Avalon's Nechalacho Project Feasibility Study on Track for Completion in Q2 2013
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 01/29/13 -- Avalon Rare Metals
Inc. (TSX:AVL)(NYSE MKT:AVL)(NYSE Amex:AVL) ("Avalon" or the
"Company") is pleased to provide a progress report on the Company's
Feasibility Study and related work on the Nechalacho Rare Earth
Elements Project at Thor Lake, NWT (the "Project").
The Feasibility Study ("FS") for the Project, including the
operations at Thor Lake and Pine Point, NWT and Geismar Louisiana
remains on schedule for completion in Q2 2013. The following key
elements of the FS have been completed:
Environmental Baseline work at Nechalacho and Pine Point;
Underground Mine plan and development schedule;
Paste Backfill Plant;
Nechalacho Flotation Plant designs; and
Geismar Separation Plant designs.
Capital and Operating cost estimates are largely complete for those
components of the Project where engineering design work is finished.
Design criteria for the Pine Point Hydrometallurgical plant have been
prepared and design work is now advancing on schedule.
Avalon continues its efforts to secure product off-take agreements
and in this regard, the Company is pleased to announce the signing of
a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with an Asian company for the
sale of its Enriched Zircon Concentrate ("EZC") product. The EZC
contains most of the zirconium, tantalum, niobium recovered and
approximately 15-20% of the rare earths. Samples of the EZC were
initially sent to this prospective customer in August 2012 and
successful processing tests led to the signing of this MOU in January
2013. The revenue from the EZC is expected to represent a significant
percentage of the total revenue from the project. Negotiations for
off-take agreements for the sale of separated rare earth oxides and
carbonates are progressing.
The Hydrometallurgical plant testwork program is virtually complete
except for some minor impurity removal and kiln optimisation
investigations. Mintek SA in Johannesburg, RSA is in the process of
optimising final impurity removal processes ahead of completing a
mini pilot plant campaign for the rare earth separation and refining
operations. Process optimisation testwork for the flotation plant
continues as opportunities to improve flotation performance are
investigated. Various alternative reagent combinations will continue
to be evaluated in an effort to reduce reagent consumption and
Definition Drilling and Resource Estimates
A brief definition drilling program is planned to commence on
February 5th. The objective of this program is to complete additional
in-fill drilling near the planned underground crusher location,
within stopes designed to be mined in the first few years of mine
life. The program is anticipated to be completed by mid-March, with
an updated resource estimate expected by mid-June. This program will
also provide additional sample material from the Basal Zone for
on-going process optimization.
Sustainability, Aboriginal Engagement and Permitting
Preparation of the 2012 Sustainability Report is underway and
scheduled for completion in Q2 2013. Avalon has contracted with an
independent third party to provide an assessment of its
sustainability performance, identify the most relevant sustainability
issues and provide an assessment of its performance in these areas.
Initial findings indicate that Avalon's Sustainability performance is
strong relative to its peers.
An accommodation agreement has been negotiated with the Lutsel K'e
Dene First Nation, which now awaits formal ratification from the
community, while negotiations with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation
The environmental assessment process is proceeding as anticipated
following the August 2012 Technical Sessions held in Yellowknife.
Updated technical reports were submitted on November 30, 2012 and
Avalon provided responses to several items in a submission to the
Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board ("MVEIRB") on
December 19, 2012. Public hearings are scheduled for Yellowknife and
Fort Resolution between February 18-26, 2013 and closure of MVEIRB's
public record is scheduled for March 21, 2013.
The qualified person for the purpose of this news release is Donald
Bubar, P.Geo. (Ont), President.
About Avalon Rare Metals Inc.
Avalon Rare Metals Inc. is a mineral development company focused on
rare metals deposits in Canada. Its flagship project, the 100%-owned
Nechalacho Deposit, Thor Lake, NWT, is emerging as one of the largest
undeveloped rare earth elements resources in the world. Its
exceptional enrichment in the more valuable 'heavy' rare earth
elements, which are key to enabling advances in green energy
technology and other growing high-tech applications, is one of the
few potential sources of these critical elements outside of China,
currently the source of 95% of world supply. Avalon is well funded,
has no debt and its work programs are progressing steadily. Social
responsibility and environmental stewardship are corporate
Shares Outstanding: 103,621,986. Cash resources: approximately $20
million. To find out more about Avalon Rare Metals Inc., please visit
our website at www.avalonraremetals.com.
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the
meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities legislation. Generally,
these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of
forward-looking terminology such as "scheduled", "anticipates",
"expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "scheduled",
"targeted", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or
state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could",
"would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved".
Forward-looking statements contained herein include, without
limitation the expected timing for the completion of the Nechalacho
feasibility study; anticipated higher operating costs based on
preliminary estimates; and the expectation that the mine plan design
will maximize the exploitation of higher grade resources in the early
years of mining. Forward-looking statements are subject to known and
unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the
actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of
Avalon to be materially different from those expressed or implied by
such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based
on assumptions management believes to be reasonable at the time such
statements are made. Although Avalon has attempted to identify
important factors that could cause actual results to differ
materially from those contained in forward-looking statements, there
may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated,
estimated or intended. Factors that may cause actual results to
differ materially from expected results described in forward-looking
statements include, but are not limited to: Avalon's ability to
secure sufficient capital to implement its business plans, Avalon's
ability to complete its FS within the timeframe anticipated; the
final results on which the FS will be based on; uncertainties
associated with Avalon's resource and reserve estimates;
uncertainties regarding global supply and demand for rare earth
materials; the results and estimates set out in the separation plant
prefeasibility study proving to be inaccurate; and uncertainties
associated with unanticipated geological conditions related to
mining. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to
be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ
materially from those anticipated in such statements. Such
forward-looking statements have been provided for the purpose of
assisting investors in understanding the Company's plans may not be
appropriate for other purposes. Accordingly, readers should not place
undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Avalon does not
undertake to update any forward-looking statements that are contained
herein, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
Avalon Rare Metals Inc.
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