|Twenty percent is on the low side for an iron ore... and probably wouldn't be considered economic if that were all there were in the rock. If you're looking for an iron ore resource, you'd want to see something more in the mid thirties... |
But, I agree with you that, particularly when you're looking at a couple of high value, low quantity elements as you are in the REE game... it's a really good thing to have a stable base of support in values in "other" minerals... particularly if they have value enough in them to justify the development even without the REE values...
Here, the iron content wouldn't justify an effort in development in its own right... but, as it is there, it's worth taking it out, and doing that will probably add enough additional value to more than cover the cost of development, and pay for the mining costs... It won't be a spectacular and highly profitable iron mine... but, it likely WILL turn a profit, just based on the iron ? Consider it as an marginally economic project, at the lesser end of the scale in the range of what is in production, now... equal to 1/2 to 2/3 of the value of an better iron mine prospect... ?
Looks like a similar issue with the niobium here... probably not quite enough there to make it fully competitive with other purely niobium focused plays... but, as a secondary value, it's a really good one to have... with a lot of demand growth occurring, and it has quite a lot of near term upside potential in pricing... So, consider it perhaps as equal in the mineral values to something like 1/2 to 2/3 of one of the better niobium mine potentials out there... ?
And, then, of course, there are the REE. They do have a relatively LARGE deposit... considered already as the third largest outside China ? But, they're still not showing values that are close to being comparable to the sort of values they have at Mountain Pass. Lower values... with lower mining costs... are still quite alright. Consider first that they're equal to or better than the other undeveloped REE potentials out there... and, their REE values are solid enough... so, consider that they've got something that's roughly equal to 1/4 of a Mountain Pass equivalent REE deposit... ?
Even at the low end in the value ranges for the elements they have... that adds up to 1.25 mine equivalent mine project... with a less conservative take giving it 1.58 mine equivalents... or more, perhaps, depending on other things they have ?
This thing started life as a gold prospect... and there ARE gold values found in and around the structure... whether there is any in the right places, or enough of it to matter ?
Otherwise, we're in a market "lull" in interest in iron and REE, and at or near recent market lows in prices for both of them... so, you could consider the commodity market timing issues here as favorable...
If it pencils out as economic, now... it will look a lot better in a better market...