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QRM - Quest Rare Minerals News Story

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Lockheed's hybrid airships gets launch customer in Canada

Wed 16th November, 2016 8:04pm
By Allison Lampert 
    OTTAWA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - The operator of Lockheed Martin 
Corp's  LMT.N  blimp-like hybrid airships on Wednesday announced 
its first customer, a Canadian mining company that expects to 
lease seven of the heavy-lift cargo aircraft for a decade 
starting in 2019. 
    Quest Rare Minerals Ltd  QRM.TO  will lease the airships 
from operator Straightline Aviation in the first commercial use 
deal for the airships, which are filled mostly with helium, said 
Hybrid Enterprises LLC, which sells the aircraft for Lockheed. 
    Quest signed a memorandum of understanding with Straightline 
 on the sidelines of a Canadian aerospace conference. The deal 
between Straightline and Quest is valued at US$850 million, 
including fuel costs, over the 10-year period.    
    Lockheed, the U.S. Defense Department's No. 1 supplier, has 
said the airships will revolutionize the way oil and mining 
companies haul equipment to the Arctic and other remote areas 
without roads. They can move 20 tons of cargo and set down on 
nearly any flat surface, including sand, snow and water, the 
company said.     
    Quest is in the early stages of developing a rare earth 
metal project in northern Quebec and does not yet have an 
operating mine. The airship is still awaiting certification from 
Transport Canada. 
    Lockheed has long been trying to secure a customer for the 
airships. 
    Lockheed is working with Hybrid to target a commercial 
market for the slow-moving airships. 
    The airships would be used by Quest to provide dedicated air 
services between the company's Strange Lake complex mine site in 
Northern Quebec and Schefferville, which has a rail link to the 
Port of Sept-Iles. 
    Straightline, the only announced operator of the airships, 
expects to convert a letter of intent into a firm order for 12 
of the aircraft in early 2017, chief operating officer Mark 
Dorey said on Wednesday. 
 
 (Reporting By Allison Lampert; Editing by Bill Trott) 
 ((Allison.Lampert@thomsonreuters.com; 514-796-4212; Reuters 
Messaging: allison.lampert.reuters.com@reuters.net)) 
 
Keywords: CANADA LOCKHEED/AIRSHIP
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