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Commerce Resources further tests acid-grade fluorspar potential of Quebec rare earths project

by Greg Klein | June 11, 2020

Another round of metallurgical studies endeavours to add a critical mineral byproduct to a critical mineral project. Commerce Resources (TSXV:CCE) has re-engaged Hazen Research’s Colorado lab for Phase II studies on the fluorspar component of its Ashram rare earths deposit. Phase I results reported in February have already produced calcium fluoride grading 97.8%, exceeding the 97% level of fluorspar’s more expensive acid-grade.

Phase II will focus on removing impurities, taking advantage of a flowsheet that doesn’t require a complicated secondary circuit for fluorspar. Using conventional methods, coarser and looser fluorspar grains will be recovered prior to entering the initial rare earths circuit. Most of the remaining fluorspar will be recovered as a tailings stream.

Commerce Resources further tests acid-grade fluorspar potential of Quebec rare earths project

Although not considered in Ashram’s PEA report, fluorspar offers considerable economic potential as the project moves towards pre-feasibility.

Previous lab work has demonstrated the ability to produce over 45% rare earths oxides with an impressive 75% recovery rate. In addition to tests by Hazen Research, studies on Ashram material have been conducted at academic and research institutions including McGill University, l’Université du Québec, l’Université Laval, the University of Windsor and the CanmetMINING division of Natural Resources Canada. Earlier this month Ashram came to global attention through an article by PhD candidate Sophie Costis and her team in the international peer-reviewed journal Science of the Total Environment.

Apart from hosting a domestic supply of critical minerals, Ashram’s advantages include carbonatite host rocks with relatively simple monazite, bastnasite and xenotime mineralogy amenable to conventional rare earths processing. The near-surface and at-surface deposit features a strong presence of sought-after magnet feed elements.

Ashram’s resource uses a base case 1.25% cutoff to show:

  • measured: 1.59 million tonnes averaging 1.77% total rare earth oxides

  • indicated: 27.67 million tonnes averaging 1.9% TREO

  • inferred: 219.8 million tonnes averaging 1.88% TREO

Following extensive drilling, Commerce now has geological modelling underway for a resource update.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

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