Defense Metals’ pilot plant recovers up to 79.1% LREO

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Defense Metals Corp. [DEFN-TSXV; DFMTF-OTCQB; 35D-FSE] released an update with respect to continuing flotation pilot plant processing of its 30-tonne Wicheeda rare earth element (REE) bulk sample under way at the SGS Canada Inc.’s metallurgical test facility in Lakefield, Ontario.

To date, a total of 14 pilot plant processing runs have been completed since initiation of pilot plant test work on June 11, 2020. Highlights of the recently completed bulk sample flotation pilot plant are as follows:

Sixteen tonnes of bulk sample feed processed over 118 hours of operation to date. Approximately 750 kilograms of flotation concentrate produced (dry weight at approximately 15% moisture content).

Process run concentrate grades ranging from 45.4% up to 56.7% (averaging 51.6%) LREO (light rare earth oxide expressed as the sum of light rare earth elements expressed as oxides Ce2O3 plus La2O3 plus Nd2O3 plus Pr2O3).

Process recovery ranging from 53.8% up to 79.1% (averaging 70.2%) LREO.

Low average 6.2% mass yield to concentrate.

Scaled-up flotation pilot plant results to date compare very favourably and, with respect to concentrated grade, exceed benchmark locked-cycle flotation tests that produced a high-grade 48.7% LREO flotation concentrate at 85.7% LREO recovery. Results demonstrate progressive LREO recovery improvement with successive tests conducted under varying process conditions designed to improve the circuit stability and metallurgical performance.

A 30-hour-long continuous operation test run (PP-15) was completed last week based on PP-14, and mass balance results are currently pending.

Craig Taylor, CEO of Defense Metals, stated: “We are exceedingly pleased with these initial flotation pilot plant test results. The Wicheeda REE deposit mineralization continues to deliver exceptional metallurgical performance. We have shown that in a pilot plant setting, we are able to exceed concentrate grades achieved during bench-scale flow sheet development. Defense Metals believes these results demonstrate the viability of large-scale bulk sample flotation processing of Wicheeda REE deposit material. We look forward to completion of the balance of flotation pilot plant test work this week.”

The 1,708-hectare Wicheeda REE property 80 km northeast of Prince George, B.C., is readily accessible by all-weather gravel roads and is near power lines, CN railway and major highways.

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