Ucore Rare Metals has contracted Ausenco Engineering Canada to complete a feasibility study of Ucore’s flagship Bokan-Dotson Ridge rare earths project on Prince of Wales Island at the southern end of the Alaskan panhandle.

“This is an important benchmark on the road to near-term production at Bokan,” Ucore President and CEO Jim McKenzie said. “Very few rare earth companies at a global level have achieved this level of advancement. The feasibility study is the final step in documentation prior to detailed engineering and commencement of construction. It is a key component in triggering construction financing through the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority as provided by Senate Bill 99, 2014.” 

The Bokan project was the subject of a preliminary economic assessment published in January 2013. Since then, Ucore has undertaken multiple field and desktop initiatives to assemble data required for the feasibility study.

Bulk samples totaling 40 mt were collected from the Bokan site and upgraded via XRT ore sorting at Tomra Ultrasort’s testing facility near Hamburg, Germany. The resultant upgraded material is being used for final laboratory testing and will be utilized as feedstock for a pilot plant.

Environmental studies designed to provide baseline data required for the permitting process have been under way since 2012. Engineering for permitting was recently completed and is now being incorporated in a plan of operations for the proposed mine site.

A diamond drill program totaling more than 4,000 m was completed in the summer of 2014. Assay results for that program will be incorporated into an updated resource model. Finalized resource calculations prepared by Aurora Geosciences of Juno, Alaska, are scheduled for completion during the first quarter of 2015 and will be utilized in the feasibility study.

Advanced Technologies of American Fork, Utah, has produced a 99.5% pure heavy rare earth concentrate from Bokan feedstock. Work to finalize the separation process is ongoing, with the objective of delivering individual high-purity rare earth oxides suitable for industrial and technology applications.