Rare Element Resources (TSE:RES) late Thursday said it plans to again update its mineral resource estimate for its Bull Hill deposit, part of its Bear Lodge rare earths project in Wyoming, by the end of the fourth quarter this year.
In January, the company announced the results of an updated NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate of rare-earth elements plus yttrium contained in three deposits at its Bull Hill deposit. However, this interim estimate included less than half of the new assay results from holes drilled in 2011, the company said, and therefore expects to update the resource again by the end of this year using all 2011 drill holes.
The latest resource estimate in January consisted of 6.8 million tonnes with an average of 3.75 percent rare-earth oxide (REO) in the measured and indicated categories. That was up from 4.9 million tonnes with an average of 3.77 percent REO a year-earlier – both used a 1.5 percent cut-off grade.
This January interim estimate was provided for use in the company's current preliminary feasibility study (PFS), which it expects to complete during the first quarter of 2012. Immediately after completing the PFS, Rare Element will start work on the feasibility study, it said.
During 2012, the company also plans to begin the formal National Environmental Policy Act Environmental Impact Study process, followed by the 2013 start of the formal mine permitting process with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.
Mine construction will begin immediately upon the successful completion of the feasibility studies, environmental impact studies and permitting.
Rare Element Resources' flagship property is the Bear Lodge Property located in northeastern Wyoming.
Rare earth elements are key components of green energy technologies, used in everything from hybrid automobiles, to advanced wind turbines and computer hard drives.
China currently produces over 96 percent of the 130,000 tonnes of rare-earths consumed worldwide each year, but has recently begun reducing its export quotas, making supply of the metals more and more critical.
Separately, Rare Element Resources reported quarterly financial results Thursday, posting a net loss of $10.1 million, or 23 cents per share in its second quarter that ended December 31, versus a net loss of $2.6 million, or 7 cents per share, a year ago.
The increase in loss was due to increased exploration spending at its Bear Lodge property of $3.8 million, as well as the $0.9 million write-down of the Nuiklavik mineral property in Canada, among other items such as higher stock-based compensation and general and administrative expenses.
Cash and equivalents at the end of the period were $59.5 million.