SoS RARE at PDAC 2019, 3rd-6th March 2019

PDAC 2019 overview of one of the smaller halls! PDAC Trade Show North. Photo Copyright Ed Loye.
Print media for SoS RARE (and sister project HiTechAlkCarb). Photo Copyright Ed Loye.

The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention in Toronto is the world's premier mineral exploration and mining event. It is regarded as THE leading convention for people, companies and organisations in, or connected with, mineral exploration. The event is huge with over 25,000 attendees for 2019. This year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with PDAC President Glenn Mullan on the Canadian government's support for Canada's mineral sector through the recent renewal of the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC), along with the continued support in indigenous partnerships and responsible exploration.

Ed Loye attended the convention and took the opportunity to promote the work and outputs from SoS RARE to the mining community as the SoS Minerals Programme comes to a close this year.

A lot of what SoS RARE has achieved is relevant not just to academia or mining companies, but also to policy makers with interests in sustainable mining, and end users interested in diversification of supply of critical raw materials, for example. Information was available to interested parties including an over view of SoS RARE and our network, and also more focussed leaflets outlining lifecycle assessment (LCA) work on REE deposits from work package 5, and leaflets outlining work on REE ion adsorption clays from work packages 2 & 4. This was also an opportunity to test out our REE deposits card game developed with Geobus!

Back in the early 2010s the aisles of PDAC were lined with REE junior companies responding to the need to diversify the supply chain of these critical raw materials for our enabling technologies and green energy future. Of course, this turned out to be a bubble as many projects faded away for a myriad of reasons including lower prices for REEs and the multiple challenges (metallurgy, remoteness, for example) of bringing many of these projects to production.

However, the demand for REE is still there, and the supply risk is still there, as rare earth permanent magnets (REPMs) are used in the motors of choice for the electric car industry. 93% of all electric cars sold in 2018 used REPM motors.

There are quite a few REE companies still developing their projects, some with booths at PDAC this year including Ucore, Avalon Advanced Materials, Commerce Resources, Appia Energy, and Geomega. Our project partners Will Dawes and Alex Lemon from Mkango Resources, and Don Burton from Namibia Critical Metals were also in attendance.

Mark MacDonald from Ucore Rare Metals. Photo Copyright Ed Loye.
Geomega's separated rare earth oxide (REO) in bottles. Photo Copyright Ed Loye.

It's not just mining companies presenting at PDAC. Mining equipment, helicopter services, geophysical services companies, analytical companies, museums and even countries of well-known mining jurisdictions had booths including Peru, South Africa and Ireland, for example.

Geological surveys were also represented including USGS, and here the Namibia Geological Survey. Photo Copyright Ed Loye.

There were a few opportunities to try out the SoS RARE REE deposit card game with some eager participants!

Here I'm playing SoS RARE REE deposit card game with Sevan Bedrossian Project Leader of Energy, Mining & Environment from National Research Council of Canada (NRC). Photo Copyright Ed Loye.
Ultimate fieldwork mobile. Photo Copyright Ed Loye.

Ed Loye, March 2019


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