Quantum Rare Earth Developments Corp. (CVE:QRE)(OTCQX:QREDF) said today it has managed to accomplish "a number" of goals set out at the beginning of the year despite difficult financial markets, including an updated resource estimate for its Elk Creek niobium deposit in Nebraska.
The company added higher grade indicated status tonnage of 19.3 million tonnes, grading 0.67% niobium.
It also increased inferred status tonnage and grade from the previous resource estimate in April 2011, from 80.1 million tonnes grading 0.62% niobium, to 83.3 million tonnes grading 0.63% niobium.
The Elk Creek Carbonatite is the only primary niobium deposit known to be under development in the U.S., and the highest grade undeveloped niobium deposit in North America, said Quantum. It is an oval shaped magnetic and gravity anomaly about seven kilometres in diameter.
Niobium is mainly used in the form of ferro-niobium to produce HSLA (High Strength, Low Alloy) steel for use in automotive, structural and pipeline industries. The market for ferro-niobium has grown an average of 10% per year for the past decade, and is forecast to continue that growth pattern in the coming years.
In July, Quantum also finalized a joint venture agreement relating its Australian properties, which will see the company retain a 20 per cent carried to production interest in the project.
Quantum will be reimbursed for its previously incurred exploration funds, estimated at A$100,000, and will receive 3.75 million common shares of Victory Mines Limited upon successful completion of that company's IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Quantum said that Victory Mines has since informed it that all necessary documentation for the IPO has been filed with the exchange. Victory is planning to raise A$4.0 million at an IPO price of 20 cents per share, with an anticipated closing date in September.
The rare earths miner also said it has signed confidentiality agreements with several parties regarding potential joint venture and financing arrangements for Elk Creek.
"While discussions continue to advance, readers are cautioned that there is no assurance that these discussions will result in any transaction," Quantum cautioned in a statement.
Moreover, the company noted that it has also reached an agreement through its subsidiary, Silver Mountain Mines Corp, with Perry English for Rubicon Minerals concerning Silver Mountain's interest in 8 claim units in the Kenora Mining Division of Ontario, Canada.
Quantum will issue 400,000 shares to English, in lieu of a cash payment that was due under an option agreement between Silver Mountain and English dated in 2009.
In November 2011, Quantum signed a subsequent option agreement with Titan Goldwork Resources, whereby Titan can earn up to a 70 per cent stake in the Tait property. This deal remains in effect, the company said.