Tuesday 25th April 2017

Resource Clips


All posts by Greg Klein - Resource Clips

April 25th, 2017

Asia still dominates North America for battery supply chain security Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
Why the big banks are terrified of Le Pen winning (but not BREXIT or Trump) GoldSeek
Four maps to help explain war in the Middle East and North Africa Equities.com
China’s new special economic zone evokes memories of Shenzhen Stockhouse
Fused magnesia prices increase in China Industrial Minerals
John Kaiser talks cobalt, graphite, zinc, uranium, tungsten SmallCapPower
Lithium Q1 2017 review and risks—The train keeps a rollin’ The Disruptive Discoveries Journal
Fission’s Ross McElroy discusses Patterson Lake South Streetwise Reports
Mining methods: Block caving Geology for Investors

Vote Mining brings industry awareness to B.C. election discourse

April 24th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 24, 2017

With a British Columbia election underway, the province’s Vote Mining campaign spotlights a key industry. A non-partisan program, its backers maintain, it’s a way to raise awareness of mineral exploration and extraction by three advocacy groups: the Mining Association of B.C., the Association for Mineral Exploration and the Mining Suppliers Association of B.C.

Jobs became an election focus as soon as the writ dropped. Hoping to avoid a 2013 replay, the NDP this time seems determined to match the incumbent BC Liberals’ attention to the issue. That would make mining and exploration all the more prominent when, according to the Mining Suppliers Association, over 30,000 direct and indirect B.C. jobs stem from the sector.

As MABC president/CEO Karina Briño pointed out, “Mining contributed $7.78 billion to the B.C. economy in 2015 and contributed $476 million in payments to government, supporting important social programs such as schools and hospitals.”

VoteMining.ca provides plenty of digestible info on mining’s contribution to B.C.’s economy and revenues, the wide range of jobs, skills and professions involved, the sector’s importance to First Nations and virtually every region of the province, as well as the province’s importance to global mining.

The website also offers a list of suggested questions to ask candidates and links to four party platforms. Infographics by Visual Capitalist provide, for example, a crash course in mining equity financing and some examples of our dependency on mined commodities.

“B.C.’s mineral exploration and mining industry remains a major driver for the provincial economy,” noted AME president/CEO Gavin C. Dirom. “As partners in the Vote Mining campaign, we wish to provide British Columbians with factual information that will showcase how important it is for candidates and voters to support such a critical industry that creates local opportunities for people living in every region of the province.”

Follow Vote Mining on Twitter: @VoteMining

April 24th, 2017

Asia still dominates North America for battery supply chain security Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
Why the big banks are terrified of Le Pen winning (but not BREXIT or Trump) GoldSeek
Four maps to help explain war in the Middle East and North Africa Equities.com
China’s new special economic zone evokes memories of Shenzhen Stockhouse
Fused magnesia prices increase in China Industrial Minerals
John Kaiser talks cobalt, graphite, zinc, uranium, tungsten SmallCapPower
Lithium Q1 2017 review and risks—The train keeps a rollin’ The Disruptive Discoveries Journal
Fission’s Ross McElroy discusses Patterson Lake South Streetwise Reports
Mining methods: Block caving Geology for Investors

Converging on batteries

April 23rd, 2017

Benchmark sees big investors wakening as three huge sectors chase three vital minerals

by Greg Klein

It’s “a sign of the times that big investors with big money are starting to look at this space in a serious way,” Simon Moores declared. “We’re seeing it with lithium, that’s just starting. And I think we’re going to see it with the other raw materials as well.” To that he attributes the automotive, high-tech and energy sectors for their “convergence of three multi-trillion-dollar industries on batteries.”

Addressing a Vancouver audience on the April 21st inaugural stop of the third annual Benchmark Mineral Intelligence World Tour, he pointed out that cobalt and graphite have yet to match lithium for investors’ attention. But not even lithium has drawn the financing needed to maintain supply over the long term.

Benchmark sees investment lagging as three huge sectors chase three vital minerals

While EVs still lead the battery-powered revolution, energy storage
will become more prominent after 2020, according to Simon Moores.

Back in 2006, batteries accounted for 22% of lithium demand. Ten years later the amount came to 42%. “We believe in 2020, 67% of lithium will be used for batteries.”

What’s now driving the battery market, almost literally, is electric vehicles. Energy storage will play a more prominent role from about 2020 onwards, he maintained.

He sees three cars in particular that should lead the trend: Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. As consumers turn to pure electric vehicles with battery packs increasing capacity to the 60 to 70 kWh range and beyond, the industry will sell “hundreds of thousands of cars rather than tens of thousands… the era of the semi-mass market for EVs is beginning and it’s beginning now, this year.”

Last year’s lithium-ion market reached 70 GWh, Moores said. Forecasts for 2025 range from Bloomberg’s low of about 300 GWh to Goldman Sachs’ 440 GWh and a “pretty bullish” 530 GWh from Cairn Energy Research Advisors. As for Benchmark, “we’re at the lower end” with a base case of about 407 GWh.

“What does that mean for lithium demand? A lot of raw materials will be needed and the investment in that space is just starting.”

Lithium’s 2016 market came to about 80,000 tonnes. By 2020, demand will call for something like 180,000 to 190,000 tonnes. While battery-grade graphite demand amounted to about 100,000 tonnes last year, “by 2020, that will be just over 200,000 tonnes.” As for battery-grade cobalt, last year’s market came to just under 50,000 tonnes. “By 2020 it’s going to need to get to about 80,000 to 85,000.”

Benchmark sees investment lagging as three huge sectors chase three vital minerals

Moores: The industry needs both
spodumene- and brine-sourced lithium.

Investment so far favours lithium but for each of the three commodities, it’s “not enough, not for the long term,” he stressed.

Three years ago only two battery megafactories had been envisioned. Now in operation, under construction or being planned are 15, with the number expected to grow. “That’s going to be needed if we’re ever going to get anywhere near the forecast that everyone’s saying. Not just us, not just Bernstein or Goldman Sachs, everyone is saying significant growth is here but investment is needed.”

But although Tesla gets most of the headlines, “the new lithium-ion industry is a China-centric story.” The vast majority of megafactories are Chinese plants or joint ventures with Chinese entities operating in South Korea or Japan. “The majority of their product goes to China.”

At the end of last month lithium carbonate averaged $12,313 a tonne while lithium hydroxide averaged about $17,000. Spot deals in China, meanwhile, have surpassed $20,000.

That compares with prices between 2005 and 2008 of around $4,000 for lithium carbonate and $4,500 for lithium hydroxide. Only slightly higher were averages for 2010 to 2014. But prices spiked in 2015 and 2016. “Between now and 2020 we believe lithium carbonate will be in and around an average of $13,000 a tonne and lithium hydroxide will be closer to $18,000 a tonne.”

Those long-term averages “are important for people building mines and investing in this space.”

No other mineral out there has this kind of price profile.

Except for 2010, lithium prices have shown 11 years of increases, corresponding with battery demand. “No other mineral out there has this kind of price profile.”

Moores sees no oversupply or price crash for lithium in the next five years. Spodumene-sourced lithium “will fill the short-term supply deficit and brines will help fill the longer-term supply deficit post-2019 and 2020,” he said. “Both are needed to have a strong, balanced industry in the future.”

Turning to graphite, he noted that batteries had zero effect on the market in 2006. By 2016 they accounted for 16% of demand. By 2020, that number should jump to 35%.

While flake graphite comprises the feedstock for most anode material, “really, the price you should look at is spherical graphite.” That’s fallen lately to about $2,800 a tonne.

Moores foresees better margins for companies producing uncoated spherical graphite. “The people who make the coated will also make good margins, but not as good as in the past. For this reason, and because battery buyers are becoming more powerful and there’s more competition in the space, we believe the coated spherical graphite price will actually fall in the long term average, but will still be between $8,000 and $12,000 a tonne. So there’s very high value and significant demand for this material.”

He also sees natural graphite increasing its anode market share over synthetic graphite. “That’s a cost issue primarily, but there are green issues too.”

Silicon, he added, “will play a part in anodes but it will be an additive, not a replacement.”

Speaking with ResourceClips.com after the event, Moores said Benchmark World Tour attendees differ by city. The Vancouver audience reflected the resource sector, as well as fund managers attracted by BMO Capital Markets’ sponsorship. Tokyo and Seoul events draw battery industry reps. Silicon Valley pulls in high-tech boffins.

This year’s tour currently has 15 cities scheduled with two more under consideration, he noted. That compares with eight locations on the first tour in 2015. Moores attributed the success to Benchmark’s access to pricing and other sensitive info, as well as Benchmark’s site visits. “We go to China and other countries and visit the mines,” he said. “Our travel budget is through the roof. We’re not desktop analysts.”

April 22nd, 2017

Why the big banks are terrified of Le Pen winning (but not BREXIT or Trump) GoldSeek
Four maps to help explain war in the Middle East and North Africa Equities.com
China’s new special economic zone evokes memories of Shenzhen Stockhouse
Fused magnesia prices increase in China Industrial Minerals
John Kaiser talks cobalt, graphite, zinc, uranium, tungsten SmallCapPower
Lithium Q1 2017 review and risks—The train keeps a rollin’ The Disruptive Discoveries Journal
Fission’s Ross McElroy discusses Patterson Lake South Streetwise Reports
Mining methods: Block caving Geology for Investors
The Donald Trump/Elon Musk alliance Benchmark Mineral Intelligence

April 21st, 2017

Four maps to help explain war in the Middle East and North Africa Equities.com
China’s new special economic zone evokes memories of Shenzhen Stockhouse
Fused magnesia prices increase in China Industrial Minerals
Chris Powell: Why invest in gold miners if they won’t defend themselves? GoldSeek
John Kaiser talks cobalt, graphite, zinc, uranium, tungsten SmallCapPower
Lithium Q1 2017 review and risks—The train keeps a rollin’ The Disruptive Discoveries Journal
Fission’s Ross McElroy discusses Patterson Lake South Streetwise Reports
Mining methods: Block caving Geology for Investors
The Donald Trump/Elon Musk alliance Benchmark Mineral Intelligence

92 Resources president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux notes the advantages of southeastern British Columbia’s relative proximity to oil and gas plays

April 20th, 2017

…Read more

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

April 20th, 2017

With a provincial election weeks away, Peter Caulfield asked sources in three British Columbia regions to comment on the importance of mining for the Association for Mineral Exploration’s quarterly magazine, Mineral Exploration. In general terms, the responses differ from views commonly heard in cities geographically removed but hardly independent of resource economies and the commodities they produce. In that respect, the relevance of Caulfield’s article applies far beyond B.C. The article is posted here with the permission of AME.

 

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

by Peter Caulfield

In a province that is as large and diverse as British Columbia, it’s natural that opinions on most topics—including mineral exploration and development—will be diverse too.

What the average person in Oak Bay or Yaletown thinks about a new mine or pipeline will be very different from what’s going through the head of somebody who lives in the northwestern corner of British Columbia or in the Kootenays in southeastern B.C.

As the province’s May 9 election approaches, Mineral Exploration wanted to know what’s on the mind of voters who live in the parts of the province that are most dependent on resource development. We talked to three well-connected observers of local politics in four provincial constituencies: Kamloops-North Thompson and Kamloops-South Thompson, Stikine and Kootenay East. We asked each of them what the hot-button issues are in their respective constituencies and whether mineral exploration and mine development is important to their fellow voters.

The following interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.

 

Stikine

Maria Ryder, District of Stewart councillor for 2.5 years, chief of the volunteer fire department and 25-year Stewart resident

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

(Photo: Carl Ryan/AME)

The main projects in the Stewart region are Brucejack (Pretium Resources TSX:PVG), the Premier mine (Ascot Resources TSXV:AOT), Red Mountain (IDM Mining TSXV:IDM) and the Red Chris mine (Imperial Metals TSX:III).

Along with Terrace and Kitimat, Stewart is one of the largest communities in the district. We are growing in population, especially in the summer, when workers and their families descend on the town, drawn by mineral exploration and hydro projects and by Stewart’s two ports.

It’s very different here from urban British Columbia, and the people from down south who come up here to work find out just how different it is. And some of them discover how different some of our opinions and concerns are from theirs.

Because we get a lot of snow in the winter, much of the employment in Stewart is seasonal and the people who live here adjust their lives accordingly. Every year between March and November we’re busy, and between November and March things are pretty slow. But we’re used to it and we adjust.

The main election issue here is sustainable job creation through industrial development. We want jobs that stay and that provide stability to Stewart.

 

Kootenay East

Lois Halko, District of Sparwood second-term councillor and former mayor, born and raised in Sparwood

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

(Photo: Malcom Lennox/AME)

The main economic drivers of the region are the mining of metallurgical coal, which is B.C.’s single biggest export, and the activities of the local suppliers to the coal industry.

There are five Teck [Teck Resources TSX:TECK.A and TSX:TECK.B] metallurgical coal mines in the region: Coal Mountain, Elkview, Fording River, Greenhills and Line Creek. In addition, there are four mining companies that are interested in developing mines in the Elk Valley area: CanAus Coal, Centermount Coal, NWP Coal Canada and Riversdale Resources.

The five Teck mines have a total of 3,600 full-time employees, of whom 2,400 live in four communities in the Elk Valley area.

Because it is used to make steel, and because steel is such an essential product in everyone’s life, metallurgical coal should be recognized as a critical resource. It’s certainly critical to the people who live in Sparwood.

Teck has earned its social licence to continue mining here. The public has accepted the company’s efforts to mitigate any of the effects of coal mining, such as contaminants leaching into the water supply. Teck has done a lot of work to reduce the problem.

At the same time, we know that we need to diversify our economy. It’s something the local municipalities talk about a lot. The Sparwood regional economy is one of the least diversified in the province, which has made us very vulnerable to a cycle of boom and bust. The region has lots more to offer than just coal deposits, and we’re trying to leverage our mountains and natural beauty to build a thriving tourist industry.

 

Kamloops-North Thompson and Kamloops-South Thompson

Ryan Scorgie, president of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce

The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce and its 850 members take a great deal of interest in all kinds of resource development, including mineral development in Kamloops-North Thompson and Kamloops-South Thompson.

The main mineral projects in the area are the Ajax project (KGHM International), the New Afton mine (New Gold TSX:NGD) and Highland Valley Copper (Teck).

Opinions about resource development are mixed in Kamloops. Most of the working people here are for it, but many of the academics at Thompson Rivers University are against, so the Chamber of Commerce hears both sides of the argument. Our position is that if a project goes through the appropriate review process and passes it, then we support it.

In fact, the Chamber thinks process is so important that our Policy Development Committee developed a policy regarding resource development in 2016 called Supporting Canada’s Responsible Resource Development.

The policy statement is more important than its brevity might indicate, because it was adopted provincially just a few months after it was written.

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

(Photo: Neil Leonard/AME)

The committee writes, in part: “The Chamber believes that it is critical that B.C. maintains its reputation as a jurisdiction open to investment. Achieving the investments needed to ensure Canada’s competitiveness will require an efficient regulatory review process that ensures continued health and environmental protection of Canadians while generating jobs, economic growth and prosperity.

“A streamlined process will encourage investment by providing businesses with a clear and predictable process to protect the environment while making the best use of limited government resources.

“Inefficient and unpredictable processes may turn away potential investors and prevent businesses from being able to make informed location and logistic decisions. For example, the World Economic Forum has cited inefficient government bureaucracy as one of the biggest impediments to improving Canada’s economic competitiveness.

“We need to make sure that the regulatory review process is efficient and has a clear scope, reasonable timelines and the flexibility to address unforeseen circumstances.”

Originally published in the spring 2017 edition of Mineral Exploration. Posted here with the permission of the Association for Mineral Exploration.

April 20th, 2017

Four maps to help explain war in the Middle East and North Africa Equities.com
China’s new special economic zone evokes memories of Shenzhen Stockhouse
Fused magnesia prices increase in China Industrial Minerals
Chris Powell: Why invest in gold miners if they won’t defend themselves? GoldSeek
John Kaiser talks cobalt, graphite, zinc, uranium, tungsten SmallCapPower
Lithium Q1 2017 review and risks—The train keeps a rollin’ The Disruptive Discoveries Journal
Fission’s Ross McElroy discusses Patterson Lake South Streetwise Reports
Mining methods: Block caving Geology for Investors
The Donald Trump/Elon Musk alliance Benchmark Mineral Intelligence

Belmont Resources has drilling imminent for Nevada lithium

April 19th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 19, 2017

In search of lithium-bearing brines similar to those of the Clayton Valley, 65 kilometres south, drilling could resume any day now at Belmont Resources’ (TSXV:BEA) Kibby Basin project. Having attempted sonic drilling in February, the company now has Harris Exploration Drilling and Associates mobilizing a track-mounted rig for an HQ program to possible depths of about 300 metres.

Belmont Resources has drilling imminent for Nevada lithium

A new drilling contractor brings considerable Clayton Valley experience
and proprietary techniques to Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin.

The contractor brings extensive Clayton Valley experience in recovering core from unconsolidated lakebed sediments and in testing lithium brine with Harris’ proprietary instrumentation, Belmont stated.

Based on last year’s gravity survey on the 2,760-hectare property, initial holes “are designed to test the eastern basin-bounding fault, where lithium brines are likely to well up in the structural zone, analogous to the concentration of lithium brines along the Paymaster fault in Clayton Valley, and to test the stratigraphy near the central axis of the basin,” the company added. “The holes will test for porous basin sediments, which could serve as aquifers for lithium brines.”

In Saskatchewan’s Uranium City region, Belmont holds a 50/50 JV with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT in the 12,091-hectare Crackingstone and Orbit claims.

Belmont also has international arbitration proceedings underway regarding the revocation of mining rights at a talc project in Slovakia.

During February and March the company closed private placements totalling $467,500.