Tuesday, 10 July 2012
NSU Resources Inc. (NSU, NOST: OTCQB) is a new Canadian company engaged in exploring and developing rare earth mineral resources (REE). NSU has launched two adjacent projects, covering an area of about 4,000 acres, in Shatter Lake and Byers Brook, close to convenient infrastructure, roads and ports. China’s decision to limit and discourage exports of REE’s has invigorated the REE sector, launching a new REE ‘race’ in various REE rich regions worldwide. North America is one of the most prolific areas for REE and a number of companies have launched related projects.
In this forest of new players, NSU stands out because it is approaching its REE extraction project with a novel philosophy. NSU is not merely considering the mineralogical characteristics of its deposits as the measure if its success; it wants to develop a new methodology to separate REE’s. Indeed, one the principal limitations and concerns faced by the REE industry are posed less by exploration and more by the known techniques to separate the REE ores into individual elements. This is because REE’s share similar chemical and physical properties. Current extraction techniques are not very effective in recovering individual rare metals from ores having 4-5% Total Rare Earth Oxides (TREO) concentrations. This limitation adds risk to REE mining companies, which are compelled to extract resources only when concentrations are sufficient enough to warrant development.
NSU has access to a new and patented REE (patent drafted but not submitted) extraction technology, based on pharmaceutical methods to extract critical compounds from plants, that separates it from the rest of the field. The pharmaceutical industry has learned from decades of research how to maximize the extraction of desired compounds from typically low concentrations. The advantage of NSU’s ‘pharmaceutical’ business and technology model is that it will not only be able to use it to develop its own resources; it will also be in a position to license the method to other REE companies.
This approach will be especially useful in the short term. In this sense NSU is both an ‘upstream’ and ‘downstream’ player, working towards a new kind of vertical integration. Accordingly, NSU expects to secure close ties to end users, especially those in the renewable and alternative energy sector, including battery and electric motor manufacturers, which are finding applications in the automotive industry, power generation and phosphors (used in television sets and…security watermarks in currency bills among other things). NSU’s pharmaceutical method, amid at maximizing the extraction potential of ores having even minimal REE concentrations, focuses on what is essentially the renewable and sustainable technology sector. This is matched by its own environmental concern, given NSU’s goal to vastly reduce the tailings and contaminants commonly associated with REE mining; indeed, these very tailings have affected the reputation of major REE mining projects, adding regulatory and political burdens with various governments around the world.
NSU offers a new model in the REE sphere. Its focus on REE separation addresses one of the main regulatory and image concerns faced by the industry. NSU puts more leadership and ‘science’ into the REE sector, blending academic methods with a strategic business model. This is a new phenomenon in the industry. It uses existing science, adapting it to advance scientific knowledge, while capturing value from its research fully confident in the quality of its science (the new REE separation method). NSU is unfettered by traditional REE methods and technologies and it is in a position to break barriers to the advantage of its investors and ultimately consumers and society itself.
Posted by Alessandro Bruno at 05:18:00 PM inEditor, Alessandro Bruno, Intel, NSU Resources