Defense Metals Corp. (DEFN:TSX.V; DFMTF:OTCQB; 35D:FSE) announced in a news release the positive results of additional pre-pilot hydrometallurgical testing on high-grade rare earth element (REE) mineral concentrate produced at the company's pilot plant using ore from its Wicheeda property in British Columbia.
This additional work resulted in greater rare earth elements extraction and a honed metals separation flowsheet.
The company reported that when the flotation concentrate was extracted into a chloride-based leach solution, the percentage of REEs yielded was 97.3, up from 91.5%.
Additionally, using a milder gangue leach, the amount of lost REEs was lower than that in the flowsheet base case.
When, on testing, the regrind step was eliminated, thereby reducing caustic dosage on recrack, REE extraction was comparable, at 95.8%. Removing this step also simplified the flowsheet, the company noted.
"Our decision to conduct additional infill hydrometallurgical test-work has yielded significant REE recovery gains approaching 100% REE extraction from the flotation concentrate. Perhaps more importantly, this additional testing has advanced the Wicheeda REE separation flowsheet such that we were able to 'tune' process variables (chiefly: grind size, acid and caustic concentrations) to achieve a balance of minimizing REE leach losses and maximizing impurity removal," CEO Craig Taylor said in the release. "This level of process control will derisk our planned hydrometallurgical pilot plant and contribute to greater flexibility in design of a future commercial-scale hydrometallurgical plant."
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