Wealth Minerals Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:WML)(FRANKFURT:EJZ) has announced that it has acquired an additional ~6,000 hectares of ground with good to excellent rare earth exploration potential, surrounding and subjacent to, the Company's Rodeo de los Molles rare earth deposit, the largest undeveloped Rare Earth Element project in South America with an historical resource of 5.6Mt at 2.1% total rare element oxide.
"Following China's recently announced REE export quota cutback, the second cut in concurrent years, we are extremely pleased to have secured a large, unexplored land package in a region that is known to host very significant rare earth element concentrations," stated Henk van Alphen, Wealth's President and CEO. "Our expert technical team believes the district has excellent potential to host additional discoveries and we are very confident that the aggressive exploration program currently underway on the Rodeo deposit will result in the discovery of a rare earth element resource going forward."
RODEO DE LOS MOLLES REE DEPOSIT
REE mineralization at the Rodeo deposit has only been tested to very shallow depths of approximately 35 to 50 vertical metres. The mineralization discovered to date remains open for expansion in all directions, including at depth. Previous metallurgical testwork suggests a relatively straight-forward metallurgical process for the deposit type similar to the formerly producing (bastnasite-hosted) Mountain Pass REE deposit in California, which contains total proven reserves of 88.0 million pounds of rare earth oxide and which produced most of the world's REE's from 1965 to 1985 (source - Molycorp, Inc.).
Initial results from an on-going campaign of extensive surface sampling, mapping and preliminary metallurgical investigations (Phase I), which began in late 2010, are anticipated imminently. The Company will commence Phase II of its aggressive exploration program upon completion of the detailed surface work, the aim of which is to increase the known mineralization and define a NI 43-101 compliant resource. The field portion of Phase II will begin with approximately 1,000 metres of diamond drilling and include additional mapping, sampling, and prospecting and metallurgical work. The program is expected to cost approximately $450,000 and take approximately two months to complete beginning on or about March 1st, 2011. The Company has the funds to complete the program.
The historical geologic resource estimate for Rodeo was prepared in 1992 (including metallurgical testwork) and is based on approximately 6,000 metres of RAB drilling. This historical resource estimate is considered relevant by the Company given the global concerns regarding secure future supplies of REEs and for the purposes of the Company's decision to acquire the property and to guide the Company in formulating an exploration program for the property. However, the Company cautions that the resource estimate was prepared before the introduction of NI 43-101, and is therefore historical in nature and the Company is not treating such resource as a current resource under NI 43-101. Investors are further cautioned that a qualified person has not yet completed sufficient work to be able to verify the historical resource, and therefore they should not be relied upon.
Wealth has entered into a purchase agreement with Uranio del Sur S.A. (Uranio) whereby Wealth will acquire a 100% interest in both the 3,928 hectare 'Sean 15' cateo (exploration concession), which completely surrounds the Company's existing Rodeo properties, and the 2,000 hectare 'Rocio 15' cateo, located approximately 10 kilometres to the northwest of the Company's existing Rodeo deposit in San Luis Province, Argentina. The Sean 15 and Rocio 15 cateos are predominantly underlain by the same strongly altered igneous rocks of the Las Chacras Coloradas igneous complex that host the rare earth element mineralization on the Company's existing Rodeo properties.
Under the terms of the purchase agreement dated December 17, 2010, Wealth can acquire a 100% interest in the 'Sean 15' and 'Rocio 15' cateos, with no underlying royalties, by paying Uranio USD 15,000, as to USD 7,500 on the signature of the purchase agreement (paid) and the balance upon the registration, in the name of Madero Minerals, S.A. (Wealth's Argentinean subsidiary), of the minas to be applied for by Uranio in respect of the Sean 15 and Rocio 15 cateos.
RARE EARTH ELEMENTS
Sometimes called the "clean energy", "tech" or "green" metals, the unique physical, chemical and light-emitting properties of the rare earths make them indispensable in modern technologies such as magnets, hybrid cars, wind turbines, computers, cell phones and aircraft. The price of rare earth products has increased significantly over the past three years due to increased demand and tightening supplies.
The rare earth element (REE) group is considered to include the 15 lanthanide elements: lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), praseodymium (Pm), promethium (Pr) (does not occur naturally), neodymium (Nd), samarium (Sm), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), terbium (Tb), dysprosium (Dy), holmium (Ho), erbium (Er), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb), and lutetium (Lu). The element yttrium (Y) is also included as it has similar chemical properties. Total rare earth oxides (TREO) refers to the 15 rare earth elements lanthanum to lutetium plus yttrium expressed as oxides. Heavy rare earth oxides (HREO) refers to the total of yttrium plus europium to lutetium, as oxides, as a percentage of TREO.
REE deposits tend to occur in two sub-groups:
- Light rare earth element (LREE) enriched deposits which include La, Ce, Pr, Nd and Sm.
- Heavy rare earth element (HREE) enriched deposits which include Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, Lu, and Y.
Qualified Person & QA/QC Controls
R. Scott Heffernan, M.Sc., P.Geol., Wealth's Vice-President, Exploration, and a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has supervised the preparation of the scientific and technical information that forms the basis for this news release. Mr. Heffernan is not independent of Wealth by virtue of being an officer and shareholder and a holder of incentive stock options.
Wealth's activities to date at Rodeo have been supervised by R. Scott Heffernan, P.Geol., Wealth's Vice-President, Exploration, who is responsible for all aspects of the work, including the quality control/quality assurance program. On-site personnel at the project rigorously collect and track samples which are then sealed and shipped to the Activation Laboratorios Ltda. laboratory facilities in Coquimbo, Chile for preparation and then forwarded to Activation Laboratories Ltd. ("Actlabs") of Ancaster, Ontario for geochemical analysis by '8-REE Assay Package by Fusion ICP & ICP/MS'. Actlabs' Quality System is accredited to international quality standards through the International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Comission (ISO/IEC) 17025. Analytical accuracy and precision are monitored by the analysis of reagent blanks, reference material and replicate samples. Quality control is further assured by the use of international and in-house standards.
Laboratory results are received in parts per million uranium. The conversion factor used to convert parts per million uranium to pounds per short ton U3O8 is 1.179, which was verified with the Saskatchewan Research Council (ppm uranium x 1.179 = ppm U308; 10,000 ppm uranium = 1% = 20 lbs/ton uranium).
Source: Wealth Minerals Ltd.