The Study will provide a keenly awaited preliminary economic assessment of the rare earth project.
In an update to the market, Peak has also delivered more high grade reverse circulation drilling results, including 42 metres at 7.86% Rare Earth Oxide from 48 metres.
Richard Beazley, managing director, "I am pleased to report the rapid progress being made with the Scoping Study and that drill results have produced the highest grades to date.
"Completion of the Scoping Study will keep us on track to be a low cost producer by 2016. The results of the Study will also help provide assurance and attract interested parties for off take agreements or partnerships."
Ngualla already hosts a very significant resource of 170 million tonnes at 2.24% of rare earth oxides for 3.8 million tonnes of contained REO. Within this resource there is a highly weathered and near surface zone estimated at 40 million tonnes at 4.07% REO for 1.6 million tonnes of contained REO.
Importantly - over half of the in-ground value at Ngualla comprises the Critical Rare Earths of Neodymium, Dysprosium, Europium, Terbium and Yttrium.
Off take Partners
Peak said that it has commenced discussions with a number of interested parties regarding potential off take agreements for rare earth concentrate products from Ngualla.
Several organisations have expressed in principle interest during early stage discussions. The company will keep the market informed of developments.
Scoping Study - determine pathway to production
Peak commenced the Ngualla Project Scoping Study in May 2012 with the appointment of engineer Lucas Stanfield as Chief Development Officer, Perth based Emerson Stewart Consulting Group as infrastructure and environmental engineering consultants, Hatch as process engineering consultants and Orelogy Pty Ltd as mining consultants to the Study.
The Study is to determine the optimum pathway to rare earth production and provide a preliminary economic assessment of the project.
A base case for the Study assumes a range of rare earth products containing a total of 10,000 tonnes of REO equivalent will be produced from an estimated 300,000 tonnes of ore at an average grade of approximately 4.3% REO annually over an initial mine life of 25 years.
The Mineral Resource has potential to support a significant increase to this base case production rate should off take customers for additional product be secured.
Importantly - the positive results from the 'Proof of Concept' sulphuric acid leach process has now lead the Study to identify that the optimum approach for Ngualla is to focus initial production from the highest grade, near surface weathered bastnaesite mineralisation within the core of the Southern Rare Earth Zone, and processing via the sulphuric acid and precipitation route into a mixed, cerium depleted rare earth carbonate concentrate.
The study will also include estimates for an offsite solvent extraction separation plant to produce a range of higher value, high purity rare earth products.
The Scoping Study is progressing well with a number of site visits completed including communication with Tanzanian Government Departments, potential suppliers, consultants and contractors and is on track for completion on schedule and budget in December 2012.
Peak has a schedule of early 2016 for the first production.
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