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Commerce Resources sees high-grade fluorspar potential for Quebec rare earths deposit

by Greg Klein | November 15, 2019

A new round of metallurgical tests could bring added value to a Canadian critical minerals project. Working on material from Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram rare earths deposit in northern Quebec, a Colorado lab is testing methods to upgrade the property’s fluorspar to higher-priced acidspar grade. The tests also study ways of extracting additional rare earths from the fluorspar concentrate. A further outcome of the tests will produce samples to meet industry requests.

The work enhances progress on Ashram’s rare earths flowsheet announced in August.

Commerce Resources sees high-grade fluorspar potential for Quebec rare earths deposit

Although not considered in the project’s PEA, fluorspar offers a potential addition to Ashram’s pre-feasibility studies. The current flowsheet foresees higher-grade fluorspar obtained as the deposit’s rare earths processing passes through flotation, HCI leach and magnetic separation.

That last stage produced a magnetic fraction grading between 46% to 49% total rare earths oxide, as well as a non-magnetic fraction grading 68% to 94% calcium fluoride (CaF2). The non-magnetic fraction comprises a potential byproduct of metallurgical-grade fluorspar (metspar) that could potentially be upgraded to higher-purity acidspar.

Like rare earths, fluorspar has been declared a critical mineral by the U.S., putting it under that country’s strategy to ensure reliable supplies from allied sources. Again like rare earths, China dominates world supply with over 60% of global fluorspar production, according to U.S. Geological Survey data for last year. The U.S. has no significant fluorspar production.

Earlier this month Commerce closed the final tranche of a private placement that totalled $2.51 million. Another private placement in August closed on $413,749.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

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