Defense Metals Corp. [DEFN-TSXV; DFMTF-OTCQB; 35D-FSE] reported results for the final five diamond drill holes totalling 1,079 metres from the 29-hole, 5,349-metre diamond drill program completed during fall 2021 at the 100%-owned 2,008-hectare Wicheeda REE property, located approximately 80 km northeast of Prince George, central British Columbia. The property is readily accessible by all-weather gravel roads and is near infrastructure, including power transmission lines, the CN railway, and major highways.
Drill holes WI21-57 through WI21-61 were collared from the two sites within the eastern area of the Wicheeda Rare Earth Element (REE) deposit.
Resource definition drill hole WI21-58 in conjunction with WI21-59 collared from the same setup yielded two of the three highest grade x width intercepts of the 2021 drill campaign, with WI21-58 averaging 3.09% TREO over 251 metres, including 3.92% TREO over 80 metres; and WI21-59 returning 2.76% TREO over 212 metres; including 3.25% TREO over 90 metres from surface.
Luisa Moreno, President, stated: “We are extremely pleased to publish the last assay results for our 2021 Wicheeda REE Deposit drill campaign with some of the highest-grade and widest drill intercepts encountered to date on the project. Our first hole of 2021 yielded 3.17% TREO over 196 metres within the untested northern zone (WI21-33). With the final holes released today we have WI21-59 collared 200 metres to the south besting that result with exceptionally REE high grades over a 250-metre interval.”
Infill drill hole WI21-57 (-50o dip / 290o azimuth) testing a gap within the central area of the Deposit returned a high-grade dolomite carbonate interval averaging 3.45% TREO over 116 metres from surface, giving way to mixed syenite at depth averaging 1.37% TREO over 96.5 metres along the western contact (Table 1 and Figure 1).
Delineation drill holes WI21-58 (-60˚ dip/355˚ azimuth) and WI21-59 (-70˚ dip/015˚ azimuth) targeted inferred resources at depth along the eastern contact and intersected two of the three highest grade x width intercepts of the 2021 drill campaign, with WI21-58 averaging 3.09% TREO over 251 metres, including 3.92% TREO over 80 metres; and WI21-59 returning 2.76% TREO over 212 metres; including 3.25% TREO over 90 metres from surface.
Infill drill hole WI21-60 (-55˚ dip/205˚ azimuth) targeting the southern area of the deposit returned 2.93% TREO over 154 metres; including 5.47% TREO over 39 metres from surface representing the third highest-grade reported drill intercept.
Like WI21-57, drill hole WI21-61 (-50˚ dip/210˚ azimuth) targeted the central gap area from a pad 200 metres north. The hole collared into east side limestone host rock before intersecting a broad high-grade dolomite carbonatite interval averaging 3.44% TREO over 114 metres, giving way to mixed xenolithic carbonatite and syenite rocks at depth returning 0.93% TREO over 79 metres.
The Wicheeda REE Project yielded a robust 2021 PEA that demonstrated an after-tax net present value (NPV@8%) of $517 million, and 18% IRR 2. A unique advantage of the Wicheeda REE Project is the production of a saleable high-grade flotation-concentrate. The PEA contemplates a 1.8 Mtpa (million tonnes per year) mill throughput open pit mining operation with 1.75:1 (waste:mill feed) strip ratio over a 19-year mine life producing and average of 25,423 tonnes REO annually. A Phase 1 initial pit strip ratio of 0.63:1 (waste:mill feed) would yield rapid access to higher grade surface mineralization in year 1 and payback of $440 million initial capital within 5 years.