Tantalum-Niobium

Overview

The Blue River Project is located in east-central British Columbia, Canada on provincial Hwy # 5 about 230 km north of Kamloops. The closest town is Blue River, B.C. which is near the south end of the property. The western part of the property is accessible by forestry roads (4-wheel drive) from the highway. The eastern part is accessible by helicopter. The main CN rail line and a high voltage power line cross the property along the North Thompson River.

Commerce Resources Corp. staked an initial claim block around the historic Verity and Fir showings in early 2000. By 2006 additions to the property resulted in a contiguous holding from Bone Creek in the south to Moonbeam Creek in the north. This was expanded south of the town of Blue River in 2007, with several peripheral claims added through to 2010.

Geological work and drilling supervision has been conducted by Dahrouge Geological Consulting Ltd. (DGC) of Edmonton, Alberta. Work has included: surface mapping; trenching and access construction; soil, rock chip, grab and channel sampling; core drilling; mineralogy; bulk sampling; metallurgical testwork; environmental baseline studies and conceptual mining and other engineering studies.

Initial mapping, soil sampling and drilling focused on the Verity and Fir carbonatites. Resources were estimated for both of these deposits which are now considered to be historic in conformance with National Instrument 43-101.

The Upper Fir carbonatite was discovered at the end of the 2002 season and drilled initially in 2005. From 2006 until 2011, drilling totalling nearly 60,000 m focussed mainly on the Upper Fir carbonatite, proceeding through four resource estimates. The most recent technical report by Amec Foster Wheeler has an effective date of March 18, 2015 and is discussed below.

The Fir, Upper Fir and Bone Creek carbonatites are now believed to be a single system of carbonatite sills or dikes metamorphosed to upper amphibolite facies and subjected to recumbent isoclinal folding and thickening, and subsequent faulting.

Regional prospecting, mapping, an extensive stream pan concentrate survey and several square kilometres of soil grids have been successful in identifying or confirming over twenty-five carbonatites on the property. In addition to the Fir and Verity carbonatites, both of which remain open in two directions, the Mt. Cheadle and Mud Lake targets are considered of significant potential.

To date Commerce has spent over $30M exploring the Blue River Project.

Mineral Resource Statement

The Mineral Resources stated in this report are unchanged from those reported in June 2013. The Mineral Resources are summarized below and are constrained within an underground mining shape prepared using the economic assumptions in the footnotes below. :

Blue River Project Estimated Mineral Resource (Effective Date 18 March 2015, Greg Kulla P.Geo)

Ta price
[US$/kg]

 

Confidence
Category

Tonnes

Ta2O5 

[ppm]

Nb2O5 

[ppm]

Contained

Ta2O5

[1000s of kg]

Contained

Nb2O5

[1000s of kg]

381

Indicated

48,410,000

197

1,610

9,560

77,810

Inferred

5,400,000

191

1,760

1,000

9,600

Notes:

  1. Assumptions include commodity prices of US$381/kg Ta, US$46/kg Nb, process recoveries of 65.4% for Ta2O5 and 68.2% for Nb2O5, US$27/tonne bulk mining cost and US$48/tonne selective mining cost, US$15/tonne process and refining cost, US$3/tonne G&A cost
  2. Mineral resources are amenable to underground mining methods and have been constrained to a mineable shape using a “Stope Analyzer”
  3. An economic cut-off was based on the estimated operating costs assuming either the bulk or selective mining method. The block unit value cut-off was either US$45/t (bulk) or US$66/t (selective)
  4. No allowances were made for mining losses or external dilution; planned internal dilution within the minimum stope size is included
  5. In situ contained oxide reported. Discrepancies in contained oxide values are due to rounding.

Project Drilling

The current database comprises a total of 303 core holes consisting of 62,780 m of HQ and NQ-diameter drilling. Core recovery is very good within the host and carbonatite rocks. Oriented-core geotechnical drilling was completed on six holes comprising 1,271 m. Down-hole geophysical surveys using optical and acoustic televiewers were completed on 24 drill holes. Drilling covers an area approximately 1,600 m north–south by 1,000 m east‑west. Average spacing between adjacent drill‑holes is 40 m to 50 m; spacing between holes increases with depth.

Metallurgical Testwork ​

Metallurgical testwork shows that the ferrocolumbite and pyrochlore which host the tantalum and niobium mineralization are amenable to a two-stage process of conventional flotation and proven refining processes with estimated recoveries of 65% to 70%. The first step of the process uses grinding followed by flotation to produce a concentrate. The secondary treatment for metal extraction of the material is possible by an existing industry established method such as aluminothermic reduction followed by chlorine refining.

Next Steps

When a decision is made to advance the project to a preliminary feasibility level of study, Amec Foster Wheeler has recommended a $13.9M work program that consists of infill, step-out and condemnation drilling, and metallurgical test work, as well as mine, co-disposal facility, environmental, and marketing studies. The proposed work is estimated to take two years to complete.

Infrastructure

The project benefits from excellent existing infrastructure with good logging road access to most areas. The BC Highway 5 (Yellowhead), Canadian National Railway, and BC Hydro power lines all cross Commerce’s property. Transalta’s Bone Creek run-of-river hydroelectric plant is located within the Blue River Project boundary. There is year-round access to the Upper Fir deposit from the Bone Forestry Service Road (FSR), a logging road which branches from Highway 5 about 23 kilometers north of the town of Blue River. Through the western parts of the property is the main line of the Canadian National Railway (CNR).

NI 43-101 Disclosure

Ms Jenna Hardy, M.Sc., P.Geo., a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has prepared, read and approved all scientific and technical information that relates to the Upper Fir Tantalum-Niobium Project on this webpage.