Monday 13th July 2020

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘arizona’

IMC International Mining readies summer gold-copper-silver program in B.C.

July 10th, 2020

by Greg Klein | July 10, 2020

As base camp construction nears completion, a field crew has mobilized for summer exploration that could lead to autumn drilling in central British Columbia. An acquisition that closed just last April, IMC International Mining’s (CSE:IMCX) Thane project will undergo induced polarization and mapping, along with rock, soil and silt sampling to follow up on previous gold-copper results.

IMC International Mining readies summer gold-copper-silver program in B.C.

Focus of the campaign will be Cathedral, one of six areas of interest found through previous work on the 20,600-hectare property in B.C.’s Quesnel Terrane. IP will expand on last year’s survey, covering a broader area and in greater detail. Sampling will take place over the geophysical grid. Results will be evaluated for a possible drill program before winter.

In addition to last year’s IP survey, previous work has included over 1,400 rock samples as well as soil samples. A few highlights from Cathedral, an area covering about 1.5 by two kilometres, featured 3.29% copper and 20.1 g/t gold, 2.54% copper and 7.78 g/t gold, 13.9% copper and 6.85 g/t gold, as well as 11.1% copper and 2.77 g/t gold.

IMC released copper-gold-silver sample results from Thane’s Gail and Cirque areas in May and from the property’s CJL, Mat and Lake areas early last month. The Cathedral program forms part of a plan to explore the entire property, said CEO Brian Thurston. “This region is a very active gold and copper exploration area of British Columbia, similar to B.C.’s renowned Golden Triangle. The Quesnel Terrane along the northeast contact of the Hogem batholith is an alkalic suite of rocks hosting several porphyry copper-gold deposits.”

Best known are Centerra Gold’s (TSX:CG) Mount Milligan operation 155 kilometres southeast of Thane, and the former Kemess open pit and Centerra’s feasibility-stage Kemess underground project about 116 kilometres northwest.

Late last month IMC strengthened its BOD with the appointments of Andy Graetz and Samir Patel. Graetz, a mining engineer with over 35 years’ experience, has held senior roles in Canada, the U.S., the Philippines, Kazakhstan and South Africa. Patel is a securities lawyer who brings 11 years of experience in M&A, disclosure, corporate governance and equity financings. They join a team that includes chairperson Greg Hawkins and adviser Jeffrey Reeder, as well as Thurston.

Also in June IMC offered a private placement up to $1 million. In May the company closed the final tranche of a placement totalling $1.76 million. IMC negotiated a private equity draw-down of $8 million in April.

The company also holds the early-stage Bullard Pass gold property in Arizona.

Read more about IMC International Mining.

Money and brains

May 21st, 2020

IMC International Mining applies financing and expertise to early-stage opportunity

by Greg Klein | May 21, 2020

Events moved quickly and rather momentously after this company closed its Thane property acquisition in April. Along with the project came first one, then a second impressive addition to the team at IMC International Mining CSE:IMCX. New lab results highlighted the copper-gold prospectivity of the central British Columbia turf. Underscoring all that were financings to the tune of $1.76 million in private placements and—rare for an early-stage junior explorer—a private equity draw-down of $8 million.

Obviously the company has plans for that money. But, as IR officer Ranbir Kalan emphasizes, the funds also constitute a resounding vote of confidence in IMC.

IMC International Mining applies financing and expertise to early-stage opportunity

The draw-down, arranged in mid-April with New York-based Alumina Partners, “allows the board and the team to take parts of the $8 million whenever it’s deemed necessary,” he explains. “That not only protects us from cash issues in the long run, it allows us to keep dilution to a minimum.”

Private placements that brought IMC $1.76 million in mid-May were led by Gravitas Securities, a fact that Kalan points to as indicating further confidence. “Gravitas has a lot of experience in the mining sector so having them on our side also validates our expertise, what we’ve been doing and what we have planned.”

Those plans focus on Thane, a 20,600-hectare property in the central B.C. Quesnel Terrane that hosts Centerra Gold’s (TSX:CG) Mount Milligan operation to the south and, to the north, the former Kemess open pit and Centerra’s feasibility-level Kemess underground project, all copper-gold porphyry deposits. “Our team was already familiar with Thane,” Kalan says. “It was perfect for the size and scope that we were looking for and we were able to get it at a very good valuation.”

An all-share deal valued at $2 million bought a 100% interest in Thane Minerals and its project. Apparently never drilled, the property had undergone field work that included over 1,400 rock samples, along with soil samples, a 2019 induced polarization survey and Geoscience BC’s regional airborne magnetics. On May 19 the company released assays from Cathedral, one of Thane’s six areas of significant gold-copper mineralization.

Some rock sample highlights from five showings within Cathedral featured:

Pinnacle showing

  • 3.29% copper and 20.1 g/t gold
  • 2.54% copper and 7.78 g/t gold

Cathedral showing

  • 13.9% copper and 6.85 g/t gold
  • 3.7% copper and 1.71 g/t gold

Cathedral South showing

  • 4.72% copper and 0.97 g/t gold
  • 1.89% copper and 1.33 g/t gold

Arc showing

  • 11.1% copper and 2.77 g/t gold
  • 8.59% copper and 1.22 g/t gold

Gully showing

  • 3.13% copper and 0.18 g/t gold
  • 1.07% copper and 0.32 g/t gold

The samples represent a zone covering 1.5 by two kilometres, with mineralization in a number of styles but all showing potential for a significant copper-gold alkalic porphyry system, IMC stated.

Earlier this month the company reported lab work that confirmed previous rock sample results throughout the Thane property and, through analysis of soil samples from the Cathedral area, found four broad inline copper anomalies.

IMC International Mining applies financing and—expertise to early-stage opportunity

Still pending are sample results from Thane’s five areas
to the north of Cathedral: Cirque, Gail, CJL, Lake and Mat.
(Image: Geoscience BC/IMC International Mining)

“All this is very promising and we’re looking forward to using these results to help guide us through a summer program of geological mapping, more geochem sampling and an IP survey, with drilling possible in the fall,” Kalan says.

An added benefit to the Thane company acquisition was the Greg Hawkins acquisition. As part of the deal he now chairs IMC’s board. With just over a half-century of experience, Hawkins helped found seven companies, in each of which he helped define resources or reserves. Six of those deposits went on to production. In all, Hawkins has been closely involved with identifying and/or delineating 10 deposits in Canada, the U.S., Chile, Ghana, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Playing an integral role at Thane Minerals, he’s more than familiar with the Thane property.

In another recent personnel acquisition, Jeffrey Reeder joined IMC’s advisory board. Currently chairperson/CEO of Peruvian Metals TSXV:PER, his specialties include copper-gold porphyry deposits. His work at Mount Milligan and South Kemess helped him in two Peruvian discoveries, the Aguila copper-molybdenum porphyry and the Pinaya copper-gold porphyry deposits.

Another seasoned geologist, Brian Thurston heads IMC as president/CEO/director. His work in the Americas, Africa and India included acting as Ecuadorian country manager for Aurelian Resources, later taken over by Kinross Gold TSX:K. Experienced in boardrooms as well as the field, he founded several public companies, and held board and committee positions that oversaw audit, disclosure and corporate governance.

“In the mining world you can have companies with great projects but they don’t have the veterans who know how to interpret results or decide the next steps,” notes Kalan. “So this team really gives us strength.”

IMC’s portfolio also includes Bullard Pass, an early-stage gold project in Arizona, and other acquisitions might be considered. But Thane captivates IMC’s copper-gold porphyry enthusiasm.

Still to come are further analysis of property-wide sampling and surveying, a summer field program and a possible autumn drill campaign. Kalan looks forward to continuing IMC’s busy news flow.

Legendary mine finder David Lowell dead at 92

May 6th, 2020

by Greg Klein | May 6, 2020

An axe injury while staking claims in central Saskatchewan helps illustrate the working life of an intrepid geologist in the 1950s. While topping trees David Lowell slashed his hand, but heavy blood loss hardly justified helicopter transport for medical attention. A few days later, as bleeding continued despite application of a rag bandage, a fellow geologist sewed up the cut with black carpet thread.

Legendary mine finder David Lowell dead at 92

Although Lowell admitted the process had him howling with pain, he concluded with stoic simplicity: “This worked fine.” They stayed in the bush for another week before heading back to Lac La Ronge, where a couple of Cree nurses examined the amateur stitch-up with amusement.

Lowell also spent time in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories as well as in British Columbia, where he worked at Highland Valley, Endako, Gibraltar and Craigmont. But the legend who passed away earlier this week was best known for discoveries farther south, starting in his native Arizona. The grandson of an Ontario-born prospector is credited with 17 major discoveries over 50 years in Arizona, Argentina, the Philippines, B.C., Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Paraguay.

Intrepid Explorer: The Autobiography of the World’s Best Mine Finder attributes significant work from others for seven of those achievements, which he categorizes as “maybe-I-was-responsible-for orebodies.” As he added, “there always are many more discoverers than discoveries.”

Lowell’s boots hit ground over much of the world but he also delivered university lectures in several countries and published widely. A longstanding collaboration with John Guilbert brought fame for the duo, better understanding of geology and many new mines through the Lowell-Guilbert Porphyry Copper Model, first published in 1970.

The model led to Lowell’s first discoveries, Kalamazoo and Vekol in Arizona, “which were remarkable at the time given the lack of visible copper mineralization at surface,” said a May 5 statement from Solaris Resources. Those finds were followed by Bajo Alumbrera in Argentina, to which Lowell acknowledged the contribution of others.

“David went on to discover the world’s largest copper deposit, La Escondida, in Chile in 1981,” Solaris pointed out. “This came from recognizing how the signature of his porphyry copper model would be modified in an extremely arid environment by a process known as ‘super leaching,’ which five prior companies exploring the property previously had failed to recognize.

“Likewise, in Peru, David identified the Northern Peru Gold Belt after library study, regional mapping, reconnaissance and sampling in a region that was not thought to be prospective. This work allowed him to narrow his focus and make the Pierina gold discovery in 1996, which was acquired by Barrick Gold for over $1 billion later that year.

“With Peru Copper, David took what was a known but under-appreciated deposit in Toromocho, relogged the existing drill core and completely reinterpreted the geology to lay the foundation for an exploration program that would increase its size by more than an order of magnitude. The project was acquired in 2007 for over $800 million.”

His last discoveries included Mirador in Ecuador, which began operation last year under a Chinese consortium, and Solaris’ flagship project Warintza in Ecuador, along with Lowell’s participation in finding Alto Parana in Paraguay. Lowell remained a Solaris consultant and strategic partner until his passing.

“Up until the very end of his life, David was busy designing programs to test his vision for the future of discovery in the Americas,” the company stated. “Innovation and ingenuity were constants throughout his legendary career.”

Policy or geology?

February 28th, 2020

What’s behind Canada’s plunging reputation among miners?

by Greg Klein | February 28, 2020

If you think that’s bad news, be glad the poll ended when it did. The Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies 2019 imposed a November 8 deadline on respondents. Shut Down Canada didn’t really gain momentum until a bit later.

Even so, for the first time in a decade no Canadian jurisdiction made the top 10 for the survey’s main list, the Investment Attractiveness Index (IAI). Media coverage played up the role of provincial and territorial governments in jeopardizing what was—until recently and at least by Canadians—generally considered the world’s pre-eminent mining country. In doing so, reporters followed the institute’s commentary which, in keeping with its advocacy purpose, emphasized politicians’ ability to help or hinder the industry. But a closer look suggests miners and explorers gave other concerns higher priority.

What’s behind Canada’s plunging reputation among miners?

(Image: Fraser Institute)

The survey bases the IAI on two other indices, Policy Perception and Mineral Potential. The first is determined by company responses to government actions or in-actions affecting the industry. The second (assuming an un-interfering nirvana of “best practices” by those governments) considers companies’ appraisals of geology. The survey provides separate ratings for policy and geology, but also weighs them 40% and 60% respectively to compile the IAI. The 40/60 split reflects institute intel about how companies make investment decisions.

Despite Canada’s disappearance from the IAI top 10, three provinces rated highly for Policy Perception. Alberta, Newfoundland and Saskatchewan rated sixth, eighth and ninth in the world respectively. Five Canadian jurisdictions showed Policy Perception improvements over the previous year. Moreover, the most dramatic declines from 2018 appeared in the Mineral Potential index.

“We know there’s not a lot that policy-makers can do about the geology in particular areas,” says Fraser Institute senior policy analyst Ashley Stedman. “But when we see declines on the policy index, that’s something policy-makers should be paying attention to.

“In particular we saw significant declines in Saskatchewan, which dropped from third the previous year to 11th, and that was largely the result of concerns about policy factors including taxation, regulatory duplication and inconsistencies, and trade barriers. And in Quebec we saw a decline from fourth to 18th, with uncertainties about environmental regulations and about the administration or enforcement of existing regulations. We can see from both these jurisdictions and a number of other Canadian jurisdictions that regulatory issues are escalating and this should be a serious concern for policy-makers.”

What’s behind Canada’s plunging reputation among miners?

But while Saskatchewan’s Policy Perception rating fell from first place to ninth, the province’s Mineral Potential rank fell farther, from seventh to 21st. Quebec dropped from 10th to 21st in Policy Perception but plummeted from sixth to 25th in Mineral Potential.

Other dramatic Mineral Potential declines included Manitoba (from 11th to 26th), New Brunswick (49th to 72nd), Newfoundland (18th to 50th), the NWT (fourth to 29th), Nunavut (fifth to 16th) and Yukon (10th to 22nd).

Four provinces—Alberta, B.C., Nova Scotia and Ontario—did show improvements. Still, the question remains: What the hell happened to Canadian geology?

Some causes might be resource depletion, recalcitrant commodity prices or (talk to enough CEOs and this seems very possible indeed) confusion about how to answer survey questions.

Stedman suggests another likelihood. Discoveries in some jurisdictions might dampen enthusiasm for others. “We do have to keep in mind that this is a relative ranking, so if other places are seen as more attractive, that can have an impact on other jurisdictions as well.”

Although policy factors affect just 40% of a jurisdiction’s IAI ranking, “our write-up focuses on the policy rankings as an area that policy-makers can pay attention to,” Stedman explains. In some cases governments do respond to the survey’s findings. “Reporters will often ask policy-makers to comment on the rankings.”

As for other countries, “we do get quite a bit of interest globally for this survey and we’ve seen a lot of countries and jurisdictions ask us questions about the rankings. There’s quite a lot of interest in this publication in particular.”

Confidentiality, however, prevents her from divulging how many respondents are based in Canada.

The survey provides “a policy report card for governments on areas that require improvement and areas where certain jurisdictions are performing well,” she adds.

In general we see that investment dollars will flow to jurisdictions with attractive polices, and governments need to focus on adopting competitive policies to attract valuable investment dollars that will ultimately create jobs.—Ashley Stedman,
senior policy analyst
for the Fraser Institute

With geology beyond the reach of government power, policy improvement would be Canada’s only means of re-entering the IAI’s global top 10. “In general we see that investment dollars will flow to jurisdictions with attractive polices, and governments need to focus on adopting competitive policies to attract valuable investment dollars that will ultimately create jobs.”

Whether the pre-PDAC week timing will cast a pall on the Canadian industry’s biggest annual bash remains to be seen. COVID-19 has cast a bigger pall on travel while, at time of writing, there seems nothing to stop Shut Down Canada from turning its attention to airports, hotels and convention centres.

The following charts show the global IAI top 10, Canada’s IAI top 10, Canada’s top 10 for Policy Perception and Mineral Potential, and—consoling for its lack of Canadian content—the global bottom 10.

With fewer responses this time, the 2019 survey covers 76 jurisdictions compared with 83 the previous year. Here are the global IAI rankings for 2019, with 2018 spots in parentheses.

  • 1 Western Australia (5)

  • 2 Finland (17)

  • 3 Nevada (1)

  • 4 Alaska (5)

  • 5 Portugal (46)

  • 6 South Australia (8)

  • 7 Irish Republic (19)

  • 8 Idaho (16)

  • 9 Arizona (8)

  • 10 Sweden (21)

All Canadian jurisdictions except Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia fell in the IAI. Here’s the list for Canada, with global numbers provided for 2019 and 2018:

  • 11 Saskatchewan (3)

  • 16 Ontario (20)

  • 18 Quebec (4)

  • 19 British Columbia (18)

  • 23 Yukon (9)

  • 26 Nunavut (15)

  • 28 Newfoundland and Labrador (11)

  • 30 Alberta (51)

  • 34 Manitoba (12)

  • 35 Northwest Territories (10)

  • 52 Nova Scotia (57)

  • 60 New Brunswick (30)

Here’s Canada’s Policy Perception ratings. Alberta, Newfoundland, Ontario, B.C. and Nunavut improved their standings.

  • 6 Alberta (14)

  • 8 Newfoundland and Labrador (18)

  • 9 Saskatchewan (11)

  • 13 New Brunswick (9)

  • 18 Nova Scotia (11)

  • 21 Quebec (10)

  • 24 Ontario (30)

  • 32 Yukon (24)

  • 36 British Columbia (44)

  • 44 Nunavut (45)

  • 50 Northwest Territories (42)

  • 53 Manitoba (33)

Mineral Potential showed Canada’s most dramatic downfalls, although Alberta, B.C., Nova Scotia and Ontario managed to move upwards.

  • 10 British Columbia (13)

  • 16 Nunavut (5)

  • 18 Ontario (20)

  • 21 Saskatchewan (7)

  • 22 Yukon (10)

  • 25 Quebec (6)

  • 26 Manitoba (11)

  • 29 Northwest Territories (4)

  • 50 Newfoundland and Labrador (18)

  • 54 Alberta (74)

  • 61 Nova Scotia (79)

  • 72 New Brunswick (49)

And finally the global IAI bottom 10:

  • 67 Nicaragua (81)

  • 68 Mali (50)

  • 69 Democratic Republic of Congo (67)

  • 70 Venezuela (83)

  • 71 Zambia (45)

  • 72 Dominican Republic (76)

  • 73 Guatemala (80)

  • 74 La Rioja province, Argentina (75)

  • 75 Chubut province, Argentina (69)

  • 76 Tanzania (66)

Download the Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies 2019.

Read about last year’s survey.

Taseko claims court victory but natives call on B.C. to block New Prosperity

August 28th, 2018

by Greg Klein | August 28, 2018

In theory, the latest court decision regarding Taseko Mines’ (TSX:TKO) New Prosperity project might have brought some clarity to Canada’s vaguely defined “duty to consult.” But how that plays out in practice remains to be seen.

On August 28 the company stated that last week’s British Columbia Supreme Court decision overrules native objection to an exploration permit. The ruling allows Taseko to collect data that might overcome a 2014 federal environmental rejection for the proposed gold-copper open pit in the province’s south-central area.

Taseko claims court victory but natives call on B.C. to block New Prosperity

Calling the decision “unequivocal,” company president/CEO Russell Hallbauer said it affirmed the province’s “authority to approve resource development work even in the face of aboriginal opposition. The Crown’s obligation is to consult with aboriginal people and to accommodate their interests where reasonable to do so. However, there is no duty or obligation to secure aboriginal support for the work being proposed.”

In 2010 a predecessor project called Prosperity met federal environmental rejection largely due to a plan to convert a 118-hectare lake into a tailings facility. Taseko then submitted a $300-million revision called New Prosperity, which would relocate the tailings. In the face of continued objection by the Tsilhqot’in National Government, Ottawa delivered its second rejection in 2014.

New Prosperity did, however, win provincial environmental approval and had the support of B.C.’s previous Liberal government. Last week’s court decision ruled on a challenge to an exploration permit granted under the Liberals.

“From our perspective, the permit is like the Liberal party giving a welcoming present of infected smallpox blankets to the junior incoming NDP government,” commented Tsilhqot’in chairperson Joe Alphonse. “The proper steps would be to pull the pin on this permit. The NDP government has the power to do so and should do the honourable thing—something that the former B.C. Liberal government wouldn’t do. We will be exhausting all options to ensure our cultural, spiritual and sacred lands are protected for the use of current and future generations.”

Last year the Tsilhqot’in petitioned the legislature to create a “tribal park” that would preserve the area including New Prosperity.

A 2009 estimate credited the proposed mine with measured and indicated resources totalling 1.01 billion tonnes averaging 0.41 g/t gold and 0.24% copper for 13.3 million ounces gold and 5.3 billion pounds copper. A report commissioned by Taseko forecast 71,000 direct and indirect jobs, $4.3 billion in federal taxes and $5.52 billion in provincial taxes resulting from the mine.

Taseko also holds a 75% interest in Canada’s second-largest open pit copper mine, the Gibraltar operation in south-central B.C. In Arizona, the company’s Florence copper mine is expected to begin production by year-end.

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.

Opportunism knocks

December 5th, 2016

First Mining Finance found bad times beneficial for good deals

by Greg Klein

Struggling junior? Not this company. Since its trading debut in April 2015, First Mining Finance TSXV:FF has compiled 25 projects covering some 300,000 hectares, from early stage to a PEA with 4.4 million gold ounces indicated. Just as aggressively, the company boosted its treasury to a current $35 million. Now First Mining looks forward to a $21-million exploration and development program for 2017 that includes 47,000 metres of drilling.

“We were able to execute on the vision of the company, which last year was to take advantage of the bear market and acquire projects,” VP of investor relations Derek Iwanaka explains. “I don’t know of any other company that was able to acquire as many projects, or projects as good as we got, during that period.”

First Mining Finance found bad times beneficial for good deals

Located in northwestern Ontario’s Birch-Uchi greenstone belt,
First Mining’s 32,448-hectare Springpole flagship has an
updated PEA scheduled for next year.

Certainly there were deals to be had for canny acquisitors. But that was while many other companies faced financing difficulties. First Mining bucked the trend last August by closing a $27-million private placement. How did they pull that off?

“Quite easily,” responds Iwanaka. “We were literally turning down millions of dollars. We had over $70 million in orders but we didn’t want that kind of dilution. So we just took the $27 million. That should carry us for at least the next few years, including all the drilling and overhead.”

First Mining seems to have something that eludes others.

“First of all we have Keith Neumeyer at the helm, who runs a multi-billion-dollar company as it stands,” says Iwanaka. “Keith has been adept at starting companies during very bad times and manoeuvring them so when times are good we can reap the rewards for our shareholders.”

Among companies founded by the First Mining director were First Quantum Minerals TSX:FM and First Majestic Silver TSX:FR, where Neumeyer’s president/CEO. First Majestic acts as a sort of mentor to First Mining, placing some FR directors in FF’s management and board, helping to get the new company started, lending it about $1 million, vending three Mexican properties and even providing office space.

Among considerations behind an acquisition are “size and quality of the project,” Iwanaka points out. “We look at projects with good grade, scalability, exploration upside. The jurisdiction’s quite important to us. We’re basically looking at North America, but not the North. We will look at South America as well. Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland are our favourite places although we could go to other provinces too. In the U.S. we see Nevada and Arizona as fairly mining-friendly states. We could probably look at New Mexico as well. We do have some early-stage properties in Mexico, where First Majestic has its base, but we certainly focus on Canada.”

As for commodities, “we particularly like gold but silver, platinum and palladium are also attractive, as well as base metals—anything that’s exchange-tradeable.”

Other factors include “the price of the projects, the holding cost, the infrastructure. In many cases the projects we take already have roads and power lines going to them.”

If gold’s the company’s focus, the Springpole flagship explains why. Described as one of Canada’s largest undeveloped gold projects, the northwestern Ontario potential open pit came with the past owner’s 2013 PEA. Using a 0.4 g/t gold cutoff, the 2012 resource showed:

  • indicated: 128.2 million tonnes averaging 1.07 g/t gold and 5.7 g/t silver for 4.41 million ounces gold and 23.8 million ounces silver

  • inferred: 25.7 million tonnes averaging 0.83 g/t gold and 3.2 g/t silver for 690,000 ounces gold and 2.7 million ounces silver

First Mining has work underway to bring the resource and PEA up to date. But looking back at 2013, the report calculated a post-tax NPV of US$388 million using a 5% discount, with a 13.8% post-tax IRR. Initial capex came to US$438 million with payback in 35 months of an 11-year mine life.

First Mining Finance found bad times beneficial for good deals

Visible gold was one attraction of the Goldlund project,
which has another 27,000 metres of drilling planned.

“We expect the updated PEA will be even more robust,” Iwanaka says. “The U.S. dollar has appreciated since 2013, when it was at par. We’re also looking at increasing the recovery and the pit shell. Those three things could substantially improve the economics and we hope to have the new PEA out probably by the first half of next year.”

With assays pending, a four-hole, 1,712-metre fall program provided metallurgical fodder. Next summer’s agenda calls for another 6,000 metres of infill to upgrade the resource. In the meantime, pre-permitting environmental and baseline work will soon begin.

A newer acquisition gets even more rig attention next year. Goldlund, about 60 kilometres north of Dryden and roughly 200 klicks south of Springpole, has 27,000 metres planned to upgrade the resource and work towards an eventual PEA. The former open pit and underground operation came with an estimate that First Mining considers an historic non-43-101. Using a 0.4 g/t gold cutoff, it showed:

  • measured and indicated: 19.1 million tonnes averaging 1.94 g/t for 1.19 million ounces gold

  • inferred: 25.8 million tonnes averaging 2.51 g/t for 2.08 million ounces

Cameron, maybe another 100 kilometres south of Goldlund, gets up to 9,000 metres of infill to pump up the measured and indicated prior to PEA. Using a 0.5 g/t cutoff, a 2015 resource from Chalice Gold Mines TSX:CXN showed:

  • measured: 3.72 million tonnes averaging 2.64 g/t for 316,000 ounces gold

  • indicated: 4.1 million tonnes averaging 1.92 g/t for 253,000 ounces

  • inferred: 14.5 million tonnes averaging 1.92 g/t for 894,000 ounces

Moving to southwestern Newfoundland, Hope Brook will see 5,000 metres of exploration and infill. A high 3 g/t gold cutoff gives the current resource:

  • indicated: 5.5 million tonnes averaging 4.77 g/t for 844,000 ounces gold

  • inferred: 836,000 tonnes averaging 4.11 g/t for 110,000 ounces

Again, a resource upgrade precedes a PEA, this one slated for late 2017.

Back in Ontario and roughly 110 kilometres northeast of the Springpole flagship, autumn drilling has wrapped up at Pickle Crow. Assays from the nine-hole, 1,319-metre campaign are expected in early 2017. The former mine came with a 2011 inferred resource that used a 2.25 g/t gold cutoff for an underground deposit and a 0.35 g/t cutoff for an open pit deposit:

Underground

  • 6.52 million tonnes averaging 5.4 g/t for 1.14 million ounces gold

Open pit

  • 3.63 million tonnes averaging 1.1 g/t for 126,000 ounces

Total

  • 10.15 million tonnes averaging 3.9 g/t for 1.26 million ounces

With assays to come, drilling to do and announcements for other North American projects anticipated, First Mining plans a steady news flow, says Iwanaka.

Athabasca Basin and beyond

March 1st, 2015

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to March 1, 2015

by Greg Klein

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Saskatchewan’s number two for mining jurisdictions worldwide

The province has held a top 10 position for at least five years, but last week Saskatchewan reached second place in a global survey of miners and explorers. The Fraser Institute study released February 24 rated jurisdictions for a number of factors, with the most important attributes making up the Investment Attractiveness Index. There sits Saskatchewan, second only to Finland.

The index considers responses for two separate categories, giving a 60% weight to geology and 40% to public policy. As Macdonald-Laurier Institute managing director Brian Lee Crowley told ResourceClips.com, reserves aren’t much good without policies that allow responsible development. Some comments quoted by the Fraser Institute bear that out.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to February 27, 2015

A province founded on agriculture, Saskatchewan became one of
the world’s leading mining jurisdictions thanks to geology and policy.

“In Saskatchewan, ‘Duty to Consult’ is the responsibility of government, not the company. Something like the Ring of Fire fiasco in Ontario would not happen in Saskatchewan.”

“Good geoscientific support and permitting procedures which allow for timely planning and efficient support from provincial administration in addressing land access and Amerindian issues.”

“Saskatchewan is open to uranium exploration.”

Speaking to the Regina Leader-Post, survey director Kenneth Green said, “In addition to being blessed with an abundance of mineral potential, Saskatchewan gets credit for having a government with a transparent and productive approach to mining policy. The province offers a competitive taxation regime, good scientific support, efficient permitting procedures and clarity around land claims.”

More good words came from provincial Economy Minister Bill Boyd. “Clearly, there is a very good resource here in the province, whether it’s in potash, uranium or other minerals that we mine here in Saskatchewan,’’ the Leader-Post quoted him. “We’ve been able to create a business climate here in Saskatchewan that’s positive. There’s a good workforce in Saskatchewan, a trained workforce, as well.’’

Four other Canadian jurisdictions made the top 10 for investment attractiveness. Additionally the survey showed a significant improvement in Canada’s median score on the Policy Perception Index.

Read more about Canada’s performance in the global mining survey.

Download the survey.

NexGen adds third high-grade section to Rook 1’s Arrow zone

Having discovered another high-grade section of the Arrow zone with Rook 1’s best angled hole yet, NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE assigned new names to the project’s features. A1, A2 and A3 designate three mineralized shears trending northeast to southwest. The latest hole, AR-15-39, found composite mineralization totalling 89.15 metres within 436.5 metres that started at 433.5 metres in downhole depth. Scintillometer readings above 10,000 counts per second coincided with “dense accumulations of semi-massive to massive pitchblende,” the company stated February 24.

The results, from a handheld device that scans drill core for gamma radiation, are no substitute for the still-pending assays. Readings of 10,000 cps or more are called “offscale” due to the limitations of a previous model.

Drilled at a -70 dip between AR-15-37 and -38, the new hole went offscale for seven metres at A2, reinforcing “the continuity of semi-massive to massive pitchblende” in that shear. A3 revealed another 9.75 offscale metres, representing “a 200-metre down-dip extension from high-grade uranium assay intervals in drill holes AR-14-08 and -13,” NexGen added.

One week earlier the company released two holes extending mineralization 81 metres southwest along strike from Rook 1’s best hole so far—angled or vertical and “amongst the best drill results” in the Athabasca Basin.

Both holes revealed “significant dense accumulations of semi-massive to massive pitchblende,” with AR-15-37 giving composite radiation readings for 76 metres within a 264.5-metre section beginning at 405 metres in downhole depth. That included an offscale composite of 9.35 metres.

AR-15-38 showed composite mineralization of 82.35 metres within a 247.5-metre section starting at 474 metres, with a composite 4.5 metres above 10,000 cps.

NexGen also reported its third rig began drilling 400 metres northeast along Arrow’s strike. That’s where a radon-in-lake-water anomaly, 480 metres long by 20 to 150 metres wide, is “optimally situated along the southeast-dipping VTEM conductor [and] projected to reach the unconformity.”

As of February 24, drilling hit mineralization in 37 of 39 Arrow holes, with 5,519 metres of the 18,000-metre winter program complete. The zone covers about 515 metres by 215 metres, with mineralization as shallow as 100 metres and as deep as 817.5 metres in vertical depth.

Arrow remains open in all directions and at depth.

Ever modest, NexGen CEO Leigh Curyer said the zone “is quickly becoming a significant discovery on a world scale with relatively very few holes drilled.”

Fission hits high grade west of Triple R resource

Sunday’s not the usual day to release news of this nature. But March 1 begins PDAC 2015, so what better time to assert bragging rights? Whatever the reason, Fission Uranium TSX:FCU chose the day to announce a radioactive find 555 metres west of its Triple R deposit. The news reinforces interest in R600W, the most westerly of Patterson Lake South’s four zones, where five previous holes showed only low-grade mineralization.

Scintillometer readings for land-based hole PLS15-343 showed 65.5 metres of radiation starting at 105.5 metres in downhole depth, including a continuous 8.85 metres over 10,000 counts per second “with peaks up to 52,900 cps at shallow depth,” the company reported. A second radioactive interval of four metres began at 342.5 metres.

As explained in the NexGen item above, scintillometer readings are no substitute for assays, which are pending. Readings above 10,000 cps are often called “offscale” due to the limitations of earlier scintillometers.

Technical problems terminated the hole at 368 metres “in moderately altered semi-pelitic gneiss,” Fission stated.

R600W’s strike runs 30 metres with a north-south lateral width up to about 20 metres. The project’s four zones extend for a 2.24-kilometre potential strike along the PL-3B conductor. The two middle zones, R00E and R780E, comprise the Triple R resource that shook the market in January. In mid-February Fission announced nine holes that expand R780E, by far the project’s largest zone.

The $10-million, four-rig winter agenda calls for 35 holes on Triple R and R600W, along with 28 holes on regional targets, for a total of about 20,230 metres.

Read more about the Triple R resource estimate.

See an historical timeline of the PLS discovery.

Lakeland Resources bolsters its Basin portfolio

Now with 32 properties totalling over 300,000 hectares, Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK has enlarged what was already one of Saskatchewan’s largest exploration portfolios. New acquisitions announced February 20 include two land packages in the southeastern Basin’s Key Lake area, which gave up over 200 million pounds of uranium by 2002 and still hosts the Key Lake mill.

One of the area acquisitions, the KLR property, features “a significant number of historic conductors within basement rock types and at least two unexplained radiometric anomalies,” Lakeland stated. Sampling of surface rocks and lake and stream sediment brought results up to 691 ppm uranium. Historic drilling revealed 0.12% U3O8 across 0.1 metres. The new turf complements Lakeland’s existing Key Lake-region properties.

Six new claims sit adjacent to Lakeland holdings in the southwestern Basin’s Carter Lake area. The company also gained ground in the Mathews Lake area, north of Lake Athabasca and within basement rocks of the Beaverlodge Domain.

The Carson Lake property lies beyond the Basin’s northeastern margin but within the Wollaston Domain, which hosts most of the Basin’s currently operating mines.

South of the Basin, along the highly prospective Cable Bay shear zone, Lakeland picked up Black Birch East. Historic work on the 26,389-hectare property “showed a number of electromagnetic conductors and radiometric anomalies roughly coincident with the CBSZ.”

The acquisitions result from two transactions, subject to TSXV approval. One set of properties costs $40,880 and 1.12 million shares. A set of two other properties calls for $32,636 and 326,350 shares. Both transactions include a 2% NSR, half of which Lakeland may buy back for $2 million per property.

In late January the company began drilling its Star/Gibbon’s Creek project on the Basin’s north-central rim. Other drill-ready projects include Lazy Edward Bay on the Basin’s southern margin and Newnham Lake, east of Star/Gibbon’s.

In December Takara Resources TSXV:TKK took out a 50% option on Lakeland’s Fond du Lac property. Last year’s private placements brought Lakeland over $5.1 million.

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

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