Commerce Resources Corp.’s Upper Fir Tantalum and Niobium Deposit Confirmed as a Large Indicated Resource, Blue River, B.C.

February 2, 2011


  • AMEC has determined a base case Indicated mineral resource of 36.35
    million tonnes containing 195 ppm (gpt) Ta(2)O(5) and 1,700 ppm (gpt) Nb(2)O(5. )Base case Inferred mineral resources are 6.40 million tonnes containing
    199 ppm (gpt) Ta(2)O(5) and 1890 ppm (gpt) Nb(2)O(5).
  • AMEC concludes that the 2009 work program has markedly improved the
    interpretation of the geology of the Upper Fir tantalum- and
    niobium-bearing carbonatite, which in turn has resulted in an increase
    in confidence and size of the deposit.
  • The selected base case resource model provides the foundation for the
    Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”), which is ongoing under the
    direction of AMEC and which once completed, will provide the basis for
    a separate news release.

VANCOUVER, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ – Commerce Resources Corp. (TSXv: CCE; FSE: D7H; OTCQX: CMRZF)  is pleased to announce that as
part of the ongoing Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”), AMEC has
completed a new National Instrument 43-101 compliant resource estimate
for the Upper Fir Tantalum-Niobium Deposit, at its Blue River Project
in British Columbia. The Blue River Project is located near the village
of Blue River, which is approximately 250 km north of the city of
Kamloops and approximately 90 km south of the town of Valemount.

AMEC used a total of 183 drill holes comprising 37,446 metres of HQ
drill core and 8,218 sawn core samples to develop the mineral resource
estimate. Most holes were at a nominal spacing of 50m with dips
typically between -60 to sub-vertical. Indicated mineral resources
total 36.35 million tonnes containing 195 ppm Ta(2)O(5) and 1,700 ppm Nb(2)O(5) and Inferred mineral resources total 6.40 million tonnes containing 199
ppm Ta(2)O(5) and 1,890 ppm Nb(2)O(5). 

Table 1: Blue River Project Estimated Mineral Resources. Effective Date 30 June,
. Tomasz Postolski, P.Eng, Qualified Person

Confidence Category   Tonnes   Ta(2)O(5)





[1000s of kg]


[1000s of kg]

Indicated   36,350,000   195   1,700   7,090   61,650
Inferred   6,400,000   199   1,890   1,300   12,100
  1. Assumptions include US$317/kg Ta, US$46/kg Nb, 65.4% Ta(2)O(5) recovery, 68.2% Nb(2)O(5) recovery, US$32/tonne mining cost, US$17/tonne process and refining
    cost.  Mining losses = 0% and dilution = 0%.
  2. Mineral resources are amenable to underground mining methods and have
    been constrained using a “Stope Analyzer”.
  3. An economic cut-off was based on the Ta and Nb values per block which is
    variable based on the location of blocks used in the mineral resource
    estimate. A block unit value cut-off ranged from $52 to $59.
  4. Discrepancies in contained oxide values are due to rounding.
  5. In situ contained oxide reported.

The mineral resource estimate is supported by a base case price
assumption of US$317/kg Ta, which is significantly higher than historic
average prices. Market analysts are in general agreement that current
political and market conditions support the probability of sustained
higher prices, but this may not occur.

Table 2 below shows the sensitivity of the Blue River mineral resources
to tantalum metal price. Sensitivities are based on a fluctuating metal
price but could also represent fluctuating mining or processing costs
or metallurgical recoveries or a combination of all of these factors.

Table 2: Blue River Project Sensitivity of Estimated Mineral Resources to
Tantalum Price: Effective Date 30 June, 2010, Tomasz Postolski, P.Eng,
Qualified Person

Ta price




  Tonnes   Ta(2)O(5)





[1000s of kg]


[1000s of kg]

470   Indicated   51,130,000   188   1,410   9,610   72,300
    Inferred   8,100,000   192   1,700   1,600   13,800
381   Indicated   44,430,000   192   1,530   8,530   68,020
    Inferred   7,300,000   196   1,780   1,400   13,000
317   Indicated   36,350,000   195   1,700   7,090   61,650
    Inferred   6,400,000   199   1,890   1,300   12,100
272   Indicated   29,990,000   197   1,850   5,910   55,480
    Inferred   5,500,000   201   2,010   1,100   11,100
238   Indicated   25,130,000   197   2,000   4,950   50,240
    Inferred   4,900,000   202   2,110   1,000   10,400
  1. Ta price was varied and all other assumptions remain the same as base
  2. Base case is in bold.
  3. Mineral resources are amenable to underground mining methods and have
    been constrained using a “Stope Analyser”.
  4. Discrepancies in contained oxide values are due to rounding.
  5. In situ contained oxide reported.

To assess reasonable prospects for economic extraction, AMEC considered
the concept of mining the Blue River Deposit using variations of room
and pillar methods under a conceptual scenario that considers mining
and processing at a rate of 7,500 tonnes per day. Mining and economic
parameters were adjusted based on AMEC’s experience with analogous
deposits and mining methods. Economic viability of the mineral resource
can only be demonstrated by Pre-Feasibility and Feasibility Studies,
and there is no assurance that the stated resources can be upgraded in
confidence and converted to mineral reserves.  Further, since
underground mining methods are envisioned (room and pillar or
variants), the mining recovery may vary from 65% to 85% depending on
the success in which pillars can be mined on retreat and/or fill is

AMEC has concluded that the 2009 work program resulted in a marked
improvement in the interpretation of the geology of the Upper Fir
tantalum- and niobium-bearing carbonatite, which in turn has resulted
in an increase in confidence and size of the deposit.

The resource comprises a series of sill-like carbonatite bodies with up
to 91.2m in estimated cumulated true thickness. The composite body
extends more than 1,450m in a north-south direction and as much as 800m
in an east-west direction. Tantalum and niobium are contained in the
minerals ferrocolumbite and pyrochlore.

Preliminary results from 54 holes, totalling 12,949m of HQ drill core,
drilled in 2010 were provided to AMEC for review after completion of
the resource estimation. Only lithological information from these holes
was available. Assays for these holes are expected in the second
quarter 2011. The results from 2010 drilling will be used as a basis
for an updated resource estimate once received. The Company’s focus is
on the Blue River PEA currently being completed under the direction of

The Upper Fir Deposit would be mined underground using room and pillar
with backfill in most areas. A mineral processing method using a
standard-grind flotation process to make a concentrate of
ferro-columbite-pyrochlore is assumed for the Upper Fir material. The
proposed process is similar to that being used commercially at
Iamgold’s Niobec Mine in Quebec. The concentrate would be further
processed to produce marketable separate oxides of tantalum and
niobium. The proposed processes are mature and already in use

The Blue River Project covers 105,373 hectares (1,000 km(2)). Power transmission lines, rail, and paved and gravel roads are all
adjacent or within the property boundaries. Transalta Corp.’s 18 MW
Bone Creek run-of-river hydroelectricity project is under construction
near the project and is expected to be in production in 2011.

Resource Classification and Methodology

Mineral resources were classified in accordance with the 2005 CIM
Definition Standards for Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves,
incorporated by reference into NI 43-101. The resource model was
constructed inside carbonatite using 183 diamond drill holes and an
average specific gravity of 3.01 assigned to all blocks in carbonatite.
Based on a grade drill hole spacing study, AMEC established the
following criteria for classification of mineral resources at Blue
with eighty percent of the carbonatite blocks classified as
Indicated, and fourteen percent classified as Inferred.

Indicated mineral resources are those where blocks contain at least two
holes, where the average distance between the closest composites is
less than 50m and the distance to the second closest composite is less
than 70m. Inferred mineral resources are those where blocks contain at
least one hole and the distance to the closest composite is less than

Assay data were statistically analyzed and as a result Ta(2)O(5) was capped at 1,000 ppm and Nb(2)O(5) was capped at 10,000 ppm. Capped drill core assays were composited down
the hole to a fixed length of 2.5m honouring geological boundaries. The
coefficients of grade variation are low and support the use of linear
grade interpolation methods such as kriging or inverse distance

Ta(2)O(5) and Nb(2)O(5 )were estimated using ordinary kriging (OK) and inverse distance to power
3 (ID3) interpolation methods for the carbonatite domains. Additional
Nb(2)O(5) mineralization, which immediately surrounds the carbonatite domains, is
not included as there is insufficient data for interpolation of the
unit. Nearest Neighbour (NN) validation models for Ta(2)O(5) and Nb(2)O(5) were prepared with the same searches used for the OK and the ID3
models. A comparison of global means of capped and uncapped OK and ID3
models showed the amount of metal removed by capping is minor. Swath
plot checks using only indicated blocks show there are no local biases
for estimated Ta(2)O(5) or Nb(2)O(5) present in either OK or ID3 models. The ID3 model was chosen for
tabulating the Blue River mineral resources as the OK model is
considered too smooth.

Market Study

Commerce has prepared analyses of the markets which outline demands by
producers and end users of tantalum and niobium. The tantalum analysis
was prepared by a tantalum market expert, although he is not
independent of Commerce. His analysis reflects the general consensus of
other analysts regarding the tantalum market expressed in publicly
available information. The niobium analysis was prepared by an
independent niobium expert and also reflects the general consensus of
analysts, in publicly-available information, for the niobium market.

As the project is still at an early evaluation stage, Commerce has not
initiated requests from potential buyers for expression of interests in
the proposed Blue River products and has not negotiated any purchase or
off-take agreements.

End Products and Base Case Metal Pricing

The processes proposed for the Blue River Project will produce 99.9%
pure tantalum and niobium oxides. These products are generally sold
under contract and the prices are carefully guarded to provide
competitive advantages.


Tantalum is commonly quoted in two separate forms:

  • Ta(2)O(5 )in tantalite concentrate: a non-refined, tantalum-bearing concentrate of
    variable composition and trace element content
  • Tantalum metal scrap (99.9% pure Ta): this form of tantalum product
    receives a premium price in the market relative to tantalite

Over the last six years,  tantalite concentrate prices ranged from
US$75/kg contained Ta(2)O(5) to US$100/kg contained Ta(2)O(5) (US$34/lb to US$45/lb). In the same period tantalum metal scrap prices
ranged from US$110/kg Ta to US$180/kg Ta metal (US$50/lb to US$82/lb).

In 2010, prices rose dramatically in response to numerous conditions
including reduced production, increased concerns about
conflict-tantalum production in Africa, depletion of known strategic
stockpiles and curtailed exports from China. In mid-October 2010 the
price for Ta(2)O(5) in tantalite concentrate was US$195/kg (US$89/lb) and for tantalum
metal scrap was US$280/kg (US$127/lb).

The higher price for tantalum metal scrap compared to the price for Ta(2)O(5 )in concentrate is considered a proxy to the added value Commerce should
recognize by refining the Blue River concentrate to high purity Ta(2)O(5.)

In AMEC’s opinion, the base case price for tantalum metal scrap is
reasonable for constraining mineral resources based on recent market
conditions, but notes it is significantly higher than historical
prices. There is a risk that using current price assumptions at, or
near the peak of the commodity cycle may overstate the long-term value
of the Mineral Resources.


Niobium generally trades as Nb metal or ferroalloy and the price has
remained relatively constant at US$44.08/kg (US$20/lb) Nb over the last
several years.  A base case price of US$46/kg Nb (US$21/lb) metal was

AMEC’s Comment on Price Assumptions

The cut-off grade assumptions at US$317/kg (US$144/lb) tantalum metal
and US$46/kg (US$21/lb) niobium metal are slightly more optimistic than
current price assumptions of US$280/kg (US$127/lb) tantalum metal price
and US$44/kg (US$20/lb) Nb metal price. This allows for the capture of
mineral resources that would likely be excluded in reserve estimation.

2011 Work Program

Based on project-related activities and cash on hand, Commerce is fully
funded to complete all studies recommended in 2011. For this year,
Commerce intends to further expand the knowledge of the deposit with
additional closer-spaced diamond drilling.  A program of advanced
metallurgical testing and more detailed engineering is also planned.
Details will follow based on recommendations arising from AMEC’s PEA.

“The AMEC Resource Estimate for the Upper Fir Tantalum-Niobium Deposit
reported today is further confirmation of Commerce’s belief that we are
in the process of building a very important long-term source of ethical
tantalum,” said Dave Hodge, Commerce’s President. “Results remain
pending for additional drilling completed in 2010, and we are eagerly
awaiting the results of AMEC’s PEA, which is based on drilling to the
end of the 2009 field season.  All indications are that we will be able
to enhance even further the quality of the resource. Of necessity, the
impending PEA is based on conservative pricing. However, recent
developments in global tantalum and niobium markets suggest significant
near term upside”.

NI 43-101 Disclosure

Albert Chong, Senior Geologist, P.Geo and Tomasz Postolski, Senior
Geostatistician, P.Eng are the employees of AMEC Americas Limited and
are Qualified Persons responsible for the mineral resource estimate
above. Mr. Chong completed a site visit during the 11-16(th) of July 2010, and Mr. Chong and Mr. Postolski have read and approved
the contents of this news release with respect to the resource
estimate.  Jody Dahrouge, B.Sc., P.Geol., a Qualified Person as defined
by National Instrument 43-101, read and approved the disclosure of the
technical information in this news release with respect to the
exploration.  A Technical Report compliant with National Instrument
43-101 standards describing the resource estimation and providing
details of the 2009 drilling and sampling as well as the associated
QAQC review will be filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) within 45 days.

About Commerce Resources Corp.

Commerce Resources Corp. is an exploration and development company with
a particular focus on tantalum, niobium and rare metal deposits with
potential for economic grades and large tonnages. The Company is
specifically focused on the development of its Upper Fir Tantalum and
Niobium Deposit in British Columbia and is also exploring its Eldor
Project in northern Quebec and the Carbo Project in northern British

On Behalf of the Board of Directors


David Hodge President and Director
Tel: 604 484 2700
TF: 866.484.2700
Email: info@commerceresources.com
Web: http://www.commerceresources.com

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release may contain forward-looking information and is 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 information is based on the
opinions and estimates of management and its consultants at the date
the information is given. It is 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. Information is based on reasonable assumptions which include but are
not limited to those regarding actual costs for mining and processing
and their impact on the cut off grade established, actual capital
costs, forecasts of mine production rates, the timing and content of
upcoming work programs, geological interpretations, potential process
methods and mineral recoveries, the availability of markets for the
products produced, market pricing for the products produced, etc.
Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and
therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may
differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements.
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.

Source: newswire

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