Sunday 18th March 2018

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘tantalum’

92 Resources finds high-quality silica potential in B.C. frac sand property, plans drilling for Quebec lithium

March 5th, 2018

by Greg Klein | March 5, 2018

With initial sampling results now in, an eastern British Columbia project shows greater potential to serve growing demand from both solar panel manufacturing and oil and gas exploration. During summer field work at its Golden project, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY collected 60 samples from the property’s Mount Wilson formation. Fifty samples surpassed 98% SiO2 and 22 exceeded 99%, peaking at 99.89%.

92 Resources finds high-quality silica potential in B.C. frac sand property, plans drilling for Quebec lithium

Still to come are frac sand results.

The assays also showed low levels of iron contamination, less than 0.1% Fe2O3 for 55 samples. Boron contamination also rated low, between 3 and 13 ppm. Final boron assays are expected soon, the company added.

Most of the samples came from the easily accessible Frenchman’s Ridge area, where the Mount Wilson formation has been mapped over a strike of about 1.2 kilometres and over 400 metres in width, with thickness interpreted to be at least 50 metres, the company reported.

Encouraged by the program, 92 Resources added another 1,800 hectares to Golden, bringing its size to about 5,000 hectares. The original property sits next to the Moberly silica mine, from where Northern Silica ships material 16 kilometres to a facility capable of processing frac sand and other high-grade silica products. 92 Resources’ new turf covers outcrops of the Mount Wilson formation adjacently east and south of HiTest Sand’s Horse Creek project, which 92 Resources states is reportedly being developed as a silica source for a potential refinery in Washington state.

Regional infrastructure includes highways, rail and power.

In January the company announced Far Resources CSE:FAT joined 92 Resources’ Hidden Lake lithium project under a 90% earn-in. The 1,849-hectare Northwest Territories property has revealed grab sample grades up to 1.86% Li2O, as well as channel sample assays of 1.58% Li2O over 8.78 metres, 2.57% Li2O over 0.75 metres and 233 ppm Ta2O5 over one metre.

Also in January 92 Resources announced plans for three properties acquired last fall in Quebec’s James Bay region. Permitting is now underway for a four- to six-hole, 1,000-metre campaign at the Corvette project, where grab samples from one pegmatite included 0.8%, 3.48% and 7.32% Li2O. Another pegmatite sampled 1.22% Li2O and 90 ppm Ta2O5. The company also sees gold potential in the 3,891-hectare property.

The Pontax project has airborne magnetics and electromagnetics planned for Q1, with summer field work to follow. The work will focus on potential pegmatite trends as well as gold targets on the 5,536-hectare property, which the company considers part of the Eastmain River Volcanic Belt.

In early January 92 Resources closed an oversubscribed private placement of $1.14 million.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with 92 Resources CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

92 Resources finds additional potential on its Northwest Territories lithium project

March 2nd, 2018

…Read more

Tantalum-niobium recovery tests prompt Commerce Resources to negotiate world rights to process

February 20th, 2018

by Greg Klein | February 20, 2018

Best known for the advanced-stage Ashram rare earths deposit in Quebec, Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) rare metals interests also include the Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia. Now a proprietary processing method has brought successful results, leading the company to work on a definitive agreement to acquire global rights to the process.

Tantalum-niobium recovery tests prompt Commerce Resources to negotiate world rights to process

Upper Fir reached the PEA level in 2011
and a resource update in 2013.

Named after Alexander Krupin, an expert with 35 years’ experience in tantalum and niobium recovery, the method was applied to a 1,300-kilogram sample shipped to Krupin’s Estonia facility last year. A visit by Commerce chairperson Axel Hoppe, another internationally recognized expert in tantalum and niobium, verified the Krupin Method’s success. As a result, the parties now have a definitive agreement under negotiation.

Part of Commerce’s Blue River property, Upper Fir reached PEA in 2011. A 2013 resource update used a tantalum price of $381 per kilogram for an estimated:

  • indicated: 48.41 million tonnes averaging 197 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,610 ppm Nb2O5 for 9,560 tonnes Ta2O5 and 77,810 tonnes Nb2O5

  • inferred: 5.4 million tonnes averaging 191 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,760 ppm Nb2O5 for 1,000 tonnes Ta2O5 and 9,600 tonnes Nb2O5

Adjacent to a 20-MW run-of-river electricity project, the 105,373-hectare property has road, rail and power lines.

More niobium-tantalum potential, this time early-stage, has been identified on Commerce’s Eldor property in northern Quebec, which hosts the Ashram rare earths deposit. Last month the company announced that Saville Resources TSXV:SRE had taken on a 75% earn-in to work the property’s niobium claims, where an exceptional sample assay of 5.9% Nb2O5 sparked additional attention in the property.

Ashram remains Commerce’s focus, however, as one of the most advanced REE projects outside China moves towards pre-feasibility. In December the company announced new research that could further streamline the project’s metallurgy, already benefitting from host minerals that are well understood and amenable to conventional processing.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Earn-in brings Far Resources into 92 Resources’ NWT lithium project

January 23rd, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 23, 2018

High-grade sampling and positive Phase I metallurgy have drawn tangible interest to a Northwest Territories hard rock lithium property. In a deal announced January 23, Far Resources CSE:FAT may earn up to 90% of 92 Resources’ (TSXV:NTY) Hidden Lake project 40 kilometres east of Yellowknife. The full 90% would cost Far $50,000, $1.45 million in shares and $2.3 million in spending. 92 would get the cash and $500,000 of the shares on closing, while Far would put $500,000 into the project during the first year to earn an initial 60%. Far would act as project operator.

Earn-in brings Far Resources into 92 Resources’ NWT lithium project

Grab and channel samples from outcropping
pegmatite reveal Hidden Lake’s high lithium grades.

92 stated it would “benefit from bringing in a financially and technically strong partner to further develop the project and, in the process, will become a substantial shareholder of Far Resources with the ability to share in the project’s success.”

With seven known pegmatites, the 1,849-hectare Hidden Lake property has shown grab sample grades up to 1.86% Li2O. Channel sample results include 1.58% Li2O over 8.78 metres, 2.57% Li2O over 0.75 metres and 233 ppm Ta2O5 over 1 metre.

Phase I metallurgy conducted for 92 used conventional methods to produce a high-grade concentrate of 6% to 6.5% Li2O, with recovery rates between 80% and 85%.

The earn-in leaves 92 free to pursue other projects and acquisitions. Its current portfolio includes the Golden frac sand project in eastern British Columbia, adjacent to Northern Silica’s Moberly silica operation, as well as three recently acquired lithium properties in Quebec. A brief site visit to one of them scored a 7.32% Li2O grab sample.

92 closed an oversubscribed private placement of $1.14 million earlier this month.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with 92 Resources CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Lithium-tantalum sampling, new pegmatite discovery position 92 Resources for NWT drill program

January 12th, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 12, 2018

From pilot plant to the field, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY heralded progress on a number of fronts this week. Two days after reporting metallurgical advances for its Hidden Lake lithium project, the company announced high-grade lithium assays, significant tantalum recoveries and the discovery of a seventh pegmatite. The latest news comes from a recently completed eight-day program on the highway-accessible property 40 kilometres east of Yellowknife.

Lithium-tantalum sampling, new pegmatite discovery position 92 Resources for NWT drill program

Last year’s field work added another known pegmatite, as well as
tantalum potential, to 92 Resources’ Hidden Lake lithium project.

Work included channel sampling on two pegmatites discovered in late 2016, HL6 and HL8, near four other known pegmatites on the property. Eight samples from HL6 surpassed 1% Li2O, with values ranging from 1.05% to 2.57%, the latter standing out as the highest 2017 sample grade. Widths extended from 0.75 metres to one metre.

HL8 compensated for lower lithium numbers with some intriguing tantalum results. Of eight samples reported, Li2O values ranged from 0.12% to 0.74%, with Ta2O5 ranging from 114 ppm to 233 ppm. Seven widths came in between 0.74 and 1.33 metres, while a grade of 162 ppm Ta2O5 extended across 5.1 metres.

“Spodumene-bearing pegmatites are often zoned with distinct zones of lithium and tantalum, as well as zones which overlap,” the company explained. “The discovery of tantalum zones in the area is encouraging and bolsters the project’s potential for tantalum, as well as for coupled zones of lithium and tantalum, to be discovered elsewhere on the property.”

Another encouraging sign is a newly discovered pegmatite, bringing Hidden Lake’s known total to seven. An initial sample from HL13 returned 0.48% Li2O.

92 Resources hopes to return early this year, this time with a rig, to begin building a maiden resource.

Earlier this week the company announced another stage of metallurgical studies suggesting Hidden Lake’s pegmatite can produce high-grade concentrate through conventional processing techniques.

Additionally the company holds three lithium properties in Quebec, where sampling from one project brought assays up to 7.32% Li2O and 90 ppm Ta2O5. 92 Resources also plans a 43-101 technical report for its Golden frac sand project in eastern British Columbia.

92 Resources closed a private placement of $1.14 million the previous week and will further fund Hidden Lake with a $140,000 grant from the NWT Mining Incentive Program.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with 92 Resources CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Critical Quebec commodities

January 11th, 2018

Saville Resources moves into Commerce Resources’ niobium-tantalum target

by Greg Klein

A rare metal find on a property hosting a rare earths deposit becomes a project of its own under a new agreement between two companies. With a 75% earn-in, Saville Resources TSXV:SRE can now explore the niobium claims on Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Eldor property in northern Quebec, where the latter company advances its Ashram rare earths deposit towards pre-feasibility.

Saville Resources moves into Commerce Resources’ niobium-tantalum target

A map illustrates the mineralized boulder
train’s progress, showing its presumed source.

Grab samples collected by Commerce on a boulder train about a kilometre from the deposit brought assays up to 5.9% Nb2O5. “That’s right off the charts,” enthuses Saville president Mike Hodge. “People in the niobium space hope for 1%—5.9% is excellent.”

He’s no newcomer to the space or even to the property. Hodge helped stake Commerce’s tantalum-niobium deposit on southern British Columbia’s Blue River property, which reached PEA in 2011.

“I did a lot of the groundwork for Commerce in the Valemount-Blue River area and I was one of the first guys on the ground at the camp that now supports Ashram,” he points out. “I’ve been involved with these two properties since 1999.” That’s part of a career including field experience on over 25 projects as well as raising money for junior explorers.

Miranna’s grab samples brought tantalum too, with a significant 1,220 ppm Ta2O5. Forty of the 65 samples graded over 0.5% Nb2O5, with 16 of them surpassing 1%.

The company describes the sampling area as a “strongly mineralized boulder train with a distinct geophysical anomaly at its apex.”

The 980-hectare Eldor Niobium claims have also undergone drilling on the Northwest and Southeast zones, where some wide intervals gave up 0.46% Nb2O5 over 46.88 metres and 0.55% over 26.1 metres (including 0.78% over 10.64 metres).

Samples from Miranna and the Southeast zone also show that niobium-tantalum occurs within pyrochlore, described by Saville as the dominant source mineral for niobium and tantalum in global mining. That’s the case, for example, at Quebec’s Niobec mine, one of the world’s three main niobium producers, with 8% to 10% of global production. Moreover, pyrochlore on the Saville project “is commonly visible to the naked eye, thus indicating a relatively course grain size, which is a favourable attribute for metallurgical recovery,” the company added.

Hodge already has a prospective drill target in mind. “I pulled the rig around with a Cat for a lot of the holes on Ashram itself so I’m very familiar with the ground. We’d of course do more prospecting and try to prove up some more numbers while we’re drilling.”

Saville Resources moves into Commerce Resources’ niobium-tantalum target

Should Saville find success, a ready market would be waiting. The company cites niobium demand growth forecasts of 7.66% CAGR from 2017 to 2021. A December U.S. Geological Survey report lists niobium and tantalum among 23 minerals critical to American security and well-being.

The country relies on foreign exports for its entire supply of both minerals, according to an earlier USGS study. From 2012 to 2015, 80% of America’s total niobium imports came from Brazil, where one mine alone produces 85% to 90% of global supply. Looking at tantalum imports during that period, the U.S. relied on China for 37% and Kazakhstan for another 25%. A troubling source of tantalum remains the Democratic Republic of Congo, from where conflict minerals reach Western markets through murky supply chains.

Days after the USGS released its December study, American president Donald Trump ordered a federal strategy “to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals.” Although he emphasized the need for domestic deposits and supply chains, Trump also called for “options for accessing and developing critical minerals through investment and trade with our allies and partners.”

Meanwhile Saville also sees potential in Covette, the company’s other northern Quebec property. Historic, non-43-101 grab samples reported up to 4.7% molybdenum, with some bismuth, lead, silver and copper. A 1,402-line-kilometre VTEM survey in late 2016 found prospectivity for base and precious metals. “The VTEM and some sampling that we did indicates that drilling could find something valuable,” Hodge says. “Although it is early-stage, the Geotech guys that did the VTEM survey said they hadn’t seen targets like that all year.”

Still, “the niobium claims are my first priority,” Hodge emphasizes. “I’m very excited about this. I believe we can have a winning project here.”

Subject to approvals, a 75% interest in the new property would call for $25,000 on signing, another $225,000 on closing and $5 million in work over five years. Commerce retains a 1% or 2% NSR, depending on the claim, with Saville holding a buyback option.

Last month the company offered private placements totalling up to $500,000, with insiders intending to participate.

Read more about the U.S. critical minerals strategy.

Lithium metallurgy produces high-grade concentrate for 92 Resources’ NWT project

January 10th, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 10, 2018

Showing the advantages of coarse-grained pegmatite, further metallurgical tests on hardrock lithium brought impressive results for 92 Resources’ TSXV:NTY Hidden Lake project in the Northwest Territories. The company processed about 400 kilograms of pegmatite collected last year, putting it through a dense media separation mini-pilot plant. The result brought over 40 kilos of spodumene concentrate averaging a high-grade 6.11% Li2O.

Following last month’s results from heavy liquid separation tests, 92 Resources considers the latest work both highly encouraging and in line with expectations. “The test work continues to support that a final overall concentrate grade of 6% to 6.5% Li2O at high recovery (80% to 85%) is achievable using low-cost and conventional processing techniques,” the company stated.

92 Resources now sees two possible approaches for lithium recovery. The first would use flotation only, which produced the successful results released in December. The second would aim for similar results through a combination of flotation and dense media separation. The dual approach offers lower costs, greater control, shorter start-up time and less risk.

Lithium metallurgy produces high-grade 6.11% concentrate for 92 Resources’ NWT project

This graphic illustrates the Hidden Lake flowsheet’s dual approach, in which +0.85 mm material undergoes dense media separation to produce concentrate, tailings and middlings. The middlings then combine with the -0.85 mm material to undergo flotation, producing more concentrate and tailings.

Still to come from the test work are tantalum assays, which will be studied for better recovery. The road-accessible 1,849-hectare property sits 40 kilometres east of Yellowknife.

Apart from the Hidden Lake flagship, 92 Resources picked up three hardrock lithium projects in Quebec’s James Bay region last September. Surface samples from the Corvette property showed results up to 7.32% Li2O, along with anomalous tantalum of 90 ppm Ta2O5.

The company also has a 43-101 technical report planned for its Golden frac sand project in eastern British Columbia.

Last week 92 Resources closed a private placement of $1.14 million.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with 92 Resources CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

America’s long-overdue critical minerals strategy heralds wide-ranging advantages, says Jeff Green

December 22nd, 2017

by Greg Klein | December 22, 2017

A long-time advocate of national self-reliance on critical minerals, the Washington defence lobbyist and former USAF commander calls it the United States’ “most substantive development in critical mineral policy in 20 years.” As President Donald Trump ordered a national strategy to reduce the country’s dependence on unfriendly or unstable sources of crucial commodities, Jeff Green responded: “I don’t think you can overstate the importance of the executive order because the U.S. government has fundamentally shifted its minerals policy, which impacts natural resource policy, national security and the economy.” Speaking with, he outlined five major outcomes that he foresees.

America’s critical minerals strategy was long overdue and will show wide-ranging effects, says Jeff Green

“One, I think you will see regulatory streamlining in the very near future and I think that’s really important for permitting and opening mines in the United States.”

Just six days before Trump’s announcement, Green published an op-ed arguing that unwieldly permitting procedures affected national security.

“Two, with the fundamental shift in policy and the easing of regulatory burdens, I hope to see companies get increased access to capital markets and private sector investment,” he added.

“Three, this is a formalization of the nexus between national security and critical minerals, and that is something that the last administration refused to do. When you look at the rare earths crisis, the prior administration said there was no problem. This administration has said that critical minerals are fundamental to national security, and that’s very important.

“Four, I think this will lead to investment by the Department of Defense in critical minerals, largely because they have the funding to do this and they can best pinpoint where those areas of investment need to be.

“Five, I think you’ll potentially see the U.S. bring additional anti-dumping actions, particularly against the Chinese, for dumping minerals into our market below value.”

I do think that the direct actions from the executive order will largely benefit U.S. companies. But I also see efforts to collaborate on access to materials with companies that can provide it.—Jeff Green

Of course the U.S. national strategy primarily affects the U.S. “President Trump has said ‘America first,’ and to our friends in Canada that might be a little disappointing,” Green pointed out. “But he has also said that international co-operation and partnerships with our strongest allies will be really important. I do think that the direct actions from the executive order will largely benefit U.S. companies. But I also see efforts to collaborate on access to materials with companies that can provide it. I think pragmatically the administration is going to say, ‘If you’ve got a tantalum project in Canada that’s more advanced than anything we have in the U.S., we ought to work with you to bring that supply to market, rather than continue to rely on some other countries.”

Meanwhile the proposed Metals Act, a bill calling for U.S. government support to develop domestic resources and supply lines, has been languishing in multiple committees. But “many of the principles in the act worked their way into the executive order,” Green said.

“The president’s action marks the culmination of almost a decade of work by many of us who’ve been advocating for more access to critical minerals,” he added. “There’s been tremendous effort by people in the industry to get to this point and the hope is that regulatory streamlining and everything go quickly so we can see positive results.”

Pleased as he was, Green wasn’t surprised. “There was word here in Washington D.C. that this was coming, so it was a nice early Christmas gift.”

Read more about the U.S. federal strategy on critical minerals.

Critical attention

December 21st, 2017

The U.S. embarks on a national strategy of greater self-reliance for critical minerals

by Greg Klein

A geopolitical absurdity on par with some aspects of Dr. Strangelove and Catch 22 can’t be reduced simply through an executive order from the U.S. president. But an executive order from the U.S. president doesn’t hurt. On December 20 Donald Trump called for a “federal strategy to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals.” The move came one day after the U.S. Geological Survey released the first comprehensive update on the subject since 1973, taking a thorough look—nearly 900-pages thorough—at commodities vital to our neighbour’s, and ultimately the West’s, well-being.

U.S. president Trump calls for a national strategy to reduce foreign dependence on critical minerals

The U.S. 5th Security Forces Squadron takes part in a
September exercise at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.
(Photo: Senior Airman J.T. Armstrong/U.S. Air Force)

The study, Critical Mineral Resources of the United States, details 23 commodities deemed crucial due to their possibility of supply disruption with serious consequences. Many of them come primarily from China. Others originate in unstable countries or countries with a dangerous near-monopoly. For several minerals, the U.S. imports its entire supply.

They’re necessary for medicine, clean energy, transportation and electronics but maybe most worrisome, for national security. That last point prompted comments from U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, whose jurisdiction includes the USGS. He formerly spent 23 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL officer.

“I commend the team of scientists at USGS for the extensive work put into the report, but the findings are shocking,” he stated. “The fact that previous administrations allowed the United States to become reliant on foreign nations, including our competitors and adversaries, for minerals that are so strategically important to our security and economy is deeply troubling. As both a former military commander and geologist, I know the very real national security risk of relying on foreign nations for what the military needs to keep our soldiers and our homeland safe.”

Trump acknowledged a number of domestic roadblocks to production “despite the presence of significant deposits of some of these minerals across the United States.” Among the challenges, he lists “a lack of comprehensive, machine-readable data concerning topographical, geological and geophysical surveys; permitting delays; and the potential for protracted litigation regarding permits that are issued.”

[Trump’s order also calls for] options for accessing and developing critical minerals through investment and trade with our allies and partners.

Trump ordered a national strategy to be outlined within six months. Topics will include recycling and reprocessing critical minerals, finding alternatives, making improved geoscientific data available to the private sector, providing greater land access to potential resources, streamlining reviews and, not to leave out America’s friends, “options for accessing and developing critical minerals through investment and trade with our allies and partners.”

Apart from economic benefits, such measures would “enhance the technological superiority and readiness of our armed forces, which are among the nation’s most significant consumers of critical minerals.”

In fact the USGS report finds several significant uses for most of the periodic table’s 92 naturally occurring elements. A single computer chip requires well over half of the table. Industrialization, technological progress and rising standards of living have helped bring about an all-time high in minerals demand that’s expected to keep increasing, according to the study.

“For instance, in the 1970s rare earth elements had few uses outside of some specialty fields, and were produced mostly in the United States. Today, rare earth elements are integral to nearly all high-end electronics and are produced almost entirely in China.”

The USGS tracks 88 minerals regularly but also works with the country’s Defense Logistics Agency on a watch list of about 160 minerals crucial to national security. This week’s USGS study deems the critical 23 as follows:

  • antimony
  • barite
  • beryllium
  • cobalt
  • fluorite or fluorspar
  • gallium
  • germanium
  • graphite
  • hafnium
  • indium
  • lithium
  • manganese
  • niobium
  • platinum group elements
  • rare earth elements
  • rhenium
  • selenium
  • tantalum
  • tellurium
  • tin
  • titanium
  • vanadium
  • zirconium

A January 2017 USGS report listed 20 minerals for which the U.S. imports 100% of its supply. Several of the above critical minerals were included: fluorspar, gallium, graphite, indium, manganese, niobium, rare earths, tantalum and vanadium.

This comprehensive work follows related USGS reports released in April, including a breakdown of smartphone ingredients to illustrate the range of countries and often precarious supply chains that supply those materials. That report quoted Larry Meinert of the USGS saying, “With minerals being sourced from all over the world, the possibility of supply disruption is more critical than ever.”

As both a former military commander and geologist, I know the very real national security risk of relying on foreign nations for what the military needs to keep our soldiers and our homeland safe.—Ryan Zinke,
U.S. Secretary of the Interior

David S. Abraham has been a prominent advocate of a rare minerals strategy for Western countries. But in an e-mail to the Washington Post, the author of The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age warned that Trump’s action could trigger a partisan battle. He told the Post that Republicans tend to use the issue to loosen mining restrictions while Democrats focus on “building up human capacity to develop supply chains rather than the resources themselves.”

Excessive and redundant permitting procedures came under criticism in a Hill op-ed published a few days earlier. Jeff Green, a Washington D.C.-based defence lobbyist and advocate of increased American self-reliance for critical commodities, argued that streamlining would comprise “a positive first step toward strengthening our economy and our military for years to come.”

In a bill presented to U.S. Congress last March, Rep. Duncan Hunter proposed incentives for developing domestic resources and supply chains for critical minerals. His METALS Act (Materials Essential to American Leadership and Security) has been in committee since.

Speaking to at the time, Abraham doubted the success of Hunter’s bill, while Green spoke of “a totally different dynamic” in the current administration, showing willingness to “invest in America to protect our national security and grow our manufacturing base.”

Update: Read about Jeff Green’s response to the U.S. national strategy.

“Shocking” USGS report details 23 minerals critical to America’s economy and security

December 19th, 2017

This story has been expanded and moved here.