Matamec Explorations Inc.

Matamec Explorations Inc.

August 22, 2011 08:00 ET

Matamec Emphasizes Low Cost Metallurgy

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Aug. 22, 2011) - Matamec Explorations Inc. ("Matamec" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:MAT) has assessed the economic advantage related to the treatment of its Kipawa ore. Matamec's current optimized process (July 21, 2011) is shown to potentially reduce the cost of the sulphuric acid and limestone needed by over 90% and completely eliminates the cost of heating in the leaching step as compared to its earlier treatment process (Oct 18, 2010). The substantial reduction in cost demonstrates Matamec's success in developing a simple and low-cost process for recovering valuable rare earths from its coarse-grained Eudialyte ore. The table below compares the standard treatment process for silicate REE bearing minerals to Matamec's current optimized process:

Standard Treatment Process for silicate REE bearing minerals =
Matamec's Earlier Metallurgical Treatment Process
(October 18, 2010)
Matamec's Current Metallurgical Treatment Process
(July 21, 2011)
No Concentration Magnetic Concentration
35% of original ore mass
Acid Bake Acid Bake
Acid: 600 kg acid /t ore No Bake Required
Temperature: 150 ºC
Time 4 hours
Leaching Leaching
Acid: no Acid: 150 kg acid /t concentrate
Temperature: 90 ºC Temperature: 25 ºC
Time 1.5 hour Time 2 hours
Neutralization Neutralization
Limestone Limestone

Matamec began its search for a feasible metallurgical process in March 2010 at SGS Minerals Services, supervised by Les Heymann, P.Eng. The standard baking and leaching method, which is a commonly employed technique for solubilizing REE bearing silicate minerals, was used at that time (October 18, 2010). Matamec's earlier treatment process included an acid baking step on the whole-ore, using 600 kg/t of acid at 150 ºC for 4 hours. Realizing the high costs associated with the high acid dosage and temperature, Matamec started to optimize the treatment process with two goals in mind: 1) to use physical techniques to produce a pre-concentrate, and 2) to reduce the total acid consumption. In the past 10 months, Matamec has succeeded in reaching both of these goals. It has led to a drastic simplification of the treatment process, which in turn improves the economics of the Kipawa project both in operating costs and capital expense.

One of the key achievements of Matamec's metallurgical process is the success of its physical concentration step. The ability to concentrate rare earths into 35% of the original ore mass, while rejecting the remaining 65% as waste, results in significant savings in reagent dosages. In combination with the significant reduction in acid dosage from 600 kg/t of ore down to 150 kg/t of concentrate, the sulphuric acid cost is potentially reduced by over 90%. The cost of limestone, which is used for neutralization, is also similarly reduced by over 90%.

Matamec's proprietary leaching process replaces the energy-intensive acid baking step with a direct room-temperature leach, and the heating cost is completely eliminated.

André Gauthier, the president of Matamec, says, "The substantial savings now shown in the operating costs for the metallurgical treatment process emphasizes the exceptional achievement of Matamec in the past ten months. The unique nature of the eudialyte from the Kipawa Deposit makes it relatively easy to extract the rare earths and gives Matamec an advantage as it moves towards production."

A feasibility study has not been completed for the Kipawa deposit, and the above is not meant to imply that economic viability has been confirmed for the project. The completion of the preliminary economic assessment study is projected for the beginning of Q4. Aline Leclerc, V-P Exploration (Geo.) and Eliza Ngai (P.Eng) are Matamec's Qualified Person for this press release.

About Matamec

Matamec Explorations Inc is a junior mining exploration company whose main focus is in developing the Kipawa deposit and exploring more than 35km of strike length in the Kipawa Alkalic Complex for rare earths-yttrium-zirconium-niobium-tantalum mineralization on its Zeus property.

The company is also exploring for gold, base metals and platinum group metals. Its gold portfolio includes the Matheson JV property located along strike and in close proximity to the Hoyle Pond Mine in the prolific mining camp of Timmins, Ontario.

In Quebec, the Company is exploring for lithium and tantalum on its Tansim property and for precious and base metals on its Sakami, Valmont and Vulcain properties. As well, it is exploring for gold together with Northern Superior Resources Inc. on the Lesperance/Wachigabau property.

"Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release."

Contact Information