by Greg Klein | May 29, 2015
With initial results from the Ashram rare earths deposit’s winter/spring drill program released May 29, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE reported delineation success in all of the first eight holes. The octet targeted Ashram’s eastern margins, part of a goal to upgrade current inferred resources to the indicated or measured categories as the northern Quebec project moves towards pre-feasibility.
Some highlights include:
- 1.73% total rare earth oxides over 92.77 metres, starting at 57.65 metres in downhole depth
- (including 2.04% over 25.23 metres)
- 2.08% TREO over 17.5 metres, starting at 110.07 metres
- (including 4.57% over 1.46 metres)
- 1.77% TREO over 151.19 metres, starting at 3.05 metres
- (including 2.12% over 34.53 metres)
- 1.82% TREO over 110.2 metres, starting at 102.25 metres
- (including 2.03% over 60.83 metres)
True thicknesses were estimated between 50% and 70% of downhole intervals along the deposit’s eastern margins. “However, the cone-like nature of the deposit effectively increases the true thickness to 100% as intersections move inwards, towards the deposit’s centre,” Commerce stated.
Hole EC15-114 also showed significant middle and heavy rare earth oxide mineralization:
- 11.5% MHREO over 1.32 metres, starting at 46 metres
- 13.5% MHREO over 1.4 metres, starting at 69.49 metres
Commerce stated it’s “not clear if this is an extension of the main zone of MHREO or an isolated pod of MHREO mineralization within the larger Ashram deposit.”
All eight holes ended at a pre-determined depth for pre-feas purposes. Six holes bottomed in strong mineralization, with EC15-114’s 4.57% TREO over 1.46 metres ranking as the project’s 10th-highest assay ever and stopping at a relatively shallow depth of 117 metres. Ashram’s best-ever assay is 9.88% TREO over 0.39 metres at 525 metres in depth.
Ashram’s rare earth elements occur primarily in monazite and to a lesser extent bastnaesite and xenotime, minerals that dominate the currently known commercial extraction processes, the company added. Still to come are assays for 23 more holes of the 31-hole, 4,146-metre campaign that also included downhole surveying, geomechanical sampling and hydrogeological testing.
Four days earlier Commerce announced a new infrastructure model that could cut costs by locating its hydrometallurgical operation in southern Quebec or the Maritime region.
In late April the company reported successful Phase I tests at its flotation mini-pilot plant in Colorado, which achieved both its goals by producing several kilograms of mixed rare earths concentrate and demonstrating flotation performance on a continuous basis.
The previous month Commerce filed an updated 43-101 technical report for its Blue River tantalum-niobium project in southeastern British Columbia, which reached the preliminary economic assessment stage in 2011.
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