Defense Metals Signs MOU with Ucore to Ship Rare Earth Carbonate to RapidSX™ Facility in Ontario

Defense Metals Corp. (TSXV: DEFN | OTCQB: DFMTF) and Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSXV: UCU | OTCQX: UURAF) have entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore joint efforts in establishing a North American rare earth element (REE) supply chain. As a significant step under this MOU, Defense Metals will send a mixed rare earth carbonate sample from its Wicheeda REE project in British Columbia to Ucore’s RapidSX™ Commercialization and Demonstration Facility (CDF) in Kingston, Ontario.

The Wicheeda REE Project, owned entirely by Defense Metals, is positioned approximately 80 km northeast of Prince George, British Columbia. The project is noted for its accessibility and proximity to necessary infrastructure like power transmission lines, gas pipelines, and transportation routes to major ports.

Craig Taylor, CEO of Defense Metals, remarked on the importance of the Wicheeda project as a source of REE in North America. He emphasized the growing demand for REE feedstock, particularly as more processing and separation facilities become operational. This shipment to Ucore’s demonstration plant is part of the company’s broader strategy to participate in the Western REE supply chain.

SGS Canada Inc. in Lakefield, Ontario, is tasked with shipping the sample to Ucore’s CDF. This sample was produced during 2023 hydrometallurgical piloting test work, which was based on a concentrate from earlier flotation pilot plant testing of a 26-tonne bulk sample from the Wicheeda Property.

Pat Ryan, P.Eng., Chairman and CEO of Ucore, highlighted the strategic significance of collaborating with Defense Metals. The MOU outlines how Defense Metals’ REE resource can be processed and refined using Ucore’s RapidSX™ technology. Ryan noted that receiving the mixed rare earth carbonate sample at the Kingston CDF would initiate evaluations of potential collaborative projects between the two companies.

Ucore’s efforts in REE separation and purification include commercial demonstration projects at its CDF in Kingston. These projects aim to separate heavy and light REEs and are part of Ucore’s broader plan to commercialize its RapidSX™ technology. Ucore is also developing a commercial REE processing plant in Alexandria, Louisiana, known as the Louisiana Strategic Metals Complex (SMC), in collaboration with the US Department of Defense and the Government of Canada.

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One response

  1. Tracy Weslosky Avatar
    Tracy Weslosky

    Good morning InvestorNews Readers – and thank you for visiting. The CMI Board was discussing this breaking news earlier this morning, and here is a Q&A discussed on our WhatsApp board that I have received authorization to publish. Again, thank you for visiting. Tracy

    Q: Can you explain why Defense Metals, despite having access to Canadian Government funding for a processing plant, needs access to Ucore’s RapidSX™ separation technology or the Louisiana plant? Is this indicative of a trend where REE developers might merge to scale operations?*

    A: The primary challenge for any miner entering production is defining and optimizing their unique process. Each mine requires a bespoke process, starting with defining a beneficiation process to produce a concentrate specification. Following this, a cracking and purification process is finalized, which is time-consuming.

    This stage of development often takes between 5 to 8 years, especially when considering the separation phase, which is the most complex. To mitigate this lengthy process, miners are increasingly looking at halting their process at either the concentrate or carbonate stage. This approach allows them to commence production and generate revenue more quickly. Further downstream processing can then be pursued later, either through developing their own processes or via joint ventures.

    From a technical and risk perspective, attempting to mine, concentrate, crack, and separate all at the initial stage multiplies the risks exponentially. This approach is almost guaranteed to fail due to the complexity and challenges involved in each stage. Therefore, accessing technologies like Ucore’s RapidSX™ or collaborating with facilities like the one in Louisiana can significantly reduce these risks and development times. This strategy allows companies like Defense Metals to focus on their strengths while leveraging the advanced technologies and facilities of partners, potentially leading to more efficient and successful operations in the REE sector.

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