Avalon Ventures Ltd. TSX: AVL (the "Company") is
pleased to announce initial assay results from the Phase 2 drilling program
carried out from January 29 to April 29, 2008 on the Lake Zone Rare Earth
Element ("REE") deposit, on its 100% owned Thor Lake Rare Metals
project, located southeast of Yellowknife, NWT. This phase of drilling was
focused on a 1200m by 600m area on the northern part of the deposit, that
is covered by Thor Lake itself, plus two holes in a swampy area on the
south part of the deposit. A total of 6447 metres were drilled in 34 holes
(Table 1, below) and assays results are now available for 9 of these holes,
all drilled in the northeast corner of the deposit.
As reported in the Company's news release dated April 22, 2008, the REE-enriched mineralized zones in the southern part of the
deposit do extend into the northern part and the assay results received to
date confirm this observation with 8 of the 9 holes containing several very
similar several 4-23 metre wide intervals of relatively high grade REE
mineralization, within a broad mineralized envelope averaging over 100
metres in thickness. Mineralization in the ninth hole (L08-67) was
"dyked-out" by a younger, subvertical diabase intrusion.
include broad sub-intervals of 43.65m of 2.15% TREO ("Total Rare
Earth Oxides") in hole L08-65 and 46.9m of 1.74% TREO in hole L08-72,
where TREO is defined as the sum of all 14 REE plus Yttrium, expressed in
oxide form. Individual intercepts averaged as high as 3.54% TREO over
8.8 metres in hole L08-69 and 4.2% TREO over 1.1m in L08-76. All the
widths reported are believed to approximate true thicknesses. The entire
mineralized envelope typically averages around 1.0% TREO (Table
Of further significance is the confirmation of a relatively high proportion
of the heavy rare earth elements ("HREE", Europium through
Lutetium) in all of these intercepts. The content of HREO (Heavy Rare Earth
Oxides) as a percentage of TREO ranges from 8.1% to 14.3% over the entire
mineralized envelope in these holes and selected sub-intervals average as
high as 32.6% HREO over 6.0 metres in hole L08-70. By comparison,
most known rare earth deposits are dominated by the light rare earths and
typically contain less than 3% HREO. The Lake Zone is a very unusual REE
deposit for its relatively high content of some of the more scarce and
valuable heavy rare earth elements such as terbium, europium and
Individual HREE values were as high as 143.5 ppm terbium (Tb) oxide,
155.6 ppm europium (Eu) oxide and 818.7 ppm dysprosium (Dy) oxide over
widths of 6.0 to 8.8 metres (Table
3). Bid prices for these oxides have all risen sharply since January
and are reported for May 15, 2008 by Metal-Pages.com on an FOB China basis
as: US$720/kg Tb, US$470/kg Eu and US$115/kg Dy compared to just US$4.05/kg
for the more abundant Light REE cerium. These elements are in short supply
yet are vital to many current applications in electronics (colour
phosphors) and hybrid cars (high strength magnets). In addition to the
HREE, these zones also contain high levels of neodymium (Nd), a light rare
earth element also in high demand for magnet applications, that is
currently quoted at US$32/kg on an FOB China basis. The high grade
sub-zones typically contain in excess of 2,000ppm Nd oxide. One 8.8
metre sub-zone produced an exceptional Nd oxide assay of 7,379 ppm (Table
3, below. Note that 1000ppm = 1 kg per tonne).
The main objectives of the Phase 1 and 2 drilling programs on the Lake Zone
are to delineate the full extent of the deposit on 100-150 metre hole
spacing and define indicated resources within high grade sub-zones. To this
end, recent drilling has enabled the recognition of a
"layer-cake" horizontal zonation within the deposit consisting of
alternating layers of variable grade and mineralogy. A zone containing
consistently high relative enrichment in the HREO has been recognized near
the base of this mineralized sequence between depths of 100-150 metres and
is referred to as the Basal Zone. Several other such sub-zones occur
elsewhere within the deposit and it should also be noted that the drilling
done to date has not defined any lateral limits to the Lake Zone deposit,
which remains open for expansion in all directions
The Basal Zone is anticipated to be the priority for resource definition
and future development work on the project. Its thickness, relative shallow
depth, and horizontal geometry are believed to make it amenable to low cost
underground bulk mining techniques utilizing ramp access. An updated
resource estimate for the Lake Zone will be prepared once all the Phase 2
drilling results have been received and are compiled in to a block model.
This work will be done by Wardrop Engineering and should be complete by mid
Full analytical details of all intervals for all REE and other rare metals
received to date are posted on the Company's website along with a drill
hole location plan and related cross-sections at http://www.avalonventures.com/projects/rare/thor_lake.
Assays are pending for holes L08-73 to 75 and L08-77 to 98, and will be
released as they come available.
On April 29, 2008, a detailed drilling program, consisting of 9 to 15
closely-spaced holes, was initiated in the south-central part of the deposit
with 6 of these holes complete as at the date of this news release. The
objective of this program is to acquire at least 800 kgs of the Basal Zone
mineralization for bench-scale metallurgical tests, which will include
flotation and hydrometallurgy to be completed by SGS Lakefield Research
before year end. The metallurgical test program has commenced with
"QEMSCAN" mineralogical studies of all the ore types present,
focusing on the Basal Zone with higher HREO values. This work has already confirmed
the presence of fergusonite, (an yttrium-niobium-tantalum oxide
mineral enriched in HREE plus neodymium) as a significant component of the
A rigorous QA/QC program was implemented for all of the program samples to
ensure high quality data. Analytical standards were prepared from crushed
rejects of historical Lake Zone drill core samples, then analysed at five
separate laboratories to determine an averarge value. These standards were
then routinely inserted into the sample batches to monitor analytical data.
All drill core was split on site, sampled in 2m intervals and shipped to
Acme Laboratories facility in Yellowknife for sample preparation. Acme then
shipped pulverized splits from all the samples its laboratory in Vancouver,
BC. Duplicate samples are being analysed at ALS Laboratories in Vancouver,
All samples are being analysed in both laboratories by lithium
metaborate/tetraborate fusion and dilute nitric acid digestion, followed by
whole rock and 45 element multielement ICP analysis. Details of the factors
used to calculate rare earth oxides are posted on the Company website along
with complete analytical data. Further check assays are being conducted by
Actlabs Ltd., Ancaster, ON, but are not yet available.
Drilling operations were performed by Peak Drilling Ltd. of Courtenay B.C.
under the supervision of J.C. Pedersen, P.Geo., Senior Geologist. The
Company's Vice-President, Exploration, Dr. William Mercer, Ph.D., P.Geo.
provided overall direction on the project.
About Avalon Ventures Ltd.
Avalon Ventures Ltd. is a Canadian junior mineral exploration and
development company, with a primary focus on rare metals and minerals with
high technology and environmentally-beneficial applications. Avalon
currently holds a portfolio of five such projects, including three that are
at, or close to, the feasibility stage. Shares Outstanding: 64,649,748.
Cash resources: approximately $14.0 million.
To find out more about Avalon Ventures Ltd., please visit our website at http://www.avalonventures.com.
This news release is available on the Company's official on-line investor
relations site for investor commentary, feedback and questions. Investors
are invited to visit the "Avalon Ventures" IR Hub at http://www.agoracom.com/IR/Avalon.
In addition, investors are invited to e-mail their questions and
correspondence to AVL@agoracom.com or
phone Don Bubar, P.Geo. President, at 416-364-4938. Mr. Bubar and Dr.
Mercer are the Qualified Persons responsible for the technical content of
this news release.
This news release contains forward-looking information. This
forward-looking information includes, or may be based upon, estimates,
forecasts, and statements as to management's expectations with respect to,
among other things, the size and quality of the Company's mineral
resources, progress in development of mineral properties, demand and market
outlook for metals and future metal prices. Forward-looking information is
based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the
information is given, and is subject to a variety of risks and
uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results
to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information.
These factors include the inherent risks involved in the exploration and
development of mineral properties, uncertainties with respect to the
receipt or timing of required permits and regulatory approvals, the
uncertainties involved in interpreting drilling results and other
geological data, fluctuating metal prices, the possibility of project cost
overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses, uncertainties relating to the
availability and costs of financing needed in the future and other factors.
The forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date
hereof and the Company assumes no responsibility to update or revise such
information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by