Commerce Resources Corp. [CCE-TSXV, OTCQX-CMRZF, D7HO-FSE] said Friday it has entered into a metallurgical collaboration with Corem in support of flow sheet development for the Ashram rare earth and fluorspar deposit in Quebec.
Corem is a Quebec-based centre of expertise and innovation in mineral processing with the largest concentration of resources dedicated to research and development in this field in Canada.
Commerce said the programs for the company’s Ashram deposit will form part of a larger rare earth element (REE) research and development initiative, which includes several other REE projects in Quebec. The initiative is being spearheaded by Corem in collaboration with Quebec’s Ministere de l’Energie et des Resources naturelles (MERN), which is providing $1.4 million over three years in direct financing.
The initiative’s key objectives are to advance critical and strategic mineral projects in Quebec and to develop technology to promote the start-up of an REE industry in the province.
“To advance these goals, a sizable allocation of financing will be directed to optimizing the actual project flow sheets and to developing alternative methodologies for standard processes of extraction and separation to reduce environmental impacts and to enhance social acceptability of the projects,” Commerce said in a press release.
Commerce has said that due to its simple gangue and well-understood rare earth mineralogy, the Ashram deposit is capable of producing high-grade mineral concentrates at high recovery (over 40% REO at over 75% recovery), in line with active global producers.
A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) indicates that the project can deliver positive cash flow from a 4,000 tonne-per-day open pit operation with a 25-year initial mine-life. The PEA is based on a March 2012 mineral resource estimate consisting of 1.6 million tonnes at 1.77% rare earth oxide (REO) and 3.8 Fluorspar (F) in the measured category, an indicated resource of 27.2 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.
Commerce has said the rare earth elements at Ashram occur in simple and well-understood mineralogy, being primarily in the mineral monazite and to a lesser extent in bastnaesite and xenotime. These minerals dominate the currently known commercial extraction processes for rare earths.
The resource incorporates all drilling completed at the Ashram Deposit through 2011, including 16,691 metres over 45 holes.
The PEA envisages annual production averaging 16,850 tonnes of REO, contained in a mixed rare earth carbonate product over the life of the mine.
On January 13, 2022, Commerce Resources shares closed at 23 cents and currently trade in a 52-week range of 49.5 cents and 19 cents.