Feb 11, 2021 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) -- The world must secure reliable rare earth supply outside of China. In fact, with electric vehicle and renewable energy demand increasing, the world must have a dependable source. Unfortunately, China has become an unstable partner, and could soon enact tougher regulations over the rare earth industry, from mining to exports. In addition, according to Forbes, China is stockpiling rare earths and critical minerals for its own domestic use, as companies and governments face worldwide shortages due to new demand for electric vehicles. In fact, they note, China could be on par to own that market. Failure to secure supply could eventually impact companies that rely on rare earth, including Tesla /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA -1.89% , Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -0.80% , Raytheon Technologies Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203237915/composite RTX +0.48% , and Boeing Co. /zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite BA +0.40% .
Given widespread demand, the company could be well-positioned to meet demand for North American-sourced critical REE’s with one of the highest grade road accessible deposits, with potential to reduce the political and strategic risk of current reliance on Chinese REE sources.
In addition, the company just announced that it has engaged Welsbach Holdings Pte Ltd. to assist in building awareness for its Wicheeda Rare Earth Element (REE) Property, providing physical product market research, introductions to supply chain partners, and assistance in commercial negotiations.
The road accessible Wicheeda REE Property is located close to infrastructure approximately 80 kilometres northeast of Prince George, British Columbia (BC). The Wicheeda project has indicated mineral resources of 4,890,000 tonnes averaging 3.02% LREO (Light Rare Earth Elements) and inferred mineral resources of 12,100,000 tonnes averaging 2.90% LREO. Flotation pilot-plant processing of a 26-tonne bulk sample of Wicheeda REE material yielded a mineral concentrate averaging 7.4% NdPr oxide (neodymium-praseodymium) critical magnet metals.
Craig Taylor, CEO of Defense Metals, stated: “The engagement of Welsbach will enable Defense Metals to leverage their extensive experience and relationships in the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, Singapore, China, Japan, and South Korea), Continental Europe, and the United States towards engaging in one-on-one discussions with REE refiners and separators. The goal is the successful negotiation of one or more binding commercial REE offtake and/or other supply chain agreements with respect to the Wicheeda REE Deposit. Welsbach will immediately commence its work aiding with respect to strategic partner identification, business introductions, and ultimately commercial negotiations.”
Brendan Jephcott, Welsbach’s Asia advisory partner said: “We are pleased to engage with Defense Metals Corp. regarding the Wicheeda project. The current global situation requires supply chains to strengthen their resilience and increase their capacity, in order to respond to growing demand. Part of our mission at Welsbach is to support the efforts of junior mining companies and assist them in their commercial processes. Welsbach is a specialist in the Energy Transition Metals Supply Chain and we are keen to bring Defense Metals Corp project to our network of mid and downstream partners".
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