Rare earth elements (REE) comprise the 15 elements of the lanthanide series: La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb and Lu. Scandium (Sc) and yttrium (Y) are often considered as part of the REE group because they have similar properties and are often found in the same deposits.
REEs are usually soft, ductile, malleable, and reactive, especially at elevated temperatures or when finely divided. These unique properties make REEs useful in a in a wide variety of applications. REEs are used in electronics and electrical components, glass, magnetic materials, lasers, and numerous other industrial processes.
REEs are on Canada’s 2021 critical minerals list, meaning that they are essential to Canada’s economic security. REEs are also considered critical minerals by the U.S., Australia, the European Commission and others. REEs are widely used but most REE reserves and production are limited to a few countries with the top producers being China, U.S, Myanmar and Australia. Governments across the globe recognize the importance of identifying and securing local sources of REEs to meet the ever-growing demand and ensure supply independence.
The primary sources of REE are carbonatite and alkaline intrusive rocks, and their weathering products. The principal economic sources of REEs are the minerals bastnasite, monazite, and loparite and the lateritic ion-adsorption clays. Many REE occurrences discovered have yet to produce REE commercially because this requires complex separation and refining processes. Exploration strategies for REE as well as REE extraction technology are evolving to try to support the current and future demand.
How APEX Helps
APEX has extensive global experience in the exploration, evaluation, and mineral resource estimation of REE deposits. APEX has worked on REE projects in Canada, United States, Mexico, and Australia.
APEX has planned, executed, and managed exploration field programs for REEs including sampling, geophysical surveying, and drilling targeting carbonate and peralkaline intrusion hosted REEs in Canada and Mexico. This work has included grassroots evaluation of early-stage projects, in addition to multiple drill campaigns leading to definition, and expansion of REE mineral resources, culminating in a positive preliminary economic assessment (PEA).
APEX has experience in the completion of mineral resource estimations and Technical Reports for REE deposits. APEX has completed several NI 43-101 Technical Reports on REE projects including mineral resource estimates and preliminary economic assessments.