Independent Review of USBM Metallurgical Study Confirms 96% Separation of Bokan HREE to be NI 43-101 Compliant
September 3, 2009 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Ucore Uranium (TSX-V: UCU) is pleased to report the results of an independent review of a U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) metallurgical study which reported a significant 96% separation and recovery of yttrium from Bokan Mountain (Green and Harbuck;1996). Yttrium can be considered a proxy for the entire “Yttrium Group of Lanthanoids”, otherwise called the heavy rare earth elements (HREE’s).
Ucore engaged the services of Mountain States R&D International of (MSRDI) to review the USBM (currently the USGS) study with respect to NI 43-101 compliance. MSRDI`s Roshan Bapphu, PhD, P.E. AZ examined the USBM study and found the methodologies and conclusions contained therein to satisfy the NI 43-101 standards which came into effect after the USBM study was released in 1996. MSRDI is located in Vail, Arizona, and is an accredited research facility with specific experience in rare earth element metallurgy, separation and recovery technologies.
The Green and Harbuck metallurgical study was the culmination of a large scale research project commissioned by the USBM to examine the metallurgy of the Bokan Mountain heavy rare earth elements with a particular view to the recovery of yttrium. The research, conducted under authority of the Federal Bureau of Mines Research Facility in Salt Lake City, involved leaching technology as a means of metallurgical separation. Yttrium recovery correlates to the prospective recovery of other valuable HREE`s such as dysprosium, terbium, ytterbium and lutetium. Additionally, the USBM metallurgical separation methodologies correlate to the recovery of light rare earth elements (LREE’s) also present in the Bokan samples.
An executive summary of the USBM study reads as follows:
“The Bokan Mountain area on Prince of Wales Island, AK, contains vast quantities of heavy rare earth minerals. To lessen the US dependence on foreign sources, the US Bureau of Mines investigated yttrium recovery from this ore.
By sulfating the ore at 250°C for 1 hr at an H2SO4: ore ratio of 1:1 and then water leaching the sulfated material for 1 hr at 20% solids and 25°C, over 74% of the yttrium, cerium, and lanthumum were solubilized. Solvent extraction, using a synergistic combination of OPAP and DEHPA, selectively loaded 100% of the yttrium.
Yttrium was stripped directly as a solid using a 2M, 35°C NaOH liquor. When the OPAP/DEHPA mixture was tested in a continuous SX circuit, yttrium loading and stripping were 100% and 96% respectively. The organic showed excellent recyclabilty properties with minimal solvent loss.”
A full copy of the USBM study is available through the following URL:
“Metallurgical separation is an important aspect of rare earth deposit feasibility analysis, and has been a significant impediment to many prospective rare earth sites worldwide,” said Jim McKenzie, President and CEO of Ucore. “The discovery of usable metallurgical formulas can consume a significant portion of the development cycle of a REE mine, and can be an elusive objective. This USBM funded metallurgical study, particularly in view of its NI 43-101 compliance, is a unique and valuable asset to Bokan-Dotson Ridge and greatly expedites the feasibility cycle for one of the few prospective heavy rare earth deposits outside of the currently producing south China clays.”
The US Geological Survey (USGS; formerly the USBM) is a bureau of the US Department of the Interior, a federal agency with a mission that includes the identification of geological resources critical to the U.S. military, industrial and technological complex. The Bokan heavy rare earth deposit has received the increasing involvement of this bureau, commencing with a 1989 resource study (Barker & Warner; USBM OFR 33-89), and continuing with a large scale metallurgical study (Green and Harbuck; USBM 1996), in addition to the 2009 USGS-funded mineral characterization research program now in progress (see Ucore Press Release: May 27, 2009). The USGS articulates with the U.S. Department of Defense in matters related to strategic materials identification, the latter of which has appeared before a 2009 Congressional subcommittee addressing concerns related to obtaining a secure domestic supply of rare earth elements (R. Lowden; Senior Materials Analyst; US DOD; July 2009).
Ucore Uranium Inc. is a junior exploration company focused on establishing REE and uranium resources through exploration and property acquisition. With multiple projects, Ucore’s primary focus is the Rare Earth One-operated Bokan – Dotson Ridge rare earth element and uranium project. The project is located on the southern part of the Prince of Wales Island in southeastern Alaska, with excellent deep water access and proximity to major sea and rail shipping routes across North America and to Asia.
For further information, please contact Mr. Jim McKenzie, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ucore Uranium Inc. at: (902) 482-5214.
Ucore Uranium Inc.
Signed “Jim McKenzie”
Jim McKenzie, President and CEO
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