Commerce Resources Corp. Produces 40% TREO Mineral Concentrate from the Ashram Rare Earth Element Deposit, Northern Quebec
VANCOUVER, Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Commerce Resources Corp. (TSXv: CCE, FSE: D7H, OTCQX: CMRZF) (the “Company” or “Commerce”) is
pleased to announce additional results from the on-going metallurgical
programs on the Company’s 100%-owned Ashram Rare Earth Element (REE)
Deposit. Significant metallurgical advancements have been made since
those detailed in the Company’s News Release dated November 15(th), 2012.
-- Production of reproducible, high-grade, rare earth mineral concentrates with greater than 30.0% TREO -- Successful application of wet high intensity magnetic separation (WHIMS) to mineral concentrate upgrading -- Significant advancement in sulphation roast-leaching ('cracking') of mineral concentrates using a two-acid method
Using conventional beneficiation and flotation techniques, multiple
mineral concentrates of greater than 30% Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO)
have been produced including 40.0% TREO at 51.9% recovery, 30.7% TREO
at 51.9% recovery, and 38.2% TREO at 44.8% recovery. These results represent TREO upgrading of over 15 times the original
grade into less than 5% of the original mass (i.e. a mass reduction of
more than 95%). In addition, mineral concentrate grades of 18.2% TREO at 73.0% recovery and 27.2% TREO at 58.4% recovery have been produced. This demonstrates that high-grade mineral
concentrates with higher recoveries are achievable.
The high-grade mineral concentrates result from the Ashram Deposit’s
simple rare earth mineralogy consisting of monazite, bastnaesite, and
xenotime. These three minerals contain among the highest REO (>60%)
contents of any known mineral, dominate current commercial processing,
and share common and conventional processing techniques.
Company President David Hodge states “We are excited by the considerable increase in mineral concentrate
grades and recoveries over the past 3-4 months. The REE mineral
concentrates produced from Ashram appear to be the highest grade of any
developing rare earth project. Our ability to create a high-grade
mineral concentrate will lead to reduced downstream processing costs
and acid consumption. This will have a positive and direct impact on
the Ashram Project’s OPEX.”
To date, two successful approaches to physical upgrading have been
developed involving conventional flotation at ambient temperatures, and
wet high-intensity magnetic separation (WHIMS). The final Ashram
flowsheet will merge the best attributes of both methods to develop an
optimized approach of physical upgrading to a high-grade rare earth
mineral concentrate. The production of a mineral concentrate is the
final step before undergoing a sulphation roast-leach (‘cracking’) to
liberate the REEs into solution.
Flotation (UVR-FIA GmbH)
The first method of physical upgrading is a size fraction approach in
which all the mineralized whole rock material is ground and separated,
via hydrocycloning and screening, into three size fractions termed
‘fine’, ‘middle’, and ‘coarse’. The fine and middle size fractions are
treated separately using conventional flotation techniques optimized
for that fraction, while the coarse fraction is reground and classified
proportionally into the other two fractions. After each fraction has
been optimally upgraded they are recombined into a final high-grade
This method has been the focus of UVR-FIA GmbH of Freiberg, Germany
under the direction of Gerhard Merker, a leading expert in mineral
flotation. Representative test results are listed in Table 1.
Table 1: Test Results of Flotation Upgrading Using a Three Size
____________________________________________________________________________ | | Size | | | % of |Analysis| |Upgrade| |Analytical| Fraction | Test ID |Upgrading|Original| (TREO) |Recovery| Ratio | |Method(1) | (s)(2) | | Process | Feed | (3) | (4) | (5) | | | | | | Weight | | | | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| |Grade and Recovery referenced to Size Fraction Input - fine, middle, and | |coarse | |____________________________________________________________________________| | XRF | Fine |55-25/124|Flotation| 14.2% | 8.3% | 60.5% | 4.3 | | | | | | | | | times | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | XRF | Middle | 58-18a |Flotation| 10.0% | 22.4% | 88.4% | 11.5 | | | | | | | | | times | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | ICP | Middle | 58-18b |Flotation| 7.9% | 26.8% | 83.7% | 13.7 | | | | | | | | | times | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | XRF |Fine(7) + | 58-20a |Flotation| 6.0% | 27.2% | 74.5% | 13.9 | | | Middle | | | | | | times | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | ICP | Middle | 58-13 |Flotation| 5.4% | 29.7% | 70.1% | 15.2 | | | | | | | | | times | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | XRF | Middle | 58-17a |Flotation| 7.6% | 30.7% | 79.8% | 15.7 | | | | | | | | | times | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | ICP | Middle | 58-16 |Flotation| 5.3% | 32.9% | 72.9% | 16.9 | | | | | | | | | times | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | ICP | Middle | 58-17b |Flotation| 5.3% | 38.2% | 68.9% | 19.6 | | | | | | | | | times | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | XRF |Fine(7) + | 58-20b |Flotation| 4.1% | 40.0% | 66.5% | 20.5 | | | Middle | | | | | | times | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | XRF | Middle |55-25-132|Flotation| 1.9% | 43.3% | 33.8% | 22.2 | | | | | | | | | times | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | - | Coarse |Re-ground proportionally back to fine and middle | | | |fractions | |__________|__________|______________________________________________________| |Grade and Recovery referenced to Whole Rock Input(6) | |____________________________________________________________________________| | | Fine + |55-25/124| | | | | 7.9 | | XRF | Middle + |+ 58-18a |Flotation| 11.7% | 15.5% | 78.6% | times | | | Coarse | | | | | | | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | | Fine + |55-25/124| | | | | 8.6 | | XRF/ICP | Middle + |+ 58-18b |Flotation| 10.4% | 16.7% | 75.6% | times | | | Coarse | | | | | | | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | | Fine + |55-25/124| | | | | 9.3 | | XRF | Middle + |+ 58-17a |Flotation| 10.2% | 18.2% | 73.0% | times | | | Coarse | | | | | | | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | | Fine + |55-25/124| | | | | 9.7 | | XRF/ICP | Middle + |+ 58-17b |Flotation| 8.8% | 19.0% | 66.0% | times | | | Coarse | | | | | | | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | |Fine(7) + | | | | | | 13.9 | | XRF | Middle + | 58-20a |Flotation| 4.2% | 27.2% | 58.4% | times | | | Coarse | | | | | | | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | | Middle + | | | | | | | | XRF | Coarse | 58-17a |Flotation| 4.5% | 30.7% | 51.9% | 15.7 | | | (Fine | | | | | | times | | |Discarded)| | | | | | | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | | Middle + | | | | | | | | ICP | Coarse | 58-16 |Flotation| 3.2% | 32.9% | 47.4% | 16.9 | | | (Fine | | | | | | times | | |Discarded)| | | | | | | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | | Middle + | | | | | | | | ICP | Coarse | 58-17b |Flotation| 3.2% | 38.2% | 44.8% | 19.6 | | | (Fine | | | | | | times | | |Discarded)| | | | | | | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______| | |Fine(7) + | | | | | | 20.5 | | XRF | Middle + | 58-20b |Flotation| 2.9% | 40.0% | 51.9% | times | | | Coarse | | | | | | | |__________|__________|_________|_________|________|________|________|_______|
(1) XRF refers to quantitative analysis by XRF using a fusion bead/tablet. XRF analysis is typically completed for Ce and La only with TREO extrapolated based on the correlation factor noted below. ICP analysis is quantitative with TREO defined as Ce2O3 + La2O3 + Pr2O3+ Nd2O3 + Eu2O3 + Sm2O3+ Gd2O3 + Tb2O3 + Dy2O3+ Ho2O3 + Er2O3 + Tm2O3+ Yb2O3 + Lu2O3+ Y2O3. (2) The fine, middle, and coarse fractions comprise 28%, 53%, and 19% of the total whole rock REE content respectively. Assuming the proportional re-grind of the coarse fraction into the fine and middle fractions, the fine and middle fractions would comprise 35% and 65% of the total REE content respectively. (3) ICP provides a quantitative value for TREO. XRF TREO is calculated from Ce (metal) using a correlation factor as determined from multiple ICP analysis. (4) Recovery is based on Ce and is assumed to be constant over all the REEs as is indicated from prior testing. (5) Based on an average 1.95% TREO starting head grade. (6) Assumes coarse fraction undergoes a proportional regrind into the fine and middle fractions. (7) Test 58-20 uses a modified size classification approach where a portion of the fine fraction is further separated. The coarsest fine fraction is then added to the middle fraction for a total whole rock REE content of 78% as opposed to the 65% as outlined in footnote (2) above.
The most significant upgrading occurs in the middle fraction where
reproducible mineral concentrates of 20% to 40% TREO at 65% to 88%
recovery have been achieved. Upgrading in the fine fraction has
achieved 8+% TREO mineral concentrates at 60+% recoveries, although
work completed to date has not been as extensive as with other size
fractions. Test work, including lock cycle tests, is ongoing to confirm
the regrind and proportional classification of the coarse fraction and
further optimize the upgrading of each fraction. Preliminary test work
suggests that a higher proportion (up to 83% from the initial 65%) of
the reground coarse fraction reports to the middle fraction.
In addition to producing high-grade mineral concentrates, a key benefit
of this method is the reduced fluorite content in the mineral
concentrates compared to those previously produced. This will
significantly reduce the amount of calcium (Ca) and fluorine (F)
present during the sulphation roast-leach process that follows, and is
expected to allow for improved overall recoveries.
Flotation + WHIMS (Hazen Research Inc.)
The second method of physical upgrading is being developed at Hazen
Research Inc. of Colorado, USA and involves the use of conventional
flotation followed by wet high intensity magnetic separation (WHIMS).
The method treats the whole rock material directly by flotation before
undergoing WHIMS, rather than using a sizing approach.
Using this method of flotation, mineral concentrates of 10-15% TREO at
69-83% recovery have been created with good reproducibility and minimal
optimization, leaving good potential for additional upgrading.
Producing these concentrates has resulted in a significant mass reduction of 84-91% of the material to be processed
downstream. Representative results are listed in Table 2
Table 2: Test Results of Flotation Upgrading Without Sizing (Whole
____________________________________________________________________ | | | | % of | | | | |Analytical|Test ID |Upgrading |Original|Analysis |Recovery| Upgrade | |Method(1) | | Process | Feed |(TREO)(1)| (2) |Ratio(3) | | | | | Weight | | | | |__________|________|__________|________|_________|________|_________| | | |Flotation | | | | | | ICP | 3638-1 |(Cleaner 1| 9.1% | 15.0% | 68.9% |7.7 times| | | | of 2 | | | | | | | |Roughers) | | | | | |__________|________|__________|________|_________|________|_________| | ICP |3612-155|Flotation | 11.2% | 13.4% | 75.0% |6.9 times| |__________|________|__________|________|_________|________|_________| | ICP |3612-116|Flotation | 15.1% | 10.6% | 79.6% |5.4 times| |__________|________|__________|________|_________|________|_________| | | |Flotation | | | | | | | |(Cleaner 1| | | | | | ICP | 3638-1 | of 4 | 16.3% | 10.1% | 82.9% |5.2 times| | | |Roughers) | | | | | | | | (4) | | | | | |__________|________|__________|________|_________|________|_________|
(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) Recovery is based on ICP data of all available TREO. (3) Based on an average 1.95% TREO starting head grade. (4) Based on recycle of cleaner tails to preceding rougher stage
The WHIMS method uses the magnetic properties inherent in each mineral
to achieve separation. Flotation produces a mineral concentrate
consisting of fluorite (diamagnetic), carbonate minerals
(paramagnetic), and REE minerals (paramagnetic). As such, the fluorite
will preferentially report to the non-magnetic fraction and the
carbonate + REE minerals to the magnetic fraction. The following
figure illustrates visually the upgrading as exemplified in test
Figure 1: WHIMS Products from Flotation Concentrate (Test 3612-117)
Table 3: Select Test Result of Mineral Concentrate Upgrading via
Conventional Flotation and WHIMS
____________________________________________________________________ | | | | WHIMS | WHIMS | | |Whole Rock| REE Mineral | (Magnetic | Referenced to | | | Material |Concentrate(1)|Fraction)(1)| Concentrate | | | | | | Feed | |_____________|__________|______________|____________|_______________| | Test ID| - | 3638-10 | 3638-43 | - | |_____________|__________|______________|____________|_______________| | Upgrading| None | Flotation of | Flotation | | | Process|(Original | Whole |(3638-10) + | - | | | Feed) |Rock Material | WHIMS | | |_____________|__________|______________|____________|_______________| | Weight| 989.1g | 163.0g | 124.2g | - 38.8g | |_____________|__________|______________|____________|_______________| |% of Original| 100% | 16.5% | 12.6% | 24% reduction | | Feed Weight| | | | in weight | |_____________|__________|______________|____________|_______________| | TREO(2)| 2.0% | 9.7% | 11.8% |22% increase in| | Content| | | | grade | |_____________|__________|______________|____________|_______________| |TREO Recovery| 100% | 79.5% | 75.2% | 95% recovery | | (3)| | | | | |_____________|__________|______________|____________|_______________| | TREO Upgrade| 0 times | 4.9 times | 5.9 times | - | | Ratio| | | | | |_____________|__________|______________|____________|_______________| | | | | | | |_____________|__________|______________|____________|_______________| | Fluorite| 5.9% | 29.6% | 15.2% |51% decrease in| | Content(3)| | | |fluorite grade | |_____________|__________|______________|____________|_______________| | Fluorite| 100% | 82.3% | 31.9% | 61% fluorite | | Recovery| | | | rejection | |_____________|__________|______________|____________|_______________| | | | | | | |_____________|__________|______________|____________|_______________|
(1) Results referenced to Whole Rock Material (original feed) (2) TREO determined by Portable XRF for the LREO (Ce2O3, La2O3, Pr2O3, and Nd2O3) with extrapolation, based on known distribution, used to determine the value for the remaining REOs. The extrapolation assumes recovery remains constant across all the REOs. The Portable XRF (semi-quantitative) vs. ICP (quantitative) 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. (3) Fluorite is calculated from fluorine analysis by selective ion electrode using a conversion factor of 2.055. Assumes all fluorine is contained within fluorite.
The use of the WHIMS method has several significant attributes that make
it an attractive option to pursue because it:
1. Allows for a significant increase in TREO grade (>20%) at minimal loss of recovery (5%), as well as a considerable decrease in mass (~25%) referenced to the mineral concentrate feed. 2. Provides potential for a metallurgical grade fluorspar credit without additional refining. (Alternatively, the fluorite product may potentially be further upgraded by additional flotation to a more valuable ceramic or acid-grade product). 3. Significantly reduces fluorite in the flotation mineral concentrate which will reduce the acid consumption and may potentially allow further REE upgrading via additional flotation.
Sulphation Roast-Leach Tests (‘Cracking’)
Testwork on mineral concentrates produced at Hazen has continued to
provide promising results. A two acid approach using a dilute
hydrochloric acid (HCl) pre-leach to dissolve the carbonate gangue
(waste) minerals, followed by a sulphuric acid (H(2)SO(4)) attack to dissolve the REE minerals, is being pursued. The method has
shown promise for reducing overall acid consumption from the gangue
components and may allow for improved REE recoveries into solution.
For example, in an initial test, dilute HCl solution at ambient
temperature was added to a flotation concentrate at a ratio of 520kg
(100% HCl basis) per tonne of concentrate (~155kg per tonne of whole
rock ore) to dissolve the carbonate gangue. The test resulted in the
removal of ~70% of the concentrate’s mass with only 3% REE loss while
increasing the grade from ~3.8% to ~9.9% TREO (an upgrade of 2.6 times)
This test was completed on a low grade mineral concentrate (~3.8% TREO)
and will be repeated on higher grade concentrates (10-15+% TREO) in the
near term. This will be followed with sulphuric acid attack on the
residues allowing for more complete characterization of acid
consumption and REE recoveries into solution. The HCl consumption is a
function of the amount of carbonate and fluorite in the concentrate and
is expected to decrease for higher grade mineral concentrates
containing less of these gangue components.
The remaining mineral concentrate, containing ~9.9% TREO, consisting
dominantly of rare earth and presumably fluorite minerals, may be
subjected to the WHIMS method a second time. This would provide
additional upgrading before undergoing a sulphuric acid roast to
decompose the rare earth minerals. Previous sulphation roast-leach
tests had focused on a sulphuric acid roast with no hydrochloric acid
pre-leach step, and although these were successful, the two-acid
approach offers a much more efficient process. Further, caustic
cracking (NaOH) is also being evaluated as an alternative method of
producing a rare earth end-product because of the high-grade mineral
concentrates now being produced.
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 Hazen Research Inc.
Hazen Research Inc., located in Colorado U.S.A, is an industry leader in
metallurgical processing including rare earths. Their expertise
extends across many commodities including base, precious, and rare
metals, as well as pilot plant level studies.
Over their 50+ year history, extensive experience in the metallurgy of
rare earths has been developed via direct involvement on many rare
earth projects having varying ore and gangue mineralogy. They are
therefore, very well-known to industry, within and outside North
America, as a leader in mineral beneficiation and hydrometallurgical
processing of raw materials, including rare earth mineralized material.
Hazen is the primary metallurgical facility focused on defining the
beneficiation and hydrometallurgical flowsheet for the Ashram Deposit.
About UVR-FIA GmbH
UVR-FIA GmbH, located in Freiberg Germany, is a mineral processing and
research facility with roots dating back to 1954. The surrounding
region has a history of over 800 years of mining and smelting with
Freiberg hosting the world oldest university of mining and metallurgy
in the world (Freiberg University of Mining and Technology, established
R. Gerhard Merker, a mineral processing engineer (Dipl.-Ing.) and
leading expert in flotation of carbonate and fluorite-bearing
bastnaesite ores, is consultant and manager of the Ashram Deposit’s
test work at UVR. Mr. Merker has over 30 years’ experience in the raw
material and recycling industry including several years studying the
Dong Pao Rare Earth Deposit in Vietnam and other RE deposits.
UVR-FIA is working in tandem with Hazen Research to complete the Ashram
Deposit`s flowsheet with a focus on fluorite separation from the rare
About the Ashram Rare Earth Element Deposit
The Ashram Rare Earth Element (REE) Deposit is a carbonatite within the
Eldor Property, located in north-eastern Quebec. The Deposit has a
measured and indicated resource of 29.3 million tonnes at 1.90% TREO
and an inferred resource of 219.8 million tonnes at 1.88% TREO. The
deposit boasts a well-balanced distribution with enrichment in the
light, middle and heavy rare earth elements including all five of the
most critical elements (neodymium, europium, dysprosium, terbium, and
The REEs 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.
A Preliminary Economic Assessment, completed in May of 2012 by
SGS-Geostat of Montreal (Blainville) (see news release dated May 24,
2012), outlines highly robust economics for the Ashram Deposit. The
PEA is based on a 4,000 tonne per day open-pit operation with an
initial 25-year mine life (300 years at economic cut-off if open-pit +
underground development), a pre-tax and pre-finance Net Present Value
(NPV) of $2.32 billion at a 10% discount rate, a pre-tax/pre-finance
Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 44%, and a pre-tax/pre-finance payback
period of 2.25 years.
The company continues to advance the Ashram Deposit with metallurgical
programs at both UVR-FIA and Hazen Research.
About Commerce Resources Corp.
Commerce Resources Corp. 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 Upper Fir Tantalum and
Niobium Deposit in British Columbia and the Ashram Rare Earth Element
Deposit in Quebec.
On Behalf of the Board of Director
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 the focus of the metallurgical work, the results of the
on-going metallurgical programs the reported grades and potential cost
reductions, that the Ashram deposit can be developed economically as an
open-pit mine; all reference to and 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 the ability to finance ongoing exploration,
development and metallurgical programs, 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 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.
Image with caption: “Figure 1: WHIMS Products from Flotation Concentrate (Test 3612-117) (CNW Group/Commerce Resources Corp.)”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130220_C6904_PHOTO_EN_23880.jpg