Quest Rare Minerals Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:QRM) is pleased to report that its Board of Directors has approved funding for a pre-feasibility study of the Corporation's Strange Lake B-Zone rare earth element deposit, located in northeastern Quebec. Quest's management has completed the selection of its technical team as it moves towards the preparation of the pre-feasibility study for the B-Zone project. The project work, to be completed towards the end of 2011, has been budgeted at $7.5 million.
The focus of the work in late 2010 and the early part of 2011 has been on evaluating the results of the studies that were completed in 2010 and to building a strong technical team with the necessary blend of skills, experience and capabilities to complete a prefeasibility study to a high level of professional quality. With the awarding of the contracts for the final portions of the work, the composition of the pre-feasibility study technical team is as shown below.
Geology and Mineral Resource Estimates Wardrop Engineering
Open Pit Geotechnical Studies AMEC Earth & Environmental
Mining Micon International Limited
Metallurgical Testing Hazen Research, Inc.
Metallurgical Review Micon International Limited
Process Plant Design Melis Engineering
Mine/Process Plant Facilities AECOM
Tailings/Water Management AECOM
Off-Site Infrastructure AECOM
Financial Analysis Micon International Limited
The initial scope of the B-Zone pre-feasibility study has been established in light of the results that were generated in 2010. The current scope contemplates the excavation of REE-bearing material by means of an open pit mine using conventional truck-and-shovel mining equipment that will provide feed at a nominal throughput rate of 4,000 tonnes per day to a plant that is located in the vicinity of the deposit. The preliminary metallurgical test work that has been completed to date has suggested that the REE-bearing pegmatites and granites are amenable to direct acid attack of the crushed and ground feed from the open pit mine without the need for any pre-concentration steps (see Press Release : August 12, 2010). The use of magnetic separators whose goal will be to remove a portion of the non-REE bearing minerals will be investigated as a potential enhancement to the acid attack flowsheet. Following acid attack, the solution is then envisioned to be sent to a solvent extraction circuit where final products will be generated. The material remaining from the process is envisioned to be stored in a land-based storage facility that is located in proximity to the deposit. Trade-off studies will be undertaken which examine the relative merits of transporting supplies, consumables and final products either by a road link to a port facility located on the Labrador coast or to an existing rail head located in the Schefferville, Quebec area.
"We are very pleased with the quality and level of technical talent that we have been able to assemble for the completion of the Strange Lake project pre-feasibility study," said Peter J. Cashin, Quest's President & CEO. "A deposit of such importance, as is the case of our B-Zone REE deposit, requires the best possible technical evaluation and outcome. I have the utmost confidence that our team will deliver the desired result."
"The depth of the talent and experience that has been assembled for the completion of our pre-feasibility study represents an important milestone towards the advancement of the B-Zone deposit. We look forward to the contributions and input of every team member while we work together with our partners on this study," said Reno Pressacco, Quest's Vice-President, Operations.
Winter 2011 Exploration Program Update
A 21-hole, 3,318.0m program of diamond drilling that began in mid-March 2011 to test the northern continuity of the B-Zone "Pegmatite Spine" was recently completed. The program successfully traced out the northern strike extension of the Rare Earth Element (REE)-mineralized host granites and pegmatites beneath Lac Brisson. All samples have been submitted to Activation Laboratories in Ancaster, Ontario for analysis and results are pending. Assays from this program will be released as the information becomes available and has passed Quest's internal review protocols.
On a parallel path, field work has begun on the gathering of geotechnical data in support of open pit mine design and work has also begun on the continuation of the successful metallurgical testing program that was carried out last year. A metallurgical sampling drillhole for 152.0m was completed during winter drilling and will supplement an 18-tonne bulk sample that was collected from the surface exposure of the B-Zone last summer. Quest has selected Hazen Research of Golden, Colorado, to complete Phase 2 Metallurgical studies on B-Zone mineralization. The remaining material from the bulk sample will be used for future Pilot Mill studies for the Zone. The results from these activities will feed into the remainder of the prefeasibility study which is expected to be completed by year end.
In further news, Quest announces that it recently completed a small, four-hole, 310.3m drilling program on its Alterra Strange Lake, Labrador option property with Search Minerals Inc. (TSX VENTURE:SMY). The program tested surface REE mineralized occurrences identified by Quest during its summer 2010 exploration activities. Mineralized pegmatite and granite aplite was intersected in all holes on the property. All holes were sampled and submitted to the lab for analysis. Assay results are pending.
About Quest Rare Minerals
Quest Rare Minerals Ltd. is a Canadian-based exploration company focused on the identification and discovery of new and significant Rare Earth deposit opportunities. The Corporation is publicly listed on the TSX Venture Exchange 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 Misery Lake areas of northeastern Quebec and the Plaster Rock area of northwestern New Brunswick. 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 Quebec. The Corporation recently filed a 43-101 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 Strange Lake project. Quest continues to pursue high-value project opportunities throughout North America. As a result of a recently-completed marketed equity financing, Quest has a strong working capital position in excess of $51.0 million. This will be sufficient to advance the Corporations plans of completing a pre-feasibility study of the B-Zone REE deposit by 2011-2012 and to continue exploration on its other rare earth property interests.
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