Rare Element Resources Completes Trenching Program with Assays Indicating Bulk Sample Average Grade of 10.1% Total Rare Earth Oxide
November 6, 2014 (Source: Businesswire) — 1,000 Tons of Trench Material Excavated for Use in Planned Large-Scale Demonstration Plant
Rare Element Resources Ltd. (the “Company”) (NYSE MKT: REE and TSX: RES), a mineral resource company advancing development of the Bear Lodge Critical Rare Earth Project (the “Project”) located in northeast Wyoming, announced today that it has completed a trenching program that confirmed geology, structure and grade of the near-surface, high-grade zone at the Bull Hill deposit. Additional studies are underway to confirm detailed mineralogy. The trenched area is the anticipated site of initial mining as contemplated in the recently released Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS). Bulk samples excavated during the trenching returned average assays of 10.1% total rare earth oxide (TREO) over a length of approximately 225 feet (69 meters). Approximately 1,000 tons (907 tonnes) of mineralized material were excavated from the trench to feed a planned demonstration-scale plant using the process flowsheet that incorporates the Company’s proprietary recovery technology, including the recently announced process for the production of partially separated rare earth products.
“The results of the trenching and bulk sample program were positive on multiple levels,” said Jaye T. Pickarts, Chief Operating Officer. “We were able to confirm the continuity, orientation and grade of the high-grade zone in that portion of the ore body we intend to mine first. This work allowed us to collect valuable data that will be incorporated into detailed engineering. Most importantly, we excavated a large mineralized sample that we plan to use in a demonstration plant to confirm on a larger scale our process flow sheet, including the recently announced separation technology. It will allow us to thoroughly evaluate and confirm the entire process, from run-of-mine to the creation of a significant quantity of final, separated products on a continuous-run basis. This work will generate important information that will contribute to both the Feasibility Study and detailed engineering, including testing materials of construction, confirming equipment selection, and verifying material handling parameters. Having this information prior to construction should de-risk the project significantly and greatly reduce or eliminate the numerous start-up issues experienced by other companies in the rare earth sector.”
The trench exposed the Bull Hill main dike for a total distance of approximately 300 feet (91.4 meters) along a northwesterly strike with widths that varied from 8 to 20 feet (2.5 to 6.1 meters). Nine 120-ton bulk samples were collected on 25-foot spacing (7.6 meters), with 2-ton (0.9 tonnes) representative sub-samples collected from each block for preliminary metallurgical testing. Nine 30-pound (13.6 kg) representative assay samples were collected from each sub-sample to provide an estimate of grade and continuity. These assays range from 3.65% to 14.65% TREO and average 10.1% TREO. Four cross trenches were excavated and sampled (six 12-ton bulk samples, each with a 0.5 ton sub-sample and an assay sample) to provide material to test the processing character of mid- to low-grade stockwork material and help ascertain the trend and character of the dike and adjacent stockwork zones.
The excavation confirmed that the main, highly oxidized carbonatite dike at the Bull Hill deposit is flanked by parallel dikes, splays and stockwork mineralization collectively forming a mineralized zone that extends at least 300 feet (91.4 meters) along strike and attains widths of up to 40 feet (12.2 meters). In the subsurface, this zone expands to more than 300 feet (91.4 meters) in width, based on detailed drilling and assay data. Geological information collected from the trench proves dike orientation and continuity, mineralogy and grade along its northwest strike. Structural mapping data collected validates trends utilized in resource modeling and will be incorporated in pit wall stability design.
The 1,000-ton bulk sample collected from the trench is currently being stockpiled on Company-owned property at the Bear Lodge Project. The area of excavation has been reclaimed in accordance with U.S. Forest Service and Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality standards.
Planned Demonstration Plant
Pending financing and the successful completion of additional bench-scale testing of the Company’s recently announced separation technology, the Company plans to construct in 2015 and then operate a larger-scale (1 – 3 tons per day), continuous-run demonstration plant to confirm its process flow sheet from physical upgrade to separated rare earth oxide products. It anticipates generating approximately 70 tons (63 tonnes) of rare earth products from processing the trench material, based on expected recovery rates. The demonstration plant will contribute important operating data for consideration in the planned Feasibility Study and inclusion in detailed engineering, with the goal of avoiding some of the startup issues that have plagued others in the rare earth sector. Additionally, the resultant products will be provided to a wider range of potential offtake partners for evaluation and testing for specific applications.
Rare Element Resources Ltd. is a publicly traded mineral resource company focused on exploration and development of rare-earth element deposits, specifically those with significant distribution of critical rare earths. The Company is advancing development of the Bear Lodge Project, located in northeast Wyoming. Bear Lodge is a significant mineralized district containing many of the less common, more valuable critical rare earths that are essential for electronics, fiber optics, laser systems for health and defense, as well as many evolving green technologies, like hybrid cars, solar panels and wind turbines. Permitting and feasibility work on the Project continue to advance. The Company is a member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute, a combined government and private sector organization committed to eliminating supply chain issues for rare earths and other critical elements. Please see CMI’s website at https://cmi.ameslab.gov/ for additional details on its mission and members.
John T. Ray, MS, Rare Element’s internal, qualified person under Canadian NI 43-101, supervised the preparation of the scientific and technical information concerning the Company’s mineral project contained in this new release.
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of securities legislation in the United States and Canada. Except for statements of historical fact, certain information contained herein constitutes forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are usually identified by our use of certain terminology, including “will”, “believes”, “may”, “expects”, “should”, “seeks”, “anticipates”, “plans”, “has potential to”, or “intends” (including negative or grammatical variations thereof) or by discussions of strategy or intentions. Such forward-looking statements include statements regarding: the plan to construct, operate, timing and ability to finance a demonstration-scale plant and the expected results and benefits thereof, the estimated impacts to the final Project from the demonstration-scale plant; the trenching program results and impact on the ultimate resource estimate; the timing and expected results of a definitive Feasibility Study including the potential for upside as a results of the incorporation of Project opportunities into the definitive Feasibility Study; processing test work and expected results; permitting process and progress; the expected commissioning of the Project and Project development plans for the future. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results or achievements to be materially different from any future results or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.
Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, the progress of our Bear Lodge Project; estimated Project economics and parameters from the PFS, fluctuations in demand for, and price of, rare earth products; success of process technology under testing or development; results from geological evaluations and programs; timing of and unexpected events at the Bear Lodge property; delay or failure to receive government approvals and permits; our ability to obtain financing for the Project on acceptable terms or at all; changes in U.S. and Canadian securities markets; and general economic conditions. There can be no assurance that future developments affecting the Company will be those anticipated by management. Please refer to the discussion of these and other factors in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013. We expect that the above estimates as to development plans, technology and other processes, time frames and financial needs will change as new information is received and that actual results will vary from these estimates, possibly by material amounts. While we may elect to update these estimates at any time, we do not undertake to update any estimate at any particular time or in response to any particular event. Investors and others should not assume that any forecasts in this news release represent management’s estimate as of any date other than the date of this news release.
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