The overall scope of the Deep Fox & Foxtrot Project is comprised of facilities in two separate locations:
- The mine site, Primary Production Plant, and port facility in Labrador, and
- The Hydrometallurgical Processing Plant, REE Solvent Extraction Plant, and port at a brownfield site on the Island of Newfoundland.
The first component involves 26 years of open pit and underground mining at Deep Fox/Foxtrot and primary magnetic concentration in Labrador. The open pit plus concentrator will provide 128 direct jobs. When the project progresses to peak underground production, there will be 249 direct jobs. REE concentrate will be shipped from the nearby port of St. Lewis to a brownfield site on the Island of Newfoundland (location to be determined). The second component includes processing of the REE concentrate at a hydrometallurgical plant (direct extraction) to produce a mixed 56% REE carbonate precipitate. The mixed REE carbonate will then be transferred to a solvent extraction plant where REE are separated from one another to produce pure rare earth oxides (Nd2O3, Pr6O11, Dy2O3, and Tb4O7). The hydrometallurgical plant will create 110 direct jobs, and the separation facility will create 50 direct jobs. The full project will create approximately 409 direct jobs.
Mine and Concentrator in Labrador:
- Mine Type: Open pit followed by underground.
- Mine Life: 26 years; primary processing rate of 2,000 tonnes per day; 730,000 tonnes per annum (tpa).
- Non-chemical magnetic beneficiation, with magnetic rejects permanently dry stack stored (potential to blend with waste rock to eliminate tailing impoundment structures).
- REE Concentrate production: Following magnetic beneficiation, 200,000 tpa of 3.5% TREO concentrate (equivalent of 6.9 to 9.2 kg/tonne of magnet REE) will be shipped from the port of St. Lewis, utilizing 15,000 deadweight ton (DWT) bulk carriers (i.e., 14-15 shipments per annum) to a brownfield site on the Island of Newfoundland.
- Distance from the Deep Fox and Foxtrot deposits to the deep-water Port of St. Lewis is 2.7 km and 11 km, respectively.
- The 1,100 km paved Trans-Labrador Highway travels through and adjacent to the entire Port Hope Simpson – St. Lewis CREE District.
- Open pit mine plus concentrator will create an estimated 128 direct jobs, increasing to 249 jobs for underground plus concentrator.
- Communities of St. Lewis, Port Hope Simpson, and Mary's Harbour are supportive, and each has a small airstrip and a local workforce awaiting employment and training opportunities.
- Completed evaluation of existing port facilities in St. Lewis, Labrador. Confirmed ability to upgrade the port to be suitable for the mine operation. Cost of wharf upgrades and dredging is estimated at $28 million.
- Spent to date: Approximately $40M since 2009 investment.
- Estimated CAPEX for the development of the mine and primary concentrator in Labrador is more than CAD $200M.
Hydrometallurgical Plant at a brownfield site on the Island of Newfoundland:
- Hydrometallurgical plant will receive the 3.5% TREO concentrate from Labrador and produce a 99% mixed rare earth oxide or 56% mixed rare earth carbonate concentrate.
- Ideal location: within a 1.5 hour drive of St. John's.
- Estimated 110 direct jobs.
- Estimated CAPEX for the development of a hydrometallurgical facility is more than CAD $200M.
Individual REE Oxide Separation Facility at a brownfield site on the Island of Newfoundland:
- The estimated cost for development of a separation facility is CAD $200M.
- The total production will average 1,437 tpa: 1,291 tpa Nd/Pr, 125 tpa Dy, and 21 tpa Tb.
- Separation facility will create an estimated 50 direct jobs.
Major milestones include:
- July 2022: Deep Fox and Foxtrot PEA with increased mineral resource estimates, 26-year mine life, and $ 1.3B NPV8.
- September 2022: Successfully tested a magnetic separation process on a 70 tonne (t) Deep Fox/Foxtrot bulk sample. The resulting 20 t of upgraded 3.5% TREO concentrate will be further processed at a hydrometallurgical (direct extraction) demonstration plant project at SGS.
- October 2022: Deep Fox 14,000 m resource delineation, geotechnical, and hydrogeological drill program completed.
- The drill program was designed to increase the mineral resource classification confidence within the open pit portion of the resource, while also characterizing the geotechnical and hydrogeological characteristics of the deposit, with the objective of supporting the continued design of an open pit and underground mine, as well as the Impact Assessment Review Process.
- Search successfully delineated the open pit resource to an approximate depth of 200 m and anticipates this will have a significant positive impact on the economics and logistics of the deposit.
- The results of this drill program will be used in updated mineral resource estimate for 2023.
Stage of Development
- Environmental baseline work is ongoing.
- Pre-feasibility engineering work has been initiated.
- Primary processing has been pilot plant scale tested.
- Hydrometallurgical processing has been bench- and pilot-scale tested. Demonstration plant scale test work planned for 2023.
- Natural Resources Canada has awarded $5 Million in non-dilutive support to Search Minerals via a Contribution Agreement which will be used to fund the construction and operation of the demonstration plant.
- The total demonstration plant cost is estimated at approximately $9.3 Million. Search Minerals' contribution to the construction and operation costs is anticipated to be approximately $3.3 million, with a further $1 Million of funding under application from other sources. The funding of the demonstration plant helps Search to:
- Confirm application of the Direct Extraction Process to the rare earth concentrate materials
- Obtain engineering data for feasibility study completion, expected in 2024
- Prepare ~ 1 tonne of high purity mixed rare earth carbonate precipitate to be used to validate separation of individual rare earth products
To download a summary of Search Mineral's Deep Fox and Foxtrot Project, please click here.