Molycorp, Inc. announced that its proven and probable reserves of rare earth minerals at its Mountain Pass, California facility have increased by 36%, according to a new independent estimate. (Earlier post.) Rare earths and rare metals are critical inputs in existing and emerging applications including hybrid and electric vehicles and wind power turbines.
The updated estimate, based on the SEC’s “Industry Guide 7” definition of proven and probable mineral reserves, expands Molycorp’s reserves to 18.4 million short tons of rare earth ore, at an ore grade of 7.98% and a cut-off grade of 5%. This compares to a previous 2010 estimate of Molycorp’s proven and probable reserves of 13.6 million short tons. Both independent analyses were done by SRK Consulting of Lakewood, Colorado, an industry mining consulting firm that specializes in such estimates.
SRK now estimates that the proven and probable component of Molycorp’s ore body contains approximately 2.94 billion pounds (1.3 million metric tons) of contained rare earth oxide (REO) equivalent. This compares to the previous estimate of 2.24 billion pounds of contained REO product (1.02 million metric tons).
The updated estimate of Molycorp’s reserves by SRK was based on an analysis of an updated mine plan that calculated material volumes, tonnes, in-situ grades, and concentrate tonnes. The SRK analysis took into account data from exploratory drilling conducted in 2010.