Commerce Resources Corp. [CCE-TSXV; CMRZF-OTC; D7H-FDSE] reported assays from three additional holes completed at the 100%-owned Ashram rare earth and fluorspar deposit in northern Quebec as part of the 2021 drill program.
The field program, completed in July and August, 2021, in support of the Ashram projectâ€™s prefeasibility study, included 12 drill holes totalling 2,814 metres focused on resource infill within the planned open-pit shell. Results for the first seven drill holes were announced December 22, 2021, and January 17, 2022, with the results for an additional three drill holes reported here.
Highlights include 1.79% rare earth oxide (REO) over 223.2 metres (EC21-190), including 2.15% REO over 67.9 metres. Hole EC21-191 returned 1.71% REO over 221.5 metres, including 2.1% REO over 64.4 metres. Hole EC-21-188 returned 1.97% REO over 23.3 metres.
The primary objective of the 2021 drill program was to improve the confidence of the mineral resource (inferred to indicated to measured) in support of an updated mineral resource estimate to be completed as part of the continuing prefeasibility study, which will also determine the initial mineral reserve estimate. Based on the drilling to date, Commerce anticipates a large portion of Ashramâ€™s current inferred and indicated resources will be converted to indicated and measured resources.
All three drill holes (EC21-188, 190 and 191) were collared in the southern portions of the deposit, and intersected grades consistent with previous drilling, remaining mineralized over their entire length. Strong NdPr (neodymium praseodymium) distributions (that is, per cent of Nd+Pr oxide of the total REO) continue to be returned in excess of 20 to 21%, including drill hole EC21-191 with 64.4 metres of 2.15% REO at an NdPr distribution of 21.1%.
As the Ashram deposit is more than 600 metres deep and remains open, the 2021 drill holes were ended at predetermined depths below the anticipated pit shell, and therefore, most holes completed as part of the infill drilling at Ashram ended in mineralization. Core sample assays for 10 out of 12 drill holes from the 2021 drill program have been reported with assays pending on the remaining two drill holes. Grade over width and corresponding NdPr oxide distributions are presented in a table on the companyâ€™s website, with drill hole highlights and locations presented in an image on the company’s website.
The Ashram deposit ranks as one of the largest REE (and fluorspar) deposits globally, consisting of a monazite dominated, single mineralized body outcropping at surface, and has a footprint approximately 600 metres along strike, over 300 metres across and 600 metres deep, remaining open in several directions.
The deposit hosts a measured resource of 1.6 million tonnes at 1.77% REO and 3.8% fluorine, an indicated resource of 27.7 million tonnes at 1.90% REO and 2.9% F, and an inferred resource of 219.8 million tonnes at 1.88% REO and 2.2% F, at a cut-off grade of 1.25% REO.
The Ashram deposit is characterized by simple rare earth (monazite, bastnaesite and xenotime) and gangue (carbonates) mineralogy, a large tonnage resource at favourable grade, and has demonstrated the production of high-grade (greater than 45% REO) mineral concentrates at high recovery (greater than 70%) in line with active global producers. Ashram is also one of the largest fluorspar deposits globally and has the potential to be a long-term supplier to the met-spar and acid-spar markets.