Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently toured Vital Metals Limited‘s (ASX: VML l OTCQB: VTMXF) rare earths processing plant in Saskatoon’s northern industrial area. Vital Metals’ site is next door to another rare earths processing facility built and operated by the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) which, in a test run back in August, created the first rare earth element ingots produced in Canada. The fact that the Prime Minister was in Saskatoon and stated that there is a support system for rare earth element mining in Saskatchewan is very encouraging. Readers may recall the Critical Minerals series we ran in July, 2022 where one of my greatest concerns was how effective our Federal Government would be in doing anything useful to advance the cause of critical materials. However, I suggested that as long as the topic remained at the forefront and politically in vogue, my hope was that they would stay out of the way and let smart, innovative people get on with doing what’s best for Canada and its allies.
It appears the Government is heeding my concerns (for now) and that the rare earth industry should be able to continue to progress without too much interference. That is certainly good news if you are developing a rare earth prospect in Saskatchewan. One company that falls into that category is Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp. (CSE: API | OTCQX: APAAF), a Canadian publicly listed company in the rare earth element and uranium sectors. The Company is currently focusing on delineating high-grade critical rare earth elements and gallium on the Alces Lake property, as well as exploring for high-grade uranium in the prolific Athabasca Basin on its Otherside, Loranger, North Wollaston, and Eastside properties. The Company holds the surface rights to exploration for 110,997 hectares (274,280 acres) in Saskatchewan.
Appia’s Alces Lake project encompasses some of the highest-grade total and critical REEs and gallium mineralization in the world, hosted within several surface and near-surface monazite occurrences that remain open at depth and along strike. In early December, the Company announced results from the 2022 prospecting program that included:
- 36.11 wt.% TREO returned from samples of massive to semi-massive monazite in outcrop at the West Limb anomaly, first discovered in 2022.
- 3.34 wt.% TREO returned from a mineralized biotite shear zone at the West Limb anomaly
- 4.34 wt.% TREO returned from visible monazite in a shear zone at a previously unexplored and un-named radiometric prospect south of the Magnet Ridge zone
- 2.03 wt.% TREO returned from visible monazite discovered in the Western Anomaly
Still to come are assays from the record 2022 drilling program at Alces Lake where the Company completed 17,481 m over 100 drill holes. Appia’s 2022 drilling program at Alces was designed to drill significantly deeper holes compared to the 100 holes (approximately 8,076 m) drilled in 2021 to allow Appia to determine continuity at depth and along the identified REE mineralization trends as the company works towards a maiden resource estimate to be prepared in accordance with NI 43-101 for the area. With high-grade REE mineralization now identified in many locations within an area covering approximately 27 km2 of the Alces Lake block, the Company believes the project has the potential to be a world-class source of high-grade critical rare earth bearing monazite.
Momentum is certainly there for critical minerals comprising the battery supply chain. Being relatively close to Canada’s first rare earth processing facility is an added bonus for Appia Rare Earths. The Company’s newly appointed President, Mr. Stephen Burega, is stepping in at a pretty exciting time, with drill results pending and a resource estimate looming. Additionally, Appia added C$3.7 million to it’s treasure in December with a non-brokered private placement that provides the Company with plenty of dry powder to pursue its 2023 exploration program at Alces Lake, as well as it’s various uranium properties. At a market cap of C$39 million, Appia is currently trading near its lowest levels in over two years. A decent NI 43-101 resource estimate for Alces Lake could go a long way towards changing the look of this stock chart.