Sunday 26th March 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘argentina’

Saskatchewan and Manitoba first and second globally as mining jurisdictions

March 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 1, 2017

Saskatchewan edged one notch upwards to take first place worldwide while Manitoba soared from 19th to second in this year’s Fraser Institute survey of mining and exploration jurisdictions. Those two provinces pushed last year’s top performer, Western Australia, down to third place. Canada’s other top 10 spot went to Quebec, rising to sixth from eighth the year before. All continents but Antarctica came under scrutiny but Canadian, American, Australian and European locales monopolized the top 10.

Farther down the list, the strongest Canadian improvements were Newfoundland and Labrador, climbing to 16th from 25th, and the Northwest Territories, now 21st, previously 35th. Most disappointing were British Columbia (falling to 27th from 18th), Nunavut (31st from 23rd) and Alberta (47th from 34th).

Those findings come from the survey’s Investment Attractiveness Index, which combines two other indices—Policy Perception, a “report card” on government attitudes, and Best Practices Mineral Potential, concerning geological appeal. Representatives of 104 companies responded with their 2016 experiences in mind, giving a numerical rating to questions in several categories regarding their likelihood of investing in a particular jurisdiction. The previous year 109 companies responded.

Here’s the top 10 globally for overall investment attractiveness, with last year’s standings in parentheses:

1 Saskatchewan (2)

2 Manitoba (19)

3 Western Australia (1)

4 Nevada (3)

5 Finland (5)

6 Quebec (8)

7 Arizona (17)

8 Sweden (13)

9 Ireland (4)

10 Queensland (16)

Here are the Canadian runners-up:

15 Yukon (12)

16 Newfoundland and Labrador (25)

18 Ontario (15)

21 Northwest Territories (35)

27 British Columbia (18)

31 Nunavut (23)

40 New Brunswick (45)

47 Alberta (34)

52 Nova Scotia (59)

At least those provinces and territories steered far clear of the bottom 10, where Argentina figures prominently:

95 Mozambique (84)

96 Zimbabwe (98)

97 India (73)

98 Mendoza province, Argentina (101)

99 La Rioja province, Argentina (109)

100 Afghanistan (not available)

101 Chubut province, Argentina (104)

102 Venezuela (108)

103 Neuquen province, Argentina (93)

104 Jujuy province, Argentina (86)

“We believe that the survey captures, at least in broad strokes, the perceptions of those involved in both mining and the regulation of mining in the jurisdictions included in the survey,” stated authors Taylor Jackson and Kenneth P. Green.

Download the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2016.

NRG Metals expands size of potential lithium option in Argentina, resumes trading

February 21st, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 21, 2017

NRG Metals TSXV:NGZ resumed TSXV activity February 21, following the expansion of its Carachi Pampa option and completion of a 43-101 technical report. The company has also applied for a drill permit for the Argentinian lithium prospect, now increased from 6,387 hectares to 29,182 hectares.

NRG Metals expands size of potential lithium option in Argentina, resumes trading

Now 29,182 hectares in size, Carachi Pampa hosts
a low-resistivity zone that’s open in all directions.

Located about 3,000 metres’ elevation in the Andes, the property sits in the same region as FMC’s Salar del Hombre Muerto lithium mine and Galaxy Resources’ Sal de Vida lithium-potash project, which reached feasibility in 2013. Carachi Pampa has road access within 10 kilometres.

Using a common geophysical approach to finding potential brine zones in Argentina, NRG conducted a vertical electrical survey on the property. Of four zones tested, one showed extremely low resistivity, a characteristic of brine zones. The zone begins at 70 metres in depth and dips to 300 metres, the company stated. At least 150 metres thick, it’s open at depth and in all directions laterally. Awaiting a permit, the company anticipates exploration drilling.

With all figures in American currency, the acquisition comes with an initial price of $172,911 and 100,000 shares. Pending satisfactory exploration results, NRG would pay another $535,000 and 100,000 shares to sign a definitive agreement. Additional payments would bring the total to $6.72 million over 54 months.

Earlier this month NRG completed the spinout of its non-core assets, the Groete gold-copper project in Guyana and the LAB graphite project in Quebec, to Gold Port Resources. The new company will focus on Groete, which has a 2013 inferred resource that used a 0.22 g/t gold-equivalent cutoff:

  • 74.8 million tonnes averaging 0.49 g/t gold and 0.12% copper, or 0.66 g/t gold-equivalent, for 1.59 million gold-equivalent ounces

LAB sits adjacent and contiguous to Lac des Iles, the largest of North America’s two flake graphite mines.

NRG closed an oversubscribed private placement of C$1.51 million in December.

A 2016 retrospect

December 20th, 2016

Was it the comeback year for commodities—or just a tease?

by Greg Klein

Some say optimism was evident early in the year, as the trade shows and investor conferences began. Certainly as 2016 progressed, so did much of the market. Commodities, some of them anyway, picked up. In a lot of cases, so did valuations. The crystal ball of the industry’s predictionariat often seemed to shine a rosier tint. It must have been the first time in years that people actually stopped saying, “I think we’ve hit bottom.”

But it would have been a full-out bull market if every commodity emulated lithium.

By February Benchmark Mineral Intelligence reported the chemical’s greatest-ever price jump as both hydroxide and carbonate surpassed $10,000 a tonne, a 47% increase for the latter’s 2015 average. The Macquarie Group later cautioned that the Big Four of Albermarle NYSE:ALB, FMC Corp NYSE:FMC, SQM NYSE:SQM and Talison Lithium had been mining significantly below capacity and would ramp up production to protect market share.

Was this the comeback year for commodities—or just a tease?

That they did, as new supply was about to come online from sources like Galaxy Resources’ Mount Cattlin mine in Western Australia, which began commissioning in November. The following month Orocobre TSX:ORL announced plans to double output from its Salar de Olaroz project in Argentina. Even Bolivia sent a token 9.3 tonnes to China, suggesting the mining world’s outlaw finally intends to develop its lithium deposits, estimated to be the world’s largest at 22% of global potential.

Disagreeing with naysayers like Macquarie and tracking at least 12 Li-ion megafactories being planned, built or expanded to gigawatt-hour capacity by 2020, Benchmark in December predicted further price increases for 2017.

Obviously there was no keeping the juniors out of this. Whether or not it’s a bubble destined to burst, explorers snapped up prospects, issuing news releases at an almost frantic flow that peaked in mid-summer. Acquisitions and early-stage activity often focused on the western U.S., South America’s Lithium Triangle and several Canadian locations too.

In Quebec’s James Bay region, Whabouchi was subject of a feasibility update released in April. Calling the development project “one of the richest spodumene hard rock lithium deposits in the world, both in volume and grade,” Nemaska Lithium TSX:NMX plans to ship samples from its mine and plant in Q2 2017.

A much more despairing topic was cobalt, considered by some observers to be the energy metal to watch. At press time instability menaced the Democratic Republic of Congo, which produces an estimated 60% of global output. Far overshadowing supply-side concerns, however, was the threat of a humanitarian crisis triggered by president Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his mandate on December 20.

Was this the comeback year for commodities—or just a tease?

But the overall buoyant market mood had a practical basis in base metals, led by zinc. In June prices bounced back from the six-year lows of late last year to become “by far the best-performing LME metal,” according to Reuters. Two months later a UBS spokesperson told the news agency refiners were becoming “panicky.”

Mine closures in the face of increasing demand for galvanized steel and, later in the year, post-U.S. election expectations of massive infrastructure programs, pushed prices 80% above the previous year. They then fell closer to 70%, but remained well within levels unprecedented over the last five years. By mid-December one steelmaker told the Wall Street Journal to expect “a demand explosion.”

Lead lagged, but just for the first half of 2016. Spot prices had sunk to about 74 cents a pound in early June, when the H2 ascension began. Reaching an early December peak of about $1.08, the highest since 2013, the metal then slipped beneath the dollar mark.

Copper lay at or near five-year lows until November, when a Trump-credited surge sent the red metal over 60% higher, to about $2.54 a pound. Some industry observers doubted it would last. But columnist Andy Home dated the rally to October, when the Donald was expected to lose. Home attributed copper’s rise to automated trading: “Think the copper market equivalent of Skynet, the artificial intelligence network that takes over the world in the Terminator films.” While other markets have experienced the same phenomenon, he maintained, it’s probably the first, but not the last time for a base metal.

Was this the comeback year for commodities—or just a tease?

Nickel’s spot price started the year around a piddling $3.70 a pound. But by early December it rose to nearly $5.25. That still compared poorly with 2014 levels well above $9 and almost $10 in 2011. Nickel’s year was characterized by Indonesia’s ban on exports of unprocessed metals and widespread mine suspensions in the Philippines, up to then the world’s biggest supplier of nickel ore.

More controversial for other reasons, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte began ordering suspensions shortly after his June election. His environmental secretary Regina Lopez then exhorted miners to surpass the world’s highest environmental standards, “better than Canada, better than Australia. We must be better and I know it can be done.”

Uranium continued to present humanity with a dual benefit—a carbon-free fuel for emerging middle classes and a cautionary example for those who would predict the future. Still oblivious to optimistic forecasts, the recalcitrant metal scraped a post-Fukushima low of $18 in December before creeping to $20.25 on the 19th. The stuff fetched around $72 a pound just before the 2011 tsunami and hit $136 in 2007.

NRG Metals completes due diligence on Argentinian lithium properties

November 21st, 2016

by Greg Klein | November 21, 2016

Among the companies active in South America’s Lithium Triangle, NRG Metals TSXV:NGZ has finished due diligence on two properties that would comprise the Carachi Pampa project in northwestern Argentina. Totalling 6,387 hectares, the contiguous properties sit in an area hosting geological features common to other lithium-rich salars in the region, the company stated on November 18. “The lithium target is a paleo salar (basin) at depth that has the potential to host lithium-enriched brines.”

NRG Metals completes due diligence on Argentinian lithium properties

NRG sees potential for lithium-enriched brines
in the Lithium Triangle’s Carachi Pampa project.

Located 40 kilometres from the town of Antofagasta de la Sierra at about 3,000 metres in elevation, the properties have winter access, a paved road 10 kilometres away and nearby services.

NRG has retained experienced lithium explorers Rojas and Associates and Sergio Lopez and Associates to review the project, with Rojas to complete a 43-101 technical report.

The properties are subject to different four-year purchase agreements, according to an LOI announced September 21. With all dollar figures in U.S. currency, one property calls for $120,000 on signing a definitive agreement, $200,000 in each of three annual payments and $600,000 at the end of the fourth year. A 1% NSR applies, which NRG may buy back for $1 million.

The other project would cost $160,000 on signing, $100,000 in two annual payments, $250,000 in year three and $625,000 in year four. Again, the company may buy back the 1% NSR for $1 million.

NRG offered a private placement up to C$1 million. Additionally, the company has negotiations underway on other properties.

In October NRG announced a management team for its Argentinian subsidiary, NRG Metals Argentina S.A. Executive director James Duff has written several 43-101 reports for Argentinian projects and served as COO of McEwen Mining TSX:MUX acquisition Minera Andes and president of South American operations for Coeur Mining NYSE:CDE.

Non-executive director José Gustavo de Castro is a chemical engineer with extensive experience in the evaluation and development of Argentinian lithium projects including the continent’s largest lithium producer, FMC Corp’s Hombre Muerto operation.

Manager of business development and corporate relations José Luis Martin’s 35-year career includes senior positions with Galaxy Lithium S.A. and Rio Tinto’s (NYSE:RIO) Argentinian projects.

Director Jorge Vargas specializes in property, mining and business law in Argentina.

Also last month NRG announced plans to spin out other assets to concentrate on lithium. The portfolio currently includes the LAB graphite project in Quebec and the Groete gold-copper resource in Guyana.

NRG Metals to focus on lithium, plans to spin out other assets

October 21st, 2016

by Greg Klein | October 21, 2016

A new company would take on graphite and gold-copper projects as NRG Metals TSXV:NGZ concentrates on lithium. In a proposed plan of arrangement announced October 21, the company would spin out its Groete gold-copper property in Guyana and its LAB graphite project in Quebec into a newly created subsidiary. NRG shareholders would get shares of the spinco on a pro rata basis.

NRG Metals to focus on lithium, plans to spin out other assets

NRG signed an LOI to acquire the Carachi Pampa
properties in South America’s Lithium Triangle.

Subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals, the deal would transfer the two properties and pay approximately $150,000 to an entity referred to as GPRL “as well as certain accounts payable attributable to these projects.” Plans call for the spinco to apply for a public listing.

NRG describes Groete as “one of the most easily accessed large gold-copper resources in Guyana, having both deep water and electrical power/support infrastructure within approximately 30 kilometres.” The project has a 2013 resource using a 0.22 g/t gold-equivalent cutoff for a pit shell showing:

  • inferred: 74.8 million tonnes averaging 0.49 g/t gold and 0.12% copper, or 0.66 g/t gold-equivalent, for 1.59 million gold-equivalent ounces

The LAB project sits adjacent and contiguous to Lac des Iles, the largest of North America’s two flake graphite mines. NRG has conducted sampling, metallurgy, airborne magnetics and TDEM surveys, and a ground PhySpy survey on the project.

Last month the company announced two letters of intent to acquire Argentinian properties within South America’s Lithium Triangle and stated it’s “also negotiating on several other lithium opportunities located elsewhere in Argentina and Chile.”

NRG has offered a private placement of up to $1 million.

December 4th, 2015

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Invest like a fund manager: Tips from the Silver Summit Streetwise Reports
Mines and Money ’15: Financiers urged to have patience with mining investments Industrial Minerals
Gold coin bugs: No, we’re not crazy for buying NAI 500
Tax loss selling 101: Start thinking about cutting your losers Stockhouse
Why Argentina’s new leader is good for Latin America and global investors GoldSeek
Dr. Clay: That mud bath might actually be good for you Geology for Investors

December 3rd, 2015

Gold coin bugs: No, we’re not crazy for buying NAI 500
Tax loss selling 101: Start thinking about cutting your losers Stockhouse
Why Argentina’s new leader is good for Latin America and global investors GoldSeek
The upside of a down mining market Streetwise Reports
They still can’t put a price on this diamond Equities Canada
UK housebuilding to boost clay demand Industrial Minerals
Dr. Clay: That mud bath might actually be good for you Geology for Investors

December 2nd, 2015

Tax loss selling 101: Start thinking about cutting your losers Stockhouse
Why Argentina’s new leader is good for Latin America and global investors GoldSeek
The upside of a down mining market Streetwise Reports
They still can’t put a price on this diamond Equities Canada
Chinese aluminum, nickel producers ask state to buy up surplus metal NAI 500
UK housebuilding to boost clay demand Industrial Minerals
Dr. Clay: That mud bath might actually be good for you Geology for Investors

December 1st, 2015

Why Argentina’s new leader is good for Latin America and global investors GoldSeek
The upside of a down mining market Streetwise Reports
They still can’t put a price on this diamond Equities Canada
Chinese stocks fall after two major brokerages announce they are under investigation Stockhouse
Chinese aluminum, nickel producers ask state to buy up surplus metal NAI 500
UK housebuilding to boost clay demand Industrial Minerals
Dr. Clay: That mud bath might actually be good for you Geology for Investors

Athabasca Basin and beyond

May 1st, 2015

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to May 1, 2015

by Greg Klein

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NexGen ends winter with outstanding step-outs, plans 2015 maiden resource

Following a season in which 44 of 46 holes at Rook 1’s Arrow zone found mineralization, the last one released by NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE showed the project’s highest total composite mineralization. That April 29 announcement followed an April 23 batch of results that included some of the zone’s strongest offscale radioactivity. Although lots of assays are still pending, drilling resumes in early June with five rigs expected to sink a total of 25,000 metres. The longer-term goal is a maiden resource by December.

Winter’s record-breaker was angled hole AR-15-45b, which drilled through A2 and A3, two of the zone’s three mineralized shears. It returned a composite 226 metres of mineralization distributed within a 468-metre section starting at 391 metres in downhole depth. Included was a composite 9.8 metres that went “offscale” between 10,000 and 54,000 counts per second.

The results come from a hand-held scintillometer that measures drill core radioactivity. Readings above 10,000 cps are considered offscale due to the limitations of earlier devices. These measurements don’t substitute for assays, which have yet to arrive.

Another radioactive announcement six days earlier heralded a substantial expansion to A2’s high-grade core, some of Arrow’s strongest off-scale measurements and semi-massive to massive pitchblende that would make a geologist’s mouth water. Currently marking Arrow’s southwestern border, hole AR-15-44b stepped out 76 metres southwest along strike from AR-14-30, which last October assayed 7.54% U3O8 over 63.5 metres.

AR-15-44b found a composite 190.7 metres within a 519-metre section, starting at 430.5 metres in depth. The results included an offscale composite of 40.45 metres.

Other highlights include:

  • AR-15-43a, with 92 composite metres within a 501.5-metre section, starting at 346 metres

  • AR-15-42a, with 68.9 composite metres within a 592.5-metre section starting at 142.5 metres

Arrow now covers 515 metres by 215 metres, with mineralization found vertically at depths between 100 metres and 920 metres. Still open in all directions and at depth, the zone boasts significant off-scale mineralization at both its southwestern and northeastern extents.

Beyond Arrow, NexGen’s winter season also resulted in Rook 1’s Bow discovery.

Athabasca Basin bought deals: Fission closes $20 million, Denison announces $15 million

April 29 proved a good day for uranium financings as the Basin’s two most prominent explorers announced substantial bought deals. Fission Uranium TSX:FCU completed a private placement of 13.34 million flow-through shares at $1.50 to bring in $20.01 million. Denison Mines TSX:DML announced an agreement to purchase 12 million flow-through shares at $1.25 for $15 million, an offer that’s expected to close around May 26.

Fission’s placement started at $15 million on April 1. Within hours the figure rose to $17.4 million. With the underwriters exercising their additional 15% option, the deal closed on $20.01 million. Earlier this month the company finished its winter program at Patterson Lake South, which strived to expand and upgrade the Triple R deposit and the R600W zone, as well as explore the PLS property farther afield.

Denison also wrapped up winter work earlier this month after sinking 61 holes totalling 30,400 metres on seven projects, most of them joint ventures. Summer plans call for about 34,000 metres on eight projects, focusing on the flagship Wheeler River project, which has a maiden resource for the Gryphon zone planned for December to complement the very high-grade Phoenix deposit three kilometres southeast. Denison holds 60% of the JV with Cameco Corp TSX:CCO (30%) and JCU (Canada) Exploration (10%).

Also announced April 29, Cameco’s Q1 results showed $566 million in revenue, a 35% increase over the same period last year. Gross profit reached $129 million, a 19% increase. But a net loss attributable to shareholders sunk to $9 million, or $0.02 per share diluted, 107% below Q1 2014 performance. The company attributed blame “primarily due to higher mark-to-market losses on foreign exchange derivatives.”

In a more modest financing the following day, Kivalliq Energy TSXV:KIV closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling nearly $2.8 million. UEX Corp TSX:UEX offered a $2.5-million placement on April 21.

Phase I drilling finds U3O8 at Lakeland Resources’ Star/Gibbon’s Creek project

Assays released May 1 show a promising start to Lakeland Resources’ (TSXV:LK) Star/Gibbon’s Creek project. As a result the company plans geophysics and drilling to complement last winter’s 14-hole, 2,550-metre program on the road-accessible property a few kilometres from the town of Stony Rapids, on the Basin’s north-central rim.

Among highlights from the project’s South trend was hole GC15-03, immediately below the sub-Athabasca unconformity, which showed:

  • 333.8 ppm U3O8 over 1.1 metres, starting at 106.8 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.13% over 0.23 metres)

True widths weren’t available.

The hole also revealed uranium enrichment, strong hydrothermal alteration and the pathfinder elements boron, cobalt and nickel between 106.8 and 133 metres in depth.

Additional anomalous uranium came from two holes north and south of GC15-03:

Phase I drilling finds U3O8 at Lakeland Resources’ Star/Gibbon’s Creek project

Drill results show uranium enrichment, strong hydrothermal
alteration and pathfinder geochemistry for hole GC15-03.

GC15-04

  • 86.7 ppm over 1 metre, starting at 114.2 metres

GC15-11

  • 123.3 ppm over 2.1 metres, starting at 103.4 metres

GC15-02, collared near an historic hole that assayed 0.18% over 0.13 metres, showed:

  • 120.3 ppm over 1 metre, starting at 101 metres

At the South zone’s eastern end, GC15-10 returned “a strong illite clay alteration assemblage from the unconformity (80.9 metres) to 148 metres’ depth,” Lakeland stated. “This interval corresponds to a zone of strong ductile shearing and local brittle-ductile cataclastic brecciation.”

GC15-06 on the Centre zone tested an area with some of the Basin’s strongest land-based RadonEx measurements. “Highly anomalous geochemical pathfinders were noted throughout the hole, including a zone of uranium enrichment from approximately 41 metres to 109.5 metres in depth.”

The company now plans airborne electromagnetics on the project’s eastern margins, ground gravity at the South trend and additional RadonEx surveys. Further drilling around GC15-06 and the South trend will follow.

“Given the early stage of exploration at Gibbon’s Creek, results obtained from this first round of drilling are very encouraging,” said president Jonathan Armes. “The geochemical, clay and alteration results are suggestive of a nearby basement-hosted or unconformity-hosted uranium occurrence…. Lakeland will have multiple exploration programs ongoing in and around the Athabasca Basin this summer and fall, which should provide for an exciting year.”

With one of the Basin-region’s largest portfolios, Lakeland currently holds 32 properties totalling over 300,000 hectares. Among other drill-ready projects are Newnham Lake, east of Star/Gibbon’s, and Lazy Edward Bay on the Basin’s southern rim.

Last week the company appointed well-known geologist Jody Dahrouge to Lakeland’s board of directors. During his 25-year career he played a key role in Fission Energy’s acquisition of Waterbury Lake, Patterson Lake and Patterson Lake South. Waterbury Lake now hosts the J-zone discovery, while PLS holds the Triple R deposit.

Read more about Lakeland Resources’ Star/Gibbon’s Creek project.

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