March 4, 2013 (Source: Marketwire) Montreal, QC — Matamec Explorations Inc. (TSX VENTURE:MAT)(OTCQX:MHREF) is pleased to provide a progress report on the Company’s Feasibility Study on the Kipawa heavy rare earth project at Temiscaming, Quebec. The goal of the Kipawa mine project is to supply Toyota with heavy rare earths (“HREE”) for the production and marketing of hybrid and electric vehicles.
Kipawa Feasibility Study
The Feasibility Study (“FS”) for the Kipawa mine project remains on schedule for completion at the end of Q2 2013. The following key elements of the FS are in the completion stage:
- Environmental Baseline Study of mine site and infrastructure sites;
- 2012 Drilling Campaign and Mineral Resource Estimation;
- Metallurgical Testwork;
- Process Plant Design;
- Tailings Management Facilities;
- Restoration plan;
- Other auxiliary and support facilities; and
Capital (“Capex”) and Operating (“Opex”) cost estimates are well advanced and will be optimized through the next coming two months along with a few infrastructure design optimizations.
“I am very pleased to provide an update that the Kipawa feasibility study is continuing to progress on schedule and on budget,” said Andre Gauthier, President and CEO of Matamec Explorations. “The entire team at Matamec is focused with a clear objective to become a leading supplier of heavy rare earths for hybrid and electric vehicles.”
Environmental Baseline Study
Golder & Associates is performing the environmental baseline study and most of the field work is completed. A few data points are still to come but the report itself is planned to be issued toward the end of April 2013.
Matamec is constantly in communication with the local communities and organizations in regards to the progress of the project. Most of the local municipalities have already provided official letters of support, with the understanding that Matamec respects the regulations and laws in the Quebec and Canadian jurisdictions.
In November 2012, Matamec held several public presentations on the project and so far the majority of the population is in favor of the project. It is planned to provide a public presentation update of the project to the local population this coming spring.
Matamec has maintained regular communications with the two First Nations involved in the project. At first, a MoU was signed last summer and the following phases of mutual agreement are under discussion.
2012 Definition Drilling Campaign and Mineral Resource Estimation
A definition drilling program was performed last summer on the Kipawa deposit in order to improve the categories of resources in order to transform these resources into reserves for the feasibility study (mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability). The mineral resource is presently being estimated by SGS Geostat.
An intensive metallurgical testwork program has taken place since the onset of the feasibility study last summer. A pilot plant was also successfully performed last summer to test the developed process up to bulk rare earth precipitation on available surface material. Most of this metallurgical testwork development was done at SGS Minerals Service in Lakefield, Ontario. Presently underway are variability tests to evaluate the developed process on representative ore samples of the ore body covering spatial and lithological differences.
As a part of the Variability testing the low-acid room-temperature leaching process developed from surface sample is presently being validated using samples of different lithologies and rare earth grades. Once all results from variability testing are returned, an optimization process program is planned to identify potential improvements and to identify if any feed blending or ore segregation is required to maximize project economics.
Good development has been achieved in the neutralization and filtration portions of this process. A known, low cost process improvement has significantly increased the required neutralisation filtration rates that were originally considered problematic (silica filtration effects). This process is also being presently tested on the variability samples to validate continuity.
Overall reagent consumptions are presently shown as forecasted from the pilot. The originally planned hydrometallurgical plant testwork program is near completion with the exception of a few final steps for the optimization of impurity removal from the bulk concentrate that are still on-going. The major process flow diagrams as well as process equipment lists have been issued.
As indicated, some additional exploration and optimization testwork will continue to evaluate if there is still room for improvement to further increase project economics.
Process Plant Design
The process plant general arrangements are under a final revision in order to optimize the functionality and the Capex related to it.
Tailing Management Facilities
The tradeoff study for the location of the tailing management facilities (TMF) has been completed in early 2013 as well as the geotechnical work related to it. The TMF design is in progress.
The restoration plan is well advanced and its preliminary version should be available by late April.
Auxiliary and Support Facilities
All auxiliary and support facilities have their concept and location frozen and the Capex for these is under optimization.
A project description has been provided to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the project is currently under verification by this agency which is one of the first steps in the permitting process.
Bertho Caron, VP Project Development & Construction (Eng.), Paul Blatter, Director of Metallurgy (Eng.) and Aline Leclerc, VP Exploration (Geo.) are Matamec’s Qualified Persons for this press release.
The Company also announced that Mr. Andre Gauthier, President and CEO, will present a corporate update at PDAC on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, at 11:40 a.m. EST – Room 803AB at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre – South Building. Matamec will host a booth at the conference located at #3242 from Sunday, March 3 to Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
Matamec Explorations Inc. is a junior mining exploration company whose main focus is in developing the Kipawa HREE deposit with TRECan. Following the positive conclusion of the PEA study filed on SEDAR in March 2012 and the hiring of a VP Project development and Construction, Matamec and TRECan decided to move directly to the feasibility study. The March 2012 press release highlighted that the project has robust economics such as: $606 million before-tax value (NPV8%), a 36.9% before-tax IRR, $2.8 billion revenue, $1.67 billion EBITDA, a before-tax payback period of 2.4 years, etc. (see press release dated January 30, 2012).
In parallel, the Company is exploring more than 35km of strike length in the Kipawa Alkalic Complex for rare earths-yttrium-zirconium-niobium-tantalum mineralization on its Zeus property.
The company is also exploring for gold, base metals and platinum group metals. Its gold portfolio includes the Matheson JV property located along strike and in close proximity to the Hoyle Pond Mine in the prolific mining camp of Timmins, Ontario.
In Quebec, the Company is exploring for lithium and tantalum on its Tansim property and for precious and base metals on its Sakami, Valmont and Vulcain properties. As well, it is exploring for gold together with Northern Superior Resources Inc. on the Lesperance/Wachigabau property.
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