Leading Edge Materials Corp. or provides an update on the exploration licence and mining lease that cover the Norra Karr rare earth element project in Sweden.
As disclosed by Tasman Metals Ltd prior to the recent merger with Leading Edge Materials, the mining lease for Norra Karr, along with three other mining leases held by third parties in Sweden, are presently under reassessment by the Swedish Mines Inspectorate following a recommendation by the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court. The Mines Inspectorate is considering all four mining lease applications to determine any additional information that is required to meet the SAC’s new interpretation of the Mining Act. The Company has been advised by Swedish legal counsel that the Norra Karr Mining Lease remains in force, and is 100% owned by Leading Edge Materials.
The Norra Karr mining lease is surrounded by an Exploration Licence (“EL”) which was first granted to Tasman on August 31, 2009. On August 31, 2015, Tasman applied for a two-year extension of this EL, which was granted by the Swedish Mines Inspectorate. Subsequently, the renewal of the EL was appealed to the Administrative Court in Falun. The Company has now been advised that the appeal was upheld by the Administrative Court, which determined that the Mines Inspectorate was incorrect in granting the renewal to Tasman.
Despite the Court’s decision, as the Norra Karr Mining Lease remains in force, the Swedish Mining Act does not allow for the cancellation of a surrounding EL. Leading Edge Materials continues to seek legal advice to clarify this decision, and will appeal the Administrative Court’s decision if required. Very extensive work has been completed by the Company within the EL area, and the Company is therefore of the opinion that all requirements for renewal, as defined by the Swedish Mining Act, have been met.
Blair Way, President and CEO, states: “Considering the extensive work completed on the EL, our legal advice is that this decision does not affect our 100% ownership of the Norra Karr heavy REE project. Leading Edge Materials has always sought to work closely with the Mines Inspectorate to ensure our documentation was in line with both the Mining Act and expectations. Leading Edge Materials’ clear focus is to expand into the supply of high purity graphite for the burgeoning electric vehicle and energy storage markets. With a fully permitted graphite mine and mill in Sweden and an active test work program, the Company remains at a competitive advantage to most of its peers.
The Norra Karr heavy REE project is considered a longer term investment, and remains a globally significant asset for when industry, once again, seeks the secure supply of HREEs. Our strategy also remains to acquire additional strategic assets across the battery storage raw material chain, which we will look to partner with appropriate end users or companies to extract further value.”