Tuesday 25th April 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘brazil’

More critical than ever

April 13th, 2017

The USGS promotes awareness about essential resources and their supply chains

by Greg Klein

Let’s call it Critical Minerals Awareness Month. The U.S. Geological Survey hasn’t actually labelled April that way, but the agency does have a “big push” underway to inform American decision-makers and the general public about the country’s often tenuous hold on commodities vital to the economy and security of that country. Of course those concerns apply to its allies as well.

The USGS promotes public awareness about essential resources and their supply chains

“We decided to do a big push on critical minerals in April largely because we’ve got several big publications coming out on the subject,” USGS public affairs specialist Alex Demas tells ResourceClips.com.

“One of the things we’ve been focusing on is supply chain security, so with the sheer number of mineral commodities that are used in the United States, and the number of them deemed critical, we felt it was important to emphasize where a lot of those mineral resources are coming from and if there are any potential issues in the supply chain, getting them from the source to the United States.”

Computers provide an obvious example, increasing their use from “just 12 elements in the 1980s to as many as 60 by 2006,” points out one recent USGS news release. Smartphones offer another example. Looking back 30 years ago, “‘portable’ phones were the size of a shoebox and consisted of 25 to 30 elements,” states another USGS release. “Today they fit in your pocket or on your wrist and are made from about 75 different elements, almost three-quarters of the periodic table.”

Larry Meinert, USGS deputy associate director for energy and minerals, pointed out some of the sources. “For instance, the industrial sand used to make the quartz in smartphone screens may come from the United States or China, but the potassium added to enhance screen strength could come from Canada, Russia or Belarus. Australia, Chile and Argentina often produce the lithium used in battery cathodes, while the hard-to-come-by tantalum—used in smartphone circuitry—mostly comes from Congo, Rwanda and Brazil.”

That brings an ominous warning. “With minerals being sourced from all over the world, the possibility of supply disruption is more critical than ever.”

The campaign also reveals the agency’s methods for tracking this essential stuff. A USGS-designed early warning system described as “mathematically rigorous and elegant” helps the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency monitor a watch list of about 160 minerals. Not all have been labelled critical, but those so defined can change due to technological development and geopolitical conflict.

The USGS itself tracks something like 90 minerals important to the American economy or security but sourced from about 180 countries. For last year the agency identified 20 minerals on which the U.S. relied entirely on imports and 47 on which the country imported more than half its supply.

Not all the source countries are always best buddies with the West. China supplies most of America’s mined commodities, including 24 of the 47 minerals supplied 51% or more by imports. Among the critical items are rare earth elements, 100% imported, over 90% directly from China and much of the rest through supply chains originating there.

As a supplier, Canada came a distant second, the chief provider of 16 minerals, not all of them critical. Runners-up Mexico, Russia and South Africa were each chief suppliers for eight American mineral imports.

Among the research reports coming soon will be “a compendium of everything the USGS knows about 23 minerals critical to the United States,” Demas says. “It’s going to cover the industry side of things, the reserves, production, shipment, etc. It’s going to cover geology and sustainability. Each chapter on each mineral will have a section on how this can be mined sustainably so we can meet our needs not only today, but also in the future.”

In part the publications target “decision-makers in Congress, as well as the Defense Department and others who use mineral resources,” Demas adds. But he emphasizes the campaign wasn’t motivated by the proposed METALS Act (Materials Essential to American Leadership and Security). Currently before U.S. Congress, the bill calls on government to support domestic resources and supply chains of critical and strategic minerals. On introducing the bill, Rep. Duncan Hunter argued the risk of foreign dependence to national security “is too great and it urgently demands that we re-establish our depleted domestic industrial base.”

As Demas notes, “Since we are a non-regulatory, non-policy agency, we don’t directly influence policy. But we do want policy-makers to have our tools available so they can make the best science-informed decisions.”

And while this month will see special attention to critical minerals, Demas says the subject’s an ongoing concern for the USGS. Some of the reports coming out now will be updates of annual publications.

“We’re really trying to promote the idea that USGS has a lot of really useful information that we put out all the time,” he adds. “This information will hopefully be useful to people when they’re considering where their resources are coming from.”

Follow USGS news here.

Read about the West’s dependence on non-allied countries for critical minerals here and here.

USGS: Possibility of supply disruption more critical than ever

April 5th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 5, 2017

USGS: Possibility of supply disruption more critical than ever

Many and various are the sources of smartphone minerals.
(Map: U.S. Geological Survey)

 

In another article warning of foreign dependency, the U.S. Geological Survey uses smartphones as a cautionary example. Looking back 30 years ago, “‘portable’ phones were the size of a shoebox and consisted of 25 to 30 elements,” pointed out Larry Meinert of the USGS. “Today they fit in your pocket or on your wrist and are made from about 75 different elements, almost three-quarters of the periodic table.”

USGS: Possibility of supply disruption more critical than ever

Smartphones now require nearly 75% of the periodic
table of the elements. (Graphic: Jason Burton, USGS)

The increasing sophistication of portable communications results from a “symphony of electronics and chemistry” that includes, for example, “household names like silicon, which is used for circuit boards, or graphite used in batteries. Then there are lesser known substances like bastnasite, monazite and xenotime. These brownish minerals contain neodymium, one of the rare earth elements used in the magnets that allow smartphone speakers to play music and the vibration motor that notifies you of new, funny cat videos on social media,” the USGS stated.

Almost as varied are the sources. “For instance, the industrial sand used to make the quartz in smartphone screens may come from the United States or China, but the potassium added to enhance screen strength could come from Canada, Russia or Belarus. Australia, Chile and Argentina often produce the lithium used in battery cathodes, while the hard-to-come-by tantalum—used in smartphone circuitry—mostly comes from Congo, Rwanda and Brazil.”

Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are also sources of conflict minerals.

“With minerals being sourced from all over the world, the possibility of supply disruption is more critical than ever,” Meinert emphasized.

The April 4 article follows a previous USGS report on an early warning system used by the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency to monitor supply threats. In January the USGS released a list of 20 minerals for which the country relies entirely on imports. Whether or not by design, the recent awareness campaign coincides with a bill before U.S. Congress calling on government to support the development of domestic deposits and supply chains for critical minerals.

See an illustrated USGS report: A World of Minerals in Your Mobile Device.

Read about the West’s dependence on non-allied countries for critical minerals here and here.

Emerita Resources signs LOI for Spanish zinc project

March 20th, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 20, 2017

Set to resume trading on March 22, Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO has due diligence planned for a VMS property in an infrastructure-rich region of southern Spain. The non-binding letter of intent concerns the 1,400-hectare Masa Valverde zinc project in Andalusia’s Iberian pyrite belt.

Emerita Resources signs LOI for Spanish zinc project

The property “hosts a classic, polymetallic, volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit that is locally enriched in gold and contains zinc-rich massive sulphide zones and a copper-rich zone as is characteristic for VMS deposits,” Emerita stated. “Drilling to date has outlined a sulphide body that is greater than 1,200 metres long and greater than 200 metres wide.” Mineralization remains open, the company added.

Subject to approvals and a 60-day due diligence period, the property would cost Emerita €4.5 million over two years plus a 2.5% NSR. The vendor also retains an offtake option.

Located in a region active in base metals mining, local infrastructure includes paved roads, rail, power, water and ports.

Following a March 10 halt, Emerita resumes trading on March 22.

The company also reiterated its commitment to another Andalusian project, the Aznalcollar zinc-lead-copper project. Emerita’s acquisition of the asset was confirmed in an October court ruling.

Additionally, the company holds the Sierra Alta gold project in northwestern Spain, Las Morras gold project in western Spain and the Falcon Litio MG lithium project in Brazil.

Equitas Resources highlights third Brazilian project with 92.19 g/t gold over 2 metres

November 29th, 2016

by Greg Klein | November 29, 2016

Another high-grade assay brings another project to prominence among Equitas Resources’ (TSXV:EQT) 12-property Brazilian holdings. Announced November 29, a channel sample on the Nova Canaa property revealed 92.19 grams per tonne gold over two metres. The news comes two weeks after the company released grab samples as high as 1,022.98 g/t gold at the Crepori project.

Equitas Resources highlights third Brazilian project

Garimpeiro production at the 9,694-hectare Nova Canaa property in the Juruena gold belt extracted an estimated 225,000 ounces from 1975 to 1992. The channel sample comes from approximately 20 metres’ depth in an adit at the Galopeira zone, where the Bodao vein has so far been traced for about 200 metres, averaging one to two metres in width. Previous drilling at Galopeira sunk 18 holes for 2,993 metres, with three intervals showing gold results of 7.2 g/t over 2 metres, 14.2 g/t over 2.9 metres and 17.2 g/t over 1.5 metres.

At the property’s Medeiro zone, 20 out of 95 grab samples previously collected within a one-kilometre radius assayed between 1.38 g/t and 69.5 g/t gold.

Plans for Nova Canaa include mapping and sampling, induced polarization and magnetics prior to drilling.

The announcement brings to light a third priority in Equitas’ 202,000-hectare Brazilian portfolio. Along with Crepori, the company holds the Cajueiro project, where an April resource update recalculated 2013 data for four zones of sulphides and saprolite oxides. Using a 0.25 g/t cutoff, the project’s sulphides total:

  • indicated: 8.64 million tonnes averaging 0.771 g/t for 214,100 ounces gold

  • inferred: 9.53 million tonnes averaging 0.664 g/t for 203,500 ounces

Using the same cutoff, four zones of oxides come to:

  • inferred: 1.37 million tonnes averaging 1.775 g/t for 78,400 ounces

Equitas intends to return the 39,053-hectare Cajueiro flagship to production, beginning with a 600-tonne-per-day carbon-in-leach plant, then building the operation incrementally. A resource update and PEA are planned by mid-2017, following last summer’s 37-hole, 1,756-metre program at the project’s Baldo zone, which showed 33 near-surface mineralized intercepts. Additionally, two infill holes at the Crente zone brought near-surface gold results of 1.12 g/t over 31 metres and 1.03 g/t over 29 metres.

The company foresees a 12- to 24-month timeline to production. A trial mining licence has been granted, while environmental permits are pending.

Earlier this month Equitas offered a private placement of up to $500,000.

Infographic: Countries of origin for raw materials

November 16th, 2016

Graphic by BullionVault | text by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | November 16, 2016

Every “thing” comes from somewhere.

Whether we are talking about an iPhone or a battery, even the most complex technological device is made up of raw materials that originate in a mine, farm, well or forest somewhere in the world.

This infographic from BullionVault shows the top three producing countries of various commodities such as oil, gold, coffee and iron.

Infographic Countries of origin for raw materials

 

The many and the few

The origins of the world’s most important raw materials are interesting to examine because the production of certain commodities is much more concentrated than others.

Oil, for example, is extracted by many countries throughout the world because it forms in fairly universal circumstances. Oil is also a giant market and a strategic resource, so some countries are even willing to produce it at a loss. The largest three crude oil-producing countries are the United States, Saudi Arabia and Russia—but that only makes up 38% of the total market.

Contrast this with the market for some base metals such as iron or lead and the difference is clear. China consumes mind-boggling amounts of raw materials to feed its factories, so it tries to get them domestically. That’s why China alone produces 45% of the world’s iron and 52% of all lead. Nearby Australia also finds a way to take advantage of this: It is the second-largest producer for each of those commodities and ships much of its output to Chinese trading partners. A total of two-thirds of the world’s iron and lead comes from these two countries, making production extremely concentrated.

But even that pales in comparison with the market for platinum, which is so heavily concentrated that only a few countries are significant producers. South Africa extracts 71% of all platinum, while Russia and Zimbabwe combine for another 19% of global production. That means only one in every 10 ounces of platinum comes from a country other than those three sources.

Graphic by BullionVault | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Equitas Resources samples 1,022 g/t gold at undrilled Brazilian project

November 15th, 2016

by Greg Klein | November 15, 2016

A “spectacular” gold assay among other high-grade grab samples gives the Crepori project greater prominence in Equitas Resources’ (TSXV:EQT) 202,000-hectare Brazilian portfolio. Five out of 10 initial surface samples surpassed eight grams per tonne, reaching as high as 39.26 g/t and 1,022.98 g/t gold. The 8,323-hectare property in the prolific Tapajos Gold Belt remains to be drilled.

Equitas Resources samples 1,022 g/t gold at undrilled Brazilian project

Previous garimpeiro mining focused on two gold-bearing quartz vein systems, Picarreira and Boiadeiro, Equitas reported. Picarreira has been traced over 400 metres of strike on surface, averaging six metres in width. Soil and chip samples suggest the strike could increase significantly to the northeast, the company added. The 39.26 g/t sample came from Picarreira, while Boiadeiro revealed the 1,022.98 g/t sample.

“It is remarkable that Crepori has remained essentially untested particularly given the outstanding gold grades achieved and significant extent of the known mineralized vein system defined to date,” said VP of exploration Everett Makela.

The company now plans mapping and sampling, followed by induced polarization and magnetics prior to drilling.

Last month Equitas announced near-surface results for two infill holes on its Cajueiro project in central Brazil, with assays of 1.12 g/t gold over 31 metres and 1.03 g/t over 29 metres (not true widths). The results followed a successful 37-hole, 1,756-metre summer program that found 33 mineralized near-surface intervals.

An April resource update recalculated 2013 data for Cajueiro’s four zones of sulphides and saprolite oxides. Using a 0.25 g/t cutoff, the project’s sulphides total:

  • indicated: 8.64 million tonnes averaging 0.771 g/t for 214,100 ounces gold

  • inferred: 9.53 million tonnes averaging 0.664 g/t for 203,500 ounces

Using the same cutoff, four zones of oxides total:

  • inferred: 1.37 million tonnes averaging 1.775 g/t for 78,400 ounces

Also last month the company acquired two properties totalling 18,000 hectares in the Juruena Gold Belt, roughly 180 kilometres southeast of Cajueiro.

Equitas Resources expands its presence in Brazil’s Juruena Gold Belt

October 26th, 2016

by Greg Klein | October 26, 2016

Two new properties add over 18,000 hectares to Equitas Resources’ (TSXV:EQT) Brazilian gold portfolio. Both in the Juruena Gold Belt roughly 180 kilometres southeast of the flagship Cajueiro project, the Santa Helena and Colider Leste acquisitions result from a protracted bidding process, the company stated October 26.

Equitas Resources expands its presence in Brazil’s Juruena Gold Belt

Photos of Santa Helena’s Gabriel pit
show mineralized saprolite at surface.

Santa Helena sits between Equitas’ Colider and Rio do Pombo projects. Highlights from previous sampling on the property’s Gabriel pit assayed 2.7 g/t, 4.81 g/t, 11.43 g/t, 11.73 g/t, 15.1 g/t and 45 g/t gold. About 170 metres long and up to 70 metres wide, the pit was subject to garimpeiro mining and limited 1990s drilling by Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO. Those drill results aren’t currently available. Previous soil surveys at Santa Helena revealed three kilometre-scale gold anomalies along a seven-kilometre trend associated with a shear zone.

Future work would call for mapping, trenching and an induced polarization survey to evaluate the soil anomalies.

The early-stage Colider Leste property shows similarities with the geology, structure and mineralization of the company’s more advanced, high-grade Nova Canaa project, Equitas added. Mapping and sampling would be necessary to further assess the project.

Earlier this month the company announced results from two infill holes at Cajueiro’s Crente zone, with near-surface intervals of 1.12 g/t gold over 31 metres and 1.03 g/t over 29 metres (not true widths).

The news followed 33 near-surface intercepts released in August and high-grade trenching results announced the previous month, all from Cajueiro’s Baldo zone. Equitas intends to put the former alluvial operation into production incrementally, beginning with the installation of a carbon-in-leach plant to process near-surface saprolite oxides from Baldo and Crente.

The Santa Helena and Colider Leste acquisitions bring the company’s Brazilian portfolio to more than 202,000 hectares.

Equitas Resources releases assays, plans development of Brazil gold project

October 13th, 2016

by Greg Klein | October 13, 2016

Good gold grades over wide, near-surface intercepts instil further confidence in Equitas Resources’ (TSXV:EQT) Cajueiro project in central Brazil. Reported October 13, two infill holes on the Crente zone “lend further support for the potential of Crente to represent a significant portion” of the property’s open pit component, stated VP of exploration Everett Makela.

The drilling targetted a former garimpeiro pit to follow up on an historic hole that found 2.37 g/t gold over 31 metres, including 4.15 g/t over 9.4 metres. The new assays show:

Hole CJO 094

  • 1.12 g/t gold over 31 metres, starting at 90 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 2.2 g/t over 4 metres)
Equitas Resources releases assays, plans development of Brazil gold project

A close-up shows 8.2 g/t gold over one metre.

Hole CJO 095

  • 1.03 g/t over 29 metres, starting at 20 metres
  • (including 3.14 g/t over 4 metres)
  • (which includes 8.2 g/t over 1 metre)

True widths weren’t available.

The results follow a summer program of 37 holes totalling 1,756 metres at the Baldo zone that produced 33 near-surface mineralized intervals. Equitas plans to incorporate this year’s drilling into an updated resource estimate. The project’s current resource uses a 0.25 g/t cutoff, with four zones of sulphides totalling:

  • indicated: 8.64 million tonnes averaging 0.771 g/t for 214,100 ounces gold

  • inferred: 9.53 million tonnes averaging 0.664 g/t for 203,500 ounces

Four zones of oxides total:

  • inferred: 1.37 million tonnes averaging 1.775 g/t for 78,400 ounces

While focusing on the more metallurgically amenable oxides, Equitas plans to transform the former alluvial operation by installing a carbon-in-leach plant. Under the direction of newly appointed Brazil general manager Sergio Aquino, the company has design and costing underway for a 600-tpd plant that would process material from an upcoming bulk sampling program.

During his 35-year career Aquino headed diamond exploration for Rio Tinto do Brasil, led exploration and field operations of alluvial gold deposits, co-founded Serabi Mining PLC and served on a municipal environmental council.

Last summer a 1,324-hectare area of Cajueiro underwent a high-resolution topographic survey via an unmanned aerial vehicle. Results will help guide further surveys.

Equitas also announced termination of a private equity financing that would have included US$5 million in revolving loans and a US$1-million warrant exercise.

Cajueiro forms part of a 184,410-hectare Brazilian portfolio that came with Equitas’ acquisition of Alta Floresta Gold last spring.

Read more about Equitas Resources’ Cajueiro project.

Equitas Resources communications manager Sean Kingsley discusses drilling, metallurgy and near-term production potential at the Cajueiro gold project in Brazil

September 16th, 2016

…Read more

Equitas Resources drills more near-surface gold while advancing Brazilian project

August 29th, 2016

by Greg Klein | August 29, 2016

New gold assays bolster Equitas Resources’ (TSXV:EQT) plan to incrementally expand its Cajueiro project in central Brazil. On August 29 the company reported 33 near-surface intervals from saprolite and bedrock on the project’s Baldo zone, ranging from 0.95 grams per tonne to 4.07 g/t gold.

Equitas Resources drills more near-surface gold while advancing Brazilian project

Drilling helped identify three new target areas at Cajueiro.

The results will also help the company gain a full mining licence, part of a plan to expand recovery from what had been a small alluvial operation by installing a carbon-in-leach plant. Additionally, three other near-surface areas have been identified for further trenching and drilling, including Zona Dois with 300 metres of strike.

Highlights from 37 holes totalling 1,756 metres show:

Hole CJO-0077

  • 1.46 g/t gold over 13.5 metres, starting at 14.2 metres in downhole depth

CJO-0064

  • 1.21 g/t over 10 metres, starting at 10 metres

CJO-0063

  • 1.19 g/t over 8.2 metres, starting at 1 metre

CJO-0090

  • 3.67 g/t over 2.5 metres, starting at 9 metres

CJO-0089

  • 1.95 g/t over 4.5 metres, starting at 10.5 metres

CJO-0080

  • 1.13 g/t over 7 metres, starting at 48 metres

CJO-0057

  • 1.19 g/t over 5.8 metres, starting at 6.2 metres

CJO-0058

  • 2 g/t over 3 metres, starting at 27 metres

True widths weren’t available. The mineralized intervals have also been sent for screen fire assay to test for coarse gold, Equitas stated.

Two additional holes were drilled at Cajueiro’s highly prospective Crente zone. Sunk below a former garimpeiro pit, they tested a new interpretation suggesting a steeply dipping mineralized trend intersected by an historic result of 2.37 g/t over 31 metres. Equitas expects those results by mid-September.

The latest assays follow trenching results announced in July that featured 24.26 g/t over two metres, 18.86 g/t over two metres and 1.4 g/t over 12 metres. Further trenching and drilling will feed a resource update for the 39,053-hectare project. Using a 0.25 g/t cutoff, four zones of sulphides currently total:

  • indicated: 8.64 million tonnes averaging 0.771 g/t for 214,100 ounces gold

  • inferred: 9.53 million tonnes averaging 0.664 g/t for 203,500 ounces

Four zones of oxides total:

  • inferred: 1.37 million tonnes averaging 1.775 g/t for 78,400 ounces

Near-surface oxides remain the company’s focus.

Plans to expand Cajueiro incrementally originally called for installation of a gravity plant, to be followed by a CIL plant. But metallurgical results announced earlier this month convinced the company to skip the first stage and go straight to CIL processing.

In late July the company closed an over-subscribed private placement of $861,000. Equitas has also been working towards completion of a US$6-million private equity financing that would include US$5 million in revolving loans and a US$1-million warrant exercise.

Read more about Equitas Resources’ Cajueiro gold project.