Thursday, 12 April 2012

Quest Rare Metals' CEO Peter Cashin appears on BNN

Rare earths explorer Quest Rare Minerals (TSE:QRM)(AMEX:QRM) was featured yesterday on Canada's Business News Network.
Quest's president and chief executive Peter Cashin spoke about the company's Strange Lake rare earth project and development activities in an interview segment.

The company is currently advancing the Strange Lake and Misery Lake areas of northeastern Quebec. Quest's 2009 exploration led to the discovery of a significant new rare earth metal deposit, the B-Zone, on its Strange Lake property.

Dundee Capital Markets recently said Strange Lake was one of the top six rare earth projects outside China.

In the segment, Quest's Cashin said he supports Dundee's view on Strange Lake "based on the value of the deposit, its size, and that it contributes to the deficits on the heavy rare earth elements side of the formula".

Rare earths refer to a group of 17 chemical elements, specifically the fifteen lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium, used in
everything from smartphones to guided missiles.

In Strange Lake, Quest has a highly enviable mix of the more valuable and scarce heavy rare earths (HREE). The rare earth elements are separated into light rare earths (LREE) and HREE based on their atomic weight. Even as mines begin to come on line in the next couple years, most contain a higher LREE concentration.

Cashin said that HREEs are "rare by nature" and China has been "underserving the market - [China] has supplies but it doesn't have enough to supply sufficient demand to the degree that it does to the light rare earths".

Quest's Cashin added that the company had "the benefit of piggy-backing" on prior work done by the Iron Ore Company of Canada in the 1970s.

"With new modern techniques, we've been able to expand on their prior work. We're showing improved recoveries from what they had shown at the time," Cashin said in the TV interview.

Many other rare earth deposits contain quantities of naturally-ocurring radioactive material. Quest's Cashin said, however, that
quantities were low at Strange Lake.

The company plans to strip out the uranium and thorium from the rest of the metals with the radioactive material being stored on site in an environmentally responsible way.

Strange Lake is located close to the Voisey's Bay copper/nickel project and Cashin said he looked forward to using that as a means to mitigate some of the infrastructure risk.

Quest is also looking at some site locations down in Quebec for a processing plant.

The company intends to commission Strange Lake in 2016 with production beginning in 2017. 

Cashin concluded that rare earth mining was not like conventional mining as there was a lot of science and a lot of unknowns involved.

"I would consider us one of the trailblazers in the sector," Cashin said.

The segment on BNN can be viewed here:

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