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Defense Metals updates Wicheeda REE measured and indicated resources

Tue, 09/12/2023 - 11:11

Defense Metals (TSXV: DEFN) has updated the resources estimate for its Wicheeda rare earth element (REE) deposit 80 km from Prince George, BC. Roughly the earlier indicated and inferred resources were reclassified to measured and indicated.

The deposit is known to contain 6.4 million measured tonnes averaging 2.86% total rare earth oxide (TREO) and 27.8 million indicated tonnes at 1.84% TREO. (Compare this to the earlier estimate of 5 million indicated and 29.5 million inferred tonnes.) There is also an inferred resource of 11.1 million tonnes grading 2.02% TREO. The update used a cut-off of 0.5% TREO.

The new resource estimate was based on an updated geological model of the deposit. The model incorporates an additional 10,350 metres of drilling data from 45 holes drilled during 2021 and 2022.

Calling Wicheeda one of North Americas most advanced REE projects, Defense CEO Craig Taylor said the overall resource has grown by 17%. “Importantly, we believe the upgrading of resources now demonstrates that we have established the tonnage and grades necessary to carry forward into our ongoing preliminary feasibility study,” he added.

The company prepared a preliminary economic assessment for Wicheeda late in 2021. That study outlined an open pit mine to be developed in to phases over a 16-year life. The processing plant will be a conventional flotation plant, with a tailings storage facility created south of the pit.

Barrick to double copper output to 1 billion lb. by 2031

Tue, 09/12/2023 - 11:06

Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) is looking to its growth portfolio to double its copper production by 2031 to 1 billion lb. of copper. President and CEO Mark Bristow said the copper increase plus its gold production was to boost total production to 6.8 million gold equivalent oz. by that date.

“The value of these projects, and in particular of our substantial and growing copper business, is currently underestimated by the market. If it was properly appreciated, Barrick would be commanding a premium to our peers,” Bristow told investors.

On the copper front, the $7 billion Reko Diq mine in Pakistan will be one of the 10 largest in the world when it reaches production in 2028 at an initial rate of 550 million lb. copper and 300,000 oz. gold annually. Barrick is the 50% owner, and the feasibility study will be complete by the end of 2024.

The Lumwana super pit expansion in Zambia is going ahead. It is expected to reach an annual output of 530 million lb. in 2028.

Barrick’s growing gold output is underpinned by the Fourmile development project. Part of Nevada Gold Mines, shared with Newmont, the new mine the output could be as much as 300,000 to 400,000 oz. The total output for the operation on a 100% basis is expected to grow to 3.7 million oz. toward the end of the decade.

In the mix is high-grade potential at the Horsham project and growing resources at Turquoise Ridge. The Porgera gold mine has been restarted in Papua New Guinea.

ATEX Resources stock boosted by Valeriano resource udate

Tue, 09/12/2023 - 09:39

ATEX Resources (TSXV: ATX) saw a significant boost in its share price Tuesday following an update to the resource estimate for the Valeriano project located in Chile’s Atacama region. The stock rose by 15.7% as of 11:55 a.m. EDT, resulting in a market capitalization of C$135.5 million.

The update showed a significant inferred mineral resource of 1.4 billion tonnes at a copper-equivalent (CuEq) grade of 0.67% (0.50 % copper, 0.20 g/t gold, 0.96 g/t silver and 63.8 g/t molybdenum), based on a cut-off grade above 0.4% copper.

The resource includes a higher-grade core within Early Porphyry (EP) totaling 200 million tonnes at 0.84% CuEq (0.62% copper, 0.29 g/t gold, 1.25 g/t silver and 55.7 g/t molybdenum at a 0.50% cut-off), further emphasizing the potential viability of the Valeriano deposit. The high-grade core remains open in multiple directions.

The new mineral resource builds on the successful execution of ATEX’s Phase II and Phase III drilling of the porphyry system at Valeriano, as all holes intersected significant copper-gold mineralization.

The results greatly expanded the dimensions of known mineralization while also extending known high-grade porphyry mineralization in the Central Trend and discovering new high-grade porphyry mineralization within the Western Trend, ATEX said.

It added the increased size of the Valeriano mineral resource represents a “globally significant discovery within an emerging porphyry district.”

The large copper-gold porphyry deposit at Valeriano is also overlain by a near-surface oxidized epithermal gold deposit, which ATEX targeted during the first phase of drilling in 2021 but is not part of the resource estimate.

According to the company, Valeriano and the adjacent El Encierro project (Antofagasta/Barrick JV), which hosts a 522-million-tonne inferred resource (0.65% copper, 0.22 g/t gold and 74 ppm molybdenum at 0.5% cut-off) are linked within a large alteration zone that extends along the projects for more than 10 kilometres along strike.

“We are especially excited by the higher-grade core of Early Porphyry within the Central and newly discovered Western Trends as this has the potential to drive faster payback within a potential underground mining scenario,” Raymond Jannas, CEO of ATEX, commented.

ATEX currently has the option to earn a 100% interest in the Valeriano project. To date, it has earned a 49% interest, having made aggregate cash payments totalling $4.25 million to the project owner and spent at least $10 million on exploration.

Pursuant to the option agreement, ATEX can earn a 100% interest in the Valeriano project by paying a further $8 million and by incurring an additional $5 million of exploration expenditures by September 2025.

Hertz Lithium, Penn State University develop efficient process for extracting lithium from spodumene

Tue, 09/12/2023 - 06:06

Hertz Lithium (CSE: HZ) has partnered with Penn State University to develop an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly method for a high-yield extraction of lithium from alpha spodumene.

In a media statement, Hertz explained that spodumene mineral is the major source of high-purity lithium but current technologies do not allow the leaching of the battery metal from alpha spodumene, and therefore most of the extraction methods are focused on modifying the crystal structure of concentrated spodumene mineral using conventional heating (roasting) at 950-1100 degrees Celsius.

The issue is that such high-temperature processes are very energy-intensive and have been the bottleneck of the economic extraction of lithium from ores.

To address these shortcomings, the solution being developed by Penn State with Hertz’s support begins with taking spodumene concentrate, introducing sodium hydroxide, and then proceeding with conventional or microwave roasting which transforms the spodumene into a soluble phase. Next, water leaching is used to recover water-soluble lithium and remove unwanted chemicals. A final acid leach and purification results in a 90% recovery of lithium.

The organizations involved in the project said that, at present, their primary objectives are to optimize the process conditions to maximize the recovery of lithium in water leaching and eliminate the acid leaching process or reduce the chemical consumption, as well as conduct a kinetic study to obtain the required data for pilot scale testing.

“As lithium mineral deposits get discovered and the demand for lithium for electric car batteries continues to surge, the focus is now shifting to developing lithium extraction technologies that are more economical and environmentally friendly,” Kal Malhi, CEO and director of Hertz Lithium, said. “Hertz Lithium and Penn State are pleased to be fast-tracking the development of our hard rock lithium extraction technology and take this to the next stage of development.”

Cobalt, copper mining in DRC fuelling forced evictions — report

Tue, 09/12/2023 - 05:19

A group of mining companies extracting and searching for cobalt and copper in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are said to have triggered forced evictions, threats and intimidation against locals, according to human-rights groups.

In a report published Tuesday, Amnesty International and the DRC-based Initiative for Good Governance and Human Rights said the race to secure key battery metals, such as cobalt and copper, has led to the forced eviction of entire communities and grievous human rights abuses. 

The two organizations point to multinationals, including ERG Africa’s Metalkol, which they say has been linked to allegations of violence including sexual assault, in connection with the patrolling of the concession by military forces.

Responding to similar allegations last year, Metalkol highlighted its commitment to respecting universally recognized human rights and labour standards. “We take our obligations in this regard extremely seriously, including strictly applying our commitments to our contractors and suppliers,” it said.

The report also names DRC’s state miner Gécamines and COMMUS for allegedly forcing communities around Kolwezi’s copper and cobalt mine to relocate.

DRC-registered mining company Chemaf is also mentioned as meddling with the move of the informal settlement of Mukumbi, located within the Mutoshi copper and cobalt mining concession.

Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) is another miner mentioned in the report. Allegations against the Vancouver-based firm, however, only refer to supplying “substandard” accommodation to families evicted in 2017 to accommodate the development of its Kakula copper mine. 

In 2016, the Kamoa Copper mining company — in which Ivanhoe owns a 39.6% stake — identified 45 households across a 21-square-kilometre area for relocation. The company promised to build 45 resettlement houses in the town of Muvunda at its own expense. 

“Unfortunately, the living conditions the families encountered in 2017 after their eviction fell short of international human rights standards and violated DRC law,” the report Powering Change or Business as Usual? says. 

The authors go on to saying that the substitute houses Kamoa built in Muvunda were not equipped to meet basic needs, as they lack of running water, electricity, or connection to a sewage system.

Mining concessions discussed in the report Powering Change or Business as Usual?.

MINING.COM reached out to Ivanhoe Mines but did not receive a comment on the topic by publication time.

The UN’s Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-based Evictions and Displacement stipulates that relocation sites must satisfy the criteria for adequate housing under international human rights law. These criteria include, among other basic amenities, access to potable water, energy for heating and cooking, washing and sanitation facilities, and education, health and childcare services. 

Similar allegations against Ivanhoe made in 2020 were denied by the company. At the time, human-rights groups said the miner confined workers to their mine site for more than two months under the threat of losing their jobs if they left the site. These claims were made as most of the world was facing mandatory pandemic lockdowns.

A fair transition

“In the rush to build a green economy, Canadian companies must not trample over the lives and livelihoods of anyone they perceive to stand in their way,” Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English-speaking section said in a statement. “We must ensure that affected communities have access to accountability and justice when their rights are under threat.” 

“Amnesty International recognizes the vital function of rechargeable batteries in the energy transition from fossil fuels,” Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s global Secretary General noted. “But climate justice demands a just transition. Decarbonizing the global economy must not lead to further human rights violations.” 

Ivanhoe Mines began producing copper concentrates at the asset, the biggest copper project to come online in decades, in May 2021 and commercial production was achieved on July 1 that year. Production has frequently surpassed guidance or reached the highest end of the forecast range.

In the past two years, Kamoa-Kakula has generated $1.22 billion of net cash from operating activities, which has funded both the Phase 2 and Phase 3 expansion activities to date.

Ivanhoe is now advancing the Phase 3 expansion of the Kamoa-Kakula, which includes a 500,000-tonne-per-annum, direct-to-blister flash smelter. This expansion is expected to be completed on schedule in late 2024.

The DRC is the world’s top producer of cobalt and Africa’s biggest producer of copper. 

Lundin secures environmental permit to extend Candelaria mine life

Tue, 09/12/2023 - 03:40

Canada’s Lundin Mining (TSX: LUN) can proceed with a plan to extend the productive life of its Candelaria copper mine in Chile after local authorities approved a revised environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the operation.

The miner said the new EIA considers several improvements to the operations, which will allow extending Candelaria’s life to 2040, 10 years more than estimated in the previous assessment.

Lundin said the approved EIA would allow, in particular, the potential development of the Candelaria underground expansion project and of the La Española pit.

The Vancouver-based miner, Canada’s third-biggest copper producer, expects to receive the final seal of approval from the Environmental Assessment Service (SEA) in October.

The Candelaria complex includes the Candelaria and Ojos del Salado copper mines in Chile’s northern Atacama region. The two operations produce copper concentrates from open pit and underground mines.

Lundin Mining CEO Peter Rockandel said the approval of the new EIA marked the culmination of a comprehensive process.

“[It] enables the construction of various facilities and initiatives that, together, represent continued investment and local employment,” he said in the statement.

The complex is expected to churn out 145,000 – 155,000 tonnes of copper and 85,000 – 90,000 ounces of gold this year.

Lundin Mining indirectly owns 80% of then Candelaria complex and Japan’s Sumitomo holds the rest.

Candelaria mine. (Image courtesy of Minera Candelaria.)

LithiumBank inks direct extraction tech deal for Prairies brine projects

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 15:16

LithiumBank Resources (TSXV: LBNK) announced Monday an intellectual property licencing agreement for direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology owned by G2L Greenview Resources.

Effective from Sept. 8, the agreement with G2L’s parent, Go2Lithium, gives LithiumBank a full licence to use a group of continuous ion-exchange technologies in Alberta and Saskatchewan, significantly enhancing the extraction of lithium salts from the enriched brines at the company’s project sites.

This collaboration promises to enhance the efficiency of the Boardwalk DLE circuit in west-central Alberta, notably by slashing operational costs. Both companies expect the licenced technology to improve lithium recovery rates and concentrate quality substantially.

G2L will ship a high-capacity pilot plant to Alberta by October to accelerate the project. With a daily processing capacity of 8,000-10,000 litres, this plant ranks as one of the largest DLE pilot plants in North America.

As a part of the agreement, LithiumBank will issue up to 14 million common shares to G2L upon meeting specific milestones to strengthen the partnership that aims to transform lithium extraction in Canada.

The company argues in its press release the agreement marks a significant stride in the lithium extraction sector, demonstrating the potent synergy between industry leaders as they employ innovative technologies to refine processes and enhance the economic viability of lithium brine projects in the region.

LithiumBank shares got a major leg up in May when it released its preliminary economic assessment for Boardwalk, outlining an after-tax net present value of $1.7 billion at an 8% discount rate with an internal rate of return of 17.8%, the study shows. It would produce 31,350 tonnes per year of battery-grade lithium hydroxide over 20 years, the largest proposed output in North America, the company said at the time.

Other DLE players in Canada are also making strides towards lithium production. On Aug 29, E3 Lithium (TSXV: ETL) rose 8.7% Tuesday after E3 said it started operations at its DLE plant in Alberta, the province’s first facility focused on testing the alternative method for drawing out lithium from brine projects.

LithiumBank shares have gained 42% over the past 12 months to close up 10.7% on Monday at C$1.35 per share. LithiumBank has a market capitalization of C$57.2 million.

Ancient volcano in US may hold largest lithium resource on Earth

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 14:49

A group of US geologists may have found what they believe to be the world’s largest lithium reservoir inside an ancient supervolcano sitting along the Nevada-Oregon border.

A new study published in the journal Science Advances estimates that the McDermitt Caldera, a large volcanic crater measuring approximately 45 km long and 35 km wide in southeastern Oregon and northern Nevada, hosts claystones containing 20 to 40 million metric tons of lithium.

The high end of the estimated resource easily dwarves the amount of lithium held in Bolivia’s salt flats, which have long held the record for the most lithium resource with some 23 million metric tons.

Even if this estimation is high due to variations in sediment thickness and/or lithium grade, the lithium inventory contained in McDermitt Caldera would still be on par with, if not considerably larger than, the 10.2 million tonnes estimated to be contained in brines beneath the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, previously considered the largest lithium deposit on Earth, the study stated.

According to the study, the McDermitt Caldera, particularly in its southern portion in Nevada in an area called Thacker Pass, contains extremely high lithium grades (up to ~1 weight %), more than double the known claystone lithium resources globally.

Google Maps screenshot of the McDermitt Caldera. Volcano sedimentary resource

Currently, the world’s lithium resources are mostly found in pegmatites and greisen veins (hard rock) and high-elevation evaporitic brines (see figure below).

The McDermitt Caldera represents a third type of lithium resource called volcano sedimentary, which occurs as sediments associated with centers of silicic volcanism. Chief among volcano sedimentary resources are those within the McDermitt Caldera, the study highlighted.

Map showing type and relative size of global lithium resources. Credit: Benson et al., Science Advances, 2023)

McDermitt Caldera is believed to have formed about 19 million years ago, and last erupted 16 million years ago. Geologists believe the eruption pushed minerals from the ground to the surface, which left lithium-rich smectite clay. Faults and fractures also formed from the explosion that provided a way for lithium to rise to the surface of the crater.

“They seem to have hit the sweet spot where the clays are preserved close to the surface, so they won’t have to extract as much rock, yet it hasn’t been weathered away yet,” Anouk Borst, a geologist at KU Leuven University who was not involved in the study, told Chemistry World.

South-north schematic cross section of McDermitt caldera at the time of magmatic resurgence. Credit: Benson et al., Science Advances, 2023)

To date, approximately 5.1 million tonnes of lithium resource in the measured and indicated category have been reported from two sources: Thacker Pass project held by Lithium Americas, which is eyeing production for the second half of 2026, and Jindalee Resources’ McDermitt project.

Watershed moment

The latest revelation on McDermitt Caldera and its potential lithium resources may prove to be a watershed moment for not only America’s race to mine critical minerals, but also the entire industry.

“If you believe their back-of-the-envelope estimation, this is a very, very significant deposit of lithium,” Borst said. “It could change the dynamics of lithium globally, in terms of price, security of supply and geopolitics.”

Tom Benson, VP global exploration at Lithium Americas and one of the authors of the study, told the DailyMail that he began studying the McDermitt Caldera in 2012 to understand why it contained so many different deposits.

“I soon began to realize that lithium was the behemoth, occurring throughout the caldera from the northern tip in Oregon to the southern tip in Nevada,” he added.

In reference to his company’s Thacker Pass project, Benson confirmed that lithium-bearing sediments at the deposit are right at the surface of the Earth, which makes it “one of the least impactful mines ever to be built.’

P2 Gold updates Gabbs PEA to 1.9 million oz. gold equivalent

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 11:09

P2 Gold (TSXV: PGLD) has updated the preliminary economic assessment for its wholly owned Gabbs gold-copper project in the Walter-Lane trend in Nevada.

The study gives the project a lifetime production of 1.86 million oz. gold equivalent (1.2 million oz. of gold, 1.7 million oz. of silver, and 327 million lb. of copper). Average annual gold equivalent output will be 139,000 oz. at spot metal prices.

The estimated pre-production capital cost, including contingencies, is $277.7 million, with payback of 3 years. The life of the mine will be 13.4 years.

The updated PEA gives Gabbs an after-tax net present value with a 5% discount of $292.2 million and an internal rate of return of 17% using prices of $1,918/oz. gold, $23.01/oz. silver and $3.73/lb. copper.

A conventional open pit mine is planned. Ore containing cyanide soluble copper will be heap leached. Oxide and sulphide ores will be processed to create a saleable copper concentrate containing silver and gold doré bars. Dry stacking is planned for the tailings.

Graphite One wins US defense contract to develop graphite-based foam fire suppressant

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 11:07

Vancouver’s Graphite One (TSXV: GPH) has won a $4.7 million contract from the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) to develop a graphite and graphene-based foam fire suppressant and an alternative to existing per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS), as required by US law.

Graphite One has teamed up with Vorbeck Materials, an experienced defense contractor, for the execution of the new contract.

In July 2023, Graphite One was awarded a $37.5 million grant from the DoD to accelerate the feasibility study for the company’s Graphite Creek project, located in the Kigluaik Mountains 60 km north of Nome, Alaska.

Graphite Creek is the largest such deposit in the United States, and among the largest in the world. It has measured and indicated resources of 32.5 million tonnes grading 5.25% graphitic carbon (Cg) and containing 1.7 million tonnes of graphite.

The inferred resource is 254.7 million tonnes at 5.11% Cg and containing 13.0 million tonnes of graphite. Proven and probable reserves include 22.5 million diluted tonnes grading 5.6% Cg and containing 1.3 million tonnes of graphite.

Sitka cuts bonanza interval of 38 metres grading 4 grams gold at RC project in Yukon

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 11:01

Sitka Gold (CSE: SIG) says hole DDRCCC-23-46 in the Blackjack deposit at its RC gold project has intersected 108 grams gold per tonne over 1.2 metres, including a bonanza assay of a 38.2-metre interval that graded 4.15 grams gold.

This was the highest-grade intercept to date. The RC project is a district-scale landholding in the heart of the Tombstone Gold Belt in Yukon. The Blackjack deposit contains approximately 921,000 oz. of gold in 35.8 million inferred tonnes averaging 0.83 grams gold.

“Grades of this nature are quite exceptional for a reduced intrusion-related gold system and, along with several other high-grade drill intercepts and outcrop rock samples received to date, appear to indicate that there is a high-grade component to the gold system present at the Clear Creek intrusive complex,” said Sitka director and CEO Car Coe.

“Hole 46 confirms that persistent gold mineralization continues to the east of the current resource boundary and highlights the potential for mineralization to extend at least 550 metres through to the Saddle zone where limited previous test drilling has returned some very encouraging numbers, such as 18.8 metres of 1.34 g/t gold,” he added.

The initial inferred resource estimate for RC includes its Blackjack and Eiger deposits. Together they total 61.1 million tonnes grading 0.68 grams gold for 1.3 million ounces.

The two deposits are close to highway and power infrastructure and are road accessible year-round. They remain open in all directions, located within a 500-metre by 5-km intrusion-related gold system that was recently discovered on the property.

Sitka shares were down 5.8% to C$0.16 apiece on Tuesday morning in Toronto, valuing the company at C$35.5 million.

Hudbay’s ‘enhanced’ Copper World prefeasibility gets mixed reviews

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 09:48

Hudbay Minerals’ (TSX: HBM; NYSE: HBM) updated prefeasibility study for the first phase of its Copper World project in Arizona has improved its economics and extended the mine life compared with a June 2022 preliminary economic assessment. However, the study, released Friday, drew mixed reactions from experts, mainly due to increased operating costs and cautious permitting approaches.

The Copper World PFS highlights show a project with lower up-front capex, a streamlined flowsheet, flexible modular construction optionality, and higher early-year grades which are positives for the project. However, Jackie Przybylowski, a mining analyst at BMO Capital Markets points out that offsetting these positives are higher unit operating expenditure estimates and “a restrained stance on the revised permitting timeline,” now anticipated by mid-2024.

Despite these reservations, Przybylowski retains a buoyant one-year target for Hudbay at C$10.00 per share, holding onto the ‘outperform’ rating.

The revised mine plan expects to generate over $850 million in federal and state taxes while creating about 400 direct and 3,000 indirect jobs.

Hudbay’s latest Copper World economic study pegs the project’s after-tax net present value (8%) at $1.1 billion and an internal rate of return of 19%, considering a copper price of $3.75 per pound.

In a press release, CEO Peter Kukielski highlighted the substantial slash in the initial capital costs to about $1.3 billion from the previously estimated $1.9 billion. This financial recalibration was made possible by postponing the construction of a concentrate leach facility to year four in the new plan. The delay reduces expenses and could open doors to future government incentives for critical minerals processing.

“Copper World is an attractive copper growth project for Hudbay and our stakeholders… We will continue to be prudent with our financing plans for Copper World as we remain focused on meeting all of the prerequisites for project sanctioning as laid out in our 3-P plan,” said president and CEO Peter Kukielski.

In putting together a finance package for Copper World, the company has introduced a three prerequisites plan (3-P), including specific leverage targets that it would need to achieve before making an investment decision in the project, receiving all state-level permits required for Phase I, and completing a definitive feasibility study with an internal rate of return of greater than 15%, all while identifying and negotiating a viable financing strategy.

The Copper World project is expected to produce about 92,000 tonnes of copper annually for its first 10 years, with cash costs of $1.53 per lb. and ongoing costs of $1.95 per pound. The project has adopted a variable cut-off grade strategy to amplify production, thereby boosting mill head grades in the initial decade.

Moreover, the project aspires to champion the green energy shift in the US, positioning itself as the third-largest domestic copper cathode producer and markedly reducing its carbon footprint compared with the initiatives outlined in the PEA.

Hudbay has updated resources for the project, increasing measured and indicated resources (including reserves) to 1.2 billion tonnes at 0.42% copper for 5 million lb. of in-situ copper metal, representing a 4% increase over the 2022 estimate.

According to Hudbay, this confirms significant upside at Copper World with an intended Phase II expansion onto federal land to enhance the project economics further and extend the mine life beyond 20 years.

Investors weren’t impressed much by the study, trading the stock down 1.4% at C$6.35 late on Friday after testing C$5.00 and C$8.47 over the past 12 months. It has a market capitalization of C$2.2 billion.

Court halts Brazil Potash’s permit for $2.5bn project

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 09:40

Canadian miner Brazil Potash was dealt a blow last week after a local court suspended the preliminary permit the company had obtained for its $2.5 billion Autazes potash project in the Amazonas state.

The court’s decision responded to a request from the federal prosecutors office (Ministério Público Federal – MPF), alleging that various procedures related to the granting of the permit were not properly followed. 

Prosecutors claim Potassio do Brasil, a unit of Toronto-based Brazil Potash, violated local indigenous population constitutional right of land usage as well as insufficient consultation with affected communities and threats to local leaders.

They also said the issuance of the environmental permit was done without a technical study outlining “the impact on the life and customs of the people in the region,” the statement published by G1 said.

Leaders of Brazil’s Mura people warned in April the community was facing pressure and even threats by Funai, the federal indigenous agency, to approve mining in their ancestral land.

The company has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The proposed mine and processing facilities in Autazes, 75 miles (120 kms) southeast of the capital of Amazonas state, Manaus, would require about three years to build.

Production is expected to start in 2026 with an initial output sufficient to supply about 20% of Brazil’s potash needs. Project capacity is pegged at 2.2 million tonnes of potassium chloride per year according to the company.

Potash is a vital commodity in Brazil, and there are several potential projects in a 400-km belt south of the Amazon which the government hopes will end its almost complete reliance on imports of the material.

The majority of potash used in Brazil comes from mines in Canada, the world’s number one producer, and Russia. Russia and Belarus jointly account for about 41% of global potash exports – but disruptions spurred importer countries to find other suppliers.

Copper price climbs amid Chinese currency recovery

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 09:39

Copper price rose on Monday as a stronger Chinese currency, a weaker dollar and buoyant loan data from China fueled purchases by traders.

Copper for delivery in December was up 2.7% on the Comex market in New York, touching $3.81 per pound ($8,382 per tonne). 

Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices.

A weaker US currency makes dollar-denominated commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies, which could boost demand and prices. This relationship is used by algorithmic traders known as high frequency traders (HFTs).

China’s central bank helped to strengthen the yuan against the dollar by setting the daily midpoint guidance with the biggest bias on record, signaling increasing discomfort with the currency’s recent weakness.

“There is an absence of the wider trading community because of macro and growth uncertainty,” said Alastair Munro, base metals strategist at Marex.

“The market at the moment is dominated by HFTs who are primarily focused on yuan. Copper is highly correlated with the yuan. We also had some positive loans data.”

New bank lending in China beat expectations by nearly quadrupling in August from July as the central bank sought to shore up economic growth.

Meanwhile, iron ore imports climbed to 106.42 million metric tons in August, up 13.8% from July as steel mills moved to replenish lower than usual port inventories, and as spot prices were soft during the purchase period for August-arriving cargoes.

According to Fastmarkets, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China rose 3.66%, to $120.75 per tonne.

(With files from Reuters)

Liberty Gold raises cash through royalty transaction, private placement with Wheaton

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 09:32

Liberty Gold (TSX: LGD) said on Monday it has entered a series of transactions that will provide the company the opportunity reduce the royalty interest on its Black Pine oxide gold project on “attractive financial terms.”

First, it reached an agreement to purchase the existing 0.5% net smelter return (NSR) from a private company on certain claims at Black Pine for a consideration of $3.5 million cash and 200,000 shares of the company. The 0.5% NSR was part of the consideration paid when Liberty acquired Black Pine back in 2016.

Then, the company signed an agreement to grant an affiliate of  Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. a new 0.5% NSR royalty for cash consideration of $3.6 million covering all claims comprising Black Pine. As part of this transaction, Liberty has been granted an option to repurchase half of the royalty for $3.6 million at any point in time up to the earlier of commercial production at Black Pine or January 1, 2030.

“It is a rare occasion to have an opportunity to reduce the royalty interest of a mining project, particularly one as high quality and favourably located as Black Pine. This option further de-risks the future development of Black Pine and would result in more of the project economics being attributable to Liberty Gold’s shareholders,” Jason Attew, CEO of Liberty Gold, commented.

In addition to the NSR purchase and resale, Liberty has arranged a private placement of up to 22.9 million shares at $0.34 per share for proceeds of $5.7 million. Wheaton is expected to subscribe for $5 million of the offering and become the company’s newest shareholder. The remaining amount will be subscribed by existing shareholders, management and directors.

Proceeds of the financing will be used by Liberty for exploration within the Great Basin of United States, one of the most prolific gold-producing regions in the world, stretching across Nevada and into Idaho and Utah. 

Black Pine is a Carlin-style, sedimentary rock-hosted (Carlin-style) gold property located in Cassia county, southern Idaho. It is host to a past-producing heap leach gold mine that operated between1991-1998. During this time, it produced approximately 435,000 oz. of gold at a historical grade of 0.7 gram per tonne from seven shallow pits.

Earlier this year, Liberty announced an update to the initial 2021 resource estimate for Black Pine that was larger than expected. The deposit now contains indicated resources of 157.3 million tonnes grading 0.52 g/t for 2.61 million oz. and inferred resources of 35.15 tonnes grading 0.43 g/t for 483,000 oz.

Shares of Liberty Gold fell 6.2% to C$0.30 apiece by 12:30 p.m. EDT, holding just above its 52-week low. The Vancouver-based gold exploration company has a market capitalization of C$95.8 million.

Aris Mining announces record gold production at Segovia; share up

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 09:20

Aris Mining Corporation (TSX: ARIS) announced on Monday gold production of 19,406 ounces at its Segovia Operations in Colombia during August 2023, the highest monthly production since the expansion of the Maria Dama processing plant in 2022.

According to the company, it represents a 24% increase over the average gold production rate for the initial seven months of 2023.  

The company also said is on track to produce approximately 400,000 ounces of gold in Colombia by 2026, based on steady-state production from Segovia Operations and the expanded Marmato Mine, currently under construction.

Together, Segovia and Marmato produced 235,000 ounces of gold in 2022.

During August 2023, the Maria Dama gold plant at the Segovia Operations processed 55,328 tonnes with an average gold grade of 11.7 grams per tonne and achieved a gold recovery rate of 95.5%.

These results represent a 9% increase in the amount of ore milled and a 17% increase in gold grade compared to the average performance over the prior seven months.

In addition, the company processed an average of 96 tonnes per day at its polymetallic plant, which resulted in the production of approximately 148 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 103 tonnes of lead concentrate.

Shares of Aris Mining surged 9.3% by 11:46 a.m. EDT. The company has a market capitalization of $318 million.

Rainbow Rare Earths signs supply agreement with UK-based alloy manufacturer

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 08:33

Rainbow Rare Earths (LSE: RBW) announced on Monday a strategic supply agreement with UK-based Less Common Metals Ltd (LCM) to supply magnet separated rare earth oxides neodymium and praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium.

The elements are designated as ‘critical minerals’ in the UK’s Critical Minerals Strategy and used in electric vehicles and wind turbines, as well as in defense and other high-tech products.

LCM is a world leader in the manufacture and supply of complex alloy systems and metals.

According to the company, the separated rare earth oxides supplied by Rainbow will be used for manufacturing into metal in order to create an alloy, which is then supplied to permanent magnet manufacturers in the EU and the US.

LCM is currently the only rare earth metal and alloy manufacturing facility in the UK and one of the only facilities in the Western world.

Pilot-scale production at Rainbow’s Phalaborwa project in South Africa started in June. According to an October 2022 PEA, Phalaborwa will produce 26,208 tonnes of separated magnetic rare earth oxides over 14.2 years.

Shares of Rainbow Rare Earths surged 7% by 11:28 a.m. EDT. The company has a market capitalization of $122 million.

Missouri battery metals supplier gets $1.2 million job retention training grant

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 07:38

The Doe Run has been awarded a $1.2 million grant through the Missouri One Start Job Retention Training Program (JRTP). This initiative, approved by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, is designed to help businesses remain competitive in the marketplace by retaining a skilled workforce and expanding career opportunities for their employees.

Doe Run employs over 1,200, predominantly in Southeast Missouri, supplying minerals and metals critical to the battery industry. Missouri’s lead battery industry ranks second in the nation for its statewide economic impact.

The grant will help cover expenses incurred in four key areas: technical skill training; training facilities and equipment; educational materials and supplies; and other training costs such as travel. Specific training will include metallurgical plant operation, training on mechanical equipment, instrumentation, electrical, HVAC, welding, mobile equipment maintenance and plumbing.

Doe Run is partnering with Mineral Area College (MAC) in Park Hills, Missouri, to supply training for over 500 Doe Run employees, providing facilities, in-person and online instruction, curriculum, and handling program administration.

“We are equipping our workforce for immediate and future roles in Missouri’s mining and metals industry,” said April Main, Doe Run’s human resource manager in a statement.

“Missouri has rich resources of base and critical minerals that support domestic goals for clean energy. Together with MAC, we are helping to maintain a high-performing workforce here in Southeast Missouri. We appreciate the opportunities this Missouri One Start Program provides our employees, to help them prepare for new technologies and instrumentation in the minerals field.”

Scotgold shares halted as firm’s future in limbo

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 07:05

Shares in troubled miner Scotgold Resources (LON: SQZ) went into a trading halt on Monday as the firm behind what it could be Scotland’s first commercial gold-silver mine said outcome of funding discussions was “highly uncertain”.

The company said that while talks to secure additional financing were at an “advanced stage” it risked going into administration if it failed to secure a significant investment.

Scotgold also revealed that one unsecured creditor had recently demanded full payment of outstanding interest, and although the firm has sufficient funds to make such payment, it did not believe that doing so would be in the best interest of all stakeholders. 

“In the event of default there is a material risk the business could be placed into administration in the next few weeks,” it noted.

Scotgold’s board made the decision of halting trading, pending clarification of the miners financial position and said that a mine plan until July 2025 has been received and is under internal review. 

During July and August gold concentrate shipments totalled 235 tonnes with a sales value of £1.9 million ($2.4m), Solgold said. Scottish gold doré sales made to Scottish jewellery companies during those past couple of months totalled £46,160 (about $58,000).

The company, which received initial approval for the Cononish mine in 2018, poured first gold in December 2020 and achieved commercial production in July last year.

A few months later, on March 27, Scotgold shocked shareholders by announcing that its gold grades, revenues and working capital had suddenly deteriorated, to a point where its ability to keep operations going was in question.

It cited failed efforts to optimize production using what it considered a more cost-effective method of mining called long hole stoping. Any delays in switching to the new process, the miner warned at the time, would inevitably put a strain on its finances.

Scotgold launched in July a third-party review of its operations after “disappointing” production results in recent months. This would initially encompass an assessment of the mine design, schedule and production forecasts.

Australian Resources Industry Skills and Education awards student scholarships

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 06:16
Rhys Thurstun on left and Mufaro Tom on Right. Image from ARISE via flickr.

Two promising first-year engineering students – one from Queensland and one from New South Wales – have been awarded scholarships aimed at addressing a shortage of engineers in the Australian resources sector.

The scholarships, awarded by Australian Resources Industry Skills and Education (ARISE) and supported by BHP and BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), are open to students in Year 12 at ARISE partner schools.  

Rhys Thurstun, from Redeemer Lutheran College in Rochedale, Qld was awarded a A$10,000 scholarship while Mufaro Tom, from Muswellbrook High School in NSW’s Hunter Valley, was awarded a A$5,000 scholarship.

Currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at UQ, Rhys Thurstun is on a pathway to specialise in chemical engineering. Thurstun said that the money will assist with university costs and provide avenues to connect with industry representatives.

“As one of our college captains and the dux of the school last year, Rhys demonstrated exceptional leadership skills,” said Redeemer Lutheran College Head of Senior School, Anastasia Strong. “We believe that Rhys will make a big impact in his chosen field of engineering.”

For Mufaro Tom, the first student from outside of Queensland to win an ARISE Scholarship, engineering is a natural progression from his love of maths and physics. Inspired by his father, who works in the mining industry, Tom is undertaking a Bachelor of Engineering in the Mining Transfer Program at the University of Newcastle.

“Muswellbrook High School’s staff and students are thrilled for Mufaro,” said Principal Kylie Fabri. “He was valued member of our Student Representative Council and was also selected in 2021 as one of 20 Rural Youth Ambassadors across NSW tasked with finding ways to improve education for rural students.”

ARISE Manager of Skills and Education Matthew Heskett said that these scholarships are designed to help some of the best and brightest young Australians as they pursue careers in the resources sector. 

“Both Rhys and Mufaro have gravitated towards engineering because of their love of STEM subjects, and because they’ve had exposure to the resources sector during their school years,” said Matthew. “These scholarships will allow them more freedom and flexibility during their studies so that they can focus on their educational experiences.” 

The Australian Resources Industry Skills and Education (ARISE) Initiative was established to broaden the geographic reach of the highly successful industry-led education and skills training initiative, QMEA, in states and territories across Australia. 

The initiative encourages secondary school students into STEM-related careers in the resources sector, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation.


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