The La Paz Rare Earths Project was founded in August 2019 with the initial US claims purchase in La Paz County, Arizona, approximately 105 miles northwest of Phoenix and 16 miles northeast of Bouse. The road transects the claims into southwestern and northeastern portions. With a contiguous footprint of over 218 federal lode mining claims over approximately 4,503 acres plus an Arizona state exploration permit for 640 acres, the increasing energy surrounding the La Paz Rare Earths Project has resulted in an assemblage that has the potential to be the largest rare earths project in North America. The full 5,143 +/- acres and considerable surrounding area lies fully in the Opportunity Zone and New Market Tax Credit Zone of Census Tract ID: 04012020100.
In addition to the vast area of claim control held in this Project, it is bolstered by excellent local infrastructure, including electricity, water, and gas lines all within 11km of its western boundary. Additionally, this project has the local asset of a skilled local workforce that is supported by a state of Arizona training mine and workforce development incentives. The location is in a non-conflict jurisdiction, earning a top 10 rank of 83 global mining jurisdictions by the Fraser Institute. Furthermore, the vast network of transport routes optimizes production and distribution channels, and provides an additional sense of safety and security to the local community. Located within the structural domain known as the Harcuvar metamorphic core complex within the Basin and Range Province, the La Paz area is also known for favorable weather conditions that allow for year-round mining and exploration.
By leveraging Arizona’s history of being mining-friendly, our various stakeholders have a vested interest in preserving the area with responsible mining requirements that can meet the growing needs for rare earths as well as maintain respect for the land. Unearthing penalty elements that have plagued rare earths projects globally, such as radioactive thorium and uranium, is also kept at a minimum. The radioactive content per ton of raw ore is 30X higher in a typical rare earths project.
“La Paz offers a unique opportunity for shareholders for exposure to the US rare earths market, where security of supply is critical because of rising global trade tensions.”
Clarence McAllister, PE | Board Chair
La Paz is a large-tonnage, bulk deposit comprising high-value light rare-earth element (LREE) assemblage with the potential to be the largest rare earths projects in North America.
La Paz contains very low-penalty elements such as radioactive thorium and uranium, and an independent NI 43-101 Report and Resource estimate was completed in 2011 and updated in 2020.
La Paz benefits from excellent local infrastructure - electricity, water, gas - in a mining-friendly jurisdiction.
The La Paz area was first shown to contain rare-earth elements during exploration sampling programs in mid-2010. During 2011, Australian American Mining Corporation Ltd. drilled 195 percussion holes for 5,120 meters, which supported a maiden resource estimate under independent NI 43-101 guidelines. The resource displayed a relatively uniform distribution of total rare-earth elements (TREE) across and along strike covering a resource area of 2.5km by 1.5km. The entire deposit of the maiden resource is exposed at surface, or lightly concealed by an alluvial cover. The majority of the deposit outcrops are at the surface, but it is open at depth and is currently defined to 30m below surface.
Composite and selected interval samples were submitted to leading independent groups at SGS Canada, Inc. (Vancouver) for mineralogical investigations through QEMSCAN, XRD, and electron microprobe analysis, and the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC, Saskatoon) for preliminary metallurgical test work for pre-concentration and leaching. The opportunity for an environmentally sound and profitable mining project was clear with concentration studies demonstrating excellent separation (up to 70%) of high-value, LREE-rich allanite; successful leaching of concentrate via a H2SO4 acid-roast dilute solution leach method; and a TREO assemblage split of 81% LREE and 19% heavy rare-earth elements (HREE).
The maiden resource estimate and preliminary metallurgical test work formed the basis of an independent NI 43-101 report completed late 2011. Additional metallurgical test work was completed in early 2012. More than 500 surface samples were collected between 2010 and 2019, including an extensive surface sampling program in 2019 consisting of 15 trenches that were excavated through alluvium to expose bedrock for sampling.
WRE updated the 43-101 report and upgraded the supporting data analysis to JORC 2020 standards, with highlights from the October 2020 report including:
- There will be opportunities for more than 60m thickness of higher-grade rare earths values.
- Scandium has been found to be ubiquitous to the lower plate gneiss, not just limited to the Allanite.
- REE and Scandium resources can not only be confidently reclassified and expanded, but we expect to be able to upgrade the REE resource and separately establish a maiden resource for Scandium. The current defined resources sit within an area of approximately 525 of the currently held 5,143 acres.
- Testing of feedstock through new cutting-edge processes through collaborations with leading US universities and national laboratories are still underway and continue to look promising.
- Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) has been planned for the second half of 2021, which will lead to advancements in further surface sampling, metallurgical testing, more drilling in the maiden resource area together with the additional targeted areas, and open-cut mine-planning and processing.
A copy of the NI 43-101 Report can be found at:
Figure 1. La Paz Rare Earths Project – Arizona, USA
Figure 2. Outline of the area containing the maiden resource estimate reported in 2011 under NI 43-101 guidelines.