Wicheeda Lake REEs
The rare earths are a group of 17 elements comprising Scandium, Yttrium, and the Lanthanides. The Lanthanides are a group of 15 (Cerium, Dysprosium, Erbium, Europium, Gadolinium, Holmium, Lanthanum, Lutetium, Neodymium, Praseodymium, Samarium, Terbium, Thorium, Thulium, Ytterbium) chemically similar elements with atomic numbers 57 through 71, inclusive.
Yttrium, atomic number 39, isn’t a lanthanide but is included in the rare earths because it often occurs with them in nature – it has similar chemical properties. Scandium, atomic number 21 is also included in the group although it usually occurs only in minor amounts.
The most abundant rare earth elements (REE) are each found in the earth’s crust in amounts equal to nickel, copper, zinc, molybdenum, or lead – Cerium is the 25th most abundant element of the 78 common elements in the Earth’s crust. Even the two least abundant REEs (Thulium, Lutetium) are nearly 200 times more common than gold. Overall Rees have an abundance greater than silver and similar amounts to copper and lead.
The “rare” in rare earth elements came from frustrated 19th century chemists who decided they were uncommon after trying to isolate these atomically very similar elements. REES are also very hard to find in economic concentrations.
The Lanthanides are divided into light rare elements, LREE, and heavy rare earth elements, HREE. Light REE's are made up of the first seven elements of the lanthanide series – Lanthanum (La, atomic number 57), Cerium (Ce, atomic number 58), Praseodymium (Pr, atomic number 59), Neodymium (Nd, atomic number 60) Promethium (Pm, atomic number 61) and Samarium (Sm, atomic number 62).
HREEs are made up of the higher atomic numbered elements – Europium (EU, atomic number 63), Gadolinium (Gd, atomic number 64), Terbium (TB, atomic number 65), Dysprosium (Dy, atomic number 66), Holmium (Ho, atomic number 67), Erbium (Er, atomic number 68), Thulium (Tm, atomic number 69), Ytterbium (Yb, atomic number 70) and Lutetium (Lu, atomic number 71).
REEs with even atomic numbers have greater abundance than their odd numbered cousins. LREEs are more incompatible with other minerals and this makes them more strongly concentrated in the earth’s crust than the HREEs. In most rare earth deposits, the first four REE – La, Ce, Pr, and Nd – constitute 80 to 99 percent of the total.
REEs occur in a wide range of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and in a broad range of mineral types including halides, carbonates, oxides and phosphates. But REE deposits are most commonly associated with late-stage vein and replacement mineralization either within carbonatites or the surrounding host rock. Most carbonatites are intrusive igneous rocks, this means that the rock masses contain more than 50% carbonate minerals, and cooled from a melt.
According to the geological literature there are about 600 known occurrences of carbonatites worldwide, but almost all are small and noncommercial.
The principal economic sources of rare earths are the minerals bastnasite, monazite, and xenotime. Bastnasite and monazite are the primary source of LREE (Ce,La,and Nd) with monazite containing less La, more Nd and some HREE. Xenotime is dominated by the heavier HREE including y, Dy, Er, Yb, and Ho.
The bulk of the world's supply of rare earth elements comes from the mineral bastnasite. Bastnasite is a mixed lanthanide fluoro-carbonate mineral (Ln F CO3) that’s found in carbonatites.
Monazite, the single most common REE mineral generally contains elevated levels of thorium (Th). Thorium itself is only weakly radioactive but is accompanied by highly radioactive products like radium that can accumulate during processing.
Many REE applications are highly specific and substitutes are inferior or unknown:
- Color cathode-ray tubes and liquid-crystal displays used in computer monitors and televisions employ europium as the red phosphor
- Terbium is used to make green phosphors for flat-panel TVs and lasers
- Lanthanum is critical to the oil refining industry, which uses it to make a fluid cracking catalyst that translates into a 7% efficiency gain in converting crude oil into refined gasoline
- Rechargeable batteries
- Automotive pollution control catalysts
- Neodymium is key to the permanent magnets used to make high-efficiency electric motors. Two other REE minerals – terbium and dysprosium – are added to neodymium to allow it to remain magnetic at high temperatures
- Fiber-optic cables can transmit signals over long distances because they incorporate periodically spaced lengths of erbium doped fiber that function as laser amplifiers
- Cerium oxide is used as a polishing agent for glass. Virtually all polished glass products, from ordinary mirrors and eyeglasses to precision lenses, are finished with CeO2
- Gadolinium is used in solid-state lasers, computer memory chips, high-temperature refractories, cryogenic refrigerants
- Used in improving high-temperature characteristics of iron, chromium, and related alloys
- Y, La, Ce, Eu, Gd, and Tb are used in the new energy-efficient fluorescent lamps. These energy-efficient light bulbs are 70% cooler in terms of the heat they generate and are 70% more efficient in their use of electricity
- REEs are used in metallurgy as an alloying agent to desulphurise steels, as a nodularising agent in ductile iron, as lighter flints and as alloying agents to improve the properties of superalloys and alloys of magnesium, aluminium and titanium
- Rare-earth elements are used in the nuclear industry in control rods, as dilutants, and in shielding, detectors and counters
- Rare metals lower the friction on power lines, thus cutting electricity leakage
Rare earths are not listed on a metals exchange and there is no set or official price for REEs or their compounds. The buying and selling of REEs happens on a company-to-company basis. Essentially they are traded one deal at a time.
China has 53 percent of the world’s REE deposits and supplies 97 percent of the global demand for rare earth elements.
Tighter limits on production and lowered export quotas are being put in place to ensure China has the necessary supply for its own technological and economic needs.
China’s export quota has been decreasing. In 2006 volume dropped to 48,000 tonnes. In 2007 volume dropped to 43,574 tonnes, in 2008 volume dropped to 40,987 tonnes and in 2009 to 33,300 tonnes.
In a hunt to secure jobs, and access to advanced technologies, the Chinese have forced manufacturers needing access to REEs to make their products in China.
In the last 10 years the global market for rare earth elements has grown to 125,000 tons per year and by 2014 demand is predicted to reach 200,000 tons per year. Many experts are predicting that the Chinese will be internally consuming most of their own rare earth production by about 2014.
Canadian International Minerals TSX.V – CIN listed on the TSX Venture Exchange September 29th 2010. The company is focused on its Carbo Rare Earth Project just north of Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.
Shares outstanding: 41,133,926
Warrants: 13,120,260 @ $0.15
8,045,028 @ $0.20
Options 1,850,000 @ $0.12 for 5 years
1,950,000 @ $0.13 for 2 years
Fully diluted: 66,099,214
In 2008 Spectrum Mining Corporation, a private company, contracted Falcon Drilling Ltd. of Prince George, B.C. to drill 4 BTW size diamond drill holes, totaling 866 meters, at varying azimuths and dips from 1 drilling platform into their Wicheeda Lake "Main Zone" cerium soil anomaly.
All 4 drill holes intersected significant rare earth mineralization over drill core lengths varying from 66m to 231m starting at their collars.
The highest grade intersections from the 2008 program include a 48.64m interval in hole 2008-02 which averaged 13,570 parts per million (ppm) (1.36%) cerium, 17,806 ppm (1.78%) lanthanum, 1,344 ppm (.13%) praseodymium and 2,780 ppm (.28%) neodymium for a combined rare earth element content of 3.55% over 48.64 m.
In 2009, eleven NTW diamond drill holes totaling 1835m were drilled into the "Main Zone” from 2 new drilling platforms.
Drill site 2009-A was located approximately 100m northeast of the 2008 drill site and seven 150m long drill holes were completed from it at various azimuths and dips. All seven holes intersected significant intervals of rare earth mineralization varying from 56m to 148m long starting at their collars.
Drill site 2009-B is located approximately 100m north of drill site 2009-A and approximately 150m northeast of the 2008 drill site. Four drill holes were completed from it at various azimuths and dips. Again all four holes intersected significant intervals of rare earth mineralization varying from 95m to 147m long starting at their collars.
Examples of some of the intersections are 144m averaging 12,924 ppm (1.3%) Cerium, 6,403 ppm (.64%) Lanthanum and 2,599 ppm (.26%) Neodymium in hole 2009-09 (2.2% REE over 144m) and 72m averaging 18,310 ppm (1.83 %) Cerium), 7,296 ppm (.73%) Lanthanum and 3,547 ppm (.35%) Neodymium in hole 2009-07 (2.92% REE over 72m).
Spectrum’s Wicheeda deposit remains open in all directions.
CIN’s Carbo Project consists of seven claims which encompass a series of Niobium and Rare Earth Element (REE) bearing carbonatite and alkaline intrusions
On October 20, 2010 Canadian International Minerals announced that it had commenced a minimum 1,000 metre diamond drill program. CIN’s drill program is designed to drill at least 12 diamond drill holes from up to 6 drill sites.
Drilling targets were selected based on the results from a recently completed high resolution Aeroquest radiometric-Mag survey (50 meter line spacing) and closely spaced auger soil geochemical sampling (25 meter grid).
A recent news release dated November 8th 2010 said drilling was progressing with the 8th hole being drilled with total core recovery of 1226 meters.
From the November 8th News Release:
“Most significantly, REE-carbonate phase(s) were identified in carbonatite, and likely correspond to a combination of bastnaesite-synchysite-parisite. Where concentrations of this mineral assemblage were reported they were noted to be up to 50% of the interval by mode. Sphalerite, strontianite (strontium carbonate), an unknown Ni-Fe-Cr oxide, barite, columbite((Fe, Mn)(Nb, Ta)2O6) and Nb-rich rutile were also identified. Significant sulphide is also present in deeper carbonatite intervals: phases identified in core include sphalerite, galena, pyrite, pyrrhotite, and chalcopyrite. The SEM investigation also confirmed the presence of feldspathoid and feldspar phases in alteration zones.
The style of mineralization thus far observed, is consistent with known occurrences of REE mineralization within the region. As previously stated, all core from the first two holes is currently being assayed.”
Michael Schuss, President, C.E.O., Secretary, Director
Michael has over 29 years experience in mining exploration and venture capital. During that period he has worked in the trading operations of a national brokerage firm, several underground mining and surface drilling contractors as well as being director, officer and consultant to several V.S.E., A.S.E., and T.S.X. Venture companies. Mr. Schuss first travelled to China in 1989 and to Africa in 1993, and consulted for some of the first Canadian juniors to operate in those regions. African projects whose potential was identified by Mr.Schuss resulted in a million ounce gold deposit being developed from grassroots exploration, and 3 separate joint ventures with a world class gold producer and two mid tier gold producers. In recent years he has specialized in acquiring mining properties in Africa, China and Canada for junior mining companies.
Tor Bruland, P.Geo., Director
Tor is a graduate of the University of Bergen, Norway, with Cand. Mag. (B.Sc.) in 1977 and Cand. Real. (M.Sc.) in 1980. Mr. Bruland arrived in Canada in 1980 and has more than 30 years exploration and management experience in the industry with major mining companies and junior exploration companies.
Garth Evans, B.A., LL.B, Director
Garth is a partner in the law firm Barbeau, Evans & Goldstein and has a lifelong interest in mining exploration. He was previously a director and chairman of Ecstall Mining Corporation, which was taken over by Mantle Resources – now Canadian Zinc Metals Corp.
Chris Verrico, Director
Chris has extensive experience in mining and construction contracting, particularly in Northern Canada. He is currently President and CEO of Lateegra Gold Corp.
Roger Mitchell, F.R.S.C., F.M.S.A – Professor Emeritus, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay
Dr. Mitchell is one of the world's leading authorities on the occurrence and genesis of alkaline rocks. His extensive work on the mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry of kimberlites has confirmed the standard genetic model, culminating in his definitive book on this important group of rocks. He has also worked extensively on the character and origin of lamproites, resulting in a new model for their genesis, and publication of the definitive book on these rocks. His work is marked by that rare combination of thoroughness and imagination, and has established him as a foremost petrologist in Canada. He is also a world authority on carbonatites. Among other honours, he is one of 12 Honorary Fellows of the Geological Society of India.
Lee Groat, B.Sc., Ph.D. – Professor, Director, Integrated Sciences program, University of British Columbia
Dr. Groat is the 1999 recipient of the Young Scientist Award of the Mineralogical Association of Canada. With many publications to his credit, and as editor of American Mineralogist, he is a noted authority on the environment and occurrence of carbonatites, pegmatites, and favorable hosts to rare earths and high tech metals.
Anton Chakhmouradian, Ph.D. – Professor, Geological Sciences, University of Manitoba
Dr. Chakhmouradian, who originally hails from St Petersburg, teaches and researches mineralogy, igneous and metamorphic petrology, and gemology at the University of Manitoba, and is 2005 recipient of the Young Scientist Award of the Mineralogical Association of Canada. He has published widely and among other accomplishments is internationally recognized as an authority on the mineralogy and petrology of alkaline rocks.
Paul Brockington – Consultant
Paul is a mining Engineer and seasoned mining executive, Paul spent his early professional career in both open pit and underground operations in Africa and Canada. After gaining extensive financial contacts as a mining analyst with a major brokerage, he served as chairman of a provincial mining corporation with operations producing tantalum, and base and precious metals.
Thomas Hasek, P.Eng. – Consultant
Thomas is a geologist with over 40 years in the mining industry, including directing exploration and development ventures in numerous jurisdictions and environments. He has served as a director and executive of several public companies.
There is an indispensable, unarguable need for rare earths in our modern society. Demand is growing, the supplier of 97 percent of this demand is lowering export quotas and might very well stop all REE exports by 2014.
Without REEs, today’s technology would take a twenty year step back in time. Are REEs and the companies looking for, finding and developing REE deposits on your radar screen?
If not maybe they should be.
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