By: Korie Marshall

Commerce Resources has announced it will start an extensive drilling project at its Ashram rare earth deposit in Northern Quebec.

“Rare earths” are a group of 17 chemically similar elements that are plentiful in the earth’s crust, but are hazardous or expensive to extract. They are used in powerful magnets, camera and telescope lenses, computers and cell phones, catalytic converters in cars, x-ray and MRI scanning systems, aircraft engines, and many other technologies. Commerce Resource has also been exploring a deposit of Tantalum-Nobium (two rare earth elements) in the Upper Fir area, just north of Blue River.

A news release from Chris Grove, President and Director of Commerce Resources, says the drill program in Northern Quebec is intended to increase confidence in the resource from “inferred” to “indicated and/or measured”, a major step in the pre-feasibility study for the potential mine.

Grove told the Goat via email that most of the capital raised over the last year is earmarked for Quebec, but they are following up with parties who have expressed interest in the Blue River project, and continue to look for financing that can allow them to direct capital to Blue River.

“In terms of the Blue River project, I would say that we are technically in “development” even though, at this time we do not have much planned for this year,” said Grove. He says the project is “partner ready”, in that a huge resource has been proven. “We have positive economics on that resource, and on a commodity that is currently in a global shortfall position,” he says. “We continue to be very optimistic about our chances for success on this project, as we are for the Ashram project.”

The first phase of the Ashram drill program is anticipated for April-May, with a second phase in the summer, after a short hiatus for break-up. The company also plans to complete fieldwork for the ongoing geomechanical and hydrogeological programs.