Defense Metals (TSXV: DEFN) has received results for the final five diamond drill holes totalling 1,079 metres from the 29-hole (5,349 metres) diamond drill program completed during fall 2021. These drill holes (WI21-57 through WI21-61) were collared from the two sites within the eastern area of the company’s Wicheeda rare earth element (REE) deposit located near Prince George, BC.
Resource definition holes WI21-58 and WI21-59 targeted inferred resources at depth along the eastern contact and intersected two of the three highest grade-width intercepts of the 2021 campaign. WI21-58 averaged 3.09% TREO (total rare earth oxides) over 251 metres, including 3.92% TREO over 80 metres, while WI21-59 returned 2.76% TREO over 212 metres, including 3.25% TREO over 90 metres from surface.
These assays eclipsed the long, high-grade intercept reported for the first drill hole of 2021, which yielded 3.17% TREO over 196 metres within the untested northern zone.
Infill drill hole WI21-60 targeted the southern area of the deposit and returned 2.93% TREO over 154 metres, including 5.47% TREO over 39 metres from surface, representing the third highest-grade reported drill intercept.
Another infill drill hole, WI21-57, which tested a gap within the central area of the deposit, returned a high-grade dolomite carbonate interval averaging 3.45% TREO over 116 metres from surface, giving way to mixed syenite at depth averaging 1.37% TREO over 96.5 metres along the western contact.
Like WI21-57, drill hole WI21-61 targeted the central gap area from a pad 200 metres north. The hole collared into east side limestone host rock before intersecting a broad high-grade dolomite carbonatite interval averaging 3.44% TREO over 114 metres, giving way to mixed xenolithic carbonatite and syenite rocks at depth returning 0.93% TREO over 79 metres.
These results are expected to further support the company’s advanced economic studies for the Wicheeda deposit, including the development of an updated geological model and a mineral resource estimate.
According to a preliminary economic assessment released last year, Wicheeda currently contains 5 million tonnes of indicated resources grading 2.95% TREO and 29.5 million tonnes of inferred resources grading 1.83% TREO.
The PEA study envisioned an open pit mine and 1.8 million t/y mill with a 19-year life, producing 25,423 tonnes of REO annually. The Wicheeda project has an after-tax net present value with an 8% discount of C$517 million and an internal rate of return of 18%.