Monday 10th December 2018

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘phosphate’

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.

Saville Resources and Commerce Resources announce 4.3% niobium, 700 ppm tantalum from northern Quebec

April 12th, 2018

by Greg Klein | April 12, 2018

While preparations continue for this year’s drill program, additional high-grade niobium-tantalum sample assays have arrived from northern Quebec’s Niobium Claim Group. On April 12 Saville Resources TSXV:SRE and Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE reported grades as high as 4.3% Nb2O5 and 700 ppm Ta2O5 from the new project, situated on the latter company’s Eldor property. Saville has signed a 75% earn-in agreement on the claim group, which sits a few kilometres from Ashram, one of the Western world’s most advanced rare earths deposits. Commerce has that project advancing towards pre-feasibility.

Saville Resources and Commerce Resources announce 4.3% niobium, 700 ppm tantalum from northern Quebec

High grades from last fall’s sampling program have Saville
and Commerce looking forward to an upcoming drill campaign.

The results fall in line with previous high grades from the project’s Miranna area of 4.24% and an especially impressive 5.93% Nb2O5. Previous tantalum assays from Miranna have reached as high as 1,220 ppm, 1,060 ppm and 1,040 ppm Ta2O5.

The Northwest area gave up the richest sample, which reached 16.1% Nb2O5 and 7,540 ppm Ta2O5.

Collected by Commerce last year from the Miranna area, the most recent results show:

  • 4.3% Nb2O5, 240 ppm Ta2O5 and 13.4% P2O5

  • 2.75% Nb2O5, 130 ppm Ta2O5 and 7.6% P2O5

  • 2.24% Nb2O5, 290 ppm Ta2O5 and 11.6% P2O5

  • 0.69% Nb2O5, 350 ppm Ta2O5 and 8.8% P2O5

  • 0.75% Nb2O5, 660 ppm Ta2O5 and 14.2% P2O5

  • 1.18% Nb2O5, 590 ppm Ta2O5 and 13.1% P2O5

  • 1.16% Nb2O5, 700 ppm Ta2O5 and 0.65% P2O5

Miranna forms one of three prospective areas, along with the Northwest and Southeast areas. Miranna features a strongly mineralized boulder train which, a geophysical anomaly called the Miranna target suggests, might have its source partly on the property. The data indicates several overlapping boulder trains might also be present, with one possible source in the Southeast area.

Additional work shows the primary host mineral to be pyrochlore, the dominant source mineral for processing niobium and tantalum.

The upcoming drill program will focus on the Miranna target, as well as testing the Northwest and Southeast areas. Contingent on TSXV approval of Saville’s earn-in, the companies plan to file a 43-101 technical report on the project.

Earlier this month Saville closed the second tranche of a private placement totalling $289,700.

In addition to Ashram, Commerce 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 Saville Resources.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Saville Resources, Commerce Resources prepare for drilling and 43-101 on Quebec niobium-tantalum project

April 5th, 2018

by Greg Klein | April 5, 2018

An early-stage but highly prospective rare metals project continues to advance as two companies identify drill targets and work towards an initial 43-101 technical report. On April 5 Saville Resources TSXV:SRE and Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE released an update for the Niobium Claim Group, an approximately 980-hectare package within Commerce’s northern Quebec Eldor property. Last January Saville inked an agreement for a 75% earn-in on the niobium-tantalum project that’s contingent on the 43-101 and TSXV approval.

Saville Resources, Commerce Resources prepare for drilling and 43-101 on Quebec niobium-tantalum project

Eldor also hosts Commerce’s Ashram project, one of the Western world’s most advanced rare earths deposits, currently moving towards pre-feasibility.

Sampling and drilling so far on the Niobium Claim Group have outlined three focal points called the Miranna, Southeast and Northwest areas. Previously reported niobium samples from the Miranna boulder train include an exceptional result of 5.93% Nb2O5, as well as 4.24% and 1.94% Nb2O5. Tantalum samples graded as high as 1,220 ppm, 1,060 ppm and 1,040 ppm Ta2O5. Phosphate assays reached up to 11.9%, 11.5% and 11.1% P2O5.

The team interprets the source of mineralization to be a geophysical anomaly at the boulder train’s apex. As yet undrilled, the location comprises a priority for rig activity.

Some standouts from previously reported drilling at the Northwest area showed:

  • 0.55% Nb2O5, 166 ppm Ta2O5 and 5% P2O5 over 13.15 metres

  • 0.46% Nb2O5, 60 ppm Ta2O5 and 4.6% P2O5 over 46.88 metres
  • (including 0.64% Nb2O5, 20 ppm Ta2O5 and 5.9% P2O5 over 9.95 metres)

A boulder sample with an especially impressive 16.1% Nb2O5 and 7,540 ppm Ta2O5 was collected at the Northwest area’s western edge, where glacial ice direction suggested a potential source within the claim group.

Some previous intercepts from Southeast showed:

  • 0.54% Nb2O5, 71 ppm Ta2O5 and 5.9% P2O5 over 26.1 metres

  • 0.57% Nb2O5, 145 ppm Ta2O5 and 8.9% P2O5 over 74.25 metres
  • (including 0.85% Nb2O5, 97 ppm Ta2O5 and 8.9% P2O5 over 19.54 metres)

  • 0.48% Nb2O5, 329 ppm Ta2O5 and 7.2% P2O5 over 33.93 metres

The Southeast results in particular call for additional infill and step-out drilling for further delineation and to consider completing a maiden resource, the companies stated. Geophysics provides further evidence of drill targets in all three areas.

Tests have identified the primary host mineral for niobium-tantalum to be pyrochlore, the dominant source mineral for processing those metals.

Saville also announced the closing of the second tranche of a private placement totalling $289,700.

Read more about Saville Resources.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Finnish diamond exploration reveals new kimberlite for Arctic Star

February 20th, 2018

by Greg Klein | February 20, 2018

As work continues on the northern Finland property, Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD announced a new kimberlite discovery from its Timantti diamond project on February 20. Covered only by very thin glacial overburden, the find results from four one-metre-deep pits containing kimberlite. The company has christened the body Grey Wolf, distinguishing it from the property’s other Wolf kimberlites. A rig has already been mobilized to the discovery, while a 150-kilogram sample undergoes assays to test for diamonds and kimberlite indicator minerals, and to assess mineral chemistry.

Finnish diamond exploration reveals new kimberlite for Arctic Star

The news follows an announcement earlier this month that historic drill core confirmed the presence of a new Timantti kimberlite 230 metres west of the project’s diamondiferous Black Wolf kimberlite.

Part of an ambitious winter campaign that began in November, ongoing EM and gravity surveys have identified multiple targets for excavation or drilling. Optimism has been bolstered by “the expression of diamond-favourable indicator minerals in the region, which the Wolf kimberlites cannot explain,” the company stated.

In addition to the Finnish flagship, Arctic Star also holds diamond interests in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories’ Lac de Gras region. The company’s Cap property in British Columbia, meanwhile, hosts an exceptionally rare carbonatite-syenite complex that offers potential for several commodities. Results from sampling and one drill hole released in September showed “highly anomalous” niobium, rare earths and phosphate grades.

The company closed oversubscribed private placements totalling $1.69 million in November.

Read an interview with Arctic Star chairperson Patrick Power.

Exploration begins at Arctic Star’s Finnish diamond project

November 23rd, 2017

Update: On November 24 Arctic Star announced the closing of a final tranche of an oversubscribed private placement totalling $1.7 million.

by Greg Klein | November 23, 2017

Having closed the acquisition a week earlier, Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD now has a crew busy at its Timantti diamond project in Finland. Located among favourable regional infrastructure in the Fennoscandian Shield, which hosts the major Russian diamond mines Lomonosov and Grib, the property has geophysics, sampling and drilling planned.

Exploration begins at Arctic Star’s Finnish diamond project

Arctic Star VP of exploration Buddy Doyle
gathers kimberlite float samples at Timantti.

Timantti’s White Wolf kimberlite has already revealed 169 microdiamonds, 111 from 52.7 metres of historically extracted core and another 58 from an 18.9-kilogram sample. The current program will include ground magnetic, gravity and electromagnetic surveys over the Black and White kimberlites to define their sizes and identify other drill-worthy anomalies.

Additionally, 20 backhoe till samples will be taken to search for diamond indicator minerals. Drilling will consist of about eight holes totalling 1,500 metres, with a 500-kilogram core sample from each of the two kimberlites. Results of the program will determine whether to proceed with bulk sampling.

Work will focus on a 243-hectare area covered by an exploration permit. The project also includes a 95,700-hectare exploration reservation.

Among other projects, Arctic Star holds the Cap property in east-central British Columbia, host to an extremely rare carbonatite-syenite complex that’s potentially associated with several commodities. In September the company reported “highly anomalous” assays for niobium, rare earths and phosphate from sampling and a drill hole.

In the Northwest Territories’ diamondiferous Lac de Gras region, Arctic Star also holds a 40% stake in the Diagras JV, where majority partner Margaret Lake Diamonds TSXV:DIA carried out geophysics last summer.

This week Arctic Star appointed Scott Eldridge as president/CEO. From 2008 to 2016 Eldridge led Euroscandic International Group, providing investment banking and advisory services to resource companies. He has been responsible for raising over $500 million in equity and debt financing for mining projects internationally.

Earlier this month the company closed a private placement first tranche of $965,000.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Arctic Star’s Patrick Power.

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.

Arctic Star Exploration finds “highly anomalous” niobium, rare earths and phosphate at B.C. project

September 25th, 2017

by Greg Klein | September 25, 2017

Highly anomalous means highly encouraging, especially at such an early stage of exploration. That’s how Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD characterized its first batch of assays from the Cap property in east-central British Columbia. The news follows last month’s announcement of an extremely rare carbonatite-syenite discovery, suggesting potential for a range of commodities. Now assays for grab samples and the first drill hole show highly anomalous niobium, rare earths and phosphate, the company stated.

Arctic Star Exploration finds “highly anomalous” niobium, rare earths and phosphate at B.C. project

Some intervals of
carbonatite from CAP17-004.

Five selected grab samples assayed 0.2% niobium pentoxide, hitting a peak of 0.96% Nb2O5, while three grab samples brought more than 0.2% total rare earth oxides, peaking at 0.39% TREO. Three samples contained over 5% phosphorus pentoxide with a peak value of 12.62% P2O5.

CAP17-004, the first of four drill holes, showed:

  • 0.35% Nb2O5 over 10.42 metres, starting at 85.24 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.63% Nb2O5 over 2.26 metres)

  • 9.94% P2O5 over 19.63 metres, starting at 98.87 metres
  • (including 20.97% P2O5 over 2.55 metres)

  • 0.81% TREO over 2.4 metres, starting at 136.1 metres

True widths weren’t provided. The last interval also showed a peak value of 69 ppb gold and over 1% TREO.

Along with sampling and drilling, the summer program included mapping and prospecting over an area of about three kilometres by one kilometre.

“The discovery of highly anomalous concentrations of niobium, phosphate and REOs at such an early stage in the exploration of the Cap project should be considered highly encouraging,” said consulting geologist Jody Dahrouge. “Future exploration at Cap will follow up on surface samples that contained highly anomalous concentrations of niobium and may be related to drill hole CAP17-004.”

Reporting from their Diagras diamond project in the Northwest Territories late last month, Arctic Star and 60% JV partner Margaret Lake Diamonds TSXV:DIA announced geophysical results that could potentially indicate “the largest kimberlite complex in the Lac de Gras field.” Further geophysics are on the 18,699-hectare property’s spring agenda, with drilling to follow.

As for Arctic Star’s recently acquired Timantti diamond project in Finland, assays released in July from historic core on the White Wolf kimberlite showed 111 microdiamonds. The company had earlier found 58 microdiamonds in an 18.9-kilogram sample taken from the same kimberlite.

Timantti covers part of the Fennoscandian Shield, host to major Russian diamond mines Lomonosov and Grib.

In July the company offered a $1.25-million private placement.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Arctic Star president/CEO Patrick Power.

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.

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