by Greg Klein
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What does it signify when Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore joins the board of a mineral exploration company—the final break with his former principles? Or the continuation of “sensible environmentalism,” a lifelong vocation that eventually severed him from mainstream activists? Moore discussed his background, beliefs and work with ResourceClips on March 19, the day Astur Gold TSXV:AST announced his appointment as an independent director.
Astur hopes to begin underground gold production at its Salave project in northern Spain by late 2014. At first this company might seem an odd fit for Moore, who came to prominence in the early 1970s while protesting U.S. hydrogen bomb tests in Alaska. That was when he and his fellow protestors harried the American military from a boat they called Greenpeace. In those early days of environmentalism, that boat lent its name to their scrappy little group. It grew tremendously, along with the movement. Moore continued to play a prominent role, serving nine years as president of Greenpeace Canada and seven as a director of Greenpeace International. But by 1986 he left—both Greenpeace and the wider mainstream movement.
Since then he’s scandalized more conventional activists with his support for a number of supposedly unenvironmental causes including forestry, genetically modified food and nuclear energy. And mining, which is “how I cut my teeth on environmental research.”
As a doctoral candidate from 1969 to 1974, he studied the environmental impact of British Columbia’s Island Copper Mine, which was eventually taken over by BHP Billiton. “It became a very political thesis because the mining industry didn’t like what I was doing,” Moore says. “They stacked my thesis committee with pro-mining people—not that I was anti-mining, I just wanted to get at the truth.”
He adds, “I’ve been close to the mining issue all through my time as an environmental activist. Recently in my consulting career I’ve worked with Newmont Mining [NEM] on their environmental and social programs in Indonesia, Peru, Africa, Nevada, so I’ve seen a fair bit of mining all my life.”
His work focuses on sustainable mining. “What I mean by sustainable mining is that you leave the environment in a condition that is going to heal itself. The second thing is leaving the community better than it was when you came, in terms of education, health care, industry training, capacity of all sorts. That’s why I’m involved in the mining industry.”
Since leaving Greenpeace he’s found more fulfilling work through endeavours like Greenspirit Strategies Ltd, a company that encourages corporate social responsibility and sustainability, and his current work as an independent scientist and consultant. He’s written extensively for a number of journals, in his Greenspirit Website and books like Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout. But to accentuate the positive, he finds it necessary to expose the negative. As the rise of Greenpeace mirrored that of the wider movement, Moore uses the organization to explain how environmentalism lost its way.
“In Confessions I describe the insanity of Greenpeace today,” he says. “Basically they’re against mining. If you ask them to show you a mining operation that is being done in a way that they consider acceptable, you’ll get no reply because they will not tell you that there is one. And yet they at the very least ride bicycles and use cellphones and laptops and ride in trains and perhaps an airplane or two when they go to their international meetings. Those are all made of metal. Where else can you get it?” he asks.
“They say, ‘Well maybe mining in general is needed, but not here—or here, or here, or there or anywhere.’”
Greenpeace began by opposing nuclear weapons, “which seemed an obvious target because nuclear war would have been a terrible disaster for humanity and the environment,” he says. Next was the save-the-whales campaign which protected a species from needless extinction.
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Gold-Ore Resources Ltd TSX:GOZ and Astur Gold Corp TSXV:AST announced a plan of arrangement in which Gold-Ore will acquire all Astur shares to form a combined company to be called Astur Gold Corp. Under the agreement, each Astur shareholder will receive 2.35 common shares of Gold-Ore for each common share of Astur and the combined company will implement a 3-for-1 rollback of its issued and outstanding shares.
The transaction will be subject to at least 66.66% approval vote by Astur shareholders and 50% plus one vote by Gold-Ore shareholders, execution of the definitive agreement, approval of the TSX and TSXV and other customary closing conditions. The new company will have a portfolio of production and near-term production assets in Sweden and Spain.
Gold-Ore Chairman/CEO Glen Dickson remarked, “The merger with Astur Gold provides Gold-Ore shareholders the opportunity to participate in the near-term development of western Europe’s most promising gold deposit. Astur Gold shareholders will benefit from Gold-Ore’s cash and cash-flow to fund the Salave Deposit through feasibility and into initial development with no further dilution. We are certain that shareholders of both companies will truly benefit from the merger.”
Astur CEO/Director Cary Pinkowski stated, “The combination of Astur Gold and Gold-Ore is truly a complementary transaction bringing together a strong platform of technical, operational and financial management. Our new company will have a first-mover advantage on consolidating the European gold space and presents a strong growth profile focused on enhancing shareholder value with the singular objective of becoming a major European gold producer.”
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by Greg Klein
Astur Gold Corp TSXV:AST announced the results of a preliminary economic assessment for its Salave Gold Project in Asturias, Spain. The study examines three different mining scenarios: open pit only, underground only, and a combined open pit and underground scenario. The study combines the mining scenarios with two processing options: a bio oxidation scenario and a pressure oxidation scenario. For instance, in the large initial open pit and minor underground scenarios, the mine will will have a pre-tax NPV (at a 5% discount rate) of $576 million to $548 million and a mine life of 18 years for the POX and BOX processing methods respectively. The internal rate of return for these scenarios will range between 34% and 36%.
Capital costs have been estimated for the six scenarios. Initial development capital expenditures range from $124.8 million to $153.7 million. Sustaining capital over the life of the project is estimated to range from $3.9 million to $6.6 million.
CEO/Director Cary Pinkowski commented, “We are excited with the results of our Preliminary Economic Assessment. Clearly, the project will generate robust profitability from any of the proposed mining options. We evaluated multiple production and processing scenarios, giving us a wide range of information from which to select the optimal mine plan for the company, the community of Tapia, and the Government of Asturias. Astur Gold is advancing Salave towards production as expeditiously as possible for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
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by Ted Niles