US rare earths
miner Molycorp Inc. has won legal approval to
put the company up for auction, according to a report by the
Denver Business Journal.
The bankruptcy court in Wilmington,
Delaware, agreed late last week to Molycorp’s
auction terms, following two months of mediation between the
company and its creditors.
The Denver-based rare earths producer,
which owns the
Mountain Pass rare earths mine in California, has been
battling with its creditors over plans to exit
Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which it filed for in June last
year. Some of its lenders felt that the company’s
proposed route out of bankruptcy favoured one particular
lender, Oaktree Capital Management LP, at the
expense of others.
Under the newly approved plan, Molycorp
will seek bids for its assets that are high enough to enable it
to repay its creditors. Earlier last week, Bloomberg
reported that Chinese rare earths miner Shenghe
Resources Holding Co. and ASX-listed lithium mineral
Galaxy Resources Ltd had made offers for
Molycorp that exceeded its $443m estimate of its own value.
Australia-based Arafura Resources
Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU)
with South Korean chemical manufacturer, OCI Co.
Ltd, to negotiate proposals for joint venture (JV)
rare earths separation plant in South Korea.
Under the terms of the JV,
Seoul-headquartered OCI would provide reagents for the
separation plant and for Arafura’s Nolans rare
earths project in Australia. It would also supply the
ASX-listed miner with access to infrastructure and services in
relation to the plant.
The two companies intend to collaborate on
R&D into rare earths separation and aim to establish a
business model whereby the parties jointly fund the
establishment of the South Korean facility, for toll processing
Nolans ore into either rare earths intermediate or carbonate
OCI will also make an equity investment in
Arafura, should the JV go ahead.
Over the border, privately-held
SRE Minerals Ltd is reported to be progressing
its JV with North Korea’s Korea Natural
Resources Trading Co. to develop the Jongju rare
earths project, which SRE estimates contains a mineral resource
of around 6bn tonnes.
A report by Australian Mining
said that the venture is in progress, with around 35,100 metres
of trenching completed over the deposit and a 5,700 tonne bulk
sample prepared for analysis. The company said that it would
report data for the project in accordance with JORC
The Australian Mining article
quoted statistics from the Korea International Trade
Association, which indicated that North Korea exported 62,662kg
rare earth elements last year.
In financing news, TSX-V-listed
Commerce Resources Corp. has closed the final
tranche of a two part non-brokered, flow-through private
placement for gross proceeds of Canadian dollar (C$)1.974m
The funds will be used for exploration
activities at the company’s Ashram rare earths
project in Quebec, Canada.
*Conversions made January