by Greg Klein | April 15, 2015
In an April 15 report from the Ashram rare earths deposit in northern Quebec, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE announced completion of 22 holes totalling 2,650 metres. The winter/spring program consists of infill drilling, geotechnical drilling and downhole surveying, as well as hydrogeological testing while the project advances towards pre-feasibility.
Definition drilling focused on the deposit’s periphery and the central MHREO zone. The program’s goal is to upgrade the inferred category to indicated and/or measured status. Core from the first seven holes has arrived at the lab, with assays pending.
Geotechnical drilling tested overburden along the deposit’s periphery for the proposed dyke location to the east. Downhole surveying collected data on fractures, faults and geophysical properties, as well as a high-resolution image of the drill hole wall. This week an additional crew begins hydrogeological testing on infill holes already completed. The agenda also calls for installation of groundwater monitoring equipment in three dedicated holes as well as adjacent resource holes.
Commerce expects to finish Phase I of this year’s program in May, with field work resuming in July to continue infill drilling, assessment of mine infrastructure and hydrological test work required for pre-feas.
Metallurgical progress, meanwhile, has resulted in potential cost reductions. The company has a mini-pilot plant working to demonstrate Ashram’s metallurgical flowsheet while producing several kilograms of marketable mixed rare earths concentrate.
Commerce also holds the Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia, which reached the preliminary economic assessment stage in 2011. Speaking to Streetwise Reports, Chris Berry said the project’s tantalum resource “is sort of a secret weapon and dovetails nicely with the theme of optionality I spoke about earlier. It gets overlooked and isn’t really factored into the current valuation of the company, but it could pay off in the long run.”
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