by Greg Klein | August 21, 2015
While delineation drilling and metallurgical progress continue at Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram rare earths deposit, prefeasibility work also calls for community engagement. On August 21 the company reported a successful roundtable meeting and site visits with several key Inuit organizations in northern Quebec’s Nunavik region.
Held in the village of Kuujjuaq, the roundtable was well-attended and well-received, Commerce stated, with 11 aboriginal organizations taking part. The objective “was to further the ongoing dialogue between the company and the community leaders, extend the dialogue to additional community organizations, present the current status of the project in detail, and gather feedback in order to maximize the social, environmental and economic benefits of the project.”
Commerce plans to follow “with an open-community information exchange and discussion session to continue the dialogue the company has been engaged in since 2008.”
Two site visits provided community representatives with a tour of Ashram’s drilling location and the deposit’s discovery outcrop, as well as proposed locations for tailings management, the open pit and dyke, processing plant, haul road and airstrip.
Nunavik lies within the region covered by the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and the Northeastern Quebec Agreement, the first two modern treaties between aboriginal peoples and Canada, Commerce pointed out.
Meanwhile a 32-hole, 3,000-metre summer drill program continues, with the intention of upgrading Ashram’s resource for the prefeas. Some near-surface highlights from a winter/spring batch of assays released last month included:
- 1.65% total rare earth oxides at 18.5% middle and heavy rare earth oxides over 31.96 metres, starting at 23.16 metres in downhole depth
- 1.68% TREO at 11.8% MH-T over 77.9 metres, starting at 4.45 metres
- (including 1.36% TREO at 15.5% MH-T over 22.14 metres)
- 1.93% TREO at 8.8% MH-T over 195.55 metres, starting at 4.45 metres
- (including 2.46% TREO at 6.4% MH-T over 51.34 metres)
Commerce estimated true thicknesses at 50% to 70% along the deposit’s margins, increasing to 100% as intersections move towards the deposit’s centre.
Metallurgical tests at a mini-pilot plant in Colorado have entered their second phase, in order to leach bulk flotation concentrate produced during Phase I. The program intends to confirm the scalability of the project’s flowsheet and produce several kilograms of mixed RE carbonate concentrate and mixed RE chloride concentrate.
In southeastern British Columbia, the company’s Blue River tantalum-niobium project reached the preliminary economic assessment stage in 2011.
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