Commerce Resources Corp. Produces 40% TREO Mineral Concentrate from the Ashram
Rare Earth Element Deposit, Northern Quebec
VANCOUVER, Feb. 20, 2013
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 mineral concentrate.
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 Fraction
Analytical Size Test ID Upgrading Original Analysis Recovery^(4) Upgrade
Method^(1) Fraction(s)^(2) Process Feed (TREO)^(3) Ratio^(5)
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
ICP Middle 58-18b Flotation 7.9% 26.8% 83.7% 13.7
XRF Fine^(7) + 58-20a Flotation 6.0% 27.2% 74.5% 13.9
ICP Middle 58-13 Flotation 5.4% 29.7% 70.1% 15.2
XRF Middle 58-17a Flotation 7.6% 30.7% 79.8% 15.7
ICP Middle 58-16 Flotation 5.3% 32.9% 72.9% 16.9
ICP Middle 58-17b Flotation 5.3% 38.2% 68.9% 19.6
XRF Fine^(7) + 58-20b Flotation 4.1% 40.0% 66.5% 20.5
XRF Middle 55-25-132 Flotation 1.9% 43.3% 33.8% 22.2
- Coarse Re-ground proportionally back to fine and middle fractions
Grade and Recovery referenced to Whole Rock Input^(6)
XRF Fine + Middle + 55-25/124 Flotation 11.7% 15.5% 78.6% 7.9 times
Coarse + 58-18a
XRF/ICP Fine + Middle + 55-25/124 Flotation 10.4% 16.7% 75.6% 8.6 times
Coarse + 58-18b
XRF Fine + Middle + 55-25/124 Flotation 10.2% 18.2% 73.0% 9.3 times
Coarse + 58-17a
XRF/ICP Fine + Middle + 55-25/124 Flotation 8.8% 19.0% 66.0% 9.7 times
Coarse + 58-17b
Fine^(7) + 13.9
XRF Middle + 58-20a Flotation 4.2% 27.2% 58.4% times
Middle + Coarse 15.7
XRF (Fine 58-17a Flotation 4.5% 30.7% 51.9% times
Middle + Coarse 16.9
ICP (Fine 58-16 Flotation 3.2% 32.9% 47.4% times
Middle + Coarse 19.6
ICP (Fine 58-17b Flotation 3.2% 38.2% 44.8% times
Fine^(7) + 20.5
XRF Middle + 58-20b Flotation 2.9% 40.0% 51.9% times
(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 CeO +
LaO + PrO[3 ]+ NdO + EuO + SmO[3 ]+ GdO
+ TbO + DyO[3 ]+ HoO + ErO + TmO[3 ]+
YbO + LuO[3 ]+ YO.
(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)
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
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 Rock)
Analytical Test ID Upgrading Original Analysis Recovery^(2) Upgrade
Method^(1) Process Feed (TREO)^(1) Ratio^(3)
ICP 3638-1 (Cleaner 1 of 9.1% 15.0% 68.9% 7.7 times
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
ICP 3638-1 (Cleaner 1 of 16.3% 10.1% 82.9% 5.2 times
(1) ICP analysis is quantitative with TREO defined as CeO +
LaO + PrO[3 ]+ NdO + EuO + SmO[3 ]+ GdO
+ TbO + DyO[3 ]+ HoO + ErO + TmO[3 ]+
YbO and + YO. LuO[3 ]is [ ]not included in the
(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 3612-117.
Figure 1: WHIMS Products from Flotation Concentrate (Test 3612-117)
Table 3: Select Test Result of Mineral Concentrate Upgrading via Conventional
Flotation and WHIMS
Whole Rock REE Mineral WHIMS WHIMS Referenced
Material Concentrate^(1) (Magnetic to
Fraction)^(1) Concentrate Feed
Test ID - 3638-10 3638-43 -
Upgrading None Flotation of Whole Flotation
Process (Original Rock Material (3638-10) + -
Weight 989.1g 163.0g 124.2g - 38.8g
% of Original 100% 16.5% 12.6% 24% reduction in
Feed Weight weight
TREO^(2) 2.0% 9.7% 11.8% 22% increase in
TREO 100% 79.5% 75.2% 95% recovery
TREO Upgrade 0 times 4.9 times 5.9 times -
Fluorite 5.9% 29.6% 15.2% 51% decrease in
Content^(3) fluorite grade
Fluorite 100% 82.3% 31.9% 61% fluorite
(1) Results referenced to Whole Rock Material (original feed)
(2) TREO determined by Portable XRF for the LREO (CeO, LaO,
PrO, and NdO) 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
CeO, LaO, PrO, and NdO 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
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 (HSO) 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 in 1765).
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 earth
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 yttrium).
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
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:
For more information on Commerce Resources Corp. visit the corporate website
athttp://www.commerceresources.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
President and Director
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