Tuesday 28th February 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘Commerce Resources Corp (CCE)’

Province of Quebec invests in Commerce Resources’ Ashram rare earths project

February 17th, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 17, 2017

With potential customers waiting for rare earths concentrate samples, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE closed a $1.71-million private placement on February 17 that included $1 million from Ressources Québec. A subsidiary of the provincial government corporation Investissement Québec, Ressources Québec “focuses on projects that have good return prospects and foster Québec’s economic development,” the organization says. “Its role is complementary to private funders.”

We are excited to have the support of the Quebec government with this investment from Ressources Québec. The province of Quebec continues to prove that it is one of the most attractive jurisdictions to develop a mineral project. —Chris Grove,
president of Commerce Resources

“We are excited to have the support of the Quebec government with this investment from Ressources Québec,” Commerce president Chris Grove stated. “The province of Quebec continues to prove that it is one of the most attractive jurisdictions to develop a mineral project. We are excited to be advancing our Ashram project with this financing.”

The private placement will be used to complete the project’s pilot plant, to produce samples of REE and fluorite concentrates, and for general working capital. Among companies requesting REE samples are Solvay, Mitsubishi, Treibacher, BASF, DKK, Albemarle and Blue Line.

The money comes in addition to a three-year, $300,000 environmental grant from the province to optimize tailings management.

Ashram’s high-grade, near-surface deposit benefits from relatively simple metallurgy, suggesting a potentially low-cost operation with an impressive distribution of magnet feed elements. Now moving towards pre-feas, the project reached PEA in 2012.

Commerce also holds the Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Pistol Bay Mining appoints Jody Dahrouge to advisory board

February 14th, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 14, 2017

Geologist Jody Dahrouge has joined Pistol Bay Mining TSXV:PST as an adviser, the company announced February 14. With a CV spanning over a quarter of a century in Canada and abroad, he brings a successful background in base metals, industrial minerals, rare metals and uranium exploration.

Pistol Bay Mining appoints Jody Dahrouge to advisory board

Jody Dahrouge

As president of Dahrouge Geological Consulting, he and his staff have worked with a broad range of exploration and mining companies. Until 2007, Dahrouge served as president/COO of Fission Energy, a predecessor of Fission Uranium TSX:FCU. While there he played a key role in the acquisition of Waterbury Lake and Patterson Lake South, both of which yielded significant discoveries. Dahrouge has also served as a director and VP of exploration for Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE since 2000.

“We are excited to be able to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of Mr. Dahrouge and look forward to working with him,” said Pistol Bay CEO Charles Desjardins.

Last month the company outlined plans for a regional and multi-disciplinary exploration approach to its Confederation Lake portfolio, the largest land package in the western Ontario greenstone belt. Pistol Bay expects to file a 43-101 technical report on Confederation Lake’s Arrow zone by mid-March.

In Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin, the company holds the C4, C5 and C6 uranium properties, now being drilled by a Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO subsidiary as it advances towards its 100% option.

Read more about Pistol Bay Mining.

The Ashram advantage

January 30th, 2017

Commerce Resources prepares for a rare earths paradigm shift

by Greg Klein

The appeal to Western markets is obvious—an advanced, low-cost rare earths project in a friendly jurisdiction. So even before the recent military build-up in the South China Sea, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE experienced an increase in American requests for concentrate samples from its northern Quebec Ashram deposit. With the U.S. Navy now challenging Chinese territorial aggression, the confrontation seems to pit two superpowers against each other. But what does that really indicate?

It’s actually “one lonely small old Russian-built carrier against three U.S. Nimitz-class supercarriers,” Commerce president Chris Grove points out. “So when Beijing says it’s going to take off the gloves, I think they’re referring to trade.”

Commerce Resources prepares for a rare earths paradigm shift

That brings to mind the Senkaku incident, a much smaller 2010 confrontation in the same region that prompted China to cut off rare earths exports to Japan, sending global supply chains into turmoil and prices soaring. A possible Senkaku redux is one of a number of aspects to a global paradigm shift that Grove sees coming, to the benefit of Western industry in general and Ashram in particular.

The U.S. might easily outgun China, but China produces about 90% of the world’s rare earths. They’re essential to several defence needs, “a fact that really drives certain people in the U.S. absolutely apoplectic,” says Grove.

While Westerners have struggled to compete with China on costs, prices mean little to the U.S. Department of Defense, which last year began putting money behind potential domestic processors, Grove says. That support complements a multi-faceted advantage that the West is gaining over China, he explains. The latter country struggles with rising labour costs and the need to finally address its environmental woes. Meanwhile Western countries offset their labour costs with technological innovation and maintain the world’s highest environmental standards.

Even putting aside defence, demand for rare earths continues to grow with another global development. The international commitment to address climate change through clean energy, exemplified by the Paris Agreement, increases rare earths demand for numerous applications ranging from EVs to wind turbines.

In a research report last year, Chris Berry noted that “REE usage continues to grow at a pace well above global GDP growth with demand CAGRs growing anywhere from 4% to 8%, with permanent magnet demand forecast to lead this charge to 2020.”

Commerce Resources prepares for a rare earths paradigm shift

Ashram has undergone another 9,200 metres since
its resource estimate, often hitting even higher grades.

Clearly there’s a market for non-Chinese sources. And Grove sees Ashram uniquely positioned to help serve that market. Certainly others have failed but, he emphasizes, they lacked Ashram’s benefits of mineralogy, metallurgy, grade and jurisdiction—all of which add up to lower costs.

The project reached PEA in 2012, with an amended PEA in 2015. Since then the company’s been busy on multiple fronts as it advances towards pre-feasibility.

Ashram’s advantage begins with its relatively simple mineralogy, with carbonatite host rock and rare earths within the minerals monazite, bastnasite and xenotime, which dominate commercial REE processing.

Pilot plant metallurgical tests have quadrupled the PEA’s concentrate grade, producing 41% total rare earth oxides and 43% TREO, both at 71% recovery. That puts the grade well within the range of commercial producers and does so through a single-leach process that simplifies the flowsheet.

Requests for concentrate samples have come from Solvay, Mitsubishi, Treibacher, BASF, DKK, Albemarle and Blue Line, among others covered by non-disclosure agreements.

Metallurgy has also found a potential fluorspar byproduct, offering an advantage to both revenue and opex. Grove credits Glencore Canada’s interest in fluorspar with the willingness of its NorFalco Sales division to supply Commerce with sulphuric acid on highly favourable terms.

Proud as he is of Ashram’s high-grade, near-surface resource, Grove anticipates an even more impressive upgrade. The current estimate uses 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

Commerce has since drilled another 9,200 metres, mostly infill but always with some stepout holes as well. “In all those drill programs, we always hit mineralized material in the stepouts, we always encountered less waste rock at surface than was modelled in the resource and we always hit zones that were higher than the average grade,” he says.

Ashram’s magnet feed distribution also has Grove enthused. Overall, the deposit ranks with the largest producers for praseodymium, neodymium, terbium and dysprosium. Ashram’s medium-to-heavy REO resource, moreover, surpasses the producers for those elements. And, as Grove points out, those are critical elements. Efforts to find substitutes for magnet REEs have failed.

Companies with higher operating costs are probably praying for higher prices. Commerce Resources doesn’t need them. We still have a margin at today’s prices.—Chris Grove

Benefiting both Ashram’s opex and the environment would be wind energy, currently being studied for the project. Commerce’s environmental commitment as well as its community outreach have been recognized by the e3 Plus Award for social responsibility from l’Association de l’exploration minière du Québec.

The company has also received a $300,000 provincial grant to optimize tailings management, funding that shows Quebec’s commitment to mining as well as the environment. Grove calls the province “a fantastic jurisdiction,” one that invests directly in companies through Ressources Québec and makes tangible progress on the visionary Plan Nord infrastructure program.

Following a private placement of up to $2.5 million offered last month, Grove looks forward to a number of near-term milestones. Still to come are final assays from last year’s drilling. The agenda also calls for completing the pilot plant and filling requests for REE and fluorspar concentrate samples. The samples, Grove suggests, could spur interest in a JV or offtake agreement.

The Commerce quest for rare metals hasn’t been confined to rare earths. Last September sampling on the company’s property about a kilometre from Ashram found “spectacular” results up to 5.9% niobium pentoxide, described by Grove as “approximately double the grade of the largest and longest-running niobium producer’s head grade, CBMM’s Araxa deposit in Brazil.”

Commerce also holds the Blue River project in southeastern British Columbia. The property’s Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

But Commerce remains very much focused on Ashram. Whether events in the South China Sea send RE prices soaring, Grove sees possible increases coming from producers boosting revenues. But, he emphasizes, Ashram doesn’t need higher prices. “Companies with higher operating costs are probably praying for higher prices,” he says. “Commerce Resources doesn’t need them. We still have a margin at today’s prices.”

Canadian International Minerals reconsiders niobium potential of B.C. REE project

January 26th, 2017

by Greg Klein | January 26, 2017

Canadian International Minerals reconsiders niobium potential of B.C. REE project

A rare earths property in British Columbia’s Rocky Mountain rare metal belt gains new attention as Canadian International Minerals TSXV:CIN takes another look at previous assays. An 11-hole program on the Wicheeda alkaline-carbonatite project in 2011 targeted rare earths but the company didn’t consider the niobium results to be material info. On January 26, however, CIN released niobium assays from four 2011 holes, with highlights showing:

Hole CA-11-010

  • 0.188% Nb2O5 over 16.06 metres, starting at 171.8 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.27% over 6.3 metres)
  • (which includes 0.731% over 0.98 metres)

CA-11-014

  • 0.156% over 24.43 metres, starting at 173.23 metres
  • (including 0.217% over 9.57 metres)
  • (which includes 0.337% over 3.9 metres)

  • 0.226% over 37.6 metres, starting at 232.98 metres
  • (including 0.297% over 18.27 metres)
  • (which includes 0.321% over 8.48 metres)
  • (which includes 0.632% Nb2O5 and 158 ppm tantalum over 2.2 metres)

True widths weren’t available.

Formerly called the Carbo project, Wicheeda showed RE results in the range of 0.2% to 0.5% total rare earth oxides in most of the 11 holes sunk during 2011. The previous year’s campaign found significant RE mineralization in all nine holes, with one intercept hitting 1.43% TREO over 37.3 metres.

Adjacent to CIN’s Wicheeda, Spectrum Mining’s Wicheeda project holds an inferred 11.3 million tonnes averaging 2.5% TREO.

CIN noted two niobium deposits hosted in the Rocky Mountain rare metal belt. The Upper Fir deposit on Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Blue River project holds an indicated 48.41 million tonnes averaging 0.161% Nb2O5 and 197 ppm Ta2O5. Located about 330 kilometres southeast of Wicheeda, Upper Fir also holds an inferred 5.4 million tonnes averaging 0.176% Nb2O5 and 191 ppm Ta2O5.

About 240 kilometres northwest of Wicheeda, Taseko Mines TSX:TKO brought the Aley project to pre-feas in 2014 with proven and probable reserves of 83.8 million tonnes averaging 0.5% Nb2O5.

CIN stated it “continues to re-evaluate the exploration targets for the Wicheeda project and will be investigating a number of partnership avenues in the coming weeks.”

In November the company released sample results from a due diligence program on its proposed Tisova acquisition, a former copper-polymetallic mine in the Czech Republic.

Commerce Resources announces successful close of 2016 field season

October 20th, 2016

by Greg Klein | October 20, 2016

A series of hydrogeological tests concluded the 2016 field season as Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram rare earths deposit moves towards pre-feasibility. Last month the company finished the year’s definition drilling and environmental data collection on the northeastern Quebec project.

“With the three main field objectives now completed, drill core processing and sample collection for analysis are the next steps,” the company stated.

Commerce Resources announces successful close of 2016 field season

Still to come are assays from the season’s
14-hole, 2,000-metre, near-surface drill campaign.

The hydrogeological data will help evaluate sub-surface water flow and slope stability of different pit shell configurations. The environmental program included surface water and groundwater samples for baseline data collection and related studies. Last June the Quebec government granted Commerce $300,000 towards studies to optimize tailings management.

The season’s drill program sunk 14 holes totalling about 2,000 metres on the deposit’s northern, western and southern margins. While assays are pending, “initial geologic review and portable XRF data indicates significant mineralization is present over appreciable widths in several holes,” Commerce added. The goal is to expand and upgrade the project’s 2012 high-grade, near-surface resource.

The company keeps busy on a number of fronts as the project advances. Metallurgical studies have simplified Ashram’s flowsheet and shown a potential byproduct in fluorspar. Ashram’s rare earth elements mostly appear in monazite and to a lesser extent bastnasite and xenotime, minerals that dominate commercial extraction processes. Ashram’s REE distribution shows enrichment in the critical and magnet feed elements neodymium, praseodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium.

While rare earths remain the company’s focus, a sampling program on the same property but one kilometre from the deposit brought a “spectacular” result of 5.9% niobium pentoxide last month. Forty out of 64 samples graded above 0.5% Nb2O5, with 16 surpassing 1%. Significant tantalum, phosphate and rare earth oxide grades were also found.

In August the company closed a private placement of $551,040 and the second tranche of a short-form prospectus that totalled nearly $1.45 million.

Commerce also holds the Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Commerce Resources samples high-grade niobium outside its Ashram rare earths deposit

September 13th, 2016

by Greg Klein | September 13, 2016

An exceptional niobium assay has Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE enthused about an exploration target one kilometre from its Ashram rare earths deposit. A sampling program on the northern Quebec Eldor property strengthens the Miranna area’s niobium-tantalum-phosphate potential, with results up to 5.9% niobium pentoxide. “This is spectacular,” says president Chris Grove. But excited as the company is, work continues to focus on Ashram’s pre-feasibility studies.

Commerce Resources samples 5.9% Nb2O5 outside its Ashram rare earths deposit

A serene-looking camp contrasts with activity
elsewhere on Commerce Resources’ Eldor property.

Of 64 samples, 40 assayed above 0.5% Nb2O5, with 16 surpassing 1%. The program also found significant grades of tantalum, phosphate and rare earth oxides. Two samples each graded above 1,000 ppm Ta2O5 and 1% Nb2O5, while several samples revealed more than 10% P2O5.

The samples also showed appreciable REE mineralization associated with the niobium, Commerce added.

The finding brings to mind the origin of Commerce, which was created around the Upper Fir project in southeastern British Columbia. The property’s Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

Niobium’s price explosion in late 2006 sent Commerce looking for additional deposits, Grove says. That led the company to Eldor. But Ashram’s initial drill results switched the focus to rare earths.

And while Miranna now presents additional multi-commodity potential, work will continue to focus on Ashram’s pre-feas, Grove emphasizes.

The Miranna samples come from a glacial train of niobium-tantalum-phosphate mineralized boulders believed to be near their source. Some mineralized samples hold magnetite, suggesting a magnetic signature to the source. The company says a magnetic high immediately south, which appears to coincide with the train’s apex, could mark the bedrock source.

Previous mineralogical work indicates that Miranna’s niobium and tantalum mineralization is hosted by pyrochlore, the world’s dominant mineral source of niobium, Commerce stated. The pyrochlore’s coarse grains would also benefit recovery.

Meanwhile work continues at Ashram, where a near-surface program of 14 holes totalling 1,600 metres began last month. Metallurgical studies at a mini-pilot plant have simplified the project’s flowsheet. Busy on a number of fronts, a company priority remains producing samples to send to potential JV or offtake partners, who might then take part in the pre-feas.

“It would make sense to have a potential partner offer input on what our production scenario would be,” Grove points out. “We have a huge deposit and we can go bigger, go smaller or stay the same. So advice from a potential partner does make sense before we actually complete the pre-feas.”

Using a 1.25% cutoff, Ashram’s 2012 resource shows 1.59 million tonnes averaging 1.77% total rare earth oxides measured, 27.67 million tonnes averaging 1.9% indicated and 219.8 million tonnes averaging 1.88% inferred. The near-surface deposit remains open to the north and south, and at depth.

Ashram hosts REEs largely in monazite and to a lesser extent bastnasite and xenotime, minerals that dominate commercial extraction. Ashram’s distribution shows enrichment in the critical and magnet feed elements neodymium, praseodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Commerce Resources resumes drilling at Quebec’s Ashram rare earths deposit

August 17th, 2016

by Greg Klein | August 17, 2016

With nearly $2 million in fresh financing, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE begins another round of definition drilling on its Ashram rare earths deposit in northern Quebec. The 14-hole, 1,600-metre near-surface campaign brings the project closer to pre-feasibility, targeting the deposit’s northern, western and southern margins. Mineralization has expanded north and south since the 2012 resource estimate, remaining open in those directions.

Commerce Resources resumes drilling at Quebec’s Ashram rare earths deposit

The near-surface Ashram deposit gets another
round of drilling as pre-feasibility studies continue.

The resource defined 1.6 million tonnes averaging 1.77% total rare earth oxides measured, 27.7 million tonnes averaging 1.9% indicated and 219.8 million tonnes averaging 1.88% inferred. Rare earth elements are found mostly in monazite and to a lesser extent bastnasite and xenotime, minerals that dominate currently known commercial extraction processes, Commerce stated.

The distribution shows enrichment in the critical and magnet feed elements neodymium, praseodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium. Metallurgical studies continue to simplify the project’s flowsheet and have shown a potential fluorspar byproduct.

One of this season’s holes will test a gravity anomaly south of the deposit for a potential new zone of middle and heavy rare earth oxide enrichment. Ashram’s main zone of enrichment also features a strong gravity anomaly.

Additionally, the program includes hydrogeological and environmental work to advance the pre-feas. Work is expected to last eight to 10 weeks.

In June Quebec granted the company $300,000 towards its environmental studies. Among other announcements, Commerce reported an MOU with a Glencore Canada division which would supply sulphuric acid for metallurgical use.

Last week the company closed the second tranche of a short-form prospectus that totalled nearly $1.45 million and a private placement of $551,040.

In southeastern British Columbia, Commerce holds the Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Commerce Resources president Chris Grove remarks on China’s manipulation of an ongoing territorial dispute

June 27th, 2016

…Read more

Exploring opportunity

June 17th, 2016

A capacity crowd attends the first annual Vancouver Commodity Forum

by Greg Klein
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A capacity crowd attends the first annual Vancouver Commodity Forum

 

“There’s excitement in the air,” said Cambridge House International founder Joe Martin. That’s the mood he senses as junior explorers emerge from the downturn. And certainly optimism was evident on June 14 as more than 450 people converged on the Vancouver Commodity Forum for an afternoon of expert talks amid a showcase of two dozen companies. Keynote speakers included Martin, Chris Berry of the Disruptive Discoveries Journal, Jon Hykawy of Stormcrow Capital, John Kaiser of Kaiser Research Online and Stephan Bogner of Rockstone Research.

A capacity crowd attends the first annual Vancouver Commodity Forum

Lithium, not surprisingly, stood out as a commodity of interest. While cautioning against over-enthusiasm for the exploration rush, Berry and Hykawy each affirmed the need for juniors to find new sources of the metal. Cobalt and scandium featured prominently too, as did other commodities including what Kaiser called “the weird metals”—lesser known stuff that’s vital to our lives but threatened with security of supply.

Kaiser also noted he was addressing a crowd larger than his last PDAC audience, another indication that “we’ve turned the corner.”

Attendees also met and mingled with company reps. Potential investors learned about a wide gamut of projects aspiring to meet a growing demand for necessities, conveniences and luxuries.

Presented by Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC, the forum’s success will make it an annual event, said company president Dave Hodge. Berry emceed the conference, holding the unenviable task of “making sure Dave stays well-behaved.”

Read interviews with keynote speakers:

Meet the companies

Most companies were core holdings of Zimtu, a prospect generator that connects explorers with properties and also shares management, technical and financing expertise. Zimtu offers investors participation in a range of commodities and companies, including some at the pre-IPO stage.

After sampling high-grade lithium on its Hidden Lake project in the Northwest Territories earlier this month, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY plans to return in mid-July for a program of mapping, exposing spodumene-bearing pegmatite dykes, and channel sampling. The company closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $318,836 in April. Hidden Lake’s located near Highway 4, about 40 kilometres from Yellowknife and within the Yellowknife Pegmatite Belt.

With one of the Athabasca Basin’s largest and most prospective exploration portfolios, ALX Uranium TSXV:AL has a number of projects competing for flagship status. Among them is Hook-Carter, which covers extensions of three known conductive trends, one of them hosting the sensational discoveries of Fission Uranium TSX:FCU and NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE. ALX’s strategic partnership with Holystone Energy allows that company to invest up to $750,000 in ALX and retain the right to maintain its ownership level for three years. ALX closed a private placement first tranche of $255,000 last month, amid this year’s busy news flow from a number of the company’s active projects.

A capacity crowd attends the first annual Vancouver Commodity Forum

Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD boasts one of northern Canada’s largest 100%-held diamond exploration portfolios. Among the properties are the drill-ready Stein project in Nunavut and others in the Lac de Gras region that’s the world’s third-largest diamond producer by value. North Arrow Minerals TSXV:NAR holds an option to earn up to 55% of Arctic Star’s Redemption property.

Aurvista Gold TSXV:AVA considers its Douay property one of Quebec’s largest and last undeveloped gold projects. The Abitibi property has resources totalling 238,400 ounces of gold indicated and 2.75 million ounces inferred. Now, with $1.1 million raised last month, the company hopes to increase those numbers through a summer program including 4,000 metres of drilling. Douay’s 2014 PEA used a 5% discount rate to forecast a post-tax NPV of $16.6 million and a post-tax IRR of 40%.

Looking for lithium in Nevada, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA now has a geophysics crew en route to its Kibby Basin property, which the company believes could potentially host lithium-bearing brines in a similar geological setting to the Clayton Valley, about 65 kilometres south. Results from the gravity survey will help identify targets for direct push drilling and sampling.

A mineral perhaps overlooked in the effort to supply green technologies, zeolite has several environmental applications. Canadian Zeolite TSXV:CNZ holds two projects in southern British Columbia, Sun Group and Bromley Creek, the latter an active quarrying operation.

With a high-grade, near-surface rare earths deposit hosted in minerals that have proven processing, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE takes its Ashram project in Quebec towards pre-feasibility. The relatively straightforward mineralogy contributes to steady progress in metallurgical studies. Commerce also holds southeastern B.C.’s Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

Permitted for construction following a 2014 PEA, Copper North Mining’s (TSXV:COL) Carmacks copper-gold-silver project now undergoes revised PEA studies. The agenda calls for improved economics by creating a new leach and development plan for the south-central Yukon property. In central B.C. the company holds the Thor exploration property, 20 kilometres south of the historic Kemess mine.

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Commerce Resources’ rare earths project gets $300,000 Quebec environmental grant

June 16th, 2016

by Greg Klein | June 16, 2016

As pre-feasibility work continues on the northern Quebec Ashram deposit, the provincial government awarded Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE $300,000 to optimize tailings management. Announced June 16, the three-year grant comes jointly from les Fonds de recherche du Québec—Nature et technologies and le Ministre de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles.

The money will help research methods of recycling and managing residue from Ashram’s metallurgical flowsheet, the company stated. The project will also look at processing an acid-grade fluorspar byproduct.

Commerce Resources’ rare earths project gets $300,000 Quebec environmental grant

“This work will be completed in partnership with the Centre Eau Terre Environnement of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique, a research-oriented branch of the Université du Québec, which has considerable experience in environmental management and sustainability,” Commerce stated. Results will be incorporated into Ashram’s pre-feas study.

With metallurgical work underway at a mini-pilot plant in Colorado, the company has reported progress in simplifying the flowsheet, showing potential cost reductions. Commerce emphasizes Ashram’s key distinction, in which the high-grade, near-surface deposit is hosted in the minerals monazite, bastnasite and xenotime, which have proven processing.

In April the company announced a binding memorandum of understanding with a Glencore division to supply Ashram with sulphuric acid for metallurgical use. That same month Commerce stated Tugliq Energy was studying the potential of wind-generated electricity for Ashram. Two northern Canadian mines currently rely on wind for part of their energy supply.

Late last year Ashram won the e3 Plus Award for responsible exploration from l’Association de l’exploration minière du Québec. In January the company closed the second tranche of a private placement totalling $1.97 million.

Commerce also holds the Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Read Chris Berry’s report: Building a Non-Chinese Rare Earth Supply Chain.