Medallion Receives US Department of Defense Related Inquiries
Medallion Resources Ltd. (TSX-V: MDL; OTCPK: MLLOF; Frankfurt: MRDN) – “Medallion” or the “Company”), pursuing North American production of rare-earth magnet metals, announced that is has received inquiries from several rare-earth element (REE) refineries interested in receiving specifications and potential volumes of the Company’s REE concentrate product. These refineries are considering their response to the US Department of Defense’s recent Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), directed toward light REE processing and separation.
Medallion’s proposed US-based REE process plant is well-suited to provide a high-quality feedstock for separation by either existing or future refining facilities. The Medallion plant will utilize monazite sand, a rare-earth element rich (>50%) by-product mineral which is abundantly available within the United States. The Company’s proprietary process extracts a REE chemical concentrate from high grade monazite sand in a clean, safe and automated operation without the need for mining or upgrading.
The Department of Defense’s FOA is seeking proposals to establish or enhance domestic light REE processing and separation capacity under the Defense Production Act (DPA). The estimated government funding contribution for this project is up to US$40 million for accepted proposals and requires matching funding.
Medallion’s product, a light rare-earth concentrate enriched in the magnetic metals neodymium (Nd) and praseodymium (Pr), is in short supply outside China. In fact, Beijing prohibits its export to ensure value-add stages are completed within China. By utilizing a domestically available by-product mineral, Medallion’s approach can help provide a key component of the rare-earth value chain outside of China.
Defense Production Act of 1950 – Background
Over the last few years, under direction from Beijing, six state-owned enterprises (SOE) have consolidated the bulk of the Chinese domestic rare-earth mining and processing capacity and now dominate that marketplace. In fact, China currently controls about 85% of global rare-earth production.
The Trump administration has expressed strong support for the US military to become less reliant on foreign-sourced materials and processing technology. A key area of concern has been the high concentration of supply of rare-earth products from China, and the lack of a robust US supply alternative in the short to medium term.
In July 2019, The White House issued presidential determinations under Section 303 of the Defense Production Act of 1950 – Title III, that “domestic processing, separation, production of REEs is now essential to the national defense”. This permitted the federal government to incentivize the domestic (US and Canada) rare-earth industrial base accordingly, which includes this current Light REE FOA. A Reuters article on a recent Heavy REE separation funding program can be viewed here – “U.S. Army will fund rare earths plant for weapons development”.
Importantly, this current Department of Defense project focuses on production of Nd and Pr or when produced together “NdPr” oxide products. The mineral monazite is a light REE mineral rich in NdPr. Today, NdPr is commercially the most important and valuable of all the REEs for its use as the key input to rare-earth, permanent magnets. These magnets are embedded in military equipment that includes the F-35 fighter, Tomahawk and Javelin missiles, Aegis-equipped destroyers, and smart bombs.
Rare-earth magnets are also used extensively in the auto industry to power the small electric motors now contained in seats, mirrors, wipers, steering, air conditioning, water pumps, etc. Most current EV models, such as the Tesla Model 3 as well as virtually all planned EV and hybrid vehicle models require these NdPr magnets in the traction motors that power the actual vehicle. NdPr represents the largest rare-earth market opportunity for the next decade. For more on how the EV and hybrid vehicle demand will drive NdPr volumes see Adamas Intelligence report: “Electric Growth: EVs, Motors and Motor Materials”.
About Medallion Resources
Medallion Resources has developed a proprietary process and related business model to achieve low-cost, near-term, rare earth element (REE) production by exploiting monazite. Monazite is a rare earth phosphate mineral that is widely available as a by-product from mineral sand mining operations. REEs are critical inputs to electric and hybrid vehicles, electronics, imaging systems, wind turbines and strategic defense systems. Medallion is committed to following best practices and accepted international standards in all aspects of mineral transportation, processing and the safe management of waste materials. More about Medallion (TSX-V: MDL; OTCPK: MLLOF; Frankfurt: MRDN) can be found at medallionresources.com.