BEIJING (Info-RE) 08-Jun-17 Ucore Rare Metals Inc. is pleased to announce that it has executed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Commerce Resources Corp. (TSX VENTURE:CCE)(OTC:CMRZF) (“Commerce”) for the purpose of integrating feedstock from Commerce’s Ashram Project in Quebec (the “Ashram Project”) with Ucore’s recently announced rare earth separation facility and Strategic Metals Complex (“SMC”), InvestorIntel reported.
Under the terms of the MOU, Commerce will provide quantities of mixed rare earth carbonate concentrate, using material from the Ashram Deposit (the “Ashram Concentrate”), sufficient to perform bench and pilot scale testing of the metallurgy and metals separation metrics of the prospective feedstock. The bench work will be conducted by IBC Advanced Technologies of American Fork, Utah (“IBC”), with pilot scale test work expected to take place at the recently completed SuperLig®-One MRT pilot facility in Vineyard, Utah (see Ucore Press Release September 26, 2016).
The objective of the test work is to complete a definitive assessment of the suitability of the Ashram Concentrate as potential feedstock for the SMC, with a view to a subsequent long-term supply partnership and offtake relationship.
“This is a significant development partnership for both Ucore and Commerce,” said Jim McKenzie, President and CEO of Ucore. “Commerce has undertaken extensive research and testing resulting in a high-quality and high-grade mineral concentrate that will allow for cost effective processing to our ideal feedstock, and therefore, looks to be a very promising candidate for processing via a MRT separation circuit. The Ashram Deposit is large tonnage, good grade, hosts a well-balanced REE distribution with an enrichment in the magnet feed REEs, and perhaps most importantly, is highly accessible. In combination with the SMC, Ashram promises to be a key link in a self-contained North American REE supply chain.”
Commerce is well advanced with its metallurgical testing and flowsheet design for the production of the Ashram Concentrate, incorporating the conventional approach used by current and past rare earth producers. This involves an initial phase of beneficiation to produce a high-grade mineral concentrate of >45% REO and at high recovery at ~75%, followed by a hydrometallurgical phase that further processes the mineral concentrate through to a mixed rare earth carbonate product suitable for separation. The Ashram metallurgical test work and pilot plant is located and operated at Hazen Research in Golden, Colorado.
“We are excited to be working with Ucore and look forward to delivering a sample of our REE mineral concentrate to the SuperLig® test facilities in Utah as soon as possible. Security of supply is vitally important, and with our simple mineralogy and successful use of standard processing, we look forward with Ucore to realizing the goal of an independent North American REE supply chain” stated Chris Grove, President of Commerce Resources Corp.
Ucore is now engaged in the detailed engineering and planning of the SMC rare earth separation facility, a joint venture with IBC (see Ucore Press Release November 15, 2016 and May 25, 2017). The SMC will utilize SuperLig® Molecular Recognition Technology for the separation of REE, capitalizing on advanced pilot phase testing of the SuperLig®-One pilot platform. The SMC is being designed and engineered as a modular facility, capable of accepting feedstock from varying supply sources and a range of high quality concentrates. Ucore anticipates the release of a comprehensive design and build schedule for the SMC facility, including an economic analysis of supply sources, in the coming months. With prospective supply sources located in Quebec, Alaska and the Southeastern US, the selection of the location of the SMC is contingent upon incentives and logistical considerations from multiple competing jurisdictions.