Rare Earths

Frontier Resources produces high-value rare earths concentrate at Gascoyne

Wed 11 May 22, 11:07am (AEST)
Gascoyne Frontier Resources
Source: Frontier Resources

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Key Points

  • Frontier Resources recovers impressive concentrate grades of Neodymium
  • Metal is used in EV batteries, wind turbines, digital and medical manufacturing
  • US seeking to partner with Australia for a secure critical minerals supply chain; price of neodymium shot up 45% in Q421

Frontier Resources (ASX:FNT) is up 3.75% in early trades as the company reports positive metallurgy results borne from the Lyons-11 target onsite its Gascoyne Rare Earth Elements (REE) Project. 

Flotation testing using bulk surface samples from Lyons achieved a neodymium of 96.7% at a grade of 13.9% Nd2O3. Frontier notes this reflects an average 92% recovery rate of total rare earth oxides (TREO) at a 38% grade in final concentrate. 

The TREO from Lyons are comprised mainly of neodymium and praseodymium. Both metals are superior metals used in the manufacturing of permanent magnets, with numerous applications in manufacturing including wind turbines and EV engine motors. 

The company will now progress a heritage survey covering the Lyons target, expected to conclude in early June, ahead of an early maiden drilling program. 

Maiden Drill Run delayed but on-track

That program will additionally target the Edmund target as part of the Gascoyne REE Project. 

Frontier technical director Brian Thomas noted a "common theme throughout the mining and exploration industry at present" is delays to the heritage survey process, which hasn't spared Frontier, but the company's first drill run is locked in for H2 CY22. 

Map showing the location of the Lyons-11 and Edmund targets to be drilled in H2 CY22
Map showing the location of the Lyons-11 and Edmund targets to be drilled in H2 CY22

Global events boost up interest in REEs 

There is currently a surge in demand for REEs used in magnetic manufacturing as multiple users seek to secure the minerals from responsible and reliable sources as energy and supply chain security initiatives come to the fore on the back of ongoing supply disruptions impacting every country. 

Frontier Resources notes further applications of the metals neodymium and praseodymium include medical applications, digital devices, and robotics. An increase in electrification, both regarding the increasing construction of wind turbines in most jurisdictions, coupled with EV uptake, has sparked the necessary pressure to bring projects online quickly. 

High spot prices and government initiatives underpin confidence 

The spot price for neodymium and praseodymium concentrate oxide is currently at a multi-year high, and jumped 45% in Q4 2021 alone. Frontier Resources seeks to provide a supply of the minerals outside of China, which currently has a dominant position accounting for some 60% of rare earths produced, and, nearly 90% of end use extraction and processing. 

Frontier Resources also highlights that the US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo has expressed support for Australian critical minerals projects and suggested America's export financing instruments would consider these projects. 

The company also points towards a recent deal minted between Canberra and Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU) to develop Australia's first standalone REE refinery. 

The shape of Frontier Resources' charts over six months compared to the XMJ Materials Index
The shape of Frontier Resources' charts over six months compared to the XMJ Materials Index
Frontier Resources was a Market Index client at the time of publishing. All coverage contains factual information only and should not be interpreted as opinion of financial advice.

 

Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Journalist

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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