In a news release, Defense Metals Corp. (DEFN:TSX.V; DFMTF:OTCQB; 35D:FSE) announced that the recent flotation pilot plant processing of a bulk sample from its Wicheeda rare earth elements (REE) property in British Columbia achieved its primary goals, as indicated in the final report from SGS Canada.
Those objectives were to validate the laboratory flowsheet at a pilot plant scale, produce a high-grade rare earth oxide (REO) concentrate and collect data for use in design engineering.
"The success of the flotation pilot and 1,200 kilograms of high-grade REE concentrate produced places Defense Metals and the Wicheeda REE deposit among rare company and opens the door to future hydrometallurgical pilot trials at SGS, with the ultimate goal of producing a neodymium-praseodymium oxide product stream," Defense Metals CEO Craig Taylor said in the release.
During the confirmatory stages of the pilot plant test work, the average recovery rate of REO was 77.3%, in concentrate grading 51.6% total rare earth oxide with a mass pull of 7%.
Changes made between the benchmark test and the pilot plant flowsheets were removing the first cleaner scavenger and the third cleaner, and reducing the F220 dosage by about 46% and the sodium fluorosilicate dosage by about 40%, all of which did not affect flotation performance.
Two key findings were made during testing, the company reported. One, metallurgical performance was similar when conditioning at a low, about 70 degrees C, and a high, about 80–85 degrees C, temperature. Two, a high percent of solids in the pulp density, about 30%, helped improve flotation recovery and maintain good froth stability.
The SGS report also indicated that room for further optimization and, in turn, potential cost savings, exists. Thus, further study is recommended, for instance of flotation circuit performance at a lower pulp temperature and the effects of high density conditioning.
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