Commerce Resources Corp. (TSXV: CCE)(OTCQX: CMRZF) has provided an update on the progress of the Prefeasibility Study (PFS) for the Ashram Rare Earth and Fluorspar Deposit in Quebec, Canada.
A gap analysis of the entire Ashram Project, from deposit to marketable product, has recently been completed by BBA Inc. The purpose of this analysis is to identify any remaining elements of the Project that require further data collection, review, and study, to ensure they are captured as needed to satisfy the Project’s Qualified Persons and Prefeasibility Study requirements.
A site trade-off on the tailings management facility at the mine-site has also been completed. Several potential locations have been identified within 10 km of the process plant and include both dry-stack and conventional tailings options.
Filtration test work on the tailing will be completed as part of the metallurgical program currently underway at Hazen Research, CO, USA, where the final design criteria of the mineral processing flowsheet is being captured.
This filtration data will allow for a final determination of the optimal location and design of the tailing management facility at the mine-site. The company further notes that past test work on the mine-site process tailings have concluded that they are not acid generating and are not considered hazardous or radioactive (see news release dated May 14, 2020).
Additional studies underway include concentrate transport and mine-site power generation trade-offs. The power generation trade-off study will evaluate various co-generation scenarios including wind as an offset to baseload diesel power, as well as utilization of the heat generated during operation to heat local buildings. The study will also include a comparative analysis of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
At Glencore’s Raglan Mine, located in Nunavik approximately 600 km north-northwest of the Ashram Deposit, energy production includes two operating 3MW wind turbines and associated energy storage technologies. The success of wind power at Raglan, as an offset to baseload diesel power, demonstrates the viability of operating wind turbines in a northern climate and significantly de-risks such power options to other mines in the region.
The power generation trade-off will be followed by a mine-fleet trade-off of electric vs diesel. This trade-off will evaluate capital and operating costs as well as fleet productivity, manpower, and GHG emissions.
A review of the potential sites for the hydromet plant, to be located along the St. Lawrence Seaway, is currently being completed by BBA Inc. and is building upon prior trade-off studies completed by Norda Stelo (formerly Roche). A strong focus is being placed on process residue management, including transport, handling, and storage, to position the Project’s operation for the long-term.
To date, the Prefeasibility work completed for the Ashram Project has led to significant advancements compared to the Preliminary Economic Assessment – shorter haul road, higher mineral concentrate grades (>40% rare earth oxide), fluorspar concentrate recovery, reduced tailings footprint, etc. As the Project continues to be de-risked and optimized, the Company is positioning to be one of the lowest cost rare earth producers globally, with a specific focus on being a long-term supplier of mixed rare earth carbonate and/or NdPr oxide to the global market.
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