Tuesday 20th March 2018

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘Commerce Resources Corp (CCE)’

Tantalum-niobium recovery tests prompt Commerce Resources to negotiate world rights to process

February 20th, 2018

by Greg Klein | February 20, 2018

Best known for the advanced-stage Ashram rare earths deposit in Quebec, Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) rare metals interests also include the Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia. Now a proprietary processing method has brought successful results, leading the company to work on a definitive agreement to acquire global rights to the process.

Tantalum-niobium recovery tests prompt Commerce Resources to negotiate world rights to process

Upper Fir reached the PEA level in 2011
and a resource update in 2013.

Named after Alexander Krupin, an expert with 35 years’ experience in tantalum and niobium recovery, the method was applied to a 1,300-kilogram sample shipped to Krupin’s Estonia facility last year. A visit by Commerce chairperson Axel Hoppe, another internationally recognized expert in tantalum and niobium, verified the Krupin Method’s success. As a result, the parties now have a definitive agreement under negotiation.

Part of Commerce’s Blue River property, Upper Fir reached PEA in 2011. A 2013 resource update used a tantalum price of $381 per kilogram for an estimated:

  • indicated: 48.41 million tonnes averaging 197 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,610 ppm Nb2O5 for 9,560 tonnes Ta2O5 and 77,810 tonnes Nb2O5

  • inferred: 5.4 million tonnes averaging 191 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,760 ppm Nb2O5 for 1,000 tonnes Ta2O5 and 9,600 tonnes Nb2O5

Adjacent to a 20-MW run-of-river electricity project, the 105,373-hectare property has road, rail and power lines.

More niobium-tantalum potential, this time early-stage, has been identified on Commerce’s Eldor property in northern Quebec, which hosts the Ashram rare earths deposit. Last month the company announced that Saville Resources TSXV:SRE had taken on a 75% earn-in to work the property’s niobium claims, where an exceptional sample assay of 5.9% Nb2O5 sparked additional attention in the property.

Ashram remains Commerce’s focus, however, as one of the most advanced REE projects outside China moves towards pre-feasibility. In December the company announced new research that could further streamline the project’s metallurgy, already benefitting from host minerals that are well understood and amenable to conventional processing.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Zimtu’s advantages

January 20th, 2018

Opportunities come calling as Zimtu Capital builds junior companies’ potential

by Greg Klein

With equity holdings in a wide range of juniors, Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC goes well beyond the prospect generator model to help nurture and grow the companies that comprise its assets. Looking at just a few examples, they can be exploring early-stage minerals projects, progressing an advanced-stage rare earths deposit or generating revenue through disruptive technology. Zimtu helps build the companies with administrative, promotional, technical, legal and financial expertise that ranges from prospectors in the bush to market insiders in Europe and Asia.

Opportunities come calling as Zimtu Capital builds junior companies’ potential

The ZimtuADVANTAGE program additionally offers companies a number of other marketing strategies, including extensive social media coverage and the ZimtuADVANTAGE app. The result is wider exposure and therefore greater investor awareness about each participant.

The breadth of Zimtu’s support brings each company a level of expertise, sophistication and prominence not easily obtained by smaller companies. To further understand the approach, take a look at some Zimtu equity holdings.


Meet the ZimtuADVANTAGE companies


92 Resources TSXV:NTY—Lithium in the NWT and Quebec, frac sand in B.C.

Metallurgy as well as field work make 92 Resources’ (TSXV:NTY) Hidden Lake hard rock lithium property a standout among early-stage projects. Grab samples from the highway-accessible location 40 kilometres east of Yellowknife have graded as high as 1.86% Li2O, while channel samples on pegmatite outcrops have reached up to 1.58% over 8.78 metres and 2.57% over 0.75 metres. There’s tantalum too, including a sample of 233 ppm Ta2O5 over 1 metre.

Phase I metallurgical tests, meanwhile, produced a high-grade concentrate of 6% to 6.5% Li2O, with recovery rates of 80% to 85% using conventional methods.

In eastern British Columbia, the company holds the Golden frac sand project next door to Northern Silica’s Moberly silica operation. 92 Resources also picked up three Quebec lithium properties. One of them yielded a 7.32% Li2O grab sample on an initial visit.

92 Resources began the new year by closing an oversubscribed private placement of $1.14 million.

Read an interview with 92 Resources CEO Adrian Lamoureux.


Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD—Diamonds in Finland, critical minerals in B.C.

The Timantti project attracted Arctic Star Exploration’s (TSXV:ADD) experienced team of diamond explorers to a mining-friendly Finnish region with enviable infrastructure and a geological shield hosting two world-class Russian mines. Previous work showed 111 microdiamonds from 52.7 metres of historically extracted core and another 58 from an 18.9-kilogram sample. In November the company began an ambitious program of geophysics, till sampling and drilling to extract a 500-kilogram core sample from each of two especially promising kimberlites.

Arctic Star’s other diamond interests include its drill-ready Stein project in Nunavut and the Diagras JV in the NWT’s Lac de Gras region. An intriguing departure from gemstones, however, is the company’s Cap property in B.C., home to an exceptionally rare carbonatite-syenite complex that offers potential for several commodities. Assays released last fall from sampling and a single drill hole showed “highly anomalous” niobium, rare earths and phosphate grades.

In late November the company closed oversubscribed private placements totalling $1.69 million.

Read an interview with Arctic Star chairperson Patrick Power.


Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA—Lithium in Nevada

Opportunities come calling as Zimtu Capital builds junior companies’ potential

Deep-sensing geophysics will follow
Belmont Resources’ 2017 drill campaign.

Sixty-five kilometres from Clayton Valley, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA sees encouraging signs of similar geology at its Kibby Basin lithium project. Beginning imminently will be an especially deep-sensing electromagnetics survey to help identify Phase II drill targets.

Last year’s two-hole program extracted core samples grading between 70 ppm and 200 ppm Li2O. Thirteen of 25 samples surpassed 100 ppm, “indicating that the sediments could be a potential source of lithium for the underlying aquifers.”

The company interprets gravity survey data to suggest a closed basin covering 400 hectares and reaching at least 1.5 kilometres in depth, sufficiently large to develop layers that could act as aquifers.

A more recent acquisition, the Mid Corner-Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick comes with historic, non-43-101 sample results for zinc, copper and cobalt. But it hasn’t seen modern geophysics. Belmont’s portfolio also includes a 50% interest in two Saskatchewan uranium properties.

The company closed an oversubscribed private placement of $312,200 In December.

Read an interview with Belmont Resources CFO/director Gary Musil.


Castle Silver Resources TSXV:CSR/Canada Cobalt Works—Cobalt in Ontario

Update: Effective February 23, 2018, Castle Silver Resources begins trading as Canada Cobalt Works TSXV:CCW.

Historically, high-grade silver was the attraction but the northern Ontario region of Cobalt got that name for a reason. It’s in and around that area that Castle Silver Resources TSXV:CSR—soon to be renamed Canada Cobalt Works—seeks one of the essential energy metals. Underground mini-bulk sampling at the company’s Castle flagship brought assays up to 3.1% cobalt. More assays are pending from last year’s sampling and 22-hole, 2,405-metre drill campaign at the former mine.

Eighty kilometres southeast, an initial program at the company’s Beaver project collected three hand-cobbed samples, all exceeding 4% cobalt with impressive nickel grades, silver and some gold.

In November Castle Silver signed a provisional milling agreement to locate a plant on its property to process material from Granada Gold Mine’s (TSXV:GGM) project about 200 kilometres away. Additionally Castle Silver sees potential in its Re-2OX proprietary metallurgical process to produce cobalt concentrate.

The company closed a private placement of $1.03 million in mid-January.


Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE—Rare earths in Quebec, tantalum-niobium in B.C.

Opportunities come calling as Zimtu Capital builds junior companies’ potential

Amid increasing concern about critical minerals supply,
Commerce Resources’ Ashram rare earths deposit
benefits from geology, metallurgy and location.

An advanced-stage rare earths project endowed with magnet feed elements, amenable to conventional processing and moving towards pre-feasibility in a mining-friendly province—that begins to describe Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram deposit in northern Quebec.

Obviously waiting for an update is the 2012 resource, which used a 1.25% cutoff for this near-surface deposit:

  • measured: 1.6 million tonnes averaging 1.77% total rare earth oxides and 7.7% CaF2

  • indicated: 28 million tonnes averaging 1.9% TREO and 5.9% CaF2

  • inferred: 220 million tonnes averaging 1.88% TREO and 4.5% CaF2

The company has sunk about 9,200 metres since then, hitting high grades within carbonatite host rocks containing minerals amenable to well-known processing methods. Showing a superior distribution of magnet feed REOs, Ashram’s metallurgical studies continue to streamline the flowsheet for a high-grade concentrate, also finding potential for a fluorspar byproduct. The REE-hungry world has noticed, with companies like Solvay, Mitsubishi, Treibacher, BASF, DKK, Albemarle, Blue Line and others requesting samples.

Turning to other critical minerals, Commerce’s Blue River/Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern B.C. reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

Read more about Commerce Resources.


Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO—Zinc in Spain, zinc and lithium in Brazil

An acquisitive nature could position this company to take part in zinc’s ascendency. In October Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO joined a 50/50 JV on the Plaza Norte property in northern Spain. The new turf hosts extensions of the past-producing Reocin mine, which gave up 62 million tonnes averaging 11% zinc and 1.4% lead up to 2003. Plaza Norte’s historic, non-43-101 drill results include 9.72% zinc over 18.96 metres and 7.05% over 8.2 metres. As project operator, Emerita has a review underway of the property’s extensive previous data. The company’s JV partner, the Aldesa Group, is a specialized construction and infrastructure firm operating globally.

In Brazil, Emerita holds a 100% option on the Litio project adjacent to the Companhia Brasileira de Litio lithium mine. Emerita’s initial field work has found pegmatite dykes similar to those next door. Other potential acquisitions include the Salobro zinc project in Brazil, along with Paymogo and Aznalcollar, two zinc properties in Spain.

Last month the company closed an oversubscribed private placement totalling $4.24 million, with funds earmarked for Plaza Norte and Salobro.


Georox Resources TSXV:GXR—Conventional oil and gas in western Canada

A non-binding LOI signed in December would bring Georox Resources TSXV:GXR a 16,146-hectare Saskatchewan acquisition with 97% oil production and an average working interest of 96.6%. Average daily net production estimates for the first nine months of last year came to 1,415 boe/d. “The oil pools have significant reactivation, waterflood implementation and infill drilling potential,” Georox stated. Subject to due diligence and approvals, the parties expect to consummate by the end of February for a price of $4.5 million.

The company offered a private placement earlier this month of up to $700,000.


Glance Technologies CSE:GET—Bringing the newest technology to consumer transactions

Connecting smartphone users with merchants and service providers, Glance Technologies’ (CSE:GET) Glance Pay system goes beyond fast payments to provide marketing, targeted coupons, customer feedback, in-merchant messaging, custom rewards and fraud protection.

At the forefront of blockchain developments, Glance Technologies earlier this month announced a definitive agreement with Cannabis Big Data Holdings to provide technology allowing marijuana retailers and producers to handle cryptocurrency transactions. That’s one example of licensing agreements with the cannabis, fitness and wellness, tourist and foreign student markets.

Late last month Glance Technologies closed a bought deal totalling $11.05 million, boosting the company’s treasury to over $17.4 million.


Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM—Q2 gold-copper production in B.C.

Opportunities come calling as Zimtu Capital builds junior companies’ potential

Having finished dewatering, Golden Dawn prepares to
restart underground operations at southern B.C.’s Lexington mine.

With trial mining set to begin within months, Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM seeks to revive southern B.C.’s historic Greenwood mining camp. The company holds a cluster of past-producers within 20 kilometres of its Greenwood mill, a 212-tpd facility expandable to 400 tpd that was built in 2007 and put on care and maintenance the following year. The local infrastructure’s condition inspires the company to enter production without de-risking at the feasibility level.

Top priority goes to Lexington, which produced 5,486 ounces of gold, 3,247 ounces of silver and 860,259 pounds of copper in 2008. Two other frontrunners are the Golden Crown gold-copper project and May Mac silver-gold-polymetallic project, both nearby former mines that underwent drilling last year. Meanwhile Golden Dawn continues to expand its portfolio, both in the Greenwood area and farther north.

The company’s most recent financing closed this month on $337,500.

Read more about Golden Dawn Minerals.


Kapuskasing Gold TSXV:KAP—Newfoundland copper and zinc

The property’s first drill program since the 1960s barely whetted Kapuskasing Gold’s (TSXV:KAP) appetite for copper exploration at its Lady Pond flagship in northern Newfoundland. Now backed by new intel, the company plans to return for another attack this year. An historic, non-43-101 estimate gives the project’s Sterling prospect about one million tonnes averaging 1% copper that’s open in all directions. Grab samples released in October showed up to 9.03% copper for the Twin Pond prospect, 7.19% copper for Sterling and 1.54% copper with cobalt and silver for the Lady Pond prospect.

Located 94 kilometres by road from a Rambler Mining and Metals TSXV:RAB base metals mill, the Lady Pond project can be reached by logging roads and ATV.

On Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula, Kapuskasing picked up the Daniel’s Harbour property, host to the former Teck mine that produced around seven million tonnes averaging 7.8% zinc from 1975 to 1990. The past-producer’s Mississippi Valley Type deposit suggests the potential for additional resources appearing in clusters.

While in the Great Northern Peninsula, Kapuskasing staked another 1,625 hectares to move in on the burgeoning Gunners Cove gold area play. The company closed private placements totalling $115,000 in August, following a $201,200 placement that closed in June.

Read an interview with Kapuskasing president/CEO Jon Armes.


King’s Bay Resources TSXV:KBG—Nickel-cobalt in Labrador, copper-cobalt in Newfoundland

An unexpected benefit of the new Trans-Labrador Highway was recognized by a prospector who sampled roadside copper and cobalt with some nickel and silver. King’s Bay Resources TSXV:KBG moved onto the virgin turf with a more systematic field program, airborne VTEM and last autumn’s initial two-hole program. Although collared over 150 metres apart, each hole found mineralization over wide intercepts, encouraging plans for further drilling following geostatistical and structural analysis.

Meanwhile Phase I field work at the company’s Trump Island project in northern Newfoundland collected 15 grab samples, four of them grading over 1% copper and between 272.3 ppm and 1,213.6 ppm cobalt. One sample underwent an additional ore grade analysis, showing 6.07% copper, 300 ppm cobalt and 14.4 ppm silver. Follow-up exploration is slated for spring.

King’s Bay offered a $250,000 private placement in September that followed financings that closed on $402,000 the previous month.


MGX Minerals CSE:XMG—Commodities and technology for energy and industry

As if trying to fuel the energy revolution single-handedly, MGX Minerals CSE:XMG holds a portfolio bursting with nearly three dozen projects. In Alberta and Utah the company counts 20 lithium properties in the exploration state and two more undergoing well-testing. B.C. properties include three silicon projects and eight magnesium projects. Unsated, in November the company opened a satellite office in Chile to evaluate opportunities there.

Some project highlights include the Driftwood Creek magnesium property in B.C., now moving towards a preliminary economic assessment. Paradox Basin in Utah has exploration underway for oil, gas, lithium and other brine minerals. A 2,000-metre drill program has just begun at the company’s 20%-held Case Lake lithium project in Ontario, following a recently completed 5,400-metre campaign.

Among a number of technological developments, MGX claims a breakthrough for zinc-air flow batteries by avoiding dendrite damage, “the single most significant hurdle” in the batteries’ development. With its subsidiary ZincNyx Energy Solutions, the company’s now working on final commercial design for mass production of its scalable 20 kWh zinc-air mass storage battery.

On another technological front, MGX partners with its 46%-held PurLucid Treatment Solutions on a patented process for brine treatment and selective lithium recovery.

Activity like that doesn’t come cheap. In December MGX closed private placements totalling $12.9 million. The previous month MGX and PurLucid won federal/provincial grants totalling up to $8.2 million for their oilpatch water treatment system.


Mountain Boy Minerals TSXV:MTB—Exploring the treasures of B.C.’s Golden Triangle

Opportunities come calling as Zimtu Capital builds junior companies’ potential

Rugged but rich terrain attracts Mountain
Boy Minerals to B.C.’s Golden Triangle.

With a stake in several northwestern B.C. properties, Mountain Boy Minerals TSXV:MTB took part in two joint-ventured drill programs last year, along with geophysics on two 100%-held properties. Results so far from the company’s 35%-held Red Cliff gold project show high grades over wide intervals as drilling followed a mineralized system over two kilometres. More assays are pending from the 51-hole program.

Another 14 holes went into Mountain Boy’s 20%-held Silver Coin, hitting high-grade gold and finding a new gold zone. Again, the company’s awaiting further lab results. A 2011 resource gives the project measured and indicated totals of 842,416 ounces gold, 4.46 million ounces silver and 91.2 million pounds zinc. The inferred numbers come to 813,273 ounces gold, 6.7 million ounces silver and 128 million pounds zinc.

Moving closer to the drill stage are two contiguous 100%-held silver-base metals projects, BA and Surprise Creek. Trench assays from late 2016 suggest polymetallic promise with high-grade zinc as well as silver and lead. Following previous drilling, metallurgical tests produced a barite concentrate that exceeds industry standards for this mineral essential to oil and gas exploration.

Mountain Boy offered a private placement of up to $300,000 in October.

Read an interview with Mountain Boy Minerals chairperson René Bernard.


ParcelPal Technology CSE:PKG—Online shopping with fast delivery

Opportunities come calling as Zimtu Capital builds junior companies’ potential

ParcelPal’s “Get Anything functionality” adds
fast delivery to shop-by-phone transactions.

Order via smartphone app and get quick delivery at home, work or elsewhere—that’s the disruption ParcelPal Technology CSE:PKG brings to merchants and courier services. Retail, liquor and especially restaurants are currently the partner businesses as ParcelPal expands throughout the Greater Vancouver region. The company says its “Get Anything functionality” allows consumers to “order virtually anything and have it delivered in an hour or less.”

Just six months in operation, the company sees positive business and consumer response, with 3,000 app downloads in October and November, and repeat clients. Future goals include expansion in other major Canadian cities, and eventually the U.S. and abroad.

ParcelPal closed an oversubscribed private placement of $1.65 million in mid-January.


Rockcliff Metals TSXV:RCLF—A gold-VMS camp in Manitoba

It might be said that Rockcliff Metals TSXV:RCLF picks up where Hudbay Minerals TSX:HBM leaves off. Rockcliff assembled its portfolio largely by acquiring non-core Hudbay assets in Manitoba’s Flin Flon-Snow Lake region. As a result Rockcliff holds interests in five gold projects, two copper-polymetallic deposits with resource estimates and three zinc deposits with historic, non-43-101 estimates. All lie within trucking distance of two Hudbay processing facilities.

With three projects active last year, Rockcliff updated its Talbot resource in December, announcing an inferred 150 million pounds copper, 130.4 million pounds zinc, 241,000 ounces gold and 3.8 million ounces silver that’s open in all directions.

Recent stepout drilling brought high-grade zinc results from Bur, moving the project from historic towards 43-101 resource stage. Currently the non-43-101 numbers show an indicated 1.05 million tonnes averaging 8.6% zinc and 1.9% copper, along with an inferred 302,000 tonnes averaging 9% zinc and 1.4% copper, as well as some silver and gold.

Polymetallic VMS isn’t Snow Lake’s only attraction. Among Rockcliff’s gold properties is the former Laguna mine, where induced polarization and resistivity found 17 anomalies over a trend that hasn’t been drilled since 1944.

In August Rockcliff closed an oversubscribed private placement of $1.35 million.

Read more about Rockcliff Metals here and here.


Saville Resources TSXV:SRE—Niobium-tantalum in Quebec

Strong sample grades with an outstanding 5.9% niobium pentoxide enticed Saville Resources TSXV:SRE onto Commerce Resources’ Eldor property earlier this month. While the latter company focuses on bringing its rare earths project to pre-feasibility, Saville took on a 75% earn-in on the Eldor niobium claims, enthusiastic about their potential for critical minerals.

Out of 64 samples collected by Commerce, 40 exceeded 0.5% Nb2O5, 16 of them surpassing 1%. Assays also showed significant tantalum, phosphate and rare earths numbers. Among previous drill results were 0.46% Nb2O5 over 46.88 metres and 0.55% over 26.1 metres (including 0.78% over 10.64 metres).

Results also show niobium-tantalum occurring within the mineral pyrochlore, the world’s dominant source for those critical elements. Eldor’s pyrochlore shows a relatively course grain size, a positive prognosis for metallurgy.

At Saville’s other northern Quebec asset, Covette’s sampling and geophysics show potential for base and precious metals.

In December the company offered private placements totalling up to $500,000.

Read more about Saville Resources.


Voltaic Minerals TSXV:VLT—Lithium from brine and from wastewater too

Voltaic Minerals TSXV:VLT sees three key distinctions to its Green Energy lithium project in Utah. A review of extensive historic oil and gas exploration data indicates the property’s brine to be over-saturated with 40% minerals in 60% water, suggesting potential for a wide range of minerals. The brine also faces immense pressure and high temperature, two factors that would aid extraction. The 1,683-hectare property has proximity to road, rail and power.

But apart from the Green Energy project, Voltaic takes another approach to sourcing lithium. The company has engaged Whittier Filtration, a division of global leader Veolia Water Technologies, to develop marketable processes for extracting lithium from wastewater taken from commercial and industrial sites. The companies expect to report bench scale tests soon.

Critical Quebec commodities

January 11th, 2018

Saville Resources moves into Commerce Resources’ niobium-tantalum target

by Greg Klein

A rare metal find on a property hosting a rare earths deposit becomes a project of its own under a new agreement between two companies. With a 75% earn-in, Saville Resources TSXV:SRE can now explore the niobium claims on Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Eldor property in northern Quebec, where the latter company advances its Ashram rare earths deposit towards pre-feasibility.

Saville Resources moves into Commerce Resources’ niobium-tantalum target

A map illustrates the mineralized boulder
train’s progress, showing its presumed source.

Grab samples collected by Commerce on a boulder train about a kilometre from the deposit brought assays up to 5.9% Nb2O5. “That’s right off the charts,” enthuses Saville president Mike Hodge. “People in the niobium space hope for 1%—5.9% is excellent.”

He’s no newcomer to the space or even to the property. Hodge helped stake Commerce’s tantalum-niobium deposit on southern British Columbia’s Blue River property, which reached PEA in 2011.

“I did a lot of the groundwork for Commerce in the Valemount-Blue River area and I was one of the first guys on the ground at the camp that now supports Ashram,” he points out. “I’ve been involved with these two properties since 1999.” That’s part of a career including field experience on over 25 projects as well as raising money for junior explorers.

Miranna’s grab samples brought tantalum too, with a significant 1,220 ppm Ta2O5. Forty of the 65 samples graded over 0.5% Nb2O5, with 16 of them surpassing 1%.

The company describes the sampling area as a “strongly mineralized boulder train with a distinct geophysical anomaly at its apex.”

The 980-hectare Eldor Niobium claims have also undergone drilling on the Northwest and Southeast zones, where some wide intervals gave up 0.46% Nb2O5 over 46.88 metres and 0.55% over 26.1 metres (including 0.78% over 10.64 metres).

Samples from Miranna and the Southeast zone also show that niobium-tantalum occurs within pyrochlore, described by Saville as the dominant source mineral for niobium and tantalum in global mining. That’s the case, for example, at Quebec’s Niobec mine, one of the world’s three main niobium producers, with 8% to 10% of global production. Moreover, pyrochlore on the Saville project “is commonly visible to the naked eye, thus indicating a relatively course grain size, which is a favourable attribute for metallurgical recovery,” the company added.

Hodge already has a prospective drill target in mind. “I pulled the rig around with a Cat for a lot of the holes on Ashram itself so I’m very familiar with the ground. We’d of course do more prospecting and try to prove up some more numbers while we’re drilling.”

Saville Resources moves into Commerce Resources’ niobium-tantalum target

Should Saville find success, a ready market would be waiting. The company cites niobium demand growth forecasts of 7.66% CAGR from 2017 to 2021. A December U.S. Geological Survey report lists niobium and tantalum among 23 minerals critical to American security and well-being.

The country relies on foreign exports for its entire supply of both minerals, according to an earlier USGS study. From 2012 to 2015, 80% of America’s total niobium imports came from Brazil, where one mine alone produces 85% to 90% of global supply. Looking at tantalum imports during that period, the U.S. relied on China for 37% and Kazakhstan for another 25%. A troubling source of tantalum remains the Democratic Republic of Congo, from where conflict minerals reach Western markets through murky supply chains.

Days after the USGS released its December study, American president Donald Trump ordered a federal strategy “to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals.” Although he emphasized the need for domestic deposits and supply chains, Trump also called for “options for accessing and developing critical minerals through investment and trade with our allies and partners.”

Meanwhile Saville also sees potential in Covette, the company’s other northern Quebec property. Historic, non-43-101 grab samples reported up to 4.7% molybdenum, with some bismuth, lead, silver and copper. A 1,402-line-kilometre VTEM survey in late 2016 found prospectivity for base and precious metals. “The VTEM and some sampling that we did indicates that drilling could find something valuable,” Hodge says. “Although it is early-stage, the Geotech guys that did the VTEM survey said they hadn’t seen targets like that all year.”

Still, “the niobium claims are my first priority,” Hodge emphasizes. “I’m very excited about this. I believe we can have a winning project here.”

Subject to approvals, a 75% interest in the new property would call for $25,000 on signing, another $225,000 on closing and $5 million in work over five years. Commerce retains a 1% or 2% NSR, depending on the claim, with Saville holding a buyback option.

Last month the company offered private placements totalling up to $500,000, with insiders intending to participate.

Read more about the U.S. critical minerals strategy.

New research suggests further metallurgical advantages to Commerce Resources’ Quebec rare earths deposit

December 6th, 2017

by Greg Klein | December 6, 2017

An advanced rare earths project with relatively simple mineralogy could benefit from an even more efficient process of separating wheat from chaff. A paper presented at a Cape Town technical conference last month explains how Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram deposit could increase recovery to over 50% rare earth oxides through flotation alone. Previous tests on two flowsheets have already produced concentrates grading more than 45% REO as the northern Quebec project moves towards pre-feasibility.

New research suggests further metallurgical advantages to Commerce Resources’ Quebec rare earths deposit

An even simpler process could produce higher-grade
concentrate from Commerce Resources’ Ashram deposit.

Delivered to the Flotation ’17 conference, the paper titled Flotation of Rare Earth Minerals from Fluorite by pH-Shift was written by lead author Gerhard Merker of Merker Mineral Processing, with Ashram project manager Darren Smith and Henning Morgenroth of UVR-FIA. The study based its findings on work conducted for Ashram at UVR-FIA in Germany.

“The key to this success was the discovery of the significant role of pH in the separation of rare earth minerals from fluorite as well as various carbonates,” stated Commerce. “Without such a separation, a mineral concentrate at appreciable recovery could not exceed 20% REO using flotation alone. As such, a multi-stage flotation technique comprising milling and sizing, high solids conditioning and a controlled pH-shift, which is not conventionally applied to REE [material], was developed…. In terms of the Ashram deposit, the technique continues to hold significant promise as an alternative processing approach.”

Ashram remains one of the world’s few advanced projects capable of upgrading its whole rock to a high-grade concentrate similar to that of current REE producers, the company added. The carbonatite-based deposit features the minerals monazite, bastnasite and xenotime, all familiar to conventional processing. Ashram also hosts a strong distribution of the critical elements neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium.

While Commerce wrapped up its summer-fall field program in October, an assay lab continues to work through core from a 14-hole, 2,014-metre drill program intended to increase and upgrade the project’s 2012 resource. In addition to Ashram’s field work, metallurgical studies and project planning, Commerce has been investigating early-stage niobium-tantalum-phosphate potential on the Miranna area about one kilometre away.

Looking at its advanced tantalum-niobium deposit in southern British Columbia, Commerce signed an MOU in July to test a one-tonne sample from its Blue River project for a proprietary method of processing.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Quebec acquisition brings Saville Resources precious, base and rare metals prospectivity

November 27th, 2017

by Greg Klein | November 27, 2017

A flurry of updates shows a new project, new faces and new financing for a rejuvenated Saville Resources TSXV:SRE. The company now moves into Quebec’s James Bay region by taking on the 3,370-hectare Covette property. Although it’s seen limited exploration so far, Covette underwent a 1,402-line-kilometre VTEM survey late last year, along with prospecting and sampling this year. The coincidence of EM conductors with magnetic highs suggests prospectivity for base and precious metals, the company reported. This year’s field program included pegmatite sampling for evidence of lithium.

Quebec acquisition brings Saville Resources precious, base and rare metals prospectivity

Of two historic, non-43-101 grab samples, one returned 4.7% molybdenum, 0.73% bismuth, 0.09% lead and 6 g/t silver; while the other showed 1.2 g/t silver and 0.18% copper.

An underlying greenstone belt could offer base and precious metals potential as well as pegmatite-hosted lithium and tantalum. “Komatiites have also been described in the region, with such rock types known to host significant nickel-copper massive sulphide deposits at other localities globally,” the company stated.

Covette lies just 10 kilometres north of the all-weather Trans-Taiga road, which runs parallel to the LG-3 transmission line.

Pending TSXV approval, Saville gets the property by paying Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC $350,000.

Additionally, Saville announced Michael Hodge’s appointment as president/CEO/director. Having started his career in 1999 on the staking program for Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Blue River tantalum-niobium project in British Columbia, Hodge has field experience on over 25 exploration projects as well as success in raising capital for junior miners.

Jody Bellefleur joins Saville as CFO, bringing over 20 years’ experience as a corporate accountant for the sector.

Saville also announced a private placement of up to $270,000. The company closed an $857,300 placement in July. Among other updates, Saville settled $219,000 in debt by issuing shares and warrants that would represent 18.7% of the company’s outstanding shares.

Commerce Resources closes season on Quebec quest for rare earths and rare metals

October 11th, 2017

by Greg Klein | October 11, 2017

With this year’s field program now complete, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE reports progress on a Quebec property hosting both advanced and early-stage projects. The bulk of the work brings the Eldor property’s Ashram rare earths deposit closer to pre-feasibility. About one kilometre east of Ashram, meanwhile, the company has Eldor’s Miranna target under scrutiny for its niobium-tantalum-phosphate potential.

Commerce Resources closes season on Quebec quest for rare earths and rare metals

Core from a 14-hole, 2,014-metre infill
campaign now makes its way to the lab.

Renewing anticipation of Ashram assay results, the team sent 1,256 core samples from last year’s drilling to the lab. The 14-hole, 2,014-metre program focused on definition drilling of the carbonatite-based deposit featuring the minerals monazite, bastnasite and xenotime, all familiar to conventional REE processing. The deposit also features a strong distribution of the critical elements neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium.

Using a 1.25% cutoff, Ashram’s 2012 resource showed:

  • 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

Nine composite core samples will be tested to determine rock geomechanical characteristics to aid design of the processing plant. “Initial comminution testing indicates that the Ashram material is relatively soft, which directly correlates to lower energy consumption during the crushing and grinding process, where often the bulk of a mining operation’s energy is consumed,” the company stated. Other work included downloading data from an on-site weather station, as well as from lake and downhole instruments.

As for early-stage work, the crew collected 36 samples that largely targeted the Miranna area. Observing significant niobium-tantalum mineralization on surface, the team identified overlapping mineralized boulder trains that appear to end in the same area, increasing Miranna’s potential, Commerce added. Samples taken last year graded as high as 5.9% niobium pentoxide, with impressive tantalum, phosphate and rare earths numbers as well.

In southern British Columbia the company also has tantalum-niobium at its Blue River deposit, which reached PEA in 2011. Commerce signed an MOU in July to test a one-tonne sample for a proprietary method of processing.

Another MOU would have Ucore Rare Metals TSXV:UCU test a selective separation process on Ashram material. Samples have already undergone favourable metallurgical tests at a Colorado facility.

Hoping to bring clean, cost-effective energy to northern Quebec, Commerce also has an MOU with TUGLIQ Energy to determine Eldor’s potential for wind-generated electricity.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Commerce Resources president Chris Grove relays comments about American military dependence on rival countries

October 6th, 2017

…Read more

Crucial commodities

September 8th, 2017

Price/supply concerns draw end-users to Commerce Resources’ rare earths-tantalum-niobium projects

by Greg Klein

“One of the things that really galls me is that the F-35 is flying around with over 900 pounds of Chinese REEs in it.”

That typifies some of the remarks Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE president Chris Grove hears from end-users of rare earths and rare metals. Steeply rising prices for magnet feed REEs and critical minerals like tantalum—not to mention concern about stable, geopolitically friendly sources—have brought even greater interest in the company’s two advanced projects, the Ashram rare earths deposit in northern Quebec and the Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia. Now Commerce has a list of potential customers and processors waiting for samples from both properties.


F-35 fighter jets alongside the USS America:
Chinese rare earths in action.
(Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Of course with China supplying over 90% of the world’s REEs, governments and industries in many countries have cause for concern. Tantalum moves to market through sometimes disturbingly vague supply lines, with about 37% of last year’s production coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo and 32% from Rwanda, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. One company in Brazil, Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM), produces about 85% of the world’s niobium, another critical mineral.

As Ashram moves towards pre-feasibility, Commerce has a team busy getting a backlog of core to the assay lab. But tantalum and niobium, the original metals of interest for Commerce, have returned to the fore as well, with early-stage exploration on the Quebec property and metallurgical studies on the B.C. deposit.

The upcoming assays will come from 14 holes totalling 2,014 metres sunk last year, mostly definition drilling. Initial geological review and XRF data suggest significant intervals in several holes, including a large stepout to the southeast, Grove’s team reports.

“We’re always excited to see this project’s drilling results,” he says. “We know we’re in carbonatite basically all of the time and over the last five years, in all the 9,200 metres we’ve done since the last resource calculation, we’ve basically always hit more material than was modelled in the original resource—i.e. we’ve always found less waste rock at surface, we’ve always hit material in the condemnation holes and we’ve always had intersections of higher-grade material. So all those things look exciting for this program.”

Carbonatite comprises a key Ashram distinction. The deposit sits within carbonatite host rock and the minerals monazite, bastnasite and xenotime, which are well understood in commercial REE processing. That advantage distinguishes Ashram from REE hopefuls that foundered over mineralogical challenges. Along with resource size, mineralogy has Grove confident of Ashram’s potential as a low-cost producer competing with China.

As for size, a 2012 resource used a 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

A near-surface—sometimes at-surface—deposit, Ashram also features strong distribution of neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium, all critical elements and some especially costly. Neodymium and dysprosium prices have shot up 80% this year.


Commerce Resources’ field crew poses at the Eldor property,
home to the Ashram deposit and Miranna prospect.

Comparing Ashram’s inferred gross tonnage of nearly 220 million tonnes with the measured and indicated total of less than 30 million tonnes, Grove sees considerable potential to bolster the M&I as well as increase the resource’s overall size and average grade.

This season’s field program includes prospecting in the Miranna area about a kilometre from the deposit. Miranna was the site of 2015 boulder sampling that brought “spectacular” niobium grades up to 5.9% Nb2O5, nearly twice the average grade of the world’s largest producer, CBMM’s Araxá mine, Grove says. Some tantalum standouts showed 1,220 ppm and 1,040 ppm Ta2O5. Significant results for phosphate and rare earth oxides were also apparent.

Should Miranna prove drill-worthy, the synergies with Ashram would be obvious.

That’s the early-stage aspect of Commerce’s tantalum-niobium work. In B.C. the company’s Blue River deposit reached PEA in 2011, with a resource update in 2013. Based on a tantalum price of $381 per kilo, the estimate showed:

  • indicated: 48.41 million tonnes averaging 197 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,610 ppm Nb2O5 for 9.56 million kilograms Ta2O5 and 77.81 kilograms Nb2O5

  • inferred: 5.4 million tonnes averaging 191 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,760 ppm Nb2O5 for 1 million kilograms Ta2O5 and 9.6 million kilograms Nb2O5

Actually that should be 1,300 kilograms less. That’s the size of a sample on its way to Estonia for evaluation by Alexander Krupin, an expert in processing high-grade tantalum and niobium concentrates. “As with Ashram, we’ve already found that standard processing works well for Blue River,” Grove points out. “However, if Krupin’s proprietary method proves even more efficient, why wouldn’t we look at it?”

We’re always excited to see this project’s drilling results. We know we’re in carbonatite basically all of the time and over the last five years, in all the 9,200 metres we’ve done since the last resource calculation, we’ve basically always hit more material than was modelled in the original resource.—Chris Grove,
president of Commerce Resources

Back to rare earths, Commerce signed an MOU with Ucore Rare Metals TSXV:UCU to assess Ashram material for a proprietary method of selective processing. Others planning to test proprietary techniques on Ashram include Texas Mineral Resources and K-Technologies, Rare Earth Salts, Innovation Metals Corp, the University of Tennessee and NanoScience Solutions at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

Should proprietary methods work, all the better, Grove states. But he emphasizes that standard metallurgical tests have already succeeded, making a cheaper process unnecessary for both Blue River and Ashram.

Potential customers show interest too. Concentrate sample requests have come from Solvay, Mitsubishi, Treibacher, BASF, DKK, Albemarle, Blue Line and others covered by non-disclosure agreements. Requests have also come for samples of fluorspar, a potential Ashram byproduct and another mineral subject to rising prices and Chinese supply dominance.

A solid expression of interest came from the province too, as Ressources Québec invested $1 million in a February private placement. The provincial government corporation describes itself as focusing “on projects that have good return prospects and foster Quebec’s economic development.”

Also fostering the mining-friendly jurisdiction’s economic development is Plan Nord, which has pledged $1.3 billion to infrastructure over five years. The provincial road to Renard helped make Stornoway Diamond’s (TSX:SWY) mine a reality. Other projects that would benefit from a road extension towards Ashram would be Lac Otelnuk, located 80 kilometres south. The Sprott Resource Holdings TSX:SRHI/WISCO JV holds Canada’s largest iron ore deposit. Some projects north of Ashram include the Kan gold-base metals project of Barrick Gold TSX:ABX and Osisko Mining TSX:OSK, as well as properties held by Midland Exploration TSXV:MD.

But, Grove says, it’s rising prices and security of supply that have processors and end-users metaphorically beating a path to his company’s door. And maybe nothing demonstrates the criticality of critical minerals better than a nearby superpower that relies on a geopolitical rival for commodities essential to national defence.

Commerce Resources signs MOU for tantalum-niobium processing

July 11th, 2017

by Greg Klein | July 11, 2017

While focused on its Ashram rare earths deposit in Quebec, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE has plans for its other critical minerals project. Under a memorandum of understanding announced July 11, a one-tonne sample from the company’s Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit in British Columbia would be tested for suitability under a proprietary separation process developed in Estonia by Alexander Krupin.

Commerce Resources signs MOU for tantalum-niobium processing

Previous drilling has established a resource estimate for two
critical minerals on Commerce Resources’ Upper Fir deposit.

The sample should arrive within the next several weeks, with tests expected to begin immediately afterward. The goal would be to process Upper Fir feed stock into independent tantalum and niobium products.

Krupin’s background includes over 35 years in this area, including more than 15 years processing high-grade tantalum and niobium ore concentrates, Commerce stated. “His research activities have developed new technologies for the chemical upgrading of low-grade tantalum and niobium ore concentrates.”

Based on a tantalum price of $381 a kilo, Upper Fir has a 2013 resource showing:

  • indicated: 48.41 million tonnes averaging 197 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,610 ppm Nb2O5 for 9,560 tonnes Ta2O5 and 77,810 tonnes Nb2O5

  • inferred: 5.4 million tonnes averaging 191 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,760 ppm Nb2O5 for 1,000 tonnes Ta2O5 and 9,600 tonnes Nb2O5

The road-accessible east-central B.C. project has transmission lines and CN Rail crossing the western part of the 105,373-hectare property, and a 20-MW run-of-river electricity facility situated adjacently.

Commerce has found niobium in Quebec too, where samples showed very high grades up to 5.9% Nb2O5 on the company’s property about a kilometre from Ashram. Nevertheless the advanced-stage rare earths deposit remains the company’s priority, as it advances towards pre-feasibility. Among Ashram’s features are high grades, an impressive distribution of magnet feed elements and, crucial to the REE space, relatively simple mineralogy amenable to commercial processing. The deposit shows potential for a fluorspar byproduct as well.

Last month Commerce signed an MOU with Ucore Rare Metals TSXV:UCU to assess the suitability of Ashram concentrate for a proprietary method of REE processing at a plant Ucore plans to build in Utah. A Colorado pilot plant has already produced an Ashram concentrate exceeding 45% rare earth oxides at about 75% recovery.

The U.S. Geological Survey lists tantalum, niobium and rare earths among the critical minerals that the United States depends entirely on imports.

Read more about Commerce Resources’ Ashram rare earths deposit.

Linking the chain

June 9th, 2017

The REE world comes together at the Argus Americas Rare Earths Summit

by Greg Klein

What’s the rarest distinction of rare earths—economic deposits, expertise outside China or public awareness of our dependence on these critical metals? Those are concerns crucial to our society and among topics to be discussed as over 100 industry experts and insiders meet in San Diego from June 12 to 14. The event is the Argus Americas Rare Earths Summit 2017 and, with certain geopolitical circumstances looming in the background, this year’s conference might be especially auspicious.

The REE world comes together at the Argus Americas Rare Earths Summit

The San Diego conference scrutinizes several
rare earths topics from a variety of perspectives.

The gathering brings together end users, miners/processors, researchers/consultants and traders, as well as some investors and U.S. government reps. Topics will include supply and demand, the challenges of building non-Chinese supply chains, new developments in recovery and processing, and the potential for new production outside China.

Japanese and European markets get special attention, as does this continent. The North American session will examine the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency’s analytical techniques, rare earths stockpile and R&D programs. The session will also address Donald Trump’s impact on international trade, as well as the METALS Act, a proposed bill to provide government support for domestic sources of critical minerals.

The fate of that Congressional bill could indicate how well American lawmakers understand American dependence on China—and for minerals essential not only to the economy, medicine and green energy, but also to military defence. Those issues should also be understood by the wider populace, believes keynote speaker David S. Abraham.

Author of The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age, Abraham emphasizes the dubious origins of some necessary commodities, along with their complex and often fragile supply chains.

Companies will be on hand too. Just a few examples include vertically integrated giants Albemarle Corp and Treibacher Industrie, RE supplier HEFA Rare Earth Canada, Burundi miner-to-be Rainbow Rare Earths, along with Canadian advanced-stage RE juniors Matamec Explorations TSXV:MAT and Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE.

Presentations, panels, roundtables and networking—not to mention some conviviality at a brewery tour—portend a valuable three days. This could mark another step towards building vitally important supply chains for vitally important metals. For more information….