President and CEO: Jim McKenzie
Chief Operating Officer: Ken Collison
Vice President, Business Development: Mark MacDonald
Ucore Rare Metals Inc. is finalizing the details of a plan of operations and feasibility study for the Bokan-Dotson Ridge rare earth element project on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska. In September, the company secured permits to drill 27 holes at Bokan, a program that includes infill and geotechnical drilling as well as the development of monitoring wells, generating valuable information for project engineers. At a 0.4 percent total rare earth oxide cut-off grade, the Dotson Zone deposit at Bokan Mountain hosts an inferred resource of 5.3 million metric tons averaging 0.65 percent total rare earth oxides. While not particularly high grade, this deposit has two important features: roughly 40 percent of the rare earths in the resource are the higher value heavy rare earth oxides; and the REE mineralization is concentrated in a swarm of steeply dipping veins. The stark contrast between REE-enriched veins and barren rock allows for the use of an x-ray sorter to scan mined material as it heads up a conveyor and use a blast of high pressure air to reject REE-barren rocks before they drop into the grinder, reducing the mill feed by half. A preliminary economic assessment completed late in 2012 proposes a 1,500-metric-tons-per-day underground mine, a 750-tpd mill and a state-of-the-art processing facility. This operation is anticipated to produce 2,250 metric tons of rare earth oxides per year during the first five years of full production; including an annual output of 95 metric tons of dysprosium oxide, 14 metric tons of terbium oxide, and 515 metric tons of yttrium oxide. A 20-metric-ton sample, collected earlier this year from three locations within the Dotson Ridge deposit, was processed by a large-scale X-ray transmission ore sorter at a TOMRA (formerly Commodas Ultrasort) in Germany. Results show that 52 percent of the feed was rejected as waste, with 96.3 percent of the rare earth oxides remaining in the material to be fed into 750-tpd mill. After initial grinding, half of the remaining material can be skimmed by magnetic separation before getting a bath in nitric acid.
In addition to the economic advantages associated with purchasing and operating a smaller mill, this setup provides environmental rewards. Although the PEA envisions a small, temporary facility to store tailings during the early stages of development, at a certain point the mine will consume all of the tailings produced to fill underground voids. A 30-metric-ton bulk sample of Dotson Ridge material has been sent to Germany for XRT sorting. The output from this sample will provide feed for a pilot plant at Bokan, the final stage of bulk-scale testing of the production circuit prior to the release of a bankable feasibility study. Rather than an onsite, scaled-down version of the facility Ucore plans to operate at Bokan, the pilot plant will involve up-scale testing of the various components planned for the cutting-edge operation. The XRT sorting is one portion of the pilot plant; the testing of a state-of-the-art technique that utilizes nanotechnology to separate the 16 different rare earth elements found in the Dotson Ridge deposit at Bokan is another. Ucore is working with Montana-based IntelliMet LLC to pioneer an REE processing technique known as solid-phase extraction. Though cutting edge, the SPE procedure follows a much simpler flow-sheet than solvent exchange extraction, the method traditionally used to separate REEs. The less-complex nanotechnology process is expected to result in a smaller and more efficient facility for transforming Bokan Mountain ore into rare earth oxides. As part of an agreement reached with the U.S. Department of Defense late in 2012, Ucore has agreed to provide the Pentagon with the most up-to-date data on this cutting edge nanotechnology research. If the company’s schedule holds, Ucore has a target of 2016 to begin providing the United States with heavy rare earths from the Bokan Mountain Mine in Southeast Alaska.
Cash and short-term deposits: C$4.2 million (June 30, 2013)
Working capital: C$4.2 million (June 30, 2013)
Market capitalization: C$48.3 million (Sept. 30, 2013)
106 – 210 Waterfront Drive
Bedford, Nova Scotia
Canada B4A 0H3