In February, 2012, Matamec and Toyota signed an MOU to do due diligence and feasibility studies for a joint venture for mining heavy rare earth materials in Quebec at the Kipawa deposit (1,000 hectares) on the Zeus property (17,678 hectares). In December of 2011, Matamec (Canada) [TSX-V:MAT and MHREF] announced the early stages of the partnership with Toyota Tsusho Corporation (Japan) [8015:TTC]. Specific minerals of interest include yttrium-zirconium-niobium-tantalum and could potentially include gold, base metals and platinum group metals.
In response to China’s dominance in mining rare earth minerals combined with its ability to impact raw materials prices by reducing exports, companies and countries have aggressively been seeking alternative supplies and substitutes. Rare earth materials are used for many of the things that generate and consume energy. Thus, increased prices in rare earth materials are cause concern for leaders of nations given the potential ripple effects of reduced supply. In fact, the United States, the EU and Japan have gone so far as to complain to China about their policies of restricting export of the raw materials needed around the globe. China provided its justification for the quotas.
Toyota has committed over $1.5 million (Canadian) for exploration of the Kipawa deposit. A June 27, 2012 deadline is in place to determine whether or not Toyota and Matamec will join in a formal joint-venture to pursue additional exploration and mining. $316 million (Canadian) is expected to be needed to complete the exploration and mining effort. With proprietary processing technology, Matamec could potentially be producing as early as second quarter 2016.