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Commerce Resources Corp (2)
Symbol CCE
Shares Issued 168,021,555
Close 2024-03-04 C$ 0.155
Market Cap C$ 26,043,341
Recent Sedar Documents

Commerce Resources' Ashram met tests recover 62% Nd-Pr

2024-03-04 09:40 ET - News Release

Mr. Chris Grove reports

COMMERCE RESOURCES ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANT ADVANCEMENTS AND SIMPLIFICATION OF THE ASHRAM DEPOSIT'S PROCESS FLOWSHEET

Commerce Resources Corp. has made significant advancements in the mineral processing and hydrometallurgical flowsheets for the Ashram rare earth and fluorspar deposit. The Ashram deposit, wholly owned by the company and located in Quebec, Canada, is one of the largest undeveloped monazite-dominant rare earth deposits in the world. This rare earth mineralogy results in significant Nd-Pr (neodymium-praseodymium) distributions (greater than 20 per cent).

The company is pleased to report a significant simplification and optimization of the Ashram deposit's front-end mineral processing flowsheet, whereby 30-per-cent to 35-per-cent-plus REO (rare earth oxide) monazite mineral concentrates at strong recovery (between 60 per cent and 70 per cent) are produced using only flotation. This test work has been completed at bench scale, is demonstrated repeatable and has been scaled up successfully from approximately one kilogram (kg) to 10 kg floats using conventional mechanical flotation cells. The recent test work, which uses readily available reagents, has been carried out by SGS Canada in Lakefield, Ont., and builds upon the beneficiation test work carried out by CanmetMINING, a branch of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) (see news release dated May 13, 2020). This new flowsheet is a significant simplification, with comparable performance with the prior flotation-leach-magnetic separation flowsheet. The recent results represent some of the best grade/recovery performance for bench-scale tests on material from the Ashram deposit. Further optimization testing is pending, including locked-cycle testing (LCT) to confirm closed circuit recoveries, and variability testing on nine samples prepared from drill core spatially distributed throughout the deposit.

In addition to the mineral processing developments, a streamlined hydrometallurgical flowsheet has also been developed and demonstrated at bench scale for the downstream processing of the monazite flotation concentrate produced by SGS. The hydrometallurgical flowsheet uses a standard acid bake-water leach process, followed by thorium removal and direct rare earth element (REE) precipitation. This downstream test work has been carried out by Trois-Rivieres-based L3 Process Development (L3).

Chris Grove, the company's president, states: "We are very excited by these results confirming our expectations of positive beneficiation from our Ashram deposit, with its very attractive mineralogy and geology. We look forward to announcing additional developments as we continue to advance this excellent asset."

This streamlined hydrometallurgical flowsheet, developed and demonstrated by L3 on the SGS monazite concentrates, achieved an overall recovery into solution for Nd-Pr above 95 per cent and Tb-Dy (terbium-dysprosium) above 82 per cent while significantly reducing sulphuric acid consumption. The thorium was fully removed from the water leach solution using a three-stage solvent extraction process. The REEs were then precipitated using oxalic acid and converted to carbonates using a one-step metathesis process, achieving an overall recovery (deposit material to marketable mixed rare earth elements product) of over 62 per cent Nd-Pr. In addition to the oxalate and carbonate REE precipitates, the downstream flowsheet is amenable to producing a mixed rare earth oxide (REO), thereby providing significant flexibility in end-user offtake preferences and shipping optimization.

The Ashram deposit ranks as one of the largest REE deposits globally, consisting of a monazite-dominated, single mineralized body outcropping at surface, and has a footprint approximately 700 metres along strike, over 300 m across and 600 m deep, remaining open in several directions. Therefore, the deposit is envisioned to be an open-pit-extraction operation at production, with a very low strip ratio. Coupled with a monazite rare earth mineralogy and strong Nd-Pr distributions, these attributes allow for the company to have significant flexibility in flowsheet design, whereby a 60-plus-per-cent overall recovery of the Nd-Pr into saleable product is significant. The new mineral processing flowsheet will permit an operator to leverage the size of the deposit and optimize mining for effective recovery into a high-grade monazite concentrate in order to significantly simplify, and thereby reduce project mineral processing and downstream hydromet capex (capital expenditures) and opex (operating expenditures).

About the Ashram deposit

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 700 m along strike, over 300 m across and 600 m deep, remaining open in several directions. The deposit hosts a measured resource of 1.6 million tonnes (Mt) at 1.77 per cent rare earth oxide (REO) and 3.8 per cent F (fluorine), an indicated resource of 27.7 Mt at 1.90 per cent REO and 2.9 per cent F, and an inferred resource of 219.8 Mt at 1.88 per cent REO and 2.2 per cent F, at a cut-off grade of 1.25 per cent REO (effective date July 5, 2012). Note, mineral resources are not mineral reserves as they do not have demonstrated economic viability. There is no certainty that all or any part of the mineral resources will be converted into mineral reserves.

National Instrument 43-101 disclosure

Jordan Zampini, PEng, process manager, Montreal, for DRA Americas Inc., a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed and approved the technical information, and verified the data, contained in this news release.

Tommee Larochelle, Ing, PE, MBA, PhD, chief technology officer, co-owner, L3 Process Development, a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed and approved the technical information, and verified the data, contained 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 positioned to become 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 Nd-Pr oxide to the global market. 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 (more than 45 per cent REO) mineral concentrates at high recovery (more 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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