Wicheeda rare earths project, Canada – update

29th March 2024 By: Sheila Barradas - Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

Wicheeda rare earths project, Canada – update

Photo by: Defense Metals

Name of the Project
Wicheeda rare earths project.

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, which 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
Defense Metals has appointed HCF International Advisers to conduct a strategic funding review.

The review will assist Defense Metals in analysing potential options and strategic partnerships for the project beyond the completion of its preliminary feasibility study (PFS), expected in the second quarter.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
SRK Consulting (PEA) and HCF International Advisers (strategic funding review).

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