AUXICO'S DRC RARE EARTH AND COLTAN PROJECT
AUXICO signed a sales agency agreement for the trading of non-radioactive rare earth concentrates from the DRC in the form of monazite sands. The first trade of 96 tonnes of concentrates was finalized end of April 2022, second trade for 192 tonnes was finalized early July, according to an off-take agreement with a 5-year term, for a minimum amount of 18,000 tonnes of concentrates during the term i.e. 300 tpm, with a target objective of 1,000 tonnes of concentrates per month. The material was sold at a final price of US$ 6,500 per metric tonne for a value of US$ 1.24M, of which AUXICO receives a 15% trade commission. Samples analyzed by SGS South Africa had on average 14.95% Neodymium and 3.4% Praseodymium, and ~60% TREO. Auxico also signed a 10-year off-take agreement with Lasell Company Ltd. for a supply of up to 1,000 tonnes per month of tantalum ore (30% Ta2O5 content). Trades of a cumulative 720 tonnes of monazite RE concentrates have been finalized since April 2022.
COLTAN IN DRC
AUXICO has signed a joint venture agreement with Kibara Minerals for the export of tantalum and niobium ores from the DRC. Kibara has access to high-grade tantalite mineral deposits in the DRC and an exclusive supply agreement with a cooperative for the purchase of tantalite ore from the Bafwasende artisanal deposit located 200 km from Kisangani in the north-central part of the DRC.
Tantalite ore samples from the Bafwasende deposit have been tested by an independent laboratory, IGS, with grades of 22% Nb2O5 (niobium pentoxide) and 46% Ta2O5 (tantalum pentoxide). Other reports confirmed similar findings, including ore up to 55% Nb2O5 and 30% Ta2O5.
In 2020, one of the Company's potential buyers also performed its respective tests, which resulted in 42.04% Ta2O5 and 22.93% Nb2O5. Initial geological surveys were carried out at the Bafwasende Tantalum deposit on foot, focusing on a known source of Ta2O5 in an area of 400-metres in length by 200-metres in width; 7 exploration pits were dug over the identified mineralization zone and columbite concentrates recovered from the site have shown an average grade of Ta2O5 in excess of 30%. An aerial study of the permitted and the surrounding areas conducted by JAPOSAT in March 2021 reconfirmed the initial mineralization and has identified three additional areas of interest within the same basin.
AUXICO and partner Covemin, a commodity trading firm based in Zurich, have established relationships with the global buyers of tantalite ore; AUXICO and Kibara will collaborate on a trading operation of tantalum and niobium-bearing ores from the Bafwasende deposit.
10-year off-take agreement executed with the Lasell Company Ltd. (“Lasell”) for a supply of up to 1,000 tonnes per month (tpm) of tantalum ore, targeted purity of 30% Ta2O5 content and pricing based on AMI. Lasell will have a ROFR on production exceeding 1,000 tpm. Initial trial shipments of 25 tpm expected to begin in Q4 2022, with plans to expand into commercial production over the course of 2023.
Ta ore for this off-take sourced and executed by JV partner, Kibara Minerals, of which Auxico holds a 70% stake under a profit-share agreement. A full exploration permit covering an area of approximately 45.87 km2 has been issued by the Ministry of Mines of the DRC.
RARE EARTHS IN DRC
AUXICO entered into a sales agency agreement with Central America Nickel (CAN), with regard to the exclusive trading rights for rare earth concentrates currently being exported from the DRC. Effective April 19, 2022, a first shipment of 96 tonnes of rare earth concentrates from the DRC have been exported at an average price of US$ 4,784 per tonne, of which AUXICO is subject to a 15% commission. The off-take agreement assumes a minimum of 18,000 tonnes of rare earth concentrates to be sold during the next 5 years. The objective is to sell 1,000 tpm or 60,000 MMT of concentrates to a variety of off-takers over this period.
Kibara Minerals, subsidiary of AUXICO’s joint venture partner CAN, holds resources in excess of 1 MMT of rare earth elements in the first meter of its Obaye reserves, open N-E-W, with rare earth oxides content equivalent to that of the Mountain Pass mine (NYSE: MP, valuation: ~$7.8B). A geological report concluded that Obaye is a world-class deposit hosted in monazite sands that extends over 4 km in the N-S direction, and 2 km in the E-W direction. Report linked here. Kibara Minerals has the exclusive option to purchase nodular monazite (natural RE concentrate) from a DRC mining cooperative.
Based on the recent sale of 95.9 tonnes of concentrates from the DRC, grades returned praseodymium (Pr): 2.61%, neodymium (Nd): 11.59%, terbium (Tb): 0.08%, dysprosium (Dy): 0.14%, gadolinium (Gd): 0.88%.
AUXICO executed a second trade of rare earths for a total of 192 tonnes, announced early July. Samples analyzed by SGS South Africa reported average grades of 14.95% Nd and 3.4% Pr and confirmed the samples had a ~60% total rare earth oxide content. At 1,000 tpm, at current market prices, this represents a yearly sale value of ~US$ 78 million.
AUXICO’s DRC operations are fully compliant and all activities are traceable from mineral collection to sale and export, these operations intend to be scaled up to a 1,000 tonnes per month capacity.