IM Rare Earths News in Brief 17-23 November

By James Sean Dickson
Published: Monday, 23 November 2015

Lynas Corp. wants to shift to long-term contract purchases; Geomega reduces director compensation; Pacific Wildcat sees project site destroyed in Mozambique.

In a shareholder address at Lynas Corp. Ltd’s annual general meeting (AGM), the company’s CEO, Amanda Lacaze, told investors that the company is hoping to separate its selling prices from the volatility of published prices and to create product and pricing options that differentiate it from its competitors.

The Australian company, currently the only non-Chinese miner of rare earths, said that it was in the processes of introducing a system to trace material origin though the supply chain of rare earths. This, it hopes, will reduce the problem of illegal mining in China.

"We believe the recent VW scandal is a timely reminder to all suppliers of the consequences of ignoring consumer expectations and a timely reminder to improve purchasing practices," Lacaze said.

Lynas is also hoping to shift to more contract-based pricing and sales mechanisms, something that Lacaze said was more common before 2010. "It appears they became unfashionable when market participants thought it better to 'bet’ on the market price than focus on value," Lacaze added.

In Canada, Geomega Resources Inc. notified its shareholders that it is to reduce director compensation by almost 60% and settle Canadian dollar (C$) 177,500 ($133,000*) owed to directors through the issuance of 375,000 common shares.

"One of the early objectives since becoming (…) CEO of Geomega had been to reduce the corporate overhead of the company and to clean the balance sheet," Kiril Mugerman, Geomega’s CEO, said.

"The company’s corporate overhead has now been significantly reduced and the company [is now] much better positioned to deal with the current poor market conditions," Mugerman added.

In Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Rare Earth Corp. has signed a letter of intent (LOI) to establish a joint venture (JV) originally entered by CEC Rare Earth Corp., with a "leading international designer, builder and operator of rare eath refineries." CEC Rare Earth’s assets were recently acquired by Canada Rare Earth.

"We have been working indirectly with the engineering company for three years on our refinery initiatives," said Peter Shearing, Canada Rare Earths’ chief operating officer, Peter Shearing.

"The ability of Canada Rare Earth to directly arrange and participate in refinery design, build and on-going operations of future refineries in collaboration with the engineering company represents a significant cornerstone to our vertical integration focus," he added.

Also based in Vancouver, rare earths explorer Pacific Wildcat Resources Corp. saw its Muiane tantalum project site destroyed in Mozambique by local rioters.

Security staff based at the site were injured and the company has received reports that the camp and equipment have been set on fire. Local police have restricted access to the property by the company owing to "bandits still occupying the area".

Meanwhile in Kenya, the company has filed and registered a request for arbitration with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) against the Kenyan government by its subsidiaries.

Pacific Wildcat is in dispute with the government over the licencing situation of the Mrima Hill rare earths project and has been advised by the ICSID Tribunal in Washington DC, US, of the completion of the appointment of its arbitrators.

*Conversion made November 2015