Update: Commerce Resources offers $4.5-million private placement, proceeds with hydrometallurgical rare earths processing
by Greg Klein | September 29, 2014
A company with advanced Canadian projects featuring industrial metals announced a $4.5-million private placement on September 29. Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE stated proceeds will go to its Ashram rare earth deposit in Quebec and its Blue River tantalum-niobium project in British Columbia, as well as working capital.
The previous week Commerce reported that a program of hydrometallurgical testing had begun at Ashram, bringing the project closer to pre-feasibility. The company intends to complete bench testing and produce a mixed rare earth carbonate with cerium and lanthanum removed. The product could then be evaluated by potential joint venture or off-take partners.
Ashram has already produced a total rare earth oxide concentrate grading over 40%, surpassing the 30% baseline met by all major rare earth mines outside southern China. Commerce plans to focus on increased TREO recovery as well as hydrochloric acid regeneration to further cut acid consumption, the company stated.
The plan calls for a mini pilot plant “to confirm the process on a larger scale and to generate feed for full demonstration of the hydrometallurgical flowsheet through to production” of cerium- and lanthanum-depleted, mixed rare earth carbonates.
Part of the 19,000-hectare Eldor property in the Labrador Trough, Ashram is distinguished by quantities of the critical rare earth oxides neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium that are “unusual in carbonatite deposits and especially those of such tonnage and grade,” according to a 2012 preliminary economic assessment.
The company’s Blue River tantalum-niobium project in southeastern B.C. reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update the following year.
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