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Banyan Gold to raise $8.5 million for Yukon projects

Wed, 12/07/2022 - 09:24

Banyan Gold (TSXV: BYN) is looking to raise approximately C$11.5 million ($8.5m) in gross proceeds for advancing its flagship AurMac property and other gold projects throughout Canada’s Yukon territory.

The private placement will comprise roughly 11.8 million premium flow-through shares priced at C$0.568 per share and 12 million common shares at C$0.40 per share.

As of 11:45 a.m. ET Wednesday, Banyan’s stock was trading at C$0.42 on the TSX Venture Exchange, down 2.4% from the previous session, with a market capitalization of C$106.3 million ($77.9m).

This financing follows up on a C$17 million private placement announced earlier in June that fully funded Banyan’s growth and development plans for the AurMac gold project heading into 2023. The company now has a 60,000-metre drilling campaign underway, with results continuing to expand the gold-mineralized footprint.

The AurMac project represents an amalgamation of the Aurex and McQuesten properties, as well as claims staked and owned 100% by Banyan, covering 173 square kilometres of Yukon’s Mayo mining district.

The combined property lies approximately 25 km away from Victoria Gold’s Eagle gold mine and adjacent to the Keno Hill silver district operated by Hecla Mining. The Aurex and McQuesten claim blocks were previously held by Victoria and Hecla, respectively.

AurMac currently hosts a total inferred gold resource of 3,990,000 ounces (contained in 207 million tonnes grading 0.60 g/t gold). This resource, updated in May 2022, is based on 40,000 metres of drilling on the three near/on-surface deposits (Airstrip, Powerline and Aurex Hill deposits) within the property.

In addition to AurMac, Banyan also holds the Hyland gold project in the Watson Lake mining district of southeast Yukon. The project has an NI 43-101 indicated mineral resource of 236,000 gold-equivalent (AuEq) ounces (8.6 million tonnes grading 0.85 g/t AuEq) plus an inferred mineral resource of 288,000 AuEq ounces (10.8 million tonnes grading 0.83 g/t AuEq).

JPMorgan helps MineSense raise $42m to close copper gap

Wed, 12/07/2022 - 08:17

Canadian digital mining solutions firm MineSense Technologies has raised $42 million in an investment round led by JP Morgan Asset Management, which will help it speed up the commercial release of a tool that could help close an expected copper deficit.

The privately-held firm specializes in data-driven solutions that improve ore grade control, operational profitability and carbon intensity across the metals mining industry, with focus on the copper sector.

MineSense currently serves mines in North and South America, with notable deployments in British Columbia (Teck’s Highland Valley Copper, Copper Mountain Mining’s operation and Taseko Mines’ Gibraltar operation), Chile (Carmen de Andacollo) and Peru (Antamina).

The Vancouver-based company says its technology has helped increase output at mines that use its solutions by 5% to 25% and it has bigger ambitions — to fill up to 10% of the global copper supply gap, according to its chief executive Jeff More.

Chile’s state owned mining company Codelco, the world’s biggest copper producer, believes that global shortages of the metal may reach eight million tonnes by 2032, as soaring demand continues to offset new projects numbers.

It’s estimated the industry needs to spend more than $100 billion to build mines able to close what could be an annual supply deficit of 4.7 million tonnes by 2030.

MineSense said the funds raised will allow it to expand its coverage globally and extend into other critical metals such as nickel, cobalt, zinc and iron ore.

EU photovoltaics project pushes for transparency, literally

Wed, 12/07/2022 - 06:41

The EU-funded IMPRESSIVE project has taken on the challenge of developing fully transparent photovoltaic cells that can be integrated into large surfaces such as windows in buildings, thus avoiding the issue of artificializing open fields with them and reducing natural spaces.

“Our aim was to develop PV technology that is totally non-intrusive, aesthetically pleasing, totally transparent and colourless while being efficient and low-cost,” Frédéric Sauvage, research director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and project coordinator, said in a media statement.

Such a goal was not easy to accomplish as PV technologies are normally opaque or semi-transparent and can only be installed on roofs or in non or semi-transparent façades.

Sauvage and his team, thus, decided to address the problem by developing two absorbers: an efficient UV absorber based on perovskite solar cells; and a near-infrared (NIR) absorber based on dye-sensitized solar cells.

When combined, these technologies convert the sun’s energy with a power conversion efficiency of 14% and a level of average visible transmittance (AVT) greater than 55%.

IMPRESSIVE demonstrated that semi-transparent UV perovskite can reach more than 10% PCE with an AVT of approximately 60%.

“We showed, through our specific composition and device architecture, the possibility to pass the IEC61646 accelerated ageing test protocol, which is an important bottleneck solved towards industrialization,” Sauvage said.

In parallel, the CNRS has patented a new family of new NIR-selective sensitizers affording higher performance and stability and reaching excellent transparency when integrated into specifically optimized dye-sensitized solar cells.

“Our PV window allows the reduction of air conditioning during summer and heating during winter in buildings and domestic houses, owing to its internal technology which has specific absorption in one part of the NIR (800-1000 nm) and reflectivity in the other NIR region (> 1000 nm). We offer a window producing fully decarbonized electricity by making use of sunlight,” the researcher said.

Teck donates $3.6 million to support green spaces across British Columbia

Wed, 12/07/2022 - 06:16

Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.A and TECK.B, NYSE: TECK) and the BC Parks Foundation have announced a C$5 million ($3.6m) donation from Teck to enhance and expand British Columbia’s parks and protected areas.

The collaboration between Teck and the BC Parks Foundation will help to preserve and expand green spaces in rural and urban areas, protect important natural park lands and give more people the opportunity to enjoy BC’s natural wealth. Funds will be used to expand successful initiatives including:

  • Helping create new protected areas and animal migration corridors, to preserve natural spaces and mitigate climate change.
  • Getting more people involved in monitoring and protecting wildlife and their habitats.
  • Promoting responsible and safe enjoyment of natural areas through educational activities and events for visitors and children.
  • Working with Indigenous people to create informative trails and experiences in parks to foster reconciliation.
  • Providing British Columbians the opportunity to experience the health benefits of nature, including park experiences for vulnerable and marginalized people.

The partnership aligns with Teck’s commitment to becoming a nature positive company, and the BC Parks Foundation’s recently announced 25×25 initiative.

The Foundation’s 25×25 initiative is inspiring people across BC to protect 25 important places by 2025, in support of Canada’s goal of protecting 25% of land and sea in the next three years. Teck’s goal to a become a nature positive company by 2030 means that, by 2030, Teck’s conservation, protection and restoration of land and biodiversity will exceed the disturbance caused by its mining.  

Mosaic cuts back production at Colonsay potash mine

Wed, 12/07/2022 - 03:53

US fertilizer producer Mosaic (NYSE: MOS) has temporarily cut back production at its Colonsay potash mine in Saskatchewan, Canada, due to slower-than-expected demand.

Prior to the curtailment, Colonsay had been operating at a yearly run rate of 1.3 million tonnes and Mosaic had plans to expand output to between 1.8 million and 2 million tonnes by late 2023.

The company’s move contrasts with the position of other potash companies, including Canada’s Nutrien (TSX, NYSE: NTR), the world’s largest producer of the fertilizer ingredient.

The Saskatoon-based firm and other North American potash miners ramped-up production after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February this year.

Nutrien said in November it planned to boost potash production capacity to 18 million tonnes by 2025, representing a 40% increase from 2020 levels.

The company believes the market will continue to face global shortages as supplies from Russia and Belarus are becoming more limited than anticipated.

About 60% of new production that was expected to come into the market over the next five years was in Russia and Belarus. Currently, it’s unclear how much of that will come online.

BHP (ASX: BHP) decided in July to speed up construction at its $5.7 billion Jansen potash mine in Canada. 

The world’s largest miner had originally planned to kick off production at Jansen in 2027, but it now aims to bring online the first phase of four development stages a year earlier.

Mosaic, however, says it has enough inventory to meet demand in the short term. 

The Colonsay potash mine reopened in June last year, after being temporarily closed in August 2019 and indefinitely in January 2020.

Joel Jackson, mining equities analyst at BMO Capital Markets, said the announced production cut at Colonsay may be the next step in a potash bottoming process.

“We’ve been waiting for a curtailment announcement since September as a game of chicken has developed between suppliers and buyers-growers,” he wrote.

“Historically, Nutrien or Mosaic announcing curtailments was typically a positive development for price, though in the end, Mosaic could simply be slowing down Colonsay for a small number of weeks that includes the holiday break, so this could simply be in this game of chicken some messaging that prices may not fall much more and that Mosaic will not produce potash just for the sake of production,” Jackson said.

Short-term glut

Mosaic president and CEO, Joc O’Rourke, noted the company’s decision reflected near-term dynamics and not long-term agricultural market fundamentals.

“After a year of reduced applications, we believe farmers are incentivized to maximize yields, which should drive significant recovery in fertilizer demand in 2023,” O’Rourke said.

This is why underground development work at Colonsay will continue in anticipation of the restart of both mills in early 2023, he added.

Fertilizer prices have slumped from record levels reached following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This has driven farmers worldwide to ease back on buying, in some case choosing to skip a year of potash application or to use less fertilizer. That’s left a glut in the market, with some cargoes being redirected to the US from Brazil. 

Appia Rare Earths & Uranium stock surges on massive monazite discovery as Alces Lake

Tue, 12/06/2022 - 15:44

Appia Rare Earths & Uranium (CSE: API) announced Tuesday the receipt of assay results from the 2022 prospecting program at its wholly owned Alces Lake rare earth elements property in Northern Saskatchewan.

Highlights from the program include 36.11 wt.% total rare earth oxides (TREO) returned from samples of massive to semi-massive monazite in outcrop at the West Limb anomaly; 3.34 wt.% TREO returned from a mineralized biotite shear zone at the West Limb anomaly; 4.34 wt.% TREO returned from visible monazite in a shear zone at a previously unexplored and un-named radiometric prospect south of the Magnet Ridge zone; and 2.03 wt.% TREO returned from visible monazite discovered in the Western anomaly.

“Multiple results exceeding one percent total rare earth oxides from new targets, not explored before 2022, tells us we are just scratching the surface at Alces Lake,” VP exploration Irvine Annesley said a news release.

“With so much area left to explore we are excited about what remains to be discovered and new targets to be drilled.”

Following up on the success of Appia’s 2021 geological field work, a team of two field geologists conducted reconnaissance prospecting of previously unexplored or underexplored radiometric Th (and U) anomalies during the 2022 field season.

The team documented 13 new occurrences of visible monazite across the central portion of the Alces Lake property. Grab samples of anomalously radioactive bedrock were collected whenever possible. Of 34 outcrop grab samples, four returned grades exceeding 2 wt.% TREO and more than half exceeded 0.1 wt.% TREO.

Appia said it has engaged a geophysical contractor to expand the survey coverage to all of the 35,682-hectare Alces Lake property.

“The 2022 prospecting results have shown just how effective and valuable a tool the airborne radiometric data is,” Appia CEO Tom Drivas said.

“After the 2021 survey guided our team to excellent results from new targets for the second season in a row, including the stunning 36.11 wt.% TREO sample in the West Limb, we have decided to expand the survey to cover the entire property,” Drivas added. “This is an important step for unlocking the full potential of Alces Lake as part of an emerging rare earth elements district.”

Appia’s stock surged over 11% by market close in Toronto. The company has a C$48 million ($35m) market capitalization.

Probe Metals, Midland make polymetallic discovery at La Peltrie in Quebec

Tue, 12/06/2022 - 14:46

Probe Metals (TSXV: PRB) and Midland Exploration (TSXV: MD) have announced a new copper-gold-silver-molybdenum discovery at the La Peltrie project within Quebec’s Detour Lake region, with hole LAP-22-012 drilling 345 metres of 0.2% copper equivalent from near surface.

The wide zone is open laterally and at depth at La Peltrie, which Probe holds in a joint venture with Midland.

Shorter highlight intervals from hole LAP-22-012 include 12 metres of 0.5% copper and 3.6 grams gold per tonne from 137 metres, and 3.7 metres of 1% copper and 6.4 grams gold from 142 metres.

According to Probe, the breadth of the discovery found in LAP-22-012 indicates the potential for a large mineralized system. The company plans to follow up on this system with additional drilling in 2023.

“The scale of the intercept gives us encouragement that it was a long-lived system with potential for high-grade deposits along strike,” said David Palmer, president and CEO of Probe. “The results of these programs have re-affirmed the potential of the La Peltrie projects to host large mineralized systems.”

While Probe only released results from one hole of seven drilled at La Peltrie, Laurentian Bank Securities’ mining analyst Barry Allan was positive on the discovery. “This intercept is the first tangible evidence of a potentially significant area of copper-gold mineralization,” he wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday.

Two other drill holes from the Lower Detour Zone 58N shear splay identified gold intercepts of 1 metre grading 0.5 gram gold from 355 metres (hole LAP-22-013), and 1 metre of 0.2 gram gold from 364 metres (hole LAP-22-014).

Probe’s Detour Quebec project covers 777 sqkm along the Detour Gold trend, following the lateral extensions of Canada’s second largest gold mine at Detour Lake, operated by Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM). It wholly owns the Detour Quebec Main and North properties, while it holds the Gaudet-Fenelon and the La Peltrie sites in joint ventures with Midland.

For the 2022 field season, Probe announced up to 10,000 metres of drilling was to be completed at La Peltrie, with targets determined through IP tomography and geochemical surveys. In 2021, the company drilled targets on the Gaudet-Fenelon property but did not release results from that program.

Probe’s share price currently sits at C$1.26 per share, but Laurentian Bank targets an eventual C$5 price based on a recently completed preliminary economic assessment of Probe’s Val d’Or gold project.

Probe’s shares have traded in a 52-week window of C$1.09 and C$2.33. The company has a market cap of C$193.8 million.

Kodiak Copper stock rises following high-grade gold-silver discovery in British Columbia

Tue, 12/06/2022 - 14:45

Kodiak Copper (TSXV: KDK) has made new high-grade gold-silver discovery from trenching at its 100% owned MPD copper-gold porphyry project in southern British Columbia. The discovery was made on surface within the Beyer Zone, where the company previously reported a surface sample that assayed 14.15 g/t gold and 9.40 g/t silver.

Trench sampling has now expanded this new surface gold-silver discovery to 3.02 g/t gold and 24.18 g/t silver over 12 metres, including 5.29 g/t gold and 27.70 g/t silver over 2 metres from north-south. Trenching from east-west also assayed 9.11 g/t gold and 24.00 g/t silver over 2 metres, with a parallel zone 8 metres west assaying 2.60 g/t gold and 10.10 g/t silver over 2 metres.

Approximately 14 metres of hydrothermally altered and mineralized rock has been exposed in the two trenches excavated to date, which remains open to extension.

The Beyer Zone discovery was made within a 2.2 kilometre long, 750 metre wide gold-in-soil corridor discovered during Kodiak’s 2019 and 2021 soil sampling campaigns. Trenching at the Beyer Zone followed up these gold-in-soil anomalies, with a chip sample returning 11.75 g/t and 42.5 g/t silver over 2.3 metres earlier this year.

“The Beyer gold-silver discovery is an exciting new development as it sits within a multi-kilometre, completely untested new gold-in-soil trend. It is remarkable because this is the first time sizable intervals of high-grade gold-silver mineralization have been trenched at the MPD project,” CEO Claudia Tornquist said in a news release.

She noted that the mineralization and alteration remain open along strike, making extension of these trenches an “obvious follow-up for 2023.”

The trenching at the Beyer Zone was part of Kodiak’s broader, regional exploration program to evaluate untested copper-gold targets across the MPD property. This work has been conducted in parallel with the fully funded 25,000-metre drill program on several copper-gold porphyry targets, from which further results will continue to be reported.

The MPD property comprises a 147 sqkm land package located near several operating mines in the southern Quesnel Terrane, British Columbia’s primary copper-gold producing belt.

Following Kodiak’s Gate Zone discovery in 2020, ongoing drill programs over the past two years have significantly expanded the size and depth of the known mineralization to one kilometre of strike length, 350 metres width and 900 metres depth. The company is now expanding exploration efforts to new areas, evaluating copper-gold zones like Dillard, Man, Axe and new high-grade gold-silver trends like the Beyer discovery.

Shares of Kodiak Copper closed 16.2% higher on the TSX Venture Exchange on Tuesday, giving the Vancouver-based junior a market capitalization of C$64 million.

Geotechnical instability forces Teck to suspend Highland Valley pit ops

Tue, 12/06/2022 - 13:27

Diversified miner Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.B, TECLK.A) has temporarily closed the Highland Valley copper mine’s Valley pit on Monday.

Teck said in a brief news release the closure was a proactive measure in response to a geotechnical instability within the pit.

Teck said the Valley Pit would reopen after remediation, and the area was confirmed safe.

The company said there is no risk to worker safety, noting employees and contractors scheduled to work in the Valley Pit have been temporarily redeployed to other areas of the operation near Logan Lake.

The company added that there is no risk to the environment or surrounding communities, noting the mine operates normally, using stockpiled ore at the site.

The news comes just two weeks after the United Steel Workers staged a brief “safety stand down” at the mine due to concerns about the collapse of a massive scoop shovel which had been undergoing maintenance at the time.

At that time, Teck said it was working with its employees to “strengthen safety performance.”

The operation is forecast to produce between 127,000 and 133,000 tonnes, with a relatively even distribution throughout the year. Copper output from 2023 to 2025 is expected to be between 130,000 and 160,000 tonnes per year.

A Teck spokesman said the impact on operations is expected to be minimal.

Top miners adopt ESG and transparency reporting framework

Tue, 12/06/2022 - 12:02

Mining Shared Value, a non-profit initiative of Engineers Without Borders Canada, has announced that twelve mining companies have now adopted the Mining Local Procurement Reporting Mechanism (LPRM), to report on a total of thirty-four mine sites across nineteen countries.

The LPRM is a publicly available framework of twenty-two disclosures, developed by MSV and commissioned by the German development agency GIZ, with support from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Growing use of the reporting framework is happening amidst increased focus on local sourcing and supply chain due diligence in the rush for green energy minerals.

Ivanhoe Mines became the first company to implement the LPRM in 2019. Now a total of twelve companies are using it, including Freeport-McMoRan, New Gold, and Lundin Gold.

Solaris Resources is the first exploration company in the world to use the LPRM and reports on its Warintza project in Ecuador.

Earlier this year, Onyen Corp. also announced the addition of the LPRM to its ESG reporting software, offering user companies the ability to report in accordance with the disclosures, while eliminating duplicative reporting and centralizing data collection and management.

The LPRM is designed to promote and standardize information sharing on local procurement at the site level and aims to identify opportunities for improving transparency of spending, as well as policies and systems that support procurement from local suppliers.

As procurement of goods and services represents the largest payment from a mining operation to a host country – often exceeding direct wages and taxes combined – local procurement can be a critical lever for the creation of short and long-term benefits in mining communities, MSZ said in a media release.

“As demand grows for minerals required for the energy transition, mining sector procurement of goods and services has significant potential to drive economic and social impacts for mining host countries, and it can be instrumental in strengthening a company’s social licence to operate”, MSV managing director Jeff Geipel said in the statement.

“The Mining LPRM is a publicly available reporting framework that helps companies refine their approach to local procurement and provides practical information to host country suppliers and other stakeholders,” Geipel said.

The LPRM encourages companies to disclose information on policies and commitments, spending on goods and services sourced from local suppliers, development programs and support made available to local suppliers, as well as supply chain due diligence efforts.

Ring of Fire Metals and Webequie First Nation sign MOU on Ontario nickel project development

Tue, 12/06/2022 - 11:15

Ring of Fire Metals (formerly Noront Resources) and Webequie First Nation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining a framework for collaboration on proposed development in Northern Ontario.

Wyloo Metals earlier in the year acquired Noront Resources and its mining assets in Ontario’s emerging metals camp known as the Ring of Fire, and chose Ring of Fire Metals as the new name for its Canada-based business as exploration activities begin in the area.

Its primary asset is the early-stage Eagle’s Nest project, which has been billed by Wyloo as the largest high-grade nickel discovery in Canada since the Voisey’s Bay nickel find in Labrador.

The MOU details how the two parties will work together to progress ongoing exploration activity in the region as well as negotiations on a partnership agreement for the proposed Eagle’s Nest mine.

“We are exercising our sovereignty and the right to pursue economic sustenance in a manner that respects the land and brings opportunity for our young people,” Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse, said in a media statement on Tuesday.

“Our community encourages ongoing working relationships with Ontario and Federal Government, including First Nations, to work with us and support our community initiatives,” Chief Wabasse said.

Ring of Fire Metals CEO Stephen Flewelling said the landmark MOU was an important step forward in their long-standing relationship of more than 12 years.

“We have worked well with Webequie for many years, but this MOU signifies a formal transition to a new phase of collaboration on the future of the Ring of Fire,” he said.

“Canada has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop the critical minerals the world needs to decarbonize, and it’s vital that Indigenous communities play a central role in how these projects are developed on their traditional territories.

“This MOU…reflects our approach to developing critical mineral projects that deliver mutual, long-term benefits for Webequie community members with a deep respect for their culture and land,” Flewelling said.

One of the largest undeveloped, high-grade nickel-copper-platinum-palladium deposits in the world, the mine is scheduled to begin commercial production in 2026 with the mine running initially for 11 years with the potential for a nine-year extension.

K92 extends PNG mine lease, greenlights ‘transformational’ expansions

Tue, 12/06/2022 - 09:34

K92 Mining (TSX: KNT) announced on Tuesday two major developments for its Kainantu gold-copper-silver mine in Papua New Guinea, the first being an extension of the mine lease by 10 years to June 2034, followed by the board’s approval for the mine’s Stage 3 and 4 expansions.

The staged expansions would increase Kainantu’s annual processing throughput to 1.2 million tonnes per year and then to 1.7 million tonnes per year. This represents a 140% increase and 240% increase, respectively, from the current processing capacity.

The current run-rate throughput of 500,000 tonnes per year has already been achieved, with the last major process plant upgrade, the installation of flotation cells to double rougher capacity, expected in early 2023.

According to K92, the expansions are expected to be “transformational” for Kainantu, as demonstrated in its Stage 4 preliminary economic assessment. The study outlines a peak annual production of 500,192 gold-equivalent oz. in 2027, with a life-of-mine average all-in sustaining costs of $687 per oz. (co-product) or $444 per oz. net of byproduct credits.

Importantly, as detailed in a Sept. 12 news release, the growth capital cost of $187 million, sustaining capital cost until operating both process plants of $60 million per year, and life-of-mine sustaining capital of $429 million are all expected to be funded from mine cash flow at $1,600 per oz. The company has already started the tendering process for long-lead time items for the expansion.

“When we acquired the Kainantu gold mine in 2015, it was under care and maintenance and had a designed throughput of 150,000 (tonnes per year). The Stage 4 expansion targets throughput of 1.7 million tonnes per annum, a more than 11-fold increase,” John Lewins, CEO and director of K92, commented.

Since restarting the mine in late 2016, the company has transformed Kainantu into a rapidly expanding both producer and mineral resources. In May 2017, a near-mine discovery of Kora North was made. This discovery ultimately combined the Kora, Eutompi and Kora North deposits into what is now known as the Kora deposit.

The project’s Stage 2 expansion run-rate was achieved in late 2021, with the Stage 2A expansion nearing completion.

“Beyond the mine expansion, as we approach 2023, we are very excited about our exploration programs at Kainantu. We plan to expand the number of drill rigs in 2023 from the 11 currently operating, with a focus on resource expansion of our vein fields and porphyries,” Lewins added.

The Kainantu property comprises an 830-sqkm land package in Eastern Highlands province, hosting several highly prospective vein field and porphyry targets that are already being drill tested.

In February 2022, following extensive underground drilling focused on upgrading the resources, K92 announced an updated Kora resource estimate of 2.1 million gold-equivalent oz. in 7.2 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 9.2 grams gold equivalent per tonne, and 2.5 million oz. in 8.1 million tonnes grading 9.5 grams gold equivalent.

Shares of K92 Mining jumped 4.3% by 12:25 p.m. ET following the latest update. The company has a market capitalization of C$1.9 billion.

Argonaut Gold to sell Ana Paula project for $30 million to Heliostar

Tue, 12/06/2022 - 08:51

Argonaut Gold (TSX: AR) has inked a deal with Heliostar Metals (TSXV: HSTR) to sell its Ana Paula gold project in Guerrero state, Mexico, for $30 million in cash and shares. The announcement comes 20 months after a planned sale of the asset to AP Mining fell through in April 2021.

Under the agreement, Heliostar will pay $10 million upfront; $5 million in shares upon renewing the open-pit mining permit or obtaining a new underground mining permit; $2 million upon completion of a feasibility study or July 1, 2024 (whichever comes first); $3 million in cash and $2 million in cash or shares preceding the construction announcement; and $5 million plus $3 million in cash or shares preceding the announcement of commercial production.

In return, the Vancouver-based exploration company will acquire all issued and outstanding shares of Aurea Mining, an Argonaut subsidiary that holds a 100% indirect interest in Ana Paula.

Larry Radford, Argonaut Gold president and CEO, commented in a news release that the sale would allow the company to focus on its Magino mine, located 40 km northeast of Wawa, Ontario, which it says will transform Argonaut into a “low-cost, intermediate producer.”

Argonaut acquired Magino in 2012 and the asset is currently under construction. The company raised C$195.3 million this year to help finance the over-budget project, which is now expected to cost C$920 million to complete. Magino has proven and probable reserves of 58.9 million tonnes grading 1.13 grams gold per tonne for 2.1 million contained ounces and a 19-year expected mine life.

Ana Paula is a developmental stage project with open pit and underground potential. According to a 2017 preliminary feasibility, it has a measured and inferred resource of 1.5 million oz. of gold and 3.3 million oz. of silver in 21 million tonnes grading 2.17 grams gold per tonne and 4.8 grams silver.

Heliostar, a junior with a C$13.3 million market cap, will still need to raise the necessary funds for the upfront payment, “which may pose a challenge, as was the case in 2021,” said Ryan Hanley, mining analyst for Laurentian Bank Securities, in a research note.

The companies also entered into an option agreement for Heliostar to acquire 100% of the San Antonio gold project, also in Mexico. Heliostar’s existing portfolio contains projects in Alaska and Mexico that focus on high-grade gold.

Researchers call for an integrated mineral supply agreement between nations

Tue, 12/06/2022 - 07:03

In a recent article published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, an interdisciplinary group of researchers from academia and industry are proposing an integrated mineral supply agreement between nations so that countries that have limited access to the raw materials needed to transition to a green economy are not left behind.

Thinking specifically about the US, the group says that mining and processing minerals and metals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel will be difficult for the country to achieve on its own.

China, however, is a dominant force in the world when it comes to processing and mining them. While the current political climate is calling for the US and European economies to distance themselves from China in order to reinvigorate domestic manufacturing capacity or build regional capabilities to cut emissions from transoceanic trade, the researchers believe this could spell disaster for the green energy transition.

Rather than simply shun those countries, lead author Saleem Ali said that as climate change is a planetary threat, and there are institutions in place like the International Renewable Energy Agency that was established precisely for the world to plan for a green transition, the countries in the G20 should negotiate an agreement on mineral supply security.

“Regardless of our differences with China and Russia, we should focus on making sure there is some agreement on mineral supply security to meet the obligations of the green energy transition,” he pointed out.

Only for green technologies

Historically, these metals have been used for the military-industrial complex and thus posed a national security issue. This paper, however, makes clear that the metals should only be used for green technologies and that the challenge of decarbonization should be addressed in a global manner so that all countries are willing to cooperate.

“The article lays out some of the recommendations for establishing such a global mineral supply agreement where countries would say, ‘Look, regardless of our differences, if the metals are going to be used for green technologies, we will assure supply,’” the University of Delaware researcher said.

In part, Ali said this is only reasonable as minerals are geologically determined. It just so happens that China and Russia are huge countries that have a lot of naturally endowed minerals and are thus able to capitalize on their geologic fortune.

He also said that every country hunkering down and excluding others from access to green minerals could lead to ecological consequences, as countries would be forced to start extractive industries in places where it might not be environmentally friendly to do so.

“You want to do it where it’s ecologically efficient,” Ali noted. “That’s the other important part of this agreement: if we hunker down into resource nationalism completely, we will potentially end up harming the environment in the long run because we will end up creating mines where it’s not ecologically efficient.”

In his view, however, this proposal does not imply that the US should ignore its allies. The paper emphasizes that near-shoring or working with countries like Australia and Canada should absolutely continue in order to diversify the US’s mineral supply.

“We are not saying that shouldn’t be done, but a global mineral supply agreement would diversify and create more resilience for the green energy transition. That’s what we have argued for,” Ali said.

For him and his colleagues, in addition to opening up to other sources of raw materials, the US also needs to be more realistic about its climate goals, particularly those that government would like to achieve by 2030 even though the necessary green energy generation, transmission and storage infrastructure is not yet in place.

“As much as we appreciate the thought of it, it cannot be done while at the same time saying, ‘We are decoupling from China,’ and that is a serious problem,” Ali said. “We need to try to arrange better ties with securing these supplies through a global agreement with China and other countries where it is more practical to extract.”

Environmental and human rights assessment of Rio Tinto’s former Panguna copper mine begins 

Mon, 12/05/2022 - 16:42

A historic independent environmental and human rights legacy impact assessment of Rio Tinto’s former Panguna copper mine will begin in Bougainville this week. 

The Panguna mine was operated by BCL, majority-owned by Rio Tinto, for 17 years from 1972 until 1989, when operations were suspended due to an uprising against the mine and subsequent civil war. A peace agreement was signed in 2001.

Bougainville had a history of small-scale mining. But the identification of a major gold, copper and silver orebody at Panguna in the 1960s prompted Bougainville Copper Ltd, (BCL) a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, to start operations of a major mine.

Last year, Rio Tinto publicly committed to fund the independent assessment in response to a human rights complaint brought by 156 local community members, represented by the Human Rights Law Centre.  

The human rights complaint alleges that the massive volume of mine waste pollution left behind by Panguna is putting communities’ lives and livelihoods at risk.  

Over a billion tonnes of waste tailings were released directly into the Jaba and Kawerong rivers during operations. Pollution from the mine continues to contaminate the rivers and flood large areas of land downstream, which is having devastating impacts on the lives of thousands of Bougainvilleans, the Human Rights Law Centre said in a press release Monday.  

The Legacy Impact Assessment is being overseen by a committee comprised of community leaders, landowners, government representatives, the Human Rights Law Centre and representatives from Rio Tinto and Bougainville Copper Limited. 

“This is an important step towards addressing insecurity and pain for the people in the impacted community areas. Thus, we welcome the assessment into the impacts of the Panguna mine as soon as possible,” committee member and traditional landowner Theonila Roka Matbob, said in the statement.

“We are always worrying that the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe is not safe. We worry about levees collapsing and mine waste flooding our lands and communities,” she said. “We welcome Rio Tinto’s commitment to this process,” she said. 

Syntax launches center of excellence for mining and natural resources

Mon, 12/05/2022 - 15:57

Syntax, a multi-cloud and mission-critical applications managed cloud provider, has announced the launch of its global Mining and Natural Resources Center of Excellence (COE). The COE will be led in conjunction with Illumiti, a Syntax company, which brings more than 20 years of experience delivering SAP-based solutions to more than 40 mining customers.

“This COE allows us to bring together all of our expertise, across lines of business and geographies, to provide holistic solutions that drive cutting-edge innovation for our clients,” Christian Primeau, Syntax CEO said in a media statement.

With the recent increased need for natural resources in North America – and mining operations tremendously affected by supply chain disruptions, rising costs, and the labor market shortage – the industry is facing many challenges all at once.

And with the global mining market forecasted to grow from $1843.33 billion in 2021 to $2064.72 billion in 2022 alone, it is clear there is still a need for minerals, metals, and other materials to be mined. However, to meet the demand, companies must ensure their operations are ready to face those challenges head-on, the company said.

Lake Resources shares dip on another short seller report

Mon, 12/05/2022 - 15:43

Lake Resources (ASX: LKE) shares fell nearly 3% after short seller J Capital Research released a new report questioning the purported success of the lithium junior’s direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology.

According to J Capital analysts, the DLE technology the company is looking to use could be “dramatically” underperforming expectations. This technology is critical to making the lithium developer’s Kachi project in Argentina a success, so its failure would be a big blow to the company’s ambitions.

In its report, J Capital alleges that Lake’s new CEO, David Dickson, who took the reins as chief executive in September, has been contacting other DLE providers due to the underperformance of the current technology. The technology in question is being developed by its partner, Bill Gates-backed Lilac Solutions.

J Capital says one of Dickson’s first actions was to contact Chinese-based Sunresin to ask if Lake could explore using their DLE technology. “We have confirmed this with multiple sources, including Sunresin,” said J Capital in its report.

“If Lake is reaching out to alternative technology suppliers and going back to the drawing board for its technological solution for DLE, then investors deserve to know about it. Lake should advise investors if Kachi brine will be evaluated by alternative DLE technology partners for the extraction of lithium.”

J Capital also highlights that after 600 hours of operation, the DLE technology has produced 80% less lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) than was expected. In a recent market update, Lake aimed to make 2,500 kg of LCE after 1,000 hours of operation but only indicated that 303 kg LCE was produced after 600 hours.

J Capital believes that there could be issues with the quality of the product, given that no shipments have been announced.

“It appears there may also be a quality problem with the lithium concentrate produced at the pilot plant to date. We estimate the first 2,000 litres of lithium concentrate was produced by the end of October and still has not been shipped 30 days later. Lake has not explained this delay,” said the firm.

“Lake should be clear with investors about why they have delayed the first shipment of 2,000 litres and why it will take up to three months to process the lithium carbonate from the lithium concentrate produced at the site. Is there a quality problem with the lithium concentrate being produced by Lilac that creates difficulty for processing it into lithium carbonate?” J Cap asked.

J Capital’s report is the third this year, with a previous report in November alleging Lake’s funding commitments from the UK Export Finance were misleading. The UK Export Finance said that Lake was just at the beginning of the funding application process.

J Capital’s first short attack on Lake was published on July 11 when it scrutinized the company for paying advisory businesses to produce favourable research and first questioned its DLE technology.

In September, Lake said a dispute had arisen with Lilac Solutions over the deadline of the U.S. partner achieving milestones to get a 25% stake in the Kachi project, sending its shares down 20%.

J Capital says Lake has cleared up that automakers Ford and Hanwa were no longer negotiating offtake agreements. Lake announced the deals with great fanfare in April and then quietly stopped mentioning them in early October. At the recent AGM, Lake’s chairman Stuart Crow said the offtake negotiations with the automakers had been replaced by non-binding memorandums of understanding with two other companies.

“What happened in that situation was that those agreements move through their exclusivity period, and we open the offtake discussions with other parties, and then became a commercial negotiation with six different people, and it was a case of whoever got over the line with the agreed terms first we secure the off-taker. So, this is why SK and WMC Energy have prevailed, and we’ve subsequently closed also those uptake discussions with other parties,” Crow said, according to J Capital.

The investor said it was curious that Lake implied Ford was not fast enough to act, when in the same time frame, Ford was able to reach a negotiated binding offtake agreement with ASX-listed ioneer (ASX: INR).

“Lake has said the dispute with Lilac was resolved with a contract amendment but has not provided any details about those amendments, such as performance criteria or timeline. When pressed at the AGM, the chairman refused to disclose any further information,” said J Capital.

Lake Resources had not responded for requests to comment by press time on Monday.

The company is down around 53% from its April 5 all-time high at A$2.65. The stock also sold off extremely aggressively following its inclusion into the ASX 200. Between June 16-23, it fell 58% from A$1.67 to just A70¢ but has since recovered to $1.00 per share.

Wyoming Innovation Center receives ‘Overcoming Adversity’ award

Mon, 12/05/2022 - 13:06

The Wyoming Innovation Center, a coal commercialization facility located in northeast Wyoming’s “Carbon Valley” region, announced Monday that it has been granted the ‘Overcoming Adversity’ award in the small division category by the Mid-America Economic Development Council. 

The award recognizes a project or best practices a community, region or state utilized to overcome a challenge, such as budget, supply chain disruptions, covid-19 setbacks or natural disaster.  

The 9.5-acre site is home to companies and researchers developing commodities like asphalt, graphene, graphite, agricultural char, carbon fiber and more — using coal and coal byproducts.

Related: How the state of Wyoming could supply the US with rare earth elements 

It features two buildings and seven demonstration sites for pilot plants, where private companies and researchers will work to advance coal-to-product and rare earth element processes. The region is a testbed for new and proven products produced from coal because of its 165 billion tonnes of recoverable coal. 

The project received a $1.5 million grant from the Wyoming Business Council and a $1.46 million matching grant from the US Economic Development Administration. It also received funding from both the City of Gillette and Campbell County.

Facing challenges from covid, supply chain disruptions, weather, and other factors, the project was completed later than planned, but still within budget. The facility was completed in June 2022 with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by local, state and federal officials. 

“Coal utilization is an essential component of Carbon Valley’s economy, so the completion of this project, although sometimes challenging, was imperative to our community and the industry as a whole,” said Phil Christopherson, CEO of Energy Capital Economic Development (ECED) in a media release.  

“Despite budget setbacks and disruptions from supply chain the Wyoming Innovation Center team was determined to finish the project on time and within budget, which allowed for the successful opening of the center and, most notably, progress within the coal commercialization industry.”  

Coal production and its workforce have seen a steep drop across America due in part to increased regulations limiting the release of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The Carbon Valley holds 165 billion tonnes of recoverable coal, which is tied to a robust mining workforce.

ECED developed the Wyoming Innovation Center to utilize this abundant resource and to sustain a mining workforce – all in a cleaner way.  

“Our community is determined to create proactive solutions to maintain our coal industry and the Wyoming Innovation Center is the perfect example of this,” said Campbell County Commissioner Rusty Bell. “Carbon Valley’s sustainable coal-related projects will continue to pave the way for our economy.”  

The 2022 award winners were recognized at the Mid-America Competitiveness Conference on December 2 in Chicago.

Lithium Chile nearly doubles Salar de Arizaro resource

Mon, 12/05/2022 - 11:46

Calgary-based Lithium Chile (TSXV: LITH) has announced an updated resource for its Salar de Arizaro asset in Argentina that has increased overall lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) tonnage by 81%.

With the addition of a second production well at the project, total indicated resources are 1.3 million tonnes of LCE at a grade of 284 mg per litre. Inferred resources add 1.2 million tonnes at a grade of 310 mg per litre. The updated resource shows 1.1 million tonnes of combined indicated and inferred resources from the second well, which nearly doubles the initial resource declared early this year.

The brine reservoir at the second well, located 3.6 km from the first production test well, had a greater thickness between 343 and 598 metres of depth.

Steve Cochrane, president and CEO, commented in a news release that the second well gives the company “great confidence in the areal extend of the Salar de Arizaro — one of the largest in Argentina.”

The complete drill program will include four production test wells with drilling on their third production test well expected to start within a week.

If the next two test wells are successful in establishing a continuation of the brine reservoir, the resource could see a further increase as a result of filling in the area between the test wells, added Cochrane.

In November, Lithium Chile shareholder Chengze Lithium International, which still holds 19.4% of the company, was ordered by the federal government to divest its stake in the junior for national security reasons. Three other Canadian juniors with Chinese investors were also targeted in the announcement.

Second phase

Lithium Chile started the project’s second phase at Salar de Arizaro in June 2022, during which it found a potential freshwater aquifer. Freshwater is critical for producing lithium carbonate whether using direct lithium extraction or evaporation production methods.

In the summer months, the company identified over 100 metres of freshwater aquifer on the southern border of the project. They have since completed the well, installed equipment, and began testing on flow and recharge rates.

Based on the data, the company submitted a water usage application to the Salta Environmental Ministry for a permit allowing the junior to use up to 75 cubic metres of freshwater per hour, a production rate sufficient to support their plans for a 15,000 tonne per year production facility.

The Salar de Arizaro project includes four exploration holes and three production wells with drilling to reach a depth of 800 metres.

Lithium Chile also announced that it was awarded “Lithium Company of the Year” at the Mines and Money London 2022, with Michelle DeCecco, vice president and CCO commenting: “2022 has been a transformational year for the company…Being recognized as ‘Lithium Company of the Year’ is foretelling to the exciting plans, and goals we have for 2023.”

The company has ownership in multiple high-grade lithium reserves in Chile and Argentina, as well as gold, silver, and copper properties.

Amex Exploration wins top explorer award at Mines and Money 2022; stock jumps

Mon, 12/05/2022 - 10:54

Amex Exploration (TSXV: AMX) recently saw its exploration success over the past year recognized by the international mining community, with the company accepting the top explorer award at Europe’s largest mining investment event.

On Thursday, the company received the Exploration Company of the Year award on in front of an international audience of its peers at the annual Mines and Money gala held in London, UK. The Exploration Company of the Year award is a competitive category that recognizes success in arguably the most important area of the mining sector.

The 2022 Explorer of the Year acknowledges a company and its leadership team for a significant new discovery made, or advanced to a meaningful status, in the period between October 1, 2021, and September 30, 2022.

“I am very proud of the dedicated team and the quality of work we have produced. Exploration is at the core of Amex culture, and we continue to stay focused on delivering results for our shareholders and stakeholders,” Victor Cantore, Amex’s president and CEO, commented.

By the end of 2022, Amex will have completed close to 375,000 metres of drilling on its 100% owned Perron project in Quebec. The drilling campaign is one of the largest and most ambitious in Canada, with the objective of discovering and defining the gold and VMS potential of the Perron property.

By analyzing and interpreting data compiled from geophysics, structural data and geochemistry, the Amex team and its partners have replicated their success in the original Eastern Gold Zone discovery and made numerous other discoveries on the project, the company said.

In total Amex, has outlined an area of gold and VMS mineralization that stretches over 4 km laterally on the Perron property. In the past year alone, Amex has discovered four new gold zones and two copper-rich VMS zones, while expanding and defining the High-Grade Gold Zone (HGZ) (underground mining target) and the adjacent Denise Zone (near surface bulk-tonnage target).

“The Perron project is located in a greenstone belt of Quebec that was previously overlooked for gold. Our success has proven that perseverance leads to discoveries which will benefit the people of the area and the province of Quebec,” Cantore added.

In addition to exploration success, Amex also recently qualified for ECOLOGO certification through a framework for environmental, social and corporate governance to adapt to the current environment of sustainable investing.

Shares of Amex Exploration shot up 5.7% by 1:30 p.m. ET Monday following the award announcement. The company’s market capitalization currently stands at C$193.1 million.


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