Mining Explorers 2012: Ucore Rare Metals Inc.
UCU: TSX.V/ UURAF: OTCQX
President and CEO: James McKenzie
Chief Operating Officer: Ken Collison
Ucore Rare Metals Inc. is rapidly steering its Bokan Mountain-Dotson Ridge project in Southeast Alaska toward becoming a primary United States source of dysprosium, terbium, yttrium and other heavy rare earth metals. Based on 9,550 meters of drilling completed at Bokan, Ucore released an inaugural resource estimate for the REE deposit in 2011. At a 0.4 percent total rare earth oxide cut-off grade, the property hosts an inferred resource of 5.3 million metric tons averaging 0.65 percent TREO. Some 40 percent of the rare earths in the resource are the higher value heavy rare earth oxides. A 10,112-meter drill program carried out in 2011 focused on upgrading and expanding this resource. The 34-hole program, which has confirmed the integrity and continuity of the mineralization, is being incorporated in an updated resource estimate. Ucore’s primary focus in 2012 is on the metallurgical and engineering work for a preliminary economic assessment being carried out by Wardrop, a Tetra Tech Company. One of the programs involved in this work is the use of an x-ray transmission sorter to reject waste before ore reaches the mill. Results from testing three one-ton bulk samples show that 46 percent of the feed could be rejected as waste with 93 percent recovery of rare earth oxides. This essentially doubles the grade of the ore being fed into the mill. Ucore increased the scale of testing the x-ray sorter with a 20-ton bulk sample extracted from three sites along its Bokan Mountain in June. A local contractor crushed and segregated the material into four specified size fractions, prior to the samples being transported to Germany to be processed through a production scale X-ray sorter to prepare an upgraded ore sample for future metallurgical testing. Ucore is also testing an innovative process for processing the rare earths, referred to in scientific circles as solid phase extraction. Montana-based IntelliMet LLC treated a representative sample of Bokan ore with nitric acid, generating a solution containing the rare earths and other elements contained in the ore. An additional processing step prior to bulk precipitation of the REE prevents the generation of an impure precipitate containing the unwanted elements. On a bench scale, the tests showed that more than 99 percent of detrimental contaminant elements, including uranium and thorium, can be removed from Bokan ore prior to the precipitation of a mixed REE concentrate. In October, the United States Department of Defense contracted with Ucore to further this metallurgical work at Bokan. This program is focused on the possibility of Bokan as a source of critical heavy REEs for the Department of Defense. A mine plan completed in April determined that blast-hole stoping, based on a mining rate of 1,500 metric tons per day, is the most appropriate method for the project. The mine plan, metallurgical and other studies are being incorporated into a preliminary economic assessment due out by the end of 2012.
In addition to Bokan, Ucore is exploring a placer deposit of rare earths at its Ray Mountain property in Interior Alaska. To better understand the placer potential, Ucore collected alluvial samples from upper Kilolitna River, Ray River, and No Name Creek during a field investigation carried out in 2011. Using gravity separation, Ucore concentrated these measured samples collected from the Ray Mountain drainages. Assays of these concentrates returned up to 50 percent tin; as much as 10 percent total REE; and 0.01 to 1 percent tungsten, tantalum and niobium. Heavy rare earths – including terbium, dysprosium, erbium and yttrium – make up 15 to 25 percent of the total rare earth content in the majority of samples. As much as 60 percent of the TREE content of samples collected at No Name Creek is the prized HREEs. The company said most of the initial samples were collected directly from surface exposures, and the heavy mineral content can be expected to increase at greater depths within the alluvium. In some areas the gravels are reported to be as much as 100 meters deep.
Cash and short-term deposits: C$4.5 million (at June 30, 2012)
Working Capital: C$4.6 million (at June 30, 2012)
Market Capitalization: C$62.9 million (at Sept. 17, 2012)
210 Waterfront Drive, Suite 106
Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada B4A 0H3
Tel: 902-482-5214 • Fax: 902-492-0197