Defense Metals (TSXV: DEFN) has updated the resources estimate for its Wicheeda rare earth element (REE) deposit 80 km from Prince George, British Columbia. Roughly the earlier indicated and inferred resources were reclassified to measured and indicated.
The deposit is known to contain 6.4 million measured tonnes averaging 2.86% total rare earth oxide (TREO) and 27.8 million indicated tonnes at 1.84% TREO. (Compare this to the earlier estimate of 5 million indicated and 29.5 million inferred tonnes.) There is also an inferred resource of 11.1 million tonnes grading 2.02% TREO. The update used a cut-off of 0.5% TREO.
The new resource estimate was based on an updated geological model of the deposit. The model incorporates an additional 10,350 metres of drilling data from 45 holes drilled during 2021 and 2022.
Calling Wicheeda one of North America’s most advanced REE projects, Defense CEO Craig Taylor said the overall resource has grown by 17%. “Importantly, we believe the upgrading of resources now demonstrates that we have established the tonnage and grades necessary to carry forward into our ongoing preliminary feasibility study,” he added.
The company prepared a preliminary economic assessment for Wicheeda late in 2021. That study outlined an open pit mine to be developed in to phases over a 16-year life. The processing plant will be a conventional flotation plant, with a tailings storage facility created south of the pit.