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Commerce Resources Announces Significant Increase in Indicated Mineral Resource for the Ashram Rare Earth & Fluorspar Deposit, Quebec

Press Release

Highlights:

  • The updated mineral resource estimate (“MRE”) considers 28,783 meters of diamond drilling to increase the Indicated Resource tonnage by 164%:
    • Indicated Resource: 73.2 Mt at 1.89% TREOǂ and 6.6% CaF2, and
    • Inferred Resource: 131.1 Mt at 1.91% TREO and 4.0% CaF2.
  • Contains a high percentage of the magnet feed rare earth elements neodymium (Nd) & praseodymium (Pr), exceeding that of several active global producers:
    • (Nd2O3 + Pr2O3) / TREO (“NdPr”) of 21.2% (indicated) and 21.4% (inferred)
  • The geological model interprets a single, continuous, mineralized carbonatite body outcropping at surface, with a footprint approximately 700 m along strike, over 300 m across, and 600 m depth as defined by the current resource estimate and remains open at depth.
  • The MRE incorporates three monazite-mineralized zones (A-Zone, B-Zone, and Breccia (Classic)). Other rare earth element-bearing lithologies such as the BD-Zone require additional metallurgical studies and were therefore not considered in this MRE but represent potential upside to the project.
  • A forthcoming niobium drill program is set to investigate further resource potential.

TREO = sum of all lanthanide oxides + yttrium oxide

May 22, 2024 – Commerce Resources Corp. (TSXv: CCE, FSE: D7H0, OTCQX: CMRZF) (the “Company” or “Commerce”) is pleased to announce an updated mineral resource estimate (“MRE”) for the Ashram Rare Earth and Fluorspar Deposit (the “Ashram Deposit” or “Ashram”). The Ashram Deposit, wholly owned by the Company, is located in northeastern Quebec, Canada, approximately 130 kilometres south of the community of Kuujjuaq.

The updated MRE for the Ashram Rare Earth and Fluorspar Deposit firmly establishes it as a globally significant rare earth element (“REE”) deposit, and one of the largest monazite-mineralized carbonatite REE deposits in the world: 73.2 Mt at 1.89% TREO and 6.6% CaF2 (indicated), and 131.1 Mt at 1.91% TREO and 4.0% CaF2 (inferred), at a cut-off of $287 Net Metal Return (NMR) per tonne (7).

Ashram also continues to demonstrate very high NdPr distributions (i.e., percent of neodymium plus praseodymium oxide of the TREO) at 21.2% NdPr (indicated) and 21.4% NdPr (inferred), exceeding that of several active global producers. The favourable distribution starts at surface, allowing these high value elements to be targeted early on in a potential open-pit extraction scenario and therefore, enhancing the project’s strategic value and operational efficiency. This enrichment in the magnet feed REEs also extends to dysprosium (Dy) and terbium (Tb).

The MRE update underscores the Ashram Deposit’s potential as a long-term, sustainable source of critical minerals, vital for the evolving technology and energy sectors. The Company remains committed to advancing the project, with ongoing work to further delineate the deposit’s full potential, and a planned niobium drill program poised to unlock additional value.

Chris Grove, President and CEO of Commerce Resources, stated: “We are very excited by this updated mineral resource estimate for the Ashram Deposit, as it positions the Company to become the front-runner in providing a long-term source of magnet-feed REE supply to the North American and European markets. Additionally, the Ashram Deposit has a fluorspar component which makes it one of the largest potential sources of fluorspar in the world. This milestone will be the new basis of future economic and development studies that further de-risk and unlock the development potential of this asset. In addition to the Ashram Deposit, the Eldor carbonatite remains highly prospective for a number of high value commodities, including niobium and phosphate minerals.”

Patrik Schmidt, Company Vice President of Exploration, comments: “We are thrilled with this updated resource estimate, which continues to demonstrate the consistency of the magnet-feed REE enrichment throughout the Ashram Deposit. This resource has firmly established Ashram as one of the largest monazite-mineralized carbonatite rare earth deposits globally and remains open at depth.”

The primary objective of the mineral resource update was to increase the confidence of resources from the inferred category to the indicated category to support economic and development studies. This conversion was highly successful with a 164% increase in the indicated resource category compared to the prior MRE completed in 2012 (see news release dated March 6, 2012).

The 2024 MRE was completed in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 with an Effective Date of April 4th, 2024, and is based on 117 diamond drill holes totaling 28,783 metres of NQ, HQ and BTW size drill core.

Table 1: NI 43-101 Mineral Resource Statement for Ashram Deposit

Cut-off NMR ($/t) 287
Category Indicated Inferred
Tonnes Mt 73.2 131.1
Total TREO % 1.89 1.91
NdPr 21.2 21.4
TbDy 0.7 0.5
La2O3 ppm 4,829 4,969
Ce2O3 8,753 8,933
Pr2O3 907 927
Nd2O3 3,112 3,162
Sm2O3 412 385
Eu2O3 98 87
Gd2O3 223 195
Tb2O3 24 19
Dy2O3 102 73
Ho2O3 14 10
Er2O3 31 21
Tm2O3 3 2
Yb2O3 18 13
Lu2O3 2 2
Y2O3 419 280
Fluorspar (CaF2) % 6.6 4.0

(a) TREO is sum of lanthanides (as oxides) + yttrium oxide
(b) NdPr distribution calculated as (Nd2O3 + Pr2O3) / TREO x 100
(c) CaF2 calculated from fluorine assay using factor of 2.055 (F to CaF2). Assumes all fluorine is contained within the mineral fluorite (“fluorspar”).
(d) Cut-off expressed as NMR ($)/t only considers payable elements La-Nd-Pr-Tb-Dy.
(e) TbDy distribution calculated as (Tb2O3 + Dy2O3) / TREO x 100.
(f) Prices shown are in CAD(g) Differences may occur in totals due to rounding.
(g) Differences may occur in totals due to rounding.

Notes for Resource Table:

  1. Mineral resources are not mineral reserves as they have not demonstrated economic viability. The quantity and grade of reported Inferred Resources in this MRE are uncertain in nature and there has been insufficient exploration to define these Inferred Resources as Indicated or Measured. However, it is reasonably expected that the majority of Inferred Mineral Resources could be upgraded to Indicated Mineral Resources with continued exploration.
  2. Resources are presented as undiluted and in-situ for an open-pit scenario and are considered to have reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction. The constraining pit shell was developed using an overall pit slope of 52 degrees, and the resulting strip ratio is 2.7:1.
  3. 3D modelling was prepared using Leapfrog Geo v.2023.2.1 with a database of 213 surface drill holes, 6 surface channels and 32,962 samples, of which 117 drill holes and a total of 18,495 assays were used to interpolate the block model mineralized zones.
  4. Resources encompass three REE-bearing zones (A-zone, B-Zone, and Breccia (Classic)), each defined by wireframes. A value of zero grade was applied in cases of core not assayed.
  5. High-grade capping was done on the composited assay data and established on a per-zone basis for each element.
  6. Density values were interpolated using Ordinary Kriging for four rock types in the geological model, including the three mineralized rock types (A-Zone, B-Zones and Breccia (Classic)), with density averages of 3.08 g/cm3 for A-Zone, 3.00 g/cm3 for B-Zone, 3.05 g/cm3 for Breccia (Classic) and 2.92 g/cm3 for BD-Zone. Surrounding country rock lithologies were given a fixed density value from their range median values: carbonatites ranging from 2.85 to 2.97 g/cm3, Metavolcanic = 2.84g/cm3 and Lamprophyre = 2.97g/cm3.” Grade model resource estimation was interpolated from drill hole data using an Ordinary Kriging interpolation method in a sub-blocked block model using blocks measuring 5 m x 5 m x 5 m in size and sub-blocks down to 1.25 m x 1.25 m x 1.25 m.
  7. The MRE cut-off, expressed as a Net Metal Return (NMR) value, was calculated to be CAD154/tonne, which is based on a 3-year annualized average (2021, 2022, and 2023) for the five payable oxidesa; (USD1.25/kg for La2O3, USD95/kg for Pr2O3, USD95/kg for Nd2O3, USD1,500/kg for Tb2O3, and USD375/kg for Dy2O3), estimated metal recoveries, and operating costs for mining, processing, transportation and G&A. A cut-off of CAD287/tonne is considered as the base case for the MRE and is guided by reasonable prospects of eventual economic extraction over a reasonable timeframe. The cut-off grade considers a CAD:USD exchange rate of 1.30
    • Sourced from Adamas Intelligence’s Rare Earth Pricing Quarterly Outlook (Q1 2024)
  8. Inferred mineral resources are constrained to areas where drill spacing is less than 200 metres, and where reasonable geological and grade continuity is shown. Indicated mineral resources are constrained to areas where drill spacing is less than 70 metres, and where reasonable geological and grade continuity is displayed
  9. An open-pit mining method was considered for the MRE and a conceptual pit shell to constrain the resources was developed using Hexagon’s MinePlan 3D software, Version 16.05.
  10. Calculations used metric units (metre, tonne). Metric tonnages have been rounded, and any discrepancies in total amounts are due to rounding errors.
  11. CIM definitions and guidelines (2019) for Mineral Resource Estimates have been followed.
  12. The QPs are unaware of any known environmental, permitting, legal, title-related, taxation, socio-political or marketing issues or any other relevant issues that could materially affect this MRE.

Table 2 and Figure 1 illustrate the sensitivity of the 2024 Ashram Deposit MRE with respect to various Net Metal Return cut-offs for a potential open-pit scenario with reasonable prospects of eventual economic extraction. The figures provided in these tables should not be interpreted as a mineral resource statement. The selected cut-off NMR for the base case is 287 $/tonne with the revenue factor 1 pit shell constraint.

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