In a news release, Defense Metals Corp. (DEFN:TSX.V; DFMTF:OTC; 35D:FSEQB) announced that starting in April, it plans to conduct flotation pilot plant processing of the 30-ton bulk sample from its Wicheeda rare earth elements (REEs) property in British Columbia.
The company based its decision to proceed with this on the positive results from bench-scale flotation and hydrometallurgical testing, which resulted in development of a flowsheet. It showed that Wicheeda REEs mineralization "is amenable to relatively simple treatment via well-established flotation and hydrochloric acid leach/caustic crack REE extraction methods," the release explained.
The aims of the pilot plant testing, which is estimated to take about 17 weeks, are threefold, according to the company. One is to confirm, in a pilot plant environment, the metallurgical findings. The second is to generate data for engineering purposes. The third is to produce a significant quantity of concentrate for downstream hydrometallurgy testing.
As for the methodology, the pilot plant will continuously treat up to 30 tons of material over 180 hours at a feed rate of about 150 kilograms per hour. First, the circuit will be commissioned to reach stable operation and get close to grinding and metallurgical targets. Next, a series of six to eight optimization runs will be conducted. Their duration will mirror those done in the commissioning phase.
"A continuous, 48-hour run (or two, 24-hour runs) would serve to confirm metallurgy over extended operation," according to the release.
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