In a news release, Defense Metals Corp. (DEFN:TSX.V; DFMTF:OTCQB; 35D:FSE) reported that it has "recently been notified by Welsbach Holdings Pte Ltd. (Welsbach) that is has received requests from two interested third-party Rare Earth Element (REE) processors for samples of high-grade REE mineral concentrate for the purposes of evaluation prior to entering discussions with respect to the negotiation of an initial memorandum of understanding (MOU) and subsequent potential mineral concentrate offtake agreements."
The company indicated that it is presently developing and advancing the Wicheeda Critical Rare Earth Element (REE) Property and that according to the findings from a Technical Report prepared during in June 2020, "the Wicheeda REE project has indicated mineral resources of 4,890,000 tonnes averaging 3.02% LREO (Light Rare Earth Elements) and inferred mineral resources of 12,100,000 tonnes averaging 2.90% LREO."
Defense Metals noted that when it completed its flotation pilot plant test-work in September 2020 it produced a 1,200 kilogram bulk concentrate sample. The firm noted that since that time, the company and its advisors had initiated contact with several potential offtake and strategic partners.
The company reported that two separate REE processors that represent major and mid-tier REE processors have made a request to receive samples of the Wicheeda REE mineral concentrate. The firm stated that the requests came from potential buyers in Asia for 2-6 kg size samples of REE concentrate. Defense Metals advised that the requests are from parties well known to and introduced by Welsbach.
Defense Metals stated that it has begun assembling and completing the documentation required by the Canadian government in order to obtain the export permits allowing it to ship the critical REE mineral concentrate samples overseas.
The company's CEO Craig Taylor remarked, "We are extremely pleased that Welsbach has successfully identified two REE processors interested in receiving representative samples of our high-grade Wicheeda REE Deposit mineral concentrate. These requests represent a major step forward in our efforts to assess the market potential of long-term REE mineral concentrate offtake sale agreements."
"Potential partners in Asia are seeking a secure, long-term supply of rare earth concentrate to cover projected shortages in NdFeB magnet supply as demand for electric motors used in new energy vehicles continues to grow," stated Brendan Jephcott of Welsbach Holdings Pte.
The company stated that the Wicheeda REE Property is located in the Foreland Belt within the Rocky Mountain Trench, which the firm described as being a major continental geologic formation. The Foreland Belt stretches from the western Canadian mountain chains to the southwestern U.S. and hosts the Aley (niobium), Rock Canyon (REE) and Wicheeda (REE) deposits. The company advised that it holds an option at its discretion to acquire 100% the Wicheeda REE Property.
Defense Metals noted that the Wicheeda REE Property covers 1,708 hectares and is located around 80 km northeast of Prince George, B.C. The company stated that the property is easily accessible by all-weather gravel roads and is near to necessary power supply lines, major highways and the CN railway.
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