Tantalus Rare Earths („Tantalus“ or “Company”) is a Germany based company owning 40% interest in a rare earth development project in Madagascar. The Company sold 60% of the project in 2016 and is currently in the process of evaluating different strategic alternatives it has for the remaining part. Tantalus‘ shares have been delisted from Düsseldorf stock exchange as of 31 August 2014.
Tantalus Rare Earths a pure play explorer and developer of rare earths, currently engaged in the exploration and development of a large, rare earths occurrence located in north-western Madagascar.
|Dec 17, 2014|
|Tantalus Rare Earths: Tantalus Rare Earths strengthens its management in preparation for entering into commercial production of rare earths in Madagascar|
|Dec 17, 2014|
|Tantalus Rare Earths: NI 43-101 Technical Report and updated Resource Estimate by SGS published (news with additional features)|
|Sep 30, 2014|
|Tantalus Rare Earths Half year financial report 2014 published|
Tantalus Rare Earths („Tantalus“) is a German holding company. Tantalus has entered into binding contracts for the sale of the remaining ownership it holds in a rare earth development project in Madagascar.
Tantalus’s shares are quoted on the Open Market of the Düsseldorf Stock Exchange.
The focus of the Group’s operations is the TRE Project, situated on the Ampasindava Peninsula in north-western Madagascar. The project comprises an important, primary bedrock rare earth mineralisation and an extensive, secondary rare earth mineralisation at surface.
Through its wholly owned Malagasy subsidiary, Tantalum Rare Earth (Malagasy) SARL, TRE holds an exploration licence for a 300 km2 concession area, divided into 768 individual blocks.
To date, exploration works have identified the occurrence of rare earth elements, tantalum, niobium, zirconium and gallium as well as smaller quantities of hafnium, tin, silver and base metals.
Assay results indicate a relatively high ratio of the more valuable heavy rare earths, compared to other rare earths occurrences, of 21% of total rare earth oxides.
The project also benefits from low uranium and thorium content, reducing the risk of future environmental problems known to hamper development of similar REE projects.
TRE’s current exploration programme aims to define the different mineralised structures present on the concession towards a National Instrument 43-101 compliant mineral resource estimates and support a detailed feasibility study towards mine development and production.
Overview on Rare Earths
Rare earth elements (“REE”), sometimes referred to as the rare earth metals, are a group of 17 chemically similar metallic elements. Despite their name, rare earths are relatively plentiful in the Earth’s crust. However, due to their geochemical properties, rare earths are not commonly found in sufficiently concentrated and economically viable forms.
Traditionally the group of rare earth elements is furthermore sub-divided into two categories, these being light rare earth elements (“LREE”) and heavy rare earth elements (“HREE”). The largest application where rare earths are used is high performance magnets. This represents app. 30% of the global rare earths market and is expected to enjoy stronger growth than rare earths in general, as hybrid and electric vehicles are entering the mass market. Neodymium and praseodymium represent over 90% of the rare earths used in magnet manufacture. Demand for rare earths has increased in recent years because of their wide and diverse use in high-technology applications and devices including nanotechnology, defense and aerospace, mobile phones, LCD and plasma televisions as well as superconductors, high-flux magnets, refining catalysts, energy efficient lights, wind turbines and hybrid car components. Learn more here.
The main consumers of these metals are China, Japan, Korea, Western Europe and the United States.
What are Rare Earths?
Rare earths („REE“) actually comprise 17 chemical elements, all belonging to the third group in the periodic table of elements.
REE are conventionally sub-divided into two categories, these being:
- Light rare earth elements („LREE“), comprising Lanthanum (La), Cerium (Ce), Praseodymium (Pr), Neodymium (Nd), Samarium (Sm); and
- Heavy rare earth elements („HREE“), comprising Europium (Eu), Gadolinium (Gd), Terbium (Tb), Dysprosium (Dy), Holmium (Ho), Erbium (Er), Thulium (Tm), Ytterbium (Yb), and Luttetium (Lu)and Yttrium (Y)
Rare earth elements do not occur naturally as metallic elements, they occur in a range of minerals that includes oxides, carbonates, phosphates and halides. A total of approximately 200 REE minerals have been identified.
Rare earths are essential components for a growing array of modern technological applications and devices for which there are virtually no substitutes.
The table below provides a summary of REE based technologies, their applications and the main REE required for production.
|Rare Earth Technology||Application(s)||REE required|
|Catalysts||Oil productionGasoline and hybrids, diesel fuel additiveFluid crackingEthane polymerisation||La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Lu, Y, Sm|
|Rare Earth permanent magnets and ceramic magnets||Wind and hydro power generationCordless power toolsGeneratorsHybrids, plug-in and electric vehiclesElectric assist motorsMedical imagingComputer disc drivesHandheld wireless devices||Nd, Pr, Dy, Tb, Sm, Tm|
|Phosphors||LCD TVs and monitorsPlasma TVs and displaysEnergy efficient fluorescent lights & LEDs||Y, Eu, Tb, Gd, Ce, La, Dy, Pr, Sc|
|Energy storage||NiMH batteries||La, Ce, Pr, Nd|
|Glass additives||Fiber opticsOptical glass for digital camera||Ce, La, Nd, Er, Gd, Yb|
|Polishing powders||LCD and Plasma TVs and monitorsSilicon wafers and chips||Ce, La, Pr|
|Others||LasersSuperconductorsNuclear applicationsFertilizersHigh tech alloys||Yb, Y, Dy, Tb, Eu, Sm, NdGdCe, Ervarious REEYb, Lu, Er, Tb, Gd, Eu, Sm, Nd, Pr, Ho, Sc|
One of the most commonly used intermediate rare earths product is “mischmetal”, an alloy containing some 50% cerium (Ce), 25% lanthanum (La), 15% neodymium (Nd) plus iron, calcium, and other rare earth elements. Mischmetal is commercially available in bar, rod, or powder form.
Key Industrial Consumers and Products:
- Automobile and petroleum industry
- Glass industry, optics, high-quality lenses, crystal production, luminous fiber optics
- High-performance electronics, high-tech weapons, satellite technology and telecommunications
- Metallurgy, ceramics industry, and laser industry
- Water treatment, alternative energies, marine biology
- Paint and lacquer production, laboratories, drying technology, fluxing agents
- Manufacture of magnets, batteries, spare parts industries
- Shieldings against radioactivity
Importance of Rare Earths
Many technologically advanced products are dependent on rare earths and future demand for rare earths is expected to grow considerably in line with the accelerated global take up of such products and devices.
Demand for REEs has increased in recent years because of their wide and diverse use in high-technology applications. However, the global production is very concentrated. According to the EU Commission report (Report on Critical Raw Materials for the EU, May 2014) China produces 99% of HREE and 87% of LREE. In the report HREE and LREE have been ranked as the two raw materials with the highest supply risk out of a total of 20 raw materials that have been identified as critical for the European Union industry.