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Avalon Rare Metals : INDUSTRY BULLETIN: Avalon Helps the International Rare Earth Industry in Strengthening Business and Technical Collaboration

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02/21/2012 | 09:18pm CEST

In our ongoing efforts to provide you with broader communications and industry information, we are pleased to issue this Industry Bulletin, which reports on the Technology Metals Summit (TMS) held in Toronto on February 1-2, 2012, the REITA annual general meeting held in Toronto immediately before TMS, and the upcoming CIM 51st Conference of Metallurgists in Niagara Falls, Sept. 30 - Oct.1, 2012.

Technology Metals Summit Toronto, February 1-2, 2012

Avalon was a major sponsor and actively participated in the first TMS rare earth conference in Toronto organized by REE World in association with Pro-Edge Consultants and Market-edge. Attended by over 200 delegates from around the world, the program covered a broad range of important opportunities and issues facing the rare earths industry, including supply and demand, Chinese export quotas and domestic pricing, and human resource needs.

Keynote speaker Constantine Karayannopoulos, President and CEO of Neo Material Technologies Inc., noted that stricter enforcement of environmental regulations within China will drive rare earth prices higher than they've historically been and that China will probably consume more than 70% of rare earths demand in the future. He suggested that all prospective producers include Chinese clients in their plans. Mr. Karayannopoulos also noted there will not be much room for new light rare earths ("LREE") producers outside China after Lynas and Molycorp come into production. However, he emphasised that the world, including China, will require a "few" heavy rare earths ("HREE") producers to come on-stream, particularly those rich in dysprosium (Dy), terbium (Tb), europium (Eu), and neodymium (Nd).  Mr. Karayannopoulos also called for large consumers complaining about the rare earths supply situation outside of China to "put their money on the table", as he expects the Chinese users will.

Veteran rare earth market analyst Dudley Kingsnorth, Executive Director of Industrial Minerals Company of Australia ("IMCOA") and recently appointed Adjunct Professor at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, delivered the second keynote address, during which he noted:

  • While rare earth demand in 2010 was 120,000 metric tonnes ("mt"), it fell to 105,000mt in 2011 with the European crisis and high REE prices.
  • Demand is expected to recover in 2012, to 123,000mt, growing to 160,000mt in 2016, and to approximately 200,000-240,000mt by 2020.
  • China's HREE reserves are finite, with current reserves in the order of 8-12 years. As a result, HREE production will be constrained and prices for Eu, Dy, Tb and Y will remain strong between 2012 and 2020.
  • Rare earth producers need to understand and take special care of the radioactive elements that are present in all rare earth deposits. It can be done, but care and expertise are required.

Avalon's Pierre Neatby, Vice President Sales and Marketing, sat on a panel of corporate leaders that discussed International Perspectives on the Future Rare Earth Supply, speaking to such matters as supply-demand, pricing, and the role of government. "My view is that government should encourage the REE industry through education and infrastructure but not be involved in market distorting actions such as stockpiling or supporting individual projects." commented Mr. Neatby.

Avalon's Market Development and Energy Advisor, Ian London, organized and moderated a panel of three Canadian university students, representing three different schools and programs. The panelists and their classmates had recently been introduced to the opportunities and challenges of the rare earths industry as part of their studies. Their messages clearly reinforced the growing interest and enthusiasm among undergraduates and graduate students to meet the business and technical challenges of the North American rare earths industry.

Rare Earth Information and Technology Association (REITA)
As announced in October 2011, Avalon joined REITA as the Company continues to contribute to building the rare earths industry and supply chains outside of China.  REITA offers the industry a strong international association to help educate the market on issues such as rare earths recycling, sustainability, and building a globally competitive and diverse supply chain.  Pierre Neatby, Avalon's Vice President Sales and Marketing, was elected to the Board at the most recent Annual General Meeting held in Toronto on January 31, 2012.  Avalon looks forward to helping REITA become an influential international rare earths association. More information on REITA can be found at www.reitaglobal.org.

51st Annual Conference of Metallurgists (COM12)
Avalon has been invited and agreed to organize and chair the first ever Rare Earths Symposium at COM 2012, on September 30 to October 3, 2012 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (www.cim.org/com2012).

The theme of the Conference is Metallurgy and Materials Impact on Society; the technology achievements of today that answer society's aspirations for tomorrow. The technical program will feature papers from all fields of minerals, metals and materials technologies. The three-day Rare Earths Symposium has received over 40 abstracts to date, from nine different countries, covering the following topics:

  • Rare Earth Geology and Geochemistry
  • Ore Dressing and Separation Technology
  • Hydrometallurgical Processing of Rare Earths
  • Physical Metallurgy of Rare Earths
  • Preparation of Metals, Alloys and High Purity Metals
  • Thorium Management
  • Rare Earth Economics

This annual conference is attended by approximately 800 delegates, equally split between academia and industrial sector specialists. There will be a Proceedings Volume published containing all of the papers presented.

Avalon Rare Metals Inc. ( TSX & NYSE Amex: AVL) is a mineral development company focused on rare metals deposits in Canada. Its flagship project, the 100%-owned Nechalacho Deposit, Thor Lake, NWT, is emerging as one of the largest undeveloped rare earth elements resources in the world. Its exceptional enrichment in the more valuable 'heavy' rare earth elements, which are key to enabling advances in green energy technology and other growing high-tech applications, is one of the few potential sources of these critical elements outside of China, currently the source of 95% of world supply. Avalon is well funded, has no debt and its work programs are progressing steadily. Social responsibility and environmental stewardship are corporate cornerstones. Avalon's performance on community engagement in the north earned it the 2010 PDAC Environmental and Social Responsibility Award.

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Donald S. Bubar President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
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Alan L. H. Ferry Independent Director
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