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Industry Bulletin: New developments in the global Rare Earth industry underline need for new resources of heavy rare earths to serve green technology boom

July 23, 2009

In our ongoing efforts to provide you with broader communications and industry information, we are pleased to issue another Industry Bulletin discussing recent trends in the markets of various rare and strategic metals.  In this edition, we report on recent developments in the international rare earth exploration and development sector that illustrates the growing need to find new resources with a high proportion of heavy rare earths. These developments also underline the trend toward collaboration between rare earth elements (‘REE') producers and consumers to serve the international Green Technology boom.

Neo Materials Signs Agreement with Mitsubishi to Develop Brazilian Rare Earth Resource  

On July 21st, Neo Material Technologies (‘Neo') and Mitsubishi Corporation (‘Mitsubishi') announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (‘MOU') with the goal of establishing a strategic partnership for the identification, development and commercialization of rare earth resource opportunities outside of China.

It is understood that under the terms of the agreement, Mitsubishi will fund up to US$2.5million of all costs associated with Neo's development of the heavy rare earth resource at the Pitinga tin mine in Brazil. (The mine is actually owned and operated by Mineracao Taboca). It is understood that in addition to the Pitinga project, Mitsubishi and Neo will continue to collaborate on the identification and development of rare earth resources around the world, which fit their criteria of by-product economics and a high proportion of heavy rare earths.

As noted by Hoiroshi Imagawa, Senior Vice President of Mitsubishi's Automotive -Related Business Unit, "We are excited to work with Neo to develop and secure reliable sources of heavy rare earth materials, in order to meet a global increase in demand that we expect will be driven by the greater proliferation of electric vehicles in the future"

Mitsubishi is Japan's largest general trading company. Neo is a producer, processor and developer of neodymium-iron-boron magnetic powders, rare earths and zirconium based engineered materials and applications through its Magnequench and AMR Performance Materials business divisions. Neo's corporate headquarters are in Toronto, Canada, with its Magnaquench and AMR operations based primarily in China and Thailand.

If you would like to read the full Neo Materials-Mitsubishi announcement, please click

Great Western Material Group & Toyota Tsusho Corporation sign Letter of Intent to jointly explore Canadian sites

Also on July 21st, Canadian-based Great Western Minerals Group (‘GWMG') and Japan's Toyota Tsusho Corporation (‘TTC') announced that they have signed a Letter of Intent to "examine the merits of jointly conducting exploration and development activities on certain of GWMG's Douglas River (Saskatchewan) and Benjamin River (New Brunswick) exploration sites. Both projects are in their first stages of exploration. The letter of intent gives TTC certain exclusive rights to discuss the development of these properties for the next six months.

Per the announcement, "These two projects are of particular interest to TTC since the mineralization of these two properties appears to be significantly enriched in the "heavy" rare earth elements (‘HREE'). The HREE are high value products that are critical to the manufacture of high-temperature magnets used in electric motors for a wide range of applications including hybrid vehicles and for phosphors used in LCD and plasma flat screen displays."

GWMG is a Canadian based company, headquartered in Saskatchewan, engaged in the exploration and development of strategic metal resources, and in the value-added processing of specific elements through its subsidiaries Less Common Metals and Great Western Technologies. TTC, headquartered in Nagoya, Japan, is the principal trading arm of the Toyota Group, supporting the Toyota Motor Corporation and other subsidiaries. 

Avalon´s Lake Zone rare earth deposit at Thor Lake, NWT enjoys exceptional size and a strong enrichment in the heavy rare earths such as dysprosium and terbium, which are critical to many permanent magnet alloy compositions. With recent metallurgical process development work now demonstrating the recoverability of the heavy rare earths from the Lake Zone deposit, this resource will no doubt attract increasing attention from the major players both in North America and in Asia.

Avalon remains financially strong, and current work programs are advancing the project steadily toward the goal of completing a pre-feasibility study on the Lake Zone deposit in early 2010.

If you have any comments or questions on any of the other rare metals, please do not hesitate to post them on the or feel free to contact Avalon directly at