Wednesday 20th June 2018

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘copper’

Pistol Bay Mining releases zinc-copper assays from Ontario, prepares for new drilling

June 13th, 2018

by Greg Klein | June 13, 2018

As a long-overdue modern exploration program continues on northwestern Ontario’s Confederation Lake, Pistol Bay Mining TSXV:PST released assays for an initial three-hole 1,555-metre program on the property’s Arrow zone. The results “confirm the consistent nature of mineralization in the Arrow zone and give us more confidence in the existing mineral resource estimate,” noted president/CEO Charles Desjardins. The assays show:

Hole GL18-01

  • 0.73% copper, 2.22% zinc, 12 g/t silver, 0.307 g/t gold and 0.03% lead for 4.34% zinc-equivalent over 10.9 metres, starting at 432.7 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.69% copper, 4.49% zinc, 22.2 g/t silver, 0.217 g/t gold and 0.1% lead for 6.65% zinc-equivalent over 2.9 metres)
  • (and including 1.16% copper, 1.48% zinc, 12.8 g/t silver, 0.64 g/t gold and 0.01% lead for 4.91% zinc-equivalent over 3 metres)
Pistol Bay Mining releases zinc-copper assays from Ontario, prepares for new drilling

Drilling will soon resume
at Confederation Lake’s
Fredart zone.

GL18-03

  • 0.13% copper, 1.13% zinc, 3.3 g/t silver, 0.044 g/t gold and 0.02% lead for 1.54% zinc-equivalent over 12.9 metres, starting at 563.1 metres
  • (including 0.2% copper, 1.93% zinc, 4.3 g/t silver, 0.083 g/t gold and 0.04% lead for 2.54% zinc-equivalent over 3.8 metres)
  • (which includes 0.11% copper, 2.69% zinc, 3.4 g/t silver, 0.04 g/t gold and 0.07% lead for 3.09% zinc-equivalent over 1.5 metres)
  • (and also includes 0.48% copper, 2.92% zinc, 8.5 g/t silver, 0.15 g/t gold and 0.05% lead for 4.28% zinc-equivalent over 1.3 metres)

True widths weren’t provided.

In early May the company released the program’s first hole, showing 5.15% zinc-equivalent over 12.85 metres.

Last year Pistol Bay filed a 43-101 resource for Arrow, with a base case 3% zinc-equivalent cutoff for an inferred category showing:

  • 2.1 million tonnes averaging 5.78% zinc, 0.72% copper,19.5 g/t silver and 0.6 g/t gold, for a zinc-equivalent grade of 8.42%

Contained amounts come to:

  • 274 million pounds zinc, 34.3 million pounds copper, 1.33 million ounces silver and 41,000 ounces gold

As the rig moves to the project’s Fredart copper-gold zone, the team keeps busy re-compiling all Arrow drill results and incorporating new surveys of collar locations and azimuths using differential GPS equipment, Pistol Bay stated.

Although Fredart underwent extensive drilling between 1965 and 1985, the zone lacks a 43-101 resource due to uncertainty about drill hole locations and the lack of previous core to confirm historic assays, the company added.

The drill campaign follows the 15,000-hectare property’s first survey by modern geophysics which, in another first for Confederation Lake, was conducted on a regional scale.

Read more about Pistol Bay Mining.

Streamers turn to cobalt as Vale extends Voisey’s Bay nickel operations

June 11th, 2018

by Greg Klein | June 11, 2018

It was a day of big moves for energy minerals as China bought into Ivanhoe, Vale lengthened Voisey’s and streaming companies went after the Labrador nickel mine’s cobalt.

On June 11 Robert Friedland announced CITIC Metal would pay $723 million for a 19.9% interest in Ivanhoe Mines TSX:IVN, surpassing the boss’ own 17% stake to make the Chinese state-owned company Ivanhoe’s largest single shareholder. Another $78 million might also materialize, should China’s Zijin Mining Group decide to exercise its anti-dilution rights to increase its current 9.9% piece of Ivanhoe.

Streamers turn to cobalt as Vale extends Voisey’s Bay nickel operations

At peak production, Voisey’s underground operations are expected to
ship about 45,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate annually to Vale’s
processing plant at Long Harbour, Newfoundland.

Proceeds would help develop the flagship Kamoa-Kakula copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Platreef platinum-palladium-nickel-copper-gold mine in South Africa, as well as upgrade the DRC’s historic Kipushi zinc-copper-silver-germanium mine. Ivanhoe and Zijin each hold a 39.6% share in the Kamoa-Kakula joint venture.

Even bigger news came from St. John’s, where Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball joined Vale NYSE:VALE brass to herald the company’s decision to extend Voisey’s Bay operations by building an underground mine.

The announcement marked the 16th anniversary of Vale’s original decision to put Voisey (a Friedland company discovery) into production. Mining began in 2005, producing about $15 billion worth of nickel, copper and cobalt so far. Open pit operations were expected to end by 2022. Although a 2013 decision to go ahead with underground development was confirmed in 2015, the commitment seemed uncertain as nickel prices fell. That changed dramatically over the last 12 months.

With construction beginning this summer, nearly $2 billion in new investment should have underground operations running by April 2021, adding at least 15 years to Voisey’s life. The company estimates 16,000 person-years of employment during five years of construction, followed by 1,700 jobs at the underground mine and Long Harbour processing plant, with 2,135 person-years in indirect and induced employment annually.

Nickel’s 75% price improvement over the last year must have prodded Vale’s decision. But streaming companies were quick to go after Voisey’s cobalt. In separate deals Wheaton Precious Metals TSX:WPM and Cobalt 27 Capital TSXV:KBLT have agreed to buy a total of 75% of the mine’s cobalt beginning in 2021, paying US$390 million and US$300 million respectively. They foresee an average 2.6 million pounds of cobalt per year for the first 10 years, with a life-of-mine average of 2.4 million pounds annually.

Both companies attribute cobalt’s attraction to clean energy demand and a decided lack of DRC-style jurisdictional risk. But Vale also emphasizes nickel’s promise as a battery metal. Last month spokesperson Robert Morris told Metal Bulletin that nickel demand for EVs could rise 10-fold by 2025, reaching 350,000 to 500,000 tonnes.

Total nickel demand currently sits at slightly more than two million tonnes, Morris said. New supply would call for price increases well above the record levels set this year, he added.

Golden Dawn Minerals reports high gold-copper grades in B.C., prepares for trial mining

June 11th, 2018

by Greg Klein | June 11, 2018

Channel sample results from the face of previous underground workings auger well for plans to re-start southern British Columbia’s Lexington mine, Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM stated June 11. The company released several dozen assays from a campaign that’s collected 339 samples so far. Four of the best composite results showed:

  • 30.18 g/t gold and 4.93% copper (37.57 g/t gold-equivalent) over 1.8 metres

  • 26.67 g/t gold and 1.77% copper (29.33 g/t gold-equivalent) over 2.3 metres

  • 13.41 g/t gold and 2.08% copper (16.54 g/t gold-equivalent) over 3.9 metres

  • 17.04 g/t gold and 3.42% copper (22.16 g/t gold-equivalent) over 2.6 metres
Golden Dawn Minerals reports high gold-copper grades in B.C. while preparing for trial mining

Underground refurbishment, equipment maintenance,
engineering studies and permitting bring the Lexington mine
closer to renewed operations.

The grades bolster confidence in the 2016 resource and would help reduce dilution of mill feed during trial mining, anticipated to begin later this year, the company stated. Having produced a PEA for its Greenwood properties last year, Golden Dawn hopes to re-start some of the former mines without de-risking at the feasibility level. The 15,400-hectare portfolio includes 31 historic mines. Processing would take place at the company’s nearby Greenwood mill, a 212-tpd facility that’s expandable to 400 tpd.

Using a base case cutoff of 3.5 g/t gold-equivalent, Lexington’s resource shows:

  • measured: 58,000 tonnes averaging 6.98 g/t gold and 1.1% copper (8.63 g/t gold-equivalent) for 16,100 gold-equivalent ounces

  • indicated: 314,000 tonnes averaging 6.38 g/t gold and 1.04% copper (7.94 g/t gold-equivalent) for 80,200 gold-equivalent ounces

  • inferred: 12,000 tonnes averaging 4.42 g/t gold and 1.03% copper (5.96 g/t gold-equivalent) for 2,300 gold-equivalent ounces

Under a previous operator between April and December 2008, the mine produced 5,486 ounces of gold, 3,247 ounces of silver and 860,259 pounds of copper.

Recent work suggests possible extensions to the northwest of two potential parallel mineralized zones near Lexington’s Main zone. Golden Dawn also sees a “one-kilometre-long trend of favourable host rocks” stretching from Lexington into the former Lone Star mine just across the border in Washington state. “The favourable stratigraphy also extends over three kilometres to the northwest through the historic Lexington, Mable and Number 7 mines, where minimal past exploration drilling was done,” the company stated. Previous sampling shows further potential around the nearby City of Paris former mine, Golden Dawn added.

The company continues its extensive work on Lexington’s mine infrastructure, equipment, engineering studies and permitting.

Earlier this month Golden Dawn closed a $734,700 first tranche of a private placement offered up to $5.4 million. Last month the company issued shares to repay $160,339 in debt to Lind Asset Management.

Read more about Golden Dawn Minerals.

Fabled Klondike gateway sold to cruise ship line for US$290 million

June 7th, 2018

by Greg Klein | June 7, 2018

It’s been a local fixture for decades but a company that panders to pampered argonauts will officially take over the Alaska panhandle port of Skagway. This of course was the landing point for an earlier, much hardier breed nicknamed after Jason and his buddies of Golden Fleece fame. The Klondike argonauts also sailed storm-tossed seas but, while passing through this little town seeking gold, often got fleeced themselves.

Fabled Klondike gateway sold to cruise ship line for US$290 million

From frontier hellhole to tourist mecca,
Skagway trades on its Klondike connection.
(Photo: Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Such was the case when frontier bad guy Soapy Smith and his gang ran Skagway like a criminal fiefdom. They succeeded for a while, but it was right on the docks in 1898 that Smith and vigilante Frank Reid shot and killed each other. Their mortal remains rest in a graveyard on the edge of town.

Skagway was one of two main ports of arrival for the Klondike, along with Dyea, about five kilometres northwest. The latter town led to the Chilkoot Trail, where desperate hopefuls would make something like 50 trips of up to six hours each climbing to a North West Mounted Police checkpoint to carry supplies sufficient to survive a Yukon winter.

The rival route led to the White Pass, “a hellish place even for those inured to hardship and disappointment by having survived the different hell that was Skagway,” wrote Douglas Fetherling in The Gold Crusades. Railway construction began a few months before Smith’s death, with the line reaching Whitehorse in 1900. There, the White Pass and Yukon Route transferred its goods and passengers onto riverboats towards Dawson City.

In the 1950s the WP&YR became a world innovator by introducing the concept of containerized freight handling, loading the cargo from the world’s first container ship to rail at Skagway and then truck at Whitehorse. The distinctive containers can still be seen around Skagway, serving various purposes such as garden sheds.

The WP&YR’s fortunes rose and fell with those of the mining industry, recounted Marina McCready in Gateway to Gold. Competition arrived in 1978 from a new Whitehorse-to-Skagway highway. A mining slump shut down the service in 1982, but it reopened in 1988 to offer summer sightseeing excursions. They still run 110 kilometres between the little downtown and Carcross, Yukon, passing through a corner of northwestern British Columbia.

Today “dat tourist trap Skagway,” as a character in Ken Kesey’s Sailor Song called it, features numerous restored turn-of-the-century buildings, some of them transplanted from Dyea. Part of the town comprises the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, which in 1998 became an international site managed by both the U.S. and Canada.

From May to September the narrow docks host cruise ships magnificent for their stature but still dwarfed by mountains rising suddenly to the north and south.

On June 6 TWC Enterprises TSX:TWC announced an agreement to sell the WP&YR’s “complete rail, port and merchandise operations” to Carnival Corporation & plc for US$290 million. Debt estimated between $70 million and $80 million will be deducted from the price. TWC may take up to $84 million of the proceeds in Carnival shares. Expected to close by July 31, the transaction would put three docks and four cruise ship berths under a single cruise ship line.

The port also ships concentrate from Yukon’s only hardrock mining operation, the Minto copper-gold-silver mine held by Capstone Mining TSX:CS but subject to a purchase agreement with Pembridge Resources plc. Proponents of some would-be mines in B.C.’s Golden Triangle contemplate shipment through Skagway.

Preparations move Belmont Resources toward Nevada lithium drilling

May 23rd, 2018

by Greg Klein | May 23, 2018

With approval now in from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA comes closer to activating a rig on its Kibby Basin lithium project. The next step calls for an application with the Nevada Division of Minerals to carry out exploration drilling, sample soils and groundwater, and install a water well to test flow rates for any aquifers that are encountered.

Preparations move Belmont Resources toward Nevada lithium drilling

This year’s magnetotelluric geophysical program helped identify
drill targets for Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin lithium project.

“This is an important step in the progress of our assessment of the potential brines below the Kibby property,” stated president/CEO James Place. “The proposal submitted to the BLM was for work of a significant scope, including water well installation and monitoring, so the quick approval is a sign that the federal regulators are satisfied with the details of our plans.”

Located 65 kilometres north of Clayton Valley, the 2,760-hectare property underwent deep-sensing magnetotelluric geophysics earlier this year, finding a conductive zone that starts at about 500 metres in depth. The program followed last year’s initial drill campaign that sunk two holes totalling 624 metres. Core samples graded between 70 ppm and 200 ppm Li2O, with 13 of 25 samples surpassing 100 ppm.

Last week Belmont announced the appointment of Ian Graham to the company’s advisory board. A former principal geologist with De Beers’ South African division, he also spent 15 years with Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO where he took part in evaluation and pre-development projects including the Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories and the Resolution copper deposit in Arizona. He also oversaw permitting for the Eagle nickel mine in Michigan and played a key role in the initial economic assessment for the Bunder diamond project in India. More recently Graham served as CEO of United Energy Corp, which held a Nevada lithium project.

Belmont also holds the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick, where historic, non-43-101 sampling has shown zinc, copper and cobalt potential. In Saskatchewan the company shares a 50/50 interest with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT in the Crackingstone and Orbit Lake uranium properties.

Last month Belmont closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $198,000.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont CFO/director Gary Musil.

Visual Capitalist: Copper drives the green energy revolution

May 15th, 2018

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | May 15, 2018

Copper: Driving the green energy revolution

 

Copper is known as “man’s first metal” and for over 10,000 years it’s been used in applications ranging from architecture to coinage.

However, it was Michael Faraday’s discovery of electromagnetic induction in 1831 that turned demand on its head for the red metal. As the world used more and more electricity, copper became known as the obvious choice as an electrical conductor.

Every year, humans already gobble up around 28 million tonnes of the metal in uses mainly related to its electrical properties—and as we transition to a green energy paradigm, copper will be an even more vital ingredient to human progress than it is today.

Copper in green energy

This infographic comes to us from Kutcho Copper TSXV:KC and it dives into copper’s applications with a focus on those in renewable energy.

Renewable energy systems consume approximately five times more copper than conventional power generation systems, making the metal essential for any successful transition to fossil fuel alternatives.

“To understand why renewables are so copper-intensive, consider that around 200 three-megawatt (MW) wind turbines are needed to replace one large steam coal or gas turbine.”: Schroders, British asset manager.

Looking at data per MW strengthens this case.

For every MW of wind power about 3.6 tonnes of copper is needed—and for every MW of photovoltaic solar capacity, about four to five tonnes of copper are required.

Further, roughly three times more copper is used for electric vehicles in comparison to conventional gas-powered vehicles. This alone could create a new major source of copper demand, and Schroders notes that if all 80 million new car sales were EVs today, that would require six million tonnes of additional copper.

While this helps give a sense of perspective, let’s instead look at a less hypothetical case.

By 2035, Bloomberg projects a 43% penetration of EVs in the light-duty vehicle market, which will be roughly equal to 110 million cars. Using the above ratios, that’s about 3.6 million tonnes of extra copper demand—equal to about 15% of the current market.

New copper sources?

Despite more copper being needed for green applications, there are some questions around where this new metal may come from.

Copper projects are notoriously large-scale in size, and the pipeline of new projects is the lowest in a century. As a result, analysts are expecting that the long-anticipated supply crunch might come sooner than expected.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Jobs, revenues, share prices benefit as higher commodity prices boost B.C. mining

May 11th, 2018

by Greg Klein | May 11, 2018

Jobs, revenues, share prices benefit as higher commodity prices boost B.C. mining

A 75%/25% partnership of Copper Mountain Mining TSX:CMMC and Mitsubishi
Materials brought a former mine back into production, employing 430 workers.

 

The bull’s still not back but higher commodity prices continue to sustain a mood of cautious optimism among British Columbia miners, PricewaterhouseCoopers assures us. Its 50th annual report on B.C. mining sketched a broad picture of the province’s industry by surveying 13 companies, focusing on 15 operating mines, a smelter and seven projects in the exploration, permitting or environmental review stage.

Among survey participants, gross revenue hit $11.7 billion in 2017, a 35% jump from the previous year and reflecting an upward trend in the mining cycle. (Except for commodity prices, all figures are given in Canadian dollars.) Governments scooped up $859 million in total mining revenues from those companies last year, compared with $650 million in 2016.

Shareholders fared especially well, reaping 31.1% pre-tax gains from the companies involved, compared with 13.5% in 2016 and 6.3% in 2015. “This is the highest return we’ve seen in recent years and it has surpassed the historic high levels of 2012,” PwC stated.

Direct employment among the companies climbed to 10,196 jobs, compared with 9,329 in 2016 and 9,221 in 2015. PwC attributed most of the increase to Conuma Coal Resources’ two operating mines in the northeast.

Indeed, the participants’ metallurgical coal revenue rose to $5.2 billion from $3 billion in 2016 and $2 billion in 2015. Prices averaged $173 a tonne last year, up from $115 in 2016 and $101 in 2015. At a 50% increase over 2016, the steelmaking stuff struck the highest price increase of any commodity included in the report.

Revenue from copper concentrate came to nearly $1.9 billion, after $1.8 billion in 2016 and $2 billion in 2015. Average red metal prices rose 27% to $2.80 a pound, compared with $2.21 in 2016 and $2.50 in 2015.

Despite a slight decrease in shipments, a 38% price increase lifted participants’ zinc revenue to $1.2 billion, compared with $877 million in 2016 and $818 million the previous year. Prices swelled to an average $1.31 a pound, compared with $0.95 in 2016 and $0.87 in 2015.

Participants’ gold revenues rose to $829 million from $651 million in 2016 and $519 million in 2015. Although B.C. produces the yellow metal largely as a copper byproduct, the 2017 increase largely came from Pretium Resources’ (TSX:PVG) Brucejack mine, which began commercial production that year. Average prices underwhelmed, however, at $1,259 an ounce, although slightly less depressed than the $1,248 in 2016 and $1,160 in 2015.

Silver revenues slipped to $509 million from $589 million the previous year and $535 million in 2015. Average prices wallowed around $17.08 an ounce, compared with $17.11 in 2016, up from $15.71 in 2015. B.C. mines generally garner silver as a byproduct of metals like copper, gold, lead and zinc.

As for lead, it dropped to $224 million in revenues from $255 million the previous year, despite prices rising to $1.05 a pound from $0.85 in 2016.

Molybdenum more than doubled to $104 million from $45 million in 2016 and $51 million in 2015, thanks to higher volumes and prices, which reached $7.07 a pound from $6.37 in 2016.

[The return on shares for participating companies] is the highest return we’ve seen in recent years and it has surpassed the historic high levels of 2012.

Saying “the worst may be over,” PwC stated: “Many in the industry haven’t felt this positive since it was recovering from the fallout of the 2008-09 global financial crisis. There’s cautious optimism the industry will continue to recover.”

But a warning came from an otherwise upbeat Bryan Cox, president of the Mining Association of B.C.: “Mining projects are capital-intensive, multi-year commitments, from exploration to mine development and operation, necessitating clarity, consistency and co-ordination from governments for investors to deploy capital. If any one of those three Cs is missing, then capital investment is at risk.”

This marks PwC’s 50th such report since 1967, when “Lester B. Pearson was Canada’s prime minister, W.A.C. Bennett was the premier of British Columbia and [get this!] the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. As for mining, in 1967 the price of gold was about $35 per ounce, copper was trading around $0.50 per pound and the Britannia mine, now a museum, was still producing copper, gold, silver and other metals and minerals.”

Download 50 years on… The mining industry in British Columbia 2017.

Who’s doing what, and why?

May 10th, 2018

Four banks manipulate six commodities to manage other markets, says Ed Steer

by Greg Klein

Probably the most facile way to dismiss a conspiracy theorist is to label the person “a conspiracy theorist.” Conventional thinking gives the term negative connotations, even though history and current events have an inconvenient tendency to reveal conspiracies in action. Ed Steer’s interest in bullion manipulation started with the Hunt brothers’ 1970s silver conspiracy. Having spent decades watching the machinations of others, the newsletter writer and Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee board member adamantly declares that “there are no markets, just interventions.”

Four banks manipulate six commodities to manage other markets, says Ed Steer

Ed Steer speaks at the International Mining
Investment Conference, held in
Vancouver on May 15 and 16.

Drawing on the work of GATA and analyst Ted Butler, Steer believes precious metals “have been managed actively” in the COMEX futures market since 1973. Price suppression supports “the paper game they’re playing in the stock and bond markets,” a game that’s continued since the U.S. dropped the gold standard in 1971, he argues.

“We’ve had a complete blow-up of paper assets because of unlimited money printing. They don’t want that showing up in the commodities market because the moment that it does, all the paper’s going to rush out of Wall Street, the bond market, the Dow and every other index, and into gold and silver in particular and commodities in general. And that’s not what they want to happen.”

If those two metals merit suppression, so do platinum and palladium. “You couldn’t have a $3,000 or $4,000 platinum price while gold’s sitting at $1,200,” he states. “People would start asking questions.”

Not just bullion but, more recently, copper and crude too. “If you can control the prices of those six, you can pretty well control the prices of other commodities, whether they’re wheat, oats, sugar, lumber or whatever. There will be circumstances of course when supply-demand factors in some commodities will cause a run-up in prices. But overall, they keep those six commodities under price control and, when they do that, they can control everything else.”

Who are they? He attributes special prominence to JPMorgan Chase. “They’re the biggest players in all four precious metals, and they’re also in the crude oil market to a certain extent. It’s JPMorgan Chase, HSBC USA, Scotiabank here in Canada, and most likely Citigroup, but JPMorgan is by far the ringleader. There may be some investment houses involved as well like Morgan Stanley and I think Goldman Sachs, which is now a bank. So it’s the Wall Street paperhangers, four or five of them versus everybody else. There’s also lots of foreign banks involved, maybe up to 30, but their positions are very, very minor compared to the big traders that control almost 50% of the COMEX futures market in gold right now.

Four banks manipulate six commodities to manage other markets, says Ed Steer

“This is total collusion. They all buy at the same time, they all sell at the same time…. There’s no free market in any of this.”

Now, with the gold-silver ratio sometimes surpassing 80 to one, Steer blames this extraordinary divergence on the same tactics.

“JPMorgan has taken silver down from $49 in 2011 all the way to $16 or $17, and they’ve held it there. If the gold-silver ratio were even close to normal it would be around 25 or 30 to one. Of course that would be double or triple the silver price that we have today, and even that doesn’t fully take into account supply and demand. As far as I’m concerned the silver price should be well over $100 an ounce by now and the ratio should be about 20 to one.”

Oil presents another example. “It’s up over 30% since the middle of December. The gold price has done basically nothing. That’s not what normally happens. When oil prices rise, it’s a sign that commodity prices will rise and of course gold and silver are normally the leading indicators. The metals aren’t being allowed to function as leading indicators because they’re trying to get the oil price up without affecting gold and silver prices—and they’ve done an awesome job of that.”

It doesn’t make any difference how many bombs fall on Syria, Iraq or Iran, or what the supply-demand situation is. It all depends on what’s happening in the COMEX futures market.

External forces play little or no role, he maintains. “It doesn’t make any difference how many bombs fall on Syria, Iraq or Iran, or what the supply-demand situation is. It all depends on what’s happening in the COMEX futures market.”

He does concede, however, “If things got really extreme, if downtown Tehran disappeared under a mushroom cloud, that would probably move the markets.”

But sometime in the foreseeable future, those in control will have to let bullion rise, he adds. “It’s very hard to defend this price right now. Demand is exceeding supply, certainly in gold. They’re going to have to increase the prices in both gold and silver, but whether they’ll allow prices to run free remains to be seen. They might just allow gold to rally $300 or $400 or so, and up to $50 in silver, and hold the prices at that new level. But they’re going to have to let it go sooner or later and I think the day is coming sooner.”

That would mean the two metals do offer a safe haven after all. “I think this COMEX futures paper game is going to end pretty soon and those who were already positioned are going to reap substantial rewards. It’s better to be a year or two early rather than five minutes or two days late.”

Ed Steer speaks at the International Mining Investment Conference, held in Vancouver from May 15 to 16. For a 25% admission discount click here and enter the code RESOURCECLIPS.

Read about conference speakers Jayant Bhandari and Simon Moores.

Inmates caught tunnelling below prison were miners, not escapees

May 8th, 2018

by Greg Klein | May 8, 2018

Illicit diamonds and metals, often from conflict sources, plague the Democratic Republic of Congo’s mineral-rich reputation. But in a new twist on illegal mining, authorities have discovered a covert diamond operation run by prisoners right underneath their prison. And while the country’s notorious conflict operations often use forced labour, this mine was popular enough with its workers to retain some of them after their sentences finished.

Inmates caught tunnelling below prison were miners, not escapees

According to a UN report, the DRC’s Osio Prison was
on its way to “becoming a model of self-sustainability.”
(Photo: UN Stabilization Mission in the
Democratic Republic of Congo)

The mine was discovered under the Osio Prison in the country’s north, DRC radio Okapi reported. A raid found over 30 people, including a prison guard, working underground or toiling in their cells at mining-related tasks.

Some prisoners had refused to leave the institution after finishing their sentences. Non-prisoners built temporary homes nearby to join the operation.

Miners said they extracted and sold gems weighing between half and three-quarters of a carat.

The prison guard or a police officer involved was sentenced to 15 days, Okapi added. Others were expelled from the site.

A 2011 United Nations report described Osio as a “high-security prison that houses 191 inmates, including 30 sentenced to capital punishment, 18 to life and 143 to prison terms ranging from three to 20 years.” The UN stated the prison’s agricultural and stock-raising projects had put it “on path to becoming a model of self-sustainability.”

Some companies that have recently run afoul of the DRC government include Glencore, its majority-held Katanga Mining TSX:KAT, AngloGold Ashanti NYSE:AU, Ivanhoe Mines TSX:IVN and Rangold Resources. Among the issues are a new mining code and tax structure, along with increased national ownership.

By far the world’s largest supplier of cobalt and a major source of copper along with diamonds, zinc, tin and gold, the DRC faces political instability and possible civil war after President Joseph Kabila refused to step down when his term ended in November 2016.

Pistol Bay drills 5.15% zinc-equivalent over 12.85 metres at NW Ontario’s Confederation Lake

May 3rd, 2018

by Greg Klein | May 3, 2018

With three holes totalling 1,525 metres now complete out of a 3,500-metre winter-spring campaign, Pistol Bay Mining TSXV:PST released the first assay on May 2. The initial holes targeted the Arrow zone, part of the 100%-optioned, 15,000-hectare Confederation Lake project in northwestern Ontario.

Sunk on Arrow’s main sulphide zone, hole DDH GL18-02 gave up Russian doll interval-within-interval assays as follows:

Pistol Bay drills 5.15% zinc-equivalent over 12.85 metres at NW Ontario’s Confederation Lake

Pistol Bay hopes to upgrade last year’s
resource estimate for the project’s Arrow zone.

  • 3.07% zinc, 0.42% copper, 0.12% lead, 22.2 g/t silver and 0.59 g/t gold for 5.15% zinc-equivalent over 12.85 metres, starting at 422.95 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 3.82% zinc, 0.5% copper, 0.15% lead, 27.3 g/t silver and 0.71 g/t gold for 6.33% zinc-equivalent over 9.8 metres)
  • (which includes 4.83% zinc, 0.56% copper, 0.15% lead, 26.4 g/t silver and 0.45 g/t gold for 7.13% zinc-equivalent over 7.3 metres)
  • (which includes 8.88% zinc, 0.92% copper, 0.38% lead, 44.3 g/t silver and 0.38 g/t gold for 12.3% zinc-equivalent over 2 metres)
  • (which includes 22% zinc, 0.28% copper, 0.77% lead, 74.9 g/t silver and 0.77 g/t gold for 24.8% zinc-equivalent over 0.6 metres)

Overlapping some of these intervals was a three-metre section described as “conspicuous gold enrichment towards the top of the main sulphide zone”:

  • 0.83% zinc, 0.33% copper, 0.17% lead, 40.4 g/t silver and 1.65 g/t gold for 4.41% zinc-equivalent over 3 metres, starting at 426 metres

A 43-101 resource released last year for Arrow used a base case 3% zinc-equivalent cutoff for an inferred category showing:

  • 2.1 million tonnes averaging 5.78% zinc, 0.72% copper,19.5 g/t silver and 0.6 g/t gold, for a zinc-equivalent grade of 8.42%

Contained amounts come to:

  • 274 million pounds zinc, 34.3 million pounds copper, 1.33 million ounces silver and 41,000 ounces gold

But recent drilling suggests Arrow might consist of “two separate zones arranged en echelon or that the southwestern part is displaced from the northeastern part by a fault,” Pistol Bay stated.

Still to come are assays for the two remaining holes.

From Arrow, the rig moves about eight kilometres west to sink three more holes on the property’s Fredart A zone, also known as Copperlode A. Work dating to the 1960s resulted in two conflicting historic, non-43-101 estimates of 386,000 tonnes averaging 1.56% copper and 33.6 g/t silver, or 219,500 tonnes averaging 1.95% copper and 41.8 g/t silver.

The drill program follows last year’s VTEM-Plus survey, the area’s first exposure to state-of-the-art regional geophysics.