Defense Metals Corp. [DEFN-TSXV; DFMTF-OTCQB; 35D-FSE] has completed an updated mineral resource estimate (MRE) with respect to its 1,708-hectare (4,220-acre), 100%-optioned Wicheeda rare earth element (REE) project, located approximately 80 km northeast of Prince George, central British Columbia.
The Wicheeda REE Property is accessible by all-weather gravel roads and is nearby to infrastructure, including power transmission lines, the CN railway and major highways.
• A 49% increase in overall tonnage of Updated Wicheeda REE Project MRE based on the results of 2019 diamond drilling of 13 holes totaling 2,005 metres;
• A 30% increase in overall average grade, in part though the incorporation of potentially economically significant praseodymium not previously estimated;
• Conversion of 4,890,000 tonnes to Indicated Resources1 previously defined as Inferred;
• Increased Inferred Resources by 730,000 tonnes in comparison to Defense Metals Initial Wicheeda MRE1; and
• Potential for expansion of the Wicheeda Deposit to the north and west in the down plunge direction.
The updated Wicheeda MRE comprises an Indicated Mineral Resource of 4,890,000 tonnes averaging 3.02% LREO (Light Rare Earth Elements), in addition to Inferred Mineral Resource of 12,100,000 tonnes averaging 2.52% LREE reported at a cut-off grade of 1.5% LREE (sum of cerium (Ce), lanthanum (La), neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), and samarium (Sm); in addition to niobium (Nb) percentages). The lower cut-off grade was established based on consideration of metal price and concentrate payable, metallurgical recovery, and operating cost assumptions and uncertainty. The resource, constrained by applying a conceptual Lerchs-Grossman (LG) pit shell, is provided in Table 1 below, which includes a review of the MRE at a range of cut-off grades.
Craig Taylor, President and CEO of Defense Metals, said: “With the release of our updated Mineral Resource Estimate Defence Metals has delivered on another significant milestone in advancing what management believes is one of the most compelling undeveloped rare earth element assets in North America. Our successful 2019 drill campaign has resulted in a significant expansion and increased level of confidence in the mineral resources of the Wicheeda REE Deposit, which remains open to the north and west.”
Resources are constrained by resource pit shell generated using the following inputs:
• Mining cost of C$3.50/tonne;
• Waste mining costs of C$3.25/tonne;
• Process Costs of C$40/tonne (includes $10/tonne for transporting from pit to mill);
• G&A Costs of C$7/tonne
• Process Recoveries: Ce = 85.7%; La = 85.7%; Nd = 85.7%; Pr = 85.7%; Nb = 57.0%; Sm = 85.7%
• Overall pit slope angles of 45ᵒ.