Commerce Resources Corp. Updates Metallurgical Test Work for its Ashram Rare Earth Element Deposit in Northern Quebec
VANCOUVER, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Commerce Resources Corp. (TSXv: CCE, FSE: D7H, OTCQX: CMRZF) (the “Company” or “Commerce”) is
pleased to provide an update on the ongoing metallurgical test work for
the Company’s 100%-owned Ashram Rare Earth Element (“REE”) Deposit
located in northern Quebec. Significant metallurgical advancements have
been made over those detailed in the project’s Preliminary Economic
Assessment (“PEA”) as released on May 24, 2012.
Initial Cracking Tests
Cracking of mineral concentrates began in June, 2012 at Hazen Research
Inc. (“Hazen”), Colorado where initial tests focused on determining
acid consumptions and demonstrating the cracking process outlined in
the Company’s PEA. This process involves known and conventional
techniques common to the simple rare earth mineralogy of Ashram
(monazite, bastnaesite, and xenotime), in which the mineral concentrate
is dissolved in sulphuric acid. This facilitates the removal of
impurities (Th, Fe, Mg, Ca, F, etc.) and ends with the precipitation of
REE’s as a mixed pure oxide or carbonate product.
Preliminary results are available on low- to mid-grade concentrates
(~6-12% Total Rare Earth Oxide, “TREO”), while larger volumes of
high-grade concentrates are being produced for the ongoing test work.
To date, results have shown that the rare earths are readily entering
solution with some loss indicated into the residual gypsum (solid) as
expected. In only the first few bench scale tests, recoveries into
solution, from the mineral concentrates, have totalled up to 98% for a
single REE (La) with an average of 94% TREEs (La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu,
Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, and Lu + Y). As anticipated, recoveries
are highest for the LREEs (La, Ce, Pr, and Nd). Test work is being
completed to liberate the remaining REE’s present within the residual
products, with the goal of bringing recoveries into solution of
essentially 95%+ for the light, middle, and heavy REEs.
Impurity removal is underway and progressing as anticipated. Most
fluorine is removed from the system as HF gas during initial sulphuric
acid attack. The HF is then condensed and captured. The process is
being evaluated for its potential to convert the HF into an acid-grade
fluorspar or a hydrofluoric acid by-product. It should be noted that
the economics of any potential by-product(s) were not evaluated by the
recently completed PEA for the Ashram Deposit.
Advancements in Flotation Grade and Recovery Rates
The PEA outlined a base case mineral concentrate grade of 10% TREO at a
recovery rate of 70%. Of the new test results, highlights include an
11.2% TREO mineral concentrate at a 76% recovery (XRF) representing
TREO upgrading of 6.8 times. In addition, recoveries of over 75% have
been achieved while maintaining significant mineral concentrate
grades. Most importantly the near term goal, as outlined in the PEA, of creating
a 20% TREO mineral concentrate with >60% recovery has been achieved with test 3560-148 returning 20.1%
TREO at a recovery of 65%. This result was achieved via a fine grain size screening technique at
the bench scale. The viability of screening at this grain size on a
larger scale is being assessed. Select test results are detailed in
the following table:
Test Results of Mineral Concentrate Upgrading via Conventional Flotation
________________________________________________________________ | |Percent of |ICP Analysis|Approximate| | | Test ID | Original | (TREO)(1) | Recovery |Upgrade Ratio(2)| | |Feed Weight| | | | |__________|___________|____________|___________|________________| | 3560-148 | 4.4% | 20.1% | 65% | 10.3 times | |__________|___________|____________|___________|________________| | 3583-117 | 7.2% | 14.2% | 51% | 7.3 times | |__________|___________|____________|___________|________________| | 3583-24 | 8.9% | 13.8% | 62% | 7.1 times | |__________|___________|____________|___________|________________| |3503-28(5)| 10.0% | 11.1% | 62% | 5.7 times | |__________|___________|____________|___________|________________| | PEA BASE CASE | 10.0% | 70% | 5.1 times | |______________________|____________|___________|________________| | 3560-127 | 15.9% | 9.2% | 73% | 4.7 times | |__________|___________|____________|___________|________________| | 3503-27 | 19.8% | 6.7% | 77% | 3.4 times | |__________|___________|____________|___________|________________|
Portable Niton XRF Analysis
____________________________________________________________________ | |Percent of| Niton XRF | | | | | | Original |Analysis(3) |Extrapolated|Approximate| Upgrade | |Test ID | Feed |(Ce2O3+La2O3,| TREO | Recovery |Ratio(2) | | | Weight | + Pr2O3+ | Value(4) | | | | | | Nd2O3) | | | | |________|__________|_____________|____________|___________|_________| |3560-155| 10.6% | 11.6% | 13.2% | 63% |6.8 times| |________|__________|_____________|____________|___________|_________| |3540-30 | 13.8% | 9.9% | 11.3% | 69% |5.8 times| | (5) | | | | | | |________|__________|_____________|____________|___________|_________| |3583-42 | 15.5% | 9.9% | 11.2% | 76% |5.7 times| |________|__________|_____________|____________|___________|_________| |3560-145| 14.7% | 9.6% | 10.9% | 73% |5.6 times| |________|__________|_____________|____________|___________|_________| |3503-34 | 15.1% | 9.1% | 10.4% | 73% |5.3 times| |________|__________|_____________|____________|___________|_________| | PEA BASE CASE | - | 10.0% | 70% |5.2 times| |___________________|_____________|____________|___________|_________| |3583-20 | 20.3% | 7.4% | 8.4% | 78% |4.3 times| |________|__________|_____________|____________|___________|_________| |3540-55 | 28.4% | 5.3% | 6.1% | 80% |3.1 times| |________|__________|_____________|____________|___________|_________|
(1) ICP analysis is quantitative with TREO defined as Ce2O3 + La2O3 + Pr2O3+ Nd2O3 + Eu2O3 + Sm2O3+ Gd2O3 + Tb2O3 + Dy2O3+ Ho2O3 + Er2O3 + Tm2O3+ Yb2O3 and + Y2O3. Lu2O3isnot included in the summation. (2) Based on an average 1.95% TREO starting head grade. (3) Niton Portable XRF analysis is semi-quantitative and expressed as a summation of Ce2O3, La2O3, Pr2O3, and Nd2O3 only. The XRF vs. ICP analytical methods have consistently shown to correlate well for Ce2O3, La2O3, Pr2O3, and Nd2O3 due to the fine grain size and homogenous character of the mineral concentrates, thereby allowing for a quick, economic, and effective means of characterizing a mineral concentrate. As the XRF data is semi-quantitative it is not as accurate as ICP data and it has been shown that XRF data for higher grade concentrates may give TREO values up ~10-15% higher than TREO values determined by ICP. (4) TREO is inferred from Hazen's summation of Ce2O3, La2O3, Pr2O3, and Nd2O3with extrapolation, based on known distribution, used to determine the value for the remaining REOs. The extrapolation assumes recovery remains constant across all the REOs. (5) Test 3503-28 (ICP) is a repeat of test 3540-30 (XRF)
As the identification of the best carbonate depressant and rare earth
mineral collector is the focus of the current test work, it is
important to note that the Ashram tests are not optimized.
The Ashram metallurgical flow-sheet is amenable to the industry
preferred method of initial physical upgrading to a rare earth mineral
concentrate in order to reduce downstream processing costs and optimize
production parameters. The ability to first upgrade and produce a rare
earth mineral concentrate is the most effective method of reducing acid
consumption and associated costs during the required mineral cracking
stages that follow. Conventional flotation is the physical upgrading
process applied to the Ashram material whereby only minor amounts of
reagent are needed to promote selective flotation of a much larger
volume of rare earth material. This significantly reduces the volume of
material to be processed downstream.
Two reagent schemes have been identified showing the greatest
selectivity during the flotation process. In preparation for pilot
plant level test work, these two schemes will be further optimized by
evaluation of reagent ratios (each scheme uses a two collector reagent
combination with one depressant). Once the optimal ratio is determined,
other factors will be optimized such as temperature, pH, etc. with
grade and recovery expected to improve. Further, test work will
continue in parallel for other promising reagent combinations as many
have yet to be evaluated. In addition, screening and sizing techniques
are being evaluated that show promise for additional grade improvement
and reduced grind time.
Ongoing Metallurgical Activities
In late summer 2012, a bulk sample of representative in-pit material
(approximately 30-35 tonnes) was collected from the Ashram Deposit in
preparation for pilot plant studies expected to commence in Q2/Q3 of
To date, scaling work on 10 kg batches, up from 200 g, have indicated
the repeatability of results at a larger scale. Hazen will further
demonstrate this at the bench scale and also evaluate the repeatability
of results at an even larger and more continuous scale in pilot plant
test work scheduled for the Q2/Q3 2013.
Darren L. Smith, M.Sc., P.Geol., Dahrouge Geological Consulting Ltd., a
qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, supervised
the preparation of the technical information in this news release.
Eric Larochelle, Eng, and Alain Dorval, Eng., Manager- Process, Mining
and Mineral Processing., of Roche Ltd, Consulting Group, Qualified
Persons as defined by National Instrument 43-101, reviewed the
technical information presented in this news release.
About Commerce Resources Corp.
Commerce Resources Corp. is an exploration and development company with
a particular focus on rare metal and rare earth element deposits with
the potential for economic grades and large tonnages. The Company is
focused on the development of its Upper Fir Tantalum and Niobium
Deposit in British Columbia and the Ashram Rare Earth Element Deposit
in northern Quebec.
On Behalf of the Board of Directors
COMMERCE RESOURCES CORP.
President and Director
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as
that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange)
accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
This news release contains forward-looking information which are subject
to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could
cause actual events or results to differ from those projected in the
forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements in this press
release include our projected timeline and consultants for the PFS, the
focus of our metallurgical work, our planned drilling program, that the
Ashram deposit can be developed economically as an open-pit mine; all
information contained in the pre-feasibility study; and that we can
build shareholder value through the discovery and development of
Canadian rare metal and rare earth element deposits. These
forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of
management and its consultants at the date the information is
disseminated. They are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties
and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ
materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. Risks that could change or prevent these statements from coming to
fruition include changing costs for mining and processing; changing
forecasts of mine production rates; the timing and content of upcoming
work programs; geological interpretations based on drilling that may
change with more detailed information; potential process methods and
mineral recoveries assumption based on limited test work; the
availability of labour, equipment and markets for the products
produced; market pricing for the products produced; and despite the
current expected viability of the project, conditions changing such
that the minerals on our property cannot be economically mined, or that
the required permits to build and operate the envisaged mine can be
obtained. The forward-looking information contained herein is given as
of the date hereof and the Company assumes no responsibility to update
or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances,
except as required by law.
SOURCE Commerce Resources Corp.