Rare earth elements are critical in the production of components used in industries such as clean technology, advanced electronics, electric cars, wind turbines, glass and ceramics, chemical and consumer products. While China has 50 per cent of the world's reserves and has produced more than 95 per cent of the world's rare earth supply, a decrease in production and export has caused prices to rise and alternative suppliers are looking to meet global demand.
With a potentially low-cost, long-term rare earth project located in Tanzania, Peak Resources is currently developing its Ngualla project - the fifth-largest rare earth deposit in the world outside China.
Peak's vision is to generate shareholder value through the development of its high-grade, low uranium and thorium Ngualla rare earth site. The company recently completed a feasibility study (proof of concept) on a sulphuric acid leaching process that uses proven technology with lower capital and operating costs (leaching refers to the process of extracting minerals from a solid by dissolving them in liquid).
Peak's process provides significant environmental advantages compared to other leaching methods and is a major step forward in the development of Ngualla into a low-cost, long-term rare earth site.
"Achieving this milestone after only nine months of test work is outstanding," says Richard Beazley, Peak's managing director. "This reaffirms Peak's target of commencing production by early 2016. As we create a sustainable project, we also intend to drive our social responsibility initiatives forward."
The company has been listed on the Australian Stock Exchange since 2006 and this year also listed on the New York-based OTCQX market. The OTCQX listing allows Peak to develop and expand outside the Australian capital market. By reaching out to North America, Beazley hopes to generate capital and invite institutional investors onto Peak's share register.
"We are now in a position to engage with strategic partners and off-take customers in China and other markets in the Far East,"
says Beazley. "We want to commence discussions regarding long-term product supply and facilitate commercial financing arrangements to deliver the project to production."
With a number of additional projects in the Lake Victoria Goldfields area of Tanzania and a dedicated exploration office in Mwanza, Peak's growth strategy looks set to position the company as a leading rare earth producer.
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