Tuesday 20th March 2018

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘british columbia’

Canadian exploration spending projected to rise 6%; Manitoba contradicts its Fraser Institute ranking

March 14th, 2018

by Greg Klein | March 14, 2018

It’s hardly a boom time scenario but mineral exploration within Canada should see a healthy 6% spending increase this year, according to recent federal government figures. Info supplied by companies shows an estimated total of $2.238 billion planned for exploration and deposit appraisal this year, compared with $2.111 billion in 2017. The second annual increase in a row, it’s far less dramatic than last year’s 29.6% leap.

Canadian exploration spending projected to rise 6% Manitoba contradicts its Fraser Institute ranking

The Natural Resources Canada survey compares preliminary numbers for metals and non-metals from last year with projected budgets for 2018.

Together Quebec and Ontario account for more than half the spending, with la belle province getting 27.3% of last year’s total and 29.3% of this year’s, while Ontario got 24.9% and 26.5%.

Some runners-up were British Columbia (12.2% of Canada’s total in 2017 and 13% in 2018), Saskatchewan (9% and 7.4%) and Yukon (7.8% and 7.7%).

Proportionately Manitoba enjoyed the greatest increase, a 42% jump from $38.5 million to $54.7 million, in a performance at odds with the province’s most recent Fraser Institute ranking. Less spectacularly but still impressive, the figures show Quebec climbing 13.9% from $576.5 million to $656.7 million. British Columbia gets a 12.9% increase from $257.7 million to $290.9 million, and Ontario 12.7% from $526.2 million to $593 million.

Some disappointments include Saskatchewan, falling 13% from $189.9 million to $165.1 million. Nunavut plunged 34.6% from $169.3 million to $110.7 million.

Nunavut has to address its land access issues. In the NWT, work on the proposed Mineral Resources Act and other legislation must be to improve the investment climate. Settling long-outstanding land claims and reducing the over 30% of lands off limits to development would also help, as would proactive marketing by indigenous governments.—Gary Vivian, president, NWT and
Nunavut Chamber of Mines

Addressing the territory’s performance along with its neighbour’s 10% drop, Northwest Territories and Nunavut Chamber of Mines president Gary Vivian said, “Nunavut has to address its land access issues. In the NWT, work on the proposed Mineral Resources Act and other legislation must be to improve the investment climate. Settling long-outstanding land claims and reducing the over 30% of lands off limits to development would also help, as would proactive marketing by indigenous governments.”

Combining figures for mine complex development with exploration and deposit appraisal, this year’s projected country-wide total rises 8.9% to $14.9 billion, the highest number in the four years of data released in this survey.

Commodities getting the most money are precious metals, although at a nearly 1.5% decrease to $1.35 billion this year from $1.37 billion last year. A more drastic drop was uranium, down 23.4% to $103.7 million. Base metals saw a 38.4% surge to $406.9 million. Coal’s projected for a 31.1% boost to $70.8 million.

Exploration and deposit appraisal expenses considered for the survey include field work, engineering, economics, feasibility studies, the environment, land access and associated general expenses. Natural Resources Canada did not consider work for extensions of known reserves.

Recent studies from PricewaterhouseCoopers showed a marked improvement in junior mining company finances and a relatively stable, if cautious, ambience for more senior Canadian companies.

Covering a different period with different methodology than Natural Resources Canada, a study by EY, the B.C. government and the Association for Mineral Exploration calculated a 20% increase in B.C. exploration spending from 2016 to 2017.

See the Natural Resources Canada survey here.

Fraud Awareness Month begins amid criticism of lax enforcement against serial scammers

March 7th, 2018

by Greg Klein | March 7, 2018

Education more than deterrence seems to be the focus of Canadian securities commissions as Fraud Awareness Month begins. Two series of articles by Postmedia and the Globe and Mail reveal numerous examples of con artists evading administrative penalties and criminal charges, leaving victims powerless to recover losses.

Fraud Awareness Month begins amid criticism of lax enforcement against serial scammers

The British Columbia Securities Commission kicked off the annual awareness campaign by releasing results of a survey. The people most susceptible to investment scams, the poll found, are millennials. Over 500 respondents were tested on their reaction to a fictional investment offer that guaranteed no-risk returns of 14% to 25%.

“Although the claim contains several investment fraud warning signs, 26% of respondents said the offer was ‘worth looking into,’” the BCSC reported. “More troubling, 20% of the respondents who would look into the offer said they were interested because they need the money, indicating even greater vulnerability.”

Adults aged 18 to 34 showed the greatest naiveté, with 47% of women and 35% of men that age expressing interest. Just 13% of people 55 years and over gave similar answers, a decline from 26% in a similar 2012 study.

“Investors should always be skeptical of anyone offering a risk-free investment with an unusually high return, because there’s no such thing,” warned BCSC director of communications and education Pamela McDonald. “We encourage investors to look carefully at every investment they make, but also to listen to your gut. If something doesn’t make sense, or doesn’t feel right, we encourage you to contact the BCSC.”

The admonition follows criticism of weak enforcement by the BCSC and its counterparts. In December the Globe and Mail’s Grant Robertson and Tom Cardoso reported their analysis of 30 years of regulatory records, finding one in nine people pronounced guilty of securities fraud go on to re-offend, some even defying multiple lifetime trading bans through aliases and “jurisdiction-hopping.” Ill-gotten gains can far exceed penalties, which at any rate often remain unenforced.

In November a Postmedia series by Gordon Hoekstra reported numerous cases of uncollected BCSC fines and payback orders on scammers who in some cases continue to hold significant assets. Others transfer assets with relative ease.

Between the fiscal years ending in 2008 and 2017, Hoekstra stated, the BCSC collected less than 2% of $510 million in fines and payback orders. The Ontario Securities Commission did somewhat better, collecting 18% over the last decade.

In a December response to the Globe and Mail, the Canadian Securities Administrators stated that securities commissions are limited to pursuing administrative cases, with police responsible for criminal matters. But last month Hoekstra reported examples of Vancouver police and RCMP refusing to investigate fraud allegations. Vancouver cops say they typically refer cases of investment fraud to the BCSC. The RCMP declined to investigate another example on the grounds that it was a BCSC matter.

In another February story, Hoekstra revealed the BCSC “quietly” stayed more than $35 million of penalties regarding nine cases following a B.C. Court of Appeal decision on a pump-and-dump operation.

B.C. explorers boost spending for first time since 2012

March 5th, 2018

by Greg Klein | March 5, 2018

Despite a bad year for wildfires, it’s British Columbia’s first mineral exploration spending increase in four years and a substantial increase at that. The sector spent over $41 million more in 2017 than the previous year, a 20% jump to total $246 million province-wide. Most of the activity took place in two regions, with the northwestern Golden Triangle accounting for more than $11 million of the $41-million increase, showing a regional total of $82 million. In the southern Interior’s Cariboo, exploration increased by $19 million, 70% more than in 2016.

The data comes from the second annual British Columbia mineral and coal exploration survey released at PDAC on March 5 by EY, B.C.’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and the Association for Mineral Exploration. Twenty prospectors and 175 companies contributed responses.

“Although still considerably down from the peak years of 2011-12, there is cause for optimism that the upward trend will continue given the outlook for continued price stability, an overall strengthening of global market sentiment towards exploration, improvements in the capital markets for financing mineral and coal exploration, and a more favourable future market outlook,” the report stated.

The 2017 bleak spot was the province’s northeast, where exploration plunged 75% to $2.4 million last year, mostly due to diminished demand for Peace district coal.

Diamond drilling in B.C. more than doubled from 300,000 metres in 2016 to over 600,000 metres last year, accounting for 37% of total exploration spending.

Although the report cautions that it’s too early for a conclusion, the results seem to indicate the province has set a “reset” button on the mining cycle, as projects advance through the early stages. Grassroots work accounted for 41% of activity in 2016 but only 23% in 2017. Instead, last year saw an increase to 60% of exploration at the early and advanced levels, described by the report as the two stages following grassroots and preceding stages four and five: mine evaluation and mine lease.

The quest for gold accounted for 87%, or $37 million, of the province’s $41-million increase. Silver exploration spending more than doubled to $9.8 million, while zinc saw a nearly 50% leap to $8.2 million.

“It’s reassuring to see exploration spending returning to B.C., particularly as resource depletion returns to the list of industry risks,” commented AME director of corporate affairs Jonathan Buchanan. “We’re also encouraged to hear survey respondents remain committed to working with First Nations when sourcing new resource deposits to ensure benefits extend to the local or surrounding communities.”

Noting that the province’s mining revenues are “expected to approach $9 billion annually,” Gordon Clarke of the B.C. Mineral Development Office added, “It’s important to identify new development opportunities and encourage the continued development of a robust exploration industry.”

Among other encouraging signs for the sector, a November PricewaterhouseCoopers report pronounced an increase in market caps, financings, M&A and IPOs for TSXV-listed mining/exploration companies.

Download the British Columbia mineral and coal exploration survey 2017.

92 Resources finds high-quality silica potential in B.C. frac sand property, plans drilling for Quebec lithium

March 5th, 2018

by Greg Klein | March 5, 2018

With initial sampling results now in, an eastern British Columbia project shows greater potential to serve growing demand from both solar panel manufacturing and oil and gas exploration. During summer field work at its Golden project, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY collected 60 samples from the property’s Mount Wilson formation. Fifty samples surpassed 98% SiO2 and 22 exceeded 99%, peaking at 99.89%.

92 Resources finds high-quality silica potential in B.C. frac sand property, plans drilling for Quebec lithium

Still to come are frac sand results.

The assays also showed low levels of iron contamination, less than 0.1% Fe2O3 for 55 samples. Boron contamination also rated low, between 3 and 13 ppm. Final boron assays are expected soon, the company added.

Most of the samples came from the easily accessible Frenchman’s Ridge area, where the Mount Wilson formation has been mapped over a strike of about 1.2 kilometres and over 400 metres in width, with thickness interpreted to be at least 50 metres, the company reported.

Encouraged by the program, 92 Resources added another 1,800 hectares to Golden, bringing its size to about 5,000 hectares. The original property sits next to the Moberly silica mine, from where Northern Silica ships material 16 kilometres to a facility capable of processing frac sand and other high-grade silica products. 92 Resources’ new turf covers outcrops of the Mount Wilson formation adjacently east and south of HiTest Sand’s Horse Creek project, which 92 Resources states is reportedly being developed as a silica source for a potential refinery in Washington state.

Regional infrastructure includes highways, rail and power.

In January the company announced Far Resources CSE:FAT joined 92 Resources’ Hidden Lake lithium project under a 90% earn-in. The 1,849-hectare Northwest Territories property has revealed grab sample grades up to 1.86% Li2O, as well as channel sample assays of 1.58% Li2O over 8.78 metres, 2.57% Li2O over 0.75 metres and 233 ppm Ta2O5 over one metre.

Also in January 92 Resources announced plans for three properties acquired last fall in Quebec’s James Bay region. Permitting is now underway for a four- to six-hole, 1,000-metre campaign at the Corvette project, where grab samples from one pegmatite included 0.8%, 3.48% and 7.32% Li2O. Another pegmatite sampled 1.22% Li2O and 90 ppm Ta2O5. The company also sees gold potential in the 3,891-hectare property.

The Pontax project has airborne magnetics and electromagnetics planned for Q1, with summer field work to follow. The work will focus on potential pegmatite trends as well as gold targets on the 5,536-hectare property, which the company considers part of the Eastmain River Volcanic Belt.

In early January 92 Resources closed an oversubscribed private placement of $1.14 million.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with 92 Resources CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Tantalum-niobium recovery tests prompt Commerce Resources to negotiate world rights to process

February 20th, 2018

by Greg Klein | February 20, 2018

Best known for the advanced-stage Ashram rare earths deposit in Quebec, Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) rare metals interests also include the Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia. Now a proprietary processing method has brought successful results, leading the company to work on a definitive agreement to acquire global rights to the process.

Tantalum-niobium recovery tests prompt Commerce Resources to negotiate world rights to process

Upper Fir reached the PEA level in 2011
and a resource update in 2013.

Named after Alexander Krupin, an expert with 35 years’ experience in tantalum and niobium recovery, the method was applied to a 1,300-kilogram sample shipped to Krupin’s Estonia facility last year. A visit by Commerce chairperson Axel Hoppe, another internationally recognized expert in tantalum and niobium, verified the Krupin Method’s success. As a result, the parties now have a definitive agreement under negotiation.

Part of Commerce’s Blue River property, Upper Fir reached PEA in 2011. A 2013 resource update used a tantalum price of $381 per kilogram for an estimated:

  • indicated: 48.41 million tonnes averaging 197 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,610 ppm Nb2O5 for 9,560 tonnes Ta2O5 and 77,810 tonnes Nb2O5

  • inferred: 5.4 million tonnes averaging 191 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,760 ppm Nb2O5 for 1,000 tonnes Ta2O5 and 9,600 tonnes Nb2O5

Adjacent to a 20-MW run-of-river electricity project, the 105,373-hectare property has road, rail and power lines.

More niobium-tantalum potential, this time early-stage, has been identified on Commerce’s Eldor property in northern Quebec, which hosts the Ashram rare earths deposit. Last month the company announced that Saville Resources TSXV:SRE had taken on a 75% earn-in to work the property’s niobium claims, where an exceptional sample assay of 5.9% Nb2O5 sparked additional attention in the property.

Ashram remains Commerce’s focus, however, as one of the most advanced REE projects outside China moves towards pre-feasibility. In December the company announced new research that could further streamline the project’s metallurgy, already benefitting from host minerals that are well understood and amenable to conventional processing.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Finnish diamond exploration reveals new kimberlite for Arctic Star

February 20th, 2018

by Greg Klein | February 20, 2018

As work continues on the northern Finland property, Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD announced a new kimberlite discovery from its Timantti diamond project on February 20. Covered only by very thin glacial overburden, the find results from four one-metre-deep pits containing kimberlite. The company has christened the body Grey Wolf, distinguishing it from the property’s other Wolf kimberlites. A rig has already been mobilized to the discovery, while a 150-kilogram sample undergoes assays to test for diamonds and kimberlite indicator minerals, and to assess mineral chemistry.

Finnish diamond exploration reveals new kimberlite for Arctic Star

The news follows an announcement earlier this month that historic drill core confirmed the presence of a new Timantti kimberlite 230 metres west of the project’s diamondiferous Black Wolf kimberlite.

Part of an ambitious winter campaign that began in November, ongoing EM and gravity surveys have identified multiple targets for excavation or drilling. Optimism has been bolstered by “the expression of diamond-favourable indicator minerals in the region, which the Wolf kimberlites cannot explain,” the company stated.

In addition to the Finnish flagship, Arctic Star also holds diamond interests in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories’ Lac de Gras region. The company’s Cap property in British Columbia, meanwhile, hosts an exceptionally rare carbonatite-syenite complex that offers potential for several commodities. Results from sampling and one drill hole released in September showed “highly anomalous” niobium, rare earths and phosphate grades.

The company closed oversubscribed private placements totalling $1.69 million in November.

Read an interview with Arctic Star chairperson Patrick Power.

Richard Truman of Geoscience B.C. discusses how various stakeholders benefit from the organization’s research

February 20th, 2018

…Read more

Earn-in brings Far Resources into 92 Resources’ NWT lithium project

January 23rd, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 23, 2018

High-grade sampling and positive Phase I metallurgy have drawn tangible interest to a Northwest Territories hard rock lithium property. In a deal announced January 23, Far Resources CSE:FAT may earn up to 90% of 92 Resources’ (TSXV:NTY) Hidden Lake project 40 kilometres east of Yellowknife. The full 90% would cost Far $50,000, $1.45 million in shares and $2.3 million in spending. 92 would get the cash and $500,000 of the shares on closing, while Far would put $500,000 into the project during the first year to earn an initial 60%. Far would act as project operator.

Earn-in brings Far Resources into 92 Resources’ NWT lithium project

Grab and channel samples from outcropping
pegmatite reveal Hidden Lake’s high lithium grades.

92 stated it would “benefit from bringing in a financially and technically strong partner to further develop the project and, in the process, will become a substantial shareholder of Far Resources with the ability to share in the project’s success.”

With seven known pegmatites, the 1,849-hectare Hidden Lake property has shown grab sample grades up to 1.86% Li2O. Channel sample results include 1.58% Li2O over 8.78 metres, 2.57% Li2O over 0.75 metres and 233 ppm Ta2O5 over 1 metre.

Phase I metallurgy conducted for 92 used conventional methods to produce a high-grade concentrate of 6% to 6.5% Li2O, with recovery rates between 80% and 85%.

The earn-in leaves 92 free to pursue other projects and acquisitions. Its current portfolio includes the Golden frac sand project in eastern British Columbia, adjacent to Northern Silica’s Moberly silica operation, as well as three recently acquired lithium properties in Quebec. A brief site visit to one of them scored a 7.32% Li2O grab sample.

92 closed an oversubscribed private placement of $1.14 million earlier this month.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with 92 Resources CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Resource update precedes PEA for Golden Dawn Minerals’ newest B.C. gold-polymetallic project

January 23rd, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 23, 2018

Update: On February 6, 2018, Golden Dawn Minerals reported that Huakan International Mining, which optioned J&L to Golden Dawn, faced a lawsuit from Armex Mining, which claims it has a valid letter of intent with Huakan concerning J&L. Huakan intends to defend the Armex action, Golden Dawn added.

Calling it one of western Canada’s “largest undeveloped gold mineral resources,” Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM released a new estimate for J&L, a southern British Columbia project acquired just last month. The company now expects to finish a preliminary economic assessment within five to eight months for a project that will be developed separately from the Greenwood portfolio farther south, where Golden Dawn plans to revive three former mines and a nearby mill.

Totals for four zones at J&L showed:

  • measured and indicated: 5.16 million tonnes averaging 4.59 g/t gold and 55.6 g/t silver for 761,000 ounces gold and 9.23 million ounces silver

  • inferred: 4.8 million tonnes averaging 4.35 g/t gold and 60.6 g/t silver for 672,000 ounces gold and 9.37 million ounces silver
Resource update precedes PEA for Golden Dawn Minerals’ newest B.C. gold-polymetallic project

The highway-accessible property came with a rail siding and loading facility 35 kilometres south in Revelstoke, as well as a 40-person camp, maintenance buildings, workshops and underground mining equipment.

Incorporating lead and zinc grades, the company attributed 1.35 million gold-equivalent ounces to M&I and another 1.07 gold-equivalent ounces to the inferred category.

The four zones comprise Main, Yellowjacket, Hanging Wall and Footwall. Main extends over 1.5 kilometres along strike and 850 metres down dip, remaining open for expansion, the company stated.

Meanwhile the Greenwood revival continues as Golden Dawn prepares to begin trial mining at the Lexington gold-copper past-producer within months. The company’s busy, multi-project activities are summarized here.

Read more about Golden Dawn Minerals.

Golden Dawn Minerals sets B.C. gold-copper trial mining for Q2

January 15th, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 15, 2018

With dewatering now complete, Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM plans to re-start a southern British Columbia past-producer within months, moving to full production in the latter half of the year. The company pronounced the former Lexington mine’s underground workings, east portal and decline to be in excellent condition, where a previous operator extracted 5,486 ounces of gold, 3,247 ounces of silver and 860,259 pounds of copper between April and December 2008.

Golden Dawn Minerals sets B.C. gold-copper trial mining for Q2

With underground workings in “excellent condition,”
Golden Dawn prepares to restart the Lexington gold-copper mine.

Service buildings have been renovated. Still on the checklist is new timber for the mine’s west portal, a new ladderway for the fresh air raise and installation of compressed air and water, along with electrical and ventilation services.

Lexington’s rehab coincides with that of the Greenwood plant, about 17 kilometres away. A 212-tpd mill that’s expandable to 400-tpd, it’s central to Golden Dawn’s 15,400-hectare portfolio of 31 historic mines, three of which the company hopes to re-start without de-risking at the feasibility level. Lexington’s remaining start-up costs are pegged at about $2 million.

While consultants now have a mine plan in progress, underground mapping and sampling are planned for later this month. The former mine has a 2016 resource with a base case cutoff of 3.5 g/t gold-equivalent:

  • measured: 58,000 tonnes averaging 6.98 g/t gold and 1.1% copper (8.63 g/t gold-equivalent) for 16,100 gold-equivalent ounces

  • indicated: 314,000 tonnes averaging 6.38 g/t gold and 1.04% copper (7.94 g/t gold-equivalent) for 80,200 gold-equivalent ounces

  • inferred: 12,000 tonnes averaging 4.42 g/t gold and 1.03% copper (5.96 g/t gold-equivalent) for 2,300 gold-equivalent ounces

Meanwhile the company awaits 14 holes of assays from the nearby Golden Crown drill program that wrapped up last month. That past-producer also hosts a 2016 resource with a 3.5 g/t gold-equivalent cutoff:

  • indicated: 163,000 tonnes averaging 11.09 g/t gold and 0.56% copper (11.93 g/t gold-equivalent) for 62,500 gold-equivalent ounces

  • inferred: 42,000 tonnes averaging 9.04 g/t gold and 0.43% copper (9.68 g/t gold-equivalent) for 13,100 gold-equivalent ounces

Further drilling is planned northwest, along a three-kilometre mineralized zone onto the JD property, from where the company reported high-grade gold samples last October.

The former May Mac silver-gold mine constitutes a third past-producing priority with another 2017 drill program.

Golden Dawn’s property package sits about 500 kilometres by highway east of Vancouver.

The company also reported a private placement that closed on $337,500 that came entirely from Quorum Capital Inc, wholly owned by Golden Dawn president Wolf Wiese.

Read more about Golden Dawn Minerals.