DEFENSE METALS (DEFN.V): PRE-PILOT HYDROMETALLURGY ACHIEVES HIGH IMPURITY REMOVAL WITH MINIMAL RARE EARTH ELEMENT LOSSES FROM WICHEEDA FLOTATION CONCENTRATE
News Release – Vancouver, British Columbia – March 1st, 2021: Defense Metals Corp. (“Defense Metals”) (TSX-V:DEFN / OTCQB:DFMTF / FSE:35D) is pleased to announce that it has received additional 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).
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% LREO.
Highlights of the additional infill hydrometallurgical test results, which centred around optimizing gangue leach test conditions, conducted at SGS Canada Inc. (“SGS”) Lakefield Site are as follows:
- Gangue leach optimization resulted in increased manganese rejection from ~40% (pH 4) to ~85% (pH 3) from the flotation concentrate resulting in only minimal REE losses of approximately 1% (Figure 1)
- Increased concentrate weight reduction from <10% gauge loss to >20%
Ongoing hydrometallurgical optimisation test work being conducted at SGS Lakefield is investigating options for reducing the caustic crack retention time, and acid concentrations in the caustic crack residue leach towards reducing acid consumption and downstream neutralization requirements.
Craig Taylor, CEO of Defense Metals, stated: “Defense Metals is extremely pleased with rapid advances being made in our pre-pilot hydrometallurgical optimization. We continue fine-tune our gangue leach, via milder conditions versus base case, with an eye to striking the optimal balance of high front-end impurity rejection with minimal REE losses. The results announced today speak to the success of these efforts.”
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.
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”.