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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Search Minerals


National policies around the globe are increasingly focusing on electrification. We’ve already seen the largest automakers announce ambitious goals to produce more electric vehicles, while Western governments have committed to a greener future. The European Union aims to be climate-neutral by 2050, a goal echoed by Canada’s long-term strategy to reach net-zero emissions within the same timeframe. These goals from both the private and public sectors create an increasing global demand for the rare earth elements (REE) required for most sustainable technologies — meaning suppliers will need to pick up the pace to meet this growing demand. EVs alone will create enormous demand for these elements, considering 2022 is projected to see automakers ship 34 percent more units than 2021.

China currently dominates the REE market, producing over 85 percent of the world’s rare earth elements. This has made North American and European governments increasingly susceptible to any disruption in China’s supply chain. After all, any supply chain interruptions will directly impact the West’s ability to manufacture clean energy technology. All of this has resulted in the West developing policies that aim to reduce its dependence on Chinese REE production.

Today, the United States is well aware of its over-reliance on foreign sources of REE and has already started to create a domestic supply chain, which includes updating mining laws and prioritizing critical minerals. Additionally, the U.S Department of Defense has awarded a US$35 million contract to MP Materials to build a facility to process heavy rare earth elements (HREE) in California. Canada has also updated its list of the nation’s critical minerals to emphasize REE and HREE as vital to the country’s future. As North America continues to develop its strategic plans for REE and HREE production, it’s clear safer, domestic exploration, development and production will be required.

Search Minerals (TSXV:SMY, OTCQB:SHCMF) is a Canadian mining and technology company focused on building sustainable access to rare earth elements. The company’s patented and proprietary direct extraction process has reduced capital requirements and operating costs when compared to traditional methods. Search Minerals’ key elements are neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), dysprosium (Dy), and terbium (Tb). With surging demand for each element, Search Minerals’ asset portfolio and proprietary technology are poised to greatly capitalize on the growing demand.

Search Minerals Supply Chain

The company’s district-scale portfolio includes promising discoveries for extracting REE minerals for immediate processing into individual REE. Two key discoveries are the Foxtrot and Deep Fox deposits, which are awaiting a combined updated preliminary economic assessment (PEA). The new PEA takes into account, an increased resource at Deep Fox, increasing current REE prices and the increased recovery rate of Search Mineral’s proprietary technology (increased from 79% to over 90% from its pilot plant operation).

Innovative technology and impressive foresight sit at the core of what makes Search Minerals unique. In a recent interview, CEO Greg Andrews stated, “We look at our company as one of the most advanced in North America with our resources, technology that’s been in development since 2010 and two pilot plants. Automobile manufacturers with ambitious goals are starting to look down the supply chain and say ‘can we really do this? Where are the raw materials coming from?’ There aren’t many operating deposits outside of China and they’ll need to secure REE to meet their goals.”

Search Minerals recently entered into an offtake agreement with USA Rare Earth for 500 tonnes per year of Nd and Pr, creating immediate sales from the future production of Foxtrot and Deep Fox. This agreement advances both companies’ ongoing ambitions. Search Minerals strives to become the established provider of REE to North America’s critical mineral supply chain, while USA Rare Earth is pursuing a ‘Mine-to-Magnet’ strategy. Combined, the two companies could create a complete North American REE supply chain.

An ongoing strategy known as the “sprint to production” is guiding Search Minerals’ efforts. The sprint is focused on achieving production by 2025.

The company is also led by an impressive management team, which aims to turn Search Minerals’ into a vital partner in enabling North America’s REE supply chain. Greg Andrews, CEO, brings over 30 years of strategic planning and administrative management. Dr. Randy Miller, vice president of exploration, has been exploring for REE in Labrador since 1980. Meanwhile, Dr. David Dreisinger, vice president of metallurgy, holds an impressive 24 U.S. patents, including Search Mineral’s direct extraction process. Matthew Anderson, CFO, shores up the company’s corporate processes with over a decade of accounting experience. Search added Todd Burlingame, as Chief Operating Officer, who has extensive experience in mining plan development and managing the environmental process through to permitting.

​Company Highlights

  • Search Minerals’ asset portfolio includes significant REE assets that facilitate its direct extracting proprietary technology that has already shown over 90 percent recovery during pilot plant operations
  • An offtake agreement was recently made between Search Minerals and USA Rare Earth for 500 tonnes of Nd and Pr per year, creating immediate sales from the Foxtrot and Deep Fox once in full production
  • The visionary campaign, known as ‘sprint to production’, guides the company’s decisions and has the stated goal of being in full production by 2025
  • Search Mineral’s management team brings decades of applicable experience that boost confidence in the company, including experience in management, geology, metallurgy, and accounting

​Key Projects

Proprietary Direct REE Extraction Technology

Dr. David Dreisinger, VP of metallurgy, developed a process for direct REE extraction that reduces the capital requirements and operating costs of working with REE when compared to traditional methods. This patented and proprietary technology creates a clear advantage over other REE operations, both domestic and abroad.

Project Highlights:

  • Environmentally responsible: This process minimizes environmental impacts and only produces dry and stackable residue with no wet tailings ponds.
  • Recent Improvements: Recent advancements of this technology have further increased the amount of REEs reclaimed from 70% to over 90% with the inclusion of a low-intensity magnetic separator(LIMS) and a wet high-intensity magnetic separator (WHIMS)
  • Scalable Technology: Search Minerals, ACOA and InnovateNL dedicated a combined CAD$3 million to build a pilot plant that successfully demonstrated the ability to generate high-purity refinement-ready products at scale
  • Magnetic Advantages: LIMS and WHIMS reduce capital and operating costs by grinding and separating the raw materials at each deposit, meaning there’s less material to transport to the central processing facility
  • Potential for Additional Revenue: The addition of magnetic separation opens up a potential future revenue for iron concentrate and zircon concentrate

District Scale Opportunity

Search Minerals District Scale Opportunity

Three phases of drilling at Foxtrot have outlined a 7.4 million tonnes indicated and 2.0 million tonnes inferred resource. A revised Preliminary Economic Assessment report to include material from both Deep Fox and Foxtrot is expected in April 2022.

Project Highlights:

  • Open at Depth: Significant REE mineralization has been discovered at the 450m level; the vertical extent of the mineralized zone below this level is currently unknown
  • Diverse REE: Foxtrot contains a wide range of REEs, including the important elements Nd and Pr, along with significant amounts of the HREE, Tb and Dy
  • Close to Infrastructure: Close to all-weather highway and the port and community of St. Lewis; Deep Fox and Foxtrot are 10 km apart

Deep Fox Deposit

Deep Fox is awaiting an updated PEA and resource estimate that accounts for the 7000m phase 3 drilling program (2021), advancements in its technology and increasing current market prices. The resource outlined below includes data to the 100m level obtained from the phase 1 and 2 drill programs – the phase 3 program provided infill data and data to the 200m level.

Project Highlights:

  • Open at Depth: Drill holes to the 200m level reveal significant mineralization at this level; the vertical extent of this mineralized zone in unknown
  • Significant REE: This REE deposit is enriched in Nd, Pr, Tb and Dy; includes zones with up to 15% higher grades than Foxtrot
  • Close to Infrastructure: Close to all-weather highway and the port and community of St. Lewis; Deep Fox and Foxtrot are 10 km apart

Search Minerals Deep Fox Deposit

​Management Team

Greg Andrews – President and CEO, Director

Greg Andrews received his Bachelor of Commerce, Finance from the University of Calgary. He has over 30 years of experience in strategic planning, financial and administrative management consulting for public and private companies. He has also held various directorships in TSX Venture listed companies since 1993, including those involved in mining, oil and gas, technology, and biotechnology.

Todd Burlingame – Chief Operating Officer

Todd Burlingame holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology from the University of British Columbia. He has over 30 years experience in the mining sector with specific experience in developing mining and processing facilities in Newfoundland and Labrador. He has served as Chair and CEO of two Federal-Indigenous Resources Co-Management Boards and has led numerous Impact and Benefits Agreement negotiations with indigenous groups.

Randy Miller, Ph.D., P.Geo – Vice President, Exploration

Randy Miller holds a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Toronto. He has extensive experience studying rare earth elements including field mapping and supervision of diamond drilling on the Strange Lake deposit in NW Labrador for the Iron Ore Company of Canada. He spent 12 years with the Newfoundland and Labrador Geological Survey as their Rare Earth Specialist, and his work has informed the basis of Search Mineral’s REE exploration program in Labrador. Dr Miller has led the Search exploration team, since 2009, that discovered both the Foxtrot and Deep Fox deposits and other REE prospects in SE Labrador.

David Dreisinger, Ph.D. – Vice President, Metallurgy, Director

David Dreisinger holds the position of Industrial Research Chair, Hydrometallurgy at the University of British Columbia where he has been a Professor since 1988. He holds 24 U.S. patents, including a patent for Search’s Direct Extraction Process. He is also a director of PolyMet Mining Corp., Cascadero Copper Corporation and Euro Manganese.

Matthew Anderson, CPA – Chief Financial Officer

Matthew Anderson holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University. He obtained his Chartered Accountant designation in 2008 while articling at a large accounting firm. He currently works with Malaspina Consultants Inc., a company providing consulting and administrative services to junior resource companies.

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