SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Bokan Field Project Underway


July 21, 2011

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska – The $8 million 2011 field program for the Bokan-Dotson Ridge rare earth element project in Southeast Alaska is now under way. Bokan Mountain is Alaska’s only prior uranium producing site which yielded some of the highest known grades within the United States.

Ucore Rare Metals Inc. announced Tuesday that exploration crews have been mobilized to Kendrick Bay, Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. A floating barge camp for crew accommodations has been established, with a capacity of 30 personnel. Fuel storage facilities are installed, and drill pads are constructed at the Dotson Zone. Diamond drill equipment has been transported from Ketchikan to Bokan Mountain by barge, and several holes have already been completed.

Ucore’s flagship property at Bokan Mountain is situated at the southern most part of the Alaskan panhandle, on the southern end of Prince of Wales Island. It is approximately 60 km or 37 miles southwest of Ketchikan and 130 km or 80 miles northwest of Prince Rupert.

The Bokan Mountain project covers 19 sq. miles and includes the former high grade Ross Adams Mine, which is Alaska’s only prior producing uranium mine. The Bokan project is situated within the Tongass National Forest. It is operated by the US Forest Service and has no indigenous or residential populations, resulting in secure mineral title for Ucore and no land claim issues according to Ucore.

The objective for the 2011 program is to expand upon the already existing NI-43-101 compliant Resource, while upgrading its status from Inferred to Indicated. The Company has commenced scoping work for a proposed subsurface adit to expand the understanding of the deposit at depth; extensive environmental testing which will continue over a minimum of the next 18 months; and desktop planning relative to the proposed construction of an active heavy rare earth mine and milling facility in proximity to Kendrick Bay.

"It's exciting to see our 2011 field program under way," said Jim McKenzie, President and CEO of Ucore. "With our Inferred resource in hand, our focus this year is on upgrading its designation under NI 43-101 regulations, while advancing our metallurgical work and pushing toward a Preliminary Economic Assessment as soon as possible. The value of Ucore's compliant heavy rare earth resource at Bokan, the largest in the United States, continues to increase steeply in real time, with dysprosium alone now approaching $3000/kg on indices compiled by Metal Pages."

"Our objective of permitting for production within 48 months has now gained the support of numerous state and federal lawmakers, as a means of creating a domestic solution to the American HREE supply crisis," continued McKenzie. "This is reflected in the ongoing support of the Alaska congressional delegation and steady progress on numerous pieces of legislation moving through Congress. In the coming weeks, Ucore expects to see committee mark-ups of both H.R. 2011, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Policy Act, and S.1113, the Critical Minerals Supply Chain Act (sponsored by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski)."

Ucore has retained Aurora Geosciences Alaska Ltd. of Juneau, Alaska, to oversee field operations and diamond drilling for 2011. The Company has retained the services of Collison Minecon Inc. of Vancouver, British Columbia for the purpose of early stage mine scoping and engineering work. Kent and Sullivan Inc. of Anchorage, Alaska and Amerikanuak Inc. of Juneau, Alaska, have been mutually engaged to initiate the collection of baseline environmental data required for the permitting of prospective mining operations, and to advise on federal and state level permitting issues on a go forward basis. Cathedral Rock Enterprises of Fairbanks, Alaska has been contracted for geological and exploration consultation work. Lyntek Inc. of Lakewood, Colorado has been retained to supervise bench and bulk scale metallurgical work, in cooperation with Hazen Research Inc. of Golden, Colorado. The mine engineering, environmental assessment and metallurgical work are anticipated to contribute to an NI 43-101 compliant Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA"), scheduled for completion within the year.

In 1989, a US Geological Survey estimated that the area hosts some 11+ million pounds of uranium as well as tantalum, niobium, and rare earth elements; identifying the Bokan Mountain property as one of the largest combined heavy and light rare earth deposits in North America (Reported by Warner and Barker (1989) for United States Department of the Interior, Bureau Of Mines. These figures and associated resource estimates are historic in nature, not compliant with National Instrument 43-101, and have not been reviewed by Ucore’s qualified persons. On this basis they cannot be relied upon as statements of mineral resources.

Since acquiring the Bokan Mountain property in 2007, Ucore has been working to confirm the USGS estimates and is investigating the possibility of an even larger resource, to be explored with modern exploration techniques. This, together with the extensive historical database and the USGS resource estimates, suggest that Bokan has excellent upside potential for discoveries of new uranium and rare earth deposits.

The Ross Adams mine operated for short periods between 1957 and 1971, initially as an open pit and later an underground mine. During this time, a total of 1.3 million pounds of U3O8 were produced, at an average grade of 0.76% from the Ross Adams zone, one of more than 30 uranium occurrences known at Bokan Mountain.




Edited by Mary Kauffman

Source of News: 

Ucore Rare Metals Inc.


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