Thursday, 3 May 2012

Quantum Rare Earth files updated resource for Elk Creek niobium deposit

Quantum Rare Earth Developments Corp. (CVE:QRE) (OTCQX:QREDF) said Thursday that it has filed its updated NI 43-101 resource report on its Elk Creek niobium-rare earth element project in southeastern Nebraska.

Last month, the company released an updated NI 43-101 compliant estimate for the project, which was prepared by Tetra Tech Wardrop, adding an indicated resource.

The new report added a higher grade indicated resource of 19.3 million tonnes grading 0.67% niobium (Nb2O5), at a 0.4% niobium cut-off grade, for 129,182 contained niobium oxide tonnes.

Meanwhile, inferred resources increased from 80.1 million tonnes grading 0.62% niobium in the last estimate in April 2011 to 83.3 million tonnes grading 0.63% niobium for 523,844 tonnes of contained niobium oxide.

The company said the report specifically deals with the core niobium zone, and does not reflect results of any of the rare earth element zones also located on the property.

The NI 43-101 resource will be available on SEDAR and on the company's website shortly, Quantum said.

The resource update was the result of an additional three holes completed by the company at the Elk Creek niobium deposit in 2011.

The Elk Creek niobium deposit is an elongate, approximately east-west orientated mineral occurrence, in excess of 800 metres along strike.

The deposit remains open to the east, west and at depth, and is  hosted by the Elk Creek Carbonatite, which is an intrusive complex of carbonatite and related rocks.

The property was held under an option agreement during the 1970s and 1980s by Molycorp Inc., at which time considerable exploration took place.

The Elk Creek Carbonatite is the only primary niobium deposit known to be under development in the U.S., and the highest grade undeveloped niobium deposit in North America, said Quantum. It is an oval shaped magnetic and gravity anomaly about seven kilometres in diameter.

Niobium is mainly used in the form of ferro-niobium to produce HSLA (High Strength, Low Alloy) steel for use in automotive, structural and pipeline industries.  The market for ferro-niobium has grown an average of 10% per year for the past decade, and is forecast to continue that growth pattern in the coming years.

Currently, the U.S. imports 100 percent of its niobium needs. Niobium, which is listed as a strategic metal, is being considered for national stockpiling not only in the U.S., but also in China and several European countries.

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