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Commerce Resources Corp (2)
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Commerce receives $160,000 funding for Ashram R&D

2020-08-25 06:47 ET - News Release

Mr. Chris Grove reports


Commerce Resources Corp. has been awarded a combined total of $160,000 in grant funding in support of research and development of the Ashram rare earth and fluorspar deposit's flowsheet. The Ashram deposit is one of the largest rare earth deposits being advanced globally, with a fluorspar component that also then ranks it as one of the largest fluorspar deposits defined globally.

The research and development program will be carried out as a collaboration between the company, Universite du Quebec en Abitibi-Temiscamingue (UQAT) and Industrial Waste Technology Centre (CTRI). The company will provide approximately 1.5 tonnes of Ashram deposit material to be used as feed for the various test programs with the following objectives:

  1. Optimization of the flotation process to produce high-grade (greater than 30 per cent rare earth oxides) mineral concentrate using only this method, and further demonstrate the scale-up of the process from bench to mini-pilot scale;
  2. Enhancing mineral liberation by using a high-voltage electrical pulse (HVEP) fragmentation method;
  3. Evaluation of wet screening as a classification approach in the grinding circuit.

The research and development programs will be jointly funded through both provincial and federal grant mechanisms. The combined value of the grants awarded totals $160,000 and includes contributions of:

  • $75,000 from the Elements08 Strategic Metals Excellence Centre -- supports the responsible and sustainable mining of strategic resources in Quebec through targeted research and development initiatives;
  • $75,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) -- applied research and development (ARD) grant -- supports students in advanced studies to promote discovery driven research and foster innovation for the benefit of all Canadians;
  • $10,000, collectively, from the UQAT Foundation (FUQAT) and the Institutional Research and Creation Development Fund (FIRC) -- both in support of academic research at UQAT.

In addition, the company will provide in-kind contributions totalling approximately $18,750 consisting of material and geological support, as well as a financial contribution of $18,750. Collectively, the funding in place for the project totals $178,750, in addition to the company's in-kind contributions.

Company president Chris Grove commented: "The programs that have been outlined by UQAT and CTRI have the potential to provide significant process optimizations and cost-efficiencies to the Ashram project (energy reductions, improved mineral liberation and flotation performance), as well as make a strong contribution to academia and the research and development of strategic minerals in Quebec. On behalf of the company, I would like to thank Elements08, NSERC, FUQAT and FIRC for making this funding available in support of this work."

The various project leads will include Darren L. Smith, the company's Ashram project manager, Jean-Francois Boulanger, professor of hydrometallurgy for the Rare Earth Elements Institute for Research in Mines and Environment (RIME), UQAT, Lucie Coudert, professor of hydrometallurgy and mine tailings repurposing for RIME, UQAT, and Dr. Nassima Kemache, PhD, hydrometallurgist, CTRI.

Mr. Boulanger commented: "A principal focus of the joint research program involving experts from CTRI, UQAT and Commerce Resources will be the optimization of the mineral liberation and flotation schemes, used to produce a high-grade rare earth mineral concentrate (greater than 30 per cent REO) for hydrometallurgical processing (cracking). After the initial lab-scale testing phase, pilot-scale operation will be conducted, increasing confidence when scaling up the developed process."

The flotation testwork will build upon the significant advancement in cleaner stage performance (that is, improved grade and recovery), as initially developed by Mr. Boulanger during his time with Universite Laval in 2018/2019 (see news release dated Dec. 17, 2019). Further, mineral liberation is a key determinant in flotation performance and therefore methods such as HVEP fragmentation are of strong interest as candidates to optimize the grinding circuit. The work will also include aspects of predictive modelling, which hold significant potential to reduce test work costs in the rare earth industry. In addition, the test programs will support the rare earth research and development industry in Quebec, through the direct support of a PhD-level student and several interns.

The company is pleased to provide its continued support to the academic and institutional rare earth element research and development industry through the supply of Ashram deposit material and geological support. The Ashram deposit outcrops at surface and has allowed for cost-effective collection of large amounts of material for testwork. As such, the company is actively engaged with various research and academic institutions to support the advancement of the REE industry in Canada, and in Quebec specifically.

National Instrument 43-101 disclosure

Darren L. Smith, MSc, PGeo, Dahrouge Geological Consulting Ltd., a permitholder 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 an exploration and development company with a particular focus on deposits of rare metals and rare earth elements. The company is focused on the development of its Ashram rare earth element deposit in Quebec and the Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit in British Columbia.

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