Ucore Completes Underground Mine Design for Bokan Project
April 18, 2012 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Ucore Rare Metals Inc (TSX-V:UCU) (OTCQX:UURAF) (“Ucore” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce the receipt of an underground Mine Design (“MD”) study of the Bokan Heavy Rare Earth project on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska, USA (the “Project”). The MD was completed by Stantec, of Tempe, AZ.
The objective of the study was to recommend the most advantageous mining methodology from a range of alternatives, and estimate the capital and operating costs for the underground mine. The MD is an important component of Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) for Bokan, due in the near term. The responsibility for the overall PEA rests with Wardrop, A Tetra Tech Company (“Tetra Tech”).
The MD report recommends an appropriate mining methodology based on resource geometry and geotechnical considerations. Additional aspects of the study include the preparation of a conceptual mine plan and the estimation of the mine production rate and production schedule. The full Bokan MD report will be released on conjunction with the PEA, due in the near term.
“As our Preliminary Economic Assessment moves to completion, this underground mining study is an important component of logistical analysis”, said Jim McKenzie, President & CEO of Ucore. “The report affirms the mining potential at Bokan, and offers insight into the comprehensive PEA which is pending in the near term. The study sets out a crown pillar where the mineralisation outcrops at surface, resulting in a daylight expression that yields minimal environmental disturbance. The report also affirms that high grade content can be accessed close to mine mouth, with a prospective positive effect on initial construction cost and turnaround.”
“Further, the prospective minable resource size has been increased by 44% over prior estimates (from 3.7 million tonnes to 5.3 million tonnes)”, continued McKenzie, “due to a reduction of cutoff grade. The expected daily production rate for Bokan has also been increased by 50% over previous interim estimates (from 1000 to 1500 tpd), with a potentially material impact on rate of return. Our thanks to the engineering team that delivered this analysis on time and within budget.”
The MD report was based on the inferred mineral resource block model provided by Aurora Geosciences (Alaska) Ltd. and released by Ucore in March of 2011. After a review of the block model inventory at various TREO % cutoff grades, it was determined that 0.4% TREO would be utilized as an economic cutoff for the mine design. At this cut-off, the resource consists of 5.3 million tonnes of mineralization at an average grade of 0.65% TREO, of which 40% are HREO.
Based on a review of the geometry of the mineralized body, Stantec determined that blasthole stoping is the most appropriate mining methodology for the project. Blasthole stoping is a very productive and efficient underground mining method and is based on a designed mine production rate of 1500 tpd. The resultant production schedule forecasts 540,000 tonnes per annum. The MD report suggests the use of mill tailings as paste backfill to fill the mined out areas of the underground. This technique promises to minimize the need to store tailings in a management facility at surface.
The total required operating manpower of the underground mine is estimated at 118 persons, including mine administrative personnel. Mine personnel calculations are based solely on the underground portion of the mine, and are exclusive of personnel required for subsequent administration, surface operations and processing. Detailed capital and operating cost estimates will be released in conjunction with the PEA.
Srikant Annavarapu of Stantec Inc. is the Qualified Person with respect to this press release and has approved the disclosure of the technical information contained herein.
Ucore Rare Metals Inc. is a well-funded junior exploration company focused on establishing REE, uranium and other rare metal resources through exploration and property acquisition. With multiple projects across North America, Ucore’s primary focus is the 100% owned Bokan – Dotson Ridge REE property in Alaska. The Bokan – Dotson ridge REE project is located 60 km southwest of Ketchikan, Alaska and 140 km northwest of Prince Rupert, British Columbia and has direct ocean access to the western seaboard and the Pacific Rim, a significant advantage in expediting mine production and limiting the capital costs associated with mine construction.
The Bokan properties are located in an area reserved for sustainable resource development with an existing road network providing access to the main target areas. REE mineralization at the Bokan-Dotson ridge project occurs in a well-demarcated vein system related to a Mesozoic Bokan peralkaline granitic complex. However, a number of other occurrences of REE mineralization are also located within, or at the margins of the complex. Viewed in a geological and geophysical context, the Bokan complex is a distinctive circular structure and is highly prospective for rare earths deposits.
For further information, please contact Mr. Jim McKenzie, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ucore Rare Metals Inc. at: (902) 482-5214 or visit www.ucore.com
This press release includes certain statements that may be deemed “forward-looking statements”. All statements in this release, other than statements of historical facts, that address future exploration drilling, exploration activities and events or developments that the Company expects, are forward looking statements. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include exploitation and exploration successes, continued availability of financing, and general economic, market or business conditions.