s 2012 Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) which evaluates the impact of a 2013 increase in the NI 43-101 Mineral Resource for Eco Ridge along with reduced rare earth price assumptions, while maintaining all unit operating costs and process recoveries unchanged from the PEA.
The Economic Review concludes that the resource increase will extend mine life and improves project economics. While this improvement is offset by a reduction in rare earth price forecasts, the net result is positive, highlighted by a Pre-tax NPV(10%) of $1.02-Billion and a Pre-tax IRR of 43-percent. Life-of-mine REO production is forecast at 141.6-million pounds and U3O8 production at 42.7-million lbs. U3O8 revenue forecast is expected to exceed operating costs for first five years of production and thereafter to offset the majority of operating costs, reducing financial risks associated with REO production.
The PEA and subsequent Economic Review demonstrate that Eco Ridge has excellent economic potential to produce uranium, critical rare earths, and scandium. Eco Ridge is ideally situated in Elliot Lake, which contains one of the largest and most readily accessible concentrations of critical rare earths in North America. Pele is focused on the sustainable development of a safe, secure, and reliable Canadian REO supply chain that will support downstream value chain opportunities within North America.
Uranium minerals are the major mineral sources for Yttrium and heavy rare earths at Eco Ridge, allowing for excellent recovery. Pele is transparent about its plans for the safe disposal of environmentally sensitive waste products as backfill underground at the mine site and plans to undertake the licensing process with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
Pele’s world-class development team is led by Pele’s Executive Vice President, Roger Payne P. Eng., who was the former General Manager for Rio Algom in Elliot Lake, and includes RPA, SNC-Lavalin Inc., SENES Consultants Limited, and Golder Associates Ltd., all of which have extensive and relevant experience in Elliot Lake.
The Project has no known environmental liabilities and enjoys enthusiastic local support. The Province of Ontario has already granted two renewable 21-year Mining Leases at Eco Ridge, giving Pele the exclusive right to mine the deposit. The Mining Leases include surface rights except where the City of Elliot Lake owns certain surface patents. The City of Elliot Lake has also granted to Pele a renewable 21-year lease with an option to purchase the Surface Patents. Both the Mining Leases and the City Lease allow for siting of project infrastructure like mine portals and processing facilities.
Pele places great value on Community Relations and has maintained friendly and productive dialogue with local First Nations and the City of Elliot Lake since the inception of the Eco Ridge Mine project in 2006. Pele seeks to provide long-term benefits to local communities, Ontario and Canada through sustainable development.
Note: The PEA is preliminary in nature. It includes inferred mineral resources, which are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves and there is no certainty that the preliminary economic assessment will be realized.