VANCOUVER, Sept. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Commerce Resources Corp. (TSXv: CCE; FSE: D7H; OTCQX: CMRZF) (the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has engaged Roche Ltd. (Roche) to complete a Pre-feasibility Study (PFS) on the Ashram Rare Earth Element Deposit, located within the Labrador Trough in north-eastern Quebec. Work on the PFS has commenced and is planned for completion in Q4 2013 / Q1 2014.
Roche is an engineering firm with extensive experience in the mining industry in Quebec. They have established a strong background in rare earth project development that is particularly suited to the Ashram Rare Earth Element Deposit. Roche's experience is multi-disciplinary (building, construction, environmental, energy, industrial etc.) and extends through the Feasibility Study (FS) level of mine planning and development with various commodities including rare earth elements, iron ore, base metals, and specialty metals.
Also involved in the PFS, and under the direction of Roche, are the following specialist consulting companies:
- Forchemex Ltd., Consulting Group (Forchemex), a member of the Roche Group, is a consultant group specializing in forestry services. The firm offers services relating to forest road planning and engineering, forest management and operations planning. Forchemex will focus on the road layout from proposed mine site to Kuujjuaq,
- Environnement Illimité Inc., is an environmental services company specializing in aquatic ecosystem studies and related biophysical and technical surveys. Environnement Illimité will work directly with Roche to collect and provide all environmental baseline data for the PFS.
All metallurgical aspects of the project will continue under the supervision of Hazen Research Inc. (Hazen) of Colorado, USA. Hazen has been involved with the project since April 2011, and is working with UVR-FIA GmbH (UVR) of Germany to further refine the metallurgical flowsheet for the project. Roche representatives will be involved with Hazen and UVR as they work to optimize the flowsheet required for the PFS.
The metallurgical work at Hazen will focus on 1.) Improving mineral concentrate grades and recoveries beyond the base case stated in the PEA, 2.) Testing to evaluate the potential for a fluorine based by-product, 3.) Conducting test work to produce a pure rare earth oxide or rare earth carbonate saleable end-product, and 4.) Performing environmental characterization of all mineralized and waste material.
The metallurgical work at UVR will focus on 1.) Evaluation of optimization parameters for the flotation process (temperature, pH, etc.), and 2.) Improving separation of the rare earth minerals from fluorite in order to increase mineral concentrate grades.
An update on all current metallurgical programs will be forthcoming from the company.
2012 Work Program
The 2012 field program at Ashram has focused on the extraction of a bulk sample, preparing the site for additional drilling, and the collection of environmental baseline data.
A bulk sample of approximately 30 metric tonnes of representative mineralized material was collected from three sites located along an ~65 m strike length, within the southern portions of the planned pit. The material will be used for ongoing metallurgical test work and initial pilot plant studies at Hazen and UVR.
In terms of site preparation, field crews have cleared drill site access, conducted structural mapping, and upgraded the camp facilities. In addition, site visits for data collection by personnel of Roche and its affiliates, including mine site, road route, docking facilities near Mackays Island, and airstrip location have been completed.
The PFS will be based on a National Instrument 43-101 updated resource estimate completed by Roche following drilling planned for Q1-Q2 of 2013.
About the Ashram Rare Earth Element Deposit
The Ashram Rare Earth Deposit is a carbonatite within the Eldor Property, located in north-eastern Quebec. The Ashram 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 such as neodymium, europium, dysprosium, terbium, and yttrium.
The rare earth elements 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 Project. 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.
Darren L. Smith, M.Sc., P.Geol., a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, supervised the preparation of the technical information in this news release.
About Commerce Resources Corp.
Commerce Resources Corp. is an exploration and development company with a particular focus on rare metal and rare earth element deposits with the potential for economic grades and large tonnages. The Company is focused on the development of its Upper Fir Tantalum and Niobium Deposit in British Columbia, and Ashram Rare Earth Element Project in northern Quebec.
On Behalf of the Board of Directors
COMMERCE RESOURCES CORP.
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 our projected timeline and consultants for the PFS, the focus of our metallurgical work, our planned drilling program, that the Ashram deposit can be developed economically as an open-pit mine; all 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 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 limited 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.