Search Minerals moving forward with growing rare earths resource, new PEA and a commercial magnetic separation plant

It has recently been reported that the U.S. Government (subject to approval of the proposal) is likely to widen their definition of “domestic source” in the Defense Production Act to include the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Australia. This is in addition to the current inclusion of Canada and of course the USA. If passed, this is great news for critical material miners located in these countries.

One such company is focused on the high value magnet rare earths and is advancing their project in Canada. Magnet rare earths prices, such as neodymium, have increased very significantly over the past year as EV demand surged.

Search Minerals Inc. (TSXV: SMY | OTCQB: SHCMF) (Search) is developing their rare earths projects in Labrador, Canada. Their three projects include:

  • The Port Hope Simpson (PHS) Property (flagship) – Includes Foxtrot, Deep Fox, Silver Fox, Awesome Fox, and Fox Meadow deposits. Prospective for Neodymium (Nd), Praseodymium (Pr), Dysprosium (Dy), and Terbium (Tb), as well as Zirconium (Zr) and Hafnium (Hf). The updated 2022 PEA is due soon in Q2, 2022.
  • The Henley Harbour Area in Southern Labrador.
  • The Red Wine Complex located in Central Labrador.

Search Minerals PHS Property showing the Foxtrot & Deep Fox deposits and other targets

Source: Search Minerals website

Search’s flagship PHS Property has been the Company’s focus with a PEA completed in 2016 on Foxtrot only, an updated Resource recently released (now includes both Foxtrot & Deep Fox), and an updated PEA to follow very soon. Given the larger resource (hence potentially longer mine life) and higher rare earth prices, the upcoming 2022 PEA is expected to potentially improve significantly on the 2016 PEA. Search President & CEO Greg Andrews, discusses the positive impact on their upcoming PEA in a recent InvestorIntel video here.

Details of the updated resource at Foxtrot and Deep Fox

As a result of the recent updated resource news the Foxtrot resource has grown by approximately 60% from the 2016 estimate and the Deep Fox resource has grown by 25% from the 2019 estimate. Search state in their April 11, 2022 resource announcement: “Revenue attributable to Pr, Nd, Dy, and Tb represent approximately 92% of the total revenue.”

Estimated Mineral Resources for the FOXTROT and DEEP FOX Projects as of December 31, 2021

Source: Search Minerals announcement on April 11, 2022

Both Foxtrot and Deep Fox Resources include open pit (OP) and underground (UG) components as shown on the models below. They will form the basis of the upcoming updated 2022 PEA. In both cases, mineralization remains open at depth.

Models showing the open pit and underground resource at Foxtrot and Deep Fox

Source: Search Minerals announcement on April 11, 2022

Next steps (including steps towards a full commercial magnetic separation plant)

The next steps for Search at their PHS Property will be the 2022 PEA release, further drilling to grow the resource (including at Fox Meadow), and further advancements with off-take agreements. In 2021 Search signed a non-binding MOU with USA Rare Earth LLC for the future delivery of a rare earth mineral concentrate supply containing 500 tpa of NdPr. The MOU also included a plan to expand the collaboration to include discussions regarding separation, marketing, and offtake of a portion of the future production at Search’s Deep Fox and Foxtrot deposits. There will also be the upcoming results from Search’s magnetic separation program using bulk samples from the PHS Property (Foxtrot & Deep Fox). The results of the testing will be used as part of a ‘scale up’ to a full commercial magnetic separation plant.

Search President & CEO, Greg Andrews, states: “We continue with our “Sprint to Production” and this is a very important step to scale up and produce more material for further separation into individual oxides of the permanent magnet material, Neodymium (Nd), Praseodymium (Pr), Dysprosium (Dy) and Terbium (Tb). These are the key elements which create the value in the rare earth element supply chain. Upon producing the oxides, Search will demonstrate the transformation of the permanent magnet oxides into metal.”

Closing remarks

Last month Search released a significant Resource upgrade at Foxtrot and Deep Fox deposits on their PHS Property. The results were strong growing the resources by 60% and 25% respectively. Both remain open at depth and the PHS Property has numerous other exciting rare earth targets such as Silver Fox, Awesome Fox, and Fox Meadow. This means the PHS Property should potentially continue to further grow the total resource size in years to come. Search did recently release encouraging assay results at the Fox Meadow target where Search plans to commence a 6,000 m drill program this fall.

The big next catalyst for Search is the upcoming updated 2022 PEA which should potentially see a significant improvement on the 2016 PEA. Following that it will be interesting to see Search’s progress towards becoming a rare earths miner as well as processor.

Search Minerals trades on a market cap of C$65 million.

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