Crossland/Pancontinental accelerate program to enhance, expand, and de-risk the Charley Creek rare earth project
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – July 5, 2012) – Pancontinental Uranium Corporation ("Pancon" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:PUC) is pleased to announce that its Joint Venture partner, Crossland Uranium Mines Limited, issued the following press release today in Australia, regarding the Charley Creek REE project in NT, Australia:
Crossland Uranium Mines Limited (Crossland: ASX:CUX) are the Managers of a Joint Venture (CUX 55%:PUC 45%) with Canadian listed Pancontinental Uranium Corporation (TSX VENTURE:PUC). Crossland is pleased to advise that Pancontinental has resumed funding of their 45% equity in the Joint Venture for 2012.
Crossland recently released an initial JORC-compliant Resource estimate of Indicated and Inferred alluvial Rare Earth Oxide (REO) Resources for two areas at the Charley Creek Project, (see May 15 press release for additional information). ****This resource estimate is non-43-101 compliant and is not to be relied upon as it was not produced by an independent person. This disclaimer has been added by Pancon****
Crossland has commenced a comprehensive technical program to rapidly Enhance, Expand, and De-risk the Project to begin assessment of the economic viability of a large scale alluvial Rare Earth Oxide (REO) mining and processing operation. The principal elements of this program are as follows.
- ENHANCE. Heavy rare earth oxides (HREO) have a much better fundamental demand and price outlook versus Light rare earth oxide (LREO)'s. Within the Charley Creek Alluvial Fans, there are significant opportunities to identify areas of mineralized alluvium with higher-grades and ratios of HREO which would have a positive impact on project economics.
- EXPAND. The current Charley Creek JORC-compliant Resource for the Western Dam and Cattle Creek areas covers less than 5% of the area of prospective alluvial deposits within the Charley Creek property. Crossland believes there is significant potential to expand on the inaugural Resource estimate.
- DE-RISK. Particular emphasis is also being given to process development testwork to permit plant design and to demonstrate that REO products will be readily extracted from Charley Creek mineralization using proven, low-cost processes. The evaluation of process test work currently under way, together with the expansion and enhancement programs will lead to a Scoping Study and Preliminary Economic Assessment that will significantly de-risk the project, making it attractive for strategic investors.
Crossland believes that the Program outlined above will support ongoing marketing efforts to increase investor awareness of the advanced stage of the Charley Creek project to the benefit of both Crossland and Pancontinental shareholders.
The potential of Charley Creek is yet to be realised and the current program is specifically designed to rapidly demonstrate the project's potential for expansion and enhancement. This should significantly de-risk the project in advance of a future large-scale, low-cost alluvial mining operation to produce high-grade REE and zircon heavy mineral concentrate products. This approach, if successful, would advance Charley Creek's development timetable ahead of many other potential rare-earth producers.
The Program will produce significant results in coming weeks and the market will be updated as these are interpreted. This will lead to an initial Scoping Study which is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2012. Crossland looks forward to communicating these results.
RESOURCE SIZE AND DEFINITION
Crossland recently released an initial JORC-compliant Resource estimate of Indicated and Inferred alluvial Rare Earth Oxide (REO) Resources for two areas at the Charley Creek Project (see May 15 ASX release for additional information). ****This resource estimate is non-43-101 compliant and is not to be relied upon as it was not produced by an independent person. This disclaimer has been added by Pancon****
The Charley Creek property has demonstrated anomalous TREO contents with variable HREO ratios over an area measuring 135 km long and 5 – 7 km wide, an area of approximately 800 square kilometres. See Figure 1.
To view Figure 1 please click on the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Figure1PUC.pdf
The current Resource exhibits exceptional continuity of mineralization both laterally and vertically within the outwash alluvial fans. Statistical analysis suggests that drill holes located on 800m centres are acceptable for Resource estimation. This analysis will significantly reduce drill costs while producing reliable data for Resource estimation.
To view Figure 2 please click on the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Figure2PUC.pdf
HEAVY RARE EARTH CONTENT
The REO is contained almost exclusively in monazite and xenotime minerals and the current Resource has a Heavy Rare Earth Oxide (HREO) / Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO) ratio of approximately 17%. There is significant opportunity to increase this ratio by targeting known areas of enriched xenotime mineralization located outside of the current Mineral Resource volume, (see April 5th 2012 ASX release).
Survey results included high grades of up to 0.6% TREO in alluvium (5,778ppm TREO) and HREO/TREO ratios as high as 69.5%. The data suggests that higher ratios of HREO could be expected in the large alluvial deposits to the east of Cattle Creek as evidenced by approximately 21% of the survey samples returning a HREO/TREO ratio of greater than 20% versus the average HREO/TREO ratio of approximately 17% reported for the sample data base of the current Resource. See Figures 3 & 4.
To view Figure 3 please click on the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Figure3PUC.pdf
Graphs illustrate the proportions of Light, Medium and Heavy REO in ores from Crosslands' Charley Creek, Molycorp's Mountain Pass, Lynas' Mount Weld and Arafura's Nolans projects, expressed as percentages of Total REO that is Light (LREO: La, Ce, Pr, Nd), Medium (MREO: Sm, Eu, Gd) and Heavy (HREO: Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, Lu, Y)
These results provide focus and guidance to identify areas where further drilling could delineate higher- grade HREO-bearing alluvium. Previous mineralogical studies have shown that xenotime is the HREO host mineral in the Charley Creek Project area. Xenotime (Yttrium Phosphate) is highly enriched in high-value heavy rare earths.
Charley Creek's enriched HREO ratio enhances its strategic and economic value.
To view Figure 4 please click on the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Figure4PUC.pdf
MINERALOGY, METALLURGY AND MARKETING
The metallurgical treatment of xenotime and monazite minerals, found at Charley Creek is well understood technology. Both monazite and xenotime are phosphate minerals. These minerals have well documented and relatively straight forward and predictable processing characteristics. Both of these REO-bearing minerals are easily dissolvable in common acids, making them preferred feedstocks with well-established, low-cost and low-risk processing options for high-quaity REO production.
Preliminary test work has indicated that it will be possible to produce high-grade concentrates of these minerals using low-cost physical processes that are well-understood in the mineral sands industry.
As part of a program to systematically de-risk the project, work has been under way on heavy mineral concentrate flowsheet development and will soon commence on confirmation of expected leaching characteristics of high grade monazite/xenotime concentrates produced from Charley Creek alluvium in earlier test work. Ongoing studies include the following.
- Wet Plant Processing to produce initial Heavy Mineral Concentrate (HMC)
Heavy mineral separation flowsheet development is currently under way at Allied Mineral Laboratories P/L in Perth
- Spirals are showing good HM recoveries
- A grade of 6.25% TREO has been achieved in earlier HMC tests
- Dry Plant Processing of HMC using magnetic and electrostatic processes common to the heavy mineral sand industry
Production of high grade monazite/xenotime concentrate is being assessed (TARGET 50%TREO). A separate saleable Zircon concentrate can also be produced
- Hydrometallurgy process requirements as they relate to the production of rare earth oxide products
- A first stage "process confirmation" of hydrochloric and suphuric acid leach characteristics will commence soon on monazite/ xenotime concentrates and will be reported during this phase of testing
- Preliminary hydrometallurgical process studies for leaching monazite/ xenotime concentrate, with processing to produce value added, separate refined rare earth oxide and hydroxide products will follow in a subsequent testing phase
- Permitting and baseline environmental studies will be initiated
- Marketing studies will be initiated when sufficient initial product is available to commence distributing samples.
The information in this report that relates to Exploration Results, Mineral Resources or Ore Reserves is based on information compiled by Geoffrey S Eupene CP, a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. He is a director of the Company and a full time employee of Eupene Exploration Enterprises Pty Ltd. He has sufficient experience which is relevant to the styles of mineralisation and types of deposits under consideration, and to the activity which he is undertaking to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the December 2004 edition of the Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves (the JORC Code). Geoffrey S Eupene has consented to the inclusion in this report of the matters based on this information in the form and context in which it appears.
About Pancontinental Uranium Corporation
Pancontinental Uranium Corporation ("Pancon") is a Canadian-based company focused on uranium and REE discovery and development. Through a joint venture with Crossland Uranium Mines Limited ("Crossland") of Australia, Pancon has established one of the strongest management teams in the uranium industry. This management and operating team has unparalleled experience from exploration, through development to operations, and includes people who were instrumental in the discovery of two of the largest uranium deposits in the world. Pancon and Crossland hold an impressive uranium and REE exploration portfolio with projects in prolific, mining friendly districts.
Active exploration is ongoing at three Australian projects which include Chilling, Charley Creek, and Kalabity. The Chilling project has the potential to host a mirror image of a portion of the renowned Alligator Rivers Uranium Field containing the large Jabiluka, Ranger and Koongarra deposits. Charley Creek has the potential for large alluvial REE deposits, and large, lower-grade, Rossing-type, granite-hosted uranium deposits. The Kalabity project lies in a district of historic uranium/radium mining that contains a variety of known uranium deposit styles.
Pancon earned an initial 50% interest in this significant uranium and REE project portfolio with Crossland through the expenditure of AUD$8 million. In September 2011, due to prevailing poor financial market conditions, Pancon elected to conserve its cash and avoid having to raise additional funds at depressed share prices. As a result, Pancon ceased funding its 50% share of the Joint Venture expenditures until the end of 2011. Pancon's interest was reduced by 5%. According to the Joint Venture agreement, Pancon has the right to resume funding at any time to maintain its interest and chose to do so effective Jan 1, 2012. Pancon and Crossland are also pursuing exploration beyond Australia through an international subsidiary company, Crosscontinental Uranium Limited, and plans include formulating an exploration program in Burkina Faso.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Rick Mark, President & CEO
Cautionary Language and Forward Looking Statements
This press release may contain "forward-looking statements", which are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and future events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Investors are cautioned that such statements are not guarantees of future performance and results. Risks and uncertainties about the Company's business are more fully discussed in the Company's disclosure documents filed from time to time with the Canadian securities authorities.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Pancontinental Uranium Corporation
President and CEO
604-986-2020 or 1-866-816-0118