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Rare earths: Commerce Resources continues near-surface high grades at Ashram

by Greg Klein | September 16, 2015

With a standout interval of 19.71% total rare earth oxides over 0.82 metres, the last two holes from Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) winter/spring season continued the Ashram deposit’s pattern of high grades close to surface. The infill drilling comprised part of a 31-hole, 4,146-metre program to upgrade the northern Quebec project’s resource for a pre-feasibility study. Reported September 16, the latest assays show:

Hole EC15-135

  • 2% total rare earth oxides, 4.6% middle and heavy rare earth oxides and 4.1% fluorite over 22.31 metres, starting at 9.62 metres in downhole depth

  • 19.71% TREO, 3.5% MH-T and 2.2% fluorite over 0.82 metres, starting at 62.53 metres

  • 2.83% TREO, 3.6% MH-T and 0.6% fluorite over 10.62 metres, starting at 175.14 metres

Hole EC15-138

  • 1.67% TREO, 7.7% MH-T and 8.6% fluorite over 155.45 metres, starting at 5.18 metres
  • (including 1.85% TREO, 6.9% MH-T and 9.2% fluorite over 89.99 metres)
  • (which includes 2.03% TREO, 6.2% MH-T and 10.5% fluorite over 21.43 metres)
  • (and also includes 2.01% TREO, 6.3% MH-T and 9.9% fluorite over 36.61 metres)
Rare earths: Commerce Resources continues near-surface high grades at Ashram

Summer drilling continues, one of a number of
measures that bring Ashram closer to pre-feasibility.

Commerce estimates true widths at 50% to 70% along the deposit’s margins, increasing to 100% as intersections approach the deposit’s centre. For purposes of the pre-feas study, drilling stopped within a pre-determined depth, with EC15-138 ending in 2.06% TREO. This batch included a third hole drilled for hydrogeological studies.

While the grade of 19.71% TREO doesn’t reflect Ashram as a whole, Commerce stated, “it highlights the potential for coarse-grained, higher-grade pockets of REE mineralization to occur at relatively shallow depths.”

The results follow other high-grade, near-surface assays released two weeks earlier that suggest the deposit’s expansion potential. Meanwhile drilling continues, with 17 holes totalling about 732 metres so far completed on the summer season. The current program calls for about 32 holes for 3,000 metres. Apart from infill drilling, the company plans one hole targeting a gravity anomaly south of the deposit that might be related to Ashram’s middle and heavy rare earth oxide mineralization.

Also underway are hydrogeological tests and infrastructure assessment for the potential open pit operation. A new infrastructure model announced last spring suggested potential savings in development costs. Pre-feas work also includes community consultation and, at a Colorado mini-pilot plant, Phase II metallurgical tests to confirm the scalability of Ashram’s flowsheet and produce several kilograms of mixed RE carbonate and mixed RE chloride concentrates.

This month the company filed a preliminary short form prospectus for a public offering between $1 million and $3 million.

Commerce also holds the Blue River tantalum-niobium project in southeastern British Columbia, which has a 2011 preliminary economic assessment.

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