Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell has signed legislation authorizing the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) to provide financing to Ucore Rare Metals’ Bokan-Dotson Ridge underground, rare earths elements project on Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska. The legislation authorizes the AIDEA to issue bonds to finance the infrastructure and construction costs of the Bokan-Dotson Ridge project up to a principal amount of $145 million, subject to its own internal due diligence and board approval.

Ucore completed a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of the Bokan-Dotson Ridge project in January 2013 and expects to complete a feasibility study in the first half of 2015. Current planning calls for adit access and underground mining at a rate of 1,500 mt/d, using trackless equipment and longhole stoping with paste backfill.

The PEA considered the following major processing circuits and their nominal processing rates: primary crushing (1,500 mt/d); secondary crushing (1,500 mt/d); screening to remove the minus-1/4-in. fraction; X-ray mineralized material sorting (1,125 mt/d); tertiary crushing (750 mt/d); rod mill grinding (750 mt/d); magnetic separation (750 mt/d); tower mill re-grinding (375 mt/d); leaching (375 mt/d); and solid phase extraction (9.2 mt/d).

Initial capital to develop the project is estimated at $221 million.

The Bokan-Dotson Ridge project’s production of rare earth oxides is forecast to average 2,250 mt/y during the first five years of full production, including 95 mt of dysprosium oxide, 14 mt of terbium oxide and 515 mt of yttrium oxide. Mine life is estimated at 11 years based on an April 2011 resource estimate.

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