The near-surface Ashram deposit gets another round of drilling as pre-feasibility studies continue.
With nearly $2 million in fresh financing, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE begins another round of definition drilling on its Ashram rare earths deposit in northern Quebec. The 14-hole, 1,600-metre near-surface campaign brings the project closer to pre-feasibility, targeting the deposit’s northern, western and southern margins. Mineralization has expanded north and south since the 2012 resource estimate, remaining open in those directions.
The resource defined 1.6 million tonnes averaging 1.77% total rare earth oxides measured, 27.7 million tonnes averaging 1.9% indicated and 219.8 million tonnes averaging 1.88% inferred. Rare earth elements are found mostly in monazite and to a lesser extent bastnasite and xenotime, minerals that dominate currently known commercial extraction processes, Commercestated.
The distribution shows enrichment in the critical and magnet feed elements neodymium, praseodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium. Metallurgical studies continue to simplify the project’s flowsheet and have shown a potential fluorspar byproduct.
One of this season’s holes will test a gravity anomaly south of the deposit for a potential new zone of middle and heavy rare earth oxide enrichment. Ashram’s main zone of enrichment also features a strong gravity anomaly.
Additionally, the program includes hydrogeological and environmental work to advance the pre-feas. Work is expected to last eight to 10 weeks.
In June Quebec granted the company $300,000 towards its environmental studies. Among other announcements, Commerce reported an MOU with a Glencore Canada division which would supply sulphuric acid for metallurgical use.
Last week the company closed the second tranche of a short-form prospectus that totalled nearly $1.45 million and a private placement of $551,040.
In southeastern British Columbia, Commerce holds the Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.