Steenkampskraal Holdings Ltd (SHL), the rare earth (RE) mine in South Africa and one of the world’s highest grade RE mines, has announced a substantial investment in the company by Monoceros Mineral Resources (Pty) Ltd (MMR).
SHL Chairman, Trevor Blench, said the MMR investment will be used for mining activities at Steenkampskraal and to list the company on a stock exchange.
MMR was started by Timothy Crombie, a Chemical Engineer and Data Scientist who recognised the need for rare earths in the global transition away from fossil fuels. SHL has appointed Crombie as a Director and Project Manager.
Crombie explained that rare earths, and specifically neodymium (Nd) and praseodymium (Pr), are used in electric motor magnets to make electric vehicles (EVs). These are key components in numerous other products.
“The production and sales of EVs more than doubled in 2021 to 6.6 million and continue to rise rapidly in 2022. Rare earths are also used to make wind turbines, another fast-growing industry,” he said.
The rare earths that are used in these two industries are Nd, Pr, dysprosium (Dy) and terbium (Tb). Nd and Pr represent approximately 74% of the total economic value of the rare earths reserves at the Steenkampskraal mine.
Steenkampskraal has a NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate that confirms the presence of 605 000 t of ore at an average grade of 14.4% total rare earth oxides (TREO). The mine therefore contains about 86 900 t of TREO, including 15 630 t of Nd, 4,459 tons of Pr, 867 tons of Dy and 182 tons of Tb. The prices of these four rare earths more than doubled in 2021.
Steenkampskraal is an existing mine with a mining right. Anglo American Corp. of South Africa mined Steenkampskraal from 1952 to 1963, removed 128 289 t of ore and produced 53 939 t of monazite concentrate that contained 26 969 t of TREO. The average TREO grade of the ore that Anglo American mined during those 11 years was 21%.