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The Client, a R&D subsidiary of a large base metals mining company, had formed an alliance with a national development agency to monetise existing mining tailing dams within the country.

Base metals deposits usually contain several valuable elements, many of which end up in the tailing dams. For this task the Client was interested in understanding the market and production process for 14 commodities, most of them outside their regular business.

Our recommendation
CRU Consulting prepared a market assessment of each of the 14 commodities. This helped the Client understand market dynamics for all 14 commodities. CRU provided the Client with a concise but comprehensive report and presentations at their offices. With this analysis the company was able to provide the market inputs for the economic studies of technically feasible extraction of these commodities from the tailing dams.

Methodology
The 14 analysed commodities were catalogued into different groups with different coverages, based on the Client’s previous knowledge of the concentration of these commodities in the tailing dams and the relative economic importance of the commodities. The coverage for the most important commodities included: Production process, reference head grades, supply, demand (both by region and end-use), benchmark price, and identifying intermediate products as well as references to their prices.

The full list of commodities covered included: (i) Rare earth elements: heavy and light; (ii) scandium; (iii) gallium; (iv) germanium; (v) tungsten; (vi) antimony; (vii) cobalt; (viii) magnesium; (ix) chrome; (x) PGMs: platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium; (xi) copper; (xii) molybdenum; (xiii) gold; and (xiv) silver.

For such a broad list of commodities CRU built on the wealth of its analysis teams and leveraged on its cross-commodity knowledge to prepare this market assessment. CRU provided this information in a series of periodical reports for the Client to slowly digest the information and prepare questions with a series of conferences and face-to-face meetings.

Outcome
The Client was extremely pleased with the quality of the analysis which enabled them to understand the value that could arise from the studied tailing dams. This information was key in the company’s economic evaluation of its tailing processing project and allowed them to make an informed decision for their development strategy going forward.

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