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Wicheeda rare earths project, Canada – update

property location map of the Wicheeda rare earths project, in Canada

Defense Metals

28th January 2022

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Wicheeda rare earths project.

Location
British Columbia, Canada.

Project Owner/s
Defense Metals.

Project Description
Defense Metals announced a positive preliminary economic assessment (PEA) in November 2021.

The PEA envisages a 1.8-million-tonne-a-year openpit mining operation with a 1.75:1 (waste:mill feed) strip ratio over a 19-year mine life that includes three years of construction, and early revenue generation through phased openpit development.

Material from the Wicheeda deposit will be processed in a flotation concentrator to produce a flotation concentrate that will be further processed at the hydrometallurgical plant.

Average rare-earth oxide production is estimated at 25 423 t/y.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has a pretax net present value, at an 8% discount rate, of $765-million and an internal rate of return of 20%. The capital payback is five years from the start of production, and assumes partial self-funding of construction of the hydrometallurgical plant from concentrate sales.

Capital Expenditure
Initial capital expenditure (capex) is estimated at $461.42-million and includes a contingency allowance of 20% to 25% for major items. The expansion capex under a cash-funded scenario is $474.09-million.

Planned Start/End Date
Not stated.

Latest Developments
Results from a 5 349 m resource expansion and definition drilling programme completed in late 2021 are expected in the first quarter of 2022. The drilling results will support an updated geological model for the Wicheeda deposit to inform continued 2022 infill drilling to improve the confidence of the mineral resources to higher categories, in addition to pit geotechnical, and hydrogeological drilling and testing.

Using the results from the planned 2022 drilling programme and pilot plant, Defense Metals intends to start the prefeasibility study on the project in the second half of 2022, which may extend into 2023.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
SRK Consulting (PEA).

Contact Details for Project Information
Defense Metals, tel +1 778 994 8072 or email todd@defensemetals.com.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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