One thing that strikes us here is that Peak have effectively unbundled the mining side from the processing side and thus opened up the potential options for the future. For decades now the trend has been to site both mine and processing in relative proximity.
This thinking has largely sunk the bulk of REE players because to comply with the “logic” one had to locate large processing facilities in inaccessible, infrastructure poor locations with concomitant escalation in capex and the eternal enslavement to issues like the price of diesel. Without naming names one can think of a number of the once mighty wannabes in the REE space that came unstuck on insisting on building the totality of their operations in outlandish locations.
Dare we say it, but the way things are evolving Peak will also potentially have a stranglehold on processing the ore of other REE miners (if and when they should appear) due to the centralized European location, which would otherwise be unthinkable if the processing was inland in Africa. This in itself makes the funding of the processing component in the UK potentially separable from funding of the mine.
Peak are quite rightly throwing out the flawed hymnbook that REE developers, specialty metals producers and other miners have been singing out of for so long. Vertical integration does not mean all facilities have to be in the same place and in these days of cheap shipping rates it is more important to be near to the customers than near to a hole in the ground. This project will be one to watch in 2018 for next moves.
Technology Metals Intel