VANCOUVER, June 5, 2019 /CNW/ - Leading Edge Materials Corp. ("Leading Edge Materials" or the "Company") (TSXV: LEM) (OTCQB: LEMIF) (Nasdaq First North: LEMSE) is pleased to provide an update with regard to the Norra Kärr rare earth element ("REE") deposit in Sweden following recent increases in REE prices and heightened media and investor interest in the future of secure REE supply. At present, a majority of REE production and processing occurs in China, with no primary production occurring within Europe.
Norra Kärr is highly significant in Europe, and can deliver a secure long term source of heavy rare earth elements ("HREE"), zirconium, hafnium and niobium to European renewable energy and electric vehicle industries.
The Norra Kärr REE deposit is 100% owned by the Company on a granted Exploration License, and was discovered by Leading Edge Materials (then Tasman Metals Ltd) in 2009. Following an extensive drilling campaign that intersected thick and consistent mineralized rock, the project progressed quickly through metallurgical testing, resource calculations, Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA"), environmental and social studies, and Mining Lease application, culminating in a Pre-Feasibility Study ("PFS") completed in 2015. Relevant supporting documentation can be found on the Company's website.
Norra Kärr is a peralkaline nepheline syenite intrusion which covers 450m x 1,500m in area. The deepest extents of the REE mineralized intrusion have not been delineated, but exceed 350m. Mineralogical studies show nearly all REE in the deposit is found within the mineral eudialyte, which is enriched in heavy REEs, in particular dysprosium.
Due to the unique status of Norra Kärr, being one of only two NI43-101 REE resources on mainland Europe, the project was identified as potentially significant for European REE security (ERECON study), and well supported by European Commission funding for process research (Horizon2020 funded EURARE study). Subsequent to the publication of the PFS, research by EURARE identified an optimized flowsheet for eudialyte processing, and produced 25kg of REE oxalate from Norra Kärr mineral concentrates. Furthermore, a by-product of high purity nepheline/feldspar was produced which is believed suitable for European ceramic and glass markets.
Mr. Mark Saxon, Interim CEO Company states, "Leading Edge Materials was a first mover in European REE exploration, identifying the Norra Kärr deposit in 2009 and moving quickly to understand its scale and economic potential. The deposit is enriched in heavy REEs, in particular dysprosium, which is used in high strength permanent magnets. The rapid uptake in electric vehicles and wind turbines is leading to accelerated magnet and magnet-metal demands.
Norra Kärr is a strategic project that has a unique ability to dramatically reduce European reliance on China for critical raw materials. The US/Chinese trade tensions of the past weeks have again demonstrated the weakness of REE supply chains, and the need to develop non-Chinese supply options. Leading Edge Materials is seeking to meet and exceed the expectations and requirement of the Swedish Mining Act, and re-establish a Mining Lease."
The Norra Kärr project is held upon a granted Exploration License, while a reapplication process for a Mining Lease remains in progress. In December 2018, Leading Edge Materials submitted supplementary information regarding the updated Norra Kärr Mining Lease application to the Bergsstaten ("Swedish Mining Inspectorate").
The Bergsstaten forwarded the supplementary information to the Länsstyrelsen ("County Administration Board") of Jönköping. On March 8th, 2019, Länsstyrelsen submitted their opinion that more information is required for them to support re-granting of the Norra Kärr Mining Lease (see press release 8th March 2019).
Leading Edge Materials reviewed the comments of the Länsstyrelsen, and has initiated a Natura2000 permit application on Natura2000 areas in the Norra Kärr region which may be influenced by a future mining operation. The Natura2000 permit application will be completed within the Swedish summer months and submitted to support the Mining Lease application. The environmental data to support the Natura2000 permit application has already been collected by the Company as part of previous work conducted including during the PFS study.
For granting of a Mining Lease in Sweden, conditions include that the Bergsstaten and Länsstyrelsen must be in agreement. In the circumstance that the Bergsstaten and Länsstyrelsen have contrasting opinions, the decision is referred to the Regeringen ("Swedish Government") for adjudication. For reference, when the Norra Kärr Mining Lease was granted in 2013, the Bergsstaten and Länsstyrelsen were aligned in support of the Mining Lease granting, and referral to the Regeringen was not required.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, Leading Edge Materials Corp.
Mr. Mark Saxon, Interim CEO
About Leading Edge Materials
Leading Edge Materials is a Canadian public company focused on production of high value critical raw materials for the European market, with an operating base in the Nordic region, a region well recognized for its promotion and investment in innovation. LEM's flagship asset is the Woxna Graphite production facility located in central Sweden targeting the supply of specialty materials for lithium ion battery production. LEM's assets and research focus are towards the raw materials for Li-ion batteries (graphite, lithium, cobalt); materials for high thermal efficiency building products (graphite, silica, nepheline); and materials that improve the efficiency of energy generation (dysprosium, neodymium, hafnium). Investments are linked to the global shift to low-carbon energy generation and energy storage. Leading Edge Materials currently operate in four divisions, Graphite, Lithium, Rare Earth and Cobalt. Mangold Fondkommission AB is the company's Certified Adviser ("CA") as part of the listing requirements for Nasdaq First North.
Leading Edge Materials is listed on the TSXV under the symbol "LEM" and Nasdaq First North Stockholm under the symbol "LEMSE". Mangold Fondkommission AB is the Company's CA on Nasdaq First North and may be contacted at +46 (0) 8 5030 1550.
This news release may contain statements which constitute "forward-looking information", including statements regarding the plans, intentions, beliefs and current expectations of the Company, its directors, or its officers with respect to the future business activities of the Company. The words "may", "would", "could", "will", "intend", "plan", "anticipate", "believe", "estimate", "expect" and similar expressions, as they relate to the Company, or its management, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future business activities and involve risks and uncertainties, and that the Company's future business activities may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, the re-granting of the Norra Kärr Mining Lease, fluctuations in market prices, successes of the operations of the Company, continued availability of capital and financing and general economic, market or business conditions. There can be no assurances that such information will prove accurate and, therefore, readers are advised to rely on their own evaluation of such uncertainties. The Company does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking information except as required under the applicable securities laws.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.