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Defense Metals to begin amenability study at Wicheeda

2021-01-13 09:48 ET - News Release

Mr. Craig Taylor reports


Defense Metals Corp. has commissioned the Saskatchewan Research Council to complete an X-ray transmission sorting amenability study with respect to mineralized feed sourced from its 1,708-hectare (4,220-acre) Wicheeda rare earth element property, located close to existing infrastructure near Prince George, B.C.

Defense Metals and SRC have been awarded National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program financing, a Government of Canada-financed program mandated to provide financial support for technology innovation. Financing awarded under the NRC IRAP will cover approximately 70 per cent of the estimated cost of the XRT amenability study test work.

The Wicheeda project has indicated mineral resources of 4.89 million tonnes averaging 3.02 per cent light rare earth elements and inferred mineral resources of 12.1 million tonnes averaging 2.90 per cent LREO. Flotation pilot-plant processing of a 26-tonne bulk sample of Wicheeda REE material yielded a mineral concentrate averaging 7.4 per cent neodymium-praseodymium critical magnet metals.

The objective of the SRC amenability study is to investigate XRT sorting for the purpose of upgrading Wicheeda REE mineralization prior to downstream processing. Sensor-based sorting has several advantages when applied to REE mining projects in that beneficiation occurs without water and with reduced grinding requirements. The investigation will assess how much gangue can be removed from the head feed. The investigation will then carry out an iterative study of different sorting sizes to process in the XRT sorter assessing both the grade of the upgraded concentrate and the grade of the waste for economic studies whereby the optimum operational parameters can be determined.

XRT sorting has the potential to realize several significant project benefits including:

  • Relatively low-cost gangue (unmineralized waste) removal and volume reduction at the front-end of the Wicheeda REE processing stream;
  • Potential to have a significant positive benefit on downstream flotation and hydrometallurgical processes via reduced water, heating and reagent consumption costs; and
  • Depending on the success of the test work, these reductions may contribute to overall lower size/throughput and capital cost of potential future commercial REE concentration and refining facilities at Wicheeda.

Craig Taylor, chief executive officer, comments: "Defense Metals looks forward to investigating the potential of low-cost front-end upgrading of Wicheeda REE mineralization via XRT sorting. We have already demonstrated the ability to produce a greater-than-50-per-cent REO concentrate during flotation pilot plant test work and we hope unlocking the benefits of XRT sorting will yield downstream processing benefits of increased head grade, flotation concentrate and hydrometallurgical feed streams."

Details of XRT study methodology

X-ray transmission analysis

The XRT investigation requires the selection of large samples containing both gangue and REE mineralization for analysis. The samples are analyzed using:

  • Dual-energy X-ray transmission measurements (DE-CT); and
  • QEMSCAN for calibration and mineral identification and modal mineralogy.

Photographs of the polished QEMSCAN samples are used to verify the atomic differences measured by DE-CT. The modal mineralogy is used to determine REE grades.

Image analysis

The DE-CT images are analyzed using different-sized grids to determine how much gangue can be removed for a range of particle sizes. This process determines the upgrading possibilities for different sorting sizes, the grade of the concentrate and the grade of the waste.

Wicheeda REE project

The Wicheeda REE project has indicated mineral resources of 4.89 million tonnes averaging 3.02 per cent LREO and inferred mineral resources of 12.1 million tonnes averaging 2.90 per cent LREO.

Qualified person

The scientific and technical information contained in this news release as it relates to the Wicheeda REE property has been reviewed and approved by Kristopher J. Raffle, PGeo, principal and consultant of APEX Geoscience Ltd. of Edmonton, Alta., a director of Defense Metals and a qualified person as defined in National Instrument 43-101 -- Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.

About Defense Metals Corp.

Defense Metals is a mineral exploration company focused on the acquisition of mineral deposits containing metals and elements commonly used in the electric power market, military, national security and the production of "GREEN" energy technologies, such as high-strength alloys and rare earth magnets. Defense Metals has an option to acquire 100 per cent of the 1,708-hectare Wicheeda rare earth element property located near Prince George, B.C., Canada. Defense Metals trades in Canada under the symbol DEFN on the TSX Venture Exchange, in the United States under DFMTF on the OTCQB and in Germany on the Frankfurt Exchange under 35D.

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