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Updated: 4 days 15 hours ago

Iron ore price rises while China warns against speculation

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 08:42

The iron ore price rose on Wednesday as investors bet on surging demand for the steel ingredient as China’s economy reopens.

According to Fastmarkets MB, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were changing hands for $113.60 a tonne Wednesday morning, up 3.1%.

China’s state planner on Wednesday issued its third warning this month against excessive speculation in iron ore, adding it will increase supervision of the country’s spot and futures markets.

Companies should not engage in price gouging and speculation, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), in a post on its official WeChat account.

It issued similar warnings on January 6 and 15th and summoned iron ore trading and futures companies, ordering them not to selectively quote data and information, deliberately exaggerate price increases or bid up prices.

(With files from Reuters)

New solution aims to effectively monitor tailings facilities from space

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 06:24

A new solution that uses satellites and earth observation coupled with ground sensors to monitor mine tailings facilities was recently launched by a Tokyo-based company and a London-based startup.

The strategic partnership brings together Japan’s Synspective, a SAR (synthetic aperture radar) satellite data and solutions provider, and England’s Insight Terra, a cloud-based environmental and infrastructure risk management platform.

The firms are working together to provide an integrated product offering combining Insight Terra’s cloud-based IoT Insight Platform with Synspective’s analytical models of SAR data for the mining and other related industries. The joint solution allows for the fusion of near real-time ground truth and earth observation data for proactive monitoring and alerting.

“The Tailings Insight solution including new InSAR capabilities will be a leap forward for mining operators, investors and regulators seeking to monitor and mitigate potential mine-related disasters affecting people, communities and the environment,” the companies said in a media statement.

According to the firms, Insight Terra’s mining product, Tailings Insight, is currently deployed with a number of global companies for tailings dam monitoring. 

On the other hand, Synspective develops and operates high-frequency, high-resolution SAR satellites called “StriX” to provide high-quality data sets and solution services. The company has already placed three satellites into targeted orbit while planning to establish a constellation of 30 satellites and an analytics platform by the late 2020s. 

The integration of SAR data gathered by Synspective’s growing family of StriX series satellites will provide powerful earth observation capabilities to the Tailings Insight application. This technology can be utilized to monitor ground movement and land deformation which are risk indicators for potential failures of tailings facilities, mine walls, and water dams, among others.

“Space has been an important part of Insight Terra’s heritage. Inmarsat, the leading global mobile satellite company, is one of our founding shareholders and key partners, and we have delivered a number of innovative environmental monitoring projects together with Inmarsat and the European Space Agency (ESA),” Insight Terra co-founder and CEO, Alastair Bovim, said in the release.

“Adding Synspective’s earth observation data bolsters our space-enabled data and monitoring capabilities and is integral to our mission of protecting people, and the environment, from potential disasters such as the mine tailings facilities collapse in South Africa just this September.”

Bovim also pointed out that the integrated mine monitoring solution that the companies will deliver should be an important step toward safety and conservation goals.

Use tech jobs to attract women to industry, Future Minerals forum panel says

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 06:15

The industry needs to encourage mentors, adjust mindsets and offer technology jobs to boost the level of women from just 8% of the global mining workforce, according to a panel at the Future Minerals Forum in Saudi Arabia.  

New technologies allow women to sidestep the image of a soot-covered coal miner headed underground with a pickaxe and choose careers such as geo-chemistry, finance and artificial intelligence, Emily King, chief innovation officer of Mexico-focused Analog Gold, told the conference in Riyadh on Jan. 12. 

“The more we can integrate technology into all the different ways the sector works,” King said, “the more attractive it will be to young people in general and women specifically.”   

Companies are facing increasing pressure to increase the number of women as the industry and its watchdogs push environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.  

The second edition of the two-day conference focused on the oil superpower’s efforts to continue as an energy leader — in battery metals — after the world transitions away from fossil fuels. But it also allowed state-owned miner Ma’aden to declare women hold 20% of its positions, and Saudi energy minister Prince Adulaziz bin Salman Al Saud to say the majority of his team is female. They’re following reforms led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that has also allowed women drivers and reined in the religious police.   

Remote work

It’s important for the industry’s ESG goals to engage women in remote jobs so they can work without disrupting the traditional roles they hold as caregivers, Sheila Khama, former chief executive officer of De Beers Botswana, told the forum.

“We should consider how can we use remote and digital technologies to enable women to work without having to make a choice as to whether they contribute to mining or leave children unattended,” Khama said. “The problem that happens to women is not a women’s problem, it is society’s issue and it’s one we should tackle collectively.”  

Christine Gibbs-Stewart, CEO of Sydney-based Austmine, a mining equipment association, said Australia’s relatively well-developed industry needs more leaders and mentors to raise female participation from just 16%.  

“We need the best and brightest to join the mining industry,” Gibbs-Stewart said. “Leaders need to make sure people are treated fairly, to call out bad behaviour, to encourage and promote women and most importantly they need to listen for what is needed to really foster and grow women into the mining industry.”  

Systemic biases

 Mashael Al-Omair, a metallurgical engineer at Ma’aden, said the industry needs to address systemic biases that creep into areas such as personal protective equipment (PPE) that isn’t suitable for women, or awkward on-site rapport between the sexes.  

“It’s a bit of a challenge to get your work done or get your point across but in the end they’re mostly well-intentioned,” Al-Omair said. “It’s just getting over that barrier providing PPE for women, having the sensitivity training, amenities on site that are fit for women. Being in Saudi, which has started having women in mining, it’s not a question of if, it’s when and how much.”   

Amanda Van Dyke, a fund manager at Africa-focused private equity firm Arch Emerging Partners, said she was impressed with the Saudi energy minister’s staffing and cited Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) CEO Mark Bristow as another industry leader promoting women.  

“He was hiring junior geologists and engineers 30 years ago and those women are now senior in his organization,” Van Dyke said. “It is from that leadership that recognizes talent and encourages women to come to the top that you will get there.”  

Small business support

Wendy Tyrrell, executive director of the Chicago-based Development Partner Institute, an ESG consultancy, said inclusive-minded education from grade school onwards and support for small businesses would help more women enter the industry. 

“This opportunity for education must go all the way to senior executives and board level,” Tyrrell said. “There are fantastic opportunities to broaden the space for women through education, mentorship and sponsorship.” 

Panel moderator Dina Alnahdy, a member of the Saudi National Mining Board, conducted an informal raise-your-hands poll and found only about half of the audience of maybe 100 mostly men would hire a woman even to a junior-level post.  

“How can we adjust this mindset?” she asked. 

Al-Omair replied leaders must become aware of unconscious biases while King said men must get beyond fearing to say the wrong thing in front of women, perhaps by learning from diversification mentors.  

Khama, who has also worked for the World Bank and AngloGold Ashanti (JSE: ANG), said she benefited from the confidence gained by being raised like a boy in her Botswana village because she was an only child.  

“It isn’t that I’m more intelligent than anyone, it’s that I had an attitude and a belief that I was as good as a man,” she said. “I worked so hard that if I wasn’t in the room the men knew something was missing. There’s no substitute for that.”

Goldshore drilling confirms high-grade Moss Lake gold core

Tue, 01/17/2023 - 16:28
The core shack at the Moss Lake project in northwest Ontario. Credit: Goldshore Resources

Goldshore Resources (TSXV: GSHR) reported the assay results for seven infill holes drilled in the centre portion of the QES Zone in the current Moss Lake resource outline in Ontario.

The best intercept from hole MQD-22-072 highlighted a broad zone of mineralization grading 1.03 grams gold per tonne (cut) over 116.6 metres (true width). Within this intercept was a high-grade core of 1.76 grams gold per tonne (cut) over an actual width of 46.8 metres (86.4 grams x metres (g-m)). Other highlights included holes MQD-22-070, MQD-22-92 and MQD-22-94, which showed a higher-grade core of plus-20 g-m within a lower-grade envelope.

Of the reported results, all holes exceeded the 0.3 grams gold per tonne cut-off for a pit outline, and six holes had intercepts exceeding 1 gram gold. Five had a higher-grade core of at least 20 g-m.

Drilling supports and adds to the company’s claim of a high-grade shear domain highlighted in the recently updated resource estimate. All released holes were drilled within the newly defined pit outline.

Laurentian Bank Securities Equity Research mining analyst Barry Allan said the results were positive and consistent in a note to clients. He said it added to the recently updated inferred 4.2 million oz. resource that identified a high-grade shear domain of 2.2 million oz. grading 2 grams gold per tonne held in 34.7 million tonnes within a lower-grade intrusive domain of 2 million oz. grading 0.7 grams per tonne in 87 million tonnes.

The holes reported are part of a 52-hole data set that was not included in the recent resource update. Goldshore is currently undertaking a 100,000-metre drill campaign using five to seven drill rigs with more than 100 holes drilled since August 2021, and assays for 45 holes are still pending.

Skeena Resources signs Process Charter for Eskay Creek gold project in British Columbia

Tue, 01/17/2023 - 12:42

Skeena Resources (TSX: SKE, NYSE: SKE) announced Tuesday the signing of the permitting Process Charter and other key milestones in the approval process for the Eskay Creek gold-silver project located in Tahltan Territory in the Golden Triangle of British Columbia.

The property hosts the former Eskay Creek mine that produced 3.3 million oz of gold and 160 million oz. of silver from 1994 to 2008. The Process Charter is a collaboration between Skeena, the Tahltan Central Government (TCG), and the Government of BC.

The signed document establishes a workplan for all parties to collaborate on an efficient Environmental Assessment (EA) and permitting process for Eskay Creek. The target timelines established in the Process Charter outline the EA Certificate being received in H2 2024 and final permits to be issued in H1 2025. These dates align with the development timeline anticipated for the project.  

BC First Nation, Skeena Resources reach mining partnership peak

“The TCG recently finalized the Process Charter for Eskay Creek,” Connor Pritty, TCG Lands Director said in a news release. “It is an example of how Skeena is continually working with the Tahltan Nation to redefine how project approval processes are carried out within our Territory.

“We are working together to effectively integrate Tahltan knowledge, process requirements and decision-making specific to Eskay Creek,” Pritty said. “The TCG Lands Department looks forward to continuing to work with the team at Skeena.”

“The Process Charter is a significant step forward in the approval process for Eskay Creek,” Skeena’s president and CEO Randy Reichert said in the statement.

“The signing of this document demonstrates the commitment from all parties on permitting the project in an efficient and timely matter. We appreciate the efforts and collaboration shown by both the TCG and the Province in achieving this major milestone.” 

Skeena has worked closely with the TCG, federal and provincial regulators, indigenous nations, and communities to advance the EA process for Eskay Creek. On November 18, 2022, both the EA Office and TCG provided a positive Readiness Decision for the project, which advanced it to the Process Planning stage. On November 29, 2022, the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change approved the substitution of the impact assessment to the BC Environmental Assessment Office.

The substitution decision means that instead of doing two separate assessments on Eskay Creek, the BCEAO conducts a single assessment that meets both provincial and federal requirements.

Probe Metals triples resource estimate at Monique deposit in Quebec 

Tue, 01/17/2023 - 12:11

Analysts welcomed Probe Metals (TSXV: PRB) tripling the indicated gold resource at its Monique deposit in the Novador project near Val d’Or, Quebec.

The deposit now holds 41.8 million indicated tonnes grading 1.52 grams gold per tonne for 2 million oz. contained metal, Probe said in a news release on Tuesday. That’s up from 672,800 indicated oz. in the previous resource estimate from 2021.

“The updated resource was slightly better than we anticipated,” Barry Allan, a mining analyst for Laurentian Bank, wrote in a note on Tuesday. “We are very pleased with the size and quality of the resource at Novador, reflecting a very successful 2022 drill campaign.”

Toronto-based Probe is expected to follow Monique’s new figures with updates from the Courvan and Pascalis deposits showing 5.1 million oz. total at Novador. The project used to be called Val d’Or East and lies 25 km east of the Abitibi region town. An updated prefeasibility study may be released this year.

“We would expect the resource update to improve economics by adding scale to the project via increasing overall ounces as well as potentially facilitating a higher throughput level compared with the preliminary economic assessment (PEA),” Andrew Mikitchook, a mining analyst for BMO Capital Markets wrote in a note on Tuesday.

“The open pit resource has grown into one pit, combining three smaller pits in the previous resource, which we would expect to be a slight benefit to project economics due to higher efficiencies from mining a single pit.”

Monique’s pit-constrained resource grade improved to 1.42 grams gold per tonne from 1.38 grams gold at the same cut-off of 0.42 grams gold. Updates due within months on the historical resources for the Pascalis and Courvan deposits (1.1 million indicated oz. and 1.6 million inferred oz.) should show “significant improvement,” Probe said in the release.

“Our expansion and conversion programs were highly successful and confirmed the consistency and quality of the Monique deposit,” Probe president and chief executive officer David Palmer said in the release. “We also saw an increase in grade of the pit-constrained resources, reflecting the better-than-expected drill results throughout the year.”

Probe has four rigs drilling at Monique, which remains open for expansion in all directions, the company said. The drilling is part of a 50,000-metre expansion program this year across Novador.

Laurentian’s Allan said he is maintaining a buy recommendation and C$5 price target ahead of a prefeasibility study on Novador.

“After which we intend to revise our estimates to incorporate the significant increase in resources and expected higher capital costs,” Allan said. “We expect that the total resource increase at Novador may largely offset the anticipated increase in upfront capital costs and have a neutral impact on valuation.”

A 2021 PEA suggested an open-pit and underground project capable of producing more than 200,000 oz. gold a year for a 13-year mine life.

Since then, Probe completed 165,000 metres of drilling that has outlined a gold system 2.2 km long, 1 km wide and 600 metres deep. The property lies among three past-producing mines: Beliveau, Monique and Bussiere.

Probe also has with Midland Exploration (TSXV: MD) a copper-gold-silver-molybdenum deposit at the La Peltrie project near Detour Lake, Quebec, about 190 km north of Rouyn-Noranda in the Abitibi region.

Probe shares fell 0.6% on Tuesday afternoon to trade at C$1.78 each in Toronto, valuing the company at C$271 million.

FPX Nickel commences PFS on Baptiste project in British Columbia

Tue, 01/17/2023 - 10:55

FPX Nickel (TSXV: FPX) has commenced a preliminary feasibility study (PFS) for its Baptiste nickel project located in central British Columbia.

The PFS marks the culmination of the extensive de-risking and optimization program that has been undertaken since the issuance of the 2020 preliminary economic assessment. It is expected to be completed in September 2023.

The PFS will present two strategic options, including the base case and a secondary option.

The base case entails the production of a high-grade awaruite concentrate (50-65% nickel) for direct feed to the stainless steel market, utilizing a simple and robust concentrator flowsheet that is only possible due to Baptiste’s awaruite mineralization.

The secondary option involves further upgrading of the high-grade awaruite concentrate to produce battery-grade nickel sulphate and cobalt-rich products for the electric vehicle battery supply chain, utilizing moderate leaching conditions and standard hydrometallurgical unit operations.

“Since completion of the 2020 PEA, we have consistently applied a major company-style mindset to project development, and believe the PFS will confirm Baptiste as a peer-leading development-stage nickel project, highlighting its potential for large-scale, low-cost and low-carbon nickel production spanning multiple decades,” CEO Martin Turenne said in a news release.

Fission announces economics for Patterson Lake South uranium

Tue, 01/17/2023 - 10:44

Fission Uranium (TSX: FCU) has announced the results of a feasibility study conducted by Tetra Tech Canada for the Patterson Lake South property in the Athabasca Basin.

The company says these study results further enhance the economics outlined in the 2019 pre-feasibility study. Highlights include a longer mine life of 10 years, an increased after-tax net present value at 8% discount of C$1.2 billion and a higher after-tax internal rate of return of 27.2%, while still maintaining a very low operating cost of C$13.02 per pound.

Other important parameters from the study suggest a construction timeline of three years with an estimated initial capital cost of C$1.1 billion and life-of-mine production of over 90 million lb. of uranium oxide.

“Showing capex to be lower than in the 2019 prefeasibility report, particularly with the pressures of high global inflation, is a remarkable achievement and speaks volumes regarding the team’s design and planning abilities,” said CEO Ross McElroy in a news release. 

“Going forward, thanks to the strength of this feasibility study and the success of our ongoing social engagement, we will continue advancing through the environmental assessment and on towards a construction decision,” McElroy added.

Copper price retreats on weak economic data from China

Tue, 01/17/2023 - 10:13

The copper price fell on Tuesday as weak economic data from China punctured a speculator-driven rally.

Copper for delivery in March fell 0.3% on the Comex market in New York, to $4.20 per pound, or $9,240 per tonne.

[Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices]

Prices of the metal have surged 9% this month after China’s decision to end the zero-covid policy.

In the short term, however, Chinese consumption is weak and likely to remain so as the country heads into the Lunar New Year holidays next week.

China’s economy grew 3% last year, one of the weakest annual growth figures in nearly half a century, with factory output growing 1.3% year on year in December.

China’s population also fell for the first time in six decades, underlining its long-term economic challenges.

Economists expect China’s economy to pick up in the coming months.

“We are heading for higher (copper) prices this year, but this is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen, predicting a temporary pause or reversal of the rally.

(With files from Reuters)

Wealth Minerals delivers first resource estimate for Ollagüe lithium project in Chile

Tue, 01/17/2023 - 09:16
Credit: Wealth Minerals

Lithium developer Wealth Minerals (TSXV: WML) reached a significant milestone on Tuesday with the release of the first resource estimate for its Ollagüe project in Chile.

This NI 43-101 resource estimate — prepared by independent consultants Montgomery & Associates — is based on the company’s geophysical survey and 2022 drill program, consisting of four vertical holes totalling 1,111 metres. It also includes drilling and geophysical data from previous operators on the Ollagüe project.

The initial resource, as estimated by Montgomery, contains 741,000 tonnes of LCE (lithium carbonate equivalent) grading 175 ml/L in the indicated category and 701,000 tonnes LCE grading 185 ml/L in the inferred category.

These estimates will likely change as more information becomes available, according to Wealth Minerals. The 2022 program has substantially increased the company’s understanding of the “evaporitic basins” that define the project area, which has allowed the estimation of this initial lithium resource, it says.

Wealth Minerals anticipates that additional drilling may encounter lithium brine in the deeper parts of the aquifer, potentially adding to the overall resource. Additional characterization in the northmost concessions of the project could also add additional resources in the measured and indicated category.

The company will now begin the next phase of development planning, engaging with its engineering partner FLSmidth to prepare a scoping study. Meanwhile, the geological team is planning how to best expand the resource and raise the category of the resource in the next drilling campaign.

“The Ollagüe project is well suited for lithium production because of its favorable permeability, resource size and expansion potential. Indeed, in terms of LCE resource size, the Ollagüe project now ranks among its peers in terms of a potential future operation,” CEO Henk van Alphen said in a news release.

The Ollagüe property consists of 6,400 hectares located in northern Chile, Region II, near the Chile-Bolivia border and approximately 200 km due north from Atacama. Recent drilling activity by a peer company in the area returned lithium grades up to 480 mg/L, while surface sampling has returned lithium grades as high as 1,140 mg/L.

Shares of Wealth Minerals were down 10% as of noon ET following the initial Ollagüe resource estimate. The company has a market capitalization of C$121.9 million ($91m).

How abandoned mines can become clean energy storage systems

Tue, 01/17/2023 - 07:05

An international team of researchers has developed a novel way to store energy by transporting sand into abandoned underground mines. The new technique, called Underground Gravity Energy Storage (UGES), proposes an effective long-term energy storage solution while also making use of now-defunct mining sites.

In a paper published in the journal Energies, the scientists explain that UGES generates electricity when the price is high by lowering sand into an underground mine and converting the potential energy of the sand into electricity via regenerative braking and then lifting the sand from the mine to an upper reservoir using electric motors to store energy when electricity is cheap. 

Regenerative braking is an energy recovery mechanism that slows down a moving vehicle or object, such as an elevator, by converting its kinetic energy into a form that can be either used immediately or stored until needed. In other words, the electric traction motor uses the vehicle’s momentum to recover energy that would otherwise be lost to the brake discs as heat. Regenerative braking system lifts are already applied in newly highly energy-efficient buildings. 

Underground Gravity Energy Storage system: a schematic of different system sections. (Graph by Hunt et al.).

Based on this principle, the main components of UGES are a vertical shaft, a motor/generator, upper and lower storage sites, and mining equipment. Using the shaft and electric motor/generators, large volumes of sand are lifted and dumped. The deeper and broader the mineshaft, the more power can be extracted from the plant, and the larger the mine, the higher the plant’s energy storage capacity. 

“When a mine closes, it lays off thousands of workers. This devastates communities that rely only on the mine for their economic output. UGES would create a few vacancies as the mine would provide energy storage services after it stops operations,” Julian Hunt, lead author of the study and a researcher at the International Institute For Applied Systems Analysis, said in a media statement.

“Mines already have the basic infrastructure and are connected to the power grid, which significantly reduces the cost and facilitates the implementation of UGES plants.”

According to Hunt, other energy storage methods, like batteries, lose energy via self-discharge over long periods. The energy storage medium of UGES is sand, meaning that there is no energy lost to self-discharge, enabling ultra-long time energy storage ranging from weeks to several years.

The researcher noted that the investment costs of UGES are about 1 to 10 USD/kWh and power capacity costs of 2 USD/kW. The technology is estimated to have a global potential of 7 to 70 TWh, with most of this potential concentrated in China, India, Russia and the United States.

“To decarbonize the economy, we need to rethink the energy system based on innovative solutions using existing resources. Turning abandoned mines into energy storage is one example of many solutions that exist around us, and we only need to change the way we deploy them,” study co-author Behnam Zakeri said.

Mining’s top ten ‘S’ trends in ESG for 2023

Tue, 01/17/2023 - 06:35

To say 2022 was tumultuous is an understatement. War, inflation, climate disasters, market volatility: the past year was anything but business as usual for most. ESG, which had seemed firmly embedded in business, began to experience a backlash, facing criticism as a “woke capitalist” distraction. Yet, a recent Harvard study indicates 81% of institutional investors in the US and 83.6% in Europe plan to increase their ESG allocations over the next two years.

And while climate change continued to dominate, biodiversity and other topics entered global sustainability discourse, revealing widespread recognition that the challenges we face today are deeply interconnected economic, political, social, and environmental issues requiring holistic, collective action.

With so much upheaval, it can be difficult to spot the trends and anticipate what lies ahead for mining companies and their ESG journeys. With standards and regulations ensuring social topics become more firmly embedded in expected ESG practice this year, expect “S” to feature more prominently. What might that look like? Here are our top 10 “S” trends mining companies should take note of and take action on in 2023.

1: Global crises driving local risk

Last year saw a confluence of global challenges that had decidedly local impacts. Global energy prices, political unrest, extreme weather and climate disasters, food shortages, inflation, supply chain disruptions, diminished ecosystem services, and lingering pandemic impacts affected the resilience of countries, regions, and communities.

The UN reported that, by August 2022, cost of living increases had already pushed 71 million into poverty this past year, while the IMF forecasts that 2023 will feel like a recession for many. Socio-economic stress often leads to social unrest and can also drive resource nationalism. In 2023, contributions to local poverty relief, liveability, and economic development can build resilience in your company’s operating context, contributing to stronger relationships and helping manage asset-level social risk.

2: Investors expecting more robust community practices

Codification of social management practices is maturing, including ICMM’s 2022 Performance Expectations and a growing list of industry and commodity -specific standards, principles, and protocols. In 2023, tailings management will be a key area of action, as  ICMM members, responsible operators, and miners with particularly ESG-oriented investors implement the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM), which contains a robust set of expectations around community engagement, participation, and collaboration, as well as socio-economic assessment, that don’t reflect most companies’ current practices.

With strong investor endorsement, GISTM is raising the bar for operational community involvement across the industry in 2023, and companies will do well to review and/or upgrade their social management practices to avoid being caught flat-footed.

3: Mainstream operationalization of UNGPs

The UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) have rapidly become the global standard for corporate human rights, and particularly for asset-level community feedback (or grievance) mechanisms. Its Reporting Framework is backed by a coalition of 88 investors with US$5.3 trillion in assets under management. Multiple industry frameworks including the RGMPs, GISTM, IRMA, the Equator Principles, and ICMM’s Performance Expectations explicitly reference alignment with the UNGPs.

The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and the IFC Performance Standards help to operationalize the principles, as does MAC TSM’s operational grievance mechanism design guide.  Even the new GRI Reporting Standards, effective January 1, 2023, include UNGP disclosure. The UNGPs are here to stay. As human rights legislation proliferates globally in 2023, and investors recognize the significance of human rights risk, companies can expect the UNGP “Effectiveness Criteria” to increasingly feature in mining ESG audits and due diligence.

4: Drive to improve DEI performance

Expectations of mining company action on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have grown rapidly in recent years. Several reports have now revealed widespread discrimination, harassment, racism, and sexual violence; findings that are symptomatic of industry-wide inadequate efforts to create safe and inclusive workplaces that attract and retain a variety of talent. And a range of stakeholders are taking note and taking action. While major proxy advisory firms update their proxy voting policies on DEI, asset managers seek disclosure on a broader range of DEI themes – mining CEOs have indicated to EY that DEI performance is the social topic on which they expect most investor scrutiny in 2023. Meanwhile, employees are voting with their feet. Workers leave mining more than other sectors, forecasted mining worker shortages are in the hundreds of thousands globally, and mining engineering degree enrolment is in decline in Canada, the US, and Australia. Mining companies will urgently need to understand and improve their DEI performance and worker experience to secure continued access to relevant talent in 2023.

5: Shifting materiality and ESG prioritization

As ESG matures, companies will need to shift away from outdated approaches to materiality and disclosure. Processes that focus excessively on opinions of select company and external stakeholders and communications that parlay one ESG success story into purported sustainability leadership fall short of what’s expected of companies today. No more cherry-picking only those areas of competitive advantage, strong performance, or trendy topics. Instead, meaningful materiality requires a robust understanding and analysis of your impacts (actual/potential and positive/negative) to prioritize ESG action and disclosure, even when it’s uncomfortable. While some continue to focus exclusively on financial materiality, this year will see “double materiality” (capturing both socio-environmental impacts and financial risk) emerge as a foundation for more effective enterprise risk management.

Social topics on which mining companies are likely to have impacts — such as human and Indigenous Peoples’ rights, DEI, cultural heritage, and community impacts — are likely to demand and receive more strategic ESG attention. And with ESG litigation on the rise as more stakeholders rely on sustainability information, any inaccurate analysis, action, and disclosure means risking great financial, relationship, and reputational costs.

6: ESG standardization and harmonization advances

Broad criticism of the vast inconsistencies among ESG disclosure standards, requirements, and related rating and ranking frameworks are prompting continued efforts to standardize and harmonize. This year will see the much-anticipated completion of the ISSB’s institutional and technical efforts to set the global standard for (investor-focused) sustainability-related disclosure. Meanwhile, recent and imminent ESG rating regulation, especially in the EU, suggests a trend of pushing from pure “enterprise value” ESG towards double materiality. Additionally, a systems lens is emerging across all ESG disclosure and assessment, which acknowledges the interconnected nature and deep complexity of sustainability issues such as climate change, persistent inequality, and loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. As a result, companies can expect calls to pay closer attention to social impacts and community collaboration requirements in scenario and emergency response planning — whether for tailings management, climate change, nature loss, or operational emergencies – so that stakeholders can assess and compare the level of embeddedness and success of ESG practices. 

7: Radical transparency

To help build credibility within an often-distrusted sector, both voluntary and mandatory disclosures are promoting radical transparency on impacts, risks, and performance. The GISTM, GRI, EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), and other initiatives will set a new tone in 2023 for disclosure on a broader range of topics to a broader range of stakeholders. Transparency, including for co-design and collaborative risk management, will result in better-informed stakeholders. While companies may initially feel vulnerable about disclosure of, perhaps, imperfect practices or not-yet-good-enough performance, especially at a local community level, operators should prepare for these standards to usher in an era of enhanced transparency and new levels of community co-development in operational decision-making and risk management.

8: Lens on value chains

Value chains and their often hidden social and environmental risks and impacts are shifting into focus. Mandatory due diligence and disclosure requirements are emerging in jurisdictions and standards globally. Climate disclosure rules are expected in 35 jurisdictions and several, such as the US SEC’s regulations, cover Scope 3 (value chain) emissions. The ISSB plans to adopt the same scope. Meanwhile, human rights legislation, including the EU’s Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence, has been enacted or tabled in at least 15 countries (hosting over half of all ESG raters), many with a growing focus on modern slavery.

Mining companies, with their products being early in the value chain, can expect an increase in information requests and demands to demonstrate or improve their human rights performance. Downstream value chain partners and investors who, themselves, are under regulatory pressure to conduct human rights due diligence across supply chains and investment portfolios, may be compelled to divest from miners who cannot, in a timely manner, demonstrate good human rights practices and performance.

9: Growth of “green-hushing”

Last year, we anticipated a significant rejection of greenwashing by companies without the sustainability credentials to back up their commitments. Well, that happened, and then some… Companies rushing to put out vague and lofty commitments for the sake of having, say, a climate goal to point to, faced a backlash from critical stakeholders questioning the substance behind their objectives. We now see a growing new trend of “green-hushing.”

A recent South Pole report found that 25% of companies now don’t plan to talk about their science-aligned climate targets at all, usually to avoid scrutiny. This is detrimental to companies and the broader industry, hampering crucial industry knowledge-sharing on decarbonization, while possibly eroding stakeholder trust and social acceptability. In 2023, companies are advised to take a thoughtful, credible approach rather than opting for silence, such as by setting public objectives to deepen their understanding of issues like climate change before setting science-based emissions reduction targets.

10: Taking a stance on social issues

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more than anything before, demonstrated that not only consumer brands but mining companies, too, are expected to “care.” Several mining investors and operators opted to divest from or sell Russia-based assets and many more were compelled to issue position statements on the topic to clarify their rejection of Russia’s actions. The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer suggested that “societal leadership” is now seen as a “core function of business” and forecasted that calls for business to take a stand on and engage even more in societal issues are growing.

But while stakeholders increasingly expect corporate action and positions on economic inequality, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, and other issues with social implications, PWC’s 2022 Corporate Director Survey suggests that most Boards are not substantially discussing social issues as part of their governance responsibilities and may be missing a key blind spot.

Overall, we have seen ESG become more deeply entrenched in global business and investment practice in 2022, a trend which shows no signs of abating in the year ahead, to the chagrin of some. Polarization and politicization of ESG are on the rise in the US and beyond. And, as a global recession looms, companies will need to balance the need to manage longer-term ESG risk while continuing to meet immediate financial performance objectives, even as development and operating costs continue to rise for many.

However, the underpinning principles of managing business risk and reducing adverse impacts through responsible governance and sustainable operations remain valid as ever, as interconnected challenges continue to pose familiar and unprecedented risks to companies globally. The number of consumers and investors who care about environmental and social issues only continues to grow, with a lens to the future and undeterred by the politics of the day. So, mining companies will do well to ensure their leadership and boards are equipped to manage and govern their businesses responsibly in a world of volatility and increasingly interconnected impacts; they may find 2023 is the year to cultivate that crucial social performance skillset.

Elizabeth Freele and Rachel Dekker are the co-founders and managing partners of mining sustainability think tank and ESG consultancy Sympact. Sympact supports companies in ensuring their social performance meets growing expectations through advisory services, training, and thought leadership products.

Pan American Silver offers to acquire Yamana Gold shares for $1 billion

Mon, 01/16/2023 - 13:01

Two proxy firms are recommending that Yamana Gold (TSX:YRI; NYSE:AUY) accept a $1 billion takeover offer from Vancouver’s Pan American Silver (TSX,NYSE:PAAS).

Yamana Gold announced Friday that Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass, Lewis & Co. LLC are recommending the company accept Pan American’s offer to acquire all of Yamana’s issued and outstanding shares.

As part of the deal, Yamana Gold would sell its Canadian assets to Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (TSX:NYSE:AEM), including its 50% share of Canadian Malartic mine, which Yamana co-owns with Agnico.

Agnico Eagle, Pan American to buy Yamana Gold in $4.8bn deal

Canadian Malartic, near Val-d’Or, Quebec, is Canada’s largest operating gold mine. It was developed by Osisko Mining, and acquired by Yamana and Agnico in 2014.

Yamana Gold has five operating mines – including Canadian Malartic – that produced 1 million ounces of gold in 2021. Through the acquisition, Pan American will acquire four operating gold mines and a number of development projects in Latin America.

Yamana Gold shareholders will receive $1 billion in cash, and 153.5 million common shares of Pan American and 36.1 million common shares of Agnico. Shareholders would receive receive $1.0406 — 0.0376 of an Agnico Share and 0.1598 of a Pan American Share — for each common share held, according to a press release in November.

“Yamana investors are poised to receive, among other things, significant exposure to what we consider to be two highly credible operators with more tailored regional bona fides, compatible assets and a more credible ability to fully realize the potential of Yamana’s blended portfolio,” Glass Lewis said in a Yamana Gold news release.

“We further consider the associated terms appear to reflect a reasonable value for Yamana investors, and would further note post announcement trading trends and fixed exchange ratios have further increased that value roughly 16.4% on a per share basis.”

Yamana Gold shareholders will vote on the offer at a special meeting January 31.

(This article first appeared in Business in Vancouver)

Surging molybdenum price adds weight to new year rally for copper producers

Tue, 01/10/2023 - 12:13

Copper prices started the new year with a bang – touching fresh six-month highs on Tuesday. Copper for delivery in March touched $4.0795 per pound or just shy of $9,000 a tonne, bringing gains for the first week of 2023 to over 8%. 

Measured from last year’s summer lows the bellwether metal is up nearly 30% on optimism over a post-covid recovery in China, which consumes more than half the world’s copper, and long-term demand growth spurred by the energy transition. 

In a new note, BMO Capital Markets points out molybdenum has been one of the strongest base metal performers in the recent past with the latest spot assessments at ~$32 per pound or $70,500 per tonne – more than 50% higher than November-end levels.   

Molybdenum is often produced as a byproduct of porphyry copper mines with global production worldwide of 300,000 tonnes primarily destined for the steel industry.  

BMO says with demand conditions still relatively muted due to softness on global steel markets output, the price surge for molybdenum is mainly driven by supply issues:

“With the ongoing output challenges at Codelco, responsible for ~50% of Chilean molybdenum supply, Chilean output remains well below the five-year average, though November did mark a return to y/y growth. 

“Meanwhile, Peru’s output is also down y/y, while other key primary producers such as China and the U.S. are also facing production headwinds.”

BMO says the the gains in molybdenum should help by-product credits at many copper operations, reducing headline costs and profits at producers.

Copper mining stocks on a tear

A revived copper price is boosting the sector’s top producers, led by Southern Copper Corp (NYSE:SCCO) which is up 18.8% so far in 2023. Southern Copper, headquartered in Mexico City, is the world’s fifth largest copper producer in terms of volume. 

Freeport-McMoran (NYSE:FCX) traded up nearly 4% on Tuesday in heavy volumes of almost 9 million shares by early afternoon. The Phoenix-based company is the world’s second-largest copper producer after Chilean state company Codelco and is up 16.8% just in the past week. 

Investors in London-listed Chilean producer Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) are enjoying double digit gains in 2023 as are those who took a bet on Poland’s KGHM (WSE:KGH), which has gained 17% in Warsaw this year. 

Even First Quantum Minerals (TSE:FM), locked in a bitter dispute with Panama over government revenues from the Vancouver-based company’s 300,000 tonnes per annum copper mine, is up 9% in 2023 as investors bet on a swift resolution.  

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.  Shares of rapidly-growing Zijin, which is also a significant precious metals producer, are up 8.3% in Shanghai year to date.  

Lundin Gold stock rises as it beats production guidance for second straight year

Tue, 01/10/2023 - 10:37

Lundin Gold (TSX: LUG), which owns and operates one of the world’s highest grade gold mines in southeast Ecuador, has exceeded its production guidance for the second year in the row.

On Tuesday, the Vancouver-based company reported its operating results for the fourth quarter of 2022, showing gold production of 121,139 oz. from the flagship Fruta del Norte mine.

This resulted in total gold production of 476,329 oz. for the year, exceeding the high end of the company’s 2022 guidance of 460,000 oz.

Of the total quarterly gold production, 78,756 oz. were produced as a concentrate and 42,383 oz. as doré. During the same quarter in 2021, the company produced 107,915 oz. of gold.

In Q4 2022, the Fruta del Norte mill processed approximately 420,838 tonnes at an average throughput rate of 4,574 tonnes per day; the average grade of ore milled was 10 grams per tonne, and average recovery was 89.6%.

“We continue to push the boundaries of what Fruta del Norte is capable of, and noteworthy improvements have been made across the board as compared to last year,” Lundin Gold CEO Ron Hochstein said in a media release.

“Our average throughput of 4,574 t/d this fourth quarter is proof that there is a lot more we can get out of Fruta del Norte, and I’m particularly excited to continue building on our successes in 2023,” he added.

The Fruta del Norte project was first acquired by Lundin Gold in late 2014, eight years after its original discovery by Aurelian Resources. Construction began in 2017 and first gold was poured in 2019.

Commercial production began at Fruta del Norte in February 2020. Over an estimated 13-year life, the underground mine is expected to have average production of 340,000 oz. per year, based on its current throughput capacity of 4,200 t/d.

Shares of Lundin Gold shot up 4.3% by 1:30 p.m. ET following the guidance beat. The company’s market capitalization sits at C$3.5 billion ($2.6bn).

Dynasty Gold shares hit new high on best assays to date from Thundercloud property

Tue, 01/10/2023 - 09:07

Dynasty Gold (TSXV: DYG) has released assay results from its Phase 1 2022 drill campaign at the Thundercloud property located 47 km southeast of Dryden, Ontario. These results are the best ever reported from the project, the company says, constituting the discovery of wide zones and high-grade gold-bearing quartz veins that require further delineation.

A total of four near-surface shallow holes were drilled within the known Pelham area, where most of the past drilling has been done. Three of those resulted in the discovery of a new area of high-grade gold mineralization in quartz veins. Rock samples from the area contained up to 246 g/t gold over a 1.5-metre core length.

One hole intercepted 1.31 g/t gold over 121 metres from 102 metres, including an interval of 15.06 g/t gold over 9 metres and 43.47 g/t gold over 3 metres. Another intercepted 7.35 g/t gold over 51 metres from 88.5 metres, which represents the longest intercepts with the highest gold grades to date.

“We are thrilled with these outstanding results in our first drill program on the property,” Dynasty CEO Ivy Chong said in a news release. “They are the highest gold grades, the longest and the widest intercepts ever drilled at the property. These drill results indicate a much bigger resource potential with higher grades at Thundercloud.”

The data, Chong says, will assist the company in building a structural model for an NI 43-101 resource update at the Thundercloud property, as well as future drill target planning for resource expansion.

“Current assay results obtained by Dynasty Gold from the Thundercloud property are particularly of interest, in that the results clearly indicate that the property has potential for both large-tonnage with high-grade and vein deposits,” Roman Shklanka, director of Dynasty Gold, added.

The 2,250-hectare Thundercloud property is located in the central Wabigoon greenstone belt of Western Ontario, which contains numerous gold showings, deposits and past producers including the Big Master mine (1902-1943) and the Laurentian mine (1906-1909). Exploration results to date have indicated potential for bulk-tonnage orogenic gold mineralization. Close to 30 million oz. of gold have been discovered in the area in recent years.

In September 2021, Dynasty Gold acquired a 100% interest in the Thundercloud property after amending its agreement with Teck Resources. The project currently hosts an NI 43-101 gold resource estimate of 182,000 of oz., based solely on historic drilling (over 12,000 metres) from the Pelham zone area.

Following the latest drill result release, shares of Dynasty Gold more than tripled to hit a new high of C$0.43 on Tuesday. By noon ET, the stock had come down to C$0.34, still a 229% increase over its previous closing price. The company’s market capitalization is C$12.7 million ($9.4m).

Vale evaluates offers for $2.5 billion base metals unit

Tue, 01/10/2023 - 06:09

Vale (NYSE: VALE), the world’s second largest iron ore miner and top nickel producer, has shortlisted suitors for 10% of its base metals business estimated to be worth nearly $2.5 billion.

The Brazilian miner, which last year hired advisers to assess options for the unit, told the Financial Times that top bidders included carmakers, state investors and pension funds.

The stake sale is part of Vale’s decision to separate its iron ore operation from its copper, nickel and platinum assets, into a new firm named Vale Base Metals that will be based in the UK, according to Brazilian media.

The spin-off, yet to be approved by the board, would have independent governance and a board that includes deep underground mining and electric-vehicle specialists. 

Vale Base Metals would have nickel mines in Canada and Indonesia, copper mines in Brazil, and interests in cobalt and platinum group metals.

“This thing can get even bigger than Vale. Not tomorrow, not even next year — when you look long-term,” chief executive Eduardo Bartolomeo told FT.com.

Separating the two sides of the business is key to accessing “competitive” capital needed for an estimated $20 billion of base metal investments, Bartolomeo said in December.

The plan has been on Vale’s cards for years as most nickel and copper assets the company has were acquired via the $17 billion acquisition of Canada’s Inco, in 2006.

Europe needs to invest over €300 billion in the next two years to reach climate goals — study

Tue, 01/10/2023 - 05:13

Europe needs to invest €302 billion annually to build relevant infrastructure over the next two years if it wants to reach its goals of becoming climate neutral by 2050 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero, a new study has shown.

According to the paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change, major investments in power generation from renewable energies, electricity grids, storage devices and other infrastructure are urgently required across the EU and neighbouring countries. 

To reach this conclusion, the authors of the study built on 56 relevant technology and investment studies from academia, industry and the public sector. They focused on the countries in the EU but also took into account data on the UK, Norway and Switzerland. 

In their view, the most dramatic increase in the need for investment is in power generation from renewable energies. 

“In order to drive forward the decarbonization of all areas of life, around 75 billion euros need to be invested in solar and wind power plants in the coming years. This is 24 billion euros more per year than in the recent past,” Bjarne Steffen, a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich and co-author of the study, said in a media statement.

The situation is similar when it comes to the expansion of distribution networks and railways. In these areas, too, 40% to 60% additional financial flows are required compared to the 2016–2020 period to expand electrification and shift traffic from road to rail.

Steffen and his co-author Lena Klaaßen also noted that the war in Ukraine is reinforcing these trends further. 

“To import as little gas as possible from Russia, Europe would have to invest around 10 billion euros more per year in solar energy and wind power. In comparison, significantly less investment—around 1.5 billion euros per year—is needed in additional natural gas infrastructure such as LNG terminals,” Steffen said.

According to the paper, fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas are likely to tie up less capital in the future in Europe. The investment required in conventional power plants in particular is set to fall by 70% within the space of a few years.

New policies

Klaaßen pointed out that the money to make such big investments is readily available in  Europe — given the size of the continent’s equity and bond markets. The main challenge, however, is to put the necessary political policies in place quickly enough to ensure that capital flows into the right projects.

“Political measures should be tailored to funding in those sectors where there is the greatest need for investment,” she explained. “For example, existing regulations in the EU focus on identifying sustainable securities, despite the fact that important climate-relevant infrastructure is not at all financed via the equity markets.”

The researcher mentioned that the expansion of renewable energies, in contrast, is often made possible by private investors such as pension funds and banks. Yet, the data show that the public sector could minimize its risk through revenue warranties and by making approval procedures as quick and predictable as possible.

First Quantum to appeal Panama order to halt giant copper mine

Tue, 01/10/2023 - 03:41

Canada’s First Quantum Minerals (TSX: FM) said on Tuesday it planned to appeal an order by Panama’s government to halt its giant copper mine in the country as the two sides remain in talks over a new contract that would increase royalties paid by the miner.

The Central American country’s government decided in December to create a plan to halt operations at Cobre Panama copper mine. The move, unusual among Latin American countries, came after the Vancouver-based miner missed a deadline to ink a new contract due to disagreements on royalties and tax payments.

Panama has demanded First Quantum to pay a corporate tax of at least $375 million a year, along with a profit-based mineral royalty of 12% to 16%, which represents a steep rise on the $61 million the company paid in 2021.

First Quantum said on Tuesday it was prepared to agree with, and in part exceed, the objectives that the government outlined in a pre-agreement reached in January 2022 regarding revenues, environmental protections and labour standards. 

“I don’t think we’re very far away,” chief executive officer Tristan Pascall said in a Tuesday call with analysts to provide an update on the negotiations. “There has been progress and movements since December 14 and these final items do need to be resolved, but they do need to be resolved fairly for us to close this out.”

First Quantum noted the minimum payment structure proposed is both unique and unprecedented in the mining industry. 

“Under the newly proposed profit-based royalty, the government would receive revenue that is multiple times higher than under both the existing contract and the current Panamá Mining Code,” First Quantum said in the statement. “The proposed royalty rates would be amongst the highest, if not the highest, paid by copper miners in the Americas,” it noted.

The company noted that it has already given a number of concessions to the government, including elimination of $250 million in tax credits and a limit to the ones that can be used in any one year going forward. 

It also said it was ready to place Cobre Panama, responsible for 1.4% of global copper supply, into “care and maintenance” if the country did not offer certain legal protections.

First Quantum has demanded assurances that the current revised mining code will be in place beyond the current administration, as Panama is gearing up for a general election, expected in May this year.

Operations continue as normal, the miner said, with no disruption to production for now.

The miner also noted it had notified the country about two arbitration proceedings, days after the order to halt operations.

Panama weighs mine options

The Panamanian government is reportedly working with a financial advisor to identify new potential partners for Cobre Panama, which raises concerns about the country nationalizing the asset or removing First Quantum’s license to operate, experts at BMO say.

“Our base-case expectation is that the government’s position is part of a broader negotiation; however, the recent escalation does raise uncertainty about First Quantum’s ability to operate in the country long term, and the risk that investors will see in Panama going forward,” BMO Metals and Mining analyst, Jackie Przybylowski, wrote.

From a copper market perspective, any sustained outage at the mine would further tighten global supplies, contributing to an expected annual deficit of 4.7 million tonnes by 2030.

“The government is prepared to face all potential legal scenarios that may arise and will continue to ensure that workers’ labor rights are maintained and protected,” the Commerce and Industry Ministry said earlier this month.

Cobre Panama is the biggest foreign investment in the Central American nation, supporting 40,000 jobs. (Image courtesy of Minera Panama.)

The local unit of First Quantum, Minera Panamá, said that suspending jobs to reduce expenditure would be “a last resort”. 

Still, the company would need to cut “the various programs and projects that we undertake in the communities and beyond which benefit so many Panamanians.” 

Cobre Panama achieved commercial production in September 2019. The asset is estimated to hold 3.1 billion tonnes in proven and probable reserves and at full capacity can produce more than 300,000 tonnes of copper per year, or about 1.5% of global production of the metal.

The company says it has invested around $10 billion in Cobre Panama, the largest private investment ever in the country, and was contemplating expanding the processing capacity of the mine from 85 million tonnes per year to 100 million tpy in 2023. This would have allowed it to boost production to nearly 360,000 tonnes of copper by the end of this year and to 350,000-380,000 tonnes in 2023.

First Quantum is one of the world’s top copper miners and Canada’s largest producer of the metal. It produced 816,000 tonnes of copper in 2021, its highest ever, thanks mainly to record output at Cobre Panama.

The Cobre Panama mine complex, located about 120 km west of Panama City and 20 km from the Atlantic coast, contributes 3.5% of the Central American country’s gross domestic product, according to government figures.

Fairly uncommon move

Panama’s decision is a major blow to chief executive Tristan Pascall, who succeeded his father, Phillip, in May.

Latin America is the region where risks of asset seizures and taxes hikes have increased the most in the past two years, risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft estimates.

The practice, however, has been rare in Latin America’s recent past. One of the last major expropriations was in 2012, when then-Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government seized a 51% stake in the country’s largest oil and gas producer, YPF SA, from Repsol SA.

Almost ten years later, in April 2022, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador declared lithium a “strategic mineral” whose exploration, exploitation, and use are the exclusive right of the country, through a new state-run company called Litio para Mexico, or Lithium for Mexico.

Copper shipments from Cobre Panama. (Image courtesy of Cobre Panama.)

Patriot Battery Metals appoints VP ESG, senior advisor, environment and permitting

Mon, 01/09/2023 - 16:05

Patriot Battery Metals (TSX-V:PMET) (ASX: PMT) (OTCQX: PMETF) announced Monday the appointment of Alix Drapack, P.Eng., MBA, ICD.D to its Management Team in the role of Vice President Environment, Social and Governance (ESG).  Drapack will oversee the company’s ESG activities including Environment, Community relations and First Nation relations, agreements, and partnerships.

The company also announced that  Andrée Drolet, P.Eng. has joined the PMET team as senior advisor Environment and Permitting. Drapack and Drolet are two highly experienced professionals in their respective fields and will be instrumental for the advancement of the Corvette property located in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Region of Quebec, Patriot Battery Metals said.

Alix Drapack, P.Eng., MBA, ICD.D, is a Professional Engineer with over 30 years of experience in managing mining, environmental and transportation/infrastructure projects in Canada and the USA, spanning operations, consulting, and corporate office settings.  Drapack was the Chief Sustainability Officer for Osisko Mining Inc. where her portfolio included health & safety, environment, human resources, and indigenous and community relations.

During her time at Osisko she focused on permitting the Windfall Lake Project in Northern Quebec and initiated and led the combined federal and provincial environmental assessment process for the Hammond Reef Gold Project in Ontario, a proposed 30,000t per day open pit gold mine near Atikokan Ontario which included permitting involving impacts to fish bearing waterbodies with the federal Department of Fisheries and Ocean (DFO).

Andrée Drolet is a mining Engineer, member of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, with 23 years of experience in the mining industry. She worked in water and mine waste management, mine closure and permitting. Drolet was the Environment Director for Osisko Mining Inc., leading the environmental assessment and the permitting of the Windfall project located on the traditional territory of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi.

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