The 6,759-hectare (~16,702-acre) Wicheeda Project contains five million tonnes of indicated resources at a total REO grade of 2.95%, and 29.5 million tonnes of inferred resources at a 1.83% grade, reported at a cut-off grade of 0.5% total REO within a conceptual (LG) pit shell. In addition, the project is ideally situated both for mining and production. It is just 80 kilometers (km) northeast of Prince George, a mining center with a skilled labor force, and sits along a major forestry road that connects to a paved highway. A hydroelectric power line, natural gas pipeline, and a Canadian National Railway line are also nearby. The busy port of Prince Rupert is just 500 km to the west. See Figure 2.
In addition to completing significant exploration drilling to define the Wicheeda REE deposit, Defense Metals has completed extensive metallurgical testing that showing the ability to produce a > 40% REO flotation concentrate that is amenable to hydrometallurgical processing to produce a rare earth oxide product for sale to end users. See Figure 1. All of this work is being incorporated into a pre-feasibility study that is expected to be released in the first half of 2024.
If Wicheeda begins to produce REOs it could be one of the biggest REO production facilities in the world. More specifically, the project should produce about 25,000 tonnes of REO annually, or about 10% of global REO manufactured in the world. See Figure 3.
The scientific and technical information contained herein as it relates to the Wicheeda REE Project has been reviewed and approved by Kristopher J. Raffle, P.Geo. (B.C.), Principal and Consultant of APEX Geoscience Ltd. of Edmonton, Alberta, who is a director of Defense Metals and a “Qualified Person” (“QP”) as defined in NI 43-101.
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