TSX-V: RES & AMEX: REE
Rare Element Resources Ltd. (TSX-V: RES) (NYSE Amex: REE)
is pleased to report a summary of results from its 2010 rare earth element (REE) exploration program and an outline of plans for the 2011 program at the Bear Lodge property in northeastern
(Figure 1). The 2010 REE exploration program included a total of 42,409 feet of core in 63 drill holes for resource definition and exploration purposes, and 3,844 feet of large diameter core for bulk sample material dedicated to a pilot plant test scheduled for the third quarter of 2011. The REE drilling program was augmented by geological mapping, geophysical surveys, soil and rock chip geochemical surveys, and additional bulk sampling of near-surface mineralized material.
Rare Element's independent resource estimation consultant is currently compiling the 2010 drilling results, and the updated resource estimate should be reported during the second quarter of 2011. The Company expects that the overall resource will increase in size, and that a substantial portion of the oxide resource will be upgraded to the "indicated" and, possibly, "measured" categories. Rare Element Resources' exploration and evaluation plans for the Bear Lodge project in 2011 include:
- Additional resource definition drilling to expand and upgrade the resources at the Bull Hill SW and Bull Hill NW deposits
- Exploration and resource definition drilling at the Whitetail Ridge prospect.
- Exploration drilling at the Bull Hill West, Carbon South, and other prospective REE targets identified during the 2010 exploration program.
- Geological mapping, geochemical sampling, and geophysical surveys over selected areas in order to better delineate current target areas and identify new targets for economic REE mineralization.
- Collection of additional bulk sample mineralized material for the pilot plant testing from a second large diameter core drilling program in select, well-mineralized areas, along with additional sampling of mineralized surface exposures in road cuts, trenches, and drill sites.
- A condemnation drilling program to ensure that the proposed low-grade stockpile and waste facility will not cover ground that is prospective for REE and/or gold mineralization.
- Environmental baseline and geotechnical studies directed toward ultimate mine development.
- Continued metallurgical testing of oxide zone mineralized material for optimization of mineral concentration and chemical concentration processes.
- Pilot plant metallurgical testing on bulk sample material collected in 2010 to produce a potentially saleable rare earth carbonate concentrate.
- Continuation of metallurgical testing on the transitional mineralized material. [***Note: I don't think the transitional material testing actually started until 2011.]
- Completion of a Preliminary Feasibility Study by the end of the fourth quarter of 2011.
, Vice President of Exploration states: "The 2010 exploration and drilling program was tremendously successful, and the Company expects this success to propagate into 2011. In addition to expanding the resources and upgrading the resource category, our work in 2010 identified new prospective areas and improved tremendously our understanding of the deposit. Our developing deposit model should enhance our exploration and resource definition work in 2011. The Company is excited about the follow-up drilling on the Whitetail Ridge target, which could increase significantly the global deposit resource. We anticipate the achievement of several key milestones during 2011 on the road to production, including the pilot plant test work and a preliminary feasibility study. Our exploration team is gearing up for a great year!"
Figure 1. Location of the Bear Lodge project in northeastern Wyoming, near the town of Sundance. -
Results from the 2010 REE Resource Definition and Exploration Drill Program
Details of the resource definition and exploration drilling programs were reported previously in news releases dated
15 September 2010
9 November 2010
10 January 2011
7 February 2011
6 April 2011
. Details of the bulk sample drilling were reported in a news release dated
12 October 2010
. The objectives of the 2010 REE drill program were: 1) to upgrade a significant part of the resource from inferred to measured and indicated; 2) expand current resources at the Bull Hill Southwest and Bull Hill Northwest areas; 3) conduct initial drill exploration at the Whitetail Ridge target area; and 4) identify other prospective areas for potentially economic REE mineralization. An NI 43-101-compliant, inferred resource estimate for the Bull Hill SW and Bull Hill NW resource areas, based on drilling by the Company through 2009, was completed in
and reported in a news release dated
26 May 2010
. Locations of the holes drilled during the Company's 2010 REE exploration and resource definition program are shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2. Bear Lodge Project—2010 drill hole locations. -
The REE deposits in the Bear Lodge Mountains of northeastern
occur within a large alkaline igneous complex that domes overlying older sedimentary rocks. The deposits are spatially associated with several diatreme breccias that are distributed along a northwesterly alignment (Figure 3). The REE mineralization is hosted in intrusive dikes, veins, and stockwork bodies of carbonatite and its near-surface oxidized equivalents (FMR). FMR refers to the major constituents of the highly oxidized, former carbonatite dikes that occur in the depth range between the surface and 300-500 feet (91-152 meters) beneath the surface. These include iron oxides (F for FeOx), manganese oxides (M for MnOx), and rare earth minerals (R for REE minerals). Stockwork refers to a complex system of sub parallel to randomly oriented veins. The FMR bodies contain little or no groundmass calcite. A zone of variably oxidized carbonatite with minor to significant groundmass calcite and with zero to relatively minor unoxidized sulfide is termed
. The transitional carbonatite exhibits significant variability with regard to proportions of groundmass calcite, iron and manganese oxides, and relict sulfide, and the Company is undertaking studies to further classify the unit and determine the sub-type or types most amenable to the current metallurgical flowsheet. The transition zone has uneven thickness and occurs beneath the FMR zone and above the deeper zone of
. The mineralized bodies invade heterolithic intrusive breccia of the Bull Hill diatreme, as well as trachytic and phonolitic intrusive rocks.
Figure 3. The diatreme breccias are distributed along a northwesterly alignment. The breccias are spatially associated with the REE-mineralized bodies -
REE assay values are reported by convention as the combined oxide equivalents (REO) of the fifteen elements in the lanthanide series + yttrium. The oxide equivalents are approximately 15.6% higher than the combined metal assay values. The Bear Lodge project contains predominantly the "light" REE (lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, and neodymium), and economically important quantities of several of the "heavy" REEs (europium, dysprosium, and terbium).