Commerce Resources Rolls out the Red Carpet at its Blue River Tantalum-Niobium Project ~ Forex Auto Trading, Article of Forex Trading, Forex Signal and Forex Broker

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Commerce Resources Rolls out the Red Carpet at its Blue River Tantalum-Niobium Project

Written by OnlineLoan on 05:10

Commerce Resources Rolls out the Red Carpet at its Blue River Tantalum-Niobium Project

By: Christina De Wit

Despite the sight of a black bear on the September 7th-9th property tour of Commerce Resources' (TSX.V:CCE) Blue River Tantalum-Niobium Project, the mood was nothing but bullish for a group of fund managers, industrialists, major newsletter writers, metal traders and senior analysts. Like bears to honey, a total of 105 investors– including key players in the German finance and industrial worlds– were drawn to the property by the company's announcement of its discovery of two new carbonatite anomalies– the Lower Gum and the Lower Switch Creeks at the company's Upper Fir Deposit. The Lower Gum geochemical anomaly is a minimum of 1,000 meters long and between 200 to 400 meters wide with geochem sample concentrations of 3,211 g/t Nb2O5 and 75 g/t Ta2O5, and highly enriched with light rare earth elements lanthanum (La) at 1,905 ppm; and cerium (Ce) at 2,666 ppm. The Lower Switch is a minimum of 700 meters long and 50 meters wide, with soil assays which returned values from background concentrations to 2,354 g/t Nb2O5. The anomaly extends through the historical trench location, where carbonatite samples collected by Anschutz Mining (Canada) Ltd., ran 21 and 2,930 g/t Ta2O5, and averaged 514 g/t.

The Blue River Project is located near Blue River, British Columbia. Commerce owns 100% of the 500km2 claim group. Infrastructure in the area is excellent, with proximity to rail lines, roads, and power. The first carbonatite bodies were discovered in 1949, when the property was first examined for its vermiculite potential. Commerce acquired the property in 2000 and has conducted bulk sampling, ground geophysics, stream sampling and drilling to date. A 2007 report prepared by independent consultant Gorham has outlined an indicated resource of 8,600,000 tonnes with 208.2 g/t Ta2O5 and 1,372.6 g/t Nb2O5 and an inferred resource of 5,500,000 tonnes with 208.2 g/t Ta2O5 and 1,349.9 g/t Nb2O5. With further drilling, there is a very good likelihood of finding new reserves.

Carbonatites are rare, peculiar igneous rocks derived from deep within the Earth’s crust. They are the host rocks for tantalum and niobium- which are usually found in tandem, along with other Rare Earth Elements (R.E.E.s). Tantalum (named for Tantalus, a figure in Greek mythology) is essential in the manufacture of most electronic devices due to its having the highest known capacitance of any metal. According to the company’s website, "tantalum ores are found primarily in Australia, Brazil, Canada and central Africa, with some additional quantities originating in southeast Asia. The average yearly growth rate of about 8 to 12% in tantalum demand since about 1995 has caused a significant increase in exploration for this element". Niobium (named for Tantalus’ daughter, Niobe) is an additive used in steel-making. Its presence as an alloy triples steel’s tensile strength. This is of critical importance for pipelines, aerospace, and the automotive industry.

Visitors to the project were treated to a presentation by Bill Serjak, the world’s leading tantalum and niobium market analyst. Mr. Serjak expects a double-digit increase in the demand for tantalum over the next two years.

Commerce's goal is to become the world's leading source of high-quality tantalum and niobium. The next phase of development involves permitting, and an environmental study conducted by Gartner Lee, a top environmental consulting firm.

The company has also researched processing methods as part of its pre-feasibility preparations. Metallurgical work carried out in 2004 confirmed recovery rates for Ta and Nb of 83 to 97% of contained metal values. These recovery rates give the company a comparative advantage over producers in other parts of the world. Australia's Sons of Gwalia, currently the world's largest tantalum miner, has published a much lower recovery rate of 55%.

On the spot market, tantalum usually trades at around $25-$35/lb. The spot market is supplied by small producers in African countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo – with its attendant instability. These sources are not sanctioned by the UN; the tantalum concentrate that comes from a UN sanctioned country like Australia or Canada is worth twice the price of that on the spot. On a long-term contract from HC Starck, the world's largest tantalum processor, tantalum oxide will sell for $140-$150/lb. Presently, the world’s largest producer of niobium (from pyrochlore) is the mine at Araxá in Brazil. Niobium is currently trading at around $29/lb– quadruple January’s price.

With solid backing from German financiers and the people of Blue River– many of who are shareholders– the company has support for the project from start to finish. The company’s most recent private placement– originally intended to widen distribution into the US, had the unintended (but happy) consequence of having its original German investors strengthen their positions. Because the world trade in niobium and tantalum is done primarily on long-term contracts, it is in the interest of major industrialists to take an interest in developing new, high-quality, reliable sources in politically stable countries.

The company is in an unparalleled position to meet this demand. Alexei Rukhov, the geologist in charge of the project– considered one of the leading experts on carbonatites in the world– describes the polymetallic deposit as "the only one of its kind in the world." Highly-economic carbonatite deposits of this size and quality are exceedingly rare. With growing demand and a market which trades almost exclusively on long-term contracts, it is critical that new, stable, low-cost sources of tantalum and niobium are discovered and developed.

Commerce has had the foresight to build its market from the ground up by appealing to a core of long-term institutional investors, in effect, the end buyers of the company's products. So far, the market has responded favourably to this methodical approach– the company is trading in the $1 range. Investors can anticipate healthy long-term gains, without the volatility issues that affect precious and base metal markets. Napoleon Hill, advisor to U.S. Steel founder Andrew Carnegie and author of Think and Grow Rich, said, "Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel." Or, in Commerce’s case– as carbonatite is to steel– and success.

This article is intended for information purposes only, and is not a recommendation to buy or sell the equities of any company mentioned herein. It is based on sources believed to be reliable, but no warranty as to accuracy is expressed or implied. The opinions expressed in the article are those of the author except where statements are attributed to individuals other than the author, in which case the opinions are those of the individual to whom they are attributed.

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