WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Sept. 5, 2018 - Chatham Rock Phosphate Limited (TSXV: "NZP" and NZAX: "CRP" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has recently formed a 100% owned subsidiary Pacific Rare Earths Limited.
This company has been formed to project-manage a work programme aimed at quantifying the extent, value and recoverability of Rare Earths Elements (REE) and other potentially strategic or valuable minerals contained in the rock phosphate nodules on the Chatham Rise.
In addition, the company will be investigating the existence and recovery potential of rare earths and other valuable minerals in seafloor muds on the Rise.
Rare Earths in phosphate
A recent study of marine phosphate nodules by the United States Geological Survey reveals that there are significant quantities of REE contained within the phosphate nodules on the Chatham Rise. Of the 17 recognised rare earths, 15 are present in Chatham Rise rock phosphate nodules, as well as varying concentrations of other valuable minerals including nickel, cobalt, chromium, vanadium, zirconium, fluorine and strontium. Collectively these minerals, if they can be efficiently extracted as by-products, represent not only an immensely strategic asset for New Zealand but could significantly improve the already attractive forecast project economics.
The presence of these minerals within the phosphate rock is highly significant because the contained value may be released onshore (if extraction proves feasible and economically viable) without any change to the proposed mining system, and without any additional environmental impacts in the Project area.
Rare Earths in seafloor muds
Shareholders will recall that we established and announced some time ago that there were significant quantities of rare earths and other valuable minerals in the seafloor muds in our permit area. These include cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, praseodymium, yttrium, cobalt, rubidium, cesium, germanium, gallium, strontium, thallium and tungsten.
The primary challenge associated with the production of rare earths from the muds is the extraction process, and the advancement of processing technology that will be required in order to demonstrate the feasible and economically viable separation of any of these minerals. In addition, recovery of rare earths from muds will involve the development of a new marine mining system, and therefore will be considered for development separately from the existing CRP rock phosphate nodules project.
SOURCE Chatham Rock Phosphate