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Gold price edges down following strong Q4 US data

Mining.Com - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 09:16

Gold prices edged lower on Thursday following strong US economic data for the fourth quarter of 2022, though indications of a likely slowdown limited losses in the safe-haven metal.

Spot gold was down 1.1% to $1,925.48 per ounce by noon ET, having reached a nine-month high of $1,949.08 earlier in the day. US gold futures fell 0.9% to $1,925.40 per ounce in New York.

[Click here for an interactive chart of gold prices]

New GDP data shows that the US economy maintained a strong pace of growth in the last quarter as consumers boosted spending on goods, but momentum appears to have slowed considerably towards the end of the year, with higher interest rates eroding demand.

The US dollar index held most gains following the data, but the reaction was relatively muted, as it was still in proximity of an eight-month low.

“While gold is still somewhat pressured by the fact that the data has given the Fed room to be higher for longer, on the other hand, concerns about a slowdown, especially with recent headlines on layoffs, are limiting the downside,” Tai Wong, a senior trader at Heraeus Precious Metals in New York, told Reuters.

“This is giving bulls the momentum backed by strong technical moves in the past couple of months,” Wong added.

The latest data likely sets the tone heading into the Fed’s policy-setting committee’s two-day meeting next week, analysts say.

Markets have priced in a 25-basis-point (bps) interest rate hike, a step down from the 50 bps and 75 bps increases seen last year.

According to independent analyst Ross Norman, the core personal consumer expenditure numbers on Friday ahead of the meetings next week will be playing on the minds of bulls as well as bears.

(With files from Reuters)

Top Recent Energy Industry Stories: 1/24/2023

Breaking Energy - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 06:46

Here’s what Breaking Energy staff are reading at other outlets.

SRK Consulting SA names new managing director

Mining.Com - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 06:07

Andrew van Zyl has been appointed as managing director of SRK Consulting (SA), the South African arm of the global SRK network of consulting engineering practices. He is also a member of the SRK Global Board and Exco.

Van Zyl stepped into the role from January 2023, taking over from Vis Reddy who completed a term of almost eight years as MD at the end of 2022. Having joined SRK in 2011, Van Zyl became a partner in the firm in 2015 and was appointed as a director in 2020.

“My new role is primarily focused on people, context and strategy, to give SRK’s partners and practices a sounding board and help build the complementary strengths within the company,” van Zyl said in a media release.

SRK Consulting (SA) comprises about 300 permanent staff and a number of associate consultants. An important secondary role is ensuring integration within the global group and increased collaboration with the balance of the 1,700 staff across the globe – the company is increasingly benefiting from the establishment of niche, specialist technical centres of excellence across the globe.

Van Zyl has extensive experience in the mining sector, working initially in production and project roles and later shifting his focus into strategy, business development and valuation. He also spent several years as a technical advisor to a government committee negotiating a mining convention, as well as rail and mineral terminal concessions.

His experience includes valuing metals and minerals assets, including iron ore, manganese, chrome, copper, coal, gold and the platinum group metals. He is active in industry bodies, including being on the council of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM), a member of the inaugural SAIMM ESGS committee and as past chair of the South African Mineral Asset Valuation (SAMVAL) Committee.

In SRK’s involvement in the field of responsible sourcing of minerals, Van Zyl takes a lead role in the firm’s SRK’s partnership with EU’s Re-Sourcing initiative. This body is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, and draws on SRK’s extensive knowledge of current issues in mining. He has presented at a range of conferences, including the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba and presenting regularly at the World Association of Mining Lawyers’ annual conference.

His qualifications include a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) from Stellenbosch University and a Master of Commerce (Financial Economics) from the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

How tungsten can help make ​​nuclear fusion energy a reality

Mining.Com - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 05:05

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University are using their materials research efforts to bring to fruition the goal of producing energy through nuclear fusion.

In a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers make the case for improving tungsten heavy alloys for use in advanced nuclear fusion reactors by mimicking the structure of seashells.

Jacob Haag, first author of the paper, explained that the sun—with a core temperature of around 27 million degrees Fahrenheit—is powered by nuclear fusion. Thus, it should come as no surprise that fusion reactions produce a lot of heat. This means that before scientists can harness fusion energy as a power source, they need to create advanced nuclear fusion reactors that can withstand high temperatures and irradiation conditions that come with fusion reactions.

Tungsten is one of the elements with the highest melting points, which makes it a particularly attractive material for use in fusion reactors. However, tungsten can also be very brittle. Mixing it with small amounts of other metals, such as nickel and iron, creates an alloy that is tougher than tungsten alone while retaining its high melting temperature.

According to Haag, it isn’t just their composition that gives these tungsten-heavy alloys their properties—thermomechanical treatment of the material can alter properties like tensile strength and fracture toughness. 

Like seashells

A particular hot-rolling technique produced microstructures in tungsten-heavy alloys that mimic the structure of nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, in seashells. Nacre is known to exhibit extraordinary strength. The PNNL and Virginia Tech research teams investigated these nacre-mimicking tungsten-heavy alloys for potential nuclear fusion applications.

To get a closer look at the microstructure of the alloys, Haag and his group used scanning transmission electron microscopy to observe atomic structure. They also mapped the nanoscale composition of the material interface using a combination of energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy and atom probe tomography.

Within the nacre-like structure, the tungsten heavy alloy consists of two distinct phases: a ‘hard’ phase of almost pure tungsten, and a ‘ductile’ phase containing a mixture of nickel, iron, and tungsten. The research findings suggest that the high strength of tungsten-heavy alloys comes from an excellent bond between the dissimilar phases, including intimately bonded ‘hard’ and ‘ductile’ phases.

“While the two distinct phases create a tough composite, they pose significant challenges in preparing high-quality specimens for characterization,” Wahyu Setyawan, PNNL computational scientist and co-author of the paper, said in a news release. “Our team members did an excellent job in doing so, which enable us to reveal the detailed structure of interphase boundaries as well as the chemistry gradation across these boundaries.”

The study demonstrates how crystal structure, geometry, and chemistry contribute to strong material interfaces in tungsten-heavy alloys. It also reveals mechanisms to improve material design and properties for fusion applications. 

“If these bi-phase alloys are to be used in the interior of a nuclear reactor, it is necessary to optimize them for safety and longevity,” Haag said.

Eight new mines or expansions in British Columbia worth investment of $4.9 billion

Mining.Com - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 16:39

There are currently eight new mines or mine expansions in the queue in B.C. worth a total investment of C$6.6 billion ($4.9bn), according to Premier David Eby, who spoke Monday at the Association of Mineral Exploration (AME) Roundup conference.

Two of those new mines are aiming to be in production in a little over a year from now, and one is unique in that it will be the first mine to be built on Nisga’a Nation treaty land.

The most advanced project is the Ascot Resources (TSX:AOT) Premier Gold mine, located in northwestern B.C. on Nisga’a Nation treaty land. The company recently raised C$200 million to finance its construction, which is now underway. The company is aiming to pour first gold in early 2024.

Next in the queue is the Artemis Gold Inc. (TSX-V:ARTG) Blackwater Gold mine. The company has begun earthworks and expects a Mines Act permit this quarter. The company is aiming to start major construction in the first quarter of 2023 and be in production by the second half of 2024.

One project of note that is nearing the advanced development stage is Cariboo gold project. Formally known as Barkerville Gold, the mine’s owners, Osisko Development Corp. (TSX,NYSE:ODV), recently produced a new feasibility study that estimates a low initial capital cost of C$137 million and projects annual gold production of 72,501 ounces of gold per year in the first stage. Osisko is taking a phased approach to the mine’s development and is aiming for first production in 2024.

Most new mines or mine expansions in the queue in B.C. are either gold mines or copper-gold projects. But one new mine in late stage development is a silica mine.

Site preparation is now underway Sinova Global’s Horse Creek Silica project southeast of Golden, B.C. The mine will produce 400,000 tonnes of silica per year, which is used to make solar panels, according to a presentation Monday at Roundup.

The biggest new mine proposal in B.C. is the Seabridge Gold (TSX:SEA) KSM project in northwest B.C. This gold, copper, silver and molybdenum deposit would be mined in three distinct open pit operations, with some underground mining as well.

Seabridge recently produced a new feasibility study and preliminary economic assessment plan for its KSM project. It envisions a 33-year open pit operation and an additional 39 years of underground mining. The company plans to spend C$225 million this year on early stage construction.

“If they get the capex to get that started, that’s a going to be a huge mining operation in British Columbia,” said Gordon Clarke, director of the B.C. Mineral Development Office.

Other projects of note include the Skeena Resources (TSX,NYSE:SKE) Eskay Creek gold-silver mine. Eskay Creek is a former operating gold mine.  A recent feasibility study estimates the mine would have average gold production of 431,000 ounces a year or gold and silver. Skeena is aiming to begin construction in 2025 and be in production in 2026.

(This article first appeared in Business in Vancouver)

Discovery Silver expands Cordero project output as costs limit returns 

Mining.Com - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 15:06

Discovery Silver’s (TSXV: DSV) preliminary feasibility study on its Cordero project in northern Mexico expands output by 40% while increasing construction costs by nearly a quarter compared with an earlier report.

The project, located about 550 km south of the border city of El Paso, Texas, is forecast to produce 33 million tonnes of silver-equivalent over an 18-year mine life for a net present value of $1.15 billion at a 5% discount rate, Discovery said in a news release on Tuesday. Construction is estimated to cost $455 million.

That compares with estimates of 26 million tonnes of silver-equivalent produced over a 16-year mine life for a net present value of $1.16 billion at a 5% discount rate, according to a preliminary economic assessment from 2021, Discovery said. That study forecast construction at $368 million.

“Despite significant industry-wide cost escalation over the last year, cost savings from a streamlined process design and improved metallurgical performance have resulted in a highly capital efficient project with excellent margins,” Discovery chief executive officer Tony Makuch said in the release. Makuch was appointed CEO of the company on Monday.

The Toronto-based company attributed the 24% higher construction estimates on increasing the plant’s initial size by a quarter, cost inflation and a switch to owner-operated mining from contractor mining because the open pit is now projected to be nearly a third larger. It said a full feasibility study should be completed before April 2024.

The new study forecasts an internal rate of return of 28% versus 38% in the preliminary economic assessment. Both used base-case mineral prices of $22 an oz. silver, $1,600 an oz. gold, $1 per lb. lead and $1.20 per lb. zinc. All-in sustaining costs for the mine’s life are forecast at $13.62 per oz. silver-equivalent versus $12.35 an oz. in the 2021 study.

Discovery updated Cordero’s measured and indicated resources to 716 million tonnes grading 20 grams silver per tonne, 0.06 gram gold, 0.3% lead and 0.5% zinc for contained metal of 467 million oz. silver, 1.3 million oz. gold, 4.5 billion lb. lead and 8.5 b lb. zinc (1.1 billion oz. silver equivalent).

That compares with the 2021 report’s 16 grams silver, 0.04 gram gold, 0.23% lead and 0.45% zinc (39 grams silver-equivalent) for contained metal of 110 million oz. silver, 284,000 oz. gold, 1.1 billion lb. lead and 2.2 billion lb. zinc (278 million oz. silver-equivalent).

Processing would start at 25,000 tonnes per day of higher-grade sulphide material mostly from the Pozo de Plata zone for the four years in phase one, according to the new study. Throughput would increase to 51,000 tonnes a day from the fifth year onwards. This second phase would start with higher-grade sulphides from the northeast extension of the South Corridor. Then year 13 onwards would process mostly lower-grade material that had been stockpiled.

The payback period has increased to 4.2 years from two years due to replacing a heap leach process with flotation and work to expand the mill in the third year, according to the prefeasibility study. However, risks are lower in the new plan because most of the initial ore comes from the proven category and increasing capacity is easier with flotation than heap leach, it said.

The new inferred resource is 145 million tonnes grading 14 grams silver, 0.02 gram gold, 0.23% lead and 0.38% zinc (167 million oz. silver-equivalent at an average grade of 35 grams per tonne) for contained metal of 67 million oz. silver, 122,000 oz. gold, 726 million lb. lead and 1.2 billion lb. zinc (167 million oz. silver-equivalent).

In 2021, the inferred resource was 106 million tonnes grading 14 grams silver, 0.03 gram gold, 0.2% lead and 0.4% zinc (34 grams silver-equivalent) for contained metal of 48 million oz. silver, 97,000 oz. gold, 445 million lb. lead and 897 million lb. zinc (117 million oz. silver-equivalent).

Equinox Gold says Greenstone project is full steam ahead

Mining.Com - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 12:47

Equinox Gold (TSX: EQX) has provided an update on the Greenstone project in Ontario, which is being developed in a 60/40 partnership with Orion Mine Finance Group. Once built, Greenstone is expected to be one of the largest gold mines in Canada, producing more than 400,000 oz. of gold annually for the first five years and more than 5 million oz. over its initial 14-year mine life.

Equinox says Greenstone is currently over 66% complete and is on schedule to pour first gold in the first half of 2024. As well, the project is reported to have remained on budget. About 71% of total capital costs has been contracted, and C$680 million (55% of the C$1.23 billion construction budget) has been spent.

Inflationary pressures have been mitigated through offsetting savings opportunities or absorbed through the C$177 million contingency included in the construction budget, the company adds.

So far, locations on site such as the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) patrol yard, the Goldfield Creek diversion and the permanent effluent water treatment plant have already been completed. The first four bays of the truck shop are complete and in use and the 14 km natural gas pipeline is complete and ready for commissioning in second quarter of 2023.

Pre-production mining also commenced ahead of schedule, as first four haul trucks and the first shovel were commissioned during the third quarter of 2022 and mine pre-production activities got underway in September, with more than 2.5 million tonnes of material (ore, waste and overburden) excavated to year-end 2022.

“With key equipment on site or enroute, building infrastructure is essentially complete and most buildings enclosed and heated, the construction effort is shifting to interior mechanical, electrical and piping installation during the winter months. Detailed commissioning and operation readiness planning is well underway to prepare for first gold pour in the first half of 2024,” said Greg Smith, president & CEO of Equinox Gold.

#Standwithbach: Civil society renews calls for immediate release of Vietnamese environmental defender

Oil Change International - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 12:32
C: The 88 Project

On the first anniversary of Dang Dinh Bach’s imprisonment, a prominent Vietnamese environmental lawyer, international NGOs are calling for his immediate release.

It was a year ago that Dang Dinh Bach was sentenced to a five-year prison sentence on trumped-up charges of “tax evasion” after leading a campaign to reduce Vietnam’s reliance on dirty coal.

Bach is the founder of the Law and Policy of Sustainable Development Research Centre (LPSD), and has dedicated his life to protecting communities from harmful pollution, phasing out plastic waste, and supporting the government’s transition to clean energy.

In a Youtube video from 2021, Bach talked about the dangers of his work at LPSD, an organization he had founded. He talked of his wish for more citizens to be able to do his kind of work in “relative safety” and how, in the past, he had seen his work as “very dangerous.”

He is one of a number of environmental activists who the Vietnamese authorities have imprisoned: Journalist Mai Phan Loi, the Head of the Center for Media in Educating Community, also received a four-year prison term for tax fraud. Another leading activist, Bach Hung Duong, was also sentenced to two years in prison. According to the Diplomat website, “all had spoken out against the Vietnamese government’s coal policies.”

In addition, Ms Nguy Thi Khanh, a prominent environmental activist and winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2018 and a symbol of the campaign against Vietnam’s reliance on coal power, has also been jailed to international outrage. She was sentenced to two years in prison last year for tax fraud.

Writing about that case in June 2022, I noted: “It seems the tax-related charges are the de facto trumped up charges of choice for the Vietnamese authorities to stamp out voices they do not like. Khanh’s arrest fits a wider pattern of increasing intimidation against activists in Vietnam and internationally.”

The charges were false, and the legal process was flawed too. Bach was not granted a fair trial. He was not allowed to meet with his lawyer until seven months after he was arrested, and his sentence was much harsher than normal for people accused of tax evasion in the country. United Nations experts suggest that Bach’s prosecution was politically motivated.

Since Bach’s arrest, he has engaged in numerous hunger strikes to protest his conviction and Vietnam’s use of ambiguous tax laws to silence environmental and climate leaders. To increase pressure on the Vietnamese authorities, a group of international NGOs has now launched a #StandwithBach social media campaign and website calling for his immediate release.

His wife, Thao, told the website: “I never imagined that Bach would be imprisoned for the work he has done to help people. His top priority has always been the health and well-being of the people of Vietnam.”

“It is shocking that environmental defenders in Vietnam are being jailed for working to protect ordinary Vietnamese from the worst impacts of climate change or for ensuring Vietnam moves rapidly towards a clean, affordable energy transition,” said Shruti Suresh, Land & Environmental Defenders Campaign Strategy Lead from Global Witness.

“Bach is one of several environmental leaders to be charged with tax offenses that are increasingly being used to silence civil society in Vietnam,” added Maureen Harris, Senior Advisor from International Rivers. “The growing criminalization of environmental leaders in Vietnam must end.”

Susanne Wong from OCI also tweeted:

Environmental lawyer Dang Dinh Bach will not celebrate lunar new year with his family this year because he's in prison. The charge is “tax evasion” but really it’s Vietnam’s systematic silencing of climate leaders. #StandwithBach and spread the word. #JETP

— Susanne Wong (@susanneir) January 23, 2023

For more on the campaign, click here, or visit the following website:

The post #Standwithbach: Civil society renews calls for immediate release of Vietnamese environmental defender appeared first on Oil Change International.

Mexican court allows Fortuna Silver to keep mining at San Jose

Mining.Com - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 09:58

Fortuna Silver Mines (NYSE: FSM) (TSX: FVI) reported Wednesday that the Mexican federal administrative court has granted a provisional injunction to allow the company’s San Jose mine to continue to operate under the terms of the 12-year environmental impact authorization (EIA).

Compañia Minera Cuzcatlan, Fortuna’s Mexican subsidiary, recently initiated legal proceedings to contest and revoke the annulment of the EIA in response to the resolution issued earlier this month by SEMARNAT (Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales), Mexico’s environment ministry.

In December 2021, SEMARNAT granted Minera Cuzcatlan a 12-year extension to the EIA for the San Jose mine. However, the ministry later issued a written notice claiming that it had made a typographical error in the EIA extension, and the correct term was two years instead. Minera Cuzcatlan subsequently challenged that claim in the federal court and won a favourable judgment in November 2022.

The January 2023 resolution now claims that SEMARNAT is required to re-assess the 12-year EIA extension to the EIA for the San Jose mine, which once again prompted the company to pursue legal protection.

The federal court has admitted the legal proceedings, and as a first step, granted a provisional injunction in favour of Minera Cuzcatlan. It is expected that the court will decide on the grant of a permanent injunction within the coming weeks, which would continue in effect until the court has ruled on the revocation of the EIA.

According to Fortuna, Minera Cuzcatlan is in full compliance with all material environmental laws and continues to operate under the terms of the EIA. The company continues to work with communities from the surrounding area in relation to the mine to enhance and expand the social benefits of the mine in the region.

Located in the Taviche mining district, the San Jose mine has been in commercial production since September 2011. Last year, the mine produced 5.8 million ounces of silver and 34,124 ounces of gold, both within Fortuna’s guidance.

Shares of Fortuna Silver jumped 7.4% by 12:50 p.m. ET Wednesday, giving the company a market value of C$1.6 billion ($1.2 billion).

Wesdome CEO resigns in surprise move after delayed projects, output

Mining.Com - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 09:35

Wesdome Gold Mines (TSX: WDO) president and chief executive officer Duncan Middlemiss has resigned after the Kiena mine upgrade in Quebec fell behind schedule and the company missed production goals.

Middlemiss, who led the company for six years, has been replaced by Wesdome board chairman Warwick Morley-Jepson while the Toronto-based company searches for a replacement.

Laurentian Bank said the unexpected resignation is causing anxiety among investors because Morley-Jepson is little known and the miner needs stable management to see through its strategy.

“The sudden resignation of the president and CEO is too much like falling on his sword at time when Wesdome needs good leadership more than ever,” mining analyst Barry Allan wrote in a note late Tuesday. “His departure was premature and occurs at an extremely unfortunate time.”

The announcement comes just a week after Wesdome said supply chain snarls were delaying the Kiena project near Val-d’Or, Quebec, by up to a year while lower-than-expected grades at the Eagle River mine in northern Ontario knocked output.

This month, Wesdome reported gold production of 110,850 oz. last year after saying in October it was aiming for around 120,000 oz. production, the lower end of its guidance.

Wesdome is working to increase production at Kiena, the site of a past-producing mine with a 930-metre shaft and 2,000 tonne-per-day mill. It was restarted in May 2021. It’s also trying to find higher grades at its Eagle River mine 50 km west of Wawa just north of Lake Superior.

Morley-Jepson, who joined the Wesdome board in 2017, previously served as executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) and Kinross Gold (TSX: K; NYSE: KGC). Wesdome described him as a “seasoned operator with significant experience.”

Analyst Allan maintained his buy rating on the stock, downplaying the Kiena delays by noting the entire industry remains under similar pressures, but expressed concern for the months ahead to be consumed by a difficult search for a new CEO.

“In the context of mine developments in the mining industry over the last two years, missed timelines and unexpectedly high costs of construction have become the norm, not the exception,” Allan said.

“However, we see this sudden resignation as a further erosion in the market profile of Wesdome which has unfavourable overtones about the near-term future.”

Shares in Wesdome were down 2% to C$6.28 each in Toronto on Tuesday morning, valuing the company at about C$906 million.

Copper price falls with China absent for Lunar New Year

Mining.Com - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 08:28

The copper price fell for a second day on Wednesday, weighed down by a stronger dollar and the absence of China, where markets are closed for a week-long Lunar New Year holiday.

Copper for delivery in March on the Comex market in New York, was down 0.4% Wednesday morning, touching $4.23 per pound ($9,306 per tonne).

[Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices]

Copper rallied strongly in early January, reaching a seven-month high of $9,550.50 a tonne on January 18, as the dollar weakened and speculators bet that the end of China’s covid-19 restrictions would boost economic growth and metals demand.

But prices lost momentum as Chinese markets closed on January 20.

The market is waiting for data from China after its New Year celebrations, said WisdomTree commodity strategist Nitesh Shah.

“(This) could be a nice catalyst for prices to break away from this consolidation range,” he said.

Even if Chinese growth revives, the global economy is expected to face a challenging year marked by geopolitical tensions, high inflation, and the energy crisis, according to the Eurochambres global economic survey published on Wednesday.

(With files from Reuters)

UK university, Bolivian government join forces to boost lithium industry

Mining.Com - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 06:06

The University of Warwick and the Bolivian Government have joined forces to collaborate on lithium battery research with the goal of backing the South American country’s efforts to become a world leader in renewable energies and electric vehicles.

In a media statement, the partners explained that the project supports Bolivia’s ambition to provide 40% of the world’s supply of lithium by 2030. 

“[The deal] will see Bolivia be at the forefront of the lithium value chain, lead to higher paying employment and industry and a transition away from simple extraction and exploitation of raw materials,” the release states.

Bolivia’s vast salt flats harbour an estimated 39 million tonnes of lithium reserve. Together with Argentina and Chile, the Andean nation is part of the so-called Lithium Triangle.

In detail, the partnership will link up the University’s Warwick Manufacturing Group with Yacimentos de Lito Bolivianos, Bolivia’s lithium mining institution, and the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energies in a multi-year research project to improve the understanding and possibilities for lithium battery technology. 

The partnership is also expected to address the drawbacks associated with using fresh water in the lithium extraction process – thus working towards making the industry more sustainable and less environmentally damaging.

Besides involving senior researchers from the UK and Bolivia, the initiative will allow several master’s degree students to receive scholarships connected to the program.

Vizsla Silver updates Panuco resource by 50%

Mining.Com - Tue, 01/24/2023 - 10:13

Vizsla Silver (TSXV: VZLA; NYSE: VZLA) has increased the indicated mineral resource by half at its Panuco silver-gold project in Sinaloa, western Mexico.

The indicated mineral resource rose to 7.5 million tonnes grading 243 grams silver per tonne, 2.12 grams gold per tonne, 0.23% lead and 0.71% zinc (437 grams silver-equivalent per tonne) for contained metal of 58.3 million oz. of silver, 508,000 oz. gold, 17,000 tonnes lead and 53,300 tonnes zinc (104.8 million oz. silver-equivalent), Vizsla said in a news release on Tuesday.

That compares with the project’s first indicated resource estimate in March last year showing 5 million tonnes grading 191 grams silver, 2.08 grams gold, 0.26% lead and 0.5% zinc (383 grams silver-equivalent ) for contained metal of 30.5 million oz. silver, 331,000 oz. gold, 13,000 tonnes lead and 24,600 tonnes zinc, Vizsla said.

Vancouver-based Vizsla says it has spent $41.8 million on exploration at the 68-sqkm project on Mexico’s west coast near the city of Mazatlán about 1,000 km northwest of Mexico City. It has drilled more than 250,000 metres and plans an additional 90,000 metres, with another resource update due later this year.

This month’s updated mineral resource centred on the western portion of Panuco encompassing about 8 km of the area’s 86-km vein strike, the company said.

“Most impressive is the material growth to the precious metals-rich Copala structure,” Vizsla President and CEO Michael Konnert said in the release. “Additionally, the inclusion of the high-grade Cristiano structure, which can conceptually be developed alongside Copala, represents a near surface high grade feed source.”

Panuco’s inferred mineral resource increased to 7.2 million tonnes grading 304 grams silver, 2.14 grams gold, 0.19% lead and 0.54% zinc (491 grams silver-equivalent) for contained metal of 70.7 million oz. silver, 496,000 oz. gold, 13,600 tonnes lead and 39,300 tonnes zinc (114.1 million silver-equivalent ounces).

That compares with the earlier inferred resource estimate showing 4.1 million oz. grading 187 grams silver, 1.79 grams gold, 0.13% lead and 0.3% zinc (345 grams silver-equivalent) for contained metal of 24.7 million oz. silver, 236,000 oz. gold 5,300 tonnes lead and 12,400 tonnes zinc (45.6 million oz. silver-equivalent).

“The company plans to continue its ongoing aggressive exploration of the district with seven drill rigs focused on category conversion, incremental expansion and testing new targets,” Konnert said. “This, along with previous drilling completed to date, will support a potential mineral resource estimate update in the second half of 2023.”

Shares in Vizsla rose 9% Tuesday in Toronto to C$1.92 each before falling in afternoon trading to C$1.76, valuing the company at C$272 million.

Vale, Tüv Süd and 16 individuals named defendants in Brumadinho disaster

Mining.Com - Tue, 01/24/2023 - 10:13

The Brazilian Federal Court has accepted the complaint filed by the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) against 16 people and the companies Vale and Tüv Süd for the rupture of the Córrego do Feijão dam in Brumadinho.

The disaster that occurred on January 25, 2019, left 270 people dead. Three remain missing.

The defendants were all accused of aggravated homicide (270 times), crimes against fauna, crimes against flora and pollution.

The companies, Vale SA and Tüv Süd Bureau de Projetos e Consultoria were accused of crimes against fauna, flora and the crime of pollution.

Among the defendants is the former CEO of the company Fábio Schvartsman.

As a result of the complaint being accepted, the crime is no longer at risk of being prescribed.

Vale said in a press release that it “reaffirms its deep respect for the families directly and indirectly impacted by the rupture of Dam 1 in Brumadinho and remains committed to repairing and compensating for damages.”

In early 2020, prosecutors in the state of Minas Gerais charged Schvartsman and 15 other people with homicide for the dam disaster.

But later that year a court ruled the case should proceed through slower federal courts rather than state tribunals, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court.

Vale said last week that it plans to spend about 7.8 billion reais ($1.53 billion) this year on repairs related to the Brumadinho disaster.

American Lithium buys back royalty on TLC project in Nevada

Mining.Com - Tue, 01/24/2023 - 09:17

American Lithium (TSXV: LI) (NASDAQ: AMLI) has entered into an agreement with Nevada Alaska Mining, an arm’s-length party, to buy back the remaining 1% gross overriding royalty on the company’s wholly owned TLC lithium project in Nevada.

As part of the royalty buyback, American Lithium will issue 950,000 common shares in its capital to Nevada Alaska. The shares will be subject to a statutory hold period of four months and one day in accordance with applicable securities laws.

“We are very pleased to have reached this agreement with the royalty holder to buy back this valuable royalty, which also ensures that the company will control 100% of all concessions comprising TLC. As TLC moves through development and into production, this transaction should be highly accretive and will maximize project value,” Simon Clarke, American Lithium CEO, commented.

Clarke also noted that removing this remaining royalty would enables the company to present TLC as a wholly unencumbered project in the initial preliminary economic assessment (PEA), which is expected to be released in the next few days.

Located in the Esmerelda lithium district northwest of Tonopah, the TLC property is host to a near-surface lithium claystone deposit that is amenable to low-cost, sustainable mining methods, as its proximity to Tonopah offers ready access to paved roads, electricity and water infrastructure.

The upcoming PEA will incorporate the recently updated mineral resource for the TLC project, which is estimated at 4.2 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) in the measured category, 4.63 million tonnes LCE indicated and 1.86 million tonnes LCE inferred.

Shares of American Lithium jumped 7.1% by 12:10 p.m. ET following the latest project update. The company has a market capitalization of C$911.6 million.

Read more: American Lithium’s 51% stock bounce has CEO upbeat on year

Flexible copper sensor can detect  heavy metals in sweat

Mining.Com - Tue, 01/24/2023 - 06:30

An international team of researchers led by the University of São Paulo in Brazil has developed a portable copper sensor that is able to detect heavy metals such as lead and cadmium in sweat. 

In a paper published in the journal Chemosensors, the scientists explain that heavy metals are present in batteries, cosmetics, food and other things that are part of everyday life. When they accumulate in the human body, however, they can become toxic and cause health problems

High levels of cadmium can lead to fatal problems in the airways, liver and kidneys. Lead poisoning damages the central nervous system and causes irritability, cognitive impairment, fatigue, infertility, high blood pressure in adults and delayed growth and development in children,” Paulo Augusto Raymundo Pereira, last author of the article, said in a media statement.

According to Raymundo Pereira, humans eliminate heavy metals mainly in sweat and urine, and analyses of these biofluids are a vital part of toxicological tests as well as treatment.

So far, devices to detect heavy metals in biofluids have been made with expensive materials. The new solution, on the other hand, has been produced using polyethylene terephthalate [PET], on top of which there is a conductive flexible copper adhesive tape, a label of the kind that can be bought from a stationer’s with the sensor printed on it, and a protective layer of nail polish or spray.

“The exposed copper is removed by immersion in ferric chloride solution for 20 minutes, followed by washing in distilled water to promote the necessary corrosion,” study co-author Robson R. da Silva said. “All of this ensures speed, scalability, low power and low cost.”

The device is connected to a potentiostat, a portable instrument that determines the concentration of each metal by measuring differences in potential and current between electrodes. The results are displayed on a computer or smartphone using appropriate software.

In the researchers’ view, the system is simple enough to be used by non-specialists without training, as well as by technicians in hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices. 

The device can also be used in several types of environmental management situations, such as artesian wells that are regulated and require constant monitoring to analyze water quality.

The sensor’s performance in detecting lead and cadmium was assessed in trials using artificial sweat enriched under ideal experimental conditions. Adaptations are required before the device can be patented.

SPC Nickel enters agreement with Vale to consolidate deposits in Sudbury camp

Mining.Com - Tue, 01/24/2023 - 06:09

SPC Nickel (TSXV: SPC) has entered into a cooperation agreement with Vale Canada that would see the company consolidate the West Graham and Crean Hill 3 nickel-copper deposits located in the Sudbury mining camp into a single project.

The West Graham deposit occurs on SPC’s 100% owned Lockerby East property, which also hosts the past-producing Lockerby East mine. The latest agreement would grant the company the right to acquire an 100% interest in the adjacent Crean Hill 3 property currently held by Vale.

The unmined near-surface West Graham deposit contains over 47,000 tonnes of nickel and 34,000 tonnes of copper, as defined in a technical report published by First Nickel in 2009 that supported an indicated mineral resource of 8.55 million tonnes grading 0.45% nickel and 0.31% copper, along with an inferred mineral resource of 2 million tonnes grading 0.38% nickel and 0.30% copper.

These grades, according to SPC, have economic potential in the context of the Sudbury mining camp, as the deposit is located very near to surface and may be amenable to low-cost open pit mining.

The deposit is characterized by a broad zone of blebby to semi-massive sulphide that ranges from 1.7 to 66 metres thick and strikes for 350 metres, with a dip extent of up to 533 metres. Within the larger resource, a distinct zone of higher-grade mineralization grading approximately 1% nickel equivalent is present.

The company recently completed an 18 hole, 5,200-metre drill program which has expanded the extents of the high-grade mineralized zone within the West Graham deposit while also adding confidence in the continuity of the resource. Results from this drilling campaign include 82.6 metres grading 0.68% nickel equivelent.

At the contiguous Crean Hill 3 property, historic drilling by Vale (formerly Inco) between 1958 and 1960 returned mineralized intersections of similar thickness and grade compared to the West Graham deposit. Drilling highlights include 44.48 metres grading 0.60% nickel and 0.27% copper from 436.89 metres, including 2.29% nickel and 0.30% copper over 4.42 metres.

Preliminary modelling of historic drill intersections suggests that the mineralized zone hosted on the Crean Hill 3 property extends from the SPC-Vale property boundary to the west for over 600 metres. Mineralized surface outcrops, interpreted to represent the up-dip extension of the West Graham deposit, outcrop along the exposed contact of the Sudbury basin. Mineralized grab samples with values of up to 1.56% nickel and 1.21% copper were collected by the company on the Crean Hill 3 property.

SPC believes that the West Graham and Crean Hill 3 deposits constitute the eastern and western contiguous portions of a large, near-surface nickel-copper sulphide deposit at the base of the Sudbury igneous complex. The properties are located adjacent to the past-producing Lockerby and Crean Hill mines, approximately 20 km southwest of of Sudbury, Ontario, and Vale’s Clarabelle mill.

Pursuant to the Vale cooperation agreement, the company can now earn an 100% interest in the Crean Hill 3 property from surface down to an elevation of 264.3 metres below mean sea level (a total of 550 vertical metres) upon delivering a feasibility study for the project by the deadline of June 30, 2026, and paying Vale C$1 million at the deadline.

Upon earning its 100% interest in the Crean Hill 3 property, SPC will grant Vale certain rights and royalties over the combined project, including a 1% net smelter return royalty and a net profits royalty of 37%. Vale will also retain a right of first refusal over the sale of the project as well as ore/concentrates produced from the project.

“With the addition of the Crean Hill 3 property, we see a path for SPC Nickel to significantly grow the West Graham deposit into a high-quality nickel-copper asset in one of the top nickel mining camps in the world,” SPC Nickel’s CEO Grant Mourre commented.

The Sudbury mining camp is considered the largest nickel camp in the world with over 130 years of continuous production. Since the discovery of the original ore deposits, over 11.1 million tonnes of nickeland 10.8 million tonnes of copper, together with byproducts of cobalt, silver, gold and platinum group elements have been mined from the Sudbury deposits.

“Our recently completed drill program at West Graham has provided the technical team with a firm understanding of the types of mineralization we expect to define on the Crean Hill 3 property and, more importantly, the controls on mineralization that we expect to guide us to higher-grade opportunities across the combined project,” Mourre added.

Shares of SPC Nickel were up 20% by market close Monday, giving the company a market capitalization of C$15 million.

Shell’s Prelude FLNG Restarts First Cargo Since Fire

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Tue, 01/24/2023 - 03:24

The most recent incident happened only a year after a similar fire forced the vessel to go down for nearly five months.

Shell’s Prelude FLNG Restarts First Cargo Since Fire

Zacks Equity Research: Mon, January 23, 2023  Shell SHEL recently announced the restart of liquefied natural gas LNG cargoes from its Prelude floating LNG FLNG facility offshore Australia, following a temporary fire-related technical outage in December.

According to Shell, the fire was promptly put out and the area was declared safe; it also stated that no one was hurt and all of the facility’s workers were safe and well.

Following a small fire at the 3.6M metric tons/year facility, Prelude, the largest floating plant for natural gas liquefaction in the world, had paused its gas production last month due to an ongoing investigation.

The most recent incident happened only a year after a similar fire forced the vessel to go down for nearly five months. The unit was also offline from June to September 2022 due to industrial action by the workers protesting for enhanced pay.

Prelude FLNG has a minimum annual liquid production capacity of 5.3 million tons per annum (mtpa), which includes 3.6 mtpa of LNG, 1.3 mtpa of condensate, and 0.4 mtpa of liquefied petroleum gas. With a 67.5% ownership in the facility, Shell is the largest shareholder.

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Headquartered in London, Shell is one of the primary oil supermajors, a group of U.S. and Europe-based big energy multinationals with operations spanning worldwide.


Shell’s Prelude FLNG Restarts First Cargo Since Fire was first posted on January 24, 2023 at 12:24 pm.
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New geochemical data to support critical minerals exploration in British Columbia interior

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/23/2023 - 16:45

New till geochemical and mineralogical results and an accompanying report published by Geoscience BC improve knowledge of central British Columbia’s surficial geology and the potential for critical mineral deposits that might be buried beneath surficial deposits.

Critical minerals and metals, including copper, are integral to the transition to a net-zero economy because they are essential to technologies including solar panels, semiconductors, wind turbines and the batteries needed for electrification, Geoscience BC said in a media release Monday.

As part of Geoscience BC’s Central Interior Copper-Gold Research (CICGR) program, the latest results from the Surficial Exploration Project, led by Wayne Jackaman at Noble Exploration Services and Dave Sacco at Palmer, were published at the AME Roundup conference in Vancouver. All results from the program to date can be accessed on the Geoscience BC website.

The release adds to a public data set that now includes analytical results from over 1,500 till samples, filling in significant gaps in previous and historical sampling. Samples were collected in areas around communities including Quesnel, Williams Lake, Vanderhoof, Fort St. James and Mackenzie (NTS map sheets 093A, B, G, J, K and O).

“This latest report significantly enhances the publicly available till and mineralogical data set, guiding critical mineral and metal exploration in central British Columbia,” Geoscience BC Vice President, Minerals Christa Pellett said in a statement. “It is accessible public geoscience that is key to ensuring a secure future supply of critical minerals and metals for Canada.”

CICGR is an ongoing program generating publicly available, quality baseline data on the Quesnel terrane, which hosts several copper-gold deposits, and the Quaternary sediments that cover large parts of central BC. Reports, data and maps from the CICGR program can be used to inform evidence-based mineral exploration and land use decisions by industry, government, communities and Indigenous groups.

Final results from the Surficial Exploration Project will include reanalysis of additional historical samples recently recovered from storage at BC Geological Survey and Natural Resources Canada facilities. These results are expected to be released later in 2023.

Climate activists across world raise funds for the court case against Shell

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Mon, 01/23/2023 - 15:02

Climate activists across world raise funds for the court case against Shell

Friends of the Earth Netherlands: 20/01/2023 | 16:25 PM

In 2021, thousands of Dutch citizens took one of the largest carbon emitters in the world to court and won. Together with Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) they won a historic court case against Royal Dutch Shell, the parent company of Shell Group, forcing the company to take climate action.

The judge ruled that Shell’s current climate policy would contribute to a level of climate change that would be so dangerous that it would impose a threat to human rights.

Besides, the ruling forces the company to change their goal from a mere 20 per cent reduction in carbon emissions to a whopping 45 per cent reduction by 2030. But most importantly, the ruling says Shell also carries responsibility for the emissions of the use of their products by third parties.

In response, Shell decided to appeal the Dutch court’s ruling in July 2021.

The company moved its headquarters from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom in January 2022. As a result, Milieudefensie is now launching a campaign to raise donations to fund the continuation of this enormous court case. Their goal: legally binding one of the largest polluters in the world to actual, groundbreaking change for the better.

This week, thousands of climate advocates, activists and organisations across the world shared an online viral video and hashtag #BeatShell, calling on Shell’s new chief executive to take responsibility in the climate crisis. The video is part of the fundraising campaign for Milieudefensie’s case against Shell, and thousands across the world are helping out with individual contributions.

For more information click here.

Climate activists across world raise funds for the court case against Shell was first posted on January 24, 2023 at 12:02 am.
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