by Greg Klein | March 24, 2015
Further metallurgical progress indicates potential cost reductions for Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram rare earths deposit in northern Quebec. On March 24 the company announced bench scale testing had reduced consumption of three principal flotation reagents. Commerce describes the achievement as an additional development while working towards a mini-pilot plant demonstration of the project’s entire metallurgical flowsheet. The goal is to produce several kilograms of marketable mixed rare earths concentrate while advancing Ashram towards pre-feasibility.
Consumption of three of this flotation circuit’s principal reagents has been reduced by about 80% while maintaining flotation performance. “These reagents represent the vast majority of all flotation consumables,” Commerce reported. “Therefore their reduction has resulted in a considerable decrease in the circuit’s anticipated reagent acquisition costs, as well as shipping, handling and storage requirements.”
Additional potential remains to optimize the flotation reagent scheme, the company added. “Upon completion of the bench scale flotation development work, the intention will be to scale up to the pilot level, using the refined reagent scheme, and continue to further optimize the downstream processes.” The piloting will be completed during the pre-feas or feasibility stage. “In either case, such flowsheet improvements, including a reduced reagent dosage, may still form the baseline parameters for the PFS if considered robust and representative on the bench scale.”
Their reduction has resulted in a considerable decrease in the circuit’s anticipated reagent acquisition costs, as well as shipping, handling and storage requirements.
Among other achievements, the program has simplified the hydrochloric acid circuit, with reduced retention time and neutralizing agent volumes. Development of the wet high intensity magnetic separation circuit continues in preparation for its pilot run.
The news follows initial recovery results announced the previous week and an update on Ashram’s spring/summer drill program earlier this month. On March 23 the company announced filing of an updated 43-101 technical report for its Blue River tantalum-niobium project in southwestern British Columbia, which has a 2011 preliminary economic assessment.
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