Monday 24th July 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘tantalum’

Diamond explorer Arctic Star to drill B.C. property for rare earths and rare metals

July 19th, 2017

by Greg Klein | July 19, 2017

With a crew now en route, Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD prepares to begin a summer field program at its Cap project in east-central British Columbia. Located in the Rocky Mountain Rare Metal Belt, the 2,825-hectare property has undergone geochemical and geophysical surveys suggesting potential for carbonatite intrusions which might host niobium, tantalum and/or rare earth elements. A program of about three holes and 1,000 metres will further investigate the potential.

Diamond explorer Arctic Star to drill B.C. property for rare earths and rare metals

Piquing interest in the property is a circular magnetic anomaly measuring about three to five kilometres in diameter that the company interprets to represent a carbonatite or similar intrusion. Geochem sampling in 2010 on two dykes near the most prominent mag anomaly brought grades including 0.14% Nb2O5, 3,191 ppm zirconium and 547 ppm total rare earth elements, Arctic Star reported.

In 2011, following radiometrics and additional magnetics, the company found more highly anomalous grades with samples containing 0.27% Nb2O5 and 773 ppm TREE. Two historic, non-43-101 samples assayed 0.13% and 0.1% TREE.

Contrasting luxuries with critical minerals, Arctic Star last week announced plans to acquire a diamond project in Finland. The diamondiferous kimberlites of the Timantti property sit on the Fennoscandian Shield, home to the major Russian diamond mines Lomonosov and Grib.

In May the company announced a short program of geophysics on the Diagras diamond project in the Northwest Territories, where Arctic Star has a 40% stake with JV partner Margaret Lake Diamonds TSXV:DIA holding the rest.

Commerce Resources signs MOU for tantalum-niobium processing

July 11th, 2017

by Greg Klein | July 11, 2017

While focused on its Ashram rare earths deposit in Quebec, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE has plans for its other critical minerals project. Under a memorandum of understanding announced July 11, a one-tonne sample from the company’s Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit in British Columbia would be tested for suitability under a proprietary separation process developed in Estonia by Alexander Krupin.

Commerce Resources signs MOU for tantalum-niobium processing

Previous drilling has established a resource estimate for two
critical minerals on Commerce Resources’ Upper Fir deposit.

The sample should arrive within the next several weeks, with tests expected to begin immediately afterward. The goal would be to process Upper Fir feed stock into independent tantalum and niobium products.

Krupin’s background includes over 35 years in this area, including more than 15 years processing high-grade tantalum and niobium ore concentrates, Commerce stated. “His research activities have developed new technologies for the chemical upgrading of low-grade tantalum and niobium ore concentrates.”

Based on a tantalum price of $381 a kilo, Upper Fir has a 2013 resource showing:

  • 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

The road-accessible east-central B.C. project has transmission lines and CN Rail crossing the western part of the 105,373-hectare property, and a 20-MW run-of-river electricity facility situated adjacently.

Commerce has found niobium in Quebec too, where samples showed very high grades up to 5.9% Nb2O5 on the company’s property about a kilometre from Ashram. Nevertheless the advanced-stage rare earths deposit remains the company’s priority, as it advances towards pre-feasibility. Among Ashram’s features are high grades, an impressive distribution of magnet feed elements and, crucial to the REE space, relatively simple mineralogy amenable to commercial processing. The deposit shows potential for a fluorspar byproduct as well.

Last month Commerce signed an MOU with Ucore Rare Metals TSXV:UCU to assess the suitability of Ashram concentrate for a proprietary method of REE processing at a plant Ucore plans to build in Utah. A Colorado pilot plant has already produced an Ashram concentrate exceeding 45% rare earth oxides at about 75% recovery.

The U.S. Geological Survey lists tantalum, niobium and rare earths among the critical minerals that the United States depends entirely on imports.

Read more about Commerce Resources’ Ashram rare earths deposit.

Equitorial Exploration to drill for NWT lithium

June 28th, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 28, 2017

The rig returns to a Northwest Territories hardrock lithium project for the first time in a decade as Equitorial Exploration TSXV:EXX heads to the field in July. About 30 kilometres from the former Cantung tungsten mine in the territory’s southwest, the Little Nahanni Pegmatite Group project will also undergo mapping, channel sampling and resampling of drill core from 2007 when two holes struck intervals of 1.2% Li2O over 10.94 metres and 0.92% over 18.27 metres.

Equitorial Exploration to drill for NWT lithium

Red paint marks a channel sample
interval from last year’s field work at LNPG.

Summer drilling will test the vertical extent of lithium-cesium-tantalum-type pegmatite dyke swarms now identified at about 300 metres in depth and 13 kilometres in strike. The dykes are well exposed on cirque walls of the mountainous terrain, the company stated.

Channel sampling last year brought assays up to 1.13% Li2O, 71.1 g/t Ta2O5 and 0.03% SnO2 over 10.35 metres. That included a sub-interval of 1.86% Li2O, 116.7 g/t Ta2O5 and 0.05% SnO2 over 6.3 metres.

Three specimen samples released in October brought results up to 2.85% Li2O, 28.1 g/t Ta2O5 and 0.05% SnO2.

Equitorial filed a 43-101 technical report on the LNPG project in March.

In Utah last May, the company staked another 1,092 hectares, expanding its Tule Valley lithium project to about 2,792 hectares. That gives Equitorial the entire Tule Valley Basin, which the company describes as a closed basin which could be similar to Nevada’s Clayton Valley. Equitorial also sees Clayton Valley similarities in the company’s Gerlach property in Nevada.

92 Resources begins frac sand field work while advancing lithium metallurgy

June 6th, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 6, 2017

With a crew already en route, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY has a 10-day exploration program about to begin on its Golden frac sand project in eastern British Columbia. A team from Dahrouge Geological Consulting will undertake further mapping and sampling for a 43-101 technical report. While the company’s focus remains the Hidden Lake lithium project in the Northwest Territories, 92 Resources sees potential in another energy-related commodity.

92 Resources begins frac sand field work while advancing lithium metallurgy

“Despite fluctuating oil and gas prices, North American demand for frac sand is exceptionally robust and there remains a nearly non-existent domestic supply of high-quality proppant within Canada,” said president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Close to the Alberta border and with nearby roads, the property’s located five kilometres from Golden, B.C., on the Canadian Pacific main line. Adjacent to the property is Heemskirk Canada’s Moberly project, a former producer of silica sand for the glass industry that’s now being redeveloped as a frac sand production and processing operation. The parent company, Heemskirk Consolidated, is the object of a takeover bid by Northern Silica, held by Taurus Resources No. 2 Fund.

Running through the 3,211-hectare Golden property is an 18-kilometre strike of the Mount Wilson formation, described as hosting high-purity, white, quartzite and friable sandstones. Four samples collected in 2014 showed silica content averaging 98.6% SiO2, with low boron and iron values. “Preliminary testing on these samples indicates favourable frac sand characteristics, as well as metallurgical-grade silica potential,” 92 Resources stated.

Last week the company announced initial results from Phase I metallurgical tests for its Hidden Lake lithium property in the NWT. Early findings suggest material from the hard rock project might be suitable for a conventional flowsheet. As the program goes into Phase II, potential tantalum recovery will be examined as well. 92 Resources filed a 43-101 technical report on the property in January.

The company also holds the 5,536-hectare Pontax lithium property in northern Quebec.

92 Resources advances metallurgy for NWT hard rock lithium

June 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 1, 2017

Phase I mineralogy studies have 92 Resources TSXV:NTY confident that its Hidden Lake lithium project in the Northwest Territories could be amenable to a conventional flowsheet. QEMSCAN and Electron Probe Micro Analysis on a composite sample from each of four pegmatites showed similar results, confirming spodumene as the primary host of lithium. The coarse-grained spodumene shows very good liberation characteristics and low iron content, the company stated.

92 Resources advances metallurgy for NWT hard rock lithium

The 1,659-hectare Hidden Lake project has all-weather
road access to Yellowknife, 45 kilometres southwest.

Spodumene liberation “indicates a strong potential for recovery using dense media separation and flotation techniques, which are common processing methods applied to spodumene-bearing pegmatites,” 92 Resources added.

The program also found potential for tantalum recovery, which will be further assessed in Phase II. About to begin, the program will conduct flotation tests to determine the reagent scheme and assess the ability to produce spodumene concentrate without additional processing.

Last year’s channel sampling targeted four of six known lithium-bearing spodumene dykes, with the best result showing:

  • 1.58% Li2O and 31 ppm Ta2O5 over 8.78 metres

  • (including 1.78% Li2O and 31 ppm Ta2O5 over 6.93 metres)

The company filed a 43-101 technical report on Hidden Lake in January.

92 Resources’ portfolio also includes the 5,536-hectare Pontax lithium prospect in northern Quebec and the 3,211-hectare Golden frac sand project in southeastern British Columbia.

In February the company closed an oversubscribed private placement of $895,199.

Margaret Lake, Arctic Star begin geophysical search for NWT diamonds

May 9th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 9, 2017

Modern geophysics and a new approach come to a property with diamondiferous kimberlites in the Northwest Territories’ prolific Lac de Gras region, as Margaret Lake Diamonds TSXV:DIA and Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD start work on their Diagras JV. Expected to finish in mid-May, the program consists of ground gravity, magnetics and Ohm Mapper EM.

Margaret Lake, Arctic Star begin geophysical search for NWT diamonds

Margaret Lake and Arctic Star hold a 60% and 40% stake respectively, with Margaret Lake acting as project operator.

The companies hope to find non-magnetic evidence that was missed in the 1990s when De Beers flew airborne surveys that identified the property’s magnetic kimberlites.

Diagras hosts 13 known kimberlites, most of them diamondiferous, according to historic data. The property’s Jack Pine kimberlite shows “multiple phases with different geophysical responses,” the JV stated. “It is hoped that our planned surveys will reveal similar geology around the other pipes. There is also a good chance to find new kimberlites using these new ground geophysical techniques.”

In November the JV attributed those techniques to Kennady Diamonds’ (TSXV:KDI) progress at Kennady North, Lac de Gras’ most advanced exploration project.

Results of the Diagras program will be considered for follow-up drilling.

In January Arctic Star applied for a drill permit for its 100%-held CAP niobium-tantalum-REE property in north-central British Columbia. The company raised over $1.47 million in private placements that closed late last year.

More critical than ever

April 13th, 2017

The USGS promotes awareness about essential resources and their supply chains

by Greg Klein

Let’s call it Critical Minerals Awareness Month. The U.S. Geological Survey hasn’t actually labelled April that way, but the agency does have a “big push” underway to inform American decision-makers and the general public about the country’s often tenuous hold on commodities vital to the economy and security of that country. Of course those concerns apply to its allies as well.

The USGS promotes public awareness about essential resources and their supply chains

“We decided to do a big push on critical minerals in April largely because we’ve got several big publications coming out on the subject,” USGS public affairs specialist Alex Demas tells ResourceClips.com.

“One of the things we’ve been focusing on is supply chain security, so with the sheer number of mineral commodities that are used in the United States, and the number of them deemed critical, we felt it was important to emphasize where a lot of those mineral resources are coming from and if there are any potential issues in the supply chain, getting them from the source to the United States.”

Computers provide an obvious example, increasing their use from “just 12 elements in the 1980s to as many as 60 by 2006,” points out one recent USGS news release. Smartphones offer another example. Looking back 30 years ago, “‘portable’ phones were the size of a shoebox and consisted of 25 to 30 elements,” states another USGS release. “Today they fit in your pocket or on your wrist and are made from about 75 different elements, almost three-quarters of the periodic table.”

Larry Meinert, USGS deputy associate director for energy and minerals, pointed out some of the sources. “For instance, the industrial sand used to make the quartz in smartphone screens may come from the United States or China, but the potassium added to enhance screen strength could come from Canada, Russia or Belarus. Australia, Chile and Argentina often produce the lithium used in battery cathodes, while the hard-to-come-by tantalum—used in smartphone circuitry—mostly comes from Congo, Rwanda and Brazil.”

That brings an ominous warning. “With minerals being sourced from all over the world, the possibility of supply disruption is more critical than ever.”

The campaign also reveals the agency’s methods for tracking this essential stuff. A USGS-designed early warning system described as “mathematically rigorous and elegant” helps the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency monitor a watch list of about 160 minerals. Not all have been labelled critical, but those so defined can change due to technological development and geopolitical conflict.

The USGS itself tracks something like 90 minerals important to the American economy or security but sourced from about 180 countries. For last year the agency identified 20 minerals on which the U.S. relied entirely on imports and 47 on which the country imported more than half its supply.

Not all the source countries are always best buddies with the West. China supplies most of America’s mined commodities, including 24 of the 47 minerals supplied 51% or more by imports. Among the critical items are rare earth elements, 100% imported, over 90% directly from China and much of the rest through supply chains originating there.

As a supplier, Canada came a distant second, the chief provider of 16 minerals, not all of them critical. Runners-up Mexico, Russia and South Africa were each chief suppliers for eight American mineral imports.

Among the research reports coming soon will be “a compendium of everything the USGS knows about 23 minerals critical to the United States,” Demas says. “It’s going to cover the industry side of things, the reserves, production, shipment, etc. It’s going to cover geology and sustainability. Each chapter on each mineral will have a section on how this can be mined sustainably so we can meet our needs not only today, but also in the future.”

In part the publications target “decision-makers in Congress, as well as the Defense Department and others who use mineral resources,” Demas adds. But he emphasizes the campaign wasn’t motivated by the proposed METALS Act (Materials Essential to American Leadership and Security). Currently before U.S. Congress, the bill calls on government to support domestic resources and supply chains of critical and strategic minerals. On introducing the bill, Rep. Duncan Hunter argued the risk of foreign dependence to national security “is too great and it urgently demands that we re-establish our depleted domestic industrial base.”

As Demas notes, “Since we are a non-regulatory, non-policy agency, we don’t directly influence policy. But we do want policy-makers to have our tools available so they can make the best science-informed decisions.”

And while this month will see special attention to critical minerals, Demas says the subject’s an ongoing concern for the USGS. Some of the reports coming out now will be updates of annual publications.

“We’re really trying to promote the idea that USGS has a lot of really useful information that we put out all the time,” he adds. “This information will hopefully be useful to people when they’re considering where their resources are coming from.”

Follow USGS news here.

Read about the West’s dependence on non-allied countries for critical minerals here and here.

USGS: Possibility of supply disruption more critical than ever

April 5th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 5, 2017

USGS: Possibility of supply disruption more critical than ever

Many and various are the sources of smartphone minerals.
(Map: U.S. Geological Survey)

 

In another article warning of foreign dependency, the U.S. Geological Survey uses smartphones as a cautionary example. Looking back 30 years ago, “‘portable’ phones were the size of a shoebox and consisted of 25 to 30 elements,” pointed out Larry Meinert of the USGS. “Today they fit in your pocket or on your wrist and are made from about 75 different elements, almost three-quarters of the periodic table.”

USGS: Possibility of supply disruption more critical than ever

Smartphones now require nearly 75% of the periodic
table of the elements. (Graphic: Jason Burton, USGS)

The increasing sophistication of portable communications results from a “symphony of electronics and chemistry” that includes, for example, “household names like silicon, which is used for circuit boards, or graphite used in batteries. Then there are lesser known substances like bastnasite, monazite and xenotime. These brownish minerals contain neodymium, one of the rare earth elements used in the magnets that allow smartphone speakers to play music and the vibration motor that notifies you of new, funny cat videos on social media,” the USGS stated.

Almost as varied are the sources. “For instance, the industrial sand used to make the quartz in smartphone screens may come from the United States or China, but the potassium added to enhance screen strength could come from Canada, Russia or Belarus. Australia, Chile and Argentina often produce the lithium used in battery cathodes, while the hard-to-come-by tantalum—used in smartphone circuitry—mostly comes from Congo, Rwanda and Brazil.”

Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are also sources of conflict minerals.

“With minerals being sourced from all over the world, the possibility of supply disruption is more critical than ever,” Meinert emphasized.

The April 4 article follows a previous USGS report on an early warning system used by the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency to monitor supply threats. In January the USGS released a list of 20 minerals for which the country relies entirely on imports. Whether or not by design, the recent awareness campaign coincides with a bill before U.S. Congress calling on government to support the development of domestic deposits and supply chains for critical minerals.

See an illustrated USGS report: A World of Minerals in Your Mobile Device.

Read about the West’s dependence on non-allied countries for critical minerals here and here.

92 Resources begins metallurgical tests on NWT lithium

March 28th, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 28, 2017

A Northwest Territories lithium project gets its first-ever metallurgical studies as 92 Resources TSXV:NTY announced a two-phase program on March 28. The 1,659-hectare Hidden Lake property underwent channel sampling last year on four of six known lithium-bearing spodumene dykes, with the best intercept showing:

  • 1.58% Li2O and 31 ppm Ta2O5 over 8.78 metres

  • (including 1.78% Li2O and 31 ppm Ta2O5 over 6.93 metres)
92 Resources begins metallurgical tests on NWT lithium

Hidden Lake’s metallurgical tests follow
last year’s successful sampling program.

The met program’s first phase examines the property’s spodumene and waste materials, leading to a mineral processing phase intended to separate the two and produce a high-grade concentrate.

Material from four pegmatites will be evaluated separately and, if no significant differences are found, a single composite will undergo processing tests. Those tests would include grinding, heavy liquid separation, magnetic separation and flotation. Plans then call for a preliminary flowsheet and a small amount of potentially marketable spodumene concentrate.

The program will also evaluate potential tantalum recovery.

Hidden Lake has all-weather road access to Yellowknife, 45 kilometres southwest. Carrying out the tests will be SGS Canada, which has considerable experience in spodumene pegmatite processing, 92 Resources stated.

In northern Quebec, 92 Resources has initial lithium exploration planned for Pontax, a 5,536-hectare property in a district known for spodumene-bearing pegmatites as well as gold potential.

Earlier this month the company expanded its Golden frac sand project from 807 hectares to 3,211 hectares. The southeastern British Columbia property sits adjacent to the Moberly silica sand project, now being redeveloped into a frac sand operation and among the assets sought by Northern Silica in its takeover bid for Heemskirk Consolidated.

Late last month 92 Resources closed an oversubscribed private placement of $895,199.

Equitorial Exploration files 43-101 for NWT lithium project

March 17th, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 17, 2017

Citing highly encouraging results, a 43-101 technical report has been completed and filed for Equitorial Exploration’s (TSXV:EXX) Little Nahanni Pegmatite Group property in the Northwest Territories.

Equitorial Exploration files 43-101 for NWT lithium project

LNPG’s mountainous terrain could undergo drilling this year.

Also referred to as LNPG or the Li property, the project underwent sampling last year, with results reported in October and September.

Field work traced lithium-cesium-tantalum pegmatite dyke swarms over a combined length of 13 kilometres on the property’s mountainous terrain, the company stated. The dykes’ vertical extent has been traced for 300 metres through natural exposure and drilling in 2007. “Where sampled, each dyke swarm is up to 52.6 metres wide and contains multiple dykes that range from 0.2 to 10 metres in width.”

This year Equitorial anticipates resampling the 2007 core, drilling, channel sampling, mapping and prospecting.

Located in the southern NWT just east of the Yukon border, LNPG sits about 30 kilometres from the former Cantung tungsten mine. In addition to the NWT hardrock project, Equitorial has begun the acquisition of two lithium brine projects in Utah and Nevada, proximal to the Tesla Gigafactory #1.