Wealth Minerals Ltd.

Wealth Minerals Ltd.

October 21, 2010 09:01 ET

Wealth Initiates Exploration at Argentina's Largest Undeveloped Rare Earth Deposit-The 'Rodeo de los Molles' Project in San Luis Province, Argentina

Retains Alastair Neill-REE Specialist as Strategic Advisor

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 21, 2010) - Wealth Minerals Ltd. (the "Company" or "Wealth") - (TSX VENTURE:WML)(FRANKFURT:EJZ), is pleased to announce that it has initiated an aggressive exploration, resource verification and expansion program at its high-grade Rodeo de los Molles (RdlM) rare earth element project in San Luis Province, Argentina. Additionally, the Company has retained the services of Alastair Neill, P.Eng, MBA, an expert on rare earth elements, as a strategic advisor.

Key highlights of Rodeo de los Moles include:

  • Largest undeveloped REE project in South America – which, based on historical data remains open for expansion in all directions. The historical geologic resource estimate of 5.6 Mt at 2.1% Total Rare Element Oxide (TREO) was prepared in 1992 and is based on more than 6,000 metres of shallow RAB drilling as well as metallurgical testwork. This historical resource estimate is considered relevant by the Company, both for the purposes of the Company's decision to acquire the property and to guide the Company in formulating an exploration program for the property. However, the Company cautions that the resource estimate was prepared before the introduction of NI 43-101, and is therefore historical in nature and the Company is not treating such resources as a current resource under NI 43-101. Investors are further cautioned that a qualified person has not yet completed sufficient work to be able to verify the historical resources, and therefore they should not be relied upon.
  • Due diligence sampling by the Company has confirmed the tenor of REE mineralization. Three representative rock-chip samples selectively collected from the outcropping mineralization returned assays ranging from 7.4 to 35.5% TREO (with a heavy rare earth oxide (HREO) component ranging from 5.0 to 55.5%) and 0.15% to 0.92% U3O8. A fourth sample, collected from an apparently unmineralized outcrop, returned a value of 0.11% TREO and 12.1 ppm U, thereby highlighting the potential for the expansion of the known mineralized zones. Outcropping mineralization remains open in all directions.
  • Highly favourable bastnasite host rock mineralization similar to known producing mines and suggestive of relatively straight-forward geometallurgy for the deposit type.
  • Excellent infrastructure – paved road within 2 kilometres, workable all year round, and electrical transmission lines within 8 kilometres of the property.

The primary objective of the two phase exploration campaign now underway is to rapidly complete a detailed surface assessment of the known zones of mineralization and to identify new zones in advance of an aggressive resource confirmation and expansion drill program. Phase I work proposed to be completed includes a complete geochemical and initial geometallurgical study to fully characterize the nature of REE mineralization, channel saw sampling of outcropping rare earth element mineralization at the primary showings to provide detail on the REE distribution as well as geological mapping and prospecting to expand upon the known resource. This phase is anticipated to cost approximately $300,000 and take three months. Phase II would consist of approximately 1,000 metres of drilling and is expected to cost approximately $250,000 and take approximately one month. The Company has the funds to complete the program.

REE Specialist Retained

Mr. Alastair Neill, P.Eng., MBA, is the former Vice-President/General Manager, Rare Earth Division, and Vice-President, Business Development, for AMR Technologies Inc. (now Neo Material Technologies Inc.) and a leading expert in rare earth elements. Mr. Neill brings over 15 years of direct rare earth experience with downstream end-users in Korea, Japan, Europe and North America and with suppliers in China. He holds a master of business administration from York University and a bachelor of engineering in material science from the University of Western Ontario.

Henk van Alphen, President and CEO of Wealth, stated: "We are very pleased to welcome Alastair as an advisor to Wealth. His extensive rare earth element experience will provide strong guidance as we advance our Rodeo de los Molles REE project towards the resource definition stage."

Project Overview

The RdlM property consists of 6 minas, totalling 72 hectares, and is located approximately 300 kilometres southwest of the City of Cordoba and 200 kilometres northeast of the city of San Luis. The property is ideally located in terms of access and infrastructure (there are 13.2 and 33 kW power lines within 8 kilometres of the property) and the climate allows work year round. The Company is presently designing an aggressive exploration program to verify and potentially expand upon the historical resource.

The deposit is hosted in strongly altered (fenitized) alkalic igneous rocks of the Las Chacras Coloradas igneous complex. REE mineralization (bastnasite) at RdlM is similar to REE mineralization at the Mountain Pass REE deposit in California, which contains total proven reserves of 88.0 million pounds of REO (source - Molycorp, Inc.). The Mountain Pass mine operated from 1952 to 2002 and produced most of the world's REE's from 1965 to 1985.

Rare Earth Elements

The rare earth element (REE) group is considered to include the 15 lanthanide elements: lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), praseodymium (Pm), promethium (Pr) (does not occur naturally), neodymium (Nd), samarium (Sm), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), terbium (Tb), dysprosium (Dy), holmium (Ho), erbium (Er), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb), and lutetium (Lu). The element yttrium (Y) is also included as it has similar chemical properties. Total rare earth oxides (TREO) refers to the 15 rare earth elements lanthanum to lutetium plus yttrium expressed as oxides. Heavy rare earth oxides (HREO) refers to the total of yttrium plus europium to lutetium, as oxides, as a percentage of TREO.

REE deposits tend to occur in two sub-groups:

  1. Light rare earth element (LREE) enriched deposits which include La, Ce, Pr, Nd and Sm.
  1. Heavy rare earth element (HREE) enriched deposits which include Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, Lu, and Y.

Sometimes called the "clean energy", "tech" or "green" metals, the unique physical, chemical and light-emitting properties of the rare earths make them indispensable in modern technologies such magnets, hybrid cars, wind turbines, computers and cell phones. The price of rare earth products has increased significantly over the past three years due to increased demand and tightening supplies, particularly so for the less abundant heavy rare earths.

Qualified Person & QA/QC Controls

R. Scott Heffernan, M.Sc., P.Geol., Wealth's Vice-President, Exploration, and a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has supervised the preparation of the scientific and technical information that forms the basis for this news release. Mr. Heffernan is not independent of Wealth by virtue of being an officer and shareholder and a holder of incentive stock options.

Wealth's activities to date at RdlM have been supervised by R. Scott Heffernan, P.Geol., Wealth's Vice-President, Exploration, who is responsible for all aspects of the work, including the quality control/quality assurance program. On-site personnel at the project rigorously collected and tracked the due diligence samples, which were then sealed and shipped to the Acme Laboratories S.A. laboratory facilities in Mendoza, Argentina for preparation and then forwarded to Acme Analytical Laboratories Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia, for geochemical analysis by 'Group 1T' - 4 Acid Digestion Ultratrace Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). Acme Laboratories S.A.'s quality system complies with the requirements for the International Standard ISO 9001:2000 and Acme Analytical Laboratories Ltd.'s quality system complies with the requirements for the International Standard ISO 9001:2008. Analytical accuracy and precision are monitored by the analysis of reagent blanks, reference material and replicate samples. Quality control is further assured by the use of international and in-house standards.

Laboratory results are received in parts per million uranium. The conversion factor used to convert parts per million uranium to pounds per short ton U3O8 is 1.179, which was verified with the Saskatchewan Research Council (ppm uranium x 1.179 = ppm U308; 10,000 ppm uranium = 1% = 20 lbs/ton uranium).

About Wealth Minerals Ltd.

Wealth is an early stage mineral exploration company with approximately 40.3 million shares issued and listings on the TSX Venture and Frankfurt Stock Exchanges. The Company's focus is the acquisition and exploration of prospective uranium and rare earth element properties, primarily in Argentina and Peru. In addition to ongoing work programs on its existing properties, it continues to actively evaluate new potential uranium and rare earth projects in these and other countries.

For further details on the Company readers are referred to the Company's web site (www.wealthminerals.com) and its Canadian regulatory filings on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors of WEALTH MINERALS LTD.

Hendrik Van Alphen, President & CEO

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements and forward-looking information (collectively, "forward-looking statements") within the meaning of applicable Canadian and US securities legislation. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein including, without limitation, statements regarding the anticipated content, commencement and cost of exploration programs, anticipated exploration program results, the discovery and delineation of mineral deposits/resources/reserves, the potential to verify and potentially expand upon the historical resource at RdlM, the potential for the expansion of the known mineralized zones at RdlM; the potential for the amenability of RdlM mineralization to respond to proven technologies and methods to recover both light and heavy rare earth oxides, the potential for mineralization at RdlM to have relatively straight-forward geometallurgy, business and financing plans and business trends, are forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes that such statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by words such as: believe, expect, anticipate, intend, estimate, postulate and similar expressions, or are those, which, by their nature, refer to future events. The Company cautions investors that any forward-looking statements by the Company are not guarantees of future results or performance, and that actual results may differ materially from those in forward looking statements as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, variations in the nature, quality and quantity of any mineral deposits that may be located, dilution, the volatility of the Company's common share price and volume; variations in the market price of any mineral products the Company may produce or plan to produce, the Company's inability to obtain any necessary permits, consents or authorizations required for its activities, the Company's inability to produce minerals from its properties successfully or profitably, to continue its projected growth, to raise the necessary capital or to be fully able to implement its business strategies, and other risks and uncertainties disclosed in the Company's Management Discussion and Analysis filed with certain securities commissions in Canada, and other information released by the Company and filed with the appropriate regulatory agencies. All of the Company's Canadian public disclosure filings may be accessed via www.sedar.com, and readers are urged to review these materials, including the technical reports filed with respect to the Company's mineral properties.

Cautionary Note Concerning Similar or Adjacent Mineral Properties

This press release contains information with respect to adjacent or similar mineral properties in respect of which the Company has no interest or rights to explore or mine. The Company advises US investors that the US Securities and Exchange Commission's mining guidelines strictly prohibit information of this type in documents filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned that the Company has no interest in or right to acquire any interest in any such properties, and that mineral deposits on adjacent or similar properties are not indicative of mineral deposits on the Company's properties.

This press release is not, and is not to be construed in any way as, an offer to buy or sell securities in the United States.

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 press release, which has been prepared by management.

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