Ucore adds 6 critical metals to Bokan REEs

North of 60 Mining News – October 18, 2019


Last updated 9/26/2020 at 10:58am

Ucore Rare Metals Inc.

Bokan Mountain, the site of Ucore Rare Metals' critical metals deposit on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska, looms above the American flag flying over Kendrick Bay.

Ucore Rare Metals Inc. Oct. 15 announced that 38,500 metric tons of critical minerals have been added to the resource for its Bokan Dotson-Ridge rare earth project in Southeast Alaska. The new metals added as co-products to the REEs already defined at Bokan include niobium, zirconium, beryllium, hafnium, titanium and vanadium.

Using a cut-off grade of 0.4 percent for the rare earths, the Bokan deposit hosts 4.79 million metric tons of indicated resource averaging 460 parts per million (2,205 metric tons) niobium; 1,880 ppm (9,001 metric tons) zirconium; 48 ppm (231 metric tons) beryllium; 37 ppm (178 metric tons) hafnium; 0.37 percent (17,715 metric tons) titanium dioxide; 97 ppm (464 metric tons) vanadium; and 0.6 percent (31,722 metric tons) total rare earth oxides.

At the same cut-off grade, this deposit also hosts 1.05 metric tons of inferred resource averaging 470 ppm (493 metric tons) niobium; 1,897 ppm (1,992 metric tons) zirconium; 46 ppm (48 metric tons) beryllium; 35 ppm (37 metric tons) hafnium; 0.44 percent (4,652 metric tons) titanium dioxide; 112 ppm (118 metric tons) vanadium; and 0.6 percent (6,979 metric tons) total rare earth oxides.

The rare earth resources – 14 lanthanide minerals plus yttrium and scandium – are based on calculations completed in 2015.

"We're pleased to announce this important resource upgrade as Ucore continues its development of the Bokan project towards shovel ready status," said Ucore Rare Metals President and CEO Jim McKenzie. "The completion of these initial studies continues to add momentum towards our ultimate goal of installing Bokan's unique surface and underground mine facility, and the construction of the planned Alaska Strategic Metals Complex (the Alaska SMC) in Ketchikan, Alaska, as defined in our M3 plan of action."

An acronym for mines, metals and markets, Ucore's M3 plan involves three initiatives: advancing Bokan-Dotson Ridge to shovel-ready status; developing an associated facility to separate the critical metals found; and developing and cultivating a North American market for these rare earths and co-product metals.

Ucore intends to utilize the data to update the incremental costs associated with extracting the niobium, zirconium, beryllium, hafnium, titanium and vanadium as co-products to the 16 rare earths considered in a 2013 preliminary economic assessment for developing a mine at Bokan Mountain.

United States Geological Survey

The United States was greater than 75 percent import-reliant for 34 mineral commodities during 2018, when considering the 15 rare earth elements as one commodity. The Bokan Mountain deposit hosts six of these – niobium, rare earths, yttrium, scandium, vanadium and titanium.

Though the overall grade of the rare earths found at Bokan is not particularly high, roughly 40 percent of the REEs fall in the heavy category, which tend to be in higher demand and more expensive. When you add in the other metals now quantified, this project shows the potential to be a vital U.S. source of critical minerals.

"Not only are these ancillary metals valuable augmenting components of the Bokan resource, they're among a select group of metals now earmarked by the U.S. government as critically required by domestic growth industries," said Ucore Rare Metals Mike Schrider. "This resource update now permits us to proceed with calculations affecting the value-added economics of the Bokan project."

"These metals, combined with Bokan's already impressive basket of critical HREEs, make for an even more compelling strategic asset on U.S. soil," he added.



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