Sunday 19th November 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘Barrick Gold Corp (ABX)’

There’s skiing in them thar hills

October 23rd, 2017

by Greg Klein | October 23, 2017

Some appearances to the contrary, sliding downhill might not be the ambition of every mining company. But Barrick Gold TSX:ABX has a new ski resort under consideration around the site of a southern British Columbia past-producer. Although a local enthusiast says significant progress is imminent, PostMedia reports, a company spokesperson pegs the possible project “at a very, very early stage.”

There’s skiing in them thar hills

Recreational potential around a former underground
mine might offer Barrick an opportunity to diversify its assets.

That’s been the case since at least 2012. According to a Hope Standard account from that year, the miner had a feasibility study underway for an all-season resort around the former Giant Mascot underground mine about 10 kilometres from the town of Hope.

A 1974 B.C. Geological Survey report said Giant Mascot was mined briefly in the 1930s and 1958, then from 1959 to 1973. Production estimates vary, but a 1987 study commissioned for Mascot Gold Mines Ltd said Giant gave up 4.6 million tons containing 71 million pounds of nickel and 31.4 million pounds of copper, “with significant quantities of cobalt,” from 1959 to 1974.

“The mine closed in August of 1974 because of the loss of sales contracts for copper-nickel concentrate in Japan and because of the stringent policies towards the mining industry of the provincial NDP government,” the report stated. The study quoted a 1973 historic, non-43-101 estimate of 951,471 tons averaging 0.75% nickel and 0.3% copper. Operators had given only minimal attention to the mine’s gold, chrome, cobalt and PGM potential, the report added.

Barrick got the property through its 2001 merger with Homestake Mining, according to the Standard. By 2012 Barrick was considering a resort offering fishing, hiking and boating, along with possible ski facilities nearby, the paper noted. Consultations were underway with First Nations and other local communities.

Now PostMedia reports Dennis Adamson, an elected official of the Fraser Valley Regional District “and the project’s No. 1 booster,” says Barrick will soon file a notice of intent.

“I’ve been pushing this for years. It’s the No. 1 question I get,” he said of his 721 constituents. “Not a day goes by when I don’t get someone asking me when the ski hill will be open.”

But Andy Lloyd, spokesperson for the world’s top gold miner, cautioned that any such plan “is at a kind of conceptual stage … a very, very early stage … we wouldn’t want to create a false impression that Barrick is building a resort.”

Something of a higher priority might be Barrick’s relations with Tanzania, where the company holds a 63.9% stake in LSE-listed Acacia Mining, operator of three mines in the country. Barrick has proposed that the government get half the mines’ economic benefits, a 16% interest in the assets and US$300 million from Acacia towards unresolved tax claims.

Acacia says it doesn’t have the dough.

Meanwhile the Canada West Ski Areas Association, PostMedia reported, believes the province already has too many resorts chasing too few skiers.

Crucial commodities

September 8th, 2017

Price/supply concerns draw end-users to Commerce Resources’ rare earths-tantalum-niobium projects

by Greg Klein

“One of the things that really galls me is that the F-35 is flying around with over 900 pounds of Chinese REEs in it.”

That typifies some of the remarks Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE president Chris Grove hears from end-users of rare earths and rare metals. Steeply rising prices for magnet feed REEs and critical minerals like tantalum—not to mention concern about stable, geopolitically friendly sources—have brought even greater interest in the company’s two advanced projects, the Ashram rare earths deposit in northern Quebec and the Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia. Now Commerce has a list of potential customers and processors waiting for samples from both properties.

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F-35 fighter jets alongside the USS America:
Chinese rare earths in action.
(Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Of course with China supplying over 90% of the world’s REEs, governments and industries in many countries have cause for concern. Tantalum moves to market through sometimes disturbingly vague supply lines, with about 37% of last year’s production coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo and 32% from Rwanda, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. One company in Brazil, Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM), produces about 85% of the world’s niobium, another critical mineral.

As Ashram moves towards pre-feasibility, Commerce has a team busy getting a backlog of core to the assay lab. But tantalum and niobium, the original metals of interest for Commerce, have returned to the fore as well, with early-stage exploration on the Quebec property and metallurgical studies on the B.C. deposit.

The upcoming assays will come from 14 holes totalling 2,014 metres sunk last year, mostly definition drilling. Initial geological review and XRF data suggest significant intervals in several holes, including a large stepout to the southeast, Grove’s team reports.

“We’re always excited to see this project’s drilling results,” he says. “We know we’re in carbonatite basically all of the time and over the last five years, in all the 9,200 metres we’ve done since the last resource calculation, we’ve basically always hit more material than was modelled in the original resource—i.e. we’ve always found less waste rock at surface, we’ve always hit material in the condemnation holes and we’ve always had intersections of higher-grade material. So all those things look exciting for this program.”

Carbonatite comprises a key Ashram distinction. The deposit sits within carbonatite host rock and the minerals monazite, bastnasite and xenotime, which are well understood in commercial REE processing. That advantage distinguishes Ashram from REE hopefuls that foundered over mineralogical challenges. Along with resource size, mineralogy has Grove confident of Ashram’s potential as a low-cost producer competing with China.

As for size, a 2012 resource used a 1.25% cutoff to show:

  • measured: 1.59 million tonnes averaging 1.77% total rare earth oxides

  • indicated: 27.67 million tonnes averaging 1.9% TREO

  • inferred: 219.8 million tonnes averaging 1.88% TREO

A near-surface—sometimes at-surface—deposit, Ashram also features strong distribution of neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium, all critical elements and some especially costly. Neodymium and dysprosium prices have shot up 80% this year.

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Commerce Resources’ field crew poses at the Eldor property,
home to the Ashram deposit and Miranna prospect.

Comparing Ashram’s inferred gross tonnage of nearly 220 million tonnes with the measured and indicated total of less than 30 million tonnes, Grove sees considerable potential to bolster the M&I as well as increase the resource’s overall size and average grade.

This season’s field program includes prospecting in the Miranna area about a kilometre from the deposit. Miranna was the site of 2015 boulder sampling that brought “spectacular” niobium grades up to 5.9% Nb2O5, nearly twice the average grade of the world’s largest producer, CBMM’s Araxá mine, Grove says. Some tantalum standouts showed 1,220 ppm and 1,040 ppm Ta2O5. Significant results for phosphate and rare earth oxides were also apparent.

Should Miranna prove drill-worthy, the synergies with Ashram would be obvious.

That’s the early-stage aspect of Commerce’s tantalum-niobium work. In B.C. the company’s Blue River deposit reached PEA in 2011, with a resource update in 2013. Based on a tantalum price of $381 per kilo, the estimate showed:

  • indicated: 48.41 million tonnes averaging 197 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,610 ppm Nb2O5 for 9.56 million kilograms Ta2O5 and 77.81 kilograms Nb2O5

  • inferred: 5.4 million tonnes averaging 191 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,760 ppm Nb2O5 for 1 million kilograms Ta2O5 and 9.6 million kilograms Nb2O5

Actually that should be 1,300 kilograms less. That’s the size of a sample on its way to Estonia for evaluation by Alexander Krupin, an expert in processing high-grade tantalum and niobium concentrates. “As with Ashram, we’ve already found that standard processing works well for Blue River,” Grove points out. “However, if Krupin’s proprietary method proves even more efficient, why wouldn’t we look at it?”

We’re always excited to see this project’s drilling results. We know we’re in carbonatite basically all of the time and over the last five years, in all the 9,200 metres we’ve done since the last resource calculation, we’ve basically always hit more material than was modelled in the original resource.—Chris Grove,
president of Commerce Resources

Back to rare earths, Commerce signed an MOU with Ucore Rare Metals TSXV:UCU to assess Ashram material for a proprietary method of selective processing. Others planning to test proprietary techniques on Ashram include Texas Mineral Resources and K-Technologies, Rare Earth Salts, Innovation Metals Corp, the University of Tennessee and NanoScience Solutions at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

Should proprietary methods work, all the better, Grove states. But he emphasizes that standard metallurgical tests have already succeeded, making a cheaper process unnecessary for both Blue River and Ashram.

Potential customers show interest too. Concentrate sample requests have come from Solvay, Mitsubishi, Treibacher, BASF, DKK, Albemarle, Blue Line and others covered by non-disclosure agreements. Requests have also come for samples of fluorspar, a potential Ashram byproduct and another mineral subject to rising prices and Chinese supply dominance.

A solid expression of interest came from the province too, as Ressources Québec invested $1 million in a February private placement. The provincial government corporation describes itself as focusing “on projects that have good return prospects and foster Quebec’s economic development.”

Also fostering the mining-friendly jurisdiction’s economic development is Plan Nord, which has pledged $1.3 billion to infrastructure over five years. The provincial road to Renard helped make Stornoway Diamond’s (TSX:SWY) mine a reality. Other projects that would benefit from a road extension towards Ashram would be Lac Otelnuk, located 80 kilometres south. The Sprott Resource Holdings TSX:SRHI/WISCO JV holds Canada’s largest iron ore deposit. Some projects north of Ashram include the Kan gold-base metals project of Barrick Gold TSX:ABX and Osisko Mining TSX:OSK, as well as properties held by Midland Exploration TSXV:MD.

But, Grove says, it’s rising prices and security of supply that have processors and end-users metaphorically beating a path to his company’s door. And maybe nothing demonstrates the criticality of critical minerals better than a nearby superpower that relies on a geopolitical rival for commodities essential to national defence.

Infographic: The Yukon, where mineral potential is coming of age

August 8th, 2017

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | August 8, 2017

In a remote corner of Canada’s north lies the Yukon—a territory that is renowned for both its legendary mineral potential and its storied mining history.

But while the Yukon only produced 2.2% of Canada’s gold in 2016, the territory’s considerable potential may finally be getting realized in a big way. In the last few years globally significant discoveries have been made and now mining giants such as Barrick Gold TSX:ABX, Goldcorp TSX:G and Agnico Eagle TSX:AEM are making their moves into the Yukon to get in on the action.

A coming of age story

This infographic comes from Strikepoint Gold TSXV:SKP and it showcases some of the reasons why the most important chapter in the Yukon’s mining story may just be beginning.

The Yukon: Where mineral potential is coming of age

 

Although the Yukon has been known for a long time to possess incredible mineral potential, it is only in the last few years that signs have been pointing towards this being realized in the form of globally significant discoveries, investment from major players and mines being built.

A new era in the Yukon

For gold to be produced, it must first be discovered. The Yukon has been home to some of Canada’s most exciting discoveries in the last 10 years. The new project pipeline contains impressive deposits but, even more importantly, it contains some impressive names.

White Gold

Famously found by prospector Shawn Ryan and Underworld Resources in 2008, the White Gold discovery triggered much of the modern interest in the Yukon. Kinross Gold TSX:K purchased Underworld Resources for $139.2 million at the height of the gold market. More recently, major Agnico Eagle has bought into the district for $14.52 million.

Coffee project

Discovered in 2010, this project is just kilometres away from the White Gold project. It too is based on Shawn Ryan’s claims. Most recently, Goldcorp bought the project for $520 million through its acquisition of Kaminak Gold.

Casino project

Currently under environmental review, this massive porphyry deposit owned by Western Copper and Gold TSX:WRN could be the largest mine in Yukon history, if constructed. Right now the deposit has reserves of 4.5 billion pounds of copper and 8.9 million ounces of gold.

Rackla

The only Carlin-style district in Canada, this project is being advanced by ATAC Resources TSXV:ATC. Recently ATAC generated headlines with an investment from Barrick, which put in $8.3 million while also committing up to a further $55 million to earn 70% of the property’s Orion project.

Eagle Gold

Eagle Gold is on track to become the Yukon’s largest gold-only mine in history. Victoria Gold TSXV:VIT, the project’s owner, expects its first gold pour in 2019. Currently the property’s Eagle and Olive deposits have 2.66 million ounces of gold in reserves.

Major arrivals

In the last year or so some of the world’s most prolific gold miners such as Barrick, Goldcorp and Agnico Eagle have set up shop in the Yukon—and it could be a sign that the territory is close to reaching its ultimate potential as a top-tier mining destination.

Here are some of the other reasons that miners and investors are looking northwards:

1. Government support

The Yukon government is well known for supporting prospectors and miners developing projects. Current programs include the Yukon Mineral Exploration Program, which provides a portion of risk capital to help explorers locate and grow deposits, as well as the Fuel Tax Exemption, which makes miners and other off-road industries exempt from fuel taxes.

2. A rich mining history

From the placer mining of the famous Klondike gold rush to the mining today in the Yukon, the territory has always welcomed mining. In fact, mining is still the most important private industry today in the Yukon by GDP share (19%).

3. First Nations approach

First Nations and the Yukon government have recently championed a new “government-to-government” relationship to ensure that industry, the territorial government and First Nations are on the same page for mineral projects.

4. Momentum

From Shawn Ryan’s discoveries to the arrival of majors in the region, it has been an eventful decade for Yukon miners. Many expect the best is yet to come.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

German cops nab suspect family but fail to find 100-kilo gold coin

July 12th, 2017

by Greg Klein | July 12, 2017

German cops nab suspect family, fail to find 100-kilo gold coin

Security footage shows camera-shy suspects
passing through a train station near the museum.

Hundreds of heavily armed police, some wearing masks, raided several buildings and arrested four suspects in the theft of a 100-kilogram Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin. Worth well over $4 million, the coin fell victim to a daring heist at Berlin’s Bode Museum last March.

“We assume that the coin was partially or completely sold,” Associated Press quoted Carsten Pfohl of the Berlin state criminal office. A museum employee likely tipped off the thieves, another source told AP.

The four suspects, aged between 18 and 20, were said to be members of “a large Arab family with alleged links to organized crime,” the BBC reported. Several others are being questioned.

The arrests follow last week’s release of CCTV footage showing hooded suspects averting their faces as they walked along an otherwise deserted train station platform.

The missing coin was one of five produced by the Royal Canadian Mint, which keeps one copy in its vaults. Another, property of Barrick Gold TSX:ABX, remains on display at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, where it’s part of the Teck Suite of Galleries.

Related:

Visual Capitalist: How precious metals streaming works

September 12th, 2016

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | September 12, 2016

Miners seeking new capital have always had a variety of options: They could issue new shares, take out a loan, enter into joint-venture agreements or divest non-core assets.

However, in the last decade, a new option has emerged called “precious metals streaming”—in which streaming companies essentially offer capital up front to mining companies in exchange for metal later. If properly executed, the result is a win for both parties that can ultimately provide value to investors.

Precious metals streaming

This infographic from Silver Wheaton TSX:SLW explains the precious metals streaming model and the arbitrage opportunity that creates value for both the streamer and the miner seeking to acquire capital:

How precious metals streaming works

 

The aforementioned arbitrage opportunity in precious metals streaming is key.

For a traditional base metal miner, the majority of forecasted mine revenue may come from a metal like copper or nickel. However, along with those “target” metals, smaller amounts of gold and silver may be produced from the deposit as well.

Investors would still value those byproduct precious metals in a base metal miner’s portfolio, but the metals may be typically valued at an even higher multiple in a precious metal streamer’s portfolio. This allows the base metal miner to transfer these future “streams” to the streamer in exchange for up-front capital, which can be a win-win scenario for both parties.

Streaming benefits

In other words, miners use streaming to acquire non-dilutive financing and to extract value from non-core assets. This allows them to deploy capital on purposes more central to their strategy. Major miners such as Teck Resources TSX:TCK.A and TCK.B, Barrick Gold TSX:ABX, Vale NYSE:VALE and Glencore all sold streams in 2015.

Meanwhile, streaming companies have been very successful since this model was first pioneered 12 years ago. They are getting gold and silver at a discount, and this has created significant value for investors over the last decade. Today there are many valuable streaming companies out there, including the major ones such as Silver Wheaton, Royal Gold and Franco-Nevada TSX:FNV.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

May 28th, 2015

Home battery systems like Tesla’s are already popular in Germany Equities Canada
Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski: Our goal is to be the number one mining location Streetwise Reports
Barrick teams with Zijin Mining at Porgera mine Stockhouse
Australian government rules out iron ore inquiry NAI 500
Strict specifications: UK frac sand potential
Industrial Minerals
China’s silk road economic project will include gold GoldSeek
Great deposits of the world—Hishikari, Japan Geology for Investors

May 27th, 2015

Home battery systems like Tesla’s are already popular in Germany Equities Canada
Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski: Our goal is to be the number one mining location Streetwise Reports
Barrick teams with Zijin Mining at Porgera mine Stockhouse
Australian government rules out iron ore inquiry NAI 500
Strict specifications: UK frac sand potential
Industrial Minerals
China’s silk road economic project will include gold GoldSeek
Great deposits of the world—Hishikari, Japan Geology for Investors

May 26th, 2015

Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski: Our goal is to be the number one mining location Streetwise Reports
Barrick teams with Zijin Mining at Porgera mine Stockhouse
Australian government rules out iron ore inquiry NAI 500
Strict specifications: UK frac sand potential Industrial Minerals
China’s silk road economic project will include gold GoldSeek
Plenty of competitors for Tesla in home energy storage market Equities Canada
Great deposits of the world—Hishikari, Japan Geology for Investors

East dominated M&A in 2013, expect overall uptick this year—PwC report

February 26th, 2014

by Ana Komnenic | February 26, 2014 | Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

East dominated M&A in 2013, expect overall uptick this year—PwC report

 

The bad news first: 2013 was the worst year for mergers and acquisitions in recent history, with the volume of deals dropping 33% to the lowest level since 2005.

Now for the good news: According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ latest Global Mining Deals report, the mining industry can expect an uptick in M&A throughout 2014.

Though these deals will be “smarter, more conservative,” 2014 will be characterized by joint ventures, mid-tier buyers and more mergers or sales from juniors, PwC predicts. The gold price drop will also make buying gold assets more appealing—especially in Canada.

“You aren’t going to see the big dollars in riskier jurisdictions,” PwC wrote, quoting Brett Mattison of Gold Fields NYE:GFI.

As evidence of a strong start to the year, PwC points to Goldcorp’s TSX:G hostile takeover bid for Osisko TSX:OSK—though Osisko has called the offer “opportunistic” and some say Goldcorp is trying to take advantage of a weak gold market.

“The turnaround won’t mirror the surge in movement we saw back in 2011, but expect deal making to resurface in most parts of the world this year as both an opportunity and in some cases a necessity for companies across the sector,” PwC global mining leader John Gravelle said in a statement.

“Companies have been cleaning up their balance sheets and putting off decisions, waiting for the right time to act—that timing is near.”

Overall, PwC expects deal activity to increase this year—reaping “long-term gain” from “short-term pain.”

While it’s well known that M&A dropped off in a big way last year, PwC revealed something new in its latest report: The Eastern world dominated M&A activity last year. In fact, “the East accounted for nearly half of the deals by value in 2013, or about 45%, while the West represented about 36%,” PwC wrote.

East dominated M&A in 2013, expect overall uptick this year—PwC report

“Looking ahead, many Western-based majors are still going to wait for commodity prices to stabilize, concentrating on cash costs, rationalizing their assets and trying to divest assets as a way to pay down debt and fund existing operations,” Gravelle said.

The rich and powerful from Russia and Kazakhstan in particular bought up assets while major mining companies such as Rio Tinto NYE:RIO and Barrick TSX:ABX were selling.

The biggest deal of 2013 was in Russia, where Gavril Yushvaev and Zelimkhan Mutsoev purchased nearly half of Polyus Gold from billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.

Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

Faceoff: Cliffs and major shareholder in public debate over company’s future

February 12th, 2014

by Ana Komnenic | February 12, 2014 | Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

Cliffs Natural Resources NYE:CLF, America’s biggest iron ore producer, announced February 11 that 500 Canadians would lose their jobs as a result of the company’s decision to idle its iron ore mine in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Now the miner’s negotiations with one of its major shareholders has turned ugly. In a statement issued February 12, activist investment firm Casablanca Capital, which owns 5.2% of Cliffs, called the shutdown a “knee-jerk” reaction to its earlier call for change, referring to a letter Casablanca wrote to Cliffs last month.

Casablanca also said it was backing Lourenco Goncalves, former CEO of Metals USA, to step in as Cliffs’ CEO—a position that’s currently open. Goncalves has personally invested approximately $1 million in Cliffs shares.

The New York-based investment firm has also delivered a letter to the company declaring its intention to nominate a majority of directors for election to Cliffs’ board at the 2014 annual meeting of shareholders.

The company is disappointed that Casablanca seems intent on waging a public campaign rather than continuing its private engagement with our chairman and management to address our doubts and concerns.—Cliffs Natural Resources

“In spite of its public statements, Cliffs hasn’t engaged us in any meaningful dialogue on the issues we’ve raised or provided a timetable for doing so,” Donald Drapkin, chairman of Casablanca said in a statement.

This is the second time in less than two weeks that Casablanca has lashed out at Cliffs.

Late last month the firm published a lengthy public letter calling on Cliffs to spin off its international assets and to immediately double dividend payments.

With iron ore prices suffering due to weak Chinese demand and an oversupplied market, Casablanca believes the U.S.-based miner needs to separate its domestic operations from its international ones.

Casablanca’s decision to try and reshuffle Cliffs’ board of directors comes as a surprise considering that in its January letter the investment company wrote that it recognized that the current “management team and many board members were not responsible” for the decisions that led Cliffs to being the S&P’s third-worst performing stock of 2013.

Cliffs reacted to the February 12 statements with a much sterner tone than in January.

“Casablanca’s overall proposal fails to provide a sustainable, long-term value-enhancing alternative,” Cliffs wrote.

“The company is disappointed that Casablanca seems intent on waging a public campaign rather than continuing its private engagement with our chairman and management to address our doubts and concerns.”

Cliffs also stood firm on its intention to appoint as CEO the company’s current chief operating officer, Gary Halverson. He previously headed Barrick Gold’s TSX:ABX U.S. operations and stood in as interim COO.

“The choice of Mr. Halverson as incoming CEO follows an exhaustive search by the board … Following a comprehensive search, the board determined that Mr. Halverson was the right leader given his deep international and large-scale mining industry leadership experience,” Cliffs wrote.

Reprinted by permission of MINING.com