Defense Metals Corp. (DEFN:TSX.V; DFMTF:OTCQB; 35D:FSE) determined, via metallurgical testing, it can employ the acid bake process to produce rare earth elements (REEs) at its Wicheeda project, which could result in lower CAPEX and operating costs, reported Noble Capital Markets analyst Mark Reichman in a June 1 research note.
"The preliminary acid bake process results highlight the potential for an improved project design with enhanced project economics," Reichman wrote. "Most of the world's REEs are produced using the acid bake process."
The acid bake process is preferable to the gangue leach-caustic crack process, which was included in the preliminary economic assessment for Wicheeda, highlighted Reichman.
In comparison, the acid bake process requires less equipment and fewer steps and circuits, and it is more efficient, Reichman wrote. Testing showed it to effect "greater than 95% recovery of neodymium and praseodymium from flotation concentrate into a leach solution."
Since Defense Metals' hydrometallurgy program began late last year, about 20 tests have been conducted on several concentrate samples. The work, once finished, will "yield data to facilitate a detailed [project] design, including capital and operating cost estimates." This is expected in Q4/22.
Noble has an Outperform rating and a $0.70 per share target price on Defense Metals, the stock of which is currently trading at around $0.19 per share.
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