Wednesday 7th December 2016

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (CLF)’

In the land of giants

June 24th, 2016

Aurvista Gold sees super pit potential for its Douay gold project in Abitibi

by Greg Klein

A new Abitibi gold mine, maybe the region’s last—could that be Douay’s destiny? Jean Lafleur sees such potential in the project that attracted him to Aurvista Gold TSXV:AVA, where he took on the role of president/CEO. The geologist’s international career includes considerable experience in Quebec’s most auriferous region, including Malartic, where he was instrumental in developing the project’s campaign of bulk gold exploration. He sees similarities in Douay. But this one also stands apart for its distinctions.

Aurvista Gold sees super pit potential for its Douay gold project in Abitibi

This year’s campaign calls for more geophysics
followed by another 4,000 metres.

A bulk deposit with higher-grade “jewelry boxes” on the Casa Berardi fault, Douay’s “unique because it’s never been mined, it’s a disseminated-type deposit, there are no quartz veins so it goes against the grain of these old Archean-type deposits, it’s Crown land, but what makes it really unique is it’s the last one left in the Abitibi,” Lafleur says.

“There might be others farther north, but when you talk about strictly Abitibi, this is the last one.”

Aurvista plans to support that theory with a summer/fall campaign of geophysics and drilling backed by last month’s $1.1-million financing. The 14,500-hectare property features eight zones along a five-kilometre trend. Using a cutoff of 0.3 grams per tonne, a 2012 resource estimate totalled:

  • indicated: 2.69 million tonnes averaging 2.76 g/t for 238,435 gold ounces

  • inferred: 114.65 million tonnes averaging 0.75 g/t for 2.75 million ounces

The resource was limited to a vertical depth of about 400 metres.

With the same cutoff, a west-to-east, zone-by-zone breakdown shows the jewelry boxes amid bulk mining potential:

Douay West zone

  • indicated: 2.56 million tonnes averaging 2.77 g/t for 227,980 ounces

  • inferred: 1.41 million tonnes averaging 1.65 g/t for 74,915 ounces

North West zone

  • inferred: 1.05 million tonnes averaging 2.59 g/t for 87,605 ounces

Porphyry zone

  • inferred: 107.21 million tonnes averaging 0.68 g/t for 2.36 million ounces

20 zone

  • inferred: 340,000 tonnes averaging 0.66 g/t for 7,231 ounces

Central zone

  • inferred: 780,000 tonnes averaging 0.99 g/t for 24,935 ounces

10 zone

  • inferred: 959,000 tonnes averaging 1.32 g/t for 40,705 ounces

531 zone

  • inferred: 1.55 million tonnes averaging 1.54 g/t for 76,620 ounces

Main zone

  • indicated: 130,000 tonnes averaging 2.47 g/t for 10,450 ounces

  • inferred: 1.35 million tonnes averaging 1.97 g/t for 85,480 ounces

Pushing the cutoff up to three g/t, seven of the eight zones still show ounces, with these two standouts—Douay West revealing 153,890 ounces indicated and 28,420 ounces inferred, and the Adams section of the Porphyry zone bearing 274,200 ounces inferred.

A 2014 PEA examined Douay West alone as a combination open pit and underground operation that would cost $56.8 million to build, producing 156,000 ounces over a 3.7-year life. The study used a 5% discount rate to calculate a post-tax NPV of $16.6 million and a post-tax IRR of 40%. But the proximity of other zones, especially Porphyry, encouraged Aurvista to consider other approaches.

To that end the company has an imminent two-stage 2016 program scheduled for a three-by-10-kilometre expanse. Primarily focus will be some eight kilometres of porphyry targets. Also under scrutiny will be a six-by-one-kilometre cluster of EM anomalies immediately south that have affinities to VMS mineralization associated with gold, along with potential copper and other base metal targets, the company states.

Aurvista Gold sees super pit potential for its Douay gold project in Abitibi

Past operators left behind camp infrastructure.

Stage 1 calls for additional mapping, re-logging previous core and flying magnetic, electromagnetic and radiometrics. That would lead to Stage 2’s 4,000-metre Q4 drill program. The company also hopes to find new trends at about 300 to 500 metres in depth, below the currently known mineralization.

With Abitibi infrastructure as well as gold, Douay has road access to a highway five kilometres away leading to Val-d’Or, 165 kilometres south, and an electrical line connecting the property with the grid.

A solid share structure supports the company. After vending Douay to Aurvista in 2011, Société d’exploration minière Vior TSXV:VIO now holds 24%. The 1,193-hectare North West zone comes under a JV with 25% partner SOQUEM, the mineral exploration division of the provincial government’s Investissement Québec. Together, the province and company insiders account for 14%. Among them is chairperson Gerry McCarvill, who helped create Repadre Capital, now IAMGOLD TSX:IMG, and Desert Sun Mining, later picked up by Yamana Gold TSX:YRI. McCarvill also helped develop Consolidated Thompson Iron Ore from its $2-million beginning to the $4.9-billion takeover by Cliffs Natural Resources NYSE:CLF.

Lafleur expects this year’s work to further support the “super pit” potential that he believes could position Douay as the next mine to be surrounded by the giants of Abitibi. A resource update could arrive this year but more likely in 2017, he says. Lafleur anticipates a three- to five-year plan for the project. “We want to follow the same story that Detour and Osisko did—just keep drilling and prove up as many ounces as we can.”

Vancouver Commodity Forum adds speakers: Gerald McCarvill, Jon Hykawy and Joe Martin

May 30th, 2016

by Greg Klein | May 30, 2016

Three more names bring additional expertise and insight to the June 14 Vancouver Commodity Forum. Prince Arthur Capital chairperson/CEO Gerald McCarvill, Stormcrow Capital president/director Jon Hykawy and Cambridge House International founder Joe Martin will address the conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Already booked are Chris Berry of the Disruptive Discoveries Journal, John Kaiser of Kaiser Research Online and Stephan Bogner of Rockstone Research.

Vancouver Commodity Forum adds speakers Gerald McCarvill, Jon Hykawy and Joe Martin

The speaker lineup grows as the June 14 Vancouver event approaches.

McCarvill’s 30-year CV includes conducting mining and energy projects globally, as well as private equity and finance transactions. Among other career highlights, he helped establish Repadre Capital, now IAMGOLD TSX:IMG, and Desert Sun Mining, later acquired by Yamana Gold TSX:YRI. McCarvill also helped develop and finance Consolidated Thompson Iron Ore from a $2-million entry valuation to its $4.9-billion sale to Cliffs Natural Resources NYSE:CLF.

An expert in areas such as lithium, rare earths, fluorspar and tin, Hykawy combines a 14-year Bay Street background with an MBA in marketing, along with post-doctoral work as a physicist with Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories and the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. His technical background also includes work on rechargeable batteries and fuel cells, as well as wind and solar energy.

Starting off in business journalism, Martin created BC Business magazine, then founded Cambridge House International to present some of the world’s largest mining/exploration conferences. He remains active in semi-retirement as a prominent advocate for investment regulatory reform.

The Vancouver Commodity Forum also features a range of companies pursuing lithium, uranium, rare earths, gold, nickel, copper, diamonds, jade, scandium, zeolite, magnesium and potash. Click here for free registration.

Interview: Chris Berry discusses the lithium boom.

Champion Iron begins financing on signing $53.3-million deal to buy Bloom Lake

December 11th, 2015

by Greg Klein | December 11, 2015

Obviously betting on better times ahead, Champion Iron TSX:CIA announced a definitive agreement December 11 to buy the Labrador Trough property abandoned by Cliffs Natural Resources NYE:CLF. Still subject to court approval, Champion subsidiary Quebec Iron Ore would get the assets for $10.5 million, around $41.7 million in environmental costs and about $1.1 million in bond obligations. Now all the company has to do is raise the money.

Champion’s bid was approved last spring by a court-appointed monitor of Cliffs affiliates now under bankruptcy proceedings. Champion expects to close in Q1 2016.

Bloom Lake is considered an exceptional opportunity for Champion and one that would not have presented itself without the challenges of the current downturn in bulk commodities.—Michael O’Keeffe, CEO/chairperson of Champion Iron

To help fund the deal, the company also announced a private placement of up to $25 million. Commitments totalling up to $15 million have already come in from two parties, one of them controlled by Champion CEO/chairperson Michael O’Keeffe, who could end up with as much as 19.95% of the company. “Additionally, discussions with strategic partners, funds, government agencies and private investors are at an advanced stage” that might help finance up to two years of care and maintenance “should low iron ore prices prevail during this period,” Champion stated.

Champion sees a potential increase in annual maximum production, previously six million tons of iron fines at 66% iron, to over seven million tons at a similar grade. The company also hopes to reduce costs substantially.

In November last year Cliffs estimated another $1.2 billion would be needed to make Bloom Lake viable. But Champion’s announcement stated, “Even with an extended care and maintenance and planned upgrade period, Bloom Lake could potentially become one of the lowest capital cost iron ore mines in the world.”

Quebec’s Plan Nord fund has put up $20 million to study the feasibility of a new rail line linking the Bloom Lake-Fire Lake region with the St. Lawrence deep-water port of Sept-Iles. Two railways already serve the Trough, one of them a private carrier operated by an ArcelorMittal subsidiary.

Last May Quebec economy minister Jacques Daoust said the province was open to the idea of investing in Cliff’s former Bloom Lake assets. The company’s subsidiary suspended operations late last year before entering creditor protection in January.

In April Cliffs sold its Ring of Fire chromite deposits to Noront Resources TSXV:NOT for US$27.5 million.

Quebec’s distinction

May 8th, 2015

Both interventionist and capitalist, the province’s mining-friendly policies defy ideology

by Greg Klein

Quebec’s provincial government might buy rail and port facilities that serve Bloom Lake, as well as invest taxpayers’ money in the iron ore mine. Economy Minister Jacques Daoust didn’t commit to anything, but Bloomberg reported he’s open to the idea. Even that shows Quebec’s distinctive approach to mining, a strategy that eludes political stereotypes but suggests long-term vision based on confidence that commodities markets will improve.

Making that confidence all the more remarkable is the iron ore collapse which shut down so much Labrador Trough activity. Rio Tinto NYE:RIO so far shows no sign of relenting on its price-slashing tactics, although Axis of Iron fellow travellers BHP Billiton NYE:BHP and Vale NYE:VALE are reportedly backing off.

Both interventionist and capitalist, the province’s mining-friendly policies defy ideology

But not after driving prices down and mines out of business. Some of the casualties have littered both the Quebec and Newfoundland sides of the Trough. Last year Labrador Iron Mines TSX:LIM didn’t bother resuming seasonal operations at Schefferfield. Later that year Cliffs Natural Resources announced impending closures of its Wabush and Bloom Lake mines. Then the Iron Ore Company of Canada announced plans to lay off part of its Labrador City workforce, in keeping with majority-owner Rio’s cost-cutting craze. But at least the mine’s surviving, as is ArcelorMittal’s Mont-Wright operation, although that company has alluded to some kind of future “restructuring.”

Cliffs’ exit from eastern Canada will “end the flawed expansion that has cost Cliffs and its shareholders billions of dollars,” president/CEO Lourenco Goncalves said in January. Handed the job after activist hedge fund Casablanca Capital gained control of Cliffs’ board, Goncalves takes a dim view of other operations as well.

“I can’t wait to get out of Australia,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him last month. “As soon as I get to the end of life of mine in Australia, I’m out of there … I can’t wait to get out of the seaborne trade and let the Australians take that horrible business on their own hands.”

Yet Bloom Lake, with “its high-quality ore,” still has hope, Goncalves suggested back in January. But “the potential investment is not achievable within a time frame acceptable to Cliffs.” Talks with Investissement Québec had already been underway for several months, he stated.

A government-run investment and financing agency, Investissement Québec’s subsidiary Ressources Québec has taken positions that include, for example, nearly $600,000 in an April private placement with Quest Rare Minerals TSX:QRM. A $3-million injection into Matamec Explorations TSXV:MAT last January brought Ressources Québec a 28% interest and joint venture partnership in the Kipawa rare earths deposit.

A much bigger Investissement Québec outlay was the $50-million stake in an estimated $118-million plan to increase Gaz Métro’s liquefied natural gas production. The government sees Plan Nord synergies, with the LNG fuelling transportation and operations in remote areas.

Quebec government investment is hardly new, although the previous Parti Québécois government shelved some resource-friendly policies.

I am not in a subsidy mode, I am in a partnership mode.—Quebec Economy Minister Jacques Daoust, quoted in
the Montreal Gazette

Now a branch of Ressources Québec but dating back to 1965, SOQUEM Inc has participated in over 350 Quebec exploration projects. Among its success stories is Renard, where Stornoway Diamond TSX:SWY plans 2017 production. In 2011 the company issued shares to acquire the 50% held by a SOQUEM subsidiary.

Outside of equity investments, Quebec last month announced $1.3 billion in government spending for Plan Nord over five years, part of an envisioned $50 billion to come from public and private sources for infrastructure and project development over 20 years.

It’s not a program to put off, the province maintains. As Energy and Natural Resources Minister Pierre Arcand told Canadian Press in December, Quebec “cannot wait until there is a mining boom and everything becomes uncontrollable.”

Quebec’s Bloom Lake investment, should it happen, could reach 20% of the operation, Bloomberg reported. “We’re trying to ensure the survival of the mine,” the news agency quoted Daoust. “If the last 20% is a problem, I will fix it.”

Last month the Montreal Gazette quoted him, “In a [typical] mining project, the bill is at least $1 billion. The problem you have in a mining project is financing the last 10%. If we invest $100 million in a mining project worth $1 billion we’re okay and we can close the deal…. We can go up to $200 million, but normally we should not invest more than 10 or 15%.”

Daoust added, “The kind of return we would get is the same as for any other shareholder. I am not in a subsidy mode, I am in a partnership mode.”

Government ownership of Bloom Lake’s rail link and port facilities, however, could lower the mine’s operating costs by as much as $20 a ton, he told Bloomberg.

Regardless, policies like these have helped raise the province’s once-faltering reputation. As a mining jurisdiction the province leaped from 18th place globally to number six on the Fraser Institute’s Investment Attractiveness Index, part of the annual survey of mining companies released in February.

Quebec’s policies aren’t without controversy, though. Following the April announcement of a scaled-down Plan Nord, the Parti Québécois opposition noted that Ressources Québec planned to guarantee a $100-million mortgage for the Nunavik nickel mine, held by Jilin Jien Nickel Industry Co. As reported by the Nunatsiaq News, the opposition pointed out that Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard formerly held a board position with project operator Canadian Royalties, which was acquired by Jilin Jien in 2010.

And there’s further controversy from another angle. In December Strateco Resources TSX:RSC launched a nearly $190-million lawsuit after Quebec refused to issue an exploration permit for the company’s Matoush uranium project. With a moratorium on uranium activity now in place, the province is considering an outright ban.

May 8th, 2015

Notley’s Crude: 10 ways the NDP could change the Canadian oilpatch Stockhouse
Talent wars—how the mining sector must dig deep for the right candidates Industrial Minerals
Quebec open to buying Cliffs’ assets to rescue mine NAI 500
Even Brown Brothers Harriman admits rigging of gold market by central banks GoldSeek
Plenty of competitors for Tesla in home energy storage market Equities Canada
Disruptive stock watcher Chris Berry cautions investors about the real potential of deflation Streetwise Reports
Great deposits of the world—Hishikari, Japan Geology for Investors

May 7th, 2015

Investors weigh impact as Canadian oilpatch elects leftist government Stockhouse
Quebec open to buying Cliffs’ assets to rescue mine NAI 500
Even Brown Brothers Harriman admits rigging of gold market by central banks GoldSeek
Plenty of competitors for Tesla in home energy storage market Equities Canada
IDTechEx: Who killed graphene’s killer application? Industrial Minerals
Disruptive stock watcher Chris Berry cautions investors about the real potential of deflation Streetwise Reports
Great deposits of the world—Hishikari, Japan Geology for Investors

May 6th, 2015

Investors weigh impact as Canadian oilpatch elects leftist government Stockhouse
Quebec open to buying Cliffs’ assets to rescue mine NAI 500
Even Brown Brothers Harriman admits rigging of gold market by central banks GoldSeek
Plenty of competitors for Tesla in home energy storage market Equities Canada
IDTechEx: Who killed graphene’s killer application? Industrial Minerals
Disruptive stock watcher Chris Berry cautions investors about the real potential of deflation Streetwise Reports
Great deposits of the world—Hishikari, Japan Geology for Investors

March 26th, 2015

Rio dismisses “harebrained” Fortescue iron ore plan NAI 500
The world’s largest gold mints GoldSeek
Cliffs to sell Ring of Fire chromite claims to Noront Stockhouse
Ceramic challenge: Why synthetic proppants have it tough Industrial Minerals
Philip Richards: Why Goldman Sachs is wrong about commodity prices Equities Canada
Eric Lemieux: Quebec is back, ready for renaissance Streetwise Reports
Great deposits of the world—Hishikari, Japan Geology for Investors

March 25th, 2015

The world’s largest gold mints GoldSeek
Cliffs to sell Ring of Fire chromite claims to Noront Stockhouse
Apple puts batteries at the centre of its EV master plan NAI 500
Ceramic challenge: Why synthetic proppants have it tough Industrial Minerals
Philip Richards: Why Goldman Sachs is wrong about commodity prices Equities Canada
Eric Lemieux: Quebec is back, ready for renaissance Streetwise Reports
Great deposits of the world—Hishikari, Japan Geology for Investors

March 23rd, 2015

Cliffs to sell Ring of Fire chromite claims to Noront Stockhouse
Apple puts batteries at the centre of its EV master plan NAI 500
Ceramic challenge: Why synthetic proppants have it tough Industrial Minerals
Philip Richards: Why Goldman Sachs is wrong about commodity prices Equities Canada
Eric Lemieux: Quebec is back, ready for renaissance Streetwise Reports
The new London gold fixing GoldSeek
Great deposits of the world—Hishikari, Japan Geology for Investors