Quest Provides Update on Pre-Feasibility Study for Strange Lake B-Zone Rare Earth Element Project
February 11, 2013 (Source: Quest Rare Minerals) Toronto, ON — Quest Rare Minerals Ltd. (TSX:QRM) (NYSE MKT:QRM) (NYSE Amex:QRM) wishes to provide an update on the preparation of a pre-feasibility study (PFS) for the B-Zone deposit at Quest’s Heavy Rare Earth Element Project, Strange Lake, Québec. The Strange Lake Project is located 225 km northeast of Schefferville, Québec and 125 km west of the Voisey’s Bay nickel-copper-cobalt deposit, eastern Labrador.
Significant development work has been completed which demonstrates that Strange Lake is a very large rare earth project with one of the highest concentrations of heavy rare earth elements as well as important by-products zirconium and niobium. The current project configuration calls for a conventional open pit and typical associated mine infrastructure, including camps, maintenance shops, utilities and processing facilities. The project infrastructure will incorporate a port and a 165-kilometre access road (see Press Release : February 15, 2012).
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The bulk of the engineering work for the PFS has been completed, led by several engineering firms working with Quest’s management team. Hatch Associates Ltd. has provided the design for a solvent extraction circuit while AECOM has worked with Quest for much of the balance of the project. Micon International Limited has designed the mine plan with support from AMEC Earth & Environmental, while Strategic Engineering & Science, Inc. (SES) has been responsible for the design of a tailings disposal facility. AECOM is also responsible for the completion of the environmental base line data collection and the preparation of terms of reference for Quest’s environmental impact assessment.
Quest is examining potential refinements to the Strange Lake Project, with a view to further reducing project risk, lowering capital costs and operating costs, and allowing for an earlier mine commissioning date when compared to the current project configuration. As a result of the additional project review, Quest expects to deliver the PFS for the Strange Lake Project within six months. Quest notes that the mine plan, the great majority of the engineering work done to date for the PFS, the extensive metallurgical test work program and the resulting process plant design, supporting site infrastructure design, road and port will all apply to the potential refinements currently under examination by Quest. In light of a significant increase in the size of the Strange Lake Project resource as well as changes to the nature and scope of the Strange Lake Project, Quest also expects that the capital cost and operating cost for the Strange Lake Project will be significantly greater than those set out in the September 2010 Preliminary Economic Assessment (see Press Release : September 9, 2010 and Press Release : February 15, 2012).
Quest is also pleased to provide an update on the extensive metallurgical program being undertaken on the Strange Lake deposit mineralization. During the last year, a significant amount of development work has been conducted. Bench-scale testing of all parts of the process has effectively defined the metallurgical treatment route, and recently a mini pilot plant was commissioned to test continuous operation of the solvent extraction process, focusing initially on the zirconium extraction circuit. Early extraction results confirm the results of the bench-scale testing. This will be followed in the coming months with commissioning of the niobium and rare earth solvent extraction and precipitation circuits at the mini pilot level. Metallurgical process stream information from this work will be incorporated into the final demonstration scale pilot plant, which is expected to be in operation during the second quarter of calendar 2013.
Quest Rare Minerals Ltd. (“Quest”) is a Canadian-based exploration company focused on the identification and discovery of new and significant Rare Earth deposit opportunities. Quest is publicly listed on the TSX and NYSE MKT as “QRM” and is led by a highly-respected management and technical team with a proven mine-finding track record. Quest is currently advancing several high-potential projects in Canada’s premier exploration areas: the Strange Lake and the Misery Lake areas of northeastern Québec. Quest’s 2009 exploration led to the discovery of a significant new Rare Earth metal deposit, the B-Zone, on its Strange Lake property in northeastern Québec. Quest has filed a National Instrument 43-101 Indicated and Inferred Resource Estimate on the B-Zone deposit and has completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for the deposit. In addition, Quest announced the discovery of an important new area of REE mineralization on its Misery Lake project, approximately 120 km south of the Strange Lake project. Quest continues to pursue high-value project opportunities throughout North America. As a result of a marketed equity financing completed in October 2010, Quest has a strong working capital position of $26 million and is able to execute on its project intentions. This is expected to be sufficient to advance Quest’s plans of advancing pre-feasibility and definitive feasibility studies of the B-Zone REE deposit and to continue exploration on its other rare earth properties.
This news release contains statements that may constitute “forward-looking information” or “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian and U.S. securities legislation. Forward-looking information and statements may include, among others, statements regarding the future plans, costs, objectives or performance of Quest, or the assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. In this news release, words such as “may”, “would”, “could”, “will”, “likely”, “believe”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “plan”, “estimate” and similar words and the negative form thereof are used to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of whether, or the times at or by which, such future performance will be achieved. No assurance can be given that any events anticipated by the forward-looking information will transpire or occur, or if any of them do so, what benefits Quest will derive. Forward-looking statements and information are based on information available at the time and/or management’s good-faith belief with respect to future events and are subject to known or unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other unpredictable factors, many of which are beyond Quest’s control. These risks, uncertainties and assumptions include, but are not limited to, those described under “Risk Factors” in Quest’s annual information form dated January 25, 2013, and under the heading “Risk Factors” in Quest’s Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2012, both of which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on EDGAR at www.sec.gov, and could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements. Quest does not intend, nor does Quest undertake any obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements contained in this news release to reflect subsequent information, events or circumstances or otherwise, except if required by applicable laws.
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