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Hochschild keeps production targets, dividend resumption uncertain

Mining.Com - 19 hours 17 min ago

Hochschild Mining (LON: HOC) said on Wednesday it is on track to achieve its production targets for 2024 after an increase in gold output boosted its overall first-quarter production.

The UK-based precious metals producer said gold production increased to 45,937 ounces in the first three months of the year from 39,730 ounces in the same period in 2023, with a small initial contribution from the Mara Rosa gold mine in Brazil. First gold at the operation was poured in February and the mine is anticipated to begin commercial production in the next few weeks, according to Hochschild.

Overall production, measured in gold-equivalent ounces, grew by 8.1%.

Hochschild saw silver output decline to 1.98 million ounces in the first three months of the year from 2.06 million in the same period of 2023. 

The South America-focused miner attributed the slight fall to the absence of contribution from the Pallancata mine in Peru, which was placed on care and maintenance late last year. Offsetting this, production from both its flagship Inmaculada mine in Peru and from San Jose in Argentina were slightly better-than-expected.

Hochschild pours first gold at Mara Rosa mine in Brazil

“We have delivered a good start to 2024,” said chief executive Eduardo Landin. “Hochschild’s balance sheet remains strong and, with rising precious metal prices and full production in Brazil, we expect to generate robust free cashflow during the remainder of the year.” 

The company’s debt rose last year due to the construction costs of Mara Rosa. Dividend payments, suspended in 2022, remain high on the company’s agenda, but not likely to resume before the fall, it said.

Landin said in March it would be ‘inappropriate’ to restore the final dividend given the company’s debt level, which reached $282 million by the end of March, up from $258 million at the end of 2023. 

The executive added Hochschild would “reassess the potential for capital return” at the interim results in August, as Mara Rosa would have hit commercial production by then. 

Hochschild kept its full-year production targets unchanged at 343,000 to 360,000 gold-equivalent ounces and an all-in sustaining cost of between $1,510 and $1,550 per gold-equivalent ounce.

Rio Tinto donates $875,000 to Missouri University to research critical minerals recovery from waste

Mining.Com - Tue, 04/23/2024 - 14:00

A Missouri University of Science and Technology professor has been awarded $875,000 from Rio Tinto for a two-year project researching new techniques to recover critical minerals in the waste byproducts that come from extracting and refining copper. 

Dr. Lana Alagha, a Robert H. Quenon Associate Professor of Mining Engineering and one of her former Ph.D. students, Dr. Mostafa Khodakarami, were recently awarded patents for  chemicals which Alagha says will work well due to their ability to effectively separate specific components from the materials. 
 
“Our project will test new chemical dissolution strategies and purification techniques to produce pure gallium and germanium compounds from these waste materials,” Alagha said in a news release. “The new chemicals, or functionalized ionic liquids, we will use were designed specifically for this type of purpose.” 
 
Gallium and germanium are important elements due to their multiple uses with semiconductors, microchips, optics, health care and pharmaceuticals, and other high-tech applications. 
The federal government considers both elements to be critical minerals.

 “There is currently little-to-no production of these two elements in the United States, and we rely to an alarming extent on importing them,” Alagha says. “If successfully implemented, our research could lead to a much stronger domestic supply of these important resources.” 
 
She says recovering gallium and germanium from the wastes created when processing copper is an unconventional approach, but this type of out-of-the-box thinking is necessary for the U.S. to have a more resilient supply of critical minerals. 
 
Both gallium and germanium are more often recovered as a byproduct of other metal refining process, such as with aluminum, zinc and lead, but Alagha says it should be possible to recover both of the elements with the chemical compounds she will develop to dissolve the waste products and with the new purification techniques she will test after that. 

Co-principal investigators from Missouri S&T for this project are Dr. Michael Moats, chair and professor of materials science and engineering, and Dr. Marek Locmelis, associate professor of geosciences and geological and petroleum engineering at S&T and faculty fellow in research and innovation. 

 “Rio Tinto is constantly looking for better ways to extract critical minerals from our byproduct streams,” Dr. Saskia Duyvesteyn, Rio Tinto’s chief advisor of research and development said in the release.

“After starting production of tellurium in 2022, we are excited to explore new techniques to produce gallium and germanium compounds in partnership with Dr. Alagha and Missouri S&T. Demand for these critical minerals used in high-tech applications is only going to grow, and we are proud to support efforts to increase domestic production.” 
 

 

Flooding in Russia raises concerns of radioactive contamination in Tobol river

Mining.Com - Tue, 04/23/2024 - 10:30

Russia’s worst floods in decades sparked fears that radioactive and chemical pollution from Soviet-era uranium mines in the Kurgan region could seep into the Tobol River in western Siberia.

As reported by the investigative news outlet Agentstvo, the Dobrovolnoye uranium deposit is located within the flood zone in Kurgan’s Zverinogolovsky district. Its mines are operated by an enterprise owned by state nuclear energy agency Rosatom.

The hundreds or even thousands of mine wells drilled into the deposit have compromised the natural protective barrier surrounding the uranium ore, Alexei Shvarts, the former head of Alexei Navalny’s Kurgan regional office who previously worked with uranium mining issues, told Agentstvo.

As a result, the latest flooding has likely sent radioactive substances into the river, environmentalists said.

Videos published by local residents show the extent of the damages caused by the flooding.

В Курганской области затопило старые урановые скважины. Экологи опасаются, что радиоактивный раствор попал в Тобол

В зону затопления попали старые скважины месторождения «Добровольное», на котором добывает уран одно из дочерних предприятий «Росатома».

Месторождение… pic.twitter.com/ze66GeKT9d

— Новости «Агентства» (@agents_media) April 21, 2024

Rosatom has previously dismissed protests against uranium mining at Dobrovolskoye as “radiophobia combined with ignorance,” claiming that the deposit is fully isolated from the Tobol River by natural barriers.

MINING.COM requested comment from Rosatom about the recent floods, but the company did not respond by press time.

Probe Gold cuts 23.1 g/t over 3.1m at Novador project in Quebec

Mining.Com - Tue, 04/23/2024 - 10:00

Probe Gold (TSX: PRB) says it continued to intersect high gold grades during drilling at the Monique deposit, part of the Novador project near Val d’Or, Quebec. Intersections occurred from under and inside the modelled Monique gold zone from surface to a depth of 450 metres.

Infill drilling confirmed gold zones inside and under the potential pit outline with up to 23.1 g/t gold over 3.1 metres, 8.3 g/t over 4 metres, and 1.5 g/t over 20 metres.

Expansion drilling within and around the Monique conceptual pit cut up to 3.4 g/t gold over 16 metres, 4.2 g/t over 14.7 metres, and 1.8 metres over 34 metres.

“Our 2023 Monique expansion program continues to demonstrate impressive results, and improvement, with the majority of the intersections at or above the current resource grade,” Probe CEO David Palmer said in a news release. “We will now focus on two things, the updated resource, expected later in the year, and the commencement of the 2024 exploration drilling programs.”

“The most recent PEA has solidified Novador as a robust development project and with our newly acquired exploration projects, Beaufour, McKenzie Break, and Croinor, all within trucking distance of the conceptual mill, we plan to initiate exploration programs to continue adding value while simultaneously de-risking the project by expediting the permitting timeline,” Palmer said.

The February 2024 preliminary economic assessment (PEA) done for Novador gives the project an after-tax net present value at a 5% discount of C$910 million and an after tax internal rate of return of 24.4% for a project that would produce an average of 255,000 oz. of gold annually over a 12.6-year life. The initial C$602 million capital requirement would be paid back over 4.4 years (after taxes). The base case used a gold price of $1,750/oz.

Probe has completed 28,000 metres of winter drilling at Novador, and a further 10,000-metre program will begin in May. The company is also advancing its Detour gold project, including regional exploration along its boundary with Agnico Eagle’s (TSX: AEM; NYSE: ARM) Detour Lake gold mine.

TMC, SGS produce world’s first nickel sulphate from seafloor polymetallic nodules

Mining.Com - Tue, 04/23/2024 - 09:58

TMC the metals company Inc. (Nasdaq: TMC) announced on April 23 that the world’s first nickel sulphate derived exclusively from seafloor polymetallic nodules has been recovered. The sulphate was generated during bench-scale testing of a hydrometallurgical flowsheet in partnership with SGS Canada.

Undertaken on samples of nickel-cobalt-copper matte produced by TMC in 2021, the extractive metallurgy team at SGS tested TMC’s flowsheet that processes high-grade nickel matte directly to nickel sulphate without making nickel metal. The process produces fertilizer by-products instead of solid waste or tailings.

Following the successful nickel sulphate production, SGS continues testing to produce what TMC believes will be the world’s first cobalt sulphate from polymetallic nodules.

“The production of the world’s first nickel sulphate from deep-seafloor nodules is an important milestone, confirming that our custom flowsheet configuration can be deployed to process these remarkable rocks into final products suitable for use in batteries,” TMC head of onshore development Jeffrey Donald said in a news release.

“The data collected will inform further engineering decisions to move this towards commercial scale, and TMC continues to expect that initial production will begin with a capital-light approach by leveraging the existing processing facilities of strategic partners.”

US bill supporting seafloor mining lifts The Metals Company

TMC collected nodules from the Nori project in the Pacific Ocean between Mexico and Hawaii in 2022. It returned to the site late last year to examine the effects of disturbing the seafloor – plume dynamics, concentration, and dispersal.

The company reported that the observed data indicated the plume is low-lying, and the mud is influence by gravity and the contours of the seafloor rather than the ocean currents.

TMC hopes to begin commercial mining by late-2025.

Seafloor mining is not without its detractors. Environmental groups and non-governmental organizations are staunchly opposed. Some countries, including the United States, have okayed seafloor mining in their waters as the need for critical minerals continues to heat up.

Endeavour Silver shares rise as Terronera surpasses the 50% completion mark

Mining.Com - Tue, 04/23/2024 - 09:19

Shares of Endeavour Silver (NYSE: EXK; TSX: EDR) rose on Tuesday as the company announced that its new Terronera mine in Jalisco state, Mexico, has surpassed the 50% completion mark.

Commissioning of the mine is expected in the fourth quarter of 2024, with an anticipated 10-year mine life. Its capital expenditure is estimated at $271 million, up by less than 20% from earlier estimates.

The Terronera project is situated within the Sierra Madre volcanic belt, which hosts most of Mexico’s silver and gold deposits.

The mine will consist of the Terronera and La Luz underground deposits, both of which will be mined using a combination of long-hole and cut-and-fill methods.

The mineral processing plant will have a capacity of 2,000 tonnes per day. A feasibility study forecasts the project to produce 4 million oz. of silver and 38,000 oz. of gold annually over a 10-year period.

Terronera has proven and probable reserves of 7.4 million tonnes grading 197 g/t silver and 2.25 g/t gold (88.8 million oz. of silver equivalent).

Endeavour provided no measured and indicated resources, but the inferred material at Terronera totals 1.1 million tonnes grading 322 g/t silver and 0.21 g/t gold.

Shares of Endeavour Silver rose 6.8% by 12:10 p.m. EDT. The company has a market capitalization of C$903 million ($661 million).

JP Morgan, UBS led all mining M&A financial advisers by value in Q1 – report

Mining.Com - Tue, 04/23/2024 - 08:18

JP Morgan and UBS were the top mergers and acquisitions (M&A) financial advisers by total deal value in the metals & mining sector during the first quarter of 2024, according to UK-based analytics firm GlobalData.

The two banks jointly occupied the top position in GlobalData’s latest financial advisers league table (see below), with each of them advising on $2.2 billion worth of deals.

Aurojyoti Bose, lead analyst at GlobalData, said their involvement in the $2.2 billion Alcoa-Alumina M&A deal helped these two firms top the chart by value.

They were followed by Bank of America with $1.7 billion, while Goldman Sachs and Jefferies jointly occupied the fourth position, each at $970 million.

In terms of deal volume, three groups tied for first place with two deals each, but Eight Capital led the way in their total value at $272 million.

Grant Samuel Group and RBC Capital Markets also advised on two deals, with total values of $178 million and $60 million respectively.

GlobalData also tabled the top M&A legal advisers in mining last quarter, with Davis Polk & Wardwell and Cassels Brock & Blackwell leading the sector by value and volume, respectively.

Davis Polk & Wardwell advised on $2.2 billion worth of deals, while Cassels Brock & Blackwell advised on a total of four deals.

“Despite a decline in number of deals advised by it in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023, Cassels Brock & Blackwell led by volume. In fact, its ranking by volume improved from second position in Q1 2023 to the top position in Q1 2024,” said Bose.

Metals Acquisition extends CSA mine life to 11 years after reserve update

Mining.Com - Tue, 04/23/2024 - 06:31

Jersey-based Metals Acquisition (NYSE: MTAL; ASX: MAC) has updated its mineral resource count for the first time since the company acquired the CSA copper mine from Glencore in a $1.1 billion deal last year.

The CSA mine, whose name stands for ‘Cornish, Scottish and Australia’ after the nationalities of its first owners, is one of Australia’s longest operating copper mines with a history stretching back almost 150 years. It is located 11 kilometres northwest of Cobar, in central-western New South Wales.

The new update comes after roughly 10 months of ownership by MAC, a former special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and is based on two and a half months of work post-acquisition, with an effective date of August, 31, 2023.

Glencore, Metals Acquisition amend CSA copper mine sale deal

The total contained copper increased by 42% to 413,000 tonnes (8 million tonnes at 5.2% copper), and the measured and indicated (M+I) portions available for mineral reserve conversion has increased by 83%, at 229,000 tonnes.

In the previous resource from 2022, the M+I category had zero tonnes.

The upgraded resource, according to MAC, resulted from increased drilling and the inclusion of level mapping data where levels have been developed through the deposits and not previously been included in the estimation.

While the overall copper grade has reduced from 5.3% in the 2022 M+I resource to 4.9%, the company said this is predominately a result of the inclusion of 2.2 million tonnes of material between the new cut-off grade of 1.5% and the previous cut-off grade of 2.5%, which, in terms of contained metal, had relatively small impact.

Mineral reserves (proven and probable) are estimated at nearly 15 million tonnes grading 3.3% copper for 494,000 tonnes of the metal, which was a 64% improvement after replacement of depletion. Importantly, the increased reserve base allows for an extension of the CSA mine life to 11 years (until 2034), compared with six years before.

“Whilst this resource and reserve statement is a snapshot in time based on information available back in August 2023, it does validate our belief that the CSA copper mine can be a long-life asset,” MAC CEO Mick McMullen said, adding that this dispels the view from the last generation that CSA “has a relatively short mine life.”

McMullen also highlighted that despite the near doubling of the mineral reserves and a 67% increase in the mine life, there are still 4.7 million tonnes at 4.9% copper in the M+I category and 3.3 million tonnes at 5.5% copper in the inferred category, with the latter excluded from the reserves count and will be converted in the future.

Supported by the resource and reserve statement, MAC also provided a three-year copper production guidance for the CSA mine: 38,000-43,000 tonnes in 2024, 43,000-48,000 tonnes in 2025, and 48,000-53,000 tonnes in 2026.

The company also noted that the CSA mine, which has been producing for almost 60 years and has one of the highest copper grades in the country, has had very limited exploration away from the known deposits, and there is potential to further optimize this production plan.

Exploration in the top 850 metres of the deposit is just starting and initial results highlight strong potential to open additional mining fronts, it said.

Shares of Metals Acquisition rose nearly 3.0% at market open Tuesday in New York, giving it a market capitalization of $916.8 million.

Coal trains also carry respiratory diseases to communities on their way – study

Mining.Com - Tue, 04/23/2024 - 06:06

Research by the University of California, Davis found that trains carrying loads of coal bring with them higher rates of asthma, heart disease, hospitalization and death for residents living nearest the rail lines.

People of colour, as well as young, old, or low-income residents, are affected the most.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Research, focuses on the San Francisco Bay Area and is the first-ever health impact assessment of coal train pollution.

While centred on East Bay neighbourhoods, the study has implications for communities living alongside passing coal trains elsewhere in the world. At least 80 countries use coal power, which generates about 40% of the world’s electricity.

“These trains run all over the world, exposing the poorest populations who often live close to the train tracks,” Bart Ostro, a scientist with the UC Davis Air Quality Research Center and lead author of the paper, said in a media statement. “As a result, these impacts have local and global implications.”

The study includes parts of Oakland, Berkeley, Martinez and Richmond, where coal is already being transported from Utah mines by rail. The assessment specifically centers on the potential health impacts of a proposed coal terminal under review, which could bring an additional 7.4 million tons of coal per year by rail to the Port of Oakland.

A figure from the UC Davis coal train pollution study shows the study area with estimated PM2.5 concentrations associated with a 2.1 μg/m3 increase in the annual PM2.5 average.

“That translates to about 10 trains per week potentially passing through a densely populated urban area,” Ostro said. “The trains continuously generate microscopic particles–called PM2.5, or fine particles, which are regulated by the US EPA. This results in chronic exposure. The particles can infiltrate the lungs and bloodstream and pose serious health risks.”

To quantify the health impacts of PM2.5 emitted from passing coal trains, the study’s authors integrated air quality data with medical and demographic information using software mapping and analysis programs. They ran different scenarios for increases in PM2.5 for the roughly 262,000 people who would be exposed.

They found that under the most severe scenario—an increase in annual fine particulates of 2.1 micrograms per cubic meter of air—six additional people would be expected to die each year among this population.

When the authors adjusted the analysis to incorporate the higher risks for people of colour, an estimated 15 total deaths were possible.

The study results also suggested that 28 additional hospital admissions for heart disease, 22 new cases of asthma, 17 additional cases of pneumonia and 58,000 additional days of asthma can be attributable to coal train transit.

Several of these outcomes represent a 3% to 6% increase over current levels.

Under the less severe scenario of 1 microgram per cubic meter of air, additional yearly health impacts would be about 50% lower.

The study also provided race-specific estimates, finding that Hispanic and Black residents have 41% and 29% higher levels of PM25.5 exposure, respectively, relative to white residents.

“Our study is a microcosm of what likely affects millions of city residents throughout the world living near passing, uncovered coal trains that deliver coal to power plants and export terminals,” Ostro said.

Anglo American bullish on copper outlook, cuts diamond targets

Mining.Com - Tue, 04/23/2024 - 05:35

Anglo American (LON: AAL) reported an 11% increase in its copper output for the first three months of the year, but cut its 2024 production guidance for diamonds, as its inventory levels remain high in a market that is recovering slowly.

The mining giant said it produced 198,000 tonnes of copper in the period, thanks mainly to the Quellaveco mine in Peru achieving its highest throughput rate.

In Chile, where the company has the bulk of its copper operations, production rose 6%, with the Collahuasi and El Soldado mines more than compensating for a weaker quarter at Los Bronces.

Anglo’s copper output for the year remained unchanged at 730,000-790,000 tonnes, but totals from its operations in Chile, the world’s top producing nation, are likely to be affected as the Los Bronces plant closes from the middle of the year. 

Production in Peru will be weighted to the second half of the year, as a result of the copper grades temporarily declining to between 0.6%-0.7% in the first half of the year, the company said.

Not bright enough

Anglo’s diamond unit De Beers saw output drop 23% in the first quarter as a slow recovery in the market triggered production cuts.

The world’s largest diamond producer by value revised down its full-year production forecast to 26 million-29 million carats from the previously guided 29 million to 32 million.  The company, which in February announced a $1.6 billion writedown at its diamond operations, also lifted expected average costs to $90 per carat, from $80.

Anglo American noted diamond prices continue to decline due to an oversupply of inventory, something that De Beers has previously acknowledged as being partially caused by lab-grown diamonds competing with mined stones for demand. 

The company also mentioned that the ongoing economic growth uncertainty has led to a cautious purchasing behaviour. It anticipates a slow recovery in rough diamond demand for the remainder of the year as a result.

“Overall Anglo American has delivered a more positive start for what is expected to be a challenging year for the company, BMO analyst Alexander Pearce wrote in a note to investors.

The company’s production of platinum-group metals fell 7% to 834,000 ounces. While sales volumes remained unchanged, the average realized price dropped by 30%.

Rio Tinto, Eramet submit plans to develop lithium extraction tech in Chile

Mining.Com - Tue, 04/23/2024 - 03:55

Miners Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) and Eramet (EPA: ERA), along with battery maker LG Energy, were among 30 companies from 12 countries that presented plans to develop lithium extraction technology in Chile’s salt flats, responding to a call from state-run mining company Enami.

The tender process, kicked off in early March, sought to help Enami choose the best approach to develop untouched salt flats in northern Chile, particularly the “Salares Altoandinos” project, which spans about 100 square miles in the Atacama region.

“It is crucial for Enami to learn about processes that contribute to the creation of projects with the lowest possible environmental impact,” the ore-processing company said in a statement.

“We seek to collaborate in the construction of a sustainable future, where the production of critical minerals plays a key role in the energy transition and development,” it said, adding that it will now consider carrying out tests with one or more of the bidding companies. 

The Chilean miner is one of two entities assigned to represent the state under President Gabriel Boric’s new public-private model for tapping the country’s lithium reserves, one of the world’s biggest.

Rio Tinto is among the few top miners that are investing in lithium. It has already committed $350 million for its Rincon lithium plant in Argentina, with production expected by the end of the year. 

France’s Eramet is progressing the Centenario lithium project in Argentina, which is slated to produce about 30,000 tonnes annually of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE). This is on top of the 24,000 tonnes targeted in a first phase that will enter production in the second quarter of 2024. 

Eramet has also entered into farm-in agreements and is currently seeking exploration and mining rights in northern Chile.

The copper-rich nation recently published a long-awaited list of lithium-bearing salt flats open to private investment. The government’s goal is to increasing local production of the battery metal by 70% in a decade, with three or four new projects under development by 2026. 

Global demand for lithium, according to the Chile’s own projections, will quadruple by 2030, reaching 1.8 million tonnes. Available supply by then is expected to sit at 1.5 million tonnes. 

Lithium carbonate exports represented 5.3% of total Chilean shipments in 2023, down from 8.4% the previous year.

Shell’s Falcon Pipeline: A Symphony of Environmental Disregard Hits Sour Note with Pennsylvania AG

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Tue, 04/23/2024 - 00:58
Former employees spilled the beans faster than Shell spills drilling mud. One brave soul, Sean Larson, dared to speak up and got shown the door quicker than you can say “transparency.”

Posted by John Donovan: 23 April 2024

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General has had it up to here with Shell Pipeline Co.’s shenanigans. They’ve been charged not once, not twice, but a whopping 13 times with violating Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law. Why? Oh, just for repeatedly treating our precious environment like a trash can during the construction of their precious Falcon Pipeline.

Attorney General Michelle Henry isn’t mincing her words, folks. She’s dropping those charges faster than you can say “environmental catastrophe.” Shell apparently had a grand old time “forgetting” to mention all those pesky spills of industrial waste during their little construction project. You know, just your typical “whoopsie daisy” moments where drilling mud—yeah, the stuff they use to keep things slippery—somehow found its way into streams and wetlands. But hey, who cares about wetlands, right?

And guess what? It gets better! Our hero of the story, environmental inspector Frank Chamberlin, tried to be a good Samaritan and report these violations. But instead of a pat on the back, he got a swift kick in the behind. He and his spouse were harassed, ridiculed, and booted off the project faster than you can say “cover-up.” They even tried to downplay a 1,500-gallon spill as a measly 75 gallons. Talk about creative accounting!

But wait, there’s more! Shell’s playbook apparently includes a chapter titled “How to Make Friends and Influence People…to Screw Over the Environment.” Former employees spilled the beans faster than Shell spills drilling mud. One brave soul, Sean Larson, dared to speak up and got shown the door quicker than you can say “transparency.”

And let’s not forget our pals at Minnesota Limited LLC, the subcontractors who apparently took “drill until there’s a problem” as their motto. Because why bother doing things the right way when there’s stand-by pay to cushion the fall, right?

But fear not, dear readers, for Shell is here to save the day! They’ve graciously announced they’re “reviewing” the complaint. Oh, how noble of them. And never fear, they promise to keep cooperating with agencies. Because nothing says “responsible neighbor” like trashing the neighborhood and then pretending to be helpful.

So, let’s raise a toast to Shell, the company that’s truly mastered the art of environmental negligence. Here’s hoping they finally get their comeuppance. But hey, we won’t hold our breath. 

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Mayur Resources fully funded for Central Lime project in Papua New Guinea

Mining.Com - Mon, 04/22/2024 - 16:37

Appian Capital Advisory LLP, which advises on funds investing in mining and related companies, has agreed to provide a $115 million loan and royalty financing to Mayur Resources (ASX: MRL) and its Central Lime project in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Together with Vision Blue’s previously announced $40 million equity funding, this financing provides 100% of the remaining funding required to complete Central Lime project’s (CLP) construction works to achieve nameplate annual base-case production capacity of 400,000 tonnes.

Under the terms, Appian is providing a $63 million senior facility and a $7 million royalty on the CLP, along with a $22.2 million overrun facility and a further $22.2 million for future expansion beyond base-case capacity.

With near-term production targeted within 18 months of financial close, the CLP is located within Mayur’s single-factory special economic zone, close to both domestic and overseas markets in Australia and Asia.

The project has government support in PNG, creating local jobs and with the potential to meet 100% of domestic quicklime requirements, Appian noted in a news release.

“CLP is well-positioned to be a leading asset capable of producing low-cost lime products necessary for metal processing, and strategically located close to end-markets in PNG, Australia and Asia,” Appian CEO Michael Scherb said in a statement.

“This new investment allows us to fully fund the asset into production, creating a lime product producer that is set to benefit from strong domestic and regional demand,” Paul Mulder, managing director of Mayur Resources, added.

“The CLP will be a transformative development for PNG, the associated Landowner communities and PNG’s industrial sector, while contributing to the clean energy transition by providing a key input to the processing of metals in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Critical Metals names Tony Sage new chief executive officer

Mining.Com - Mon, 04/22/2024 - 14:52

Critical Metals Corp. (Nasdaq: CRML) announced Monday the appointment of Tony Sage as its chief executive officer. Sage will also continue in his role as chairman of the board.

Meanwhile its current CEO, Dietrich Wanke, has been named president of European operations to operationalize the Wolfsberg lithium project.

Wanke’s new role enables him to focus entirely on overseeing the Wolfsburg project in Austria’s operations and advancing the mine’s development and future production, the company said.

Sage will oversee corporate strategy and commercial development for Wolfsberg, and will focus on evaluating additional strategic assets in the critical metals space to be brought under the company’s banner, it added.

Critical Metals is aiming to operationalize its lithium spodumene concentrator in Wolfsberg, which it says will be the next significant source of lithium spodumene for European lithium-ion battery market by 2027.

“Critical Metals is at a pivotal juncture in our growth trajectory and development strategy following our recent listing on Nasdaq earlier this year,” Sage said in a statement. “This strategic transition of roles will better position us for future success both in Wolfsberg and more broadly.”

Energy Fuels buys Base Resources for $240 million  

Mining.Com - Mon, 04/22/2024 - 14:24

US-based uranium and rare earths producer Energy Fuels (NYSE: UUUU) (TSE: EFR) has agreed to acquire 100% of the issued shares in Base Resources (ASX, AIM: BSE) in a deal valued at A$375 million (approximately $240 million).

The news sent the Australian junior’s shares skyrocketing 123%, while market reaction was more muted on the Toronto stock exchange; Energy Fuels stock was down 10% by market close Monday.

Base Resources shareholders will receive 0.026 of an Energy Fuels common share plus a dividend of A$0.065 for each share held, for total consideration of roughly A$0.302 per share. This represents a premium to Base Resources’ last closing price of 188%, and a premium to the 20-day VWAP of Base Resources shares of 173%.

The transaction will establish a global leader in the critical minerals sector with a focus on rare earth elements, uranium and heavy mineral sands production, and a clear strategic development pathway, Base Resources said in its statement.

The deal will also create a platform for the funding and development of Base Resources’ Toliara project in Madagascar, with future monazite production from the project to be processed at Energy Fuels’ operating White Mesa mill in Utah.

Energy Fuels grabbed headlines in 2021 when it and Neo Performance Materials (TSX: NEO) created a new US-to-Europe rare earth supply chain. It has been selling into the commercial REE market since.

The company announced early this year it is gearing up two more uranium mines for production in the US — in Colorado and Wyoming.

Base Resources’ leadership team will continue to oversee the development and operation of the Toliara project and the completion of operations and closure of the Kwale operations, as well as the progression of other mineral sands and rare earths interests of the combined group, Energy Fuels said.

Once in production, the monazite from Toliara will provide a large portion of the raw materials needed for Energy Fuels’ expanding REE oxide production facility at the Mesa mill.

“For the past four-plus years, Energy Fuels has innovated a new way to produce critical minerals that we believe is more cost competitive than traditional approaches, by leveraging our uranium processing expertise and infrastructure to develop a secure, US-centric REE oxide supply chain,” Energy Fuels CEO Mark Chalmers said in a news release.

The company has secured long-term sources of REE concentrate through offtake (Chemours), and direct ownership (the company’s 100% owned Bahia project in Brazil once developed, and potentially 100% ownership of Base Resources’ Toliara project), and further potential offtakes through a joint venture being negotiated with Astron Corporation (the Astron Donald project in Australia), Chalmers noted.

“Toliara is expected to be the cornerstone source of feedstock supply to the mill, with the scale to provide an average of 21,800 tonnes of rare earth-bearing monazite per year at a cost that we believe will be at or below other leading global REE producers, including those in China,” he added.

In response to President Biden’s Earth Day speech

Oil Change International - Mon, 04/22/2024 - 13:43

In response to President Biden’s Earth Day announcement, Allie Rosenbluth, United States Program Manager at Oil Change International, released the following statement: 

“It is critical that President Biden continues to highlight the climate crisis in his speeches, but we cannot ignore that the United States is the world’s largest producer, expander, and exporter of oil and gas. Resourcing renewable energy in a way that creates good-paying union jobs is important, but the United States and the world will fall short of our climate goals without real steps to phase out fossil fuels. The International Energy Agency has made it clear that no new investments in coal, oil, or gas align with a livable future. 

“Youth, frontline communities, scientists, workers, and other voters are tired of Biden falling flat on ending fossil fuels. President Biden has an opportunity to show he is taking the climate crisis as seriously as he says by confronting corporate interest and delivering for people, not polluters. President Biden must use the full extent of his power to transition away from fossil fuels and towards a renewable energy economy where everyone can thrive. 

“President Biden must lead a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels. At home, Biden must make the LNG pause permanent and stop permitting new fossil fuel projects. Abroad, he must follow through his Clean Energy Transition Partnership promise to stop using public dollars to finance fossil fuels. Following youth-led protests ahead of Earth Day, the message to Biden is clear: the time to transition away from fossil fuels is now.” 

 

The post In response to President Biden’s Earth Day speech appeared first on Oil Change International.

Canada Nickel exercises option for 80% of Noble’s Mann property

Mining.Com - Mon, 04/22/2024 - 10:55

Canada Nickel Company (TSXV: CNC) is exercising its option to acquire an 80% interest in the Mann nickel property from Noble Mineral Exploration (TSXV: NOB). The nickel-cobalt project near Timmins, Ontario, includes the Mann Northwest, Central and Southeast properties along a combined 25-km strike length of ultramafic rocks.

Canada Nickel plans resource delineation programs for the Northwest and Central properties, and the Southeast property will be drilling for the first time this year.

Mark Selby, CEO of Canada Nickel, commented, saying, “We are pleased to complete the option agreement with Noble after our successful drill program in 2023 where all 15 holes intersected target mineralization. We are looking forward to further unlocking the potential of these three targets in 2024.”

Canada Nickel has completed C$1.7 million of exploration at Mann and made a cash payment of C$350,000 to Noble. The company will also make annual cash payments to Noble of C$100,000. The project is to be a joint venture, 80% Canada Nickel and 20% Noble.

Earlier this year, Noble said Canada Nickel drilled a new discovery called Mann Central across a 2.5-km strike length. Drilling at Mann Northwest extended mineralization across a 2.7-km strike length. Noble further commented that the three Mann finds, plus the Newmarket and Reaume finds, each have a geophysical footprint larger than the Crawford nickel mine that Canada Nickel is developing north of Timmins.

Canada Nickel published the feasibility study for the Crawford project in October 2023. It includes an open pit and concentrator, plus a unique carbon capture technology, named in-process tailings. This method involves injecting carbon dioxide into the tailings stream where it is geologically combined as non-toxic carbonates.

The Crawford nickel resource is believed to be the second-largest in the world. Measured and indicated resources are 2.6 million tonnes grading 0.24% nickel and 0.013% cobalt, containing 13.23 billion lb. of nickel. The inferred portion is 1.7 million tonnes grading 0.22% nickel and 0.013% cobalt, containing 8.16 billion lb. of nickel.

Proven and probable reserves included in the M+I portion are 1.7 million tonnes grading 0.22% nickel and 0.013% cobalt, containing 8.35 billion lb. of nickel.

Datamine expands asset management solutions with acquisition of Samtech

Mining.Com - Mon, 04/22/2024 - 10:47

Datamine is expanding its asset management solution offerings through parent company Vela’s acquisition of Samtech. Based in Santiago, Chile, Samtech is a supplier of fleet management, machine performance, and telematics software and hardware. Samtech serves a variety of industries including mining, construction, and rental fleets in the Latin American market.

Samtech’s fleet management solution enables deployment of a comprehensive management suite that combines operational, logistic, and administrative data. It allows the creation of customized business process rules, supporting decision-making and continuous improvement for heavy, light, and ancillary vehicles. The system is scalable from small fleets right up to thousands of mobile assets in large organizations.

Datamine will distribute Samtech products to the mining industry globally, complementing its existing Sodep Minetrack dispatch solution with Samtech’s overarching monitoring system for all equipment types, along with new capability to design and manufacture specialist sensors for data collection.

ABB, Boliden and Epiroc create first battery-electric trolley underground truck system

Mining.Com - Mon, 04/22/2024 - 10:45

ABB, Boliden and Epiroc reached a new mining milestone by successfully deploying the first fully battery-electric trolley truck system on an 800-meter-long underground mine test track in Sweden, with a 13% incline. This means the mining industry is a step closer to realizing the all-electric mine of the future.

The achievement in Boliden’s Kristineberg mine marks a critical moment for the mining industry as it continues to face rising pressures to balance increased outputs of critical minerals and metals with lower carbon emissions and energy usage.

In tandem with reducing carbon emissions, the electrification of mining also promises improved health and safety for the workforce. By deploying this system, the collaboration partners aim to prove that the underground working environment can be significantly improved, with less emissions, noise and vibration while reducing the total cost per tonne.

Each partner has provided a unique set of expertise to this development, clearly demonstrating the value of industry collaboration. ABB created the infrastructure from grid to wheel, including the electric trolley truck system design and the rectifier substation for the test track. Epiroc has added dynamic charging to its proven battery-electric Minetruck MT42 SG and battery system, and the trolley solution is equipped with ABB’s DC converter, HES880 inverters and AMXE motors to enhance the power.

The definition of standards and vehicle interface was jointly developed by the project partners. The eMine trolley system also integrates with the distributed control system ABB Ability System 800xA to monitor the electrical system.

The truck features a trolley pantograph connected to an overhead catenary line, a concept which is highly suitable for long haul ramps. The electric trolley line gives additional assistance to the battery-electric mine truck on the most demanding stretches up-ramp while fully loaded, enabling further reach and battery regeneration during drift, which increases productivity drastically for a mining operation.

To design a solution that could adapt to voltage fluctuations along an underground system, ABB collaborated with its partners to build a digital twin to simulate all scenarios. The result is a dynamic trolley system, with intelligent switchgear, measurements and transparency with the inbuilt ability to adjust power where it is needed at any given moment.

This project is supported by funding from the Swedish innovation agency Vinnova and their ‘sustainable industry’ initiative and will contribute to Boliden’s vision to be the most climate friendly and respected metals provider in the world.

Boliden intends to implement a full-scale, autonomous electric-trolley system in the Rävliden mine, a satellite orebody and extension of the Kristineberg mine, and has placed an order for four Minetruck MT42 SG trolley trucks from Epiroc. The total distance will be 5 km at a depth of 750 meters. Once achieved, not only will Rävliden have significantly less carbon emissions compared to a mine using conventional technology, it will also be part of setting a standard for new mines.

G Mining buys Reunion’s Oko West gold project in Guyana for $638 million

Mining.Com - Mon, 04/22/2024 - 09:27

Montreal-based G Mining Ventures (TSX: GMIN) is expanding its South American holdings by taking over Reunion Gold’s (TSXV: RGD) Oko West gold project in Guyana in an all-share deal valued at C$875 million ($638m).

The deal is a 29% premium to Friday’s closing share prices. G Mining shareholders will hold 57% of the new entity, leaving Reunion with 43%, the firms said on Monday. The new shares issued will amount to a 4-to-1 share consolidation of the combined companies.

G Mining plans to use $480 million in near-term free cash flowfrom the permitted and construction-ready Tocantinzinho gold project in Para state, Brazil, to advance Oko West through technical studies to a construction decision. Tocantinzinho is to start annual commercial production of about 200,000 oz. in this year’s second half, the company said. It also announced $50 million in equity financing for the new G Mining.

“We are well-positioned to accelerate value creation at Oko West leveraging our unique expertise in building and operating mines on schedule and on budget in the Guiana Shield,” G Mining president and CEO Louis-Pierre Gignac said in a release. “We look forward to continuing to advance our ‘Buy, build, operate strategy.”

G Mining bought Tocantinzinho in late 2021 from Eldorado Gold (TSX: ELD; NYSE: EGO) for $115 million after Eldorado had invested $90 million in the project.

Map of Oko West project courtesy of Reunion Gold.
Spinoff

G Mining and Reunion will also spin off Reunion’s assets besides Oko West into a new company. Ownership will be split 19.9% to G Mining for C$15 million and 80.1% for Reunion under the deal.

The spinoff’s focus will be on acquiring and exploring gold mineral properties in Guyana outside of a 20-km area of interest surrounding Oko West, and in Suriname, the companies said. The Marowijne belt in Suriname holds Iamgold’s (TSX: IMG; NYSE: IAG) Rosebel and Newmont’s (NYSE: NEM; TSX: NGT) Merian gold mines. Other deposits including Saramacca, Overman, Benzdorp and Lely are being evaluated, Reunion says.

An updated resource in February at Oko West, about 95 km southwest of the capital, Georgetown, showed 64.6 million indicated tonnes grading 2.05 grams gold per tonne for 4.3 million oz. and 19.2 million inferred tonnes grading 2.59 grams gold for 1.6 million ounces.

At Oko West, Reunion has been working on its environmental and social impact assessment and expected to complete a preliminary economic assessment by June, it said last month. A feasibility study and environmental permit applications would precede a construction decision by next year’s second quarter, it said.

“The transaction significantly de-risks the advancement of Oko West given the financial strength, free cash flow and development capabilities that G Mining brings to the table,” Reunion president and CEO Rick Howes said in the release. “This is a great outcome for the country of Guyana.”

Gignac family

G Mining, founded by the Gignac family, has a history in the region. Louis Gignac-led Cambior (taken over by Iamgold in 2006) to build its first South American operation in Guyana in the early 1990s. The family’s G Mining Services built Newmont’s Merian gold mine in Suriname ahead of schedule and under budget, it said.

London-based resources investment adviser La Mancha Investments plans to put as much as $45 million into the new G Mining to hold an 18.7% stake, the companies said.

Royalty and streaming company Franco-Nevada (TSX: FNV; NYSE: FNV) is buying $25 million of shares in G Mining, although its holding will fall to 7.2% from 9.9%.

The deal requires two-thirds of approval from both sets of shareholders. Some 29% of Reunion shareholders pledged support for the deal including directors, senior management, La Mancha, and Toronto-based mining investor Dundee (TSX: DC.A). A group of 60% of G Mining shareholders agreed its support, including its three largest shareholders, La Mancha, Eldorado Gold and Franco-Nevada.

Reunion’s stock rose 8% on Monday afternoon in Toronto to C$0.54 apiece, valuing the company at C$663.9 million. They’ve traded in a 52-week range of C$0.32 to C$0.61.

Shares in G Mining fell nearly 14% to C$1.96 apiece, valuing the company at C$874.2 million. They’ve traded in a 52-week range of C$1.67 to C$2.34.

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