Following a flurry of trading activity for both Bacanora Minerals (TSXV:BCN,LSE:BCN) and Rare Earth Minerals (LSE:REM) on Friday, Rare Earth Minerals announced on Monday that it has completed its own scoping study for two concessions within Bacanora's Sonora lithium project. Results of the study, summarized in a Monday press release from Rare Earth Minerals, suggest that the "El Sauz and Fleur Lithium Project" could become one of the largest lithium carbonate producers in the world, with the potential to produce 75,600 tonnes of the material per year — or 45 percent of what was produced in 2012 — over a 20-year mine life. "We believe that the project should be advanced to the next stage of project development, and we will be working closely with Bacanora Minerals Limited, independent consultants, specialists and potential industry partners to assist bringing this world class project into operation," Rare Earth Minerals Chairman David Lenigas said in Monday's release. The El Sauz and Fleur concessions form part of Bacanora's Sonora lithium project in Mexico. Rare Earth Minerals has 30-percent ownership of eight of the 10 concessions included in the project, and also holds 12 percent of Bacanora's shares. For its part, Bacanora released its own statement on the announcement from Rare Earth Minerals, noting that it has not received a copy of the scoping study and cannot comment on the valuations, assumptions, conclusions or methodology employed in the report. "Bacanora commends REM for its initiative in commissioning its independent study and its efforts in supporting the continued assessment and development of the concessions that are the subject of the study," the company said. The release also states that Bacanora will remain focused on bringing its Magdalena (borate) and La Ventana (lithium) concessions into production. Like El Sauz and Fleur, La Ventana is contained within the Sonora lithium project, but the area is owned 100 percent by Bacanora rather than through a joint venture with Rare Earth Minerals. According to a concession plan map on Bacanora's website, the Fleur concession borders La Ventana on three sides.
Commenting on why Rare Earth Elements might have wanted to commission its own study, Cordelia Orr-Ewing, corporate communications at Bacanora, said she couldn't speak on behalf of the company, but suggested that it may have simply wanted to demonstrate the value of its investment in the project."As a 30-percent holder of El Sauz and Fleur, the NPV of those [concessions] does make their investment look very interesting," she said. Monday's press release from Rare Earth Minerals suggests an after-tax NPV of $1.124 billion with an 8-percent discount for El Sauz and Fleur.She also noted that the report could be a positive for Bacanora in that results indicated in the release have "highlighted increased value in the company" at no cost to Bacanora. Currently, Bacanora has its own ongoing exploration, development and prefeasibility studies budgeted and underway, and will consider the study from Rare Earth Minerals in conjunction with this work once it receives a copy of the report. The company expects to complete its prefeasiblity studies for Magdalena during the first quarter of 2015. Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. Related reading: Bacanora Spikes on Press Speculation Bacanora JV Partner Announces Positive Independent Scoping Study from Lithium Investing News