Quest Rare Minerals (TSE:QRM) (AMEX:QRM) Tuesday released a summary of what it called "extremely encouraging" metallurgical test results of its Strange Lake B-Zone deposit in northeastern Quebec.
The Strange Lake property, located 220 kilometres northeast of Schefferville and 125 kilometres west of the Voisey Bay Nickel-Copper-Cobalt Mine, covers an area of 54,000 hectares.
The company said that significant improvements in metal extraction have been achieved at Hazen Research, of Golden, Colorado.
Quest reported that acid consumptions of approximately 200 kilograms
per tonne (kg/t) are being achieved with rare earth elements (REE)
dissolutions in the 90 to 96 percent range, niobium dissolutions in the
93 to 96 percent range, and zirconium dissolutions in the 85 to 93
Bench scale work has shown “excellent reproducibility”, and most operating variables have been established, said the company.
Flow sheets, developed by Process Research Ortech Inc., achieved the separation of zirconium, niobium, Uranium
and thorium, and REE concentrate, and bench scale work has confirmed
these flow sheets to the extent that a zirconium hydroxide product and a
REE+Y oxalate product have been produced, Quest noted.
and thorium have also been successfully extracted from the circuit with
the intention of producing an environmentally-stable discharge product,
said the company.
In addition, significant work has been carried out on niobium and
titanium separation, and Quest expects that this separation will be
resolved next month.
"The metallurgical test results from the Strange Lake B-Zone are extremely encouraging," said president and CEO Peter J. Cashin.
"The relatively simple flow sheet has demonstrated recoveries
significantly higher than those achieved in previous test work for
Strange Lake, and also higher relative to our peers in the rare earth
The company said that extensive testing of the thermal process has
resulted in extraction without the use of sodium hydroxide or extreme
Quest said test work has been performed on a number of metallurgical
samples, including a composite sample that represents the first 10 years
of mine life.
Looking ahead, the company said that mini-pilot plant testing to
confirm individual product flow sheets established from bench scale
testing is scheduled to begin in September this year.
The results of these pilot programs will be used to finalize the flow
sheet for the full scale pilot plant, expected to be operational in the
first quarter of 2013.
The separations facility will not be part of Quest’s pre-feasibility study, expected in the second half of 2012.
The company is currently advancing the Strange Lake and Misery Lake areas of northeastern Quebec.
The B-Zone deposit at Strange Lake is one of the largest heavy rare
earth resources in the world and is exposed at surface and amenable to a
low-cost open pit mine. It has the potential to provide a long-term,
stable supply of separated and refined heavy rare earths.
In April 2010, an NI 43-101 preliminary resource estimate of the B
Zone completed by Wardrop Engineering indicated that at a 0.95 percent
total rare earth oxides (TREO) base-case cut-off grade, the B Zone
contains an indicated resource of 36.4 million tonnes grading 1.16
percent TREO, 2.17 percent zirconium oxide, 0.24 percent niobium
pentoxide, 0.05 percent hafnium oxide and 0.12 percent beryllium oxide.
This resource calculation showed the heavy rare earth oxide-rich
nature of the B Zone, representing between 40 and 51 percent of the TREO
in the deposit.
Rare earths are group elements critical in the development of clean
energy technologies including electronics, hybrid vehicles, permanent
magnets, green energy platforms and advanced technologies for national
Earlier this year, Quest released definition drill results from the
B-Zone, which returned multiple, high grade intersections of between
1.12 and 6.11 percent TREO, over thicknesses of 2.34 to 147.0 metres,
the company said.
The higher in value heavy rare earth oxide (HREO) represented between
22.4 and 76.5 percent of the TREO content intersected in this drilling.
Among the best holes of the infill program, BZ-11-218 hit 1.44
percent TREO over 144.4 metres, and hole BZ-11-189 returned 1.23 percent
TREO over 116.1 metres, including 3.04 percent TREO over 11.7 metres
and 4.9 percent TREO over 4.9 metres.
In another announcement, the company has appointed Colin Lindsay as VP of operations, effective today.