VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 17, 2011) - Wealth Minerals Ltd. (the "Company" or "Wealth") (TSX VENTURE:WML)(FRANKFURT:EJZ) is pleased to announce that Dr. Anthony Mariano and Dr. Raul Lira have been retained as consultants and will join Alastair Neill in the formation of a Special Advisory Board on Rare Earth Elements (REE) to advise the Company in developing its Rodeo de los Molles Rare Earth Element (REE) Project in San Luis Province, Argentina.
Dr. Anthony (Tony) Mariano
With over 50 years of field- and laboratory-based experience, Dr. Mariano is the global authority on the mineralogy, geochemistry and geology of REE deposits. Throughout his extensive career as a consulting geologist, Dr. Mariano has been involved with the research and development of the majority of the world's significant REE projects (e.g. Molycorp's Mountain Pass deposit and Lynas Corporation's Mt.Weld deposit) and currently serves as an advisor to several companies developing advanced REE projects such as Rare Element Resources Ltd. and Tasman Metals Ltd. Dr. Mariano received his PhD in Geology from the University of Boston and his main area of expertise is the mineralogy, petrography, geochemistry and metallurgy of REE systems.
Dr. Raul Lira
Dr. Raul Lira is the foremost expert on the REE mineralization and geology of Argentina and is credited with the discovery and the early stage development of Wealth's Rodeo de los Molles Rare Earth deposit. Dr. Lira has dedicated over 25 years to research and teaching focused on the genesis and discovery of mineral deposits. In addition to serving as an independent consultant to South American governmental agencies and mining companies such as BHP Billiton, he currently holds positions as Professor of Economic Geology (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba) and Independent Researcher (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones y Tecnicas de la República Argentina – CONICET). Dr. Lira received his PhD in Geological Sciences from the Universidad Nacional de Cordóba and his main area of expertise is the mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry and metallogenesis of felsic calc-alkaline and alkaline igneous systems.
Special Advisory Board on Rare Earths
Drs. Mariano and Lira will join Alastair Neill - a REE specialist with in excess of 15 years experience with downstream end-users in Korea, Japan, Europe, North America and with suppliers in China (see Wealth News Release, Oct. 21, 2010) - in the formation of a Special Advisory Board on Rare earth Elements. The Board will serve to provide technical expertise support to the Company as it rapidly advances its Rodeo de los Molles Project.
Commenting on the recent appointments, Wealth Minerals' President and CEO, Henk Van Alphen, stated, "It is very encouraging at this early stage to have such highly respected and sought after individuals agree to join our technical advisory board. Dr. Mariano's extensive experience with the world's foremost rare earth deposits, together with Dr. Raul's intimate first-hand, working knowledge of our Rodeo de los Molles Project is a formidable combination that I have no doubt will be invaluable in the development of our rare earth assets."
Rodeo de los Molles Rare Earth Deposit
Rodeo de los Molles ("Rodeo") rare earth deposit is the largest undeveloped Rare Earth Element (REE) project in Argentina with an historical resource of 5.6Mt at 2.1% total rare element oxide. The historical geologic resource estimate for Rodeo was prepared in 1992 (including metallurgical testwork) and is based on approximately 6,000 metres of RAB drilling. This historical resource estimate is considered relevant by the Company given the global concerns regarding secure future supplies of REEs and 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 resource 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 resource, and therefore they should not be relied upon.
REE mineralization at the Rodeo deposit has only been tested to very shallow depths of approximately 35 to 50 vertical metres. The mineralization discovered to date remains open for expansion in all directions, including at depth. Previous metallurgical test work suggests a relatively straight-forward metallurgical process for the deposit type similar to the formerly producing (bastnasite-hosted) Mountain Pass REE deposit in California, which contains total proven reserves of 88.0 million pounds of rare earth oxide and which produced most of the world's REE's from 1965 to 1985 (source - Molycorp, Inc.).
The Rodeo property may be worked all year round and infrastructure is excellent – a paved road is within 2 kilometres of the deposit and power and water are within 8 kilometres (Figure 1).
Initial results from an on-going campaign of extensive surface sampling, mapping and preliminary metallurgical investigations (Phase I), which began in late 2010, are anticipated imminently. The Company will commence Phase II of its aggressive exploration program upon completion of the detailed surface work, the aim of which is to increase the known mineralization and define a NI 43-101 compliant resource. The field portion of Phase II will begin with approximately 1,000 metres of diamond drilling and include additional mapping, sampling, and prospecting and metallurgical work. The program is expected to cost approximately $450,000 and take approximately two months to complete beginning on or about March 1st, 2011. The Company has the funds to complete the program.
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.