Tuesday 14th July 2020

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Posts tagged ‘quebec’

Commerce Resources further tests acid-grade fluorspar potential of Quebec rare earths project

June 11th, 2020

by Greg Klein | June 11, 2020

Another round of metallurgical studies endeavours to add a critical mineral byproduct to a critical mineral project. Commerce Resources (TSXV:CCE) has re-engaged Hazen Research’s Colorado lab for Phase II studies on the fluorspar component of its Ashram rare earths deposit. Phase I results reported in February have already produced calcium fluoride grading 97.8%, exceeding the 97% level of fluorspar’s more expensive acid-grade.

Phase II will focus on removing impurities, taking advantage of a flowsheet that doesn’t require a complicated secondary circuit for fluorspar. Using conventional methods, coarser and looser fluorspar grains will be recovered prior to entering the initial rare earths circuit. Most of the remaining fluorspar will be recovered as a tailings stream.

Commerce Resources further tests acid-grade fluorspar potential of Quebec rare earths project

Although not considered in Ashram’s PEA report, fluorspar offers considerable economic potential as the project moves towards pre-feasibility.

Previous lab work has demonstrated the ability to produce over 45% rare earths oxides with an impressive 75% recovery rate. In addition to tests by Hazen Research, studies on Ashram material have been conducted at academic and research institutions including McGill University, l’Université du Québec, l’Université Laval, the University of Windsor and the CanmetMINING division of Natural Resources Canada. Earlier this month Ashram came to global attention through an article by PhD candidate Sophie Costis and her team in the international peer-reviewed journal Science of the Total Environment.

Apart from hosting a domestic supply of critical minerals, Ashram’s advantages include carbonatite host rocks with relatively simple monazite, bastnasite and xenotime mineralogy amenable to conventional rare earths processing. The near-surface and at-surface deposit features a strong presence of sought-after magnet feed elements.

Ashram’s resource uses a base case 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

Following extensive drilling, Commerce now has geological modelling underway for a resource update.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

A look at Canada’s future

June 8th, 2020

…Read more

CSA issues report card on resource estimate disclosure

June 5th, 2020

by Greg Klein | June 5, 2020

CSA issues report card on resource estimate methodology

Projects involving precious metals and B.C.-headquartered
companies predominated among the 86 deposits under scrutiny.
(Chart: Canadian Securities Administrators)

 

How well do early-stage explorers reveal the technical data and economic assumptions behind their 43-101 resource estimates? A review by the Canadian Securities Administrators found their technical reports generally satisfactory, although often lacking in data verification as well as discussions of economic prospects and cutoff grades.

Completed in late 2018 but not reported until June 4, the study examined 86 technical reports. As a result, 10 were sent back to the issuers to be amended and re-filed. Six of those were cited for inadequate disclosure and the other four required revisions to their resource estimates. Conducting the study were seven staffers from securities commissions in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

CSA issues report card on resource estimate methodology

The review looked at 33 aspects of seven broad issues of disclosure: the QP’s experience; data verification; mineralogical controls and geological model; data analysis; resource estimation and classification; reasonable economic prospect of eventual mining; and reporting sensitivities, risks and uncertainties.

Among problematic areas was data verification, a vital issue concerning results from previous operators. The study found the process inadequate for recent data in over 20% of reports, and over 30% for historic data.

In several cases economic prospects were stymied by insufficient info regarding metallurgy, costs, prices and restraints. Reporting of overall sensitivity and risks was another issue of concern, especially where companies used boilerplate language instead of discussing risks specific to their projects.

Cutoff grades didn’t always have the base case emphasized, the study found, and not all cutoff grades came with a necessary discussion of reasonable economic prospects.

But the study found good work too. “Despite some deficiencies, many technical reports provided detailed and useful information on geological constraints applied to the estimate, and on statistical treatment of the data.”

“Robust technical reports are essential to disclosure at key project development stages,” noted Louis Morisset, CSA chairperson and president/CEO of l’Autorité des marchés financiers. “Our intention for publishing this guidance in the current environment is to support mining issuers in preparing their resource estimates, and to reinforce the importance of technical reports that are transparent and comply with disclosure requirements and industry best practices.”

As part of their ongoing disclosure review, securities commissions staff “will pay special attention to [mineral resource estimates] and the areas of inadequate disclosure identified,” the report added.

Download the CSA Review of Mineral Resource Estimates in Technical Reports.

Gaia Metals signs LOI for Idaho gold-silver project with historic high grades

June 4th, 2020

by Greg Klein | June 4, 2020

Impressive earlier work in one of the world’s top-ranked mining jurisdictions has brought new attention to a neglected property. Under terms of a non-binding letter of intent Gaia Metals TSXV:GMC would pick up Freeman Creek, a 599-hectare site of previous trenching, drilling and mining. Two targets about three kilometres apart have the company especially encouraged.

Gaia Metals signs LOI for Idaho gold-silver project with historic high grades

Mineralization at the Gold Dyke prospect has been traced for 457 metres along strike and 183 metres at depth. Trench samples as far back as 1910 brought obviously non-43-101 results as high as:

  • 6.86 g/t gold and 199 g/t silver over 7 metres

  • 5.49 g/t gold and 130 g/t silver over 5.8 metres

  • 19.9 g/t gold, 65 g/t silver and 1.05% copper over 3.7 metres

One grab sample reached 60 g/t gold and 1,440 g/t silver.

An historic 1970s-era drill intercept brought:

  • 0.46 g/t gold, 7.1 g/t silver and 0.1% copper over 13.7 metres

More non-43-101 assays, from two 1980s holes, showed:

  • 1.5 g/t gold and 12.1 g/t silver over 44.2 metres

  • 1.7 g/t gold and 17.1 g/t silver over 21.3 metres

Although records haven’t been found, Cominco and BHP explored Gold Dyke for large-scale copper potential during the 1990s.

The historic Carmen Creek mine prospect has delivered samples from outcrop and former workings with these non-43-101 results:

  • 14.15 g/t gold, 63 g/t silver and 1.2% copper

  • 1.8 g/t gold, 43 g/t silver and 1% copper

Should all fall into place, Gaia plans ground mapping and soil sampling, along with potential ground geophysics and summer drilling.

“The historic work at Freeman Creek appears to have only scratched the surface of this project’s potential,” said company president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux. “Coupled with a relatively simple and straightforward permitting process, we are excited to aggressively pursue this opportunity.”

Located about 15 kilometres from the town of Salmon, Freeman Creek can be reached by highway, gravel roads and trails. Last year Idaho ranked #8, up from 16th the previous year, on the most important index of the Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies.

A 100% interest would cost Gaia a total of $90,000, four million shares and two million warrants within a year of TSXV approval. The company would pay an additional $1 million in cash or shares on defining a gold-equivalent resource exceeding a million ounces. The vendor would retain a 2.5% NSR, half of which Gaia could buy for $1.5 million.

In Quebec’s James Bay region, Gaia’s Corvette-FCI property has yielded high-grade gold, copper-gold-silver and lithium-tantalum grades. Announced last April, a new interpretation of geophysical data found additional drilling potential. Gaia holds 100% of the project’s Corvette claims and a 75% earn-in from Osisko Mining TSX:OSK spinout O3 Mining TSXV:OIII on the FCI-East and FCI-West blocks.

Among other assets, Gaia’s portfolio includes the Pontax lithium-gold property in Quebec, the Golden silica property in British Columbia and a 40% stake in the Northwest Territories’ Hidden Lake lithium property.

Read more about Gaia Metals.

Commerce Resources’ Quebec rare earths project gets international academic attention

June 1st, 2020

by Greg Klein | June 1, 2020

Not a subject that normally excites investors, tailings management is nevertheless an important consideration for advanced-stage projects. A previously announced academic article on Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram rare earths deposit now comes to an international audience.

Commerce Resources’ Quebec rare earths project gets international academic attention

Written and researched by a six-person team led by PhD candidate Sophie Costis, Assessment of the Leaching Potential of Flotation Tailings from Rare Earth Mineral Extraction in Cold Climates was published last month in Science of the Total Environment, an international peer-reviewed journal.

The study results from tailings characterization test programs still underway by le Centre Eau Terre Environnement of l’Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS).

Funding comes from a $300,000 grant provided jointly by le Fonds de recherche du Québec—Nature et technologies and le Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles. Although the program was scheduled to finish next December, Commerce and INRS hope to extend the project through the same funding sources.

An earlier presentation on her Ashram research won Costis first prize in the Geoscience Research Challenge held by l’Association Québécoise des Sciences de la Terre. Her award was announced in November at the Quebec Mines + Energy conference in Quebec City.

“We continue to be impressed by the quality of work being completed by Sophie Costis and the team at the INRS, and are very happy to have been able to be involved and contribute to REE research in Quebec, and now globally,” said Commerce president Chris Grove.

The company’s work continues on the northern Quebec Ashram rare earths-fluorspar project, which hosts two of the 35 minerals considered critical by the U.S. Rare earths have been an increasing cause of concern to the American government, which relies heavily on China for these elements essential to defence, medicine and clean energy technology, among other applications.

Apart from a friendly jurisdiction, Ashram benefits from carbonatite host rocks with relatively simple monazite, bastnasite and xenotime mineralogy that’s familiar to conventional rare earths processing.

See other news about flowsheet studies for Commerce Resources’ Ashram rare earths deposit.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Commerce Resources announces tailings management progress for Canadian rare earths deposit

May 14th, 2020

by Greg Klein | May 14, 2020

Commerce Resources announces tailings management progress for Canadian rare earths deposit

The laboratory set-up for
kinetic testing by le Centre
Eau Terre Environnement.

One day after reporting on the Ashram rare earths flowsheet studies conducted by Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetMINING division, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE announced findings from tailings management studies for the Quebec deposit. Undertaken by le Centre Eau Terre Environnement of l’Institut national de la recherche scientifique, the tests found the flotation tailings are “relatively benign with no major issues identified with the material or its management,” Commerce stated.

The study found “tailings are not acid-generating due to the material’s high carbonate and low sulphide content resulting in a natural neutralization effect,” an advantage that also cuts costs.

Additionally, the tailings aren’t considered hazardous or radioactive according to Quebec’s Hazardous Materials Regulations and Environmental Quality Act.

“Concentrations of all elements in the tailings’ leachate fall below the ‘high-risk’ criteria as outlined in Directive 019,” Commerce pointed out.

Further test work is required on freeze-thaw cycles, which “appear to play an important role in mineral solubility.”

Kinetic tests continue to provide data “for better understanding of how the tailings may be altered over time and for proper mitigation measures to be implemented if any elements are indicated to be potentially problematic to the environment.”

The next steps will include creating a model of tailings weathering.

The project was expected to conclude in December but Commerce and the INRS are considering an extension under similar funding. The studies have been backed by a $300,000 grant provided jointly by le Fonds de recherche du Québec—Nature et technologies and le Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles.

See recent news about flowsheet studies for Commerce Resources’ Ashram rare earths deposit.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

International Montoro Resources furthers rare earths potential in B.C.

May 13th, 2020

by Greg Klein | May 13, 2020

Detailed analysis of field work shows the rare earths prospects of an early-stage project in east-central British Columbia. On March 13 International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT announced a report culminating from last year’s grid-based survey of 535 soil samples on the 2,007-hectare Wicheeda North property.

International Montoro Resources furthers rare earths potential in BC

Previous work came under detailed analysis for International
Montoro Resources’ Wicheeda North REE prospect.
(Photo: International Montoro Resources)

“Thematic geochemical anomaly maps were generated for cerium and other values were received for light REEs including lanthanum, neodymium, praseodymium, samarium, europium and gadolinium,” the company stated.

The report was prepared by Bob Lane, who managed 2008 and 2009 drilling programs on the adjacent Wicheeda project, later acquired by First Legacy Mining, now Defense Metals TSXV:DEFN. Lane also took part in First Legacy’s 43-101 report on Wicheeda.

Commenting on International Montoro’s Wicheeda North, Lane said it “has the potential to host, and should continue to be explored for, REE mineralization because it occurs within a favourable geological belt known to contain carbonatite-hosted REE mineralization, such as the Main zone” of the Defense project neighbouring to the southeast.

Future recommendations include further prospecting and grid-based soil sampling. Additionally, airborne electromagnetics were suggested for the southern part of the property, which wasn’t surveyed in the EM, magnetic and radiometric geophysics conducted in 2010.

Given favourable results, Lane’s report recommends the company consider excavator trenching.

Last February the company announced exploration plans for its Camping Lake property in Ontario’s Red Lake region. Under an October 2019 agreement with Falcon Gold TSXV:FG, International Montoro may earn a 51% interest in the gold-base metals project.

Reporting on another Ontario project, International Montoro released geophysical analysis from Serpent River in December. The conclusions could indicate massive sulphide nickel-copper-PGE-gold mineralization on the Elliot Lake-region property, the company stated.

International Montoro’s portfolio also includes the Duhamel polymetallic project in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.

Last month the company closed a private placement of $56,525.

Commerce Resources’ NRCan collaboration moves forward on rare earths metallurgy

May 13th, 2020

by Greg Klein | May 13, 2020

A co-operation with Natural Resources Canada brings significant progress to an advanced-stage northern Quebec critical minerals deposit. Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE announced the findings from NRCan’s CanmetMINING division, which has been working on the flotation circuit for material from the company’s Ashram rare earths and fluorspar project in northern Quebec.

Commerce Resources NRCan collaboration moves forward on rare earths metallurgy

As the U.S. shows increasing interest in Canadian
critical mineral deposits, a poll finds widespread
Canadian support for their development and export.

CanmetMINING “has completed collector screening, an evaluation of mixed collectors, reverse conditioning tests, cleaning stage tests and a continuous process simulation with a locked cycle test,” Commerce stated.

The work has identified “an alternative reagent scheme and flotation circuit to achieve, and potentially exceed, the target objective of less than 25% mass pull at more than 80% recovery. This has also been achieved using one-half to one-quarter of the quantity of reagents utilized in prior test work completed by other metallurgical labs. Previous work has identified reagents as a key area of optimization in the Ashram deposit’s flotation circuit and where significant cost advantages may be found by screening the performance of each pertinent reagent with respect to its consumption and purchase cost.”

Improved flotation performance “has been achieved through a combination of distributed reagent additions, reagent synergism and reverse conditioning in a very simple and basic flotation circuit,” the company added.

The findings precede a detailed report, Mineral Processing Flowsheet Approaches for the Ashram Rare Earth and Fluorspar Deposit, that CanmetMINING will present to the 2020 Conference of Metallurgists in Toronto next August.

Some aspects of CanmetMINING’s upcoming work will involve Corem, which claims Canada’s largest concentration of R&D resources for mineral processing. Partnering with the governments of Quebec and Canada, Corem works with its 15 mining company members and its international clients to provide specialized services and research expertise. Corem’s tests on a 400-kilogram delivery of Ashram material is expected to resume as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Funding comes from NRCan through CanmetMINING’s rare earth element and chromite R&D program to develop new extraction technologies, address Canadian regulations and learn more about Canadian deposits.

Metallurgical studies elsewhere have also advanced Commerce’s Ashram project. In February the company announced that Hazen Research’s Colorado pilot plant had produced a calcium fluoride concentrate grading 97.8%, surpassing the 97% level typical of fluorspar’s more expensive acid-spar grade.

The previous December Commerce released promising results from Université Laval metallurgical studies on Ashram material.

Both fluorspar and rare earths figure in the American list of 35 critical minerals. In January Canada and the U.S. announced their Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration, encouraging the use of Canadian resources to reduce American dependency on rival countries.

Commerce’s May 13 announcement coincides with poll results showing widespread support for critical minerals development in Canada. Released by the Mining Association of Canada, the survey found:

  • 88% of respondents want Canada to increase its role in producing critical minerals for world markets

  • 86% want to encourage international investment into Canadian critical minerals and metals companies that are sustainability leaders

  • 83% want to encourage Canadian production of critical minerals to compete with China

  • 81% want to promote interest in Canadian critical minerals by drawing attention to Canada’s high standards of sustainability

Commerce’s Ashram deposit features carbonatite-hosted mineralization and relatively simple monazite, bastnasite and xenotime mineralogy that’s favourable to conventional rare earths processing.

Using a 1.25% cutoff, Ashram’s 2012 resource estimate 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 near-surface deposit also shows a strong distribution of the high-demand magnet feed elements neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium.

Earlier this week Commerce offered a private placement up to $1 million. The company closed private placements of $300,000 this month and $2.51 million in November.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Mining resumes under COVID-19 but faces slow return: GlobalData

April 28th, 2020

by Greg Klein | April 28, 2020

Mining resumes under COVID-19 but faces slow return GlobalData

 

As of April 27 some 729 mines worldwide remain suspended, down from more than 1,600 shutdowns on April 3. The numbers, released by GlobalData, reflect government decisions to declare the industry an essential service, as well as implementation of new health standards and procedures. Those efforts, often involving staff reductions, contribute to “a slow return for the industry,” stated the data and analytics firm.

“Silver production is currently being severely damaged by lockdown measures,” pointed out GlobalData mining analyst Vinneth Bajaj. “As of 27 April, the equivalent of 65.8% of annual global silver production was on hold. Silver mining companies such as First Majestic, Hochschild, Hecla Mining and Endeavour Silver have all withdrawn their production guidance for 2020 in the wake of the outbreak.

Mining resumes under COVID-19 but faces slow return GlobalData

“Progress has also been halted on 23 mines under construction, including the US$5.3-billion Quellaveco copper mine in Peru, which is one of the world’s biggest copper mines currently under development…. In Chile, while a lockdown is not in force, Antofagasta has halted work on its Los Pelambres project and Teck Resources has suspended work on the Quebrada Blanca Phase II mine.”

Jurisdictions that have lifted suspensions include Quebec, India, Argentina, Zimbabwe and South Africa, GlobalData added. Countries with government-ordered lockdowns still in force include Bolivia (until April 30), Namibia (May 4), Peru (May 10) and Mexico (May 30).

At least one Mexico operator, Argonaut Gold TSX:AR, plans to re-open on May 18 under an exception for businesses operating in municipalities with few or no cases of COVID-19.

Quebec’s resumption of mining drew strong criticism from Makivik Corporation, which represents the Inuit of the province’s Nunavik region.

“Makivik will not entertain the opening of any mines at this time in Nunavik. This is very dangerous,” said corporation president Charlie Watt on April 17. “The Inuit-elected officials in the communities and in the different regional organizations need to be heard and need to make the decisions and call the shots.”

One day later production resumed at Glencore’s Raglan nickel mine. The company stated that Nunavik authorities have banned travel between the mine and regional villages to protect the local population. Local workers stay home with compensation, while the mine employs workers from the south, including Inuit who live in the south.

Without question this is taking a toll on all of our mines and service/supply companies.—Ken Armstrong, NWT and
Nunavut Chamber of Mines

Six mines still operating in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories use similar staffing precautions. “The mines are operating with reduced workforces which they must fly in by charter from as far away as eastern Canada,” said NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines president Ken Armstrong. “To protect vulnerable northern communities from the virus they have sent their local employees home with pay and they are maintaining costly and unplanned virus protection measures.”

Meanwhile Labrador politicians expressed concern about renewed operations at Champion Iron’s (TSX:CIA) Bloom Lake mine on the Quebec side of the Labrador Trough. On April 28 VOCM radio reported that MP Yvonne Jones asked the company to avoid the Wabush airport in her riding and transport employees entirely through Quebec. Member of the House of Assembly Jordan Brown said contractors were making unnecessary trips to the Newfoundland and Labrador side.

Another pandemic-caused Quebec mining suspension will stay on care and maintenance due to market forces. Renard owner Stornoway Diamond stated, “Despite positive signs in the diamond market in early 2020, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the entire marketing chain and diamond price collapse.”

Prior to the suspension, Renard operated only through creditor support.

Another diamond casualty has been the Northwest Territory’s Ekati mine, which suspended operations last month. Majority owner Dominion Diamond Mines received insolvency protection on April 22.

Discovered in 1991 and opened in 1998, Ekati “provided nearly 33,000 person-years of employment, and $9.3 billion in business spending, with over half the benefits (51% of jobs and 69% of spending) going to northern residents and businesses,” the Chamber stated. “Billions of dollars in various taxes and royalties have also been paid to public and indigenous governments by the mine.”

Gaia Metals finds new drill targets through updated geophysical analysis

April 16th, 2020

by Greg Klein | April 16, 2020

A gold-polymetallic project in Quebec’s James Bay region shows additional potential following re-evaluation of previous data. On behalf of Gaia Metals TSXV:GMC, Dynamic Discovery Geoscience applied new methods and software to a 1998 induced polarization and resistivity survey over the Golden Gap area of the Corvette-FCI property. With greater geological insight, Gaia now sees a different trend of mineralization that has yet to be drilled, along with additional strike extensions, and parallel and sub-parallel trends.

Gaia Metals finds new drill targets through updated geophysical analysis

Gaia Metals’ polymetallic potential expands,
thanks to modern re-interpretation of historic data.
(Photo: Gaia Metals)

The project comprises Gaia’s 100%-held Corvette claims and a 75% earn-in from Osisko Mining TSX:OSK spinout O3 Mining TSXV:OIII on the FCI-East and FCI-West blocks.

Historic, non-43-101 results from Golden Gap include samples up to 108.9 g/t gold, and a drill intercept of 10.48 g/t gold over seven metres. Areas of interest also include the Elsass and Lorraine prospects, the latter showing an outcrop sample of 8.15% copper, 1.33 g/t gold and 171 g/t silver. Lithium-tantalum channel samples from the CV1 pegmatite reached up to 2.28% Li2O and 471 ppm Ta2O5 over six metres.

The new interpretation finds two separate trends to a previously identified signature. A northern trend strongly corresponds with the historic samples up to 108.9 g/t gold. A less-intense southern trend doesn’t correspond with high-grade sampling. Yet it was the southern trend that was drilled to follow an historic intercept of 10.5 g/t gold over seven metres, even though that trend doesn’t correlate with the mineralized zone in that drill hole.

Outcrop samples collected last year found new gold occurrences along strike to the west, “further supporting the interpreted trend in this direction and significantly amplifying the potential,” Gaia stated. “The western trend outlined in the IP-resistivity data continues to the boundary of the survey, indicating it extends further west.”

Additional areas correlate with surface samples grading between 1 and 3 g/t gold, showing targets that are “parallel to sub-parallel to the main mineralized trend and occur within an area of approximately 2.5 kilometres east-west by 1.5 kilometres north-south,” the company added. “Each of these prospective targets and trends remains to be drill-tested.”

In February the company announced a geological review that highlighted the project’s potential for nickel, copper and platinum group elements. An historic outcrop sample from the Lac Long Sud area brought 3.1 g/t gold, 1.06 g/t palladium, 0.005 g/t platinum, 7.5 g/t silver, 0.24% copper, 0.19% nickel and 411 g/t cobalt. Despite those grades, little of the historic work and none of last year’s samples were assayed for PGEs. “Hence these seemingly isolated results necessitate further geochemical analysis in future exploration programs.”

Among other assets, Gaia’s portfolio includes the Pontax lithium-gold property in Quebec, the Golden silica property in British Columbia and a 40% interest in the Northwest Territories’ Hidden Lake lithium property.