Defense Metals (TSXV: DEFN) (OTCQB: DFMTF) announced rare earth element (REE) assays from the final two core drill holes, with cumulative totals of 295 metres, from the 2022 drilling campaign at its Wicheeda REE deposit.
These results originate with two exploration geotechnical core drill holes. The final drill hole (WI22-79) brought back the best drill intercepts on a grade-times-width basis of the whole 2022 campaign. Additionally, the entirety of the campaign spanned 18 holes and 5,510 metres (or 18,077 feet).
“The economic significance of the Wicheeda REE Project is underscored by the fact that the final drill hole yielded the best drill intercept of the 2022 campaign,” said Luisa Moreno, president, and director of Defense Metals.
The Wicheeda REE Project spans 4,262 hectares (10,532 acres) and is found 80 kilometers northeast of Prince George, British Columbia. The project is accessible by all-weather gravel roads and has infrastructure options, including power lines, gas pipelines, the CN railway and highways. The 2021 Wicheeda REE Project preliminary economic assessment (PEA) showed a robust after-tax present value of $517 million.
Defense Metals focuses on exploration at Wicheeda
The company released its positive PEA on drilling completed until the end of 2019. Additionally, in the two years since, its focused on resource expansion, delineation, and detailed pit slope geotechnical drilling.
Consequently, the intent of all this drilling is a path towards a preliminary feasibility study (PFS).
“With critical minerals and particularly rare earth elements coming into sharper focus as part the rapidly accelerating transition to electric vehicles, Defense Metals looks forward to continuing to advance the social-environmental, metallurgical, engineering, and geotechnical aspects of the Wicheeda REE Project during 2023,” Moreno said.
Specifically, the pit slope geotechnical drill hole WI22-78 drilled into the west pit wall and intersected well mineralized dolomite carbonatite that assays 2.63 per cent total rare earth oxide (TREO) over 97 meters from the surface. The intercept was within broader mineralization returning 2.03 per cent TREO over 168 meters.
WI22-79 is the final drill hole. Defense Metals drilled it within the central area of the Wicheeda Deposit where the east pit wall intersected an upper high-grade mineralized dolomite carbonatite interval. The company chose this from surface assaying, which brought back 3.66 per cent TREO over 138 meters. Also, lower interval grading 0.5 per cent TREO over 43 meters.
The upper interval in WI22-79 returned the best mineralized intercept of all 2022 holes. It also ranks atop the top 10 reported drill intercepts of the over 10,000 meters drilled in 47 holes Defense Metals completed post-PEA.