Commerce Resources Corp. [CCE-TSXV, D7H-FSE] said Friday February 16 that the tantalum and niobium sample from its Upper Fir deposit in British Columbia has been successfully processed using the patented Krupin Process.
The announcement comes seven months after the company sent a 1,300-kilogram sample from the Blue River Tantalum-Niobium Project to the Krupin facility. Following initial reports of success, the company sent Dr. Axel Hoppe, Chairman, to visit the facility and evaluate the test results.
The company said Dr. Hoppe was highly encouraged by initial data from the Krupin Process. It offered strong indications of it representing a superior approach to processing of mixed tantalum and niobium concentrate to marketable samples of Nb2O5 and high-grade Ta2O5/Nb2O5.
The company said it is now working towards the signing of a definitive agreement whereby Commerce Resources will acquire the global rights to the Krupin Process, which has been described in published reports as potentially disruptive technology. Upon signing of such a definitive agreement, additional data on the Krupin process may be made available.
The intent of this agreement will be to further the development of the Upper Fir Tantalum and Niobium deposit towards production with the incorporation of the Krupin Process on site in B.C. The company said it believes that the technology offered by Dr. Krupin is cost advantageous compared to conventional processing approaches.
Commerce Resources is an exploration and development company with a focus on rare earth elements and rare metals. The 100%-owned Blue River Project is located in east-central British Columbia on provincial Hwy #5, about 230 km north of Kamloops. To date, Commerce Resources has spent over $30 million exploring the Blue River project.
The Blue River Project currently has an indicated mineral resource of 48.4 million tonnes at 197 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,610 ppm Nb2O5. On top of that is an inferred resource of 5.4 million tonnes at 191 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,760 ppm Nb2O5. That amounts to roughly 24 million pounds of tantalum and 200 million pounds of niobium.
Niobium is used to manufacture high strength steel used in the construction of bridges. It can also be used to manufacture lighter steel vehicle chassis.
Most of the world’s tantalum is produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The majority of tantalum produced today is used for electrolytic capacitors and vacuum furnace parts. The element is also used to make chemical process equipment, nuclear reactors, aircraft and missile parts.
Having spent 35 years working in the field, Dr. Krupin is an expert in the recovery of tantalum and niobium products. His research activities have developed new technologies for the chemical upgrading of low-grade tantalum and niobium ore concentrates.
Commerce Resources shares were unchanged at $0.075 on Friday. The stock trades in a 52-week range of 11 cents and $0.0654.