“We staked the Eldor about four years ago and had to buy a small piece from Virginia Mines—a very well known Quebec gold explorer. The carbonatite itself is very large. It’s about four kilometres by 10 kilometres at surface, and comes to surface for most of that area. So it’s very well identified. Within that there’s different zones of mineralization. The one that we’re currently drilling and totally excited about is called the Ashram. The Ashram zone is huge and rich. We just put out a hole that’s close to 600 metres of over 2%. That’s 44 pounds of rare earths per ton! These numbers just get silly. We’re very excited about the Eldor. It stands to be the largest, richest, rare earth deposit in the world; second only to Baiyun Obo, which is the Chinese deposit that is currently controlling the world.
“The drill program that we’re currently announcing finished a couple of months ago. There are still two holes in that drill program to be released. It was very focused on a part of the Ashram deposit that is under three or four feet of water. There’s a small pond on top of it, so it makes it quite a bit easier to drill in the winter than in the summer. The hole that we’re most excited to drill will be coming up in the summer drill program, which should start in four to six weeks. It’s a land-based target, and certainly it will be our first choice for the beginning of the summer drill program.
We just put out a hole that’s close to 600 metres of over 2%. That’s 44 pounds of rare earths per ton!—Dave Hodge
“Commerce’s plan is to move straight ahead with our Blue River tantalum-Niobium project in BC. It’s very straightforward. We’re at the scoping-study level at the moment, and I intend on taking that to the tantalum industry this fall to look for a combination of partners that could effectively form a new tantalum supply chain and put Blue River into production. That kind of approach is certainly one we would consider for the Eldor, but we’re still a ways off. We’ve got a lot of drilling to do before that happens.
“We actually are going to move ahead faster at Eldor than we did at Blue River, partly because of the popularity of rare earths at the moment and the demand. It’s just easier to fund. We currently have a $7.5-million program planned for this summer, and the board is considering increasing that. And in fact, we’ve applied for permits to increase the camp size up to an 80-man situation, which would be extremely aggressive.
“I feel very fortunate to be the fellow in charge of what I believe will be the future of the rare earths industry—and that’s the Eldor. It has the Ashram, but there are more deposits hiding in the overall Eldor carbonatite that are going to turn that area into the department store of rare earths deposits.”
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