Highlight assay results, determined by the firm SGS Canada Inc., included 1.77% lanthanum oxide, 2.34% cerium oxide, 0.52% neodymium oxide and 0.18% praseodymium oxide—for a total of 4.81% light rare earth oxides.
The significant presence of praseodymium could impact advancement of Wicheeda from an economic standpoint, "given recent indicative light rare earth elements oxide prices and their potential impact on Wicheeda, which has been historically viewed as a cerium-lanthanum-neodymium deposit," the release noted.
Defense Metals will use these findings when analyzing results of subsequent tests, such as bench-scale flotation optimization and hydrometallurgical work. The company will follow those efforts with larger-scale pilot plant testing on the entire 30-ton sample to better understand the deposit and potential development of it.
Max Sali, CEO and director of Defense Metals, stated, "We look forward to building on these positive initial results, which will form the basis from which to gauge the success of subsequent test phases including bench-scale flotation optimization and hydrometallurgical testing, which are preparatory to initiation of larger scale pilot plant testing on the full 30 tonne sample."
The company explained that neodymium/praseodymium is used to create "high-power neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets," which are a key technology in the defense, clean energy, consumer electronics and electric vehicle sectors. Uses of these magnets include computer hard disk drives, wind turbine generators, speakers/headphones, MRI scanners, cordless tool motors and motors in hybrid and electric vehicles.
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