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Updated: 4 days 14 hours ago

Canaccord bullish on gold price, Endeavour, Kinross and Probe

Fri, 01/20/2023 - 12:46

Investment bank Canaccord Genuity is upbeat on the gold price and production margins as recession looms and the United States dollar retreats. It also picks Endeavour Mining (TSX: EDV; LSE: EDV), Kinross (TSX: K; NYSE: KGC) and Probe Metals (TSXV: PRB) among its top Canadian equity performers this year.

The gold price may hit an average of $1,862 per oz. this year, up from its record average of $1,802 an oz. in 2022 but down from its current spot price around $1,925 per oz, analysts with the Vancouver-based company said in a forecast released Thursday.

“We’re bullish,” Canaccord said as it considered how efforts to curtail decades-high inflation are expected to slow the economy while the US dollar has fallen 10% from a 20-year high in September, both factors that typically drive gold prices higher.

US inflation slowed to 6.5% in Dec. from 9.1% in June and the market expects the US Federal Reserve to prevent its benchmark interest rate rising above 5% this year after measures of employment and manufacturing declined.

“These headwinds look to have largely run their course with inflation and the economy slowing,” the bank said. “Gold and gold equities have more room to run ahead of a potential Fed pause and with a non-trivial chance of a recession emerging.”

The bank projected average all-in sustaining costs (AISC) for miners to fall 2% to $1,265 an oz. after supply costs hit their highest in last year’s third quarter and oil prices have fallen 14% from an average of $95 per barrel in 2022.

“Most producers indicate that input cost inflation appears to have peaked,” Canaccord said. “We forecast AISC margins improving 17% to $597 an oz. in 2023.”

Canaccord also projected silver rising to $24.38 an oz. this year and platinum advancing to $1,084 per ounce. It increased its long-term gold price estimate to $2,048 per oz. in 2026 versus $1,922 per oz. previously. It raised its long-term silver price to $26.97 per oz. in 2026 from $23 an ounce. 

Ticks boxes

Canaccord chose Endeavour Mining as a top stock pick among senior producers because it “ticks all the boxes” with strong execution, balance sheet and capital return. It has also fully funded growth and has an inexpensive valuation of 0.6 times net asset value versus a peer average of 0.74 times. Endeavour’s Lafigué project under construction in Côte d’Ivoire should increase company output to as much as 1.6 million oz. by 2025 from 1.3 million oz. last year, the bank said.

Kinross Gold is another leading pick among senior producers due to its steady annual production of about 2 million oz., reduced risk after leaving Russia, the potential of 500,000 oz. a year in output from the Great Bear project in Ontario by 2028 and an attractive valuation of 0.49 times net asset value, the analysts said.

In the intermediate space, Canaccord likes SSR Mining (TSX: SSRM; NASDAQ: SSRM; ASX: SSR) as a defensive stock and Fortuna Silver Mines (TSX: FVI; NYSE: FVI) as an offensive choice. It chose Orezone Gold (TSX: ORE) as its top junior, upgrading its rating to buy from spec buy because it moved to producer status in Dec. with the declaration of commercial production at its Bomboré gold mine in Burkina Faso, 85 km east of the capital of Ouagadougou.

“We like SSRM for its operating prowess, emerging value at each of the assets, strong balance sheet and capital return program, capable management team, and attractive relative valuation,” Canaccord said. “Orezone has done an admirable job advancing Bomboré into commercial production on time and on budget.”

Triples resources

The bank ranks Probe Metals with its Novador project near Val-d’Or, Quebec, as the best gold explorer. The company’s proposed open-pit and underground operation may produce more than 200,000 oz. a year with a 33% internal rate of return assuming a gold price of $1,500 an ounce, according to a 2021 preliminary economic assessment. Probe recently tripled resources from Novador’s Monique deposit, one of three on the site.

“Management strength is another key to our thesis, with CEO David Palmer, winner of PDAC’s 2015 Bill Dennis Award and the Northern Miner’s 2014 Mining Person of the Year, and chairman Jamie Sokalsky, former Barrick CEO, leading much of the same team involved in their success with Probe Mines, which was acquired by Goldcorp for C$526 million at a significant premium back in 2015.”

Among streaming and royalty companies, Canaccord recommends Wheaton Precious Metals (TSX: WPM; NYSE: WPM) and intermediate Osisko Gold Royalties (TSX: OR; NYSE: OR). Wheaton should surpass rival Franco-Nevada (TSX: FNV; NYSE: FNV) in gold-equivalent output by 2025 and has a strong balance sheet of $500 million, no debt and access to $2 billion in credit, the bank said. It expects Osisko to grow production by 37% during 2022-27 as output starts or increases at the San Antonio, Cariboo and Windfall projects.

Canaccord lowered its rating on Newmont (TSX: NGT; NYSE: NEM) and Alamos Gold (TSX: AGI; NYSE: AGI) to hold from buy on valuation. It upgraded Coeur Mining (NYSE: CDE) to hold from sell.

Investors, who had to cope last year with inflation at 40-year highs, the most hawkish Fed in more than a decade, a surging American dollar and the conflict in Ukraine, now must consider the balance of interest rates and a potential recession, Canaccord said.

“One of the biggest questions among investors for 2023 is whether the Fed can pull off a soft landing or whether a recession ensues,” the bank said. “A potential recession scenario would likely force the Fed to cut rates sooner given the intensity of hikes to date which we would also view as positive for gold.”

B2Gold meets production guidance for seventh year running

Fri, 01/20/2023 - 10:08

B2Gold (TSX: BTO) produced 1.03 million oz. gold last year with 367,870 oz. or about 36% of the total coming from the fourth quarter.

Annual production, which included 54,871 oz. of attributable production from Calibre Mining (TSX: CXB), was within B2Gold’s production guidance for the year of 990,000-1.05 million oz. and marked the seventh consecutive year that the company has met or exceeded guidance.

Of its three operating mines — Fekola in Mali, Masbate in the Philippines and Otjikoto in Namibia — Fekola was the stand-out, with record fourth-quarter production of 244,014 oz. and full-year production of 598,661 ounces. High-grade ore from Fekola’s open pit Phase 6 resulted in monthly production records in October and November.

The company expects its 2022 cash operating costs will be in the upper end of its original guidance of $620-$660 per oz., while total consolidated all-in-sustaining costs will come within its guidance range of $1,010-$1,050 per ounce.

This year B2Gold expects total production of 1.0-1.08 million oz., including 60,000-70,000 oz. of attributable production from Calibre Mining, in which it holds a 25% stake.

It forecasts total consolidated cash operating costs this year of $670-$730 per oz., up from 2022 due to inflation. AISCs are forecast to run to $1,195-$1,255 per ounce in 2023.

The company is allocating $64 million for exploration this year, with a focus on areas near its operating mines. But it will also continue to explore its early-stage projects in Finland and Cote d’Ivoire.

Management notes that it also will be working on “target generation and pursuing new opportunities” in gold regions in Africa, South America, the Philippines, Central Asia and Canada.

Gold price backs off on rising dollar, but set for fifth weekly rise

Fri, 01/20/2023 - 08:57

Gold prices edged lower on Friday as the US dollar firmed, although hopes of slower rate hikes from the Federal Reserve are still keeping bullion on track for a fifth straight weekly gain.

Spot gold slipped 0.3% to $1,925.25 per ounce by 11:40 a.m. ET, still enough to maintain a slight gain of 0.7% for the week. US gold futures, on the other hand, moved 0.2% higher at $1,927.70 per ounce.

[Click here for an interactive chart of gold prices]

Meanwhile, the dollar rose 0.3% against its rivals, making gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.

“The US dollar is finding some form of stability and in turn we could see gold prices heading lower into next week,” Daniel Ghali, commodity strategist at TD Securities, told Reuters.

However, recent US economic readings and hawkish remarks from Fed policymakers have fuelled worries over a global slowdown and prompted investors to seek refuge in the safe haven metal.

Commentary from Fed officials has pointed to a terminal rate above 5%, but traders still bet on rates peaking at 4.9% by June and see a 93.7% chance for a 25-basis point rate hike in February.

While there here has been an accumulation of gold by various central banks and agencies, gold ETFs held by individuals have been decreasing. Were ETF buying to return, that would limit any overbought dip in the metal, said Caesar Bryan, gold portfolio manager at Gabelli Funds.

(With files from Reuters)

Read more: Gold price seen rising towards record highs as rate rises near end

Scientists working towards superconductors that allow current to flow without energy loss

Fri, 01/20/2023 - 07:01

Physicists at Leipzig University are proposing the idea that in superconducting copper-oxygen bonds, called cuprates, there must be a very specific charge distribution between the copper and the oxygen, even under pressure.

This more profound understanding of the mechanism behind superconductors is expected to bring them one step closer to their goal of developing the foundations for a theory for superconductors that would allow current to flow without resistance and without energy loss.

Back in 2016, lead researcher Jürgen Haase and his team developed an experimental method based on magnetic resonance. The technique allows for measuring changes that are relevant to superconductivity in the structure of materials.

The group was the first in the world to identify a measurable material parameter that predicts the maximum possible transition temperature – a condition required to achieve superconductivity at room temperature. Now they have discovered that cuprates, which under pressure enhance superconductivity, follow the charge distribution predicted in 2016.

“The fact that the transition temperature of cuprates can be enhanced under pressure has puzzled researchers for 30 years. But until now we didn’t know which mechanism was responsible for this,” Haase said in a media statement.

“We established the Leipzig Relation, which says that you have to take electrons away from the oxygen in these materials and give them to the copper in order to increase the transition temperature. You can do this with chemistry, but also with pressure. But hardly anyone would have thought that we could measure all of this with nuclear resonance.”

Closer to the dream

In a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the scientists explain that their current research finding could be exactly what is needed to produce a superconductor at room temperature, which has been the dream of many physicists for decades and is now expected to take only a few more years. To date, this has only been possible at very low temperatures around minus 150 degrees Celsius and below, which are not easy to find anywhere on earth.

About a year ago, a Canadian research group verified the findings of Haase’s team from 2016 using newly developed, computer-aided calculations and thus substantiated the findings theoretically.

Superconductivity is already used today in a variety of ways, for example, in magnets for MRI machines and in nuclear fusion. But it would be much easier and less expensive if superconductors operated at room temperature.

The phenomenon of superconductivity was discovered in metals as early as 1911, but even Albert Einstein did not attempt to come up with an explanation back then. Nearly half a century passed before BCS theory provided an understanding of superconductivity in metals in 1957.

In 1986, the discovery of superconductivity in ceramic materials (cuprate superconductors) at much higher temperatures by physicists Georg Bednorz and Karl Alexander Müller raised new questions but also raised hopes that superconductivity could be achieved at room temperature.

Mining people: International Iconic Gold, Pure Energy Minerals, Argentina Lithium and Energy

Fri, 01/20/2023 - 06:54
Management changes announced this week: 

Chalice Mining appointed Mike Nelson as role of general manager, project development, effective Feb. 1 2023.

International Iconic Gold named Amish Patel as CFO.

Pure Energy Minerals announced Yulia McCutcheon as corporate secretary.

Silver Valley Metals appointed Douglas Dobbs as corporate development director.

Board moves announced this week:

Argentina Lithium and Energy appointed Martin Burian to its board.

GR Silver Mining named  Larry Taddei to its board.

Kootenay Silver appointed Joseph Giuffre as director.

Rome Resources added Mark Gasson to the board.Scottie Resources appointed Ellie Owens to the board.

Iron Ore Company of Canada donates 34 hectares of land to Labrador City

Fri, 01/20/2023 - 06:34

Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) subsidiary The Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) and Labrador City have signed an agreement whereby IOC will donate 34 hectares of land valued at approximately C$4.2 million ($3.1m) to the City.

The donated land is made of 17 separate parcels located in different parts of the town that together represent an area equivalent to 48 football fields.

A parcel will be developed by the Town as a green space dedicated to senior citizens, including benches and signage. Over the next few months, the Town of Labrador City will be assessing how the remaining land will be used for the benefit of the community.

The announcement was made in Labrador West at a community leaders event attended by IOC President and CEO Mike McCann and Labrador City Mayor Belinda Adams.

“Over the past 70 years, IOC has built an enduring business with the community of Labrador West growing alongside us,” McCann said in a media statement.

“As we continue to support the local economy through jobs and investment, we also recognize access to land plays an important role in regional growth and prosperity, and we are pleased to give back to our community through this land donation,” McCann said.

CHART: Uranium’s third bull market since 1968 has further to run

Thu, 01/19/2023 - 14:36

The uranium market ended 2022 on a sour note. Spot U3O8 price declined 2.3% to $48.31 per pound in December, but did finish the year 14.7% above its opening levels. Uranium mining equities fell 5% in December, bringing the sector’s losses for the year to 11.4%.

A new report by Sprott Asset Management says despite the recent softness, developments just in December underpin Western governments’ renewed focus on energy security due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and will provide long-term structural support for uranium and uranium miners in 2023.

December saw Japan adopting a nuclear policy which will restart the country’s nuclear fleet, extend ageing reactors operating life beyond the current 60-year limit and build new ones. 

Also in December, the Indian government approved five new nuclear plants and announced financing for ten plants as part of the country’s goal to triple its reactor fleet over the next decade. 

70 years of global uranium production by country

The US strategic uranium reserve also awarded its first contracts and while the volumes are not material, the prices paid by the US for the uranium were as high as $70 per pound: 

“Given that current spot prices are approximately $50, we believe that this excess price paid for U.S.-origin material reflects the growing concerns by the U.S. Department of Energy about continuing to rely on Russian and other non-friendly countries for critical supply chains.”

Even though there are no official sanctions on Russian uranium, the country’s  dominance of conversion and enrichment with 27% and 39% respectively of the globe’s capacity saw prices for uranium conversion and enrichment services more than double in 2022.  

“We believe this upward price pressure will cascade down to the uranium spot price in 2023,” says Sprott.

Sprott, which runs a physical uranium trust (TSX:U.UN/U.U) holding just shy of 60 million pounds at the end of last year, expects the restart of the US conversion facility ConverDyn in the first half of this year to boost “an industry shift from underfeeding to overfeeding which should significantly increase uranium demand in 2023 and beyond.”

Sprott points out that even after the runup, the current uranium price “still remains below incentive levels to restart tier 2 production, let alone greenfield development.”

“Over the long term, increased demand in the face of an uncertain uranium supply may likely support a sustained bull market.”

Click on the chart for full size image PDF

Rio Tinto, OZ Minerals and Boliden select glycine leaching technology to manage tailings

Thu, 01/19/2023 - 12:58
Boron tailings. Image courtesy of Rio Tinto

Draslovka Holding, a Czech company specializing in CN-based specialty chemicals, including sustainable solutions for the metal mining industry,  announced Thursday that its glycine leaching technology has been selected to be part of the OZ Minerals’ Think & Act Differently (TAD) incubator and their Waste-to-Value Challenge.

The Challenge sees Rio Tinto and Boliden working in collaboration with OZ Minerals to eliminate, minimise, reuse, or find new value in mine tailings and ultimately reduce the global carbon footprint of the mining industry, Draslovka said in a news release.

The Waste-to-Value Challenge aims to unlock innovative technologies for managing tailings, helping the mining industry to reduce risk while extracting more of the materials the world needs from what was previously regarded as waste for the energy transition at large. The initiative hopes to deliver include lower emissions and reduced waste.

Draslovka’s glycine leaching technology — GlyLeach and GlyCat Processes is an alternative to traditional acid and cyanide leaching. Due to its selectivity over gangue minerals and the recyclability of glycine, it enables the recovery of both base and precious metals from lower grade resources like tailings.

This leads to a more sustainable production process and improved economics that are needed to close the looming critical metal supply deficit, the company said.

World’s first battery passport proof of concept launched at WEF

Thu, 01/19/2023 - 12:32

The Global Battery Alliance (GBA), aiming to establish a sustainable battery value chain by 2030, has launched the proof of concept for its Battery Passport at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

Publicly available on the GBA’s website, the prototype battery passports include example data from Audi and Tesla and their value chains partners relating to the battery’s technical specifications, material provenance, and reporting against key sustainability performance indicators.

This includes partial reporting of the battery’s carbon footprint, and child labour and human rights performance, according to rulebooks developed by members of the Global Battery Alliance for select materials, as well as information on the data collection across different steps of the value chains.

 By establishing this proof of concept, the Global Battery Alliance and its members are demonstrating how, by putting this data in the hands of end-users, the Passport will enable customers to make more informed purchasing decisions and drive sustainable sourcing, processing and manufacturing practices in the industry in the future, GBA said in a media statement.

Battery Passport proof of concept piloted by Audi. Image from GBA.

The Battery Passport is key to facilitating the rapid scaling of sustainable, circular and responsible battery value chains to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement through electrification of the transport and power sectors, GBA said.

It has been developed over three years by the GBA’s members, who span the global battery value chain from the mine to recycling, including Audi, BASF, CATL, Eurasian Resources Group, Glencore, LG Energy Solution, Umicore, Tesla, Volkswagen AG, and IT solution providers as well as leading non-governmental and international organisations including IndustriALL Global Union, Pact, Transport & Environment, UNEP, UNICEF and others, with the support of government institutions like the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, and Natural Resources Canada.

The Battery Passport is the GBA’s flagship initiative, establishing a digital twin of a physical battery that conveys information about all applicable sustainability and lifecycle requirements based on a comprehensive definition of a sustainable battery. It will bring new levels of transparency to the global battery value chain by collecting, exchanging, collating and reporting trusted data among all lifecycle stakeholders on the material provenance, the battery’s chemical make-up and manufacturing history and its sustainability performance.

The concept of a Battery Passport has already been endorsed at the 2021 G7 Leaders’ Meeting, in the EU Battery Regulation and by the Canadian and US administrations. A Battery Passport will become a mandatory requirement in the EU by 2026.

“The Battery Passport is a pivotal embodiment of the digital and green “twin transition” – it utilises the digital world to facilitate the decarbonisation of the real world and to promote circularity,” Dr. Robert Habeck, German Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, said in a media statement.

“We believe that global progress in green technologies is most efficient when we rely on globally compatible standards and a level playing field to minimize frictions between different markets in the industries we need to transform,” Habeck said.

“Tesla piloted the Battery Passport and collected the relevant environmental and social data points on our cobalt supply chain,” said Ferdinand Maubrey, Tesla’s Head of Responsible Sourcing, Battery Supply Chain & Battery Minerals.

“While a lot more work needs to be done to cover all relevant areas across battery mineral supply chains, standard reporting across a level playing field certainly has a role to play in the transition towards sustainable energy.”

Patriot Battery Metals surges on best lithium drill intercept to date at CV5 pegmatite

Thu, 01/19/2023 - 09:21

Patriot Battery Metals (TSXV: PMET) (ASX: PMT) saw its stock surge on Thursday following the release of positive drill results from its wholly owned Corvette property, located in the James Bay region of Quebec.

The latest update contains core assay results for 14 additional drill holes targeting mineralization at the currently defined CV5 pegmatite. The highlight was drill hole CV22-083, which returned the strongest interval to date at the CV5 pegmatite with 156.9 metres at 2.12% Li2O, including 25 metres at 5.04% Li2O or 5 metres at 6.36% Li2O.

The drill hole extended the mineralization eastwardly and is interpreted by Patriot to have intersected part of a large, high-grade zone within the overall pegmatite that has been defined by several earlier drill holes over a strike length of at least 250 metres.

“It is hard to find words to adequately describe the impressive nature of the lithium mineralization in drill hole CV22-083. Visual estimates of spodumene abundance may give you a sense, but assays are the true measure and have certainly astounded with this hole,” VP exploration Darren Smith said in a news release.

“As we move east, we are defining a significant high-grade zone at a coarse drill spacing of 50 to 100 metres. The recently commenced winter drill program will continue to probe and delineate this area ahead of an initial mineral resource estimate planned for the first half of 2023,” Smith added.

In addition to CV22-083, the 2022 drill campaign at CV5 pegmatite also returned several other significant drill intercepts, including: 45.3 m at 1.72% Li2O, including 31.0 m at 2.11% Li2O (CV22-069); 31.2 m at 1.95% Li2O, including 9.0 m at 2.78% Li2O (CV22-070); and 49.5 m at 1.33% Li2O (CV22-080).

The spodumene mineralization at the CV5 pegmatite has now been traced over a strike length of at least 2,200 metres through the 2021 and 2022 drill programs. It remains open along strike at both ends and to depth along most of the pegmatite’s length.

CV5 represents part of the core area at the emerging spodumene pegmatite district known as the CV lithium trend discovered by Patriot in 2017. The CV trend spans more than 25 km across the company’s Corvette property located within the La Grande greenstone belt. Including CV5, there are currently six distinct clusters of lithium pegmatite discovered across the property.

Given the proximity of some pegmatite outcrops to each other, as well as the shallow till cover in the area, it is probable that some of the outcrops may reflect a discontinuous surface exposure of a single, larger pegmatite outcrop subsurface, Patriot says.

Shares of Patriot Battery Metals soared 21.9% by 12:15 p.m. ET Thursday, a day after releasing the new drill results, taking its market capitalization to just over the C$1 billion mark.

NI 43-101 consultation shows divide between regulators and industry

Thu, 01/19/2023 - 08:12

In the wake of the Bre-X Minerals gold salting fraud of the late 1990s, Canada’s regulators introduced National Instrument 43-101 in 2001. The regulation, which spelled out standards of disclosure for mineral projects and put the onus on the “qualified person” — a professional responsible for the information in a technical report – earned back the trust of investors, prevented similar frauds, and even became a recognized “brand.”  

But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. 

In the eyes of regulators, work still remains to address common issues it sees in company disclosures and to adapt to changes since NI 43-101’s last revision in 2011, such as growth in green energy commodities and increased investor interest around ESG and the social impacts of mining. To that end, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) released a consultation paper last April seeking input on 38 different questions about NI 43-101. 

The questions ranged from whether the standard should be more closely aligned with those in other “influential” mining jurisdictions, whether the CSA should reduce the 45-day delay between disclosure of aspects of a technical report and its filing; whether disclosure of a PEA should be prohibited on projects that already have a mineral reserve; and whether more information about Indigenous relationships and consultation should be disclosed. 

The comment period ended in September 2022, with around 85 comments submitted. At this point, the CSA says it’s still reviewing those comments and no decision has been made about whether or when the consultation will result in proposed amendments to the regulation. 

A review of the comments shows that many of the respondents believe the definition of a qualified professional (or QP) is unclear — or that CSA staff are reading into the definition something that isn’t there

Scientists efficiently convert temperature fluctuations into clean energy

Thu, 01/19/2023 - 06:30

A team co-led by researchers at the City University of Hong Kong figured out how to trigger a significantly faster and more efficient pyroelectric catalytic reaction, which has the potential to convert environmental temperature fluctuations into clean chemical energy, such as hydrogen.

So far, pyro-catalysis has been considered an inefficient method compared with more common catalysis strategies such as photocatalysis. This is due to slow temperature changes in the ambient environment.

However, the new study challenged this notion by employing localized plasmonic heat sources to rapidly and efficiently heat the pyro-catalytic material and allow it to cool down. The findings open up new avenues for efficient catalysis for biological applications, pollutant treatment and clean energy production.

In detail, the novel strategy combines pyroelectric materials and the localized thermo-plasmonic effect of noble metal nanomaterials.

The plasmonic nanostructures, which support the collective oscillation of free electrons, can absorb light and convert it quickly into heat. Its nanoscale size allows fast yet effective temperature changes within a confined volume, without significant heat loss to the surrounding environment. Consequently, the localized heat generated by the thermo-plasmonic nanostructures can be easily fine-tuned and turned on or off by external light irradiation within an ultrashort time interval.

In a series of experiments, the team selected a typical pyro-catalytic material, called barium titanate (BaTiO3) nanoparticles. The coral-like BaTiO3 nanoparticles were decorated with gold nanoparticles as plasmonic heat sources; the gold nanoparticles can convert the photons directly from a pulsed laser to heat.

The experiment results demonstrated that gold nanoparticles act as a rapid, dynamic and controllable localized heat source without raising the surrounding temperature, which prominently and efficiently increases the overall pyro-catalytic reaction rate of BaTiO3 nanoparticles.

Gold nanoparticles

Through this strategy, the team achieved a high pyro-catalytic hydrogen production rate, speeding up the practical application development of pyro-catalysis.

The plasmonic pyroelectric nano-reactors demonstrated an accelerated pyro-catalytic hydrogen production rate of about 133.1±4.4 µmol·g-1·h-1 through thermo-plasmonic local heating and cooling under irradiation of a nanosecond laser at the wavelength of 532 nm.

Furthermore, the repetition rate of the nanosecond laser used in the experiment was 10 Hz, which meant that 10 pulses of light were irradiated on the catalyst per second to achieve 10 heating and cooling cycles. This implies that by increasing the laser pulse repetition rate, the pyroelectric catalytic performance could be improved in the future.

The research team believes that their results have offered a new approach to improve pyro-catalysis by designing an innovative pyroelectric composite system with other photothermal materials.

This substantial progress is expected to make the future application of pyro-catalysis in pollutant treatment and clean energy production more feasible.

Ero Copper reports record copper and gold production

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 16:40

Following a strong fourth quarter, Ero Copper (TSX: ERO; NYSE: ERO) boasts record annual production for 2022 at its Caraiba operations in Brazil’s northeastern Bahia state and its Xavantina operations in the country’s state of Mato Grosso.

Last year, Caraiba churned out 46,371 tonnes of copper concentrate, exceeding Ero Copper’s guidance of 43,000 to 46,000 tonnes. Of the 46,371 tonnes, 12,664 tonnes were produced in the fourth quarter. The company said the results in the final three months of 2022 benefited from the addition of high-grade stopes at the Honeypot project.

The Caraiba operations, located 385 km northwest of the state capital of Salvador are made up of the Pilar and Vermelhos underground mines and the Surubim open pit mine.

At Xavantina, formerly known as the NX gold mine, about 670 km east of the capital city of Cuiaba, production last year reached 42,669 oz. of gold, above the previous guidance of 39,000 to 42,000 ounces. Gold production in the fourth quarter was driven by higher processed grades of 10.2 grams gold per tonne, the company said, roughly a 20% increase in process grades from the previous quarter.

Ero Copper also issued guidance for 2023 and expects Caraiba to produce 44,000 to 47,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate at an average C1 cash cost of between $1.40 and $1.60 per lb. of copper produced.

Gold production is forecast to reach 50,000 to 53,000 oz. at average C1 cash costs of between $475 and $575 per ounce. All-in sustaining costs are expected to come in at between $725 and $825 per ounce.

The company also announced that it will spend about $150 million to $165 million on constructing its Tucuma project, previously known as the Boa Esperanca copper project, about 40 km southwest of the town of Tucuma in southeastern Para state.

An optimized feasibility study in September 2021 forecast an initial mine life of 12 years producing a total of 326,000 tonnes of recovered copper. In the first five years the study outlined average annual production of 35,000 tonnes at C1 cash costs of $1.12 per pound.

Construction at Tucuma got underway in the second quarter of last year.

Teck named to 2023 global 100 most sustainable corporations list

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 14:26

Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.A and TECK.B, NYSE: TECK) has been recognized as one of the 2023 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations by Corporate Knights, marking the fifth straight year Canada’s largest diversified miner has been named to the list. 

The Global 100 companies are selected from over 6,900 publicly traded companies with more than $1 billion in revenues. Companies were evaluated based on a rigorous assessment including sector-specific sustainability metrics, such as water, energy and GHG productivity, safety performance, and board and executive diversity.

“Teck is committed to providing the essential resources needed for a decarbonizing and growing world,” CEO Jonathan Price said in a media statement. “Metals such as copper are essential in everything from renewable power to electric vehicles, and our goal is to supply critical minerals in a socially and environmentally responsible way.”  

Teck was also previously named one of the Best 50 Corporate Citizens by Corporate Knights for the 16th consecutive year in 2022. More information is here.

Molybdenum price in Europe hits record high

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 11:48

The copper market took a breather on Wednesday after eight straight days of gains, but not before touching a fresh six month high of $4.39 a pound ($9,680 a tonne) in early trade, bringing its gains YTD to 12%. 

Copper stocks shot out of the gate in 2023 on optimism over a post-covid recovery in China, which consumes more than half the world’s copper. 

Copper producers’ margins are also buoyed by a surge in the price of molybdenum, often produced as a byproduct of porphyry copper mines. Global moly production of 300,000 tonnes per year is primarily destined for the steel industry.

Argus reports that European prices for moly are now at the highest levels since the company launched its in-warehouse Rotterdam assessment in 2019 as supply from China slows. China produces over 40% of the world’s moly. Chinese ferro-molybdenum hit 15-year highs recently. 

“There is zero availability on the ground and some people actually flew some material from China,” a trader in Europe told Argus.

“Global molybdenum consumption is expected to continue increasing over the next decade as demand for molybdenum-containing steels grows. But production has been squeezed by lower molybdenum content in mined ores seams and a lack of new molybdenum projects to meet demand,” according to Argus analysis.

China’s grip on the market is unlikely to relax any time soon. Zijin Mining (SHA:601899, HKG:2899), which at around 500,000 tonnes per annum is the world’s ninth-largest copper producer, last year acquired the world’s largest primary molybdenum-only mine with annual output of 27,200 tonnes per year.

In Canada, Stuhini Exploration (TSX-V: STU) is advancing the Ruby Creek molybdenum project in the far north of British Columbia. According to the company’s March 2022 resource estimates Ruby Creek contains just over 196,000 tonnes of moly alongside the property’s gold and silver ore.

Kenorland announces preliminary metallurgical results at the Frotet gold project

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 11:19

Kenorland Minerals (TSXV: KLD) announced the results of preliminary metallurgical testing of the Regnault gold system on the Frotet project, located in northern Quebec and held under joint venture with Sumitomo Metal Mining Canada (SMMCL).

Preliminary test work was initiated with the completion of hole 22RDD149 that twinned the Regnault discovery hole 20RDD007 (29 metres at 8.47 g/t gold, including 11.1 metres at 18.43 g/t gold) and intersected 29 metres at 16.61 g/t gold including 9.9 metres at 44.89 g/t gold.

Kenora says objectives of this study included the analysis of mineralogical characteristics and the preliminary assessment of gold-silver recovery through cyanide amenability of the Regnault ore. The study was carried out at the engineering department, mineral resources division of SMMCL.

The initial test work has demonstrated promising gold-silver recoveries of the Regnault-style ore, the company says.

Additional work has been planned to further maximize recovery, including the effects of gravity separation of coarse gold and electrum prior to cyanide leaching, the potential effect of flotation prior to cyanide leaching, and the use of an activator (lead nitrate or citric acid) to increase extraction of precious metals from gold-silver-tellurium minerals during cyanide leaching.

New Found Gold discovers high-grade zone at Queensway in Newfoundland

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 10:56

New Found Gold (TSXV: NFG) says it has discovered a new zone and vein extending mineralization south of the Keats deposit at its Queensway project in central Newfoundland.

Drilling along the Appleton fault at the project, 15 km west of Gander, NL, discovered the new Trans Canada Highway zone and the Rocket vein at the Knob target. The drill program also returned more intercepts from Keats Main South. It all increased the length of a high-grade gold corridor to 4.1 km, the company said in a news release on Wednesday.

“It is a lot of ground to cover but from a first pass of drilling, results indicate that the system’s strength continues,” Melissa Render, vice-president for exploration, said in the release. “We will persist with aggressive follow-up drilling which involves tracing the structures that are known to host high-grade gold.”

The 1,650-sq.-km. project covers more than 100 km of strike on two primary fault zones: Appleton and Joe Bates Pond.

Trans Canada Highway is in the footwall to the Appleton fault zone and has been intersected over a strike of 190 metres to a depth of 300 metres, New Found said.

Assays from the Trans Canada Highway zone included intercepts of 79.6 grams gold per tonne over 2 metres from 427.1 metres down hole NFGC-22-863; 10.5 grams gold over 2.45 metres from 303.5 metres in hole NFGC-22-642; and 1.02 grams gold over 10.7 metres from 183 metres down hole NFGC-22-703.

The Vancouver-based company found the new Rocket vein 100 metres east of the Knob zone, a historical discovery with little modern-day probing. Drill hole NFGC-22-704 cut 12.63 grams gold over 4.45 metres from 65 metres depth. Knob’s mineralization is in an east-west structure of greywacke over a strike length of 160 metres, the company said.

Intercept highlights from Keats Main South include 25.31 grams gold over 2.45 metres from 364 metres depth in hole NFGC-22-774; 72.7 grams gold over 2.2 metres from 379.8 metres in the same hole; and 4.59 grams gold over 14.9 metres from 115 metres in NFGC-22-845.

“The high-grade gold associated with the Keats-Baseline fault zone, the structure that hosts the Keats Main zone, has now been traced over a strike length of 1.1 km and down to a vertical depth of 400 metres,” New Found said.

Assays from the 421 zone, a southwest-dipping structure at an angle to the Keats Main zone, include 10.5 grams gold over 2.3 metres from 22.3 metres down hole NFGC-22-733. The company says this structure seems to concentrate high-grade gold where it interacts with the Keats-Baseline Fault.

The Queensway project is among others held by explorers around Gander such as Labrador Gold (TSXV: LAB), Exploits Discovery (TSXV: NFLD) and Marathon Gold (TSX: MOZ). Marathon’s nearly C$500 million Valentine open-pit mine and mill are under construction about 200 km west of Gander. It’s the region’s most advanced project.

New Found is conducting a 500,000-metre drill program at Queensway with about 51,000 metres of core pending results. It’s exploring both sides of the Appleton fault after results in November showed new life on the west side. Drill hole NFGC-22-960 at the Keats West area intersected 42.6 grams gold over 32 metres from 145 metres. On the east side, the first Queensway hole in 2019 returned 19 metres grading 92.9 grams gold from 96 metres downhole at Keats.

It may take a year to prepare economic studies on how to develop the project, perhaps in an open-pit operation, chief executive officer Collin Kettell said in November.

GoviEx sells Falea uranium project in Mali

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 10:03

GoviEx Uranium (TSXV: GXU) is selling its uranium-silver-copper Falea project in Mali to African Energy Metals (TSXV: CUCO) in a C$5.5 million cash and share deal.

The project is about 350 km west of Mali’s capital Bamako and roughly 240 km south of the city of Kayes. It is also about 80 km to the east of Areva’s Saraya East uranium deposit in Senegal and approximately 13 km along trend from Iamgold’s (TSX: IMG; NYSE: IAG) Siribaya gold deposit.

Under the agreement, GoviEx will sell all of its outstanding shares in the project and will receive C$2 million worth of African Energy Metals and a 3% net smelter return royalty. If the Falea licence is renewed, African Energy will issue GoviEx additional shares worth C$3 million.

GoviEx will be able to nominate a director to African Energy’s board if its shares in the company exceed 10%.

“GoviEx will become an important shareholder of African Energy Metals and our shareholders will have the continuing benefit of their knowledge and mining expertise,” Stephen Bartley, African Energy’s executive chairman, said in a press release. “Less than 5% of the property has been explored, so there is substantial exploration upside for uranium, copper, silver and gold.”

For its part, GoviEx, which acquired Falea from Denison Mines (TSX: DML) in June 2016, noted that the deal gives its shareholders continued exposure to Falea and will enable it to focus on exploration and development at is Madaouela and Mutanga uranium projects in Niger.

GoviEx describes Falea as an uncomformity-associated uranium deposit and says it occurs at or just above the uncomformity between the Birimian and overlying sedimentary sequences, within the Kania Sandstone as well as the underlying basal conglomerate.

According to a 2015 resource estimate, Falea contains indicated resources of 6.9 million tonnes grading 0.1% U308, 0.2% copper, and 72.8 grams silver per tonne for 17.4 million lb. U308, 24.4 million lb. copper and 16.1 million oz. silver.

Inferred resources add 8. 8 million tonnes grading 0.069% U308, 0.20% copper and 17.3 grams silver per tonne for 13.4 million lb. contained U308, 38.7 million lb. copper and 4.9 million oz. silver.

Canada Nickel confirms major discovery larger than flagship Crawford project in Ontario

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 09:32

Canada Nickel Company (TSXV: CNC) has released positive assay results confirming the Reid property as a major discovery with a target footprint larger than its flagship Crawford nickel-cobalt discovery in Ontario’s Timmins-Cochrane mining camp.

The results include an additional nine holes on top of the seven holes reported in early December, when the Reid property’s exploration upside was first highlighted.

The new holes generally returned 100 to 470 metres of predominantly nickel sulphide mineralization with grades ranging from 0.2% to 0.31% nickel. Two holes had mineralization of over 500 metres width – approximately 50% wider than Crawford Main Zone and more than 100% wider than Crawford East Zone.

All 16 drill holes completed on the Reid property have now intersected multi-hundred-metre intervals of nickel mineralization. To date, the broader intervals at yielded weighted average grades of 0.22% nickel over an average interval of 272 metres.

According to Canada Nickel’s CEO Mark Selby, the grades and mineralization at Reid are consistent with what the company has observed at the the East Zone deposit at Crawford.

“The success of this initial drilling, targeted solely with our team’s proprietary approach using provincial geophysical data, highlights the significant potential of our total regional land package with over 42 km2 of target geophysical footprint which is more than 20 times larger than our flagship Crawford project,” Selby said in a news release.

The Reid property is located 16 km southwest of Crawford and contains an ultramafic body with a target geophysical footprint of 3.9 km2, compared to just 1.6 km2 for Crawford.

With the drilling confirmation, the Reid project now represents another bulk-tonnage discovery anchored by Crawford, which is said to contain the fifth-largest nickel sulphide resource globally at 2.1 billion tonnes grading 0.24% nickel. A preliminary economic assessment for the Crawford project based on prior resource estimates outlined a 25-year operation capable of producing 842,000 tonnes of nickel metal.

In addition to the new drill results, Canada Nickel has also extended the repayment of its $10 million loan with Auramet to March 3, 2023. The extension “allows us to advance various financing initiatives, which we expect to complete during this timeframe,” Selby noted.

Shares of Canada Nickel rose 1.8% at C$1.61 a share by 12:30 p.m. ET following the latest exploration update, giving the company a market capitalization of C$191.3 million ($142m).

Echelon Capital Markets is maintaining a “Spec Buy” rating and C$6.00 price target for the stock based on the longer-term positive view of Crawford’s potential resource base, along with its alignment with global climate goals.

Copper price highest since June on China optimism

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 09:07

The copper price rose on Wednesday to its highest levels since June as speculators bet that low inventories and rising Chinese demand will lift prices.

Copper for delivery in March rose on the Comex market in New York, touching $4.35 per pound ($9,581 per tonne), up 3% compared to Tuesday’s closing.

[Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices]

Investors believe China’s lifting of covid-19 restrictions will enable its economy to bounce back from last year’s slump.

Demand will improve, said BMO analyst Colin Hamilton. “It (copper) is running a little bit ahead of fundamentals, but there’s just no inventory,” he said.

Chinese bonded warehouses and warehouses registered with the LME, the COMEX and Shanghai Futures exchanges contain around 285,000 tonnes of copper, significantly below levels typical before the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We’d normally be building inventory at this time of the year but we aren’t,” Hamilton said.

Related: Antofagasta 2022 copper output down 10%, 2023 guidance unchanged

(With files from Reuters)

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