Canadian Consulting Engineer

SRK and Hatch to study feasibility of rare earth project near Prince George, B.C.

August 2, 2023

The firms have agreed to Defense Metals' partition of responsibilities.

Wicheeda Project

Map courtesy Defense Metals.

Defense Metals, a member of Discovery Group, has engaged SRK Consulting and Hatch as principal consultants to complete a preliminary feasibility study of its Wicheeda rare earth element (REE) project near Prince George, B.C. (see map). The firms have agreed to a partition of responsibilities that allows each to focus on its strengths.

First, as one of four key consultants selected to facilitate the study, SRK will take the lead role as overall co-ordinator of the ensuing report, as well as handling the mining and tailings scope of work, with support from APEX Geoscience serving as exploration, geology and resource consultant. SRK was previously involved in an extensive scenario analysis evaluation in 2021 and a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) published in 2022.

The firm will now build on the knowledge gained in the earlier studies and improve on their analyses, to optimize a development plan for the Wicheeda project. SRK will focus on resource estimation, geotechnical engineering, mining engineering, tailings management and economic analysis. Added scope in the PFS includes risk assessment, surface water management, contact water treatment and environmental geochemistry.

Hatch, meanwhile, will focus on REE concentrating and hydrometallurgical processes and plant facilities, including both capital and operating costs. The firm will be responsible for process design for the plants and infrastructure for mining, tailings and other areas. One-eighty Consulting Group will provide support with environmental studies, permitting and social or community impact scope.

The 6,759-ha Wicheeda project, 100% owned by Defense Metals, is approximately 80 km northeast of Prince George. The site is accessible by all-weather gravel roads and is near hydroelectric power transmission lines, gas pipelines, the Canadian National Railway (CNR) and major highways for transportation of goods to Prince Rupert, B.C., the closest major North American port to Asia.


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