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Posts tagged ‘Braeval Mining Corp (BVL)’

Week in review

February 8th, 2013

A mining and exploration retrospect for February 2 to 8, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Dangerous work

A Quebec rescue team recovered the bodies of two quarry workers on Saturday, four days after a landslide buried them in an open gravel pit. Daniel Brisebois and Marie-Claude Laporte worked for Maskimo Construction at L’Epiphanie, about 50 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

On Tuesday Eastern Platinum TSX:ELR reported the death of Allan Swartz, a shift supervisor at the Crocodile River Mine in South Africa, after he fell through an empty ore pass.

Five workers from Braeval Mining’s TSX:BVL Snow Mine project in northern Colombia remain missing after being abducted by the National Liberation Army (ELN) on January 18.

Natives end De Beers protest

A four-day blockade outside De Beers Victor diamond mine in northern Ontario ended peacefully Thursday night, the Timmins Press reported. A company spokesperson told the paper that De Beers agreed to discuss changes to an existing impact benefit agreement regarding employment, training “and maximizing the benefits.”

Supply convoys were prevented from reaching the site by about 16 protestors from the native community of Attawapiskat, 90 kilometres away.

Vague definitions give aboriginals enormous power

A mining and exploration retrospect

In Saturday’s Globe and Mail, columnist Jeffrey Simpson rather candidly addressed the vague but powerful native rights that have created a “de facto veto” over resource development in Canada.

Native demands, he wrote, stem from “treaty rights, however defined, and from aboriginal rights, however defined, in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” In its 1997 Delgamuukw decision, Canada’s Supreme Court established the duty to consult natives before working on Crown land. But the court didn’t define the consultation process except to say, in effect, “the stronger the aboriginal [land] claim, the more serious the consultation,” Simpson stated.

Consequently “it’s obviously in the interests of aboriginals to make the most sweeping initial claims possible, whether they have much justification in history, current reality or law. As long as the claim is there, aboriginals can interpret Delgamuukw as giving them a de facto veto, even if that isn’t what the ruling said.”

In a later court ruling, “once again, the meaning and reality of ‘consult’ was left vague, perhaps necessarily so, since how can one define a process of consultation that would be agreed to by all parties. In practice, what ‘consult’ means to aboriginals is ‘we must agree.’”

Most recently, a December decision from the Yukon Court of Appeal declared that the territorial government must consult and “accommodate” the Ross River Dena Council even before very early-stage prospecting in the Ross River area. The ruling is considered to have strong repercussions for other jurisdictions as well.

“Even before a company does anything, the government’s obligation to consult kicks in. From now on—in ways yet to be determined—governments have to consult aboriginals before anything is done that might some day, somehow, have an impact on whatever land they might claim, or have claimed, even if such claims haven’t been tested or resolved,” Simpson wrote.

The Yukon government may appeal the decision. But Simpson’s conclusion might imply that judges already have their minds made up.

“Aboriginals must be delighted with goalposts moving closer all the time toward their conception of consultation as approval by them of anything and everything that might occur on land over which they claim rights, proven or unproven.”

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Week in review

February 2nd, 2013

A mining and exploration retrospect for January 26 to February 1, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Search for quarry workers postponed, victims believed dead

Efforts to find two workers missing in a gravel quarry accident at L’Epiphanie, Quebec were postponed on Thursday. The truck drivers, employed by Maskimo Construction, were buried by a landslide two days earlier. High winds and unstable ground made it unsafe to operate the helicopter and heavy equipment involved in the mission. Searchers hope to resume their efforts on Saturday but “police have acknowledged they don’t expect to find survivors,” the CBC reported.

One co-worker described the landslide in a Canadian Press story reprinted in Wednesday’s Montreal Gazette.

Colombia exploration workers remain in captivity

A mining and exploration retrospect

Five people kidnapped from Braeval Mining’s TSX:BVL Snow Mine project in Colombia remain missing. The Monday edition of Colombia Reports stated the military, which arrested four more suspects on Sunday, claimed it was making progress. But, the journal added, the National Liberation Army (ELN) kidnappers warned that any rescue attempt would endanger the hostages.

Among the ELN’s demands are stricter regulation and heavier taxation of the mining industry, legalization of small-scale mining and a national debate on mining policy, Colombia Reports stated.

The victims—a Canadian, two Peruvians and two Colombians—were abducted on January 18 in northern Colombia’s Bolivar department.

On Thursday the country’s biggest rebel army, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), released three Gran Tierra Energy TSX:GTE contractors after one day in captivity. But, Reuters stated, the guerrillas killed four soldiers in southwestern Colombia’s Narino department on Wednesday.

More mid- and large-cap companies selling royalties

The streaming business has grown tremendously, both from the amount of money available and the size of companies seeking it. As Bloomberg reported on Thursday, “the biggest miners have joined the queue of capital-hungry companies requesting funding.”

Silver Wheaton TSX:SLW CEO Randy Smallwood told the news agency that his company has seen increased interest from miners with market caps “up into the tens and hundreds of billions.… Doors that we’ve been knocking on for a long time, they are all of a sudden knocking on our door.”

If an operator goes down from say a one-gram cutoff to a 0.5-gram cutoff, the operator may not make any money but the royalty-holder makes money…. It’s one of the best business models that I have ever seen.—Franco-Nevada chairman Pierre Lassonde in an interview with BNN

Although Silver Wheaton completed only one transaction last year, it was a $750-million deal with HudBay Minerals TSX:HBM, which has a press-time market cap of $2 billion. Such deals obviously benefit Silver Wheaton, which has been outperforming both silver prices and metal producers, Bloomberg stated.

Not surprisingly, success brings competition. But the founder of the first royalty company, Franco-Nevada TSX:FNV chairman Pierre Lassonde, considers most of the newcomers to be small fish. In an BNN interview posted Thursday, he said, “Every week we must have two, three, four, five companies coming and approaching us, but they’re of a size that there’s only two or three royalty companies that look at them.” Over the last six months his company has been working on three “really large deals” of half a million to a billion-plus, he said.

With each transaction Franco-Nevada gets a free perpetual option on any further discoveries on the same property. “It is this optionality that has given us the kind of rate of return that we give the shareholders,” he explained.

Lassonde attributed “de-ratings in the gold stocks” to smaller, lower-grade deposits than those found in the 1980s and ’90s. “At Franco, as far as we’re concerned, if an operator goes down from say a one-gram cutoff to a 0.5-gram cutoff, the operator may not make any money but the royalty-holder makes money…. It’s one of the best business models that I have ever seen.”

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Week in review

January 25th, 2013

A mining and exploration retrospect for January 19 to 25, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Canadian company’s employees still held hostage in Colombia

Kidnappers continue to hold five workers abducted from Braeval Mining’s TSX:BVL Snow Mine project in Colombia. According to a Thursday story in Colombia Reports, two Colombian hostages are being held separately from two Peruvians and a Canadian. The government has offered a cash reward while the army said it has 2,700 soldiers searching for the victims.

A Monday Colombia Reports article said soldiers had arrested three of the 20 to 25 kidnappers. The story gave the victims’ names as Canadian Jernoc Wobert, Peruvians Jose Manami and Javier Ochoa, and Colombians William Batista and Manuel Francisco Zabaleta.

Rebels abducted them on January 18 in northern Colombia’s Bolivar department. Among grievances cited by the kidnappers, the National Liberation Army (ELN) listed unequal distribution of mining rights, stated Colombia Reports.

Most Mali operations safe so far

A mining and exploration retrospect

“If you are still in Mali, you should leave immediately,” Canada’s Foreign Affairs department warned on Sunday. But Tuesday’s Toronto Star reported that work continues in most of southwestern Mali’s mining operations while French-led forces battle rebels hundreds of kilometres away. Over 15 Canadian exploration and mining companies operate in the country although some, especially in the northeast, have suspended work.

Endeavour Mining TSX:EDV Neil Woodyer described the turmoil as “part of the nature of the beast, as far as we’re concerned, being miners.” But his company’s properties, like most of Mali’s advanced-stage projects and operating mines, are in the southwest.

Mali is Africa’s third-largest gold-mining country, the Star reported. According to a 2008 estimate cited by the CBC, about 17% of the country’s government revenue comes from gold mining.

BCSC finds sloppy disclosures an ongoing problem

NI 43-101 regulations govern not only news releases and technical reports but also company Web sites, speeches, corporate presentations and other communications considered to be voluntary disclosures. But that fact sometimes slips the minds of company officials.

Of a sample of companies reviewed by the British Columbia Securities Commission between 2009 and 2012, only half met 43-101 standards in their voluntary disclosures. According to the BCSC 2012 Mining Report released Thursday, the problem is especially apparent when reporting PEA results, historic estimates, quality control, lab procedures and identifying the qualified person who takes responsibility for the information.

Yet compliance in non-voluntary disclosures is hardly reassuring. Only 65% of companies made the 43-101 grade. PEAs were especially problematic, flunking out in more than half of all cases for both voluntary and compulsory disclosures. A lack of cautionary language was the most frequent reason.

Non-compliant data verification, resource and reserve estimates, pre‐feas and feasibility studies also raised concerns. A common problem with resource estimates was totalling all categories instead of segregating the inferred numbers.

Among other monitoring activities, the commission targeted 82 companies between February 2011 and September 2012 that were selected because of “poor disclosure we observe in e-mail blasts, news releases and paid promotions on industry‐related Web sites,” the report stated.

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Week in review

January 18th, 2013

A mining and exploration retrospect for January 12 to 18, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Colombia kidnap victims still missing

By press time Friday, little was known about the five people abducted earlier in the day from Braeval Mining’s TSX:BVL Snow Mine gold project in northern Colombia. The three employees and two consultants included a Canadian, two Colombians and two Peruvians. The Peruvian consulate identified two victims as Javier Leandro Ochoa and Jose Antonio Mamani. The other names haven’t been released.

Colombian kidnap victims still missing

Military sources say the victims were abducted
in a rural area of Norosi municipality, in Bolivar department.

The hostages were taken by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in a region described as a traditional ELN stronghold, the Globe and Mail reported. With an estimated 1,500 members, the ELN is much smaller than the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), news reports stated.

Although FARC holds peace negotiations with the government, “the ELN has been seeking peace talks … without success. Unlike the FARC, it has not renounced ransom kidnappings,” according to the G&M.

“Miners in Colombia have traditionally paid tributes, or ‘war taxes,’ to rebels and other illegal armed groups,” the paper added.

Geologist gets jail

A Vancouver court handed former mining executive John Gregory Paterson a six-year prison sentence for his faked assay scam, the CBC reported on Friday. Paterson pleaded guilty last September to four counts of fraud.

As CEO of Southwestern Resources and a qualified person, Paterson signed off on 433 assays that he invented between 2003 and 2007. His make-belief numbers were used in a 2005 PEA for the Boka Gold Project in China.

According to the CBC, Paterson’s lawyers told a sentencing hearing that “he suffers from severe depression and argued he didn’t carry out the fraud to line his pockets. Instead, Paterson was motivated by wishful thinking and a crippling fear of failure.”

But the Crown prosecutor told court how investors suddenly lost their savings. “Really, the floor fell out from underneath them,” the CBC quoted him. “It was an absolute shock and a terrible loss.”

Read more about Paterson’s Boka gold scam here.

Land claims clash with claim-staking

A possible overhaul of British Columbia’s claim-staking process could give natives more power to block early-stage exploration on Crown land. A Monday Vancouver Sun article discussed implications of a December decision by the Yukon Court of Appeal, which ruled that the territorial government must consult and “accommodate” the Ross River Dena Council before awarding mineral claims within the Ross River area.

So far the ruling concerns a region surrounding one native band. But it might have wider repercussions within the Yukon and B.C. As the Sun pointed out, the three judges behind the decision also sit on the B.C. Court of Appeal, “meaning they could rule similarly in any separate B.C. case.”

Mining Association of B.C. spokesperson Zoe Younger told the Sun that B.C., unlike the Yukon, doesn’t automatically approve exploration once a claim has been staked. Different circumstances “have different trigger points and thresholds,” she said.

Nevertheless the Sun stated that Andrew Gage, a lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, “called the Yukon decision ‘hugely significant’ and urged the B.C. government to take notice or face the prospect of more litigation with the same results in this province.”

In a statement issued Monday, the Association for Mineral Exploration B.C. said, “We are encouraging the Yukon government, First Nations and Yukon Chamber of Mines to work together to resolve this issue in a practical way that brings certainty to everyone. AME BC is supporting YCM and following this important file closely. The government of Yukon has been given 60 days to determine if it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.”

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