Tuesday 22nd October 2019

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘Boss Power Corp (BPU)’

Athabasca Basin and beyond

September 29th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 21 to 27, 2013

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

Alpha/Fission extend one PLS zone, disagree about certainty of a “fifth zone”

The news from Patterson Lake South continues to impress—even when the joint venture partners don’t interpret it quite the same way. Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU says a 150-metre step-out found a “fifth high-grade zone.” Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW prefers to call it a “potential” fifth high-grade zone. Either way, the September 23 news was one of three announcements last week that included an extension to an existing zone’s strike length.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 21 to 27, 2013

Patterson Lake South now has a fifth zone—or a
potential fifth zone, depending on whom you listen to.

The new or potential new zone sits about halfway between the R390E and R780E zones, which are either the second and third of four zones, or the second and fourth of five zones, along a 1.02-kilometre southwest-northeast trend. With luck future drill results will bring Alpha into agreement with Fission, thereby simplifying sentence structure.

Hole PLS13-085 was collared 150 metres grid east of R390E, reached a depth of 317 metres and struck the basement unconformity at 62.4 metres without encountering sandstone. Preliminary results come from a hand-held scintillometer, which measures radiation up to an off-scale level of more than 9,999 counts per second. Scintillometer readings are no substitute for assays, which are pending. Some highlights showed:

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 33.5 metres, starting at 67 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to 2,200 cps over 9.5 metres, starting at 111 metres

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 16.5 metres, starting at 123 metres

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 9.5 metres, starting at 160.5 metres

True widths weren’t available. With a -89 degree dip, downhole depths were close to vertical depths.

Two days later, and with greater unanimity, the 50/50 partners released assays for holes that had previously reported scintillometer readings. Ranking as one of the best PLS holes so far, PLS13-072 reached a total depth of 209 metres. It found no sandstone and struck the basement unconformity at 55.7 metres. Some highlights include:

  • 8.15% uranium oxide (U3O8) over 34.5 metres, starting at 61 metres in downhole depth

  • (including 19.28% over 7.5 metres)

  • (and including 21.53% over 4 metres)

  • 0.58% over 11 metres, starting at 98.5 metres

  • 0.57% over 8.5 metres, starting at 125 metres

  • (including 1.61% over 2.5 metres)

  • 2.22% over 6.5 metres, starting at 137 metres

  • (including 10.65% over 1 metre)

With an -89 degree dip, the depths were close to vertical.

PLS13-073 struck sandstone at 50 metres and the basement unconformity at 53 metres, before stopping at 248 metres. Some highlights include:

  • 0.25% over 19.5 metres, starting at 102 metres in vertical depth

  • (including 0.92% over 3 metres)

  • 0.59% over 10 metres, starting at 132.5 metres

  • (including 4.81% over 1 metre)

True thicknesses are still to come.

When their scintillometer readings were reported earlier (here and here), the two holes extended R390E’s strike 15 metres grid west and 15 metres grid east respectively. But on September 27 the JV announced a further extension, bringing the zone’s strike to about 255 metres and suggesting the possibility “of extending the zone south along the entire length of the corridor as it becomes further delineated.” Here are some highlights from the eight holes reported:

Hole PLS13-087A reached a total depth of 227 metres, encountering sandstone at 50 metres and the basement unconformity at 50.9 metres.

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 14.5 metres, starting at 68.5 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to 2,100 cps over 17 metres, starting at 98 metres

Hole PLS13-088 reached a total depth of 296 metres, encountering sandstone at 53 metres and the basement unconformity at 54.3 metres.

  • <300 to 9,800 cps over 23.5 metres, starting at 80 metres in downhole depth

  • 400 to 8,100 cps over 8 metres, starting at 135 metres

Hole PLS13-094 reached a total depth of 272.3 metres, encountering sandstone at 50.7 metres and the basement unconformity at 53.4 metres.

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 12 metres, starting at 130 metres in downhole depth

Hole PLS13-095 reached a total depth of 275 metres, encountering sandstone at 47.6 metres and the basement unconformity at 51.7 metres.

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 11.5 metres, starting at 68 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 7 metres, starting at 93.5 metres

  • <300 to 5,800 cps over 33 metres, starting at 116 metres

Hole PLS13-100 reached a total depth of 263 metres, encountering sandstone at 53 metres and the basement unconformity at 53.3 metres.

  • 790 to >9,999 cps over 6 metres, starting at 53 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to 8,000 cps over 20 metres, starting at 99.5 metres

  • <300 to>9,999 cps over 8.5 metres, starting at 134 metres

Hole PLS13-102 reached a total depth of 275 metres, encountering sandstone at 58.3 metres and the basement unconformity at 58.8 metres.

  • <300 to 6,000 cps over 29 metres, starting at 103 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 10.5 metres, starting at 137.5 metres

Again, true thicknesses were unavailable. With dips ranging from -84 to -89 degrees, downhole depths were close to vertical. Assays are pending for these holes but this summer’s drilling has extended R390E more than four-fold from last winter’s 60-metre strike.

Fission acts as project operator on the current $6.95-million program. On September 18 the partners signed a definitive agreement for Fission’s acquisition of Alpha and sole control over PLS, with the companies’ other assets to be spun out into two separate companies.

Rockgate rejects Mega merger, mulls Denison deal and other possibilities

Just one day before their shareholders were to vote on a merger with Mega Uranium TSX:MGA, Rockgate Capital TSX:RGT directors scuttled the proposal. Although a “superior” offer from Denison Mines TSX:DML led to their September 24 announcement, Rockgate directors expressed reservations, said they needed more time for due diligence and expressed interest in receiving other offers.

Read more about Mega’s and Denison’s competing ambitions for Rockgate.

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

Rockgate delineates Falea project’s 880 zone in Mali

Meanwhile work continues on the object of those affections, Rockgate’s Falea flagship in southwestern Mali. On September 26 the company released assays from four holes on the 880 zone, which was discovered last fall. The results show:

  • 0.59% U3O8, 45.7 grams per tonne silver and 0.17% copper over 2.7 metres, starting at 301.4 metres in downhole depth

  • 0.06% U3O8, 118.3 g/t silver and 0.78% copper over 2 metres, starting at 303 metres

  • 0.12% U3O8, 86.3 g/t silver and 0.52% copper over 3 metres, starting at 320 metres

  • 0.17% U3O8, 17.1 g/t silver and 0.16% copper over 4 metres, starting at 304.5 metres

  • (including 1.13% U3O8, 96 g/t silver and 1.14% copper over 0.5 metres)

Intercepts are estimated at 96% to 100% of true widths. Mineralization remains open in several directions, the company stated.

This year’s 19-hole, 5,910-metre program included 14 holes totalling 4,563 metres on the 880 zone’s 500-metre strike length. Another five holes totalling 1,347 metres tested the project’s Central zone. The 880 zone has yet to be included in Falea’s resource estimate. Released last December, it shows:

  • a measured category of 1.39 million tonnes averaging 0.14% U3O8 for 4.29 million pounds U3O8, with 3.52 million ounces silver and 6.05 million pounds copper

  • an indicated category of 14.28 million tonnes averaging 0.08% U3O8 for 25.29 million pounds U3O8, with 24.43 million ounces silver and 68.17 million pounds copper

  • an inferred category of 15.35 million tonnes averaging 0.05% U3O8 for 15.69 million pounds U3O8, with 8.91 million ounces silver and 81.19 million pounds copper

Rockgate plans to incorporate the 880 zone into an updated resource, likely to coincide with a pre-feasibility study scheduled for completion early next year. The company says it’s been “entirely unaffected” by last year’s military coup and this year’s fighting between French troops and al-Qaida-linked rebels.

NexGen completes two-thirds of Rook 1 drilling, awaits Radio assays

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 21 to 27, 2013

Brecciated core from NexGen Energy’s Rook 1 drill program.

NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE updated its PLS-adjacent Rook 1 drill campaign September 25. With 3,000 metres planned, the company has sunk eight holes totalling 1,957 metres on an area about 700 metres along interpreted extensions of the PLS 3B conductor and a parallel conductor approximately 800 metres east.

“All holes intersected varying types of structural zones in basement lithologies, ranging from small fractures through to wide, heavily brecciated material,” the company stated. Scintillometer readings found intercepts of elevated levels in several holes, while all eight holes reached shallow basement rock at downhole depths ranging from 48.7 metres to 82.6 metres. Weather permitting, drilling will continue to October. Winter drilling is planned for the same area.

Assays are still pending from NexGen’s nine-hole, 3,473-metre campaign at Radio, where the company holds a 70% option two kilometres east of Rio Tinto’s NYE:RIO Roughrider deposits on the northeastern Basin. In late August NexGen closed $5 million in private placements.

Canadian International Minerals options two claim groups to Rio Grande;
Rio Grande offers $900,000 private placement, grants options

Canadian International Minerals TSXV:CIN announced on September 24 it optioned Rio Grande Mining TSXV:RGV a 75% interest in the Britts Lake East and Firebag East/Descharme claims about 35 kilometres southwest of PLS. Under the agreement Rio Grande would pay a total of $100,000 and issue Canadian International 500,000 shares. Rio Grande would also spend $250,000 by year one, $500,000 by year two and $1.5 million by year three. The companies didn’t specify whether those are aggregate or separate yearly figures.

Canadian International retains a 2% NSR, of which Rio Grande may buy half for $1 million. Canadian International will act as project operator on a planned winter campaign to include radon and helium surveys, as well as lake sediment sampling on the 18,041-hectare package.

Canadian International also holds a 50% interest in each of two other Saskatchewan uranium prospects, the 4,639-hectare Coflin Lake property and the 34,762-hectare Clearwater property.

On September 25 Rio Grande announced a private placement of up to $900,000, consisting of six million units at $0.10 and another 2.5 million units at $0.12. The company also granted 900,000 options to insiders at $0.12 for five years.

Western Athabasca Syndicate reports radon and radiometric anomalies at Preston Lake

A four-company strategic alliance focused on the PLS area’s Western Athabasca Syndicate project reported anomalous radon and scintillometer findings on September 26. Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Noka Resources TSXV:NX and Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY stated an initial radon-in-water survey found nine of 291 samples measuring over 23 picocuries per litre, with the highest reaching 98 pCi/L. The anomalies appear as both clusters and discrete point anomalies, the companies added. Fission and Alpha based their initial PLS drill targets on these measurements of radon gas.

Additionally, WASP’s 217-kilometre scintillometer survey found 25 areas radiating over 1,000 cps, more than twice the typical background level. More Phase II results are pending while Phase III field work continues with the intention of identifying drill targets.

Next Page 1 | 2

Athabasca Basin and beyond

August 31st, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for August 24 to 30, 2013

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

Fission proposes Alpha takeover for sole control of Patterson Lake South

Fission Uranium threatened to go hostile when Alpha Minerals <br />asked for more time to consider its proposal Patterson Lake South” width=”400″ height=”300″ />
<p class=Fission Uranium threatened to go hostile when Alpha Minerals
asked for more time to consider its proposal.

This week’s Patterson Lake South news came not from the field or an assay lab but from the boardrooms. Separate August 26 news releases from 50/50 joint venture partners Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU and Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW revealed that talks had been underway about the former taking over the latter.

It transpired that after the market closed on Friday, August 23, Fission gave Alpha until the following Sunday afternoon to respond to Fission’s all-share offer, then valued at $7.26 per Alpha share or about $170.44 million. When Alpha asked for more time to consider, Fission went public, saying it “will consider making a formal offer directly to Alpha’s shareholders.”

By press time August 31, neither company had made further announcements on the subject.

Read more about Fission’s proposal and Alpha’s response.

Read commentator Tommy Humphreys’ suggestions for a combined Fission/Alpha team.

Update: On September 3 both companies announced a letter of intent for Fission to acquire Alpha. Read more.

Ashburton finds radioactive boulders at Sienna West, reports historic data

Ashburton Ventures TSXV:ABR has wrapped up Phase I exploration at its 1,090-hectare Sienna West property about 40 kilometres southwest of the PLS discovery, the company announced on August 28. “Numerous” radioactive boulders showed gamma ray readings above 200 counts per second, with some measuring 1,500 to 1,800 cps. About 20 boulders will be assayed, the company stated. In addition 40 radon detector cups were placed, to be retrieved for analysis after 30 days.

Ashburton also cited historic, non-43-101 Geological Survey of Canada sediment samples from two lakes on the property that showed results in the 98th percentile of 909 samples from roughly 16,000 square kilometres of northwestern Saskatchewan. The lakes are two kilometres apart, suggesting the results “are not an isolated occurrence,” the company added.

The Sienna project includes the 147-hectare Sienna North property contiguous with PLS’s northern boundary. Two weeks earlier Ashburton reported a crew found radioactive boulders there, which were sent for assays, and placed radon cups. The company plans to identify drill targets for Sienna’s next phase.

Enexco/Denison drill Bachman Lake

Drilling has begun at Bachman Lake, an 11,419-hectare property about four kilometres west of Cameco Corp’s TSX:CCO proposed Millennium mine in the southeastern Athabasca Basin. The three-hole, 1,900-metre program will cost JV partners Denison Mines TSX:DML and International Enexco TSXV:IEC $570,000, the latter announced on August 26. The helicopter-supported campaign will test three conductors that lie 2.5 to five kilometres apart.

Enexco may earn a 20% interest by funding $500,000 by year-end. Denison, which holds a 7.4% interest in Enexco, acts as project operator. Enexco also holds a 30% interest in the 3,407-hectare Mann Lake JV 20 kilometres northeast, along with Cameco (52.5%) and AREVA Resources Canada (17.5%). In Nevada, Enexco’s 100% Contact copper project now undergoes pre-feasibility.

Fission finds “significant and strongly radioactive” anomalies on North Shore

On the northwestern Basin, airborne geophysics found two “significant and strongly radioactive” anomalies on Fission’s North Shore property, the company reported August 29. “The northern anomalous region occurs within a 1.5-kilometre by 0.5-kilometre area and contains several parallel trends up to 300 metres,” the company stated. Another anomaly about seven kilometres southwest ranges between one to 10 kilometres wide and up to three kilometres long. The company added that radiometrics suggest some of the larger anomalies “are likely to be part of the outcrop/sub-crop, as opposed to boulders.”

Fission credited the find to its patent-pending System and Method for Aerial Surveying or Mapping of Radioactive Deposits, which the company says is the same technology that found the PLS boulder field. In August Fission’s collaborator on the system, Special Projects Inc, flew a 12,257-line-kilometre magnetic and radiometric survey at 50-metre line-spacing over the entire property. The system can distinguish between radioactivity released by uranium, thorium or potassium, as well as determine the relative concentration of each element, Fission stated.

Along with further data analysis, the company plans to follow up with mapping and prospecting. The property underwent a seven-hole, 1,260-metre drill program in 2007 and 2008. Fission has interests in seven Basin uranium projects and one in Peru.

U3O8 negotiating JV with Argentinian state-owned company

U3O8 Corp TSX:UWE announced August 27 that advanced discussions are underway with the state-owned mining company of Chubut province, Argentina, to form a JV. The proposal would combine U3O8’s Laguna Salada uranium-vanadium project with adjoining concessions held by Petrominera Chubut SE, onto which U3O8 believes its deposit extends. The company said the deal would also “establish a framework for potential development of the Laguna Salada deposit in compliance with the stringent requirements of the current provincial mining law.” The project has a preliminary economic assessment scheduled later this year.

Having acquired Calypso Uranium last May, U3O8 holds Argentina’s two largest uranium deposits. The country plans to bring a third reactor online this year, boosting its proportion of nuclear energy to 9%, while a fourth reactor is out for tender and a fifth is being planned, U3O8 stated. Argentina currently imports all of its nuclear fuel.

In Colombia, U3O8’s Berlin project has a December PEA for a potential uranium mine with phosphate, vanadium, nickel and rare earths credits. The company also has a uranium project in Guyana.

Boss Power/Morning Star dispute stalls $30-million settlement

A $30-million settlement dating to October 2011 is being held up by a dispute between its beneficiaries. After the British Columbia government suddenly banned uranium and thorium exploration in 2009, the province eventually settled Boss Power’s TSXV:BPU lawsuit out of court. But a condition required the company to surrender its exploration properties, the Blizzard properties and the peripheral B claims. According to an August 19 news release from Morning Star Resources, the settlement hasn’t closed because Boss included those claims in the settlement “without the knowledge and consent of the B claims owner,” Anthony Beruschi.

An August 27 Boss news release acknowledged Beruschi, “sole director and president of Morning Star” and a former Boss director, as “beneficial owner of the B claims.”

Boss’ news release claimed Beruschi “appears determined to extract more than his fair share of the settlement proceeds” and “now appears to be leveraging media and threats of a board replacement to obtain payment for his B claims.”

Morning Star’s August 19 statement said Beruschi “has privately presented several fair offers to Boss’ management and the board to enable Boss to deliver the B claims under the settlement” and accused Boss of “a refusal to negotiate in good faith.”

Morning Star said it will present its own slate of nominees for election to Boss’ board at a meeting Morning Star expects to be held by mid-November “so that it can promptly close the $30-million settlement.” Morning Star stated that it and its affiliates hold about 33% of Boss’ shares.

Boss countered it will “continue its efforts to reach an agreement with Mr. Beruschi while at the same time pursuing court proceedings to allow the settlement proceeds to be paid into court and the settlement to complete.”

Next Page 1 | 2

Athabasca Basin and beyond

June 29th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for June 22 to 28, 2013

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

Fission/Alpha strike gold at PLS, report geochem results

Patterson Lake South’s potential might go beyond the stuff of yellowcake to include yellow metal. After releasing all those high-grade, near-surface uranium assays, Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW and Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU finally reported high-grade, near-surface gold on June 24. Where it was found, the gold frequently correlated with high-grade uranium, although the reverse wasn’t always true. But they did find gold in all three zones.

Some highlights include:

Zone R390E

  • 1.58 grams per tonne gold over 63.5 metres, starting at 82 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 8.8 g/t over 2.5 metres)
  • (and including 35.6 g/t over 0.5 metres)
  • 1.02 g/t over 53 metres, starting at 95 metres
  • (including 2.6 g/t over 10.5 metres).
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere

Zone R00E

  • 1.9 g/t over 20.5 metres, starting at 65.5 metres.

Zone R780E

  • 1.71 g/t over 7 metres, starting at 144 metres
  • (including 4.48 g/t over 2.5 metres).

True thicknesses weren’t available. The 50/50 joint venture partners pointed to other uranium-gold occurrences in the western Athabasca Basin including Cluff Lake, which produced over 16,000 gold ounces in 1987, and the high gold grades reported from the UEX Corp TSX:UEX/AREVA Resources Canada Shea Creek JV. But Fission and Alpha cautioned that Athabasca gold typically occurs irregularly, making extraction viable only with a mineable uranium deposit.

The companies also reported that, unlike some Basin deposits, PLS has shown low arsenic values. High arsenic requires more costly processing and disposal, the partners stated.

Additionally, geochemical work showed strongly anomalous boron related to the hydrothermal alteration in and around uranium mineralization. “The extent of the alteration halo around the mineralization can enlarge the target area and be used as a guide to focus on an area in a suitable geophysical setting,” the companies stated.

Project operator Fission plans to resume drilling in July, part of a program jointly budgeted at $6.95 million.

$6-million program for PLS-area’s largest package proposed by Skyharbour, Athabasca Nuclear, Lucky Strike, Noka

The plan calls for four companies funding exploration on the Patterson Lake South area’s largest land package. Under a memorandum of understanding announced June 24, Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH and Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC would combine their Basin properties into one 287,130-hectare bundle, with Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY and Noka Resources TSXV:NX also contributing to a two-year, $6-million campaign.

The properties include Athabasca Nuclear’s Preston Lake, 26 kilometres south of the PLS discovery, and Skyharbour’s adjacent West Patterson, South Patterson and Draco properties. Also included are Skyharbour’s nearby North Patterson, RY and South Basin properties, and its 11,769-hectare Wheeler claims in the eastern Basin.

Noka and Lucky Strike already hold a 25% earn-in each on Skyharbour’s properties. The MOU would give Athabasca Nuclear a 25% option on the properties as well. The other three companies would each get 25% options on Athabasca Nuclear’s 125,375-hectare Preston Lake. Lucky Strike and Noka would each fund $1 million of exploration per year for two years, while Skyharbour and Athabasca Nuclear would each put up $500,00 a year.

Cash and shares would change hands as Noka and Lucky Strike each pay $100,000 and issue $100,000 in shares to each of Skyharbour and Athabasca Nuclear. The latter two would issue each other shares worth $100,000.

Finally, the four companies would form a JV. They hope to sign a definitive agreement by June 30.

Speaking to ResourceClips.com, Skyharbour president/CEO Jordan Trimble emphasized that the plan minimizes his company’s risk and future equity dilution. “We decided this approach made the most sense from both an exploration standpoint and a financial standpoint,” he said. “This will also create value-added synergies that will further improve our chances of raising money and making a new discovery.”

Already underway at the PLS-area properties is an airborne VTEM-plus time domain survey, to be followed by radiometrics later this summer. Another co-operative effort, the surveys are jointly funded by Skyharbour, Athabasca Nuclear, Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN and Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC to explore their contiguous claims.

Plans call for further exploration by the newly announced strategic alliance, with operator Athabasca Nuclear consulting with the other geological teams as well as Alpha’s 43-101 technical report for PLS. “They’ve really written the book on how to discover deposits in this specific area,” Trimble said.

Read more about the four-way strategic alliance.

International Enexco JVs with Denison on Bachman Lake

A JV announced June 25 brings together International Enexco TSXV:IEC and Denison Mines TSX:DML on the Bachman Lake project, about four kilometres from Cameco Corp’s TSX:CCO proposed Millennium mine in the southeastern Basin. Enexco may earn 20% of Bachman by funding $500,000 of exploration by year-end. Denison remains project operator. The 11,419-hectare property is scheduled for a helicopter-supported 1,900-metre drill program beginning in August to focus on three conductors identified by geophysics and historic drilling.

Twenty kilometres northeast Enexco holds a 30% interest in the 3,407-hectare Mann Lake project, a JV with operator Cameco (52.5%) and AREVA Resources Canada (17.5%). In Nevada, Enexco has a feasibility study underway on its Contact copper project.

Kivalliq releases assays from its Angilak project in Nunavut

Exploration drilling on two new zones at Kivalliq Energy’s TSXV:KIV Angilak project produced a batch of assays released June 27. Some highlights from the Nunavut property show:

ML zone

  • 0.46% uranium oxide (U3O8), 0.48% copper, 0.15% molybdenum and 53.6 g/t silver over 4.3 metres, starting at 90.2 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 1.42% U3O8, 0.64% copper, 0.4% molybdenum and 139 g/t silver over 1.2 metres).

J1 zone

  • 0.06% U3O8, 0.08% copper, 0.01% molybdenum and 8.3 g/t silver over 1.3 metres, starting at 38 metres
  • 1.06% U3O8, 0.28% copper, 0.03% molybdenum and 3.6 g/t silver over 0.3 metres, starting at 60.1 metres
  • 0.56% U3O8, 0.05% copper, 0.28% molybdenum and 15.5 g/t silver over 0.6 metres, starting at 77.2 metres
  • (including 1.31% U3O8, 0.09% copper, 0.66% molybdenum and 33.9 g/t silver over 0.3 metres)
  • 0.15% U3O8, 0.05% copper, 0.07% molybdenum and 9.2 g/t silver over 0.2 metres, starting at 114.8 metres.

Intercepts are estimated true widths. Kivalliq president Jeff Ward said the two zones show geological similarity and proximity to current deposits on the project’s Lac 50 trend, which has a March 2013 inferred resource of 2.83 million tonnes averaging 0.69% U3O8, Canada’s highest-grade uranium resource outside the Athabasca Basin.

Kivalliq operates the 138,000-hectare project, 225 kilometres south of Baker Lake, in partnership with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. Drilling resumes in July.

Macusani releases assays from Peru, says resource updates are imminent

In southeastern Peru, Macusani Yellowcake TSXV:YEL announced drill results from the Chilcuno Chico anomaly on its Kihitian property. Some highlights from the June 26 release include:

  • 0.121% U3O8 over 17 metres, starting at 220 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.346% over 4 metres)
  • 0.172% over 4 metres, starting at 103 metres
  • 0.032% over 41 metres, starting at 248 metres
  • (including 0.308% over 3 metres)
  • 0.056% over 16 metres, starting at 35 metres
  • 0.059% over 9 metres, starting at 232 metres
  • (including 0.163% over 2 metres).

True widths weren’t available. With 45,000 metres since 2011, drilling has delineated an area about 1,050 metres by 1,100 metres, where the Manto B zone remains open in all directions. Macusani believes the project’s Quebrada Blanca anomaly forms part of the same mineralized sequence as Manto B.

The company has two drills turning at Chilcuno Chico and two more at its Tupuramani project, also on the Macusani Plateau. Resource updates for Colibri 2 and 3/Tupuramani and for Chilcuno Chico/Quebrada Blanca are expected within days.

Read more about exploration and mining in Peru.

Next Page 1 | 2

The B.C. election

May 15th, 2013

An astonishing BC Liberal win brings relief to the mining and exploration sector

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

Updated results:

  • BC Liberals 50 seats, 44.4% of the vote
  • NDP 33 seats, 39.5%
  • Greens 1 seat, 8%
  • Independent 1 seat, 3.3%

If British Columbia’s mining and exploration sector needed a massive jolt of reassuring news, they got it May 14. The pollsters were wrong, the pundits were wrong and the winners might be as surprised as the losers are disappointed. Although the popular vote was close, the BC Liberal party won an historic fourth term, handily defeating the New Democratic Party.

Christy Clark’s campaign emphasized the economy with appearances at work sites

Christy Clark’s campaign emphasized the economy with appearances
at work sites throughout the province. (Photo: BC Liberals)

Or did the NDP defeat themselves? Adrian Dix, the party’s choice for new leader 13 months ago, was widely considered an NDP hardliner. He played a prominent role in B.C.’s last NDP government, which is blamed for the “dismal decade” of 1991 to 2001, when the province’s economy tanked despite robust performance in other parts of the country. For possibly the first time in its history, B.C. saw a significant exodus of job-seekers. In addition to low metal prices and Bre-X, exploration and mining were hammered by NDP policies. As the BC Liberals like to say, when the NDP governed “two mines closed for every one that opened.”

More recently, Dix tried to soften his image. But he remained vague about his intentions even though—or because—he leads arguably the most extreme left-wing party in mainstream North American politics. In several conversations with ResourceClips prior to the election, exploration and mining company executives spoke with dread of another NDP government.

Now, it turns out, they needn’t have worried. But apart from removing a widely perceived threat, what exactly does a BC Liberal victory mean to the sector?

That’s not easy to say. Mining didn’t play a prominent role in the election, despite the efforts of four industry organizations behind the Vote Mining campaign.

If you look at the debacle with HD Mining, no one even thought of employing first nations people.—Stephen Hunt,
western Canada director of the
United Steelworkers union

Moreover, under Christy Clark’s leadership the once business-friendly party has shown policy confusion and a lack of conviction. Her government never explained its rejection last October of Pacific Booker Minerals’ TSXV:BKM proposed Morrison copper-gold-molybdenum mine, which received a favourable environmental assessment report. The company launched a lawsuit in April after spending about $30 million on the project, including over $10 million on the decade-long environmental process.

When news broke that HD Mining plans to staff its proposed Murray River coal mine exclusively with Chinese underground workers, the BC Liberals couldn’t say enough good words about the scheme. The government knew that Chinese interests had similar plans for other B.C. coal projects since at least 2007.

Even under Clark’s more capable predecessor, policy wonk Gordon Campbell, the BC Liberals could sow uncertainty. A sudden ban on uranium and thorium exploration in 2009 led to a $30-million out-of-court settlement for Boss Power TSXV:BPU.

By the BC Liberals’ first 10 years in office, BC Hydro built up at least $2.2 billion in deferred debt that’s expected to reach $5 billion by 2017. The burden calls into question the public utility’s ability to build infrastructure and provide inexpensive electricity to homes, businesses and industry.

Next Page 1 | 2

Week in review

April 5th, 2013

A mining and exploration retrospect for March 29 to April 5, 2013

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

Tibetan tragedy draws attention to the world’s deadliest mines

By Wednesday 66 bodies had been recovered from the Good Friday landslide that buried a tent camp for miners in Tibet. Seventeen more people were missing and presumed dead. Weather was to blame, according to a Tibetan government official cited by the New York Times. But the Economist quoted a Chinese government official who called it a “natural geological disaster.”

A mining and exploration retrospect

China has reportedly barred foreign media from the site, ordered its own media to limit their coverage to that of the state-run Xinhua news agency and censored social media. Apart from the carnage, the landslide poses a disaster for Chinese-Tibetan relations, as well as the image of Chinese mining and resource imperialism. The camp housed workers for the Gyama copper-polymetallic mine (a.k.a. the Jiama mine), which belongs to a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Gold International Resources TSX:CGG. The Vancouver-headquartered company’s “controlling shareholder is the China National Gold Group Corp, a state-owned enterprise and China’s largest gold producer,” reported the National Post.

Only two of the 83 dead are Tibetans. The rest came from distant parts of China. “Managers at big state-owned firms are usually Han Chinese, who in turn tend to regard their own ethnic kin as easier to control and communicate with than Tibetans,” stated the Economist. The magazine quoted a 2012 China Daily story saying that 35% of the mine’s workers were non-Han, which the state-run paper called “the highest percentage among mining companies in China.”

As Bloomberg reported, “China’s history of mining incidents includes the world’s worst safety record at its coal mines, which saw 1,973 people killed in accidents in 2011 and 2,433 the year before that, according to the State Administration of Work Safety.”

Several hours after the Tibetan landslide, a coal mine blast in northeastern China left at least 28 dead and 13 injured. A second explosion on Monday killed at least seven rescuers, said CCTV.com. “The mine is a state-owned colliery,” Xinhua added.

On March 14 NBC reported that a coal mine accident in southern China killed at least 21 people.

A Tuesday news release from China Gold International Resources stated its Tibetan mine, about 10 kilometres from “the geological disaster site,” was not damaged. Production continues.

Will private equity lead investors back to mining?

“The only people who want to lend to this industry right now—and a lot of executives call them the mafia of the mining industry—are the royalty trusts, and they really extract a lot.” In an Equedia interview posted on Wednesday, Kenneth Hoffman of Bloomberg Industries Global Metals and Mining Research said private equity could be the miners’ salvation. And the miners are clamouring for it.

Next Page 1 | 2

Week in review

February 22nd, 2013

A mining and exploration retrospect for February 16 to 22, 2013

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

What’s behind the scenes for graphene?

Graphene may have sparked an explosion of patents but results of the boffins’ brainstorms “remain shrouded in secrecy,” according to Friday’s Industrial Minerals. CambridgeIP chairman Quentin Tannock told the journal, “Some companies will never publish their patents and … there are probably many very valuable ideas out there that haven’t been disclosed.”

A mining and exploration retrospect

Graphene’s unique properties suggest a host of possibilities,
but much recent research has focused on touch screen technology.

That could be the case even if only a small fraction of last year’s 5,000-plus patent applications pan out. On February 13 CambridgeIP, which encourages “development, deployment and dissemination of valuable technologies,” released its top 10 list of companies and agencies that filed patents for graphite’s wonder-derivative. A January CambridgeIP report prompted the BBC to speak of “an intensifying global contest to lead a potential industrial revolution.”

But regardless of whether some research stays secret, Focus Graphite TSXV:FMS president/CEO Gary Economo told IM, “We see 2013 as a breakout year.” Focus holds a 40% interest in Grafoid Inc, a company with its own top-secret graphene laboratory. IM said Economo “[predicted] the first raft of graphene-based consumer products will emerge on the market within months.”

Much of the research so far has been on touch screens and bio-sensors, Tannock added.

Rule of law lost in Canadian resource shakedowns

“What is the message being sent to the world” when “five or six disgruntled ex-employees … can shut down a business of 500 people at a cost of millions? That there is no law in northern Ontario?”

That’s how Wednesday’s Timmins Daily Press quoted Neal Smitheman, a lawyer representing De Beers, which faces a native blockade to its Victor diamond mine. The company has now lost nearly three weeks of an approximately 45-day season to transport heavy equipment and supplies over a winter ice road. This week only about half a dozen protestors were in place, apparently ex-employees who want to renegotiate an existing impact benefit agreement. Police refused to intervene, forcing the company to apply for a court injunction. On February 15 Judge Robert Riopelle issued an order that specifically “required” police to act. They still refused. De Beers went back to court on Wednesday.

If Smitheman sounded exasperated, a lawyer representing the Ontario Provincial Police seemed infinitely patient as he explained that the OPP takes a more “measured approach” towards natives than other people. Plus the weather was cold, he said.

Thursday’s Daily Press reported a plea to the demonstrators from two local politicians. “We have hundreds of families across James Bay and the Timmins region who rely on work at the Victor mine to pay their bills and save for their kids’ college education,” said MP Charlie Angus.

Next Page 1 | 2

Prosperity For Whom?

October 31st, 2011

Taseko’s BC Mine Hangs in the Balance

By Greg Klein

Read part 2 of the Taseko New Prosperity Mine Story

Read part 3 of the Taseko New Prosperity Mine Story

“The message is simple,” the Vancouver Sun quoted Grand Chief Edward John of B.C.’s First Nations Summit last August. “If you’re going to develop a mine or oil and gas, you need to ensure First Nations people are involved.”

That’s been the guiding principle of resource development in British Columbia for several years now. But a proposal by Taseko Mines Ltd TSX:TKO shows how the extraordinary rights—and additional potential rights—of a few thousand aboriginals might block a project that could provide jobs for themselves and many thousands of others.

Taseko's BC Mine Hangs in the Balance

Taseko’s gold-copper mine proposed for south-central BC is back before the Canadian Environmental Assessment Authority. On October 19, BC aboriginal leaders held an Ottawa press conference calling on the federal government to reject the New Prosperity project without even studying it. One year earlier, native concerns prompted the feds to reject Taseko’s earlier Prosperity proposal. Now the CEAA has until November 7 to decide whether to accept the company’s revised plan as is, allowing the proposal to move further into the permitting stage for construction, or spend up to 12 months on another study. Taseko has spent over $110 million on the project, which first entered the environmental review process in 1993.

A November 2010 CEAA study killed the previous proposal. The report’s conclusions expressed relatively little concern about the environmental impact but had surprisingly much to say about aboriginal rights, potential rights and spirituality. The three-person CEAA panel’s mandate did not include making recommendations, but its report nevertheless persuaded Canada’s Minister of the Environment, then Jim Prentice, to reject the proposal.

Now Taseko is back with a $300-million alteration, bringing the adjusted cost to $1.1 billion. The extra expense is the cost of preserving Fish Lake, a 118-hectare body of water that was originally considered for a tailings dump. That was a primary focus of CEAA concern. Rising metal prices, Taseko says, now make it possible to relocate the tailings two kilometres away, saving the lake and, the company hopes, the mine.

New Prosperity would be one of Canada’s largest gold-copper mines, an open-pit project with a measured and indicated resource estimated at 5.3 billion pounds copper and 13.3 million ounces gold, including proven and probable reserves of 2.4 billion pounds copper and 7.7 million ounces gold. Its 2007 feasibility study projects a 20-year mine life producing an annual average 300,000 ounces gold and 130 million pounds copper for the first five years.

Its economic impact would be massive, according to a Taseko-commissioned report by the Centre for Spatial Economics—71,000 direct and indirect jobs, $4.3 billion in federal taxes, $5.52 billion in provincial taxes, an $11-billion increase in Real GDP and a 5,400-person increase in BC’s population.

To emphasize the industry’s importance overall, on October 25 the Mining Association of BC released a report commissioned from PricewaterhouseCoopers. It says the mining sector spent $5.2 billion in BC last year for a total output of $8.9 billion, attributing for each dollar spent $1.73 in direct, indirect and induced total impact. Taxes paid by this sector in 2010 were $449.2 million at the federal level, $414.8 million provincial and $74.6 million municipal, with an additional $364 million in royalties and land taxes. The industry provided 45,703 jobs direct, indirect and induced. The report also notes that BC has “the world’s largest concentration of exploration firms and mining professionals.”

For all that, BC ranks surprisingly low as a mining-friendly location. The Fraser Institute’s 2010-2011 survey rates the province 36th out of 79 jurisdictions internationally. That’s a slight improvement over 2009-2010, but the score still lags behind the three previous annual studies.

“We’ve studied British Columbia since the 1990s, and things have improved a lot,” says Fraser Institute spokesperson Jean-Francois Minardi. “But the mining community believes there are still problems. There seems to be a lack of trust in the government. The main reason is the uncertainty, the sudden policy changes, especially with recent decisions concerning uranium, the Prosperity mine and Flathead.”

In February 2010, after years of protests from environmentalists in Canada and the US, the BC government banned mining in the Flathead Valley in the province’s southeastern corner. About 10% of the region had already been staked. One of the companies effectively expropriated was Max Resource TSX:MXR, which had spent $750,000 on its Crowsnest gold project. “The reason to kick them out was arbitrary,” Minardi says. As a result the industry now fears “the possibility that official land use plans will be overturned without due consultation.”

In March 2009, the BC government banned uranium and thorium exploration “even though Canada is the world’s largest exporter of uranium and has the most stringent regulations and safeguards,” Minardi says. “Metals and minerals do not occur in isolation,” he adds, “so a ban on uranium could affect other types of mining, like rare earths.”

There seems to be a lack of trust in the government. The main reason is the uncertainty, the sudden policy changes, especially with recent decisions concerning uranium, the Prosperity mine and Flathead —Jean-Francois Minardi

Once again, on October 21, the uranium ban hit the fan. The Vancouver Sun reported that Boss Power Corp TSXV:BPU received a $30-million out-of-court settlement, considerably more than its estimated sunk costs of $4 million to $5 million. Court documents show the BC government admitted that its deputy minister of mines ordered his chief inspector to ignore the company’s application for an exploration permit, an order that contradicted advice from the attorney-general’s department. The ban on uranium mining came three days later.

A week after reporting the Boss payout, the province’s media learned that BC Hydro, the Crown electrical utility, has an undisclosed $2.2 billion in deferred debt, an amount expected to hit $5 billion by 2017. Richard Stout, spokesperson for the Association of Major Power Customers of BC, said the problem exacerbates concerns about future rate increases that could hinder large-scale industrial development.

The Prosperity project, Minardi says, creates further uncertainty. The proposal passed the BC environmental assessment only to be rejected at the federal level, largely because it would destroy the 118-hectare Fish Lake. The region’s aboriginal groups had turned down a revenue-sharing plan (see below). “The lack of aboriginal treaties is a big problem with [its concomitant] lack of clarity.” Minardi declares. He doesn’t, however, see any solution.

Mining Association President/CEO Karina Briño says BC’s mining outlook has improved during the last year, emphasizing that the province’s revenue-sharing program for aboriginals is “a policy that’s making a difference.” She adds, however, that miners would like “one environmental assessment process that meets the requirements of both federal and provincial levels of government.”

She emphasizes, “We need more clarity in the scope of the assessment and the requirements expected of proponents.”

The provincial government extended the revenue-sharing policy from forestry to mining in August 2010, with two agreements that will transfer nearly one-third of the provincial mineral tax royalty from two mines to local aboriginals.

One of the deals concerns Thompson Creek Metals’ TSX:TCM Mount Milligan Copper-Gold Mine. The McLeod Lake Indian Band will get $35 million to $40 million over the mine’s 15-year life. The band’s population is currently estimated at 491.

Provincial revenue from New Gold’s Inc TSX:NGD New Afton Copper-Gold Mine will bring the Tk’emlups and Skeetchestn Indian Bands, currently estimated to have a combined population of about 1,500 people, about $30 million over 12 years.

As the deal was announced, Black Press quoted Tk’emlups Chief Shane Gottfriedson as saying his band expected more money to come. “While this agreement is specifically for the mine tax for the New Afton mine located on our territory, we look forward to a more comprehensive agreement on all revenues generated by such projects.”

But the Tsilhqot’in National Government, representing five bands totalling about 3,100 people, steadfastly spurns any such benefits from the New Prosperity proposal. They won’t even talk to Taseko. And so the $1.1-billion proposal remains at an impasse.

Read part 2 of the Taseko New Prosperity Mine Story

Read part 3 of the Taseko New Prosperity Mine Story