Breaking News: Defense Metals Provides Pre-Pilot Hydrometallurgy Update, Achieves High Rare Earth Extraction And Impurity Removal From Wicheeda Flotation Concentrate | Financial Buzz

Breaking News: Defense Metals Provides Pre-Pilot Hydrometallurgy Update, Achieves High Rare Earth Extraction And Impurity Removal From Wicheeda Flotation Concentrate

Defense Metals Corp. (OTCQB: DFMTF) (TSX-V: DEFN) (FSE: 35D) is pleased to provide an update regarding its ongoing pre-pilot hydrometallurgical test work utilizing high-grade rare earth element (REE) mineral concentrate produced during the Company’s highly successful 26-tonne flotation pilot-plant that yielded a mineral concentrate averaging 7.4% NdPr oxide (neodymium-praseodymium)1.

The road accessible Wicheeda REE Property is located close to infrastructure approximately 80 kilometres northeast of Prince George, British Columbia (BC). The Wicheeda project has indicated mineral resources of 4,890,000 tonnes averaging 3.02% LREO (Light Rare Earth Elements) and inferred mineral resources of 12,100,000 tonnes averaging 2.90% LREO2.

Highlights of ongoing infill hydrometallurgical test results, which centred around optimizing caustic crack-acid leach conditions, and leach liquor impurity removal conducted at SGS Canada Inc. (“SGS”) Lakefield, Ontario Site are as follows:

  • High REE extraction (using neodymium as a proxy, Figure 1) for base case bench and bulk (3 kg) caustic crack across the range of test conditions in comparison to initial 2019/2020 bench test work (see Defense Metals News Release dated February 16, 2021).
  • Comparable REE extraction via direct crack of mineral concentrate shows promise with calculated neodymium extraction within a 5% range of the base case.
  • The success of direct crack test results opens up the potential of future optimization work to reduce circuit complexity though potential elimination of gangue leaching and associated solid-liquid separation steps.
  • Primary impurity removal tests on leach liquor at terminal pH yield very efficient Th and Fe removal (>99% Th and >95% Fe) at negligible Nd losses (Figure 2).

Ongoing hydrometallurgical optimisation test work being conducted at SGS Lakefield is expected to be completed over the next 4-6 weeks resulting in finalization of a base-case flowsheet to inform operation of a future hydrometallurgical pilot plant.  Final test work is expected to focus on secondary impurity removal and the production of a purified mixed REE precipitate and on the regeneration of hydrochloric acid. 

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1 See Defense Metals News Release dated September 23, 2020
2 Technical Report on the Wicheeda Property, British Columbia, effective June 27, 2020 and prepared by APEX Geoscience Ltd. (Steven J. Nicholls, B.A. Sc., MAIG and Kristopher J. Raffle, B.Sc., P.Geo.) is available under Defense Metals Corp.’s profile on SEDAR (www.sedar.com)

Craig Taylor, CEO of Defense Metals, stated: “Defense Metals continues to be extremely pleased with its ongoing pre-pilot hydrometallurgical test work campaign. These latest results establish that stable REE extractions are achievable across a range of test conditions bracketing our emerging base case flowsheet. Significantly, direct crack REE extractions were similarly high opening up the door for potential circuit complexity and future capital cost reductions. Primary impurity removal test show that at the bench scale we can produce a high quality REE leach liquor suitable for conversion to mixed REE oxide end product.”

About the Wicheeda REE Property

The 1,708 hectare Wicheeda REE Property, located approximately 80 km northeast of the city of Prince George, British Columbia, is readily accessible by all-weather gravel roads and is nearby to infrastructure, including power transmission lines, the CN railway and major highways.

Geologically, the property is situated in the Foreland Belt and within the Rocky Mountain Trench, a major continental geologic feature. The Foreland Belt contains part of a large alkaline igneous province, stretching from the Canadian Cordillera to the southwestern United States, which includes several carbonatite and alkaline intrusive complexes hosting the Aley (niobium), Rock Canyon (REE), and Wicheeda (REE) deposits.

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, P.Geo. (BC) Principal and Consultant of APEX Geoscience Ltd. of Edmonton, AB, a director of Defense Metals and a “Qualified Person” as defined in National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. Mr. Raffle verified the data disclosed which includes a review of the analytical and test data underlying the information and opinions contained therein.  

Methodology and QA/QC

Hydrometallurgical product assays for neodymium was determined via lithium-borate fusion of a 0.5-gram sample analyzed via wavelength dispersion X-ray fluorescence (WD-XRF). The remaining rare earth elements for the head sample were determined via 0.5-gram sodium-peroxide fusion multi-element ICP-MS.

The SGS analyses included a quality assurance / quality control (QA/QC) program including the insertion of rare earth element standard and blank samples. Defense Metals detected no significant QA/QC issues during review of the data. Defense Metals is not aware of any drilling, sampling, recovery or other factors that could materially affect the accuracy or reliability of the data referred to herein. SGS is an ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO9001:2015 accredited laboratory. SGS is independent of Defense Metals Corp.

About Defense Metals Corp.

Defense Metals Corp. 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% of the 1,708 hectare Wicheeda Rare Earth Element Property located near Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. Defense Metals Corp. 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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