by Greg Klein
The timing may well prove fortuitous. Crown Mining’s (TSXV:CWM) Lights Creek copper project really came together in February with a 100% option on Moonlight, making it the largest of three deposits on the company’s northeastern California property. President/CEO Stephen Dunn says it took him a year and a half to persuade Canyon Copper TSXV:CNC to part with the asset. Now Dunn believes his company’s well-positioned to benefit from the upturn that’s forecast for copper in the coming years.
The 18,000-hectare property comes with a lot of history—not to mention a lot of copper. Mining began in the 1890s, with the Engels and Superior deposits churning out around 161.5 million pounds of copper, 23,000 ounces of gold and 1.9 million ounces of silver during the peak years from 1914 to 1930. The Depression-era copper crash shut down both mines.
Fast-forward to the ’60s, when a Placer Dome predecessor explored the property and discovered Moonlight. But copper “was struggling at 60 cents,” Dunn recalls. “At the same time Placer was working on getting Gibraltar into production. They put Moonlight on the back burner and ended up dropping the entire project when they became a gold company.
“Some former Placer guys picked up the project, which went through a few public companies.” Dunn says he picked up Engels and Superior after one company went bankrupt. Negotiations delivered Moonlight in February.
Engels sits a little over four kilometres east of Moonlight, with Superior in the middle. “The deposits are all part of the same system, the Lights Creek stock, one great big intrusion,” Dunn says. Resource estimates were calculated in 2007 for Moonlight and 2013 for Superior and Engels. Using a 0.2% cutoff, the three deposits total 1.044 billion pounds indicated and an almost equal 1.043 billion pounds inferred. The breakdown for each deposit shows:
Crown has Moonlight and Superior under focus, seeing open pit potential in both. Local infrastructure includes a paved road linking Lights Creek with a highway less than 12 kilometres away, about the same distance as a railway. Power lines are about three kilometres away. Dirt roads connect the three deposits.
There’s community support too, Dunn adds. “Every time I’m there people ask, ‘When are you going to open that mine?’ They want it. They want the jobs.”
The company now has to determine how much work will be necessary to take the project to PEA. To answer that, Crown has an outside firm reviewing all data to decide how much, if any, additional drilling and metallurgy would be necessary. That review, expected to finish by September, would help Crown advance Lights Creek as economically as possible.
But for the time being the company’s well-financed, having raised almost $458,000 between April and June. That followed a $120,000 private placement the previous February. Management and insiders hold about 30%.
Looking into the future, Dunn sees Crown as likely bait for a joint venture or takeover.
Copper’s downturn dragged the metal’s spot price from nearly $4.50 a pound five years ago to less than $2 in January, a seven-year low. Since then, peaks and valleys have suggested an upward trend to some observers. The Thomson Reuters GFMS Copper Survey 2016 predicts the surplus continuing through 2018. “Even so, there is no doubting that the current low price environment is sowing the seeds for the next boom as projects are shelved, delayed, sold or abandoned completely,” according to the study.
In March Reuters stated miners and investors were looking at copper projects in anticipation of a deficit by the end of the decade. Bloomberg reaffirmed those sentiments in April, reporting that big miners were hanging onto copper assets while unloading other projects. The conductive commodity proves vital to many uses, not the least of which is electrical expansion in developing countries.
“At $2.50, people will still wonder if the upturn’s real,” Dunn says. “But if copper crosses $3, the takeovers will occur. There aren’t a lot of big copper deposits that aren’t already controlled by a big miner or a JV. If we attract a partner, that will be great. If we can hang around until the takeovers happen, then all the better. Either way, the shareholder benefits.”
He describes Crown as “a cheap option on copper” when comparing market cap with pounds in the ground. “My personal view is that copper’s going to have a hell of a run after this five-year downturn. If you do believe copper’s the place to be, there aren’t a lot of cheap options. We’re one of them. We need copper to move past $2.50 but when it does, Crown is one company that’s going to do well.”
by Greg Klein
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“There’s excitement in the air,” said Cambridge House International founder Joe Martin. That’s the mood he senses as junior explorers emerge from the downturn. And certainly optimism was evident on June 14 as more than 450 people converged on the Vancouver Commodity Forum for an afternoon of expert talks amid a showcase of two dozen companies. Keynote speakers included Martin, Chris Berry of the Disruptive Discoveries Journal, Jon Hykawy of Stormcrow Capital, John Kaiser of Kaiser Research Online and Stephan Bogner of Rockstone Research.
Lithium, not surprisingly, stood out as a commodity of interest. While cautioning against over-enthusiasm for the exploration rush, Berry and Hykawy each affirmed the need for juniors to find new sources of the metal. Cobalt and scandium featured prominently too, as did other commodities including what Kaiser called “the weird metals”—lesser known stuff that’s vital to our lives but threatened with security of supply.
Kaiser also noted he was addressing a crowd larger than his last PDAC audience, another indication that “we’ve turned the corner.”
Attendees also met and mingled with company reps. Potential investors learned about a wide gamut of projects aspiring to meet a growing demand for necessities, conveniences and luxuries.
Presented by Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC, the forum’s success will make it an annual event, said company president Dave Hodge. Berry emceed the conference, holding the unenviable task of “making sure Dave stays well-behaved.”
Read interviews with keynote speakers:
Meet the companies
Most companies were core holdings of Zimtu, a prospect generator that connects explorers with properties and also shares management, technical and financing expertise. Zimtu offers investors participation in a range of commodities and companies, including some at the pre-IPO stage.
After sampling high-grade lithium on its Hidden Lake project in the Northwest Territories earlier this month, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY plans to return in mid-July for a program of mapping, exposing spodumene-bearing pegmatite dykes, and channel sampling. The company closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $318,836 in April. Hidden Lake’s located near Highway 4, about 40 kilometres from Yellowknife and within the Yellowknife Pegmatite Belt.
With one of the Athabasca Basin’s largest and most prospective exploration portfolios, ALX Uranium TSXV:AL has a number of projects competing for flagship status. Among them is Hook-Carter, which covers extensions of three known conductive trends, one of them hosting the sensational discoveries of Fission Uranium TSX:FCU and NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE. ALX’s strategic partnership with Holystone Energy allows that company to invest up to $750,000 in ALX and retain the right to maintain its ownership level for three years. ALX closed a private placement first tranche of $255,000 last month, amid this year’s busy news flow from a number of the company’s active projects.
Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD boasts one of northern Canada’s largest 100%-held diamond exploration portfolios. Among the properties are the drill-ready Stein project in Nunavut and others in the Lac de Gras region that’s the world’s third-largest diamond producer by value. North Arrow Minerals TSXV:NAR holds an option to earn up to 55% of Arctic Star’s Redemption property.
Aurvista Gold TSXV:AVA considers its Douay property one of Quebec’s largest and last undeveloped gold projects. The Abitibi property has resources totalling 238,400 ounces of gold indicated and 2.75 million ounces inferred. Now, with $1.1 million raised last month, the company hopes to increase those numbers through a summer program including 4,000 metres of drilling. Douay’s 2014 PEA used a 5% discount rate to forecast a post-tax NPV of $16.6 million and a post-tax IRR of 40%.
Looking for lithium in Nevada, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA now has a geophysics crew en route to its Kibby Basin property, which the company believes could potentially host lithium-bearing brines in a similar geological setting to the Clayton Valley, about 65 kilometres south. Results from the gravity survey will help identify targets for direct push drilling and sampling.
A mineral perhaps overlooked in the effort to supply green technologies, zeolite has several environmental applications. Canadian Zeolite TSXV:CNZ holds two projects in southern British Columbia, Sun Group and Bromley Creek, the latter an active quarrying operation.
With a high-grade, near-surface rare earths deposit hosted in minerals that have proven processing, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE takes its Ashram project in Quebec towards pre-feasibility. The relatively straightforward mineralogy contributes to steady progress in metallurgical studies. Commerce also holds southeastern B.C.’s Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.
Permitted for construction following a 2014 PEA, Copper North Mining’s (TSXV:COL) Carmacks copper-gold-silver project now undergoes revised PEA studies. The agenda calls for improved economics by creating a new leach and development plan for the south-central Yukon property. In central B.C. the company holds the Thor exploration property, 20 kilometres south of the historic Kemess mine.
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by Greg Klein | February 10, 2016
A private placement of up to $1 million would help CMC Metals TSXV:CMB put a California mill back in operation to process stockpiled material. The offer will follow a 1:7 share rollback that received TSXV approval on February 10.
CMC holds a 50% stake in the Radcliff gold mine and 100% of the Bishop mill, both near the Nevada border in southeastern California. The company plans to make Bishop operational within 90 days and begin processing Radcliff material. Already complete at the mill is an upgrade to U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration standards, as well as installation of an assay lab and a new lined tailings pond, CMC stated. Further work will include installing bird netting and drilling a vadose zone well to monitor for contaminants.
Part of the 670-hectare World Beater property, the fully permitted Radcliff has stockpiled material ready for processing. Last year project operator and 50% mine owner Pruett-Ballarat Inc reported it had connected an adit to a high-grade mineralized zone.
A 2012 resource estimate used a cutoff of 0.685 grams per short ton to show:
A 5% NSR applies to the mine.
CMC’s private placement will consist of up to 10 units at $0.10, with each unit consisting of one share and one warrant. Two warrants will get one share at $0.12 for two years. Insiders will subscribe to over half the placement, the company added.
CMC also holds two silver properties in south-central Yukon, Silver Hart and Logjam.
by Greg Klein
Update: See a photo gallery from the event.
With a new location and new approach, an annual industry event now offers even broader perspectives on resources. The 2015 Silver Summit and Resource Expo moves from Spokane to San Francisco for its conference from November 22 to 24. This time it’s co-produced by Katusa Research along with Cambridge House International. And this year the Silver Summit’s about a lot more than silver.
“It still has the foundation of the silver conference but it really capitalizes on everything California has to offer,” Cambridge House president Jay Martin tells ResourceClips.com. “Given the state’s large population of investors and their interest in resources, it made sense to include a wider range of opportunities. Of 50 handpicked companies, we chose about 30 from outside the silver space.”
Marin Katusa, a guest at previous Cambridge House conferences and author of the New York Times bestseller The Colder War, credits himself with raising over $1 billion for the energy and mining sectors. Now channeling his energies into Katusa Research, he’s taking a prominent role at this year’s summit, where he moderates over half a dozen panel discussions.
“We’ve worked with Marin for a long time. He’s an incredibly hard worker, very connected, very well-respected and brings a network of new speakers and new institutions to this conference. The partnership with Marin is largely content strategy so he put a lot of thought into our agenda.”
Over 30 speakers will provide a range of insights for industry insiders and investors alike. Monday opens on a positive note with Frank Holmes’ Get Ready for a Better 2016! The following day starts with Recovery! The Dawning of a Bull Market, expressing Rick Rule’s indomitable optimism.
Other speakers include Rob McEwen, whose Midas touch raised Goldcorp’s market cap from $50 million to over $8 billion. Mike Maloney, author of Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver and host of Hidden Secrets of Money, discusses A Decade in the Perfect Economic Storm.
Investors are going to see 50 of the top resource companies in the world right now. These people do have stories, they are moving forward. This is a very select show.—Jay Martin, president of Cambridge House International
Frank Curzio, considered one of America’s most respected stock experts, offers his advice on How to Invest in Junior Mining Stocks. Streetwise Reports president Karen Roche moderates a panel of fund managers offering their top picks.
Junior miners come under scrutiny from a number of perspectives, as do other topics including energy, the economy, the Fed, the currency wars, gold manipulation and, of course, silver.
Through corporate presentations and exhibitors’ booths, attendees will meet and mingle with the people presenting opportunities. “Investors are going to see 50 of the top resource companies in the world right now. These people do have stories, they are moving forward. This is a very select show,” Martin says.
“It’s a tough market out there but there’s still lots of good things happening. There are some great companies making progress, companies are still getting financed, mergers are still happening, investors are still looking at deals. It might be a smaller show in this market, but I think it’ll be a much more productive show than some of the biggest conferences we’ve been to in some of the bullish years.”
The 2015 Silver Summit and Resource Expo takes place at the Park Central Hotel San Francisco from November 22 to 24. Click here for more info and registration.
by Greg Klein | July 22, 2015
Update: On July 22, following a review by the British Columbia Securities Commission, MGX issued a clarification that among other things retracted all previous references to historic mineral resources.
The first tranche of a private placement brought MGX Minerals CSE:XMG $289,999, the company announced July 21. Participants included Marquest FT Inc and the Marquest Asset Management Explorer Series Fund. The flow-through portion of $149,999 goes to the company’s flagship Driftwood Creek magnesium project in southern British Columbia.
While Driftwood works its way through the final stage of a mining lease application process, property acquisitions and project announcements have given the company a steady news flow over the last few months. In early July MGX completed surface sampling at White Moon and Captain, two recently acquired California magnesium properties about five kilometres apart.
Besides holding most of B.C.’s significant magnesite occurrences, MGX acquired the Longworth silica property in central B.C. earlier this month.
by Greg Klein | July 6, 2015
Two July 6 announcements show MGX Minerals CSE:XMG advancing its industrial minerals portfolio. The company now plans to increase its stake to 100% of the Longworth silica property in British Columbia and begin exploration on its White Moon magnesium project in California.
MGX picked up White Moon, originally called Needles, just last month. Beginning July 13, MGX plans geochemical sampling of 40 historic trenches, mapping and outcrop sampling. Hoping to build and operate the United States’ only magnesium oxide wallboard production plant, the company plans a scoping study to assess infrastructure and potential plant locations.
MGX has engaged Jack Bal as a consultant to help advance its magnesium assets. Having raised over $50 million for junior resource companies, Bal was recently involved in mill permitting for CMC Metals’ (TSXV:CMB) Radcliffe gold project in California.
A purchase agreement with Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC would increase MGX’s interest in the Longworth silica property to 100%. Replacing a 50% earn-in, the new deal would cost MGX 700,000 shares at a deemed price of $0.30. The road-accessible central B.C. property was considered one of the province’s top silica occurrences by the B.C. Geological Survey. MGX hopes to produce ferro-silicon, an essential alloy in iron and steel production.
The company also holds most of B.C.’s significant magnesite occurrences.
Late last month the company updated its Driftwood Creek magnesium project in southern B.C. and doubled a previous private placement offer up to two million shares at $0.30.
Disclaimer: Zimtu Capital Corp is a client of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of ResourceClips.com. The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in Zimtu Capital.
by Greg Klein | June 25, 2015
Initial results show progress in a plan to use alternative energy at the proposed Driftwood Creek magnesium project in southern British Columbia, MGX Minerals CSE:XMG reported June 25. The company also announced its addition to the Canadian Securities Exchange Composite Index and an increase in its private placement offer.
An initial desktop analysis indicated that biomass conversion could supply 93.3% of the heat energy necessary to conduct magnesia calcining in a multiple hearth furnace that would be installed at Driftwood Creek. Further analysis suggested that a specialized burner and fuel additive could supply the remaining energy, MGX added. The study was conducted by two strategic partners, Industrial Furnace Company and Highbury Energy.
MGX also announced its addition to the CSE Composite Index, “a broad measurement of market activity for securities” listed on the exchange. In addition the company doubled a private placement originally offered on June 2, now offered at up to two million shares at $0.30.
MGX issued 300,000 shares to the vendor of Driftwood Creek and 41,318 shares to the vendor of the Needles magnesite project, a California acquisition announced last week. Another 50,000 shares were issued to settle a $15,000 debt.
The company’s Driftwood Creek flagship currently undergoes permitting.
by Greg Klein | June 18, 2015
A company that already holds most of British Columbia’s significant magnesite occurrences has signed a deal on a California project. MGX Minerals CSE:XMG announced a mining lease agreement on June 18 for the Needles magnesite property in San Bernardino county.
Magnesite ore can be calcinated to produce caustic calcined magnesia to produce wallboard. Magnesium oxide wallboard “is generally known to be stronger and lighter than traditional wallboard as well as being fireproof and non-toxic,” the company stated. The product is “often used in areas prone to flooding as the boards can retain moisture, dry out and still retain their shape and integrity.”
The lease of up to 100 years would have renewal options every 10 years. In return MGX would make annual payments of US$12,000, $24,000 and $36,000 over the first three years, then an annual $36,000 plus cost-of-living adjustment. The company would also pay $5,000 within 30 days and issue $10,000 in shares. A work commitment calls for $350,000 in spending within three years. The landowner would retain a 10% net profit interest which MGX may buy for $10 million.
Earlier this month MGX offered a private placement of up to $300,000 and announced a memorandum of understanding with an industrial furnace company to provide engineering services and calcining equipment for MGX’s flagship Driftwood Creek magnesium property.
MGX has a partnership agreement with Eaton Industries (Canada) and Highbury Energy to study the design, development and financing of Driftwood’s proposed mining and processing operation. The southern B.C. project currently undergoes permitting.