Tugliq Energy owns and operates this wind turbine for Glencore’s Raglan mine. (Photo: Tugliq Energy)

Two off-grid northern Canadian mines already use renewable green energy and it shows potential for the Ashram rare earths project in Quebec, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE announced April 21. With preliminary data showing favourable wind speeds, the possibility of wind-generated electricity will be incorporated into Ashram’s prefeasibility study, now underway.

The Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO/Dominion Diamond TSX:DDC Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories generates all its electricity from two diesel plants and a four-turbine wind farm operating since 2012. Since 2014, Tugliq Energy has owned and operated a wind turbine that augments diesel power at Glencore’s Raglan nickel mine in northern Quebec. 

Along with regional data, Tugliq has incorporated wind speed data collected since early 2013 at a weather station about one kilometre from Ashram into a common dataset. Preliminary figures show wind speeds higher than those of Diavik.

“Based on the encouraging findings, the company is advancing towards a collaborative agreement with Tugliq in order to prepare a more definitive assessment of the wind power generation potential at Ashram,”Commerce stated. Tugliq’s research will be considered in Ashram’s ongoing pre-feas study.

Earlier this month Commerce announced a binding memorandum of understanding with NorFalco Sales, a division of Glencore Canada Corp, to supply sulphuric acid at “highly competitive market rates and terms” for metallurgical use at Ashram. The relationship might also hold future potential for supply from Commerce.

Last month the company reported metallurgical tests that indicated a potential fluorspar byproduct. A mini-pilot plant using Ashram’s base case beneficiation flowsheet produced over 50 fluorspar concentrates.

Metallurgical tests announced in February continued to simplify Ashram’s flowsheet for a deposit hosted in the minerals monazite, bastnasite and xenotime, which have proven rare earths processing techniques.

Additionally, a resource update will accompany the pre-feas to factor in high-grade, near-surface assays.

On a different note, community engagement won Commerce an award for social, environmental, and health and safety practices from l’Association de l’exploration minière du Québec.

In southeastern British Columbia the company also holds the Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit, which has a 2011 PEA and a 2013 resource update.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Read Chris Berry’s report: Building a Non-Chinese Rare Earth Supply Chain.

Watch a Tugliq Energy video showing its Raglan wind project under construction.

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