Mr. Chris Grove reports
COMMERCE RESOURCES CORP. ENGAGES ENGINEERING FIRMS TO ADVANCE PREFEASIBILITY STUDY FOR THE ASHRAM RARE EARTH & FLUORSPAR DEPOSIT
Commerce Resources Corp. has provided an update on the progress of the prefeasibility study (PFS) for the Ashram rare earth and fluorspar deposit. The company has engaged several specialized engineering firms to advance the remaining key components of the PFS through to completion.
The company has retained DRA Americas Inc. and L3 Process Development for review and assessment of the Ashram deposit's flowsheet. The selection maintains the direct involvement of several key metallurgical qualified persons (QPs) who have a strong familiarity with the specifics of the flowsheet through past work programs.
In addition to rare earth elements (REEs), the company also expects to recover a fluorspar byproduct (met-spar and acid-spar) from the tailings of the primary REE recovery circuit. The recovery of fluorspar was not incorporated into the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the project, completed in 2012; however, it is now anticipated to provide a significant secondary revenue stream in the PFS. Further, as the fluorspar concentrate would be produced from the tailings of the REE concentrate, the company would be generating value from its tailings (that is, typically waste), and therefore incorporating a circular economy component to the project.
The company has also engaged the engineering firm CIMA+ to evaluate sites and design the marine infrastructure component for the PFS. CIMA+ has extensive experience in Quebec's north and its operating conditions, having designed and constructed the marine facilities for several Northern Inuit communities between 2005 and 2012. Specifically, CIMA+ designed and built the marine facility on the Koksoak River for the community of Kuujjuaq, the nearest community to the deposit. The company is evaluating sites along the Koksoak River for a small marine facility to enable the shipping of materials and concentrate to and from the proposed mine site, respectively.
The engineering firm BBA has been engaged to complete the remaining environmental studies for the PFS and will include several key individuals involved with previous data collection and analysis. The work will encompass the review of existing data sets as well as regulatory guidance to ensure the company has sufficient data to satisfy the PFS requirements. The overarching objective is to prepare the project for the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) that will follow, which will outline potential impacts of the project once in operation, as well as corresponding mitigation measures.
BBA has also been engaged as the Banner engineering firm for the PFS, which includes project scheduling, tailings management and design, financial analysis, and oversight to ensure no gaps exists in the data set required to satisfy PFS level. BBA has significant experience in PFS project management and are also widely recognized as having leading environmental and tailing management teams.
To date, the prefeasibility work completed for the Ashram project led to significant advancements compared with the preliminary economic assessment -- shorter haul road, higher mineral concentrate grades (greater than 40 per cent rare earth oxide), fluorspar concentrate recovery and reduced tailings footprint. As the project continues to be derisked and optimized, the company is positioning to be one of the lowest-cost rare earth producers globally, with a specific focus on being a long-term supplier of mixed rare earth carbonate and/or NdPr (neodymium-praseodymium) oxide to the global market.
National Instrument 43-101 disclosure
Darren L. Smith, MSc, PGeo, Dahrouge Geological Consulting Ltd., a permit holder with the Ordre des Geologues du Quebec and qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, supervised the preparation of the technical information in this news release.
About Commerce Resources Corp.
Commerce Resources is a junior mineral resource company focused on the development of the Ashram rare earth and fluorspar deposit located in Quebec, Canada. The company is positioning to be one of the lowest-cost rare earth producers globally, with a specific focus on being a long-term supplier of mixed rare earth carbonate and/or NdPr (neodymium/praseodymium) oxide to the global market. The Ashram deposit is characterized by simple rare earth (monazite, bastnaesite and xenotime) and gangue (carbonates) mineralogy and a large-tonnage resource at favourable grade, and it has demonstrated the production of high-grade (greater than 45 per cent rare earth oxide) mineral concentrates at high recovery (greater than 70 per cent), in line with active global producers. In addition to being one of the largest rare earth deposits globally, 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.
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