Leading Edge Materials Initiates Research on Hafnium and Zirconium Extraction from Norra Kärr Rare Earth Element Project, Sweden
Vancouver, Canada – Leading Edge Materials Corp. (“Leading Edge Materials”) or (“the “Company”) (TSXV:LEM) (OTCQB: LEMIF) (Nasdaq First North: LEMSE) is pleased to provide an update on the first of a range of research projects aimed at capturing added value opportunities for the Norra Kärr rare earth element (“REE”) project in Sweden. A Pre-Feasibility Study completed on Norra Kärr in 2015 (“PFS”) identified a range of opportunities to improve project economics while reducing capital expenditure and minimizing the environmental footprint of the project.
Leading Edge Materials has partnered with a research team lead by Prof. Julien Leclaire at the Institut de Chimie et Biochimie Moléculaires et Supramoléculaires (“ICBMS”) in Lyon, France to investigate the extraction and separation of hafnium and zirconium from a process material previously considered to be waste. Prof. Leclaire has worked extensively on highly selective extraction systems that apply carbon dioxide to form reversible extractive agents, with a focus on REEs in both primary and waste materials.
The initial six-month research alliance is partially funded by Leading Edge Materials, which provides the exclusive rights to apply the intellectual property (“IP”) developed within two years of project completion. If research is not ongoing within the two-year period, rights to use the IP shall return to ICBMS.
Prof. Leclaire was identified by Leading Edge Materials as a highly skilled partner in extractive chemistry following publication of REE research, having developed and patented innovative technologies with a low environmental impact. Some this technology was developed through research into carbon capture and valorization.
The Norra Kärr deposit, along with REE and zirconium, is enriched in hafnium with a reserve grade of 338 ppm hafnium oxide (HfO2) (see PFS under Tasman Metals Ltd.’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com or on the Company’s website at http://leadingedgematerials.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Norra-Karr_PFS_43-101-.pdf). Hafnium, named from the Latin for the Scandinavian city of Copenhagen, is a highly valued metal as it is extremely resistant to corrosion, and forms some of the highest melting point alloys known to man. More than 80% of hafnium is used for superalloys, plasma cutting equipment and nuclear control rods, with aerospace and gas turbine technologies forecast to substantially increase demand. Hafnium metal is presently valued at around $1,500 per kg with a total market approaching 100 tonnes per year.
Blair Way, President and CEO, stated “While additional revenue from the separation of high purity hafnium and zirconium is attractive, we are also motivated to achieve a high degree of resource efficiency at Norra Kärr, through the application of this technology to convert former waste streams to salable products. We look forward to working with Prof. Leclaire on this and other projects where his technology and patents can be applied to the extraction of high value critical raw materials.”
On behalf of the Board,
Blair Way, President & CEO
The qualified person for the Company’s project, Mr. Blair Way B.S. (Geology) M.B.A., a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the Company’s President and CEO, has reviewed and verified the contents of this document.
This information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above, on March 26, 2018, at 5:15 am Vancouver Time.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.
Forward-Looking Information. This news release may contain forward-looking statements and information based on current expectations. These statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those implied by such statements. Such statements include but are not limited to, the Company’s expectations regarding the research projects aimed at capturing added value opportunities for Norra Kärr, the outcome of the mining lease application process; unexpected geological conditions; the Company’s expectations regarding exploration activities to advance critical material projects for energy storage markets, delays in obtaining or failure to obtain necessary permits and approvals from government authorities. Although such statements are based on management's reasonable assumptions, there are risk factors which could cause the Company's actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information contained herein. All forward-looking information herein is qualified in its entirety by this cautionary statement, and the Company disclaims any obligation to revise or update any such forward-looking information or to publicly announce the result of any revisions to any of the forward-looking information contained herein to reflect future results, events or developments, except as required by law.
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About Leading Edge Materials
Leading Edge Materials was formed with our sights firmly focused on the material demands of a once-in-a-generation revolution, as the world shifts to the efficient production, storage and preservation of low carbon energy. From the lithium batteries in our electric vehicles to our ability to generate energy from the sun, wind and waves LEM is focused on the green energy markets. With a focus on Europe and assets in innovation-rich Scandinavia, Leading Edge Materials is ideally placed to play a pivotal role in the sustainable supply of critical technology materials.
Leading Edge Materials is listed on the TSXV under the symbol “LEM” and Nasdaq First North Stockholm under the symbol "LEMSE". Remium Nordic AB is the Company’s Certified Adviser on Nasdaq First North.