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Posts tagged ‘alaska’

Group Ten Metals completes Yukon field program, expands PGM-nickel-copper turf

March 1st, 2016

by Greg Klein | March 1, 2016

Still growing its northern presence, Group Ten Metals TSXV:PGE has staked additional ground for the Spy project in southwestern Yukon. That increases the platinum group metals-nickel-copper property by 1,250 hectares to total 3,135 hectares, the company announced February 29.

Group Ten Metals completes Yukon field program, expands PGM-nickel-copper turf

Assays are pending from a sampling program
on Group Ten Metals’ expanded Spy property.

Group Ten optioned 100% of the first claim block in September for 1.05 million shares over three years and a 3% NSR. With funding assistance from the Yukon government, the company then conducted silt and rock sampling, prospecting, mapping and reinterpretation of previous geophysics. Once assays arrive, they’ll be integrated with the geophysical reinterpretation to define targets for trenching and possibly drilling.

Historic, non-43-101 grab samples returned grades as high as 75.8 grams per tonne platinum, 7.9 g/t palladium, 7 g/t gold, 2.6% nickel and 10.45% copper, Group Ten reported.

Spy comprises one of three road-accessible Group Ten projects in the 600-kilometre-long Kluane Ultramafic Belt, stretching from northern British Columbia through the Yukon into southern Alaska. Roughly 40 kilometres north of Spy sits Group Ten’s flagship Catalyst project, which borders on three sides the Wellgreen PGM-nickel project, where Wellgreen Platinum TSX:WG completed a preliminary economic assessment last year. Group Ten’s Ultra project sits south of Spy.

In September the company also picked up the Duke Island copper-nickel-PGE project on the Alaska Panhandle for two million shares and a 1% NSR. In western Ontario Group Ten holds the Black Lake/Drayton gold project.

MOU offers Americans scrutiny over B.C. mining projects

November 25th, 2015

by Greg Klein | November 25, 2015

British Columbians and Alaskans will seek involvement in each other’s mining proposals following a memorandum of understanding signed November 25. The MOU calls for governments and natives to take part in environmental assessment and permitting processes in their neighbour’s jurisdiction. But with an emphasis on trans-boundary waters, which mostly would consist of rivers and streams originating in B.C., Canadian projects might get more scrutiny than those next door.

B.C.-Alaska MOU pledges cross-border co-operation on mining and environment

The memo follows visits by B.C. mines minister Bill Bennett and Alaska lieutenant-governor Byron Mallott to each other’s turf. Bennett’s trips, following the tailings dam collapse at Imperial Metals’ (TSX:III) Mount Polley mine, tried to reassure Alaskans about B.C. environmental practices.

In August 2014, just weeks after the disaster, Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources asked Canada’s Environmental Assessment Agency for participation in the approval process for Seabridge Gold’s (TSX:SEA) KSM gold-copper project near the state border. Provincial approval had already been granted the previous month. The federal permit came through last December.

Other prominent projects in B.C.’s northwestern corner include:

  • Galore Creek, a NovaGold Resources TSX:NG/Teck Resources TSX:TCK.A and TCK.B copper-gold-silver project that reached pre-feasibility in 2011

  • Schaft Creek, a Copper Fox Metals TSXV:CUU/Teck copper-gold-molybdenum-silver project that achieved feasibility in 2013

  • Chieftain Metals’ (TSXV:CFB) Tulsequah Chief zinc-copper-gold project, now permitted for construction

  • Pretium Resources’ (TSX:PVG) Brucejack gold-silver project, slated for 2017 commercial production

  • Imperial’s Red Chris copper mine, which achieved commercial production in July

The MOU sets no timeframe for achieving its goals. Money for the cross-border initiative would come from existing government budgets, with the possibility of additional “alternate public or private sector funding.”

How fares Canada in the Fraser Institute’s global mining survey?

February 25th, 2015

by Greg Klein | February 25, 2015

Saskatchewan’s number two worldwide, Quebec’s back in the top 10 and Manitoba climbed 17 notches. But Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia took a beating in the latest Fraser Institute survey of mining jurisdictions. Released February 24, the study rates 122 jurisdictions (including provinces and states in Canada, the United States, Australia and Argentina) based on 485 returned questionnaires. Drawing on their 2014 experience, mining and exploration companies provided numerical ratings for a number of factors, which the institute tracked on separate indexes.

Most important is the Investment Attractiveness Index, which combines two other indexes—Best Practices Mineral Potential (geology) and Policy Perception (government attitudes). The institute weighs the IAI 60% for geology and 40% for public policy, roughly the same consideration companies reported for their investment decisions.

Here’s the top 10 IAI globally, with 2013 rankings in brackets:

1 Finland (4)
2 Saskatchewan (7)
3 Nevada (2)
4 Manitoba (13)
5 Western Australia (1)
6 Quebec (18)
7 Wyoming (11)
8 Newfoundland and Labrador (3)
9 Yukon (8)
10 Alaska (5)

Here are the Canadian runner-ups:

15 Northwest Territories (25)
21 New Brunswick (23)
22 Alberta (10)
23 Ontario (14)
28 British Columbia (16)
29 Nunavut (27)
42 Nova Scotia (47)

Prince Edward Island wasn’t included.

As for the bottom 10:

113 Sudan
114 Nigeria
115 Bulgaria
116 Guatemala
117 Egypt
118 Solomon Islands
119 Honduras
120 Kenya
121 Hungary
122 Malaysia

The 122 jurisdictions totalled 10 more than in 2013. For inclusion, the institute requires a minimum of 10 responses per jurisdiction.

The anonymous replies also included comments which, for Canadian provinces and territories, note serious but unsurprising concerns.

But for some people, the rankings rankled. B.C.’s 10th-place finish out of 12 Canadian jurisdictions doesn’t jibe with the province’s second-place status for mining investment, according to the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia. Citing data from Natural Resources Canada, AME BC credited Ontario as Canada’s favourite for attracting investment. Fraser Institute respondents stuck that province with ninth place in Canada.

“Furthermore, one of the best indicators of success in exploration is seeing discoveries move through to mine development,” said AME BC president/CEO Gavin Dirom. “In recent years, we have seen a number of new major metal mines constructed in our province, including Copper Mountain in 2011, New Afton in 2012 and Mount Milligan in 2013. Also, Red Chris is being readied for commercial operations, and the KSM and Kitsault mine development projects have received environmental assessment certificates.”

The NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines noted the Northwest Territories’ considerable improvement and its breakaway territory’s slight slump. The organization vowed to continue working with federal and territorial governments “to improve the investment climate for exploration and mining in the two territories.”

Download the Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies 2014.

Intelligent exploration

January 23rd, 2015

AME BC’s Roundup 2015 encourages both technical excellence and community engagement

by Greg Klein

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If nothing else, the occasional downturn offers an opportunity to pause and reflect. That explains the theme of this year’s Roundup, Intelligent Exploration. Presented by the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia in Vancouver from January 26 to 29—and preceded by three days of related events—the world’s premier conference of its kind now marks its 32nd year. And despite the industry slowdown, Roundup has expanded some of its features as it settles into new and bigger surroundings at the Vancouver Convention Centre East.

AME BC’s Roundup 2015 encourages both technical excellence and community engagement

An expanded Roundup takes advantage of a larger
location at the Vancouver Convention Centre East,
under the sails of Canada Place.

Roundup’s purpose, explains conference chairperson Kendra Johnston, “is primarily to bring the exploration community together to share information about what all parties have been doing and the progress they’ve made on all fronts of exploration, from the actual geological/technical work to the peripheral things like land use and community engagement, to move exploration into the following year.”

As for Intelligent Exploration, this year’s theme came about because “it’s been a difficult year so we thought it was a good opportunity to take a step back and reflect. We’re looking at the technical aspects of projects, what we can do to advance a project, what we can glean from other projects in the area and from majors that have put a mine in place.”

But Roundup acknowledges more to exploration than the technical challenges. The conference also examines “how we can work with communities, what kind of environmental work we can do to move a project forward. We have to make sure we’re doing everything to the best of our abilities, whether it’s technical or peripheral to the geological aspects of a project.”

AME BC’s Roundup 2015 encourages both technical excellence and community engagement

Kendra Johnston: “It’s been a difficult year for companies but we’ve had some great sponsors return and some
new sponsors come forward as well.”

The technical stuff actually kicks off on January 23, when the short courses begin, and continues throughout Roundup as professionals share their expertise. Showcase sessions tackle other issues, such as industry policy, aboriginal engagement, social responsibility and health and safety. Breakfast and lunch keynote speeches offer the insights of industry bigwigs. Speakers from B.C., the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alaska will sing the geological and jurisdictional praises of their home turf.

Of course social events will proliferate. Among them are the Old Timers’ Lunch, curling, hockey, lots of networking and, just maybe, some drinking too.

The January 27 Awards Celebration of Excellence Gala fetes several individuals and organizations for exemplary service to exploration and development.

But Roundup reaches beyond the industry to engage the wider community. One example is Gathering Place, which brings together explorers and natives in four days of events. “It’s a great program, people really enjoy it,” says Johnston. “At some point in its growth, an exploration project involves everybody in the community, so this has been an important part of the conference for about four years now.”

Other programs focus on students, from elementary though high school and into university. “If you look at the demographics of this industry, there’s an entire age range that’s missing because of the last downturn in the late ’90s and early 2000s,” Johnston points out. “That’s created a bit of a hole as we have a generation of people reaching retirement. So we really need a new influx of people.”

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Year in review

December 23rd, 2014

A mining and exploration retrospect for 2014

by Greg Klein

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Another difficult year notwithstanding, the resource sector failed to meet its apocalyptic doom. With a mixed bag of good, bad and quirky news, ResourceClips.com looks at some of the stories that helped characterize 2014.

Mount Polley to the breach

Even British Columbia’s environment minister called it a disaster. The August tailings dam collapse at Imperial Metals’ (TSX:III) Mount Polley copper-gold mine presented Canada’s mining industry with its own Exxon Valdez as a river of effluent, later estimated by the company at 24.4 million cubic metres, poured into the once-pristine Quesnel Lake watershed.

The dam’s original engineer was quick to disassociate itself. The current engineer and Imperial each implied the other might be at fault. There were suggestions that the company and the province should have known something was wrong as far back as 2010.

A mining and exploration retrospect for 2014

B.C. appointed a panel of engineers to investigate. B.C.’s Inspector of Mines began a separate investigation. And B.C.’s Information and Privacy Commissioner launched its own investigation—into the government.

B.C. also ordered third-party inspections of 98 tailings facilities at current and former mines. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission requested companies report on their uranium tailings facilities.

Alaskans, meanwhile, questioned whether B.C. had the wherewithal to prevent downstream pollution from potential mines in the province’s northwest. A Vancouver Sun study found that the BC Liberal government cut mine inspections by more than half since coming to power in 2001.

Imperial has so far committed $67.4 million towards the disaster. In late December the company announced the sale of a 93-kilometre transmission line extension to the government-owned BC Hydro for $52 million.

B.C.’s performance as a mining jurisdiction

Mount Polley’s shutdown brings to mind the governing BC Liberals’ frequent reminder that more mines closed than opened when the NDP held power. So how’s the province doing under the current regime? According to a list provided by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, seven mines opened since 2001, when the BC Liberals gained power, while five shut down. One mine closed and re-opened. Another seven mines opened and closed. At least one omission in the last category, however, was Treasure Mountain which opened, closed, re-opened and re-closed.

Of course metal and coal prices play a crucial role. But during that period permitting problems plagued other potential operations, like Taseko Mines’ (TSX:TKO) New Prosperity gold-copper project and Pacific Booker Minerals’ (TSXV:BKM) Morrison copper-gold-molybdenum project. Both were refused environmental permits, arguably on non-environmental grounds—New Prosperity by the feds and Morrison by the province.

On a more positive note, Imperial has its Red Chris copper-gold mine now in development. (Please get it right this time.) Seabridge Gold TSX:SEA won provincial environmental approval in July and federal approval in December for Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM), which the company says hosts “one of the largest undeveloped gold and copper reserves in the world.”

An engineering marvel puts Cigar Lake in operation

Evidently the mining industry calls for optimism and perseverance in abundance. That, along with innovation, is what it took for Cameco Corp TSX:CCO to finally bring its Cigar Lake uranium project into production in March. Encouraging the heroic endeavour is an ore grade 100 times the world average, suggesting that high grade is the mother of invention.

The Saskatchewan mine’s 33-year saga began with a 1981 discovery, then continued with a number of setbacks that stalled construction. Even after the mine’s widely celebrated opening, Cigar Lake shut down from mid-July to early September for remedial freezing. Majority-owner Cameco injects and freezes a brine solution around the rock body to prevent flooding through the Athabasca sandstone. Water jet boring then pummels the ore into a slurry.

But the company’s determination seems at odds with uranium’s price. When a Scotiabank analyst asked why Cameco was bringing new uranium into an oversupplied market, president/CEO Tim Gitzel replied, “We need the pounds. We’ve got sales commitments for those pounds.”

The uranium price tease

A mining and exploration retrospect for 2014

Chart: Ux Consulting

Among the most vociferous prophets of a new uranium order, Paladin Energy TSX:PDN managing director/CEO John Borshoff keeps revising his gotta-happen-soon predictions of rising prices. He’s not the only one, so Borshoff was probably more frustrated than embarrassed when uranium once again proved him wrong.

The recalcitrant commodity seemed to perk up in early August, with a spot price indicator that rose 25% by late October. A nearly 90-degree ascent to $44 by mid-November seemed to justify Borshoff’s outlook. Alas, fickle uranium let down its believers, along with its price.

Borshoff’s boosterism, however, is backed up by others including Cameco’s Gitzel and David Talbot of Dundee Capital Markets, who in November stated, “We have always said, just like in 2006-2007, when [longer-term] contracting begins and the price moves, it will move fast.”

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Urban dependence

November 6th, 2014

The livelihood of city dwellers relies more on resource industries than many people realize

by Greg Klein

People in Dawson Creek, Sudbury and Val-d’Or get it. But what about those living in larger, southern Canadian cities like Vancouver? How many people realize how much we depend on resource extraction, and not just for the commodities we consume? As a new report points out, Greater Vancouver’s economy relies heavily on British Columbia’s resource industries.

That’s the message of Community Impacts: Exploring the Natural Resource Sector’s Economic Impact on B.C., Its Regions and Urban Centres. The study was released last month by Resource Works, which considers the campaigns for B.C.’s November 15 municipal elections an opportunity to influence public debate.

The livelihood of city dwellers relies more on resource industries than many people realize

Just how far removed is Vancouver
from British Columbia’s resource industries?

Even so, Resource Works executive director Stewart Muir says the organization’s “not choosing candidates.” Calling the study impartial, he tells ResourceClips.com, “We don’t believe it’s political in itself.”

The non-profit group was founded in March with seed money from the Business Council of British Columbia. It’s now looking for donations from individuals and organizations, he says.

The group is backed by an advisory board representing “a coalition of people who would advise and, through their participation, show their support for what we’re trying to do. They include leaders from first nations, labour, business, multicultural groups, academia and the environmental movement. They meet quarterly, advise us and are central to our success.”

Report author Peter Severinson emphasizes his study is illustrative, not representative. Without trying to estimate the full extent of economic impacts, his research presents some examples that might otherwise be overlooked or taken for granted. The three-part study, which underwent independent academic reviews, evaluated the impact of B.C.’s top three resource industries of forestry, mining, and oil and gas.

Severinson used BC Stats data to look at province-wide impacts, while using industrial property assessments to gauge the sector’s regional prominence. Part three focuses on eight Greater Vancouver municipalities “where the connection with the resource sector is least obvious.”

There, Severinson evaluated the spending of seven companies: Catalyst Paper TSX:CYT, Copper Mountain Mining TSX:CUM, Encana Corp TSX:ECA, New Gold TSX:NGD, Taseko Mines TSX:TKO, Teck Resources TSX:TCK.A and TCK.B, and Western Forest Products TSX:WEF. Alberta-headquartered Encana made the list due to its heavy B.C. expenditures.

Again, this approach gives illustrative examples that might otherwise be overlooked, not a fully representative study. “The economic impact of the entire resource sector will be greater than the impacts described in this report,” Severinson writes.

Those seven companies alone poured $1.3 billion into Greater Vancouver last year. More than half, $732 million, went to the city of Vancouver itself, mostly to “professional service providers including lawyers, accountants, engineers, consultants and educators.” That’s in a city whose incumbent mayor opposes local pipeline expansion.

Next door, the municipality of Burnaby got $41.6 million from the seven companies. Burnaby’s entire city council sides with Vancouver’s mayor on pipeline expansion.

North Vancouver, a generally affluent mountainside suburb that sometimes approximates an urban ecotopia, got $162 million last year. Surrey, a ’burb that’s forecast to overtake Vancouver’s population, got $230 million. Richmond, where large new homes contrast with the remaining farmland, got $63 million.

As for Greater Vancouver’s Tri-Cities, Coquitlam got $13 million in 2013, Port Coquitlam got $19 million and even little Port Moody got $8 million.

Muir points to the “profound effect on the Vancouver economy” of an estimated 800 to 1,200 mining and mineral exploration companies headquartered in the city. “What we’ve got now is a real sense of what just seven companies can do in a year in terms of local impacts. What if next time we study 50 companies and look at their impact?”

With a $22.2-billion GDP contribution that took up nearly 12% of the provincial total, resources make up B.C.’s second-largest sector after real estate and leasing. 2010 numbers show about 184,000 jobs representing one-tenth of B.C.’s total jobs come from resources, the study points out. And that’s “only counting those jobs that are either directly within resource industries or that can be closely tied to outputs from those industries.”

We’ve got a high-tech economy because we’ve got a resource economy. And it’s also a green economy because these environmental technicians and people working to protect the environment and improve practices—guess what they’re doing? They’re doing resource jobs to protect the environment.—Stewart Muir, executive director
of Resource Works

So while people in Dawson Creek, Sudbury and Val-d’Or need no explanation, the value of resources can be lost on those living in bigger southern cities. Muir talks of “a divide between the real economy and what lots of people, for good reasons, wish the economy was. The economy we see people wishing for is high tech and green. It’s an economy that’s modern and a departure from the past. And for a lot of people, that’s an economy that’s post-resources.”

But, he says, of the FP 500’s top 50 companies, “15 of them are resource companies. And those 15 have 2013 revenues of almost $300 billion, which means they produce more revenue than all the finance, banking and insurance companies in the top 50.”

Nor does the resource economy fit another misconception.

“We see in British Columbia $250 million a year in R&D spending for mining and petroleum,” he says, citing a recent report from B.C. Stats. “That report is waved around by people who say we need this high-tech economy to replace the resource economy. But I look at the same data and say we’ve got a high-tech economy because we’ve got a resource economy. And it’s also a green economy because these environmental technicians and people working to protect the environment and improve practices—guess what they’re doing? They’re doing resource jobs to protect the environment.”

Muir portrays this high-tech, green resource economy as “a way of being a leader on the world stage. We can continue to export our regulatory know-how, our technical know-how, our strong ability to raise capital for mining projects, and develop not just our own resources but help other countries develop theirs responsibly. That’s modern Canada.”

What’s next for Resource Works? The group hopes to produce two to four papers per year, similar in substance to Community Impacts. A backgrounder on the B.C. government’s proposed LNG-backed Prosperity Fund will look at royalty schemes in Alaska, Alberta, Norway and Kuwait. Slated for December release is a detailed report resulting from eight discussion sessions involving 120 people with wide-ranging views on resources. The group also plans to present its findings to municipal council meetings across the province.

“Our most important issue is how the environment and the economy concerns the average person,” Muir says. “That’s where we have this great disconnect today and that’s where the work is needed.”

Not surprisingly, the non-profit hopes for more support from industry. “Our movement is directed at people who aren’t in the resource industries but we do need people who already get it, who already see the linkages that validate our work.”

Download Community Impacts: Exploring the Natural Resource Sector’s Economic Impact on B.C., Its Regions and Urban Centres.

Sign up for the Resource Works newsletter.

November 5th, 2014

Gold, economic theory and reality: A conversation with Alan Greenspan Streetwise Reports
B.C. energy minister goes to Alaska to soothe concerns over provincial mining Stockhouse
Gold bulls retreat with $1.3 billion pulled from funds NAI 500
Nobody mourns death of QE as treasuries prove insatiable VantageWire
Selective financing to snag pace of mine development Industrial Minerals
Old gold: An introduction to Archean greenstone belts Geology for Investors
The gold manipulation debate, if you can call it that GoldSeek
The last resort when monetary policy fails Equedia

September 4th, 2014

Flinders’ Big North buyout unlikely to spark further junior graphite consolidation Industrial Minerals
Raj Ray: Miners’ cost-cutting set to deliver in late 2014 Streetwise Reports
GATA: Gold price suppression needs no whistle-blowers GoldSeek
Canada’s economy grows at 3.1% annual pace in Q2: StatsCan VantageWire
Water wars: The new conflict of the 21st century Equedia
Zinc and nickel poised to move dramatically higher in 2015 Stockhouse
Exploration in the Tintina Gold Belt of Alaska and Yukon Geology for Investors

September 3rd, 2014

GATA: Gold price suppression needs no whistle-blowers GoldSeek
Canada’s economy grows at 3.1% annual pace in Q2: StatsCan VantageWire
Water wars: The new conflict of the 21st century Equedia
Off the rails: How the U.S. fracking boom is disrupting traditional logistics networks Industrial Minerals
Zinc and nickel poised to move dramatically higher in 2015 Stockhouse
Keith Phillips: M&A prey offer compelling buying opportunities Streetwise Reports
Exploration in the Tintina Gold Belt of Alaska and Yukon Geology for Investors

September 2nd, 2014

Canada’s economy grows at 3.1% annual pace in Q2: StatsCan VantageWire
Water wars: The new conflict of the 21st century Equedia
Off the rails: How the U.S. fracking boom is disrupting traditional logistics networks Industrial Minerals
Zinc and nickel poised to move dramatically higher in 2015 Stockhouse
Keith Phillips: M&A prey offer compelling buying opportunities Streetwise Reports
Silver manipulation—the “MOAMOPE” GoldSeek
Exploration in the Tintina Gold Belt of Alaska and Yukon Geology for Investors