by Greg Klein | September 1, 2015
High-grade, near-surface assays released September 1 expand mineralization south and potentially north of Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram rare earths deposit in northern Quebec. The data will help upgrade the resource estimate as prefeasibility work continues. Highlights for the three latest winter/spring infill holes show:
- 1.98% total rare earth oxides, 5.3% middle and heavy rare earth oxides and 5.3% fluorite over 199.11 metres, starting at 0.89 metres in downhole depth
- (including 2.44% TREO, 4.2% MH-T and 6% fluorite over 45.42 metres)
- (which includes 3.02% TREO, 3.1% MH-T and 4.9% fluorite over 5.84 metres)
- 1.55% TREO, 8.2% MH-T and 6.4% fluorite over 197.37 metres, starting at 5.93 metres
- (including 1.73% TREO, 8% MH-T and 7.3% fluorite over 78.61 metres)
- (which includes 2.08% TREO, 7% MH-T and 7.4% fluorite over 7.16 metres)
- 1.88% TREO, 7% MH-T and 9.1% fluorite over 149.42 metres, starting at 2.07 metres
- (including 2.2% TREO, 6% MH-T and 10% fluorite over 43.87 metres)
- (and including 2.18% TREO, 6.6% MH-T and 12.6% fluorite over 9.77 metres)
Commerce estimates true widths at 50% to 70% along the deposit’s margins, increasing to 100% as intercepts move towards the deposit’s centre.
EC15-129 was the project’s northernmost hole to collar in mineralization, the company stated. EC15-137 was Ashram’s most southeastern hole so far and EC15-139 was sunk near the deposit’s northeastern corner.
For prefeas purposes, all holes stopped within a pre-determined depth range. All three ended with strong mineralization: 1.99% TREO for EC15-129, 2.18% TREO for EC15-137 and 1.94% TREO for EC15-139. EC15-137 found mineralization increasing with depth.
Five geotechnical holes tested the anticipated dyke location, confirming shallow depth to bedrock and favourable soil characteristics, Commerce added. Three others were sunk for hydrogeological studies.
Last season’s program completed 31 holes totalling 4,146 metres. Three more holes remain to be reported. A 32-hole, 3,000-metre summer campaign began in early July.
The company’s been busy on a number of fronts as it moves Ashram towards prefeasibility. Last month Commerce reported community roundtable discussions and site visits. Metallurgical tests at a mini-pilot plant in Colorado have entered Phase II to help confirm the scalability of the project’s flowsheet and produce several kilograms of mixed RE carbonate and mixed RE chloride concentrates. Ashram’s REEs “occur primarily in the mineral monazite and to a lesser extent in bastnaesite and xenotime,” the company states. “These minerals dominate the currently known commercial extraction processes for rare earths.”
Last May Commerce announced potential savings in development costs through a new infrastructure model.
In southeastern British Columbia, the company also holds the Blue River tantalum-niobium project, which has a 2011 preliminary economic assessment.