Quest Rare Minerals marks big find in northern Quebec

Canadian mining company Quest Rare Minerals says it's ready to enter the lucrative market for rare earth minerals after reporting positive results from a key project.

Rare earth a lucrative mineral used in cellphones, hybrid cars, computers

Photo released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows rare-earth oxides, clockwise from top centre: praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, and gadolinium. Quest Rare Minerals claims a significant find in northern Quebec. (U.S. Department of Agriculture/Associated Press)

A Canadian mining company says it's ready to enter the lucrative market for rare earth minerals after reporting positive results from a key project.

Quest Rare Minerals Ltd. says a pre-feasibility study for the Strange Lake rare earth project in northern Quebec shows positive results, allowing conversion of mineral resources into mineral reserves.

The Toronto-based company says the project's B-Zone deposit could be one of the world's biggest and highest-grade heavy rare earth mining projects, and its planned processing facility in southern Quebec one of the largest in North America.

Rare earths are used to make vital components in a wide range of high-tech electronic products, from cellular phones and computers to hybrid cars.

Quest says its goal is to provide a secure and dependable supply of rare earth elements, given the fluctuations in pricing and availability from China, which is currently the world's largest source of the material.

It anticipates start of construction in 2016, with first delivery of the product in 2018, and says its project will create more than 834 new jobs.

In July, Avalon Rare Metals, another company which is hoping to open Canada's first rare earths mine, said it was looking for capital after receiving environmental approvals for what would be a $1.5-billion northern project, although it acknowledged finding backers would be different in the current market.

Avalon's proposed Nechalacho project would extract tantalum and niobium as well as rare earths from rich deposits along the east arm of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories.

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