As pre-feasibility work continues on the northern Quebec Ashram deposit, the provincial government awarded Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE $300,000 to optimize tailings management. Announced June 16, the three-year grant comes jointly from les Fonds de recherche du Québec—Nature et technologies and le Ministre de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles.
The money will help research methods of recycling and managing residue from Ashram’s metallurgical flowsheet, the company stated. The project will also look at processing an acid-grade fluorspar byproduct.
“This work will be completed in partnership with the Centre Eau Terre Environnement of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique, a research-oriented branch of the Université du Québec, which has considerable experience in environmental management and sustainability,” Commercestated. Results will be incorporated into Ashram’s pre-feas study.
With metallurgical work underway at a mini-pilot plant in Colorado, the company has reported progress in simplifying the flowsheet, showing potential cost reductions.Commerce emphasizes Ashram’s key distinction, in which the high-grade, near-surface deposit is hosted in the minerals monazite, bastnasite and xenotime, which have proven processing.
In April the company announced a binding memorandum of understanding with a Glencore division to supply Ashram with sulphuric acid for metallurgical use. That same month Commerce stated Tugliq Energy was studying the potential of wind-generated electricity for Ashram. Two northern Canadian mines currently rely on wind for part of their energy supply.
Late last year Ashram won the e3 Plus Award for responsible exploration from l’Association de l’exploration minière du Québec. In January the company closed the second tranche of a private placement totalling $1.97 million.
Commerce also holds the Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.