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MEI Online: Commodities: Metallic Ores: Rare Earths & Thorium: Latest News: July 1st 2019


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:: Defense Metals Receives Positive Metallurgical Test Results for Wicheeda Rare Earth Element Property


Defense Metals Corp. is pleased to announce that it has received successful metallurgical test results for the Wicheeda Rare Earth Element Property from SGS Canada Inc.. Results from the initial 21 of a planned 25 batch flotation tests completed to date during 2019 showed progressive improvement from early to late stage testing, culminating in test F21 that achieved:

  • 80% recovery of cerium, lanthanum, and neodymium oxides (Ce2O3+La2O3+Nd2O3)
  • 44% rare earth oxide (REO) concentrate grade
  • 9.5 times upgrading ratio from head grade
  • 8.4% concentrate mass yield

While additional test work is required to replicate the F21 test results, based on publicly-available research authored by SGS staff 1 and Defense Metals’ discussions with experts in the REE industry, the flotation response of the Wicheeda material is considered among the best in its class with relatively high upgrading ratios in comparison with other REE projects. The mass yield to the concentrate is also considered attractive for its potential to reduce acid consumption during the subsequent hydrometallurgical extraction stage. Reduced acid consumption has the potential to positively impact future economic studies for the Wicheeda REE Project by contributing to reduced operating and/or capital costs. It is important to note that the current 2019 bulk sample batch flotation results are representative of the 30 tonne dolomite carbonatite surface bulk sample collected from the Wicheeda REE Deposit. Although the 2019 results are not necessarily representative of potential flotation performance of the deposit as a whole, the current batch flotation test results are in agreement with the 2011 flotation test work, also conducted by SGS, on a composite 2009 drill core sample obtained from seven (7) separate drill holes throughout the deposit.

The 2019 SGS flotation test work is establishing a base-case by confirming the reproducibility of previous 2011 metallurgical test work, followed by process flowsheet optimization through researching the effects of various reagent combinations; in addition to varying grind size, flotation pulp temperature, pH, and the possibility of gravity separation. An examination of Ce2O3 batch flotation test results to date reveals a progressive improvement of both rare earth oxide (REO) grade and overall REO recovery from base-case F1 to the current best test F21.

The 2011 base-case returned projected “trajectory mass balance” REO recoveries for cerium, lanthanum, and neodymium of 83% at a grade of 42% REO based on combined locked cycle concentrate recoveries of 62% at a grade of 45% REO.

Craig Taylor, CEO of Defense Metals, stated; “We are extremely pleased with the Wicheeda batch flotation test results to date. With 80% recoveries at a rare earth oxide concentrate grade of 44%, this places our Wicheeda bulk sample metallurgical testing at the high-end of publicly reported concentrate grades and upgrading ratios for alkaline and carbonatite rock REE deposits1. Defense Metals looks forward to the completion of additional batch flotation tests and locked cycle flotation testing to establish a finalized process flowsheet”.




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