Thursday 24th October 2019

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Posts tagged ‘california’

MGX Minerals to acquire 100% of B.C. silica property and begin Phase I on California magnesium project

July 6th, 2015

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 Minerals to acquire 100% of B.C. silica property and begin Phase I on California magnesium project

White Moon’s magnesite beds occur discontinuously
across approximately 800 metres in strike, MGX states.

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.

Read more about MGX Minerals.

Disclaimer: Zimtu Capital Corp is a client of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in Zimtu Capital.

MGX updates Driftwood Creek, increases private placement, joins CSE Composite

June 25th, 2015

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.

MGX updates Driftwood Creek, increases private placement, joins CSE Composite

Besides southeastern B.C.’s Driftwood Creek project, MGX Minerals holds most of the province’s
significant magnesite occurrences.

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.

Read more about MGX Minerals.

MGX Minerals makes California magnesite deal

June 18th, 2015

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.

MGX Minerals makes California magnesite deal

The Needles agreement locates MGX in
one of North America’s largest construction markets.

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.

Read more about MGX Minerals.

An “extreme prospector” describes his motivation to author Steve Boggan

May 25th, 2015

…Read more

B.C.’s gold rushes revisited

May 20th, 2015

Avaricious adventurers came for quick cash, left a lasting legacy

by Greg Klein

Avaricious adventurers came for quick cash, left a lasting legacy

Once considered North America’s biggest city west of Chicago and north of San Francisco,
Barkerville is pictured here in 1868, about three years after the Cariboo rush ended.
(Photo: Royal B.C. Museum)


Gold, gold, gold! Powerful as the passion it provokes, gold’s mania can be temporary, its effects short-lived. But a new exhibit at Victoria’s Royal B.C. Museum examines a critical stage in western Canadian history that was part of an international movement. Gold Rush! El Dorado in British Columbia puts fascinating new perspectives on a subject of wide-ranging appeal.

If James Douglas was trying to avert a gold rush in 1858, his plan backfired. The Hudson’s Bay Company chief factor and governor of the colony of Vancouver Island had been quietly buying gold from prospectors who came north from the California diggings and other mining camps. He apparently thought his purchases would keep B.C.’s bounty a secret.

If so, he sure screwed up. When he sent a gold shipment for refining at San Francisco, word got out and the rush was on.

Avaricious adventurers came for quick cash, left a lasting legacy

A four-day journey from Victoria to Barkerville featured roadhouses every 18 miles along the stagecoach portion of the route to supply meals and fresh horses. (Photo: Royal B.C. Museum)

Without warning one Sunday morning, a ship suddenly arrived at the HBC’s once-placid Fort Victoria to unload hundreds of California veterans headed for the new goldfields across the strait. Among their baggage was gear, guns and American attitudes that ranged from lawless anarchy to Manifest Destiny.

Douglas acted swiftly with a unilateral declaration of sovereignty over the B.C. mainland. Britain later backed him up by formally declaring the mainland a colony, dispatching a soldier/settler detachment of Royal Engineers, enforcing British law and building a road to Barkerville, roughly the 19th century equivalent of opening up Ontario’s Ring of Fire.

By that time the world was arriving. Hundreds of thousands of hopefuls from diverse backgrounds and far-flung parts of the planet poured into the new colony as the Fraser River rush of 1858 morphed into the Cariboo rush of 1862. Would anything ever be the same?

The first, largely American, wave threatened British sovereignty. Even so, “if there hadn’t been a gold rush we might have ended up as part of the United States,” museum deputy director Kathryn Bridge told “The gold rush stimulated the British government to create the colony of British Columbia, which secured formal British presence on the west coast.”

Massive immigration followed. “The estimates are up to 300,000 during the gold rush time,” she explained. “A lot of those people came and left but a substantial quantity stayed. They stayed because they found other means of livelihood, not necessarily because they made their fortunes … so it was the real beginning of immigration and the multicultural base of British Columbian society.”

Avaricious adventurers came for quick cash, left a lasting legacy

Natives were the first to discover, placer mine and trade gold in B.C.
(Photo: Royal B.C. Museum)

Among the exhibit’s many features are “dozens of archival documents that have been available to researchers but haven’t been on exhibit before,” Bridge pointed out. “These are really pivotal documents, diaries, records of gold mining claims. One of the things we wanted to do was introduce personal stories so that it wouldn’t just be an event, it would be an experience that we shared.”

The stories include the Chilcotin War and, much less known but supported by recent research, the Fraser River War, in which a native coalition nearly had to fight for survival against a private army of Americans.

There’s also the earlier story of what Bridge calls an “attempted rush” at the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1851. Natives repulsed British and American boats, holding one crew for ransom.

Then there’s the story of “Harry,” supposedly a man searching the almost all-male goldfields for his brother, but in fact Harriet Collins looking for her husband. Her cover was blown when she gave birth.

Over 400 artefacts include prospecting and mining gear, contemporary miners’ guidebooks, weapons and the 52-ounce Turnagain nugget, along with a wealth of other 19th century frontier memorabilia. Photos, posters, video and interactive displays also convey the stories of those turbulent times.

Another feature qualifies as an exhibit in itself, 137 pieces of pre-Hispanic gold artwork from El Museo del Oro in Bogota making their first North American appearance. The country’s indigenous people saw no value in gold until it was transformed, through metallurgy and artistry, into objects denoting status or bestowing spiritual power.

Avaricious adventurers came for quick cash, left a lasting legacy

With a face value of $1 million, this gold coin weighs
100 kilograms. (Photo: Royal Canadian Mint)

Whether the Fraser and Cariboo rushes were two separate events is an oft-debated subject, Bridge said. But they did differ. “It was mainly alluvial gold in the lower Fraser and by the time they moved up to the Cariboo it was hard rock mining, hydraulics. It wasn’t an individual miner, people formed companies. So it was more big business.”

By 1865 the rush was over. Some would-be miners left, others settled down to logging, fishing, farming or ranching. But the more determined individuals fanned out again, part of a movement that would bring the great Klondike discovery and another dramatic rush sometimes portrayed as the western frontier’s last stand against encroaching modernity.

Gold’s allure continues, of course. That’s demonstrated by the museum’s more recent artefacts such as Olympic gold medals, a gold Oscar, gold coins from around the world and, under the watchful eye of security, a Canadian gold coin with a face value of $1 million. Not something you’d pop in a parking meter, it’s over two feet in diameter, weighs 100 kilos and, at $1,200 per ounce, would be worth over US$3.85 million.

B.C.’s gold rush era lives on too, in place names and historic sites dotting the Gold Rush Trail that leads visitors to Barkerville, now a restored tourist attraction.

Gold Rush! El Dorado in B.C. runs until October 31 before moving to the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. A version of the exhibit will also travel to Guangzhou, China. The Victoria event coincides with publication of New Perspectives on the Gold Rush, a collection of 10 essays edited by Bridge.

Read more about B.C. mining history here and here.

On the trail of the 49ers

April 24th, 2015

A neophyte meets the miners who still work California’s historic goldfields

by Greg Klein

He’s gotta be the tenderest of tenderfoots, the greenest of greenhorns and the cheekiest of cheechakos—a gold tourist who can’t even handle a shovel tries to relive the 1849 experience after the 2013 price plummet, arriving without equipment, experience or even a reality show film crew. But eventually something else overpowers yellow metal’s allure as a different kind of El Dorado becomes intangibly more important. That’s the story Steve Boggan relates in Gold Fever: One Man’s Adventures on the Trail of the Gold Rush.

A London-based journalist, Boggan rushes into his project chaotically. Completely unequipped, although with money to spend, he shows up in California’s historic gold country to throw himself at the mercy of latter-day Argonauts. Surprisingly they take him in, sometimes without even betraying amusement. As a result he gains the coaching as well as the friendship of some rugged characters.

A neophyte meets the miners who still work California’s historic goldfields

Among them is Dave Mack, self-proclaimed adventure junkie, extreme prospector and “the most aggressive underwater gold miner in the world.” A former U.S. Navy SEAL, he dives into fast-moving water, resisting the torrent with hundreds of pounds of lead around his waist, to vacuum riverbeds for gold. When Boggan asks to accompany him, the big guy laughs.

“The last person who came out with me drowned in three minutes. And he was a scuba instructor.”

“Okay. How about I come out with you for two minutes?”

Some others include Craig, whose first assault conviction came at age seven. Tom, a Scottish arrival via Australia, proves relentlessly determined despite being the “unluckiest man in California.” Mike, suffering from a serious spinal injury, carries a sluice box, pick, shovel, buckets and other gear on his back while hobbling to his claim on crutches.

As for Gene, he’d been panning since he was six or seven. Now 64 and given about two years to live, he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in his late 50s.

One cause doctors suggested was “those long expeditions into the wild,” Boggan writes. “Rivers were more polluted back then, he said, so eating fish and drinking water from streams and rivers could have exposed him to dangerous levels of mercury. I asked him if that possibility sullied the memories. No, he replied. He wouldn’t change them for the world.”

Why? Duane offers an explanation. He claims to have gold fever but exalts over the lifestyle. “‘I love this way of life and I wouldn’t be living it if it wasn’t for the gold. Look at it here…’ He let his right arm surf the air outside the window. ‘It’s goddamn beautiful. Imagine all the poor bastards working at a desk in some office or in a factory, watching the hands on the clock go round. What time is it here? Hell, I don’t know!’”

Dave Mack’s explanation cites The Hobbit.

“It’s all about the ring, the ring,” he tells Boggan. “Tolkien had it right about all the traits and the corrosive power of that ring and the deep desire to possess it. It has a simple meaning—even the best of men could not hold that ring for long without being seduced by it. Raw gold is just like that.”

His quest continues even though he’s found enough to retire comfortably.

More modest are Duane’s returns, yet he does alright. About 500 bucks in a good week, three to four hundred in an average week. That’s more than he needs. “I have to pay insurance for my vehicle, I have gas and food for me and the dogs, but that’s about it. If I need something big—like the motor for the boat—I can usually work out some kind of trade. I have no worries, only excitement each time I find gold.”

Boggan touches on aspects of gold through the ages, subjects treated better elsewhere, notably in Matthew Hart’s Gold: The Race for the World’s Most Seductive Metal. And Boggan’s remarks can be careless, giving the impression he’d never before been outside England. Even so, he alternates first-hand historic accounts with his own experiences to add balance and context, the book’s greatest strength.

Eventually the target of his own quest diverts from gold to “the guy,” an unnamed being people refer to when describing big discoveries. He “seemed everywhere and nowhere; rumours of his fantastical finds were enough to send hordes of miners rushing from one speculative camp to another.”

Boggan pretends they’re all referring to the same person.

The guy, I thought, always the guy. Every day someone would tell me about a big gold find, about the guy who found a nugget this big, and their hand would be shaped something like a walnut or a clementine.

‘Heard about the guy on the Bear River …?’

‘… the Yuba …’

‘… the Feather …’

‘… near Mariposa …’

‘… Colfax …’

‘… Grass Valley …’

‘… pulling them out this big …’

‘… this big …’

‘… this big …’

‘… swear to God, the guy is shitting gold nuggets.’”

The author does find the guy who is, as far as Boggan’s concerned, the guy. But the riches associated with him are intangible. And that wraps up this story with a happy/sad ending.

Over three years later, the BCSC rules on geo’s tip-off, wife’s insider trading

April 13th, 2015

by Greg Klein | April 13, 2015

News from her geologist husband helped Amina Weicker swing a $40,000 profit through insider trading, the British Columbia Securities Commission found. On April 10 the BCSC stated the investor’s husband, Robert Weicker, “tipped his wife” and that she consequently “engaged in illegal insider trading.”

Over three years later, the BCSC rules on geo’s tip-off, wife’s insider trading

The circumstances go back to 2011, when Geo Minerals Ltd, then trading on the Venture, was in takeover talks with New Gold TSX:NGD. Between September 12 and October 11 of that year—while negotiations progressed, a non-binding letter of intent was received and lock-up agreements were signed—Amina Weicker bought a total of 729,945 shares at prices between $0.10 and $0.11. The two companies announced the takeover on October 17, 2011. Seven weeks later Amina Weicker sold at $0.16, realizing an approximately $40,000 profit.

During that time Robert Weicker was a consulting geologist for Geo.

A BCSC panel found “he informed his wife of material information that had not been generally disclosed regarding the acquisition of that company. Amina Weicker then used this information, prior to its public disclosure, to purchase securities of Geo Minerals.”

The panel concluded that Amina Weicker committed insider trading and Robert Weicker disclosed material facts by someone in a special relationship with an issuer.

An allegation of insider trading against Robert Weicker was dismissed.

The parties have until next month to make submissions on the sanctions to be levied by the commission.

Speaking to, BCSC media relations manager Richard Gilhooley said he can’t comment on how and when the commission learned about the case. As for the time it took to come before a panel, “These investigations tend to be quite complex and there are a lot of moving parts, particularly with an insider trading investigation,” he stated. “So I think it’s down to the complexity of these cases.”

The Geo acquisition and coinciding takeover of Silver Quest Resources expanded New Gold’s Blackwater claims in central B.C. The company, which operates mines in B.C., Mexico, California and New South Wales, took Blackwater to feasibility in December 2013.

A Canadian REE powerhouse?

July 24th, 2014

It might be closer than you think, says the Canadian Rare Earth Elements Network

by Greg Klein

Now here’s an ambitious goal—for Canada to supply 20% of the world’s critical REEs by 2018. That’s the target set by the Canadian Rare Earth Elements Network, at the impetus of exploration companies among its membership. While CREEN chairperson Ian London concedes the plan might not be fulfilled so soon, he emphasizes that Canada has about a third of the non-Chinese world’s advanced rare earths projects, more than a third of the world’s known critical rare earths resources and a greater degree of rare earths expertise than many people realize.

A Canadian REE powerhouse might be closer than you think, according to the Canadian Rare Earth Elements Network

The 2018 target was set a year ago, based on the fact that Canada has nine rare earths projects that have reached at least a preliminary economic assessment. “But if financing doesn’t happen, the projects aren’t going to proceed per the schedule,” London tells Even so, the nine projects comprise “one-third of the best REE opportunities in the world,” he maintains.

And, despite the near cut-throat competition of junior explorers, at least some of the companies holding those projects actually co-operate with each other. That was another ambitious CREEN goal, but one that’s already been achieved.

CREEN describes its membership as “mining companies, academia, government, research centres, consulting firms and other organizations that are working together to develop innovative solutions to the various challenges faced by this sector.”

“We had a technical workshop about a month ago where I convened a meeting of about 35 technical leaders from the prospective producers and consulting engineering firms,” London says. “When the technical leaders and their consultants, many of whom have worked on several projects, got talking, by the end of the day they identified about 21 areas on which they shared some common issues and short-listed five prospective research projects.”

No CEOs were present. “When you get engineers talking, without any sort of corporate protocol, they actually speak the same language. CREEN has a technical advisory committee and we structured it so you roll up your sleeves and examine some hypotheses. Then you find engineers and scientists like solving problems.”

A former president/CEO of Ontario Hydro International, London holds a degree in metallurgical engineering as well as an MBA. He’s also worked with several new technology and alternative energy companies.

A Canadian REE powerhouse might be closer than you think, according to the Canadian Rare Earth Elements Network

The multi-stage continuous flotation unit at the Saskatchewan Research Council’s pilot plant is “ideally suited for rare earths separation.”
(Photo: SRC)

“I’ve been in this sector for eight years and I’m amazed at the number of individuals working on rare earths-related process technologies or applications at different universities that nobody knows about. There’s a scientist here, or an engineer there, who’s working on a PhD and is moving forward. But there was no forum for them to get together.”

Rare earths expertise in Canada and elsewhere in the West is further ahead than commonly perceived, London argues. “But it’s disjointed. There are experts at different Canadian universities who I’m not sure have ever spoken to each other because they have different areas of specialization. One would be on beneficiation, one would be on hydrometallurgy, one would be on separation. By establishing CREEN, we gave them a platform so they could get together and we now have a common goal.”

Actual mining should inspire even greater interest, he says. “If you get into production, you now have a playground for academics. It’s nice to do studies, but they want something to work on.”

Rare earths processing is “more chemistry than it is metallurgy or traditional processing,” London adds. “But we have a lot of smart guys who are comfortable with metallurgy and chemistry.”

One CREEN member, the Saskatchewan Research Council, operates a Saskatoon pilot plant that it calls “one of the few centres in Canada with an emphasis on rare earth minerals.” SRC chief geoscientist Bryan Schreiner tells, “There are other labs across the country that can do rare earths work too, but we’re emphasizing that as a major component for our pilot plant.”

The facility is intended to develop new and improved methods for processing a surprising array of minerals including potash, uranium, gold, base metals, coal, oilsands and oil shale. “We built this very modular so we can reconfigure the components of the equipment and develop a different process plant depending on what the mineral is,” Schreiner explains. “In particular we have a continuous flotation machine that’s ideally suited for rare earths separation.”

A Canadian REE powerhouse might be closer than you think, according to the Canadian Rare Earth Elements Network

Ian London

London says Canada also benefits from “tremendous relationships around the world.” In 2012 Canada’s Metallurgy and Materials Society asked London to organize one of the world’s first international symposiums on rare earths processing. It received 44 papers from nine countries. “Last year we had 53 papers from 17 countries—10 from China,” he points out. “They’ve been published in a book. If you keep it at a technical level, people will talk. The rare metals sector tends to be market-driven—what your shares are worth, how much money you can raise. But we’re at the stage now where there are Indians working with the Chinese, with Canadians and Americans.”

This year’s symposium takes place at COM14 in Vancouver from September 28 to October 1.

As for China, it not only holds much of the world’s expertise but it’s often estimated to provide about 90% of global supply—or even 95% according to evidence heard by a Canadian parliamentary committee. Mining analyst Luisa Moreno attributes about 36% of the world’s resources to China, but they’re diminishing. Recent reports from that country, meanwhile, show no easing of export restrictions.

The two Western sources, Molycorp’s (NYE:MCP) Mountain Pass mine in California and Lynas’ Mount Weld in Australia, “are both struggling,” London says. “More importantly, they’re primarily light rare earths. We have a unique advantage in the amount of critical rare earths we have.”

“The world wants alternative sources of supply. What they’re also looking for is the brains to go along with it. The Chinese created hundreds of thousands of jobs around the industry because the world buys their products, their technology.”

But he sees a limit to vertical integration at home. “Canada’s not fooling itself into thinking we’re going to be a magnet-maker to the world. We can provide separated rare earths and further downstream processed metals, and let others focus their attention on refining it into magnetic alloys, or magnets or phosphors, and together we can have supply chains.”

Over the next three years CREEN’s near-term goal is to support opportunities to place Canada as a key rare earths producer. Looking three to 10 years ahead, the organization wants to encourage further technological development, downstream processing, new applications and highly qualified personnel.

“It’s a challenge, but it’s clearly an opportunity,” London says.

Read more about Canadian rare earths research.

July 23rd, 2014

Will the economy’s fate be set by the next two weeks’ earnings? VantageWire
When nations unite against the West: The BRICS development bank Equedia
Byron King: Miners must control costs to improve share prices Streetwise Reports
Eric Sprott: The ongoing rot in the economy GoldSeek
The California Gold Rush 1840 to 1857 Geology for Investors
Ottawa states Canadian national securities regulator may soon be reality Stockhouse
Oilfield Minerals Outlook Houston: The shale gale continues Industrial Minerals

July 22nd, 2014

Will the economy’s fate be set by the next two weeks’ earnings? VantageWire
When nations unite against the West: The BRICS development bank Equedia
Byron King: Miners must control costs to improve share prices Streetwise Reports
Eric Sprott: The ongoing rot in the economy GoldSeek
The California Gold Rush 1840 to 1857 Geology for Investors
Ottawa states Canadian national securities regulator may soon be reality Stockhouse
Oilfield Minerals Outlook Houston: The shale gale continues Industrial Minerals