Friday 21st October 2016

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘australia’

Infographic: Eleven things every metal investor should know about zinc

October 20th, 2016

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | October 20, 2016

Certain commodities tend to fly under the radar for periods of time.

For example, it was only in the last couple of years that markets have been able to digest the potential impact of the electric vehicle boom and what it may mean for raw materials. The lithium, graphite and cobalt prices reacted accordingly, and suddenly these essential ingredients for lithium-ion batteries were hot commodities.

Another of those metals that comes and goes is zinc—and after shooting up in price over 35% this year, it definitely has the attention of many investors and speculators again.

Re-thinking zinc

Today’s infographic comes to us from Pistol Bay Mining, a company that also focuses on zinc, and it highlights 11 things that investors need to know about a metal that is gaining substantial momentum.

Eleven things every metal investor should know about zinc


Here’s why the metal is back in fashion:

1. Zinc is a $34-billion-per-year market.
It’s bigger than the silver ($18 billion), platinum ($8 billion) and molybdenum ($5 billion) markets combined. In fact, it is the fourth-most used metal worldwide.

2. Smelting and production technology came much later for zinc than for other metals.
The ancients were able to smelt copper, lead and iron, but it wasn’t until much later that people were able to work with zinc in any isolated state.

3. Even despite this, it was a crucial metal for ancient peoples.
They would smelt zinc-rich copper ores to make brass, which was used for many different purposes including weaponry, ornaments, coins and armour.

4. Zinc is also crucial to produce many alloys today.
For example, brass is used for musical instruments and hardware applications that must resist corrosion. Solder and nickel-silver are other important alloys.

5. The world’s first-ever battery used zinc as an anode.
The voltaic pile, made in 1799 by Alessandro Volta, used zinc and copper for electrodes with brine-soaked paper as an electrolyte.

6. The metal remains crucial for batteries today.
Zinc-air, silver-zinc, zinc-bromine and alkaline batteries all use zinc, and they enable everything from hearing aids to military applications to be possible.

7. Galvanizing is still the most important use.
About 50% of the metal is used in galvanizing, which is essentially a way to coat steel or iron so it doesn’t rust.

8. China is both a major producer and end-user.
China mined 37% of the world’s 13.4 million tonnes of zinc production in 2015. The country consumed 47% of the world’s supply that same year.

9. Major mines have been shutting down.
In 2016, China ordered the shutdown of 26 lead and zinc mines in parts of Hunan province for environmental reasons. Meanwhile, Ireland’s Lisheen mine and Australia’s Century mine both shut down last year after being depleted of resources. That takes 630,000 tonnes of annual production off the table.

10. Stockpiles are dwindling.
Warehouse levels are less than half of where they were in 2013.

11. Zinc has been one of the best performing metals in 2016 in terms of price.
It started the year around $0.70 a pound, but now trades for $1.04 a pound.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

An amateur armed with a metal detector finds a 132-ounce gold nugget in Australia’s Victoria state

September 19th, 2016

…Read more

Aussie hobbyist unearths four-kilo gold nugget

August 25th, 2016

by Greg Klein | August 25, 2016

Gold-seekers have scoured the area since the 1850s but overlooked this one—a nugget weighing in at 4.121 kilograms or 132.5 ounces. The August 26 (Down Under calendar) discovery was the anonymous hobbyist’s second find in two days, following a nine-ounce nugget and demonstrating the enduring potential of Victoria state’s Golden Triangle.

Aussie hobbyist unearths four-kilo gold nugget

“I was in total disbelief as I didn’t think nuggets of this size were still around,” the Age quoted the prospector. Initially mistaking a lump in the ground for the tip of a horseshoe, he dug a mere 30 centimetres to unearth the treasure. The previous find came from a depth of 60 centimetres.

The Age said he’d been working the area on weekends for about a decade. Now sitting in a bank vault, the nugget’s slated for the auction block.

Five of the world’s 10 biggest nuggets, including the top three, came from Victoria, according to the Discovery Channel. The biggest, Welcome Stranger, was a 72.02-kilogram whopper found in 1869. Following in size were the 68-kilo Welcome nugget found in 1858 and the 27.2-kilo Hand of Faith, found with a metal detector in 1980.

The Golden Triangle hosts a number of storied mining camps and towns including Ballarat, Bendigo and Mount Alexander. The 1854 miners’ rebellion at the Eureka Stockade near Ballarat ended with dozens of deaths but helped bring responsible government to the colony.

Appointments, consultation advance Dunnedin Ventures’ diamond deposit

July 12th, 2016

by Greg Klein | July 12, 2016

With the goal of unearthing more Nunavut diamonds, Dunnedin Ventures TSXV:DVI announced new directors and positive community engagement on July 12. Claudia Tornquist joins the board after having been a technical adviser to the company since 2015. She’s also served as a Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO general manager, working on diamond projects in Canada and Australia. As executive VP for business development with Sandstorm Gold TSX:SSL, she helped finance juniors with streaming, equity and debt. Tornquist also sits on the board of Kennady Diamonds TSXV:KDI.

Appointments, consultation advance Dunnedin Ventures’ diamond deposit

Dunnedin expects to release last year’s sampling results soon.

Also joining Dunnedin’s board is geologist Chad Ulansky, whose experience in 15 countries includes participation in Ekati, Canada’s first big diamond discovery. He’s currently president/CEO of Metalex Ventures TSXV:MTX and Cantex Mine Development TSXV:CD, as well as a director for several public and private explorers. Along with Dunnedin adviser Chuck Fipke, Ulansky guided the company’s 2015 till sampling program on the Kahuna project, about 25 kilometres from the hamlet of Rankin Inlet on Hudson Bay’s northwestern shore. Those results are expected soon.

Dunnedin also reported the Chesterfield Inlet Community Lands and Resource Committee endorsed the company’s future exploration plan with two provisions. Under the agreement, Dunnedin would integrate community knowledge into its work to minimize effects on wildlife and help the Kivalliq Inuit Association clean up an exploration site abandoned by Shear Minerals. “While not on the Kahuna project claims, the camp is a concern for many local residents and Dunnedin has formally offered assistance with the KIA’s upcoming clean-up efforts,” the company stated.

The KIA granted Dunnedin a staking and prospecting permit valid through 2018, the company added. Dunnedin’s permit from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada remains valid until 2017. Following community input, the company will submit an amended application for bulk sampling and drilling beyond 2017 and 2018 to the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

The project hosts a January 2015 inferred resource for the Kahuna and Notch dykes, 12 kilometres apart:

  • Kahuna (+0.85 mm cutoff): 3.06 million tonnes averaging 1.04 carats per tonne for 3.19 million carats
  • (+1.18 mm cutoff): 0.8 ct/t for 2.45 million carats

  • Notch (+0.85 mm cutoff): 921,000 tonnes averaging 0.9 ct/t for 829,000 carats
  • (+1.18 mm cutoff): 0.83 ct/t for 765,000 carats

  • Total (+0.85 mm cutoff): 3.99 million tonnes averaging 1.01 ct/t for 4.02 million carats
  • (+1.18 mm cutoff): 0.81 ct/t for 3.22 million carats

Both kimberlites remain open along strike and at depth. The property holds six other diamond-bearing kimberlites.

In March the company announced recovery of 36 commercial-sized diamonds from a 2.4-tonne Notch sample that was about 40% complete. Late last year an 820-kilogram sample from the project’s PST kimberlite revealed 96 commercial-sized stones.

Read more about Dunnedin Ventures.

Read more about Canadian diamond projects.

See Chris Berry’s research report on long-term diamond demand.

Exploring opportunity

June 17th, 2016

A capacity crowd attends the first annual Vancouver Commodity Forum

by Greg Klein
Next Page 1 | 2

A capacity crowd attends the first annual Vancouver Commodity Forum


“There’s excitement in the air,” said Cambridge House International founder Joe Martin. That’s the mood he senses as junior explorers emerge from the downturn. And certainly optimism was evident on June 14 as more than 450 people converged on the Vancouver Commodity Forum for an afternoon of expert talks amid a showcase of two dozen companies. Keynote speakers included Martin, Chris Berry of the Disruptive Discoveries Journal, Jon Hykawy of Stormcrow Capital, John Kaiser of Kaiser Research Online and Stephan Bogner of Rockstone Research.

A capacity crowd attends the first annual Vancouver Commodity Forum

Lithium, not surprisingly, stood out as a commodity of interest. While cautioning against over-enthusiasm for the exploration rush, Berry and Hykawy each affirmed the need for juniors to find new sources of the metal. Cobalt and scandium featured prominently too, as did other commodities including what Kaiser called “the weird metals”—lesser known stuff that’s vital to our lives but threatened with security of supply.

Kaiser also noted he was addressing a crowd larger than his last PDAC audience, another indication that “we’ve turned the corner.”

Attendees also met and mingled with company reps. Potential investors learned about a wide gamut of projects aspiring to meet a growing demand for necessities, conveniences and luxuries.

Presented by Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC, the forum’s success will make it an annual event, said company president Dave Hodge. Berry emceed the conference, holding the unenviable task of “making sure Dave stays well-behaved.”

Read interviews with keynote speakers:

Meet the companies

Most companies were core holdings of Zimtu, a prospect generator that connects explorers with properties and also shares management, technical and financing expertise. Zimtu offers investors participation in a range of commodities and companies, including some at the pre-IPO stage.

After sampling high-grade lithium on its Hidden Lake project in the Northwest Territories earlier this month, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY plans to return in mid-July for a program of mapping, exposing spodumene-bearing pegmatite dykes, and channel sampling. The company closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $318,836 in April. Hidden Lake’s located near Highway 4, about 40 kilometres from Yellowknife and within the Yellowknife Pegmatite Belt.

With one of the Athabasca Basin’s largest and most prospective exploration portfolios, ALX Uranium TSXV:AL has a number of projects competing for flagship status. Among them is Hook-Carter, which covers extensions of three known conductive trends, one of them hosting the sensational discoveries of Fission Uranium TSX:FCU and NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE. ALX’s strategic partnership with Holystone Energy allows that company to invest up to $750,000 in ALX and retain the right to maintain its ownership level for three years. ALX closed a private placement first tranche of $255,000 last month, amid this year’s busy news flow from a number of the company’s active projects.

A capacity crowd attends the first annual Vancouver Commodity Forum

Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD boasts one of northern Canada’s largest 100%-held diamond exploration portfolios. Among the properties are the drill-ready Stein project in Nunavut and others in the Lac de Gras region that’s the world’s third-largest diamond producer by value. North Arrow Minerals TSXV:NAR holds an option to earn up to 55% of Arctic Star’s Redemption property.

Aurvista Gold TSXV:AVA considers its Douay property one of Quebec’s largest and last undeveloped gold projects. The Abitibi property has resources totalling 238,400 ounces of gold indicated and 2.75 million ounces inferred. Now, with $1.1 million raised last month, the company hopes to increase those numbers through a summer program including 4,000 metres of drilling. Douay’s 2014 PEA used a 5% discount rate to forecast a post-tax NPV of $16.6 million and a post-tax IRR of 40%.

Looking for lithium in Nevada, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA now has a geophysics crew en route to its Kibby Basin property, which the company believes could potentially host lithium-bearing brines in a similar geological setting to the Clayton Valley, about 65 kilometres south. Results from the gravity survey will help identify targets for direct push drilling and sampling.

A mineral perhaps overlooked in the effort to supply green technologies, zeolite has several environmental applications. Canadian Zeolite TSXV:CNZ holds two projects in southern British Columbia, Sun Group and Bromley Creek, the latter an active quarrying operation.

With a high-grade, near-surface rare earths deposit hosted in minerals that have proven processing, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE takes its Ashram project in Quebec towards pre-feasibility. The relatively straightforward mineralogy contributes to steady progress in metallurgical studies. Commerce also holds southeastern B.C.’s Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

Permitted for construction following a 2014 PEA, Copper North Mining’s (TSXV:COL) Carmacks copper-gold-silver project now undergoes revised PEA studies. The agenda calls for improved economics by creating a new leach and development plan for the south-central Yukon property. In central B.C. the company holds the Thor exploration property, 20 kilometres south of the historic Kemess mine.

Next Page 1 | 2

Where the money is

June 10th, 2016

Joe Martin sees a fundamental transformation coming to junior financing

by Greg Klein

The old system’s not only broken, it can’t be fixed. The world of finance for mineral exploration is changing and juniors must learn new rules and master new tools to survive. That’s the message from Joe Martin, a former business journalist, the founder of Cambridge House International and a prominent advocate for investment regulatory reform.

Well, better scratch that last designation. He’s no longer advocating reform. “There’s no sense trying to change the existing rules because no one at the executive level wants to,” Martin says. “So we have to look at new opportunities emerging, primarily through electronic media.”

Joe Martin sees a fundamental transformation in junior financing

The reform movement failed, he says, despite encouraging response to an open letter by the Venture Capital Markets Association last August. The status quo prevailed—and for that, Martin blames political indifference, bureaucratic intransigence, the self-serving agendas of Canada’s fragmented securities commissions and banks that wield power over the TSX Venture. “Nobody wants to take action and we don’t have the money to fund a multi-million-dollar campaign,” he says.

Now he’s addressing the juniors, not the regulators, and he’s urging them to recognize new financing opportunities in crowdfunding, peer-to-peer transactions and the U.S. JOBS Act.

Crowdfunding has already prompted considerable buzz, especially with the arrival of Australian mine-funder Mineral Intelligence in late 2015, followed by Canada’s Red Cloud Klondike Strike after Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia laid down a regulatory framework in January. Investors register with Klondike under the ordinary, eligible or accredited category.

Klondike’s first listing, Banyan Gold TSXV:BYN put up a $750,000 offer on March 2. The company closed a more conventional private placement of $200,000 the previous January. By press time, Banyan had yet to update the progress of its online offer.

Following that company by six days, Radisson Mining Resources TSXV:RDS offered up to $1 million on Klondike after completing a $324,000 private placement in December. Radisson expected to complete its offer by April 8. But it wasn’t until June 6 that the company announced closing of the second and final tranche, with a total $675,010 raised.

Joe Martin sees a fundamental transformation in junior financing

Joe Martin: “You’d better get in
this game and learn the new rules.”

Klondike’s biggest involvement so far might be IDM Mining TSXV:IDM, which raised a total of $10.85 million in April with Rob McEwan participating. But IDM didn’t divulge how much crowdfunding contributed. The company had said a portion of the placement would be brokered through a syndicate of Klondike, Haywood Securities and Medalist Capital.

Current offers listed on Klondike come from GoviEx Uranium CSE:GXU (up to $2 million), Sarama Resources ($2.25 million) and Brixton Metals TSXV:BBB ($1 million and $1.3 million).

Martin foresees a fairly gradual transformation but a definite change nevertheless with crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and the U.S. JOBS Act “all blending together to bring in a new world of financing. P2P, for example, is becoming very big in England.”

With last month’s Tier III enactment of JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups), American crowdfunding has “opened up big time,” Martin says. “Less than 1% of Canadians are accredited investors who can take part in private placements.” The new U.S. regulations allow crowdfunding participants to invest a portion of their income or net worth, up to a percentage that depends on the individual’s financial circumstances.

“Those rules are changing. Canada isn’t changing, so we may be going to the States for financing.”

Martin also sees hope for Canadian juniors on foreign exchanges, as well as the Venture’s rival. “The CSE is doing a pretty good job. They’re a lot easier to deal with.”

Having despaired of fixing the existing system, he sees new opportunities elsewhere—provided juniors adapt. “You’d better get in this game and learn the new rules,” he emphasizes. “But don’t try to change the old ones because we’re not going to get it done.”

Joe Martin addresses the Vancouver Commodity Forum on June 14. Click here for free registration.

Opportunities in adversity

June 9th, 2016

John Kaiser talks Trump, turmoil, gold, scandium and the juniors

by Greg Klein

It’s said to be an ancient Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Much about our own epoch obviously interests and probably fascinates John Kaiser. But he might be accused of ambivalence for the silver linings he sees among the gathering clouds. The analyst and creator of Kaiser Research Online spoke with on a range of subjects, but with mineral exploration always in mind.

On gold’s rally

This one has a stronger foundation than previous upswings, Kaiser believes. Chinese aggression, Russian expansionism, Middle East volatility, Brazilian instability, the possible Brexit and the chances of a Donald Trump U.S. presidency all mean “we’re looking at an extremely turbulent world,” he says. “There’s good reason to expect gold to go higher as capital starts to hedge against all these gloomy scenarios.”

John Kaiser talks Trump, turmoil, gold, scandium and the juniors

That could push prices between $1,600 and $2,000 in the next year, he maintains. “And if that’s happening in the absence of any inflation, that really leverages those ounces in the ground that the juniors have and makes operating mines more profitable. Even for exploration companies it lowers the bar for what counts as a new discovery.”

On the juniors’ rally

Kaiser attributes this year’s rebound partly to gold, but also to renewed interest in discovery exploration.

“I’m very pleased that the rally that started the third week of January did not succumb to the PDAC curse and slow down,” he says. “By May everything’s usually in the garbage can before the summer doldrums. We’re not seeing these substantial gains continue that we saw from February to April, but we haven’t seen the markets give up the gains either.

“We’re probably not going to see a roaring global economy driving up demand and catching supply off guard like we did during China’s supercycle. However, as this world gets more belligerent, we could see massive disruptions of supply.”

John Kaiser talks Trump, turmoil, gold, scandium and the juniors

John Kaiser: “I’m very pleased that the rally
that started the third week of January did not
succumb to the PDAC curse and slow down.”

That would bring greater concern about jurisdictional risk for vital commodities. “An opportunity for the juniors would be to seek out existing deposits of these metals. They might not be worth developing now, but they could be treated by the market as leveraged bets on these big-picture geopolitical outcomes.”

On the Donald

A Vancouver native who’s spent 26 years in the U.S., Kaiser’s firmly among those who consider that country’s anti-establishment presidential contender an outrage.

“He’s basically touching on all the latent prejudices and biases of the country,” says Kaiser. “But another reason people will vote for him is he is not an anti-Keynesian. He and Hillary Clinton both understand that to get America cranking again we need fiscal stimulus in the form of infrastructure renewal. The Republicans have blocked anything along those lines….Trump could prove to be a giant wrecking ball for the stalemate that characterizes Washington. That could put him into power.”

But Kaiser wonders if Trump has a hidden motive to his campaign strategy.

“This guy is an extremely smart person and it’s possible that everything he says is just BS designed to manipulate the public. It’s like he’s satirizing everything. And if he ever did get into power, well first he’d have to deal with the limitations that congress imposes, but once he’s in power he might change his tune and discover all these reasons why it’s not practical to do all the stupid things he said he would do.

“The frightening thing is, what if this sub-narrative is wrong, that the man is indeed insane or worse. Or that he ends up being co-opted by the truly insane in the background, who make him the lever on all the insane stuff that he said, because he is just a human being and he has no true power structure. It would be a reverse takeover of Trump.”

Kaiser downplays the possibility of a Trump presidency meeting an extraordinary end—for example assassination, an establishment putsch or a distinctively American court order annulling the election.

But “whether it’s Hillary or Trump, tensions with China and Russia are on an increasing trajectory,” he says. “That would be good for gold and good for the juniors.”

On the scandium Field of Dreams

“The problem with scandium—and it makes me want to tear out my hair that the market doesn’t get it—is that the uses for scandium have been understood for 30 or 40 years.”

By being able to demonstrate that these deposits have long-term supply, they can produce as much scandium as you want if you’re willing to pay $1,500 or $2,000 a kilo. That will coax demand off the sidelines.

Used for aluminum-scandium alloys and solid oxide fuel cells, the rare earth element also finds its way into ceramics, electronics, lasers, lighting and radioactive isotopes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The stuff is widely abundant, but rarely in concentration. As a result it’s mined as a byproduct in China, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine, producing just 10 to 15 tons a year, the USGS states.

But if supply could grow, so would demand, Kaiser says. The aerospace and automotive industries would be prime customers. “The highest-grade deposits have been around 70 or 100 ppm, as in the Zhovti Vody mine in Ukraine, where the Soviets got scandium to build their airforce fleet. But nobody else has been able to produce a very meaningful supply that is scalable.”

That’s changing as two advanced Australian projects lead the way, Scandium International Mining’s (TSX:SCY) 80%-owned Nyngan project and Robert Friedland-backed, ASX-listed CleanTeQ Metals’ Syerston project.

“The difference these discoveries made is their 400-ppm grades are well above the 200 or 250 ppm you need to produce the stuff at $2,000 a kilo,” Kaiser explains. “At $2,000 a kilo it starts making sense to use a scandium-aluminum alloy. By being able to demonstrate that these deposits have long-term supply, they can produce as much scandium as you want if you’re willing to pay $1,500 or $2,000 a kilo. That will coax demand off the sidelines.

“The next few years will be interesting because those companies are going to try producing 35 to 40 tonnes a year. If they can succeed in demonstrating that they’ve got the recoveries figured out, they’ve got the costs figured out, they can scale these things each to about 150 to 200 tonnes of output, that will set the stage for all kinds of plans to utilize it. It’s really a Field of Dreams where if you build it, they will come.

“But you have to understand that there are all these applications for scandium that can’t be commercialized unless there’s a reliable, scalable supply.”

John Kaiser addresses the Vancouver Commodity Forum on June 14. Click here for free registration.

Fraser Institute policy analyst Taylor Jackson discusses a comparison of permit wait times across Canada

March 18th, 2016

…Read more

Cameco unveils 68.1 million pounds U3O8 inferred at Fox Lake, near McArthur River

February 8th, 2016

by Greg Klein | February 8, 2016

A maiden resource made a high-grade but shy debut in Cameco Corp’s (TSX:CCO) Q4 report on February 5. Buried under other news was an announcement that Fox Lake now has an inferred 386,700 tonnes averaging 7.99% for 68.1 million pounds U3O8. Cameco’s 78.24% share comes to 53.3 million pounds. Partner AREVA Resources Canada gets the rest.

It’s an unconformity deposit but further details including cutoff grade and depth have yet to be disclosed, company rep Carey Hyndman tells Fox Lake comprises part of the Read Lake project adjacent to the McArthur River mine in Saskatchewan’s southeastern Athabasca Basin. A focus of this year’s exploration plans, Read Lake will get about $7 million of a $36-million regional exploration budget for 24 properties in Canada and Australia.

… it’s those world-class, low-cost mines that will position us to quickly respond when the market calls for more production. And we believe that the question is not if the market will make that call, but when, as we continue to see a bright long-term outlook for the nuclear industry.—Tim Gitzel, president/CEO of Cameco Corp

Fox Lake largely accounted for an increase in Cameco’s portfolio-wide share of inferred resources, up 69.9 million pounds to total 381 million by year-end. Measured and indicated fell 1.8 million pounds to 377 million, while proven and probable reserves dropped 19 million pounds to 410 million.

Year-end revenue slipped 15% over 2014 to $2.75 billion, gross profit rose 9% to $697 million and net earnings attributable to shareholders fell 65% to $65 million or $0.16 per share.

Among the causes were the weaker Canadian dollar and lower tax recoveries, partly offset by lower impairment charges and higher uranium prices. Net earnings for 2014 were skewed by the $127-million sale of Bruce Power and a $66-million settlement with a customer.

The company took a $210-million Q4 impairment for Rabbit Lake, noting “increased uncertainty around future production sources for the Rabbit Lake mill.”

“We are still waiting on a market recovery that was expected to come sooner,” conceded president/CEO Tim Gitzel. “But we’ve learned to put those expectations aside and prepare for whatever comes our way. Looking ahead, our strategy is to continue focusing our capital on tier-one assets because it’s those world-class, low-cost mines that will position us to quickly respond when the market calls for more production. And we believe that the question is not if the market will make that call, but when, as we continue to see a bright long-term outlook for the nuclear industry.”

Chinese uranium trader signs LOI for $82-million strategic investment with Fission

December 21st, 2015

by Greg Klein | December 21, 2015

While campaigning on behalf of the doomed merger with Denison Mines TSX:DML last July, Fission Uranium TSX:FCU chairperson/CEO Dev Randhawa defended the proposal by saying, “One of the things I run into when I go to Asia is they say I’m too small.” But on December 21 the company announced a letter of intent for an $82.22-million private placement from a Hong Kong-listed uranium trader, CGN Mining Company Ltd. Its controlling shareholder is China Uranium Development Company Ltd, a subsidiary of the energy utility China General Nuclear Power Corp. The deal would leave CGN with 19.99% of Fission.

Chinese uranium trader signs LOI for $82-million strategic investment with Fission

The $82-million deal would give a Chinese
company nearly 20% of the Triple R deposit.

Randhawa called it “the first time a Chinese company has invested directly in a Canadian uranium company.” The parties also pledged to work towards an offtake agreement.

They hope to close by January 29. Among the requirements are approvals from the TSX, CGN shareholders, the Hong Kong exchange and the Chinese government. Should either party back out or CGN fail to win approvals by February 29, a $3-million break fee takes effect.

CGN would nominate two directors to Fission’s board, which would grow from seven to nine members.

Last June the Canadian government approved Australia-headquartered Paladin Energy’s (PDN) ownership of the proposed Michelin mine in Labrador, relaxing a 1987 policy that requires at least 51% Canadian ownership of uranium mines. The policy doesn’t apply to exploration and development projects.

Fission’s Patterson Lake South project, just outside Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin, reached PEA in September with numbers that the company said makes its Triple R deposit potentially one of the world’s lowest-cost uranium producers. Last week the company fended off dissident shareholders to elect its management slate to the board.

Fission’s next-door neighbour hasn’t done badly in financing either. Last month NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE announced a $20-million bought deal, which followed a $23.74-million private placement that closed in May. The Arrow zone of the company’s Rook 1 project has its maiden resource scheduled for H1 2016.