Northern Minerals Limited (ASX: NTU) today, on 9th April 2019, has updated about few of the exciting recent developments with both Northern Minerals Limited (Company) and the rare earth sector in general. The company has seen a sudden surge along with positive signs for the dysprosium price. In the last month, there have been serious positive moves in the dysprosium price, with the reported price per kilogram increasing by circa 20% in this period.
There was some welcome investor focus on the rare earth sector recently, with Western Australian-headquartered industrial conglomerate, Wesfarmers launching an unsolicited $1.5 billion bid for light rare earths producer Lynas Corporation. Lynas produces praseodymium and neodymium, both of which are also used in permanent magnets. The proposed takeover, by one of Australia’s largest companies, has shone a spotlight on the rare earth sector in general.
Commissioning of the Pilot Plant is ongoing at Browns Range, as the management continues the program to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of the full-scale operation.
Chemically, the process plant is performing as designed with the massive rare earth carbonate product meeting the outlined specifications, providing early confidence that the metallurgical process route is in line with the technical feasibility expectations. Mechanically, there have been a few minor issues throughout the plant that have restricted the ability to operate it at a full capacity.
The company’s technical team is addressing the required plant modifications systematically with test production expected to ramp-up over the coming months. The trial shipment in December 2018 is awaiting final assay results from its offtake partner as part of the feedback loop of R&D testing of the Pilot Plant.
The company’s executive team recently had a survey, as per which, there was keen interest witnessed in the Browns Range development and the future growth potential of the permanent magnet and electric vehicle sector. Notably, the company recently entered into a subscription agreement for a $20 million equity placement, out of which $10m has already been received as at 31 March 2019. The amount has been raised to capitalise on this keen interest, with the funds to be used for exploration and general working capital.
The company was excited to release the maiden Inferred Mineral Resource estimate for the Dazzler deposit on 6 March 2019. Following the drilling of a new geological target and model, the management pleasingly at 2018 end, announced high-grade results from Dazzler.
Further, the company has reported that it had issued 80,000,000 fully paid ordinary shares under a private placement to various sophisticated investors in accordance with the section 708A(6) of the Corporations Act. This issue of shares is the final part of Tranche 1 of the $20 million placement announced previously.
On the stock-performance front, the stock has posted the YTD return of 23.64%. The company also has posted a return of -12.82% over the past six months. At the time of writing, i.e. on the 9th April 2019 AEST 3:20 PM, the stock of the company is trading at a price of A$0.070, up 2.941% during the day’s trade with a market capitalisation of ~A$ 110.15 million. The stock opened the trading day at A$0.070, reached its intraday high of A$0.072, and touched the intraday low of A$0.069, with a daily volume of ~ 1,386,050. It had a 52-week high price of A$0.120 and a 52-week low price of A$0.040, with an average volume of 2,858,002 approximately.