Defense Metals working to upgrade Wicheeda project REE mineralization

The Wicheeda project is located near the city of Prince George, pictured here. (Image by Eurydemus, Wikimedia Commons).

Defense Metals (TSXV: DEFN) announced that it has commissioned the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) to complete an X-ray transmission sorting amenability study with respect to mineralized feed sourced from its Wicheeda rare earth element property in British Columbia, Canada.

In a press release, Defense Metals said that the objective of the SRC amenability study is to investigate XRT sorting for the purpose of upgrading Wicheeda REE mineralization prior to downstream processing.  

Seventy per cent of the estimated cost of the XRT amenability study test-work will be covered by NRC IRAP funding

“Sensor-based sorting has several advantages when applied to REE mining projects in that beneficiation occurs without water and with reduced grinding requirements,” the media brief reads. “The investigation will assess how much gangue can be removed from the head feed. The investigation will then carry out an iterative study of different sorting sizes to process in the XRT sorter assessing both the grade of the upgraded concentrate and the grade of the waste for economic studies whereby the optimum operational parameters can be determined.”

Located close to existing infrastructure near the city of Prince George, the Wicheeda project has indicated mineral resources of 4,890,000 tonnes averaging 3.02% light rare earth elements and inferred mineral resources of 12,100,000 tonnes averaging 2.90% light rare earth elements. Flotation pilot-plant processing of a 26-tonne bulk sample of Wicheeda REE material yielded a mineral concentrate averaging 7.4% neodymium-praseodymium oxide, which is critical for magnet metals.

Defense Metals also reported that 70% of the estimated cost of the XRT amenability study test-work will be covered by funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, which has been granted to both the company and the SRC. The NRC IRAP is a Government of Canada funded program mandated to provide financial support for technology innovation.

2 0