Tuesday 17th September 2019

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘phosphate’

Saville Resources plans Phase II drilling on Quebec niobium-tantalum-phosphate project

September 16th, 2019

by Greg Klein | September 16, 2019

A detailed analysis of last spring’s drill program along with other data has Saville Resources TSXV:SRE looking forward to a Q1 return engagement. Activity on the Niobium Claim Group in Quebec’s Labrador Trough occurs as the U.S. takes steps to secure reliable supplies of critical minerals including niobium and tantalum. The country relies on imports for its entire supply of both metals.

Near-surface assays previously released for this year’s five-hole, 1,049-metre campaign reached as high as 0.79% Nb2O5, 163 ppm Ta2O5 and 8.1% P2O5 over 37 metres, as well as 0.8% Nb2O5, 81 ppm Ta2O5 and 9% P2O5 over 31.5 metres. The latter intercept, the final hole of the season, featured a sub-interval showing 1.36% Nb2O5, 70 ppm Ta2O5 and 12.3% P2O5 over 4.5 metres.

Saville Resources plans Phase II drilling on Quebec niobium-tantalum-phosphate project

Saville’s drilling targeted the project’s Mallard prospect, where three programs so far have totalled 14 holes and 3,537 metres. Each campaign excelled its predecessor for grades and widths, expanding three known zones of mineralization which remain open in all directions, the company reported.

Predominating the host material are pyrochlore-group minerals and/or ferrocolumbite, familiar to the industry as the world’s main source of niobium production, Saville added.

“We appear to have only scratched the surface at Mallard and have yet to drill-test our other high-priority targets including Spoke and Miranna,” said president Mike Hodge.

Although work will focus on building an initial Mallard resource, Spoke and Miranna might also get rig attention to determine their potential for connecting with Mallard.

Saville operates the project under a 75% earn-in from Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE. On another critical minerals project two kilometres away, Commerce advances its Ashram rare earths deposit towards pre-feasibility.

Saville’s portfolio also includes the Bud project in southern British Columbia’s busy Greenwood camp. Grab sample assays released last April showed grades up to 4.57 g/t gold, 27.7 g/t silver and 6.7% copper; as well as 4.44 g/t gold, 17 g/t silver and 6.84% copper.

Read more about Saville Resources.

Commerce Resources’ rare earths metallurgy optimized by university lab

August 1st, 2019

by Greg Klein | August 1, 2019

Successful methods applied in separate laboratories further demonstrate the amenability of a Quebec rare earths deposit that’s progressing towards the pre-feasibility stage. Using material from Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram project in northern Quebec, l’Université Laval successfully used an alternative flowsheet approach to create a mixed REE concentrate. The tests add to the work of Hazen Research in Colorado and Merker Mineral Processing/UVR-FIA in Germany.

Commerce Resources’ rare earths metallurgy optimized by university lab

Commerce announced receipt of Laval’s final report on August 1. The university tested Ashram material on bench-scale levels of one kilogram and on larger batches of 10 to 30 kilograms. A total of about 1,500 kilograms went through Laval’s own flotation circuit and reagent scheme.

The large batches produced around 170 kilos of flotation concentrate grading 11.2% rare earth oxides, with a mass pull of 11.3% (percent of material reporting to concentrate), the company stated. Laval’s new reagent scheme offers Ashram potentially greater flotation performance, Commerce added.

“We are very happy with the results of our collaboration with Laval and look forward to continued work with local academic institutions to further develop REE expertise in the province of Quebec and, moreover, to move the Ashram deposit closer to production,” commented president Chris Grove.

The news comes amid heightened concern in the U.S. for critical minerals supply, especially rare earths.

Commerce holds interests in two other critical minerals projects. On the Niobium Claim Group, just a few kilometres from Ashram, Saville Resources TSXV:SRE drilled high-grade, near-surface niobium along with tantalum and phosphate last spring while working towards a 75% earn-in from Commerce. The latter company also holds the advanced-stage Blue River tantalum-niobium project in southern British Columbia.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Saville Resources president Mike Hodge considers the potential of his company’s Quebec critical minerals project

July 25th, 2019

…Read more

Commerce Resources to provide rare earths and byproduct samples to potential customers

July 5th, 2019

by Greg Klein | July 5, 2019

Commerce Resources to provide rare earths and byproduct samples to potential customers

 

With trade tensions once again demonstrating the need for rare earths supply outside China, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE announced plans for its advanced-stage Ashram deposit in northern Quebec. The company intends to resume pilot plant metallurgical work, provide rare earths samples to interested parties and also upgrade its potential fluorspar byproduct.

Using lab facilities in Colorado, Commerce plans to produce several kilograms of material for companies that have requested samples. The lab will also work on upgrading the deposit’s fluorspar from metallurgical grade to the usually more expensive acid grade.

An essential ingredient for coolants used in refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners, acid grade fluorspar is also integral to processing uranium and aluminum. Like rare earths, fluorspar ranks among the 35 critical minerals listed by the United States. Over 60% of 2018 global production came from China, according to U.S. Geological Survey data. NorFalco Sales, a division of Glencore Canada Corp, has requested the fluorspar sample.

The pilot plant work will complement Commerce’s pre-feasibility studies as the Ashram deposit progresses.

Using Ashram material, the Colorado plant has already produced high-grade concentrates above 45% total rare earth oxides with recovery surpassing 70%, “comparable to current and past hard rock producers,” Commerce noted.

Separate, Quebec-funded studies at l’Université Laval produced a mixed rare earth oxide concentrate from Ashram material, showing the deposit’s versatility to processing procedures.

A key advantage of Ashram lies in its carbonatite-hosted mineralization and relatively simple monazite, bastnasite and xenotime mineralogy, amenable to conventional rare earths processing.

The near-surface deposit hosts a 2012 resource estimate using 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

Ashram also features strong distribution of the high-demand magnet feed elements neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium.

In a report issued last month, Adamas Intelligence stated that permanent magnets accounted for over 90% of TREO consumption by value last year. “This share is poised to expand further as demand (and prices) for neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium continue to rise strongly in the years ahead.”

Ashram’s distinctions suggest the project could require a relatively smaller metallurgical plant, along with potentially lower capex and opex, Commerce stated.

Last May Commerce and two Inuit organizations signed a letter of intent to ensure participation as the project moves forward.

At another critical minerals project just a few kilometres away, Saville Resources TSXV:SRE works towards a 75% earn-in from Commerce on the Niobium Claim Group. Following a spring drill program that found high-grade, near-surface niobium along with tantalum and phosphate, Saville looks forward to a Phase II campaign.

In southern British Columbia, Commerce also holds the advanced-stage Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit.

Read more about China’s dominance in global rare earths supply.

Saville Resources/Commerce Resources release niobium-tantalum-phosphate results from northern Quebec

June 13th, 2019

In three batches during early June 2019, Saville Resources TSXV:SRE and Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE released assays from the first drill program in nine years on the Niobium Claim Group in Quebec’s Labrador Trough. Saville operates the program under a 75% earn-in from Commerce, which is advancing its Ashram rare earths deposit towards pre-feasibility.

Of five holes totalling 1,049 metres, one hole was lost. The other four exceeded near-surface high grades and wide widths of historic drilling conducted between 2008 and 2010, the companies stated. Previous campaigns totalled 41 holes for 8,175 metres.

Here are highlights from the spring 2019 program. True widths weren’t provided. Fluorine results are still to come.

Hole EC19-174A

  • 0.8% Nb2O5, 81 ppm Ta2O5 and 9% P2O5 over 31.5 metres, starting at 17 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.98% Nb2O5, 70 ppm Ta2O5 and 10.5% P2O5 over 13.5 metres)
  • (which includes 1.13% Nb2O5, 73 ppm Ta2O5 and 10.6% P2O5 over 9 metres)
  • (which includes 1.36% Nb2O5, 70 ppm Ta2O5 and 12.3% P2O5 over 4.5 metres)
  • (and also including 1.04% Nb2O5, 136 ppm Ta2O5 and 11.9% P2O5 over 7.7 metres)

  • 0.79% Nb2O5, 163 ppm Ta2O5 and 8.1% P2O5 over 37 metres, starting at 96.5 metres
  • (including 0.95% Nb2O5, 168 ppm Ta2O5 and 8.6% P2O5 over 9.94 metres)
  • (which includes 1.01% Nb2O5, 178 ppm Ta2O5 and 9% P2O5 over 7.5 metres)
Saville Resources exceeds historic high grades for niobium-tantalum in Quebec

  • 0.67% Nb2O5, 170 ppm Ta2O5 and 9.4% P2O5 over 19.95 metres, starting at 167.52 metres

  • 0.5% Nb2O5, 70 ppm Ta2O5 and 5% P2O5 over 33.5 metres, starting at 197 metres

Hole EC19-172

  • 0.62% Nb2O5, 92 ppm Ta2O5 and 7.1% P2O5 over 19 metres, starting at 43.5 metres

  • 0.6% Nb2O5, 302 ppm Ta2O5 and 9.9% P2O5 over 7.5 metres, starting at 76 metres
  • (including 1.64% Nb2O5, 490 ppm Ta2O5 and 8.1% P2O5 over 1.5 metres)

  • 0.45% Nb2O5, 274 ppm Ta2O5 and 6.9% P2O5 over 100.84 metres, starting at 123.44 metres
  • (including 0.67% Nb2O5, 181 ppm Ta2O5 and 7.9% P2O5 over 27 metres)

EC19-173

  • 0.66% Nb2O5, 53 ppm Ta2O5 and 6.6% P2O5 over 14.5 metres, starting at 87 metres
  • (including 0.78% Nb2O5, 55 ppm Ta2O5 and 7.7% P2O5 over 8.78 metres)
  • (which includes 1.1% Nb2O5, 500 ppm Ta2O5 and 11.6% P2O5 over 1.5 metres)

  • 0.38% Nb2O5, 233 ppm Ta2O5 and 6.2% P2O5 over 26.5 metres, starting at 136.5 metres
  • (including 0.66% Nb2O5, 337 ppm Ta2O5 and 8.6% P2O5 over 4.5 metres)

  • 0.59% Nb2O5, 168 ppm Ta2O5 and 9.7% P2O5 over 7.5 metres, starting at 222 metres

EC19-171

  • 0.43% Nb2O5, 267 ppm Ta2O5 and 9.1% P2O5 over 26 metres, starting at 23 metres

  • 0.76% Nb2O5, 64 ppm Ta2O5 and 8.2% P2O5 over 7.5 metres, starting at 49 metres

  • 0.7% Nb2O5, 116 ppm Ta2O5 and 6.6% P2O5 over 38.28 metres, starting at 71.22 metres
  • (including 1.1% Nb2O5, 182 ppm Ta2O5 and 7.2% P2O5 over 5.41 metres)

  • 0.63% Nb2O5, 95 ppm Ta2O5 and 6.2% P2O5 over 34 metres, starting at 145 metres

Read more about the Saville/Commerce Niobium Claim Group project.

Towards a critical resource

June 13th, 2019

Saville Resources exceeds historic high grades for niobium-tantalum in Quebec

by Greg Klein

The project’s first drill campaign in nine years poses a big question: Why was this the project’s first drill campaign in nine years?

Saville Resources/Commerce Resources report best-yet niobium hole from Quebec critical minerals project

Saville president Mike Hodge examines
core at the Niobium Claim Group.

Even in the face of highly encouraging historic niobium-tantalum results, this program’s first hole exceeded expectations. More near-surface high grades and wide widths followed, culminating in a fourth hole that surpassed them all. Now Saville Resources TSXV:SRE looks forward to more drilling to build an inferred resource on the Niobium Claim Group in northern Quebec’s Labrador Trough.

But why the nine-year hiatus? The answer can be illustrated by Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram rare earths deposit, two kilometres away. Moving that project towards pre-feasibility took precedence, even when the company found strong niobium-tantalum intercepts on another part of its Eldor property. To give these other critical minerals their due, Commerce and Saville signed an agreement last year allowing the latter company to earn 75% of the 1,223-hectare niobium claims.

Additional high-grade boulder samples renewed interest in a number of prospective areas but Saville’s initial drill program in spring 2019 targeted Mallard, the most advanced zone with 17 historic holes totalling 4,328 metres. The new program added five holes (one hole was lost) and 1,049 metres.

“We were confident that we could improve on the historic drill results and we did that,” notes Saville president Mike Hodge.

Near-surface highlights from the best hole showed 0.8% Nb2O5 over 31.5 metres, 0.79% over 37 metres, 0.67% over 19.95 metres and 0.5% over 33.5 metres. Eleven individual samples from that hole exceeded 1%, with one sample reaching as high as 1.68% over 1.5 metres. (True widths were unknown.) Tantalum and phosphate also brought strong numbers.

A 50-metre step-out east of another of the campaign’s successful holes, 50 metres southeast of a second and 200 metres southeast of a third, EC19-174A was also proximal to impressive historic results.

Saville Resources exceeds historic high grades for niobium-tantalum in Quebec

In just a few of the recent highlights, however, EC19-173 featured 0.66% Nb2O5 over 14.5 metres. EC19-171 hit 0.7% over 38.28 metres, including 1.1% over 5.41 metres. EC19-172 reached 0.62% over 19 metres.

Among tantalum grades were 274 ppm Ta2O5 over 100.8 metres from EC19-172, and 267 ppm over 26 metres from EC19-171.

The step-outs extend Mallard’s strike 100 metres southeast and also suggest a possible northern extension towards the project’s Miranna and Spoke targets, as yet undrilled.

That’s despite very high-grade boulder samples from Miranna showing 2.75%, 4.24%, 4.3% and an exceptional 5.93% Nb2O5.

“These are still untested targets which we believe could have significantly higher grades than Mallard,” says Hodge. “But my first goal would be an inferred near-surface resource in the Mallard area.”

Contributing to that would be historic data, which includes intervals of 0.82% Nb2O5 over 21.9 metres, 0.9% over 4.8 metres and 1.09% over 5.8 metres.

In all, the Niobium Claim Group underwent 41 historic holes for 8,175 metres, with all field work since 2008 conducted by Dahrouge Geological Consulting. Saville has so far exceeded its first-year spending commitment of $750,000 out of a five-year, $5-million exploration agenda that would earn 75% of the project from Commerce.

But if Miranna’s 5.93% Nb2O5 sample looks outstanding, another boulder collected west of the project’s Northwest area soared up to 16.1%, also showing 7,540 ppm Ta2O5.

“That was the highest, but there were plenty in the 3% to 6% niobium range,” Hodge emphasizes.

Saville Resources exceeds historic high grades for niobium-tantalum in Quebec

With overlapping boulder trains on the property, “there are a few locations they could be coming from,” he adds. “But the likelihood of it coming from the Spoke or Miranna areas would be the highest probability.”

Other areas of interest include the Northwest zone, northwest of Miranna. Location of 11 historic holes totalling 2,257 metres, its results included 0.61% Nb2O5 over 12 metres.

South of Mallard, the Star Trench area has four historic holes for 664 metres, with results including 1.5% Nb2O5 and 1,810 ppm Ta2O5 over 0.52 metres, and 1.69% Nb2O5 and 2,220 ppm Ta2O5 over 0.31 metres.

Niobium and tantalum both rank on the U.S. list of 35 critical minerals. Heightened concern has brought concerted American efforts to develop reliable sources and create supply chains domestically and with allied countries. In early June the U.S. unveiled its Energy Resource Governance Initiative to work with allies as part of the president’s critical minerals strategy announced a few days earlier.

Imports provide America’s total supply of both niobium and tantalum. Niobium, used for alloys and super-alloys in jet engines, rockets and other manufactures, comes to the U.S. mostly from one company in Brazil. According to 2018 figures from the U.S. Geological Survey, Brazil mined 88.2% of global supply, while Canada extracted another 10.3%.

Tantalum finds widespread use in electronics as well as super-alloys for jet engine components. USGS numbers from last year attribute 39.5% of global supply to the Democratic Republic of Congo, 27.8% to Rwanda, 8.3% to Nigeria and 6.7% to China. Apart from security of supply, concerns about conflict minerals result from troubling conditions and murky supply routes in the DRC and Rwanda.

Meanwhile Hodge wants to get back to the field. “We made a great first step in expanding on what we had,” he says. “All of these holes ended in a mineralized zone. The reason we stopped them there was to start a near-surface inferred resource. There’s carbonatite with mineralization in niobium, tantalum and phosphate open in all directions, so the results definitely call for more drilling.”

See more highlights from the Niobium Claim Group’s spring 2019 program.

Saville Resources/Commerce Resources report best-yet niobium hole from Quebec critical minerals project

June 11th, 2019

This story has been expanded and moved here.

Update: Saville Resources/Commerce Resources hit more near-surface, high-grade niobium, with tantalum and phosphate in Quebec

June 6th, 2019

This story has been expanded and moved here.

Saville Resources/Commerce Resources hit near-surface niobium high grades, with tantalum and phosphate in Quebec

June 3rd, 2019

This story has been updated and moved here.

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.