Tuesday 11th August 2020

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘Centerra Gold Inc (CG)’

Money and brains

May 21st, 2020

IMC International Mining applies financing and expertise to early-stage opportunity

by Greg Klein | May 21, 2020

Events moved quickly and rather momentously after this company closed its Thane property acquisition in April. Along with the project came first one, then a second impressive addition to the team at IMC International Mining CSE:IMCX. New lab results highlighted the copper-gold prospectivity of the central British Columbia turf. Underscoring all that were financings to the tune of $1.76 million in private placements and—rare for an early-stage junior explorer—a private equity draw-down of $8 million.

Obviously the company has plans for that money. But, as IR officer Ranbir Kalan emphasizes, the funds also constitute a resounding vote of confidence in IMC.

IMC International Mining applies financing and expertise to early-stage opportunity

The draw-down, arranged in mid-April with New York-based Alumina Partners, “allows the board and the team to take parts of the $8 million whenever it’s deemed necessary,” he explains. “That not only protects us from cash issues in the long run, it allows us to keep dilution to a minimum.”

Private placements that brought IMC $1.76 million in mid-May were led by Gravitas Securities, a fact that Kalan points to as indicating further confidence. “Gravitas has a lot of experience in the mining sector so having them on our side also validates our expertise, what we’ve been doing and what we have planned.”

Those plans focus on Thane, a 20,600-hectare property in the central B.C. Quesnel Terrane that hosts Centerra Gold’s (TSX:CG) Mount Milligan operation to the south and, to the north, the former Kemess open pit and Centerra’s feasibility-level Kemess underground project, all copper-gold porphyry deposits. “Our team was already familiar with Thane,” Kalan says. “It was perfect for the size and scope that we were looking for and we were able to get it at a very good valuation.”

An all-share deal valued at $2 million bought a 100% interest in Thane Minerals and its project. Apparently never drilled, the property had undergone field work that included over 1,400 rock samples, along with soil samples, a 2019 induced polarization survey and Geoscience BC’s regional airborne magnetics. On May 19 the company released assays from Cathedral, one of Thane’s six areas of significant gold-copper mineralization.

Some rock sample highlights from five showings within Cathedral featured:

Pinnacle showing

  • 3.29% copper and 20.1 g/t gold
  • 2.54% copper and 7.78 g/t gold

Cathedral showing

  • 13.9% copper and 6.85 g/t gold
  • 3.7% copper and 1.71 g/t gold

Cathedral South showing

  • 4.72% copper and 0.97 g/t gold
  • 1.89% copper and 1.33 g/t gold

Arc showing

  • 11.1% copper and 2.77 g/t gold
  • 8.59% copper and 1.22 g/t gold

Gully showing

  • 3.13% copper and 0.18 g/t gold
  • 1.07% copper and 0.32 g/t gold

The samples represent a zone covering 1.5 by two kilometres, with mineralization in a number of styles but all showing potential for a significant copper-gold alkalic porphyry system, IMC stated.

Earlier this month the company reported lab work that confirmed previous rock sample results throughout the Thane property and, through analysis of soil samples from the Cathedral area, found four broad inline copper anomalies.

IMC International Mining applies financing and—expertise to early-stage opportunity

Still pending are sample results from Thane’s five areas
to the north of Cathedral: Cirque, Gail, CJL, Lake and Mat.
(Image: Geoscience BC/IMC International Mining)

“All this is very promising and we’re looking forward to using these results to help guide us through a summer program of geological mapping, more geochem sampling and an IP survey, with drilling possible in the fall,” Kalan says.

An added benefit to the Thane company acquisition was the Greg Hawkins acquisition. As part of the deal he now chairs IMC’s board. With just over a half-century of experience, Hawkins helped found seven companies, in each of which he helped define resources or reserves. Six of those deposits went on to production. In all, Hawkins has been closely involved with identifying and/or delineating 10 deposits in Canada, the U.S., Chile, Ghana, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Playing an integral role at Thane Minerals, he’s more than familiar with the Thane property.

In another recent personnel acquisition, Jeffrey Reeder joined IMC’s advisory board. Currently chairperson/CEO of Peruvian Metals TSXV:PER, his specialties include copper-gold porphyry deposits. His work at Mount Milligan and South Kemess helped him in two Peruvian discoveries, the Aguila copper-molybdenum porphyry and the Pinaya copper-gold porphyry deposits.

Another seasoned geologist, Brian Thurston heads IMC as president/CEO/director. His work in the Americas, Africa and India included acting as Ecuadorian country manager for Aurelian Resources, later taken over by Kinross Gold TSX:K. Experienced in boardrooms as well as the field, he founded several public companies, and held board and committee positions that oversaw audit, disclosure and corporate governance.

“In the mining world you can have companies with great projects but they don’t have the veterans who know how to interpret results or decide the next steps,” notes Kalan. “So this team really gives us strength.”

IMC’s portfolio also includes Bullard Pass, an early-stage gold project in Arizona, and other acquisitions might be considered. But Thane captivates IMC’s copper-gold porphyry enthusiasm.

Still to come are further analysis of property-wide sampling and surveying, a summer field program and a possible autumn drill campaign. Kalan looks forward to continuing IMC’s busy news flow.

Geoscience BC seeks to put “hidden” copper-gold resources into the public domain

December 6th, 2019

by Greg Klein | December 6, 2019

Additional base and precious metals could be waiting for discovery in a region already hosting some of British Columbia’s largest mines. A new program by Geoscience BC plans a number of measures to search for potential deposits hidden beneath glacial till.

Under scrutiny will be a 50,700-kilometre swath of Quesnel terrane between Centerra Gold’s (TSX:CG) Mount Milligan gold-copper mine to the northwest and, to the southeast, Taseko Mines’ (TSX:TKO) 75%-held Gibraltar copper-molybdenum operation and Imperial Metals’ (TSX:III) Mount Polley project, now on care and maintenance. Backed by $2.9 million in funding, the Central Interior Copper-Gold Research project begins with two programs. One will analyze new and existing till samples with satellite imagery to trace samples and geochemical anomalies to their source. Another program will use existing geophysical data to identify, map and model potential copper-gold deposits.

Geoscience BC seeks to put “hidden” copper-gold resources into public domain

Receding glaciers may have helped hide valuable resources.
(Photo: Geoscience BC)

Results are scheduled for 2021, when drilling is anticipated and additional related projects may take place. Data will be made public for the benefit of communities, governments and academia, as well as the mining sector.

Consequently, support for the program came from communities as well as industry. At a December 5 open house North Central Local Government Association president Lara Beckett said, “The communities of the NCLGA benefit from the valuable public data on water, energy and minerals that these initiatives provide. NCLGA members have passed resolutions in support of the work of Geoscience BC and look forward to working together on future opportunities to strengthen communities throughout north-central British Columbia.”

Association for Mineral Exploration president/CEO Kendra Johnston called the work “important to AME members because the data and information that they provide inspire new mineral exploration and attract new investment to British Columbia. We look forward to seeing the results from the first two projects, and to learning more about future phases.”

Other recently announced Geoscience BC programs include Porphyry Vectoring Techniques in Advanced Argillic Altered Rocks, a study of three known porphyry copper-gold deposits in the province’s northwest and north-central regions.

Earlier last month Geoscience BC published a report on mineral deposit types in the Toodoggone area of B.C.’s north-central region. Among several other projects, the non-profit group is also studying methods of extracting rare earth elements from B.C. coal deposits.

Learn more about the Central Interior Copper-Gold Research project.

Association for Mineral Exploration names 2018 award winners as Roundup approaches

December 6th, 2018

by Greg Klein | December 6, 2018

As Roundup approaches, the Association for Mineral Exploration names 2018 award winners

The Chidliak discovery brings another potential diamond mine to Canada’s Arctic.
(Photo: De Beers)

 

Mine finders, financiers and builders will be honoured, but so will others including educators and a gold panner, as well as leaders in social and environmental responsibility and in health and safety. It takes a wide range of abilities to supply the world with the stuff we need and the Association for Mineral Exploration recognizes diverse achievements in its Celebration of Excellence awards. Winners were announced on December 6 in advance of AME’s annual Roundup conference scheduled for January 28 to 31 in Vancouver.

As Roundup approaches, the Association for Mineral Exploration names 2018 award winners

Yukon Dan Moore shares an award with geologist
and social responsibility practitioner Peter Bradshaw.

Al McOnie, Seymour Iles and Jared Chipman of Alexco Resource TSX:AXR win the 2018 H.H. “Spud” Huestis Award for Excellence in Prospecting and Mineral Exploration. The trio gets credit for the recent discovery and delineation of over 60 million silver ounces in the Flame & Moth and Bermingham deposits in Yukon’s Keno Hill Silver District.

John McCluskey wins the Murray Pezim Award for Perseverance and Success in Financing Mineral Exploration. McCluskey played a crucial role in acquiring, financing and encouraging the discoveries of La India (Grayd Resources, bought out by Agnico Eagle Mines TSX:AEM in 2012), Mulatos (Alamos Gold TSX:AGI) and Kemess East (AuRico Metals, acquired by Centerra Gold TSX:CG in January), as well as his ongoing success as CEO of Alamos.

Eric Friedland, executive chairperson of Peregrine Diamonds (acquired by De Beers in September), Geoff Woad, former head of world diamond exploration for BHP Billiton NYSE:BHP and Brooke Clements, former Peregrine president, win the Hugo Dummett Award for Excellence in Diamond Exploration and Development for their part in discovering the Chidliak Diamond Province in Nunavut.

Tom Henricksen wins the Colin Spence Award for Excellence in Global Mineral Exploration  for “outstanding contributions to mineral discovery, and being involved in some monumental discoveries and/or acquisitions across the world.”

Matt Andrews and Monica Moretto win the Robert R. Hedley Award for Excellence in Social and Environmental Responsibility for their work with Pan American Silver TSX:PAAS.

Paycore Drilling wins the David Barr Award for Excellence in Leadership and Innovation in Mineral Exploration Health and Safety for the Paycore crew’s rescue operation following a helicopter crash.

Yukon Dan Moore and Peter Bradshaw share the Gold Pan Award for separate endeavours demonstrating “exceptional meritorious service to the mineral exploration community.”

As Roundup approaches, the Association for Mineral Exploration names 2018 award winners

Norman Keevil’s award honours his achievements
in B.C. and adjacent parts of the Cordillera.
(Photo: Teck Resources)

J. Greg Dawson and Victoria Yehl win the Frank Woodside Award for Distinguished Service to AME and/or Mineral Exploration for achievements that include Dawson’s research in land use planning and Yehl’s work as an AME organizer.

AME’s 2019 Outreach Education Fund grants $10,000 each to two groups: MineralsEd for the Kids & Rocks Classroom Workshop, and Britannia Mine Museum for its Education Program.

Norman Keevil, chairperson emeritus/special adviser for Teck Resources TSX:TECK.A/TSX:TECK.B and author of Never Rest on Your Ores: Building a Mining Company, One Stone at a Time, wins a Special Tribute for his achievements and contributions to exploration, discovery and development.

Congratulating the winners, AME chairperson ‘Lyn Anglin said, “The theme of AME’s 2019 Roundup conference is Elements for Discovery and these individuals and teams, through their remarkable efforts in elements of exploration, development and outreach, have generated discoveries and advancements which will bring benefits to the many diverse communities throughout British Columbia and Canada.”

Winners will be feted at the January 30 Awards Gala, part of AME Roundup from January 28 to 31 at the Vancouver Convention Centre East. Two days of short courses precede the event. Discounted early bird registration remains open until 4:00 p.m. December 14. Click here to register.

Read more about AME’s Celebration of Excellence award winners and their achievements.

Kyrgyzstan gains B.C. foothold as Centerra hedges jurisdictions

July 5th, 2016

by Greg Klein | July 5, 2016

A “balanced geopolitical risk profile” would counter Centerra Gold’s (TSX:CG) Kyrgyzstan woes with a solid foundation in more favourable countries. But with Kyrgyzstan currently holding nearly a third of Centerra shares, that country retains a sizeable piece of the action. Late July 5 Centerra announced a definitive agreement to pick up Thompson Creek Metals TSX:TCM and its Mount Milligan copper-gold mine in British Columbia. Also included are Thompson Creek’s Endako molybdenum mine in B.C. and its Thompson Creek moly mine in Idaho, both on care and maintenance, as well as two development projects in B.C.

Kyrgyzstan gains B.C. foothold as Centerra hedges jurisdictions

Gold miner Centerra takes on Thompson
Creek’s debt to move into a safer jurisdiction.

Subject to approvals, the share swap values Thompson Creek at C$0.79, a 33% premium to the company’s 20-day volume-weighted average to July 4. The deal would leave Thompson Creek shareholders with about 8% of Centerra. The company also pays off Thompson Creek’s outstanding notes. The companies value the transaction at approximately US$1.1 billion.

Royal Gold’s Mount Milligan gold stream would drop from 52.25% to 35% in exchange for an 18.75% copper stream.

The deal gives Centerra “an operating base in Canada—one of the lowest-risk mining jurisdictions in the world—which will complement our [50%-held] Canadian-based Greenstone project and provide for further flexibility to expand into the Americas,” commented CEO Scott Perry.

In addition to its flagship Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan, Centerra holds Mongolia’s Boroo gold mine, currently on care and maintenance, and two advanced-stage gold projects in Mongolia and Turkey.

At the company’s May AGM the CEO reportedly acknowledged that Kyrgyzstan is “not viewed as a top-tier jurisdiction”—a considerable understatement. Out of 109 countries ranked by the Fraser Institute’s annual mining survey, Kyrgyzstan ranks 19th from last on the Investment Attractiveness Index and eighth from last on the Policy Perception Index. B.C., although no paradise itself for miners, ranks 18th from top on the IAI and 41st on the PPI.

Centerra’s Kyrgyzstan adversities have included a police raid on the company’s office, a US$220-million pollution fine, a US$9-billion claim by the country’s Green Party, criminal investigations against the company’s executives, a ban on executives leaving the country, the arrest of a former CEO in Bulgaria reportedly at Kyrgyzstan’s behest, illegal roadblocks, violent mobs, and the arrest and deportation of a Centerra welder after he posted a Facebook remark comparing a local sausage to “horse penis.”

Centerra holds a 100% interest in Kumtor but Kyrgyzstan holds 32.7% of Centerra. In December the company offered to trade a 50% stake in the mine for the country’s shares. But now Kyrgyzstan faces dilution through the C$170-million bought deal Centerra also announced on July 5.

The company expects to close the offer around July 20 and the acquisition in autumn.

Athabasca Basin and beyond

May 17th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for May 10 to 16, 2014

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

Cameco suspends Millennium mine proposal

Declining uranium prices have forced Cameco Corp TSX:CCO to postpone its Millennium mine proposal. On May 16 the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission stated a public hearing for a licence application scheduled for June had been adjourned at Cameco’s request. A brief message on the company’s website blamed “poor economic conditions in world uranium markets.”

Figures from 2009 credited the project with an indicated resource of 46.8 million pounds uranium oxide (U3O8) averaging 4.53% uranium. A 2013 environmental impact statement forecast an initial 10-year lifespan, but anticipated extensions if further resources were found. Ore would have been shipped 36 kilometres south to the Key Lake mill, held 83% by Cameco and 17% by AREVA Resources Canada.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for May 10 to 16, 2014

Although just last month Cameco expressed optimism in uranium’s
long-term outlook, the company blamed market conditions as it
withdrew its Millennium licence application.

Uranium prices have continued their slide to new record lows. Although there’s no spot price for the metal, UX Consulting’s most recent indicator, published May 12, came to $29 a pound.

In last month’s Q1 report, Cameco expressed optimism about the long-term outlook, expecting “an increase in annual uranium consumption from today’s 170 million pounds to about 240 million pounds” over the next decade.

In March Cameco finally put its Cigar Lake mine into production, nine years after construction began and 33 years after its discovery.

The CNSC left the door open for Cameco to make a future request that its licence application be considered by the commission, which would then call a public hearing.

Fission Uranium hits 30 metres of 2.58% U3O8 at Patterson Lake South

Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU unloaded assays for eight more holes from Patterson Lake South on May 13, all of them from the R780E zone. This week’s star, PLS14-158, marks the eastern-most R780E hole for which assays have been released, boosting the company’s optimism in the deposit’s eastward potential. Some of the best results show:

Hole PLS14-141

  • 0.72% U3O8 over 11 metres, starting at 163 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 2.04% over 3 metres)

  • 0.77% over 6 metres, starting at 187.5 metres
  • (including 2.31% over 1.5 metres)

PLS14-143

  • 0.26% over 14 metres, starting at 145 metres

  • 0.41% over 5 metres, starting at 248 metres
  • (including 1.06% over 1.5 metres)

PLS14-144

  • 0.79% over 19 metres, starting at 127.5 metres
  • (including 3.21% over 3.5 metres)

  • 0.46% over 7.5 metres, starting at 151.5 metres

  • 0.3% over 8.5 metres, starting at 196 metres
  • (including 1.43% over 1 metre)

  • 2.07% over 3 metres, starting at 208 metres
  • (including 3.21% over 1.5 metres)

PLS14-148

  • 1.83% over 3.5 metres, starting at 154.5 metres
  • (including 2.9% over 2 metres)

  • 0.63% over 5 metres, starting at 192.5 metres

PLS14-149

  • 0.2% over 17.5 metres, starting at 117.5 metres

PLS14-150

  • 2.94% over 7 metres, starting at 219 metres
  • (including 5.58% over 3.5 metres)

  • 0.22% over 19.5 metres, starting at 285.5 metres

PLS14-157

  • 0.35% over 6.5 metres, starting at 125 metres

  • 0.29% over 14.5 metres, starting at 168.5 metres

PLS14-158

  • 0.72% over 8 metres, starting at 141 metres

  • 2.58% over 30 metres, starting at 152 metres
  • (including 22.02% over 1 metre)
  • (and including 8.57% over 5 metres)

  • 6.85% over 10 metres, starting at 232.5 metres
  • (including 12.23% over 5.5 metres)

  • 3.53% over 4.5 metres, starting at 253.5 metres
  • (including 11.95% over 1 metre)

True widths weren’t provided. R780E is the middle of five zones, and the largest of all five, along a 2.24-kilometre potential strike that’s open both to the east and west. With assays released for 30 winter holes so far, lab results are pending for approximately 62 more.

Although winter exploration drilling fell short of exciting, the season’s focus was on infill drilling to define a maiden resource that will—on some unspecified date—debut to an intensely curious audience.

Powertech files Kyrgyzstan resource held 80% by proposed merger partner, updates South Dakota licence challenge

Powertech Uranium TSX:PWE has filed an inferred resource for the Kyzyl Ompul licence in Kyrgyzstan, the company announced on May 13. The 42,379-hectare project is held 80% by Azarga Resources Ltd, which plans to merge with Powertech. The resource uses a 0.01% cutoff to show 15.13 tonnes averaging 0.022% for 7.51 million pounds U3O8 inferred.

Powertech described the Kok Moinok main zone as about 700 metres along an east-west strike, 600 metres north-south and 10 to 30 metres in depth. The report also included two conceptual exploration target area estimates.

Although Powertech acknowledged that access to the project was blocked by political unrest in 2005 and 2010, the company maintained that “the main risk factors at this stage are commodity prices….”

Last year Kyrgyzstan managed to fall a few spots to the very bottom of the Fraser Institute’s policy perception index and achieved near-bottom rankings for several other categories in the annual poll of mining professionals. But a May 7 Financial Post article by Peter Koven pointed out that despite public opposition, social unrest and ongoing government policy threats, Centerra Gold’s (TSX:CG) Kyrgyzstan mine “continues to run and churn out cash.”

The Kyzyl Ompul licence expires at the end of 2015. Read more about the Powertech/Azarga merger here and here.

On May 14 Powertech updated events following a challenge to its operating licence for the company’s Dewey-Burdock project in South Dakota. In oral hearings the previous day, opponents questioned procedures followed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to determine the importance of possible native religious sites in the area.

As the hearings continue, the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will decide whether Dewey-Burdock’s licence becomes effective or remains on hold until a formal hearing in August. Read more about the licence challenge.

MPVC begins drilling Maguire Lake target at NW Manitoba

Drilling has begun at MPVC Inc’s (TSXV:UNO) Northwest Manitoba project, the company announced May 14. While winter conditions persist, a diamond drill will focus on Maguire Lake. Preliminary radon measurements from the lake reported the previous week were, to the company’s knowledge, second only to PLS for a water-based survey. MPVC will also bring in a rotary air blast drill, which is intended to test shallow targets quickly.

With ground gravity survey results now in hand, the company has filled in gaps between three earlier sets of data, extending previously identified gravity lows and discovering new gravity lows.

To earn 80% of the 143,603-hectare project from CanAlaska Uranium TSXV:CVV, MPVC must spend $3.2 million on exploration by 2015.

Next Page 1 | 2

Year in review: Part II

December 29th, 2012

A mining and exploration retrospect for 2012

by Greg Klein

Read Part I of Year in Review.

Next Page 1 | 2

Graphite boom, bust and echo

One of the commodities that excited the 2012 market, graphite began stirring interest in 2011 and really gained momentum early this year. But the precipitous fall, right around April Fool’s Day, let cynics bask in schadenfreude. It was a bubble all along, they insisted.

Well, not quite. Despite reduced share values, work continued as the front-runners advanced their projects and earlier-stage companies competed for position in graphite’s second wave of potential producers. By autumn some of the advanced-stage outfits, far from humbled by last spring’s events, boldly indulged themselves in a blatant bragging contest.

Old king coal to regain its throne

If clean carbon doesn’t excite investors like it used to, plain old dirty carbon might. By 2017 coal’s share of the global energy market will rival that of oil. So says the International Energy Agency, which issued its Medium-Term Coal Market Report in December.

A mining and exploration retrospect for 2012

The forecast sees China consuming over half the world’s production by 2017. “Even if Chinese GDP growth were to slow to a 4.6% average over the period, coal demand would still increase both globally and in China,” the report stated. India, with the world’s “largest pocket of energy poverty,” will take second place for consumption.

Coal’s growth in demand is slowing, however. But its share of the energy mix continues to increase even though Europe’s “coal renaissance” (sic) appears to be temporary.

Bringing coal miners to new hassle

Chinese provide much of the market and often the investment. So why shouldn’t they provide the workers too? That seems to be the rationale of Chinese interests behind four British Columbia coal projects.

The proponents plan to use Chinese underground workers exclusively at the most advanced project, HD Mining International’s Murray River, for 30 months of construction and two additional years of mining. Only then would Canadians be initiated into the mysteries of Chinese longwall mining. But with only 10% of the workforce to be replaced by Canadians each year, Chinese “temporary” workers would staff the mine until about 2026. The B.C. government has known about these intentions since at least 2007.

The HD Mining saga has seen new developments almost every week since the United Steelworkers broke the story on October 9.

As Greenland’s example suggests, the scheme might represent another facet of China’s growing power.

Geopolitical geology

Resource imperialism aside, resource nationalism and other aspects of country risk continued throughout 2012. South American Silver TSX:SAC continues to seek compensation after spending over $16 million on a silver-polymetallic project that the Bolivian government then snatched as a freebie. Centerra Gold TSX:CG escaped nationalization in Kyrgyzstan but works its way through somewhat Byzantine political and regulatory intrigue, as does Stans Energy TSXV:HRE. In November the latter claimed a court victory over a hostile parliamentary committee.

Next Page 1 | 2

Week in review

October 5th, 2012

A mining and exploration retrospect for September 29 to October 5, 2012

by Greg Klein

So much for the environmental review

Monday’s news from British Columbia indicates another level of uncertainty has hit the province’s mining sector. Two B.C. cabinet ministers refused an environmental assessment certificate for Pacific Booker Minerals TSXV:BKM, even though the company passed a provincial environmental review. As a result, the half-billion-dollar Morrison copper-gold-molybdenum proposal has been put on hold.

A new development at the provincial level, it does have similarities to a federal decision to reject Taseko Mines’ TSX:TKO Prosperity gold-copper mine proposal for B.C. A November 2010 report from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Authority convinced the federal government to reject the $800-million proposal. The three-member CEAA panel found few significant adverse environmental effects but emphasized significant adverse effects on established native rights, potential rights, potential title, tradition and culture.

Mining and exploration week in review

Now B.C. has taken a comparable approach, although the supposedly “environmental” arguments come from politicians, not the people who conducted the environmental review. In fact the provincial review repeatedly stated that, with successful implementation of mitigation measures and conditions, the Morrison mine is “not likely to have significant adverse effects.”

Nevertheless Derek Sturko, who’s both executive director of B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office and an associate deputy minister of the environment, seemed to reject his own department’s 270-page report. He suggested instead that the government take a “risk/benefit approach.” Sturko also emphasized strong native opposition and a “moderate to strong prima facie case for aboriginal title.” On that basis, two cabinet ministers representing mining and the environment nixed the proposal.

The decision might be related to the pre-election BC Liberal government’s prevaricating but currently negative stance towards the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. But the province’s decision, like the federal decision regarding Taseko, also raises the question of whether native rights are handled according to the principle of law or appeasement.

Taseko submitted a revised $1.1-billion New Prosperity proposal to the feds on September 20. On Tuesday Business in Vancouver cited analysts, for some reason speaking anonymously, who said Taseko’s $300-million revision remains viable despite a drop in copper prices. But “with a large question mark as to whether the federal government will approve the project on a second go-round, they’re currently ascribing no value to the project in their target stock prices for the company,” BIV reported.

On Tuesday Pacific Booker Director Erik Tornquist told ResourceClips his company is reviewing its options.

Confiscation without compensation

If miners haven’t given up on B.C., it might be a case of the devil they know. Wednesday’s announcement that the Bolivian government would not provide compensation for nationalizing the Malku Khota Project followed months of uncertainty for South American Silver TSX:SAC. Since 2007, the company had spent over $16 million building a resource of 158 million ounces silver and 1,184 tonnes indium with lead, zinc and copper credits.

The company claimed the support of 43 out of 46 land-owning indigenous groups. SAC blamed illegal artisanal miners and activists from outside the region for intense opposition from the three dissident communities.

But last May, the company said, Mining Minister Mario Virreira signed an agreement with the 43 supportive groups stating that the government will not reverse the mining concession and that the company should continue exploration.

Protests turned violent in June, with one death and several injuries. Later that month seven people were taken hostage, including three drill contractors, two SAC employees, a government prosecutor and a police officer. The final three hostages were released unharmed after 11 days, when the government decreed that it would nationalize Malku Khota.

Reuters quoted a confident-sounding Vice-President Alvaro Garcia saying, “If we have to invest $500 million or $700 million or even $1 billion for a large-scale project at Malku Khota, which benefits Bolivia, the state is prepared and has the capacity to do that.”

At the time he added that government might pay compensation of $2 million or $3 million. Then came Wednesday’s decree. In an Agence France-Presse dispatch printed in the Globe and Mail, Virreira stated, “The nation has no financial obligation to South American Silver.”

By press time South American hadn’t responded. In an August 2 statement Greg Johnson, then the company’s president/CEO, said the company is prepared to go to international arbitration.

But, as Financial Times correspondent Andres Schipani pointed out, “Getting fair compensation, or any for that matter, from Bolivia has proved tricky since 2007. A year after [President Evo] Morales took office, the Andean country pulled out of the World Bank body that conducts arbitration between businesses and governments …”

Schipani noted other troubled nationalizations in Bolivia, including the Colquiri tin mine taken from Glencore in June. The government rationalized the move by saying it could then end disputes between independent and unionized miners. But the conflict flared up again with more violent clashes which shut down operations. On September 14 Reuters quoted Hector Cordova, president of the state-owned mining company, who said, “We’re losing more than $250,000 per day through lost production and this has been going on for two weeks. That means an accumulated loss of almost $4 million.”

Last Sunday the government said it solved the dispute by dividing the mine’s richest vein between the rival groups.

Friends and foes in the Kyrgyz Republic

On Friday three Kyrgyzstan MPs faced criminal charges while political unrest focused on Centerra Gold’s TSX:CG Kumtor Gold Mine. Prosecutors say the three attempted to overthrow the government by leading a mob that stormed the parliament building on Wednesday, Reuters reported. The incident grew out of a protest demanding that Kumtor be nationalized.

Violence has turfed previous Kyrgyzstan governments in 2005 and 2010. Last June a motion to nationalize Kumtor failed to pass parliament but MPs did pass a motion to consider increasing the country’s 33% stake in the Centerra subsidiary that owns the mine, as well as redefining the concession and boosting taxes.

But reassuring news came on Monday when Kyrgyzstan’s new president Zhantoro Satybaldiyev declared, “Kumtor will not be nationalized.” He told Reuters, “Problems will be resolved. I asked [the Kumtor venture] to keep up its output.” He added, “The way they extract gold, it’s really a state-of-the-art job. To be honest, I am jealous of their skills.”

The news agency pointed out, however, that the government had cancelled a televised auction of mining licences on August 28 after protesters stormed the TV studio.

Kumtor produced 583,156 gold ounces in 2011 at $482 an ounce. But in August the company blamed its $54.6-million Q2 loss largely on Kumtor’s “abnormal mining costs.”

Last September Kyrgyzstan ordered Stans Energy Corp TSXV:HRE to suspend drilling at its Kutessay II REE Deposit. According to the company, the government wanted “a firm proposal for the gratuitous transfer of a percentage of ownership” of a company subsidiary to the state. The stop-work order ended as the company met with Satybaldiyev and Economic Minister Temir Sariev.

In a statement issued Monday, Stans quoted Sariev saying, “Our state does not have the necessary financial and technical resources for the development of deposits and we have, so far, no such specialists. Development of the mining industry of our country at this stage is only possible by attracting investment. And the investors will come to our country when they will be confident in the safety of their financial investments.”

South Africa: A tragic outcome from a positive move?

Another striking miner was killed in South Africa Thursday night. On Friday Anglo-American Platinum fired 12,000 strikers. A Reuters dispatch in the Globe and Mail stated, “When rival Impala Platinum fired 17,000 workers in January to squash a union turf war, it led to a six-week stoppage in which three people were killed, the company lost 80,000 ounces in output and platinum prices jumped 21%.”

One disturbing aspect of the crisis is that a generous pay hike in a poor country can cause so much controversy. In last month’s “Lonmin settlement,” the platinum producer raised miners’ wages between 11% and 22%. Nic Borain, described as “an independent political analyst,” told Reuters, “Amplats had been giving signals that it was going to hold the line after Lonmin had folded—but it’s a huge gamble. Someone had to take it on the chin or this would have kept on unravelling and spread through the economy. It’s difficult to know whether this causes the unrest to spread or whether it takes some of the sting out of it. It could go either way.”

Not without risk

September 21st, 2012

Mongolia offers huge resources but with political challenges

By Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

Reputedly this company is used to weathering Asian storms. So a long wait that has just ended for Centerra Gold TSX:CG in Mongolia must have been borne with patience. On September 19 the company received approval to resume heap leap operations at its Boroo Mine. The facility operated from June 2008 to April 2009, when a temporary permit expired. Beginning in December, recommissioning should add around 2,000 gold ounces a month to the mill, which has been processing stockpiled ore since the mine closed in November 2010.

The news shot Centerra’s stock from a September 19 open of $10.40 to a high of $12.08 before closing at $11.95.

The $2.75-billion-cap company shows dogged determination in a country where giants tread carefully due to government interference. The Boroo mill was also intended to handle ore from Gatsuurt, just 55 kilometres away. Centerra was ready to develop an open-pit gold mine there after the Mongolian government approved a feasibility study in March 2008. The following year, however, the government brought in new environmental legislation that blocked the mine.

Mongolia offers huge resources but with political challenges

Tremendous mineral resources could bring big changes to Mongolian society.

Last November Centerra VP of Investor Relations John Pearson told ResourceClips, “The site is completely prepared. We have the admin buildings on site, the trucks fleet has been purchased, the road connecting the Gatsuurt mine site to the Boroo mill is complete. Everything is ready to go. Until the government and parliament resolve the issues with that particular piece of legislation, Gatsuurt is currently on hold waiting the final approval.”

According to an estimate completed in December 2010, Gatsuurt has probable reserves of 1.5 million gold ounces, measured and indicated resources of 426,000 ounces and inferred resources of 491,000 ounces.

But the company faces greater obstacles at its flagship Kumtor Mine in the Kyrgyz Republic, on China’s western border. Last month Centerra blamed a Q2 loss of $54.6 million largely on Kumtor’s “abnormal mining costs.” Over the last several months the operation has been hit by an illegal roadblock, a strike and technical problems, as well as government threats to revise its operating licence, change its tax regimen and increase the government’s own interest. The Kyrgyz Republic already holds 33% of the project. Centerra is the country’s largest investor.

Yet the company’s ability to overcome challenges hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Last June the Financial Post quoted Scotia Capital analyst Trevor Turnbull calling Centerra an “unusual buying opportunity.” He added, “Centerra is used to weathering political storms, including the 2010 coup d’e'tat, without impact to its Kumtor Mine, which has been in continuous operation since 1997 and a major component of the economy.”

Getting back to Mongolia, on September 19 Centerra also announced receipt of a mining licence for its Altan Tsagaan Ovoo Project, 800 kilometres from Boroo. ATO’s December 2011 resource shows 824,000 gold ounces measured and indicated, and 26,000 inferred. Exploration drilling continues.

Next Page 1 | 2

Eastern Promise

November 21st, 2011

Centerra Seeks Gold From Turkey to Mongolia

By Greg Klein

Gold has long lured adventurers to uncharted territories. But while the trades are full of stories about Africa, Centerra Gold Inc TSX:CG demonstrates the potential of Asia. In the Kyrgyz Republic on China’s western border, the company’s Kumtor Mine prepares to add an underground operation to its open-pit gold producer. Its Mongolian operations include a mill working its way through years of stockpiled ore and a new gold mine waiting for final approval. Then there are the JVs spread as far afield as Turkey, China and eastern Russia and even Nevada.

“There are a couple of other, small-scale operations in the Kyrgyz Republic, but we’re probably 95% of the gold production in that country and about 45% to 50% of the country’s industrial output,” says Centerra President/CEO Steve Lang. “There, like Mongolia, we’re 100% owners. When we step out into Russia, Turkey and China, we move into joint ventures. Overall, there’s a lot of gold in Asia but not much competition.”

Centerra Seeks Gold From Turkey to Mongolia

To support his point, Kumtor shows proven and probable reserves of 6.28 million gold ounces, measured and indicated resources of 4.13 million ounces and an inferred resource of 2.75 million ounces. The mine produced 567,802 ounces last year, with about 600,000 projected for 2011. Cash costs per ounce are now $474.

“Over the last 12 months our drilling added about four years of operation, raised the average life-of-mine grade and lowered the strip ratio,” Lang says. “We’ve got quite a bit of unexplored ground still on our licence, and we’re picking up additional packages immediately adjacent to the Kumtor package.”

The underground operation, scheduled to start in 2013, is expected to result in a 35% to 40% production increase.

Mongolia has also proved bountiful, if challenging. Centerra’s Boroo Mine produced around 1.5 million gold ounces from 2004 to November 2010, when it closed. The plan was to immediately start a new open-pit gold mine at Gatsuurt, 55 kilometres away. At that point, however, the company hit an obstacle—the 2009 Water and Forest Law, which now blocks the project. The government had approved Gatsuurt’s feasibility study in March 2008.

As VP Investor Relations John Pearson says, “The site is completely prepared. We have the admin buildings on site; the trucks fleet has been purchased; the road connecting the Gatsuurt mine site to the Boroo mill is complete. Everything is ready to go.” He adds, however, “Until the government and parliament resolve the issues with that particular piece of legislation, Gatsuurt is currently on hold waiting the final approval.”

Other mining companies have also run afoul of the Mongolian government. The most recent was Ivanhoe Mines TSX:IVN, 49% owned by Rio Tinto, which is building Ivanhoe’s Oyu Tolgoi Mine in Mongolia. Last September, the government demanded an increase in its 34% interest, despite an agreement preventing it from doing so until 2039. The miners stood their ground. In early October, the government appeared to relent in a public statement reaffirming support for the project.

Meanwhile, Centerra’s Boroo mill keeps busy processing a stockpile built up before its adjacent mine closed. Even without Gatsuurt, the mill will process an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 ounces in 2011, with an incremental gain next year. “At the current gold price, our stockpiles will probably last two or three more years,” says Pearson.

In northeastern Mongolia, some 800 kilometres from Boroo, Centerra drills its Altan Tsagaan Ovoo Prospect. Assays announced July 11 include

  • 3.91 grams per tonne gold, 10.81 g/t silver, 0.87% lead and 1.08% zinc over 113.5 metres
  • 2.89 g/t gold, 6.52 g/t silver, 1.04% lead and 1.1% zinc over 147 metres
  • 2.09 g/t gold, 8.32 g/t silver, 0.81% lead and 1.58% zinc over 196 metres
  • 2.15 g/t gold, 12.95 g/t silver, 0.32% lead and 0.52% zinc over 183.4 metres

“We’ll have a resource estimate on that at year-end,” Lang says. “It’s still fairly early stage but an exciting project.”

We’re trying to spend something close to $60 million a year. If we can do that consistently over a period of time, that should lead to a million and a half ounces of annual production —Steve Lang

The company’s other Mongolia project is the Sumber Joint Venture with Altairgold LLC, in which Centerra may earn up to a 75% interest in the former gold mine.

In the Russian republic of Tyva, bordering northwestern Mongolia, Centerra holds a 50% interest, with an option to earn a further 20%, in the Kara Beldyr Gold Project, where drilling is underway.

In Turkey, Centerra’s JV with Eurasian Minerals TSXV:EMX allows up to a 70% interest in the Akarca, Samli and Emali projects.

Another Turkey JV, with Stratex International, offers Centerra up to 70% of the Oksut Project, which has an Australian JORC (non-43-101) resource estimate of 163,849 gold ounces indicated and 153,407 inferred.

In Nevada, the company acts as project operator for the Tonopah Divide Gold Project, in which it holds a 60% interest under an option with Tonogold Resources. Centerra may also earn a 75% interest in another Nevada JV, the Oasis Gold Project, with Redstar Gold TSXV:RGC.

Finally, Centerra has signed a letter of intent for another JV, the Laogouxi Gold Project in northeastern China.

“We want to keep expanding our exploration,” Lang says. “This year we’re at about $40 million. We’re trying to spend something close to $60 million a year. If we can do that consistently over a period of time, that should lead to a million and a half ounces of annual production. To do that, we need to continue adding projects in the early exploration level.”

Earlier this month, Centerra posted revenue of $772.4 million for the first three quarters of 2011, up 46% over the same period last year. Net earnings for that period were $291.5 million, $1.23 per share, while 3Q net earnings were $83.5 million, $0.35 per share. Third quarter gold production was 154,936 ounces at $556 per ounce. The company’s cash and equivalents were $271.7 million.

At press time, Centerra had 236.3 million shares trading at $20.59 for a market cap of $4.87 billion.