MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Sept. 11, 2012) - Matamec Explorations Inc. ("Matamec" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:MAT) (OTCQX:MHREF) and Toyotsu Rare Earth Canada, Inc. ("TRECan") are pleased to announce the completion of both the mineral processing and hydrometallurgical pilot plants for their flagship Kipawa HREE Deposit project.
PRESS RELEASE HIGHLIGHTS
- The developed Kipawa processing flowsheet has been validated in an independent laboratory, SGS Minerals Services, from ore to the production of a bulk rare earth product;
- Mineral Processing pilot plant successfully produced an up-graded mineral concentrate, recovering on average 77%, but as high as 84% of the contained RE in only 41% of the mass (best daily RE recovery).
- Hydrometallurgical pilot plant achieved a critical HREE extraction of over 90%, and produced a bulk rare earth product;
- The purity of the bulk rare earth product is evaluated with the stringent specification provided by TRECan. This allows the metallurgy team to streamline further laboratory testing, in order to meet the product requirements acceptable by downstream refineries;
- Ore samples representing all the different regions of the Kipawa deposit are being collected and tested in our flowsheet, to provide additional validation and to generate engineering design data for Feasibility study.
The mineral processing pilot plant for Kipawa was completed at SGS Minerals Services (Lakefield site) in late Q2 2012. The plant consisted of crushing and grinding circuits, followed by 2 stages of wet magnetic separation. The 15 tonne bulk sample that was progressively treated in the process validated the Kipawa flowsheet on a large scale. Approximately 5 tonnes of mineral concentrate were generated from the pilot plant, with an average RE recovery of 77% in 41% of the mass over the entire span of the operations. Daily pilot results showed best RE recovery at 84% in 41% of the mass. The rare earth mineral concentrate then became the feed into the hydrometallurgical pilot plant.
The hydrometallurgical pilot plant was operated continuously for two 5-day periods in early Q3 2012 at SGS. Beginning with room-temperature acid leach, the hydrometallurgical pilot plant also included solid-liquid separation, stages of impurities removal, and ultimately a rare earth precipitation to generate bulk RE precipitates as product.
The successful operations and production of the bulk RE product validated the uniquely simple and low-cost Kipawa treatment flowsheet in a continuous environment. The chemistry and recovery confirmed the results of our batch laboratory tests, with critical HREE extraction at over 90%.
The purity of the bulk RE precipitates generated from the pilot plant is now being compared to the end-user specification provided by TRECan. The end-user specification tightly limits the level of certain impurities in order to arrive at a high purity RE product acceptable by downstream refineries. As expected, in spite of removing over 99% of many impurities in our pilot plant, some final purification of the bulk RE precipitates is required for meeting the specification. With sufficient amount of the RE precipitates now in-hand, final purification work using typical industry methods will be carried out at SGS with the supports from EHA Engineering, TRECan, and their network of experts in the coming months.
Further validation work has already commenced on the Kipawa flowsheet. Additional composites and variability samples collected from different regions of our deposit are being compiled, and will be treated in the Kipawa mineral processing and hydrometallurgical processes. These results will provide valuable confirmation, optimisation data, and engineering design parameters for our on-going Feasibility study.
"The Kipawa deposit has been benefited greatly by its simplicity in metallurgy, as formally showcased in our two successful pilot plant operations." says André Gauthier, the president of Matamec, "Now with the specification of RE product from TTC and their assistance, we have a clear vision and focused attention to generate a high purity RE product acceptable by downstream refineries. This gives us a further advantage to accelerate our metallurgical progress ahead."
Bertho Caron, V-P Project Development & Construction (Eng.) and Paul Blatter, Director of Metallurgy (Eng.) are Matamec's Qualified Person for this press release.
Matamec Explorations Inc is a junior mining exploration company whose main focus is in developing the Kipawa deposit with Toyotsu Rare Earth Canada, Inc. ("TRECan"). Following the positive conclusion of the PEA study filed on SEDAR in March 2012 and the hiring of a V-P Project development and Construction, Matamec and TRECan decided to move directly to the feasibility study. The March 2012 press release highlighted that the project has robust economics such as: $606 million before-tax value (NPV8%), a 36.9% before-tax IRR, a potential $2.8 billion revenue, $1.67 billion EBITDA, a before-tax payback period of 2.4 years, etc. (see press release dated January 30, 2012).
In parallel, the Company is exploring more than 35km of strike length in the Kipawa Alkalic Complex for rare earths-yttrium-zirconium-niobium-tantalum mineralization on its Zeus property.
The Company is also exploring for gold, base metals and platinum group metals. Its gold portfolio includes the Matheson JV property located along strike and in close proximity to the Hoyle Pond Mine in the prolific mining camp of Timmins, Ontario.
In Quebec, the Company is exploring for lithium and tantalum on its Tansim property and for precious and base metals on its Sakami, Valmont and Vulcain properties. As well, it is exploring for gold together with Northern Superior Resources Inc. on the Lesperance/Wachigabau property.
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