Recent years have seen the development of what could be termed the “New Age in Energy”, largely driven by increasing demand for batteries, high field strength magnets and related items, for use in electric vehicles, wind turbine generation and consumer electronics amongst others.
This has seen increased demand for raw materials, with graphite, lithium and rare earth elements (“REEs”) being the headline grabbers over recent years. There is also the need for downstream processing of the raw materials, with this providing the best opportunity to capture value, and avoiding being a ‘price taker”, as raw material producers are (and has been seen with recent oversupply in lithium and graphite causing issues for the miners). What we have also seen is China take control of the downstream supply chain, and in some cases, the upstream as well, with China controlling close to 100% of the markets in some cases.
Therefore, there is the need for diversification of downstream supply in what are considered strategic industries, with, in addition to civilian use, several commodities being critical in military applications. In particular, the US is taking a pro-active approach in supporting development of alternative sources of supply, and there is also a strong drive for increasing domestic content in manufacturing with the “Made-in-USA” push.
Hexagon Energy Materials Limited (“Hexagon” or “the Company”) has identified and acted upon this opportunity and is now focused on advancing REE downstream processing, looking to commercialise new technology with the potential to disrupt the Chinese domination of the global REE processing market and increasing diversity into the supply chain. Hexagon intends to fast track to cashflow and considers the downstream market segments and North America as the means to achieve this goal. The most recent advance has to become a 49% partner in a new incorporated joint venture with Canadian-based Innovation Metals Corp Inc (“IMC”) through funding the construction of a commercial demonstration plant (“CDP”) using IMC’s proprietary RapidSXTM technology for the separation of mixed REE concentrates into various rare earth products. IMC has successfully completed pilot scale test work of RapidSXTM, with the financial support of the US Department of Defense (“USDOD”).