Tuesday 21st May 2019

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘Commerce Resources Corp (CCE)’

Commerce Resources and two Inuit corporations sign LOI to advance northern Quebec rare earths

May 15th, 2019

by Greg Klein | May 15, 2019

Commerce Resources and two Inuit corporations sign LOI to advance northern Quebec rare earths

The parties consider Inuit involvement critical to this critical minerals project.

 

While a project that would provide essential raw materials continues towards pre-feasibility, a letter of intent ensures Inuit participation, the signatories announced May 15. The Nayumivik Landholding Corporation of Kuujjuaq and the Makivik Corporation signed the LOI with Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE regarding the Ashram rare earths deposit in arctic Quebec’s Nunavik region.

The letter marks “a first for Nunavik mining development, specifically for a pre-development project,” said Maggie Emudluk, Makivik VP of economic development. The LOI ensures “Inuit will be directly involved upstream in any discussions and proposed planning of this project. They will also be enabled to provide insights and share concerns during the progression of the project. Makivik is pleased that the LOI is in accordance with the Nunavik Inuit Mining Policy objectives that look forward to establishing clear lines of communication with the industry.”

Commerce Resources and two Inuit corporations sign LOI to advance northern Quebec rare earths

The Nunavik Mineral Exploration Fund held the recent
Nunavik Mining Workshop to discuss the region’s
mineral potential as well as its rich culture.

With one of the most advanced deposits outside China hosting these elements deemed critical by the U.S., Ashram shows favourable metallurgy as well as grade. The project’s rare earths occur within carbonatite host rock and the minerals monazite, bastnasite and xenotime, which are familiar to commercial REE processing. Near-surface mineralization further optimizes potential cost advantages.

Using a base case 1.25% cutoff, a 2012 resource shows:

  • 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

The deposit also features some of the most sought-after REEs, with a strong distribution of neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium. Metallurgical tests also show potential for a fluorspar byproduct.

“We look forward to working closely with Commerce and Makivik Corporation to implement the LOI during the pre-development phase of the proposed Ashram deposit,” commented Sammy Koneak, Nayumivik Landholding president. “We are confident that continued communication between the parties under the terms and spirit of the LOI will result in ongoing respect for our rights and our environment.”

Commerce president Chris Grove heralded the LOI as “a milestone that speaks to the cooperation between all parties— a document that recognizes the primacy of the James Bay Agreement, the practicalities of advancing our Ashram deposit through the next few years of development, the practicalities of getting our material to world markets, and the best way to achieve our collective goals of a new producing mine in Nunavik through the cooperation of the Inuit and Commerce towards our mutual benefit. We look forward to this future with the Inuit in Nunavik.”

The urgency of securing rare earths and other critical minerals has been recognized in a number of American government initiatives. This week the U.S. exempted rare earths and other critical minerals from tariffs imposed on China, emphasizing America’s reliance on a trade war enemy for commodities essential to the economy and defence. Last week a bipartisan group of U.S. senators proposed legislation to reduce their country’s reliance on unreliable sources of critical minerals.

Looking at other critical minerals, Commerce holds the Niobium Claim Group just a few kilometres from Ashram. Working towards a 75% earn-in, Saville Resources TSXV:SRE awaits assays from this year’s spring drill program. Previous intervals of near-surface, high-grade niobium along with tantalum support the company’s optimism.

Commerce also holds the Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit in southern British Columbia, which reached PEA in 2011.

Saville Resources reports favourable geology, plans Phase II drilling at Quebec niobium-tantalum project

April 29th, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 29, 2019

Assays are pending but the first drill program since 2010 has Saville Resources TSXV:SRE optimistic about results. With five holes totalling 1,049 metres, the season devoted four holes to the Mallard target in the property’s southeastern area. Historic, non-43-101 results from Mallard’s previous campaign brought near-surface high grades that included:

  • 0.82% Nb2O5 over 21.89 metres, starting at 58.93 metres in downhole depth

  • 0.72% over 21.35 metres, starting at 4.22 metres
  • (including 0.9% over 4.78 metres)
Saville Resources reports favourable geology, plans Phase II drilling at Quebec niobium-tantalum project

A spring campaign under winter conditions
comprised the project’s first drill program since 2010.

True widths were unknown.

The spring campaign sunk an additional hole 60 metres from another location of high-grade, near-surface results that included an historic, non-43-101 interval of 0.71% Nb2O5 over 15.33 metres, starting at 55.1 metres. The new hole tested the intercept down-dip as well as the strike extension of the main mineralized zone.

“In each hole, favourable rock types and coarse-grained pyrochlore mineralization were visually identified over varying widths and concentrations,” the company stated. “Portable XRF data and detailed geological logging further support these observations.”

Saville plans further drilling at Mallard, as well as Miranna and several other targets, to build a 43-101 resource estimate. Previous boulder samples from Mallard include an exceptional 5.93% Nb2O5, as well as 2.75%, 4.24% and 4.3% Nb2O5. Tantalum samples from the area reached up to 1,040, 1,060 and 1,220 Ta2O5.

Work on the 1,223-hectare Niobium Claim Group takes place under a 75% earn-in from Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE, whose Ashram rare earths deposit a few kilometres away moves towards pre-feasibility.

In early April Saville released assays from last year’s campaign on the Bud property in southern British Columbia’s historic Greenwood mining camp, with samples reaching as high as 4.57 g/t gold, 27.7 g/t silver and 6.7% copper.

A private placement first tranche that closed in December brought Saville $311,919. In March the company optioned its James Bay-region Covette nickel-copper-cobalt property to Astorius Resources TSXV:ASQ. A 100% fulfillment would bring Saville $1.25 million over three years, with Astorius spending another $300,000 on exploration within two years. Saville retains a 2% NSR.

Read more about Saville Resources.

Saville Resources begins niobium-tantalum drilling in Quebec

March 25th, 2019

by Greg Klein | March 25, 2019

The search for critical minerals on the Labrador Trough’s Quebec side continues as Saville Resources TSXV:SRE puts a rig to work on the Niobium Claim Group property this week. A Phase I program of at least four holes totalling a minimum 700 metres will target an area that—despite encouraging historic assays—hasn’t been drilled since 2010.

Saville currently works on a 75% earn-in on the 1,223-hectare property from Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE, whose Ashram rare earths deposit a few kilometres away advances towards pre-feasibility.

Saville Resources begins niobium-tantalum drilling in Quebec

Saville’s focus will be the Mallard target, previously known as the Southeast target. Location of the most extensive work so far, Mallard underwent nine holes totalling 2,490 metres, with EC10-033 featuring impressive, near-surface intervals in these historic, non-43-101 results:

  • 0.82% Nb2O5 over 21.89 metres, starting at 58.93 metres in downhole depth

  • 0.72% over 21.35 metres, starting at 4.22 metres
  • (including 0.9% over 4.78 metres)

True widths were unknown.

The current program will test the hole’s southeastern extension. “Strong mineralization has been returned at this target historically and confirming and extending this trend is a logical next step as we advance towards an initial mineral resource estimate,” said president Mike Hodge.

A Phase II campaign would continue at Mallard as well as other targets including Miranna, an undrilled area where boulder samples reached as high as 2.75%, 4.24% and 4.3% Nb2O5, along with an outstanding 5.93% Nb2O5. Miranna’s tantalum samples graded up to 1,040, 1,060 and 1,220 Ta2O5.

The company expects Phase I to wrap up in about a month.

Both niobium and tantalum have been classified as critical minerals by the U.S. government. Used in steel and superalloy production, 88% of world niobium supply comes from Brazil, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Sixty-six percent of global tantalum supply, necessary for automotive electronics, cellphones and computers, came from the strife-torn countries of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the USGS reported. Additional concerns involve opaque supply lines that can mask conflict sources in those countries.

In late December Saville closed a private placement first tranche of $311,919. Earlier this month the company optioned its James Bay-region Covette nickel-copper-cobalt property to Astorius Resources TSXV:ASQ . A 100% fulfillment would bring Saville $1.25 million over three years, while Astorius would spend another $300,000 on the project within two years. Saville retains a 2% NSR.

Read more about Saville Resources.

Saville Resources options Quebec nickel-copper-cobalt property to Astorius Resources

March 1st, 2019

by Greg Klein | March 1, 2019

By granting an option on its James Bay-region Covette property, Saville Resources TSXV:SRE stands to gain a cash infusion while another company works the project. Under the agreement, Astorius Resources TSXV:ASQ may acquire 100% of the nickel-copper-cobalt property by paying $1.25 million over three years and spending $300,000 by February 2021. Saville retains a 2% NSR.

Saville Resources options Quebec nickel-copper-cobalt property to Astorius Resources

Covette sits 10 kilometres north of the all-weather
Trans-Taiga road and adjacent powerline.

Previous work on Covette includes a 2016 VTEM survey and early-stage field work in 2017 and 2018, which included grab samples grading up to 0.09% copper and 0.19% nickel. Samples from outcrop showed up to 1.2% zinc, 68.7 ppm silver, 0.15% copper and 0.19% nickel.

In July Saville filed a 43-101 technical report recommending detailed mapping, surface sampling, channel sampling and further geophysics.

Saville’s focus remains the Niobium claim group in northern Quebec, a 75% earn-in from Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE, whose Ashram rare earths deposit a few kilometres away advances towards pre-feasibility. Autumn work on the Saville project found 22 boulder samples above 0.7% Nb2O5, with one peaking at 1.5%. Fourteen of the samples exceeded 0.8% Nb2O5 and brought encouraging tantalum results.

The program included a ground magnetic survey and also opened up a new target area where one standout boulder sample graded 1.28% Nb2O5 and 260 ppm Ta2O5, while another showed 0.88% Nb2O5 and 1,080 ppm Ta2O5.

In late December Saville closed a private placement first tranche of $311,919.

Read more about Saville Resources.

Niobium-tantalum in Quebec

December 5th, 2018

Successful sampling readies Saville Resources to drill for critical metals

by Greg Klein

“Building momentum” is the way Saville Resources TSXV:SRE president Mike Hodge puts it. Steady progress, shown most recently through another encouraging sampling program, puts the company’s early-stage niobium-tantalum project in Quebec on track for drilling this winter. Assays so far have the company hopeful about proving up a maiden resource in this mining-friendly jurisdiction next door to a country increasingly concerned about sourcing critical metals.

Successful sampling readies Saville Resources to drill for critical metals

Conducted by Dahrouge Geological Consulting, the fall
program brought the Niobium claim group to drill-ready status.

The autumn field program met all of its objectives, Hodge enthuses. Twenty-two boulder samples surpassed 0.7% Nb2O5, with 14 of them exceeding 0.8% and one peaking at 1.5%. Tantalum made its presence known too. Those same 14 niobium samples also graded between 160 ppm and 1,080 ppm Ta2O5.

The project gained yet another target, where boulders reached 0.88% and 1.28% Nb2O5. A ground magnetics survey highlighted the prospectivity of the Moira area, already the location of exceptionally high-grade samples. In all, the results show a drill-ready project that should see action this winter.

Saville holds a 75% earn-in from Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE on the Niobium claim group, a 1,223-hectare package on the latter company’s Eldor property in Quebec. Just a few kilometres from the Niobium project and with obvious synergistic potential for Saville, Commerce has its Ashram rare earths deposit moving towards pre-feasibility. All this takes place in a province that demonstrates its support for mining through a number of initiatives, including direct investment and the Plan Nord infrastructure program. The northeastern Quebec region has two treaties in place that clearly define procedures for native consultation. Saville’s three-quarters stake in the Niobium claim group calls for $5 million in work over five years.

A 43-101 technical report filed in September followed field programs by previous companies including 41 holes totalling 8,175 metres drilled by Commerce. In addition to niobium-tantalum, the report noted phosphate and fluorspar as potential secondary commodities.

Some of the standout results from previous sampling came from the property’s as-yet undrilled Miranna area, where boulder samples graded as high as 2.75%, 4.24%, 4.3% and an exceptional 5.93% Nb2O5.

Other locations have been drilled, but not since 2010. Some 17 holes and 4,328 metres on the Southeast area brought near-surface highlights that include:

  • 0.82% Nb2O5 over 21.89 metres, starting at 58.93 metres in downhole depth

  • 0.72% over 21.35 metres, starting at 4.22 metres
  • (including 0.9% over 4.78 metres)

  • 0.72% over 17.35 metres, starting at 70 metres

  • 0.71% over 15.33 metres, starting at 55.1 metres

True widths were unavailable. Southeast results also showed tantalum and phosphate, as well as suggesting a possible fluorspar zone.

A wide, near-surface interval from the Northwest area showed:

  • 0.46% Nb2O5 over 46.88 metres, starting at 30.65 metres
  • (including 0.61% over 11.96 metres)
Successful sampling readies Saville Resources to drill for critical metals

Surface outcrops and near-surface core
produce encouraging grades for Saville Resources.

As in the Southeast, the Northwest area showed encouraging signs of tantalum and phosphate. But tantalum came through most strongly in the property’s Star Trench area, with results as high as 1,810 ppm Ta2O5 (with 1.5% Nb2O5) over 0.52 metres, as well as 2,220 ppm Ta2O5 (with 1.69% Nb2O5, and phosphate grading 20.5% P2O5) over 0.31 metres.

Another area gains greater prominence too, thanks to this autumn’s ground magnetics survey. A strong anomaly at the Moira target, about 250 metres north of Miranna, coincides with several overlapping boulder trains that suggest Moira could be one of several possible sources of mineralization.

And a new, yet-to-be-named area gave up two of the fall program’s best assays. About 400 metres south of the drill area, the new target produced boulder samples hitting 1.28% Nb2O5 and 260 ppm Ta2O5, along with 0.88% Nb2O5 and 1,080 ppm Ta2O5.

Intriguingly, glacial ice suggests the two rocks, found about 100 metres apart, originated in an area farther southeast that’s had very little attention so far.

Saville also holds the 3,370-hectare Covette project in Quebec’s James Bay region, where last summer’s field program found surface samples including 1.2% zinc and 68.7 g/t silver. Three other samples returned nickel values ranging from 0.13% to 0.19%.

Work focused on a highly conductive area identified by a 2016 VTEM survey. Samples gathered in 2017 included grades of 0.18% nickel, 0.09% copper and 87 ppm cobalt. One historic, non-43-101 grab sample brought 4.7% molybdenum, 0.73% bismuth, 0.09% lead and 6 g/t silver, while another historic sample returned 1.2 g/t silver and 0.18% copper.

As for niobium, it’s considered a critical metal by the American government for its use in steels and super-alloys necessary for jet engine components, rocket sub-assemblies, and heat-resisting and combustion equipment, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Almost 90% of last year’s world production came from Brazil, where new president Jair Bolsonaro has expressed concern about increasing Chinese ownership of resources.

Also a component of military super-alloys, tantalum additionally plays a vital role in personal electronics including phones and computers. The U.S. imports its entire supply of tantalum. About 60% of last year’s world production came from the troubled countries of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

With the advantages of markets, jurisdiction and geology, Hodge looks forward to winter drilling. “We’ve now got about 20 targets that we can go after,” he says. “One priority would be to define the Southeast area because we’ve got such good niobium numbers there. On getting a potential inferred resource, we’d go after Miranna or Moira and the untested targets. We’re looking forward to a busy, productive season.”

Read more about U.S. efforts to secure critical minerals here and here.

Commerce Resources president Chris Grove comments on U.S. efforts to reduce its reliance on a global rival

November 16th, 2018

…Read more

Depending on the enemy

October 10th, 2018

The U.S. calls for new supply strategies to meet economic and defence risks

by Greg Klein

The goal might be summed up by a new slogan: Make America Self-Reliant Again. Or, with a tad less concision: Let’s Stop Relying on an Economic Rival that’s a Potential Military Threat for the Stuff We Need to Compete with an Economic Rival that’s a Potential Military Threat.

A newly released study from the U.S. Secretary of Defense illustrates that absurd dilemma. The dependency runs the gamut from sourcing raw materials to refining them, manufacturing key components, developing R&D, training workers, even setting prices. As the report says, “The central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition by what the National Security Strategy classifies as revisionist powers. It is increasingly clear that China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model—gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions.”

The U.S. calls for new supply chain strategies to meet economic and defence risks

But Russia merits little mention in the 146-page document. China comes up again and again as the pre-eminent economic and military threat with a long-term hegemonic strategy.

That strategy’s been very successful, leaving the U.S. sorely unprepared for the resulting risks. Ordered by President Donald Trump in July 2017, the report urges a government-wide program to address the entire range of supply chain challenges.

The 2010 Senkaku incident, dramatic as it was, can be seen as a mere microcosm of a much bigger threat.

“China’s domination of the rare earth element market illustrates the potentially dangerous interaction between Chinese economic aggression guided by its strategic industrial policies and vulnerabilities and gaps in America’s manufacturing and defense industrial base,” the report warns. “China has strategically flooded the global market with rare earths at subsidized prices, driven out competitors, and deterred new market entrants. When China needs to flex its soft power muscles by embargoing rare earths, it does not hesitate, as Japan learned in a 2010 maritime dispute.”

It was a lesson learned by other countries too. The report describes rare earths as “critical elements used across many of the major weapons systems the U.S. relies on for national security, including lasers, radar, sonar, night vision systems, missile guidance, jet engines, and even alloys for armored vehicles.”

Rare earths figure prominently in the U.S. list of 35 critical minerals drafted last February and confirmed in May. American dependency was further highlighted when the country dropped rare earths from a revised list of tariffs on Chinese imports announced in September.

China’s soft power hardball has targeted other American allies as well, waging “aggressive economic warfare” against South Korea after the country installed an American air defence system. Other examples of “economic coercion” include “a ban on Philippine bananas over territorial disputes in the South China Sea; the aforementioned restriction of rare earth exports to Japan following the Senkaku Islands dispute in 2010; persistent economic intimidation against Taiwan; and the recent ceding of a Sri Lankan port.”

China can play nice too. But at a price. The country invests heavily in developing countries, often building infrastructure “in exchange for an encumbrance on their natural resources and access to their markets.”

As for Chinese electronics exports, they “lack the level of scrutiny placed on U.S. manufacturers, driving lower yields and higher rates of failures in downstream production, and raising the risk of ‘Trojan’ chips and viruses infiltrating U.S. defense systems.”

Technological expertise becomes a strategic weapon too. “As part of its industrial policy aggression, China has forced many American companies to offshore their R&D in exchange for access to the Chinese market.”

With an advanced-stage rare earths project in northern Quebec as well as advanced-stage tantalum-niobium in southern British Columbia, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE president Chris Grove keeps tabs on Canada’s neighbour. “People in Washington tell me the anxiety level on these issues has never been higher,” he notes.

Here’s the world’s biggest military and they’re saying, ‘We need Chinese stuff to make it all work?’ That’s really for most Americans an absolutely untenable and unbelievable position of weakness.—Chris Grove,
president of Commerce Resources

“Apart from the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China, there’s the vulnerability of the U.S. military. Here’s the world’s biggest military and they’re saying, ‘We need Chinese stuff to make it all work?’ That’s really for most Americans an absolutely untenable and unbelievable position of weakness.”

Sources in Washington encouraged Grove to apply for a research grant from the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency. If successful, the application would bring up to $3 million to further metallurgical progress on his company’s Ashram rare earths project, advancing a potential source in a stable and allied country.

That would complement one of the report’s key recommendations, to “diversify away from complete dependency on sources of supply in politically unstable countries who may cut off U.S. access; diversification strategies may include re-engineering, expanded use of the National Defense Stockpile program, or qualification of new suppliers.”

Other recommendations include creating an industrial policy that supports national security, working with allies and partners on industrial development, expanding industrial investment, addressing manufacturing and industrial risk within the energy and nuclear sectors, encouraging home-grown scientific expertise and occupational skills, and exploring next generation technology for future threats.

In ordering the study, Trump stated the loss of key companies, over 60,000 American factories and almost five million manufacturing jobs since 2000 “threatens to undermine the capacity and capabilities of United States manufacturers to meet national defense requirements and raises concerns about the health of the manufacturing and defense industrial base.”

Saville Resources mobilizes for niobium-tantalum field work in northern Quebec

September 25th, 2018

by Greg Klein | September 25, 2018

Encouraging assays and heightening concern for critical minerals bring an exploration team back to Saville Resources’ (TSXV:SRE) Niobium claim group in Quebec’s Labrador Trough region. The program follows earlier drilling as well as more recent niobium-tantalum boulder samples that reached as high as 4.3% Nb2O5 and 700 ppm Ta2O5. With work carried out by Dahrouge Geological Consulting, the autumn agenda calls for prospecting and ground geophysics to identify future drill targets.

Saville Resources mobilizes for niobium-tantalum field work in northern Quebec

A view from a ridge on Saville Resources’ Niobium claim
group, now progressing towards an updated geological model.

The 1,223-hectare project sits on the Eldor property which also hosts Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram rare earths deposit, now moving towards pre-feasibility. Under an agreement with Commerce, Saville may earn 75% of the Niobium claim group. The company has two weeks planned for the current campaign.

A 43-101 technical report filed earlier this month “concludes there is a ‘strong potential for carbonatite-hosted niobium-tantalum deposit(s) of significance’,” noted president Mike Hodge. “Discoveries start with boots on the ground and we look forward to following this work up with an aggressive and targeted drill campaign to further unlock this potential.”

Among places slated for ground magnetics is the Southeast area, where mineralization is often associated with magnetite. Prospecting will focus on relatively untouched areas but also the vicinity of drill programs dating to 2008 and 2010. Hole EC10-033 returned 0.72% Nb2O5 and 145 ppm Ta2O5 over 21.35 metres, starting just below overburden at 4.22 metres’ depth. The same hole also delivered 0.82% Nb2O5 over 21.89 metres starting at 58.9 metres.

The shallow intersections “indicate that strong mineralization extends to surface in the immediate area,” the company stated. “In terms of ground follow-up, there is a sizable corridor to the south of EC10-033 that has not been traversed and is therefore a high-priority area for assessment.”

Results from the program will help update the Southeast area’s geological model, which currently dates to 2010 despite an improved understanding of the Eldor complex. A partial photo re-log of the core, a revised rock classification scheme, geophysical results and other data will delineate future drill targets.

Reporting from Quebec’s James Bay region last month, Saville announced a new zinc-silver-nickel zone at surface on the company’s Covette property. Sampling took place along an area hosting strong magnetic anomalies and several EM conductors, with one sample grading 1.2% zinc and 68.7 g/t silver, and three others ranging from 0.13% to 0.19% nickel.

Also last month Saville closed an $877,700 first tranche of a private placement offered in July up to $2 million.

Read more about Saville Resources.

Commerce Resources president Chris Grove comments as the Quebec rare earths project makes additional metallurgical progress

August 29th, 2018

…Read more

Commerce Resources’ rare earths metallurgy moves forward amid heightened supply concerns

August 20th, 2018

by Greg Klein | August 20, 2018

In an update on tests conducted by l’Université Laval, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE reports another stage of progress with completion of crushing, grinding and large-scale flotation. About 1.5 tonnes of material were processed from the company’s Ashram deposit in northern Quebec, now moving towards pre-feasibility. With results meeting expectations, the project advances to a pilot-level hydrometallurgical component.

Commerce Resources’ rare earths metallurgy moves forward amid heightened concern for RE supply

Last month Commerce announced an important milestone in producing Ashram’s first concentrate of mixed rare earth oxides, showing the deposit’s amenability to different flowsheet approaches.

Laval’s next stage will use flotation concentrate to produce a purified solution containing rare earth elements, which will then be separated into light, medium and heavy rare earths. At the same time, the solution composition will be used to assess a solvent extraction separation pilot circuit using a software model simulator developed by the university. Results will allow further assessment of the economics of separating Ashram’s REEs into individual rare earth oxides.

Funding for the project comes through a $365,000 grant from Quebec’s ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation.

As work continues, geopolitical developments bring increasing concern about rare earths supply. Trade hostilities between the U.S. and China have led to speculation about how the latter country, by far the world’s biggest rare earths producer, will use its resources as a weapon.

This year the U.S. included rare earths in a list of 35 minerals deemed essential to the country’s economy and defence, as part of a strategy to encourage production of critical minerals at home and among allied countries.

The list also includes tantalum and niobium, which Commerce has delineated at its advanced-stage Blue River project in east-central British Columbia. Back in Quebec, a few kilometres from Ashram, the company also holds an early-stage high-grade niobium project that’s conditionally subject to a 75% earn-in by Saville Resources TSXV:SRE.

Read more about Commerce Resources.