News Release – Vancouver, British Columbia – March 9th, 2021: Defense Metals Corp. (“Defense Metals”) (TSX-V:DEFN / OTCQB:DFMTF / FSE:35D) is pleased to announce that it has received the results of an X-Ray Transmission amenability study completed on samples of Wicheeda Rare Earth Element (REE) mineralized drill core by the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), Saskatoon, SK.

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[1].

Highlights of the XRT amenability study completed by SRC on samples of high-grade REE mineralized Wicheeda diamond drill core are as follows:

  • X-ray transmission measurements and QEMSCAN® confirmed that XRT technology can identify Wicheeda REE minerals in drill core samples (Figure 1). 
  • Crushing to -15 mm size particles and using a 5% REE mineral lower cut-off in the sorting algorithm, demonstrated the potential of low-cost front end XRT sorting to upgrade 2.3x from approximately 11% REE mineral content to 25% REEmineral content.
  • Upgrading of Wicheeda REE mineralization via XRT sorting has the potential to significantly reduce feed volume forwarded to downstream the hydrometallurgical process. 

Craig Taylor, CEO of Defense Metals, stated: “Defense Metals is excited to establish the amenability of Wicheeda REE mineralization to the application of low-cost front end upgrading via sensor-based sorting technologies. We know from our very successful flotation pilot plant and bench-scale hydrometallurgical test-work that early volume reduction and upgrading has significant downstream benefits. The quality of concentrate we can deliver to flotation process has direct benefits in terms of process recovery, and reduced costs related to reagent reduction. Based on the success of this amenability test work SRC have recommended proceeding to a series of confirmatory XRT sorting optimization tests.”

XRT sorting is a technology that exploits the atomic density (atoms/cm3) differences of minerals. The atomic densityof a mineral is closely related to the minerals’ density (gram/cm3) and is therefore a viable technology for upgrading the mineralized feed prior to processing. Previous test work indicated that gravity separation prior to flotation was beneficialin concentrating Wicheeda REE minerals due to the large density differences between the REE and gangue minerals.

To evaluate amenability to XRT sorting, a combination of high-resolution XRT and QEMSCAN® (Quantitative Evaluation of Materials by Scanning Electron Microscopy) measurements were carried out at the SRC. Thesemeasurements identify if the atomic density differences between the REE and gangue minerals can be exploited for XRT sorting. The greyscale levels associated with the various minerals are identified using QEMSCAN® measurements.

Using the X-ray greyscale images and the QEMSCAN® images, additional theoretical information on the grade of theREE minerals for various particle sizes is generated. The particle grade information determined how much gangue andhow much REE mineralization is present in each size fraction. Information is necessary to determine the benefits ofupgrading the mineralized feed at different particle sizes.

Size fractions greater than 6 mm can be viably sorted using XRT sorters while size fractions greater than 0.6 mm aremore amendable to sorting using dense medium separation (DMS) and spirals. Size fractions less than 0.6 mm areconcentrated via hydrometallurgy processes. The average distribution of the REE minerals and the theoretical grade ofthe XRT sorted mineralized feed for the six core samples, for each size fraction within 20 mm, 10 mm, and 6 mmparticles are shown in Table 1.

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.

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  1. This is an interesting story. I look forward to theHH writeup and analysis.

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