Commerce Resources Corp. Updates Metallurgical Test Work for its Ashram Rare Earth Element Deposit in Northern Quebec
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: http://www.commerceresources.com/s/NewsReleases.asp?ReportID=557566&_Type=News-Releases&_Title=Commerce-Resources-Corp.-Updates-Metallurgical-Test-Work-for-its-Ashram-Rar...