Defense Metals Corp. (TSXV:DEFN) has obtained positive Rare Earth Element (REE) assay results from the final two core drill holes, totalling 295m, completed during 2022 at its wholly owned Wicheeda REE Deposit in British Columbia.
These assay results are from two exploration geotechnical core drill holes. The final drill hole (WI22-79) returned the best drill intercept on a grade-times-width basis of the entire 18-hole 5,510m (~18,077ft) 2022 campaign.
Pit slope geotechnical drill hole WI22-78 drilled into the west pit wall intersected well mineralized dolomite carbonatite that assayed 2.63% total rare earth oxide (TREO) over 97m from surface within a broader mineralized one returning 2.03% TREO over 168m.
The final drill hole, WI22-79, drilled within the central area of the Wicheeda Deposit and into the east pit wall intersected an upper high-grade mineralized dolomite-carbonatite interval from surface assaying 3.66% TREO over 138m; and lower interval grading 0.50% TREO over 43m.
The upper interval in WI22-79 represents the best mineralized intercept returned of all 2022 holes and ranks among the top 10 reported drill intercepts of the more than 10,000m drilled in 47 holes Defense Metals has completed post-PEA.
“The economic significance of the Wicheeda REE Project is underscored by the fact that the final drill hole yielded the best drill intercept of the 2022 campaign,” President and Director, Luisa Moreno, said.
“Since the release of our positive PEA based on drilling completed up to the end of 2019, the last two years of exploration at Wicheeda has focused on resource expansion, delineation, and detailed pit slope geotechnical drilling designed to place us solidly on the path towards initiation of a Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS).
“With critical minerals and particularly rare earth elements coming into sharper focus as part the rapidly accelerating transition to electric vehicles, Defense Metals looks forward to continuing to advance the social-environmental, metallurgical, engineering, and geotechnical aspects of the Wicheeda REE Project during 2023.”
About the Wicheeda REE Project
The wholly owned, 4,262-hectare (~10,532-acre) Wicheeda REE Project is located approximately 80km northeast of the city of Prince George, British Columbia; population 77,000. The Wicheeda project is readily accessible by all-weather gravel roads and is near infrastructure, including power transmission lines, gas pipelines, the Canadian National Railway, and major highways.
The 2021 Wicheeda REE Project Preliminary Economic Assessment technical report (PEA) outlined a robust after-tax net present value (NPV@8%) of $517 million and an 18% IRR. This PEA contemplated an open pit mining operation with a 1.75:1 (waste:mill feed) strip ratio providing a 1.8Mtpa mill throughput producing an average of 25,423 tonnes REO annually over a 16 year mine life. A Phase 1 initial pit strip ratio of 0.63:1 (waste:mill feed) would yield rapid access to higher grade surface mineralization in year 1 and payback of C$440M initial capital within five years.
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