Saturday 27th May 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘copper’

Rockcliff Copper readies for gold exploration on three of its northern Manitoba projects

May 25th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 25, 2017

Now known chiefly for VMS deposits, Manitoba’s Snow Lake actually began as a gold mining camp. With active projects in both categories, Rockcliff Copper TSXV:RCU outlined near-term plans for three gold properties on May 25: Dickstone North (DSN), Laguna and Snow Lake Gold (SLG). The summer exploration will precede autumn drilling at Laguna.

Field work on Rockcliff’s 100%-held DSN will focus on a fault zone where historic, non-43-101 gold results included grab samples up to 34 g/t and channel samples up to 104.5 g/t over 0.25 metres. Work will also examine a 12-kilometre strike length that was overlooked by previous operators, Rockcliff stated.

Rockcliff Copper readies for gold exploration on three of its northern Manitoba projects

With a 100% option on the former Laguna gold mine, the company plans to resume this year’s surface and airborne geophysics following spring breakup. Intermittent mining on a single vein between 1916 and 1939 produced over 60,000 ounces from tonnage averaging 18.7 g/t. Rockcliff has previously announced surface grab samples ranging from trace to over 600 g/t. The geophysics will be followed by Laguna’s first drill program in over 70 years.

Another 100% option, SLG will undergo geological work on a major regional structural break with several areas of high-grade gold potential, the company added.

The three programs comprise just part of Rockcliff’s busy 2017 agenda for its approximately 45,000-hectare Snow Lake portfolio. The package also includes two copper-polymetallic deposits with resource estimates and four zinc deposits with historic, non-43-101 estimates, all within trucking distance of two Hudbay Minerals TSX:HBM plants.

“While we remain committed to advancing our core VMS properties we cannot underestimate the primary lode gold potential of our project which includes Manitoba’s first and highest-grade gold mine,” said Rockcliff president/CEO Ken Lapierre. Last month the company announced a new VMS zone on the 51%-optioned Talbot property, where Phase II drilling has been producing copper-gold-zinc-silver results.

In addition to Talbot and Laguna, the company has drilling planned this year for its Bur zinc property and Rail copper-gold-silver project.

Read more about Rockcliff Copper.

Kapuskasing targets zinc past-producer to bolster Newfoundland presence

May 18th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 18, 2017

A former zinc mine with potential for another discovery would expand Kapuskasing Gold’s (TSXV:KAP) portfolio of Newfoundland prospects for high-performing metals. Under a non-binding letter of intent announced May 18, the company would get the 1,050-hectare Daniel’s Harbour property on the Rock’s Great Northern Peninsula.

The announcement follows a recent acquisition of proximal claims by Altius Minerals TSX:ALS, but the former mine sits on property covered by the Kapuskasing deal.

Kapuskasing targets zinc past-producer to bolster Newfoundland presence

In operation from 1975 to 1990, Daniel’s Harbour produced around seven million tonnes averaging 7.8% zinc. A chief characteristic was the mine’s Mississippi Valley Type deposit, a kind that characteristically occurs in clusters or districts, Kapuskasing stated. “There remains potential in the area of the old mine workings of the historic ore bodies continuing at depth or along the favourable breccia horizon,” the company added.

Subject to due diligence and approvals, the 100% acquisition calls for $60,000, 1.75 million shares and $100,000 of spending within two years. A 3% NSR applies, two-thirds of which can be bought back for $2 million. Should Kapuskasing define a resource of five million tonnes at a grade to be determined, the vendor gets a $50,000 bonus.

The news comes amid a busy few months as Kapuskasing collects properties in Newfoundland and Labrador. The company began in March with the acquisition of eight properties offering potential for copper, cobalt or vanadium. Among the standouts is Lady Pond, which an LOI announced last week would expand to 1,625 hectares covering historic mine workings. Surface grab samples graded up to 3.3% copper, 0.12% cobalt and 813 ppb gold.

While previous operators focused on copper, Kapuskasing sees potential for other metals including cobalt. The company has drilling planned later this year.

Another recently expanded March acquisition is King’s Court, now 2,275 hectares covering at least 10 copper showings at surface. Historic channel samples included 14% copper over three metres, 9.3% over 10 metres, 19% over 2.13 metres and 15.87% over 2.59 metres, along with cobalt samples up to 0.24%. The company has sent a 4.79-metre section of drill core to be re-assayed for cobalt and other elements.

Additional acquisitions bring with them historic, non-43-101 results:

  • Alexis, with grab samples up to 0.422% nickel and 0.822% cobalt

  • Cape Charles, with grab samples up to 1.12% copper, 0.47% nickel and 0.526% cobalt

  • Hayes, with a reported 27,000 tonnes averaging 54% iron, 9% titanium and 0.2% vanadium

  • Indian Head, with two dormant mines and iron-titanium-vanadium mineralization

  • Iron Mountain, with grab samples up to 39.8% iron and 0.26% vanadium

  • Ross Lake, with drill intercepts of 21.49% titanium dioxide, 0.24% vanadium and 0.16% chromium oxide over 13 metres; as well as 15.9% titanium dioxide, 0.2% vanadium and 0.13% chromium oxide over 11 metres

Again, those are historic, non-43-101 results.

With Daniel’s Harbour and Lady Pond as dual flagships, Kapuskasing has a busy year planned. Last month the company offered private placements totalling up to $750,000, including up to $250,000 in flow-through.

Infographic: Platinum and its uses, from fuel to food, medicine to money

May 15th, 2017

Posted with permission of BullionVault | May 15, 2017

Platinum Week starts in London today, the key annual gathering of industry players and analysts, meeting in the platinum market’s key global hub.

To mark this series of platinum industry meetings, seminars and events, BullionVault’s latest infographic looks at the incredible uses of this unique and increasingly vital precious metal.

Heavier and more hard-wearing than gold, tiny quantities of platinum today help make anti-cancer drugs as well as the electrodes on your car’s spark plugs.

Most dramatically, platinum’s unique catalytic properties help create enough fertilizer to keep the world fed, as well as turning crude oil into gasoline and aviation fuel, plus cleaning toxic exhaust emissions from diesel engines around the world.

Discover where this invaluable metal comes from, what it is used for, and how it supports key aspects of modern life in this new platinum infographic.

Incredible platinum uses

 

Diesel autocats

The biggest single use of platinum each year, automotive catalytic converters reduce toxic emissions from combustion engines. Over 41% of all platinum used in 2016 went to cut emissions in diesel autocats. The global push to reduce diesel emissions further will likely see platinum use grow. As the giant economies of China and India upgrade their regulations, adopting the Euro 5 standards and moving towards new Euro 6 rules, some analysts predict the global catalytic converter market could grow 47% in the five years to 2021 to a value over $55 billion.

Jewelry

Platinum engagement rings, wedding bands, necklaces and bracelets account for over a third of the metal’s use each year, almost as much as autocats. Most popular in China, platinum jewelry is generally purer than its gold counterpart because the metal is denser (21.5 grams per cubic centimetre versus 19.3 g/cm3) and more hard-wearing. An identically shaped wedding ring made from platinum will weigh 40% more than that made of 18-carat gold. So although bullion platinum prices are currently cheaper than gold per ounce, this high purity adds to the retail price, as do the extra costs of working this significantly harder metal with its higher melting point (1758°C versus 1064°C).

Fibreglass

Platinum’s high melting point and resistance to abrasion or corrosion makes it ideal for handling very hot substances, most notably molten glass. Platinum tools are used both to channel the liquid and to create the hair-like strands making fibreglass, now used for everything from printed circuit boards to kayaks, home insulation to water pipes in sewage systems. “Fiberization” is the term for extruding molten glass from a “bushing”—a platinum alloy container with tiny holes or jets for drawing out the fibres. Bushings are recycled once they are worn or have lost sufficient platinum to require replacement.

Fertilizers

Without the synthetic fertilizers developed 100 years ago, the Earth could feed perhaps only half as many people as are alive today. Platinum catalysts are vital to making nitric acid, 90% of which goes to produce the 190 million tonnes of fertilizer nutrients used each year. The first stage of making nitric acid means oxidizing ammonia gas with air to form nitric oxide. To achieve high conversion efficiencies above 95%, this is normally carried out at pressure over precious-metal catalyst gauzes made of platinum with one-tenth rhodium.

Petrol

Platinum is vital to the world’s supply of petroleum. Without it, oil refineries couldn’t produce enough fuel to meet demand. Coated onto catalysts made from silica or alumina, platinum aids the chemical process of turning low-octane naphtha into gasoline, diesel, gasoil and jet-engine fuel, cracking large molecules of hydrocarbons into smaller, reformed structures. The developed-world’s OECD economies go through 32 million barrels of these liquids per day.

Spark plugs

Traditionally made with a copper electrode due to its superior conductivity, spark plugs using a harder element such as platinum are a popular choice for all but the highest-performance petrol engines. Because copper is one of the softest metals, platinum spark plugs can last roughly 50% longer, giving around 45,000 miles of driving. Each electrode is tiny; just one kilo of platinum could make enough for 46,000 spark plugs.

Medical implants

The least reactive of all metals, platinum and gold cause no irritation to human skin or flesh. But platinum is harder-wearing, making it best for the connections and wires in implants such as pacemakers, protecting against corrosion by acids inside the body. Estimates say more than five tonnes of platinum go into biomedical devices worldwide each year, around 80% for proven treatments (such as pacemakers and guidewires to fit catheters) and the rest in newer devices for neuromodulation (to help control pain and neurological dysfunction) and stents (mesh tubes to widen arteries and improve blood flow).

Chemotherapy

Tiny quantities of platinum go into many antineoplastic drugs, helping curb the growth of tumours by blocking the DNA in cancer cells. If a drug’s brand name contains the word “platin,” chances are it contains the precious metal. One such drug claims to be particularly effective against testicular cancer, improving the cure rate from 10% to 85%. In total, this form of chemotherapy uses around three-quarters of a tonne of platinum each year.

Legal tender coins

Having discovered platinum mining deposits at the start of the 19th century, Russia has been the only country to mint platinum coins for general circulation, running from 1830 to 1845. Nearly 16 tonnes of coins were minted, but production stopped because of low acceptance, volatility in world metal prices, and high minting costs due to platinum’s high melting point and hardness. No other legal tender platinum coin has yet to be struck, but bloggers and economists say that under U.S. law the Treasury could create a small coin with a face value of $1 trillion, and hand it to the Federal Reserve in exchange for that much cash. Debt-ceiling crisis solved at a stroke!

The International Prototype Kilogram (IPK)

How do you know your kilogram of flour or sugar actually weighs a kilogram? First made in 1889 from platinum alloyed with 10% iridium, the International Prototype of the Kilogram (IPK) remains the reference standard to calibrate one-kilo prototypes worldwide. This cylinder measures 39.17 millimetres in both diameter and height, and is stored at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) near Paris. The BIPM now holds five additional copies, with all access strictly controlled and supervised by the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM).

Fuel cells

If you think electric cars are the future of ecological transport, where will the energy for these engines come from? Fuel cell vehicles look like ordinary cars or buses, but mix hydrogen gas with oxygen from the air to create electricity. Aided by a vital platinum catalyst, the only tailpipe emission is pure water. First demonstrated in 1801 by Cornish chemist Humphry Davy, this process became a working fuel cell three decades later under Welsh scientist William Grove. NASA used platinum-catalyst fuel cells between 1961 and 1972 to put electricity and drinking water on the Apollo moon missions. Now a stationary fuel cell with 45 grams of platinum (1.4 troy ounces) has powered 35 homes with three kilowatt hours of electricity per day in a field trial in South Africa, proving that fuel-cell technology offers a viable, economic option for off-grid power.

Posted with permission of BullionVault.

Pistol Bay signs LOI on Confederation Lake property, expands airborne geophysics

May 5th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 5, 2017

Update: On May 8 Pistol Bay announced a further expansion of the airborne VTEM Plus survey, from 1,128 to 2,100 line-kilometres, covering a 40-kilometre length of the Confederation Lake greenstone belt.

An upcoming geophysical program has been extended to fly a potential land acquisition under consideration by Pistol Bay Mining TSXV:PST. The company announced a letter of intent on the 496-hectare Copperlode property, about four kilometres along strike from Pistol Bay’s Arrow zone in Ontario’s Confederation Lake greenstone belt. Having already assembled the area’s largest land package, the company plans region-wide, state-of-the-art exploration over neglected but VMS-rich ground.

Copperlode would bring Pistol Bay two more historic, non-43-101 estimates:

  • D zone: 32,600 tonnes averaging 7.58% zinc and 0.26% copper

  • E zone: 145,000 tonnes averaging 8.28% zinc, 1.02% copper and 24 g/t silver
Pistol Bay signs LOI on Confederation Lake property, expands airborne geophysics

Additionally, some historic, non-43-101 drill intercepts include:

  • B zone: 2.5% zinc and 1.68% copper over 6.3 metres

  • C zone: 0.21% zinc and 6.02% copper over 1.5 metres

  • Hornet zone: 7.56% zinc and 0.08% copper over 6.6 metres
  • 4.07% zinc and 1.13% copper over 5.03 metres

Hornet remains open at depth and along strike.

On finishing the region-wide airborne VTEM Plus campaign Pistol Bay may acquire an initial 65% option on Copperlode from Frontline Gold TSXV:FGC, which holds an option on the claims from another vendor. Pistol Bay would pay Frontline $26,000 and issue 450,000 shares over two years and spend $150,000 over three years. Another $50,000 and 300,000 shares would boost Pistol Bay’s stake to 80%.

Pistol Bay’s current Confederation Lake portfolio consists of 9,450 hectares with a number of historic estimates, including the 2007 Arrow resource on which the company began a 43-101 update last month.

Also last month, the company closed a $336,000 private placement that followed a $548,436 placement in March. April brought more money with $750,000 from a Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO subsidiary as part of its 100% option on Pistol Bay’s uranium properties in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin.

Read more about Pistol Bay Mining.

Cobalt’s Congo conundrum

May 3rd, 2017

The battery market’s DRC dependency can only grow, says Benchmark

by Greg Klein

“If there’s any nation that contributes over 50% of supply for a mineral, alarm bells start to go off.” That’s especially true when the country is as troubled as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence analyst Caspar Rawles told a Vancouver conference on April 21. Social and political instability combined with child labour concerns intensify what he calls the “cobalt conundrum,” in which battery manufacturers have no choice but to increase their reliance on DRC resources. That’s his forecast, even as he acknowledges demand for new sources from elsewhere.

The DRC easily dominates global cobalt, with 64% of mined supply according to the most recent Benchmark figures. No more reassuring, China dominates refined supply with 57%. Without significant cobalt reserves of its own, the country holds a prominent position in DRC mining, where the energy ingredient results as a byproduct of copper extraction.

The battery market’s DRC dependency can only grow, says Benchmark

That position expanded this year with the Freeport-McMoRan NYSE:FCX/Lundin Mining TSX:LUN sale of their DRC Tenke Fungurume copper-cobalt mine to China Molybdenum and a Chinese private equity firm. An anticipated and equally geopolitically feckless follow-up would be the American/Canadian JV’s sale of its Finnish cobalt refinery to the same people. By processing Fungurume ore, the facility provides about 10% of the world’s refined supply, Rawles says.

For all the disturbing news coming out of the Congo, “there will be no lithium-ion battery industry without DRC cobalt,” Rawles maintains. “We expect cobalt supply from the DRC to become more dominant in the market, and that’s because of where the large projects are, plus-10,000 tonnes a year.”

Yet by no means is Congo cobalt necessarily conflict cobalt, even when artisanal supply is considered. Some artisanal operations are perfectly legal, he says, while media-reported numbers can be “inflated.”

Tackling the issue presents difficulties, Rawles says. Companies often mine a small part of huge concessions, with no power to prevent the desperately poor from working other parts of the claims. The only people with any such power in the DRC “are the mining police and they just confiscate the material, they don’t take away the problem. It’s a longstanding problem and it’s going to take time to resolve.”

Not surprisingly, “substitution is definitely something that cathode companies are working on,” he points out. Not all cathodes require cobalt, unlike lithium. Even so, he sees about 81% of the market continuing to use cobalt cathodes.

As the Li-ion battery market grows from 70 GWh last year to Benchmark’s estimated 170 GWh in 2020, “cobalt demand will be high but won’t surpass supply.” Beyond 2020, Rawles predicts a deficit growing to 2023, then ending around 2024 or 2025.

“The only thing that can accelerate a reduction in cobalt is supply disruption,” he adds. Critics of DRC President Joseph Kabila attribute the country’s delayed elections to his determination to retain power after 16 years in office. Protests have resulted in scores of fatalities, raising fears of even wider civil unrest.

Another possible impact on supply/demand forecasts could come “if EVs take off even more quickly than we expect.”

The DRC hosts the world’s two big near-term copper-cobalt operations, Glencore’s majority-held Katanga mine and Eurasian Resources Group’s Metalkol Roan Tailings Reclamation project. Rawles expects Katanga to resume production early next year after its 2015 suspension. While the project’s technical report sets annual cobalt capacity at 30,000 tonnes, he expects the early years will probably realize half of that.

There will be demand from certain companies that don’t want to touch DRC cobalt.—Caspar Rawles,
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence

RTR’s slated for 2019 startup, Rawles says. ERG targets an initial 14,000 tonnes of cobalt annually, increasing to 20,000 tonnes over the next three to five years.

So despite “a number of other, smaller projects in the pipeline,” DRC dominance will prevail. Still, Rawles does see opportunity for other sources of cobalt. But new suppliers will have to follow a “value-added strategy,” he argues. They must produce a cobalt chemical that meets a manufacturer’s precise requirements. And the suppliers need to do that without refining their product in China, where it might be blended with conflict supply.

“That’s how they can brand themselves,” he says. “There’s going to be demand for that. Certainly the large supply is going to come from the DRC and if you’re really serious about EVs, that’s where the cobalt’s going to come from. It’s not going to happen without that.”

But, he emphasizes, “there will be demand from certain companies that don’t want to touch DRC cobalt.”

Golden Dawn Minerals reports up to 246 g/t silver, 2.69 g/t gold over 3.71 metres at B.C.’s Greenwood camp

April 26th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 26, 2017

Once again confirming mineralization beyond the former May Mac mine’s #7 level, Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM boasts silver and gold 70 metres northwest, 20 metres above and up to 120 metres below the adit. Assays released April 26 follow a batch released in early March, part of 31 underground holes totalling 3,834 metres sunk since late last year to test the Skomac and parallel veins.

Golden Dawn Minerals reports assays from B.C.’s Greenwood camp

Located 15 kilometres from May Mac, Golden Dawn’s Greenwood
gravity-flotation mill has a 200-tpd capacity expandable to 400 tpd.

May Mac comprises one of several southern British Columbia past-producers that Golden Dawn hopes to resurrect, all within range of the company’s Greenwood mill. Golden Dawn has a 43-101 technical report underway on the entire portfolio, including an updated PEA for its Lexington and Golden Crown projects.

Some standout assays from May Mac’s current crop include:

Hole MU 17-12

  • 335 g/t silver, 7.53 g/t gold, 0.2% lead and 0.5% zinc over 0.46 metres, starting at 30.93 metres

MU 17-14

  • 252.6 g/t silver, 0.93 g/t gold, 9.9% lead, 4.3% zinc and 0.1% copper over 2.57 metres, starting at 105.92 metres
  • (including 494.5 g/t silver, 1.21 g/t gold, 19.6% lead, 8% zinc and 0.1% copper over 1.29 metres)

  • 49.5 g/t silver, 12.55 g/t gold, 1.4% lead, 2% zinc and 0.1% copper over 0.56 metres, starting at 129 metres

MU 17-16

  • 246 g/t silver, 2.69 g/t gold, 1.3% lead, 0.9% zinc and 0.1% copper over 3.71 metres, starting at 70.76 metres
  • (including 472 g/t silver, 4.42 g/t gold, 11.3% lead, 4.7% zinc and 0.1% copper over 0.35 metres)
  • (and including 911 g/t silver, 9.53 g/t gold, 1.1% lead, 1% zinc and 0.2% copper over 0.55 metres)

MU 17-21

  • 58.8 g/t silver, 16.17 g/t gold, 2.3% lead, 3.3% zinc and 0.1% copper over 0.56 metres, starting at 15.84 metres
  • (including 90.5 g/t silver, 23.7 g/t gold, 3.7% lead, 5.5% zinc and 0.1% copper over 0.31 metres)

True widths weren’t available.

Having transferred the rig from underground drill station #3 to #2, work continues before moving to station #1. Subject of focus are the Skomac, Rose and West veins in a campaign expected to finish next month.

Other May Mac work awaits permit approvals. One application concerns additional surface drilling northwest along strike of the mine, where the company sees potential for mineralization up to another kilometre on the Skomac and parallel structures. The company also seeks approval to extend the #7 level northwest for additional drilling and a bulk sample of up to 10,000 tonnes.

Metallurgical tests have taken place on a May Mac composite core sample, with additional tests of tailings now underway to support processing at the mill, 15 kilometres from the mine.

Also proximal to the mill is Golden Dawn’s Golden Crown property, which has an application pending for surface drilling up to 10,000 metres. The company has preparations underway for field work at the recent Kettle River acquisition, which hosts 70 showings including 29 historic mines.

Golden Dawn also plans to begin dewatering its Lexington mine once spring weather allows.

Along with the mill, the former May Mac, Golden Crown and Lexington mines constitute the focal points of Golden Dawn’s Greenwood portfolio. Given the infrastructure in place, the company might decide to undertake trial mining and processing without the de-risking of a feasibility study.

In February Golden Dawn received a US$4-million advance on a gold purchase agreement.

Rockcliff Copper drills new VMS zone on its northern Manitoba Snow Lake portfolio

April 26th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 26, 2017

Rockcliff Copper drills new VMS zone on its northern Manitoba Snow Lake portfolio

A third hole from this year’s Phase II campaign hit a new volcanogenic massive sulphide zone on the Talbot property, Rockcliff Copper TSXV:RCU announced April 26. The company holds a 51% option with Hudbay Minerals TSX:HBM on the property, part of Rockcliff’s Snow Lake project in northern Manitoba’s Flin Flon-Snow Lake camp.

Hole TB-020 follows two holes released earlier this month. TB-020 and TB-019 tested the approximately 400- by 1,000-metre North Lens deep conductive plate, finding VMS mineralization 250 metres apart. Conductivity increases for an additional 800 vertical metres below TB-020, while mineralization remains open in all directions, Rockcliff stated.

Results for the newly released hole show:

  • 0.81% copper, 0.67 g/t gold, 1.91% zinc and 17.03 g/t silver for 2.4% copper-equivalent over 6.65 metres, starting at 1,030.13 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 1.44% copper, 1.66 g/t gold, 5.16% zinc and 26.5 g/t silver for 5.38% copper-equivalent over 1.92 metres)

  • 0.57% copper, 0.07 g/t gold and 5.77 g/t silver for 0.64% copper-equivalent over 16.91 metres, starting at 1,120.26 metres

Most large VMS mines in the Flin Flon-Snow Lake mining camp are comprised of multiple stacked VMS-rich lenses that were identified initially as geophysical conductive plates and the Talbot property appears to have those same attributes.—Ken Lapierre,
president/CEO of Rockcliff Copper

True widths weren’t available.

“Most large VMS mines in the Flin Flon-Snow Lake mining camp are comprised of multiple stacked VMS-rich lenses that were identified initially as geophysical conductive plates and the Talbot property appears to have those same attributes,” said Rockcliff president/CEO Ken Lapierre. The company plans further drilling this year to test the plate’s potential.

A January 2016 resource gives the Talbot deposit an inferred total for three zones:

  • 2.17 million tonnes averaging 2.8% copper, 2.4 g/t gold, 2.2% zinc and 54.6 g/t silver for 133.6 million pounds copper, 165,400 ounces gold, 107.4 million pounds zinc and 3.81 million ounces silver

Rockcliff’s Snow Lake project consists of several properties, with drilling planned this year on the Bur zinc project, Rail copper-polymetallic deposit and Penex zinc property, as well as Talbot. Other recent company news includes the discovery of a large conductive plate below the down-dip continuation of the historic Pen zinc deposit that neighbours Penex, and last month’s start of airborne and ground geophysics on the Laguna gold property.

Read more about Rockcliff Copper.

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

April 20th, 2017

With a provincial election weeks away, Peter Caulfield asked sources in three British Columbia regions to comment on the importance of mining for the Association for Mineral Exploration’s quarterly magazine, Mineral Exploration. In general terms, the responses differ from views commonly heard in cities geographically removed but hardly independent of resource economies and the commodities they produce. In that respect, the relevance of Caulfield’s article applies far beyond B.C. The article is posted here with the permission of AME.

 

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

by Peter Caulfield

In a province that is as large and diverse as British Columbia, it’s natural that opinions on most topics—including mineral exploration and development—will be diverse too.

What the average person in Oak Bay or Yaletown thinks about a new mine or pipeline will be very different from what’s going through the head of somebody who lives in the northwestern corner of British Columbia or in the Kootenays in southeastern B.C.

As the province’s May 9 election approaches, Mineral Exploration wanted to know what’s on the mind of voters who live in the parts of the province that are most dependent on resource development. We talked to three well-connected observers of local politics in four provincial constituencies: Kamloops-North Thompson and Kamloops-South Thompson, Stikine and Kootenay East. We asked each of them what the hot-button issues are in their respective constituencies and whether mineral exploration and mine development is important to their fellow voters.

The following interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.

 

Stikine

Maria Ryder, District of Stewart councillor for 2.5 years, chief of the volunteer fire department and 25-year Stewart resident

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

(Photo: Carl Ryan/AME)

The main projects in the Stewart region are Brucejack (Pretium Resources TSX:PVG), the Premier mine (Ascot Resources TSXV:AOT), Red Mountain (IDM Mining TSXV:IDM) and the Red Chris mine (Imperial Metals TSX:III).

Along with Terrace and Kitimat, Stewart is one of the largest communities in the district. We are growing in population, especially in the summer, when workers and their families descend on the town, drawn by mineral exploration and hydro projects and by Stewart’s two ports.

It’s very different here from urban British Columbia, and the people from down south who come up here to work find out just how different it is. And some of them discover how different some of our opinions and concerns are from theirs.

Because we get a lot of snow in the winter, much of the employment in Stewart is seasonal and the people who live here adjust their lives accordingly. Every year between March and November we’re busy, and between November and March things are pretty slow. But we’re used to it and we adjust.

The main election issue here is sustainable job creation through industrial development. We want jobs that stay and that provide stability to Stewart.

 

Kootenay East

Lois Halko, District of Sparwood second-term councillor and former mayor, born and raised in Sparwood

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

(Photo: Malcom Lennox/AME)

The main economic drivers of the region are the mining of metallurgical coal, which is B.C.’s single biggest export, and the activities of the local suppliers to the coal industry.

There are five Teck [Teck Resources TSX:TECK.A and TSX:TECK.B] metallurgical coal mines in the region: Coal Mountain, Elkview, Fording River, Greenhills and Line Creek. In addition, there are four mining companies that are interested in developing mines in the Elk Valley area: CanAus Coal, Centermount Coal, NWP Coal Canada and Riversdale Resources.

The five Teck mines have a total of 3,600 full-time employees, of whom 2,400 live in four communities in the Elk Valley area.

Because it is used to make steel, and because steel is such an essential product in everyone’s life, metallurgical coal should be recognized as a critical resource. It’s certainly critical to the people who live in Sparwood.

Teck has earned its social licence to continue mining here. The public has accepted the company’s efforts to mitigate any of the effects of coal mining, such as contaminants leaching into the water supply. Teck has done a lot of work to reduce the problem.

At the same time, we know that we need to diversify our economy. It’s something the local municipalities talk about a lot. The Sparwood regional economy is one of the least diversified in the province, which has made us very vulnerable to a cycle of boom and bust. The region has lots more to offer than just coal deposits, and we’re trying to leverage our mountains and natural beauty to build a thriving tourist industry.

 

Kamloops-North Thompson and Kamloops-South Thompson

Ryan Scorgie, president of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce

The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce and its 850 members take a great deal of interest in all kinds of resource development, including mineral development in Kamloops-North Thompson and Kamloops-South Thompson.

The main mineral projects in the area are the Ajax project (KGHM International), the New Afton mine (New Gold TSX:NGD) and Highland Valley Copper (Teck).

Opinions about resource development are mixed in Kamloops. Most of the working people here are for it, but many of the academics at Thompson Rivers University are against, so the Chamber of Commerce hears both sides of the argument. Our position is that if a project goes through the appropriate review process and passes it, then we support it.

In fact, the Chamber thinks process is so important that our Policy Development Committee developed a policy regarding resource development in 2016 called Supporting Canada’s Responsible Resource Development.

The policy statement is more important than its brevity might indicate, because it was adopted provincially just a few months after it was written.

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

(Photo: Neil Leonard/AME)

The committee writes, in part: “The Chamber believes that it is critical that B.C. maintains its reputation as a jurisdiction open to investment. Achieving the investments needed to ensure Canada’s competitiveness will require an efficient regulatory review process that ensures continued health and environmental protection of Canadians while generating jobs, economic growth and prosperity.

“A streamlined process will encourage investment by providing businesses with a clear and predictable process to protect the environment while making the best use of limited government resources.

“Inefficient and unpredictable processes may turn away potential investors and prevent businesses from being able to make informed location and logistic decisions. For example, the World Economic Forum has cited inefficient government bureaucracy as one of the biggest impediments to improving Canada’s economic competitiveness.

“We need to make sure that the regulatory review process is efficient and has a clear scope, reasonable timelines and the flexibility to address unforeseen circumstances.”

Originally published in the spring 2017 edition of Mineral Exploration. Posted here with the permission of the Association for Mineral Exploration.

Pistol Bay readies geophysics, resource update at Ontario’s Confederation Lake

April 12th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 12, 2017

Taking to the skies to probe deeper underground, the first airborne survey in 20 years will bring state-of-the-art technology to Pistol Bay Mining’s (TSXV:PST) Confederation Lake greenstone belt land package. Geotech Ltd will carry out an initial 1,128-line-kilometre VTEM Plus campaign, the first phase of a belt-scale helicopter-borne program. That’s part of a multi-disciplinary approach planned over the next few years for Pistol Bay’s portfolio, at 9,450 hectares the largest holdings in Confederation Lake.

Pistol Bay readies geophysics, resource update at Ontario’s Confederation Lake

VTEM Plus penetrates deeper and offers better conductor resolution than previous VTEM systems, the company stated.

“We will essentially be exploring a new depth slice of this greenstone belt, with its numerous VMS deposits and occurrences, that has never been explored before,” said president Charles Desjardins. “This newer technology increases the chances of potentially finding a new zinc-copper-silver deposit like the Arrow zone or the former producing South Bay mine.”

Last week Pistol Bay announced an update had begun on Arrow’s 2007 resource, one of the portfolio’s historic estimates.

The company’s currently financed with a $548,436 private placement that closed last month and a recent payment of $750,000 from a Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO subsidiary as part of its 100% option on Pistol Bay’s uranium properties in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin.

Read more about Pistol Bay Mining.

Visual Capitalist: The re-awakening of the Golden Triangle

April 6th, 2017

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | April 6, 2017

The re-awakening of the Golden Triangle

 

Many years ago, a remote and mountainous region in northwestern British Columbia gained considerable attention as an emerging mineral district. With a rich mining history, one of the world’s largest silver mines (Eskay Creek, discovered in 1988) and million-ounce gold deposits, this area of incredible wealth became known as the Golden Triangle.

However, despite its obvious potential, the vast majority of land in this highly prospective region has been left mostly untouched by humans. A combination of factors, including low gold prices and a lack of infrastructure, led to the area lying dormant for decades.

Today, things are changing dramatically. The Golden Triangle is a new hotbed for mineral discovery, where over 130 million ounces of gold, 800 million ounces of silver and 40 billion pounds of copper have been found. The amazing part is that this is only scratching the surface of the region’s ultimate potential.

Skeena Resources TSXV:SKE and IDM Mining TSXV:IDM have generously helped put together the story on the re-awakening of the famed Golden Triangle.

The new gold rush

Why is the Golden Triangle at the centre of attention again? There are five main reasons:

1. New deposits found

The old adage is that the best place to find a new mine is near an existing one. Here are three major deposits in the Golden Triangle that have geologists and financiers buzzing:

KSM

Seabridge Gold’s (TSX:SEA) KSM project is the largest gold project in the world. In 2014 it received the green light from Canada’s federal government to go ahead. A porphyry-style deposit, it has reserves of 38.8 million ounces of gold, 10.2 billion pounds of copper and 183 million ounces of silver.

Red Chris

This $700-million copper and gold mine entered production in 2015. Owned by Imperial Metals TSX:III, it will be in production until 2043 based on current mine life estimates. In 2016 alone, it produced 83 million pounds of copper, 47,000 ounces of gold and 190,000 ounces of silver.

Valley of the Kings

The latest, and perhaps most interesting, discovery in the Golden Triangle is slotted to reach commercial production in 2017. The Valley of the Kings, unlike the above porphyry-style deposits, contains extremely high-grade gold. With 15.6 million tonnes grading 16.1 g/t gold, this deposit has some of the richest ore in the world.

2. New Infrastructure

In recent years, the Golden Triangle has received three massively important infrastructure upgrades:

  • Paving of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway (north from Smithers)

  • Opening of ocean port facilities for export of concentrate at Stewart

  • Completion of a $700-million high-voltage transmission line to bring power into the Golden Triangle

3. Declining snow cover

Glacial ice and snow have been retreating in many parts of the region, revealing rocks never seen before by human eyes. Especially in a mineral-rich region such as the Golden Triangle, this is a very exciting prospect for mineral geologists.

4. A new geological explanation

The Golden Triangle region has complex geology that had befuddled explorers for decades—but recent work has made the picture much clearer. Geologist Jeff Kyba has put forth the following theory: Geological contact between Triassic-age Stuhini rocks and Jurassic-age Hazelton rocks is the key marker for copper-gold mineralization.

Most of the Triangle’s copper-gold deposits, whether they are large-scale porphyry and intrusion-related, are found within two kilometres of this contact. It’s been named the Red Line, and this new interpretation of the region’s geology could contribute to B.C.’s next mega deposit.

5. Gold price recovery

Since the “sleepy” days of the Golden Triangle, gold prices have increased three times, even after adjusting for inflation. Combined with new infrastructure, exciting projects and world-class mineral potential, the Golden Triangle is awake again.

What’s happening today?

Today, the Golden Triangle is buzzing with activity.

  • The Red Chris mine is now in operation

  • Valley of the Kings is entering production in 2017

  • KSM, the world’s largest gold deposit, is nearing potential construction

  • Historic mines like the Snip Mine and Granduc are being explored using modern methods

  • New high-grade gold is being found. Red Mountain and the old Premier gold mine are the sites of some of these discoveries

  • Dozens of companies are on the ground performing all phases of exploration

Many types of mineral deposits are being tested for, including high-grade gold veins, large-scale porphyries and VMS (volcanogenic massive sulphide) deposits. The Golden Triangle is once again a centre of attention and it could be poised to become one of the world’s most prolific concentrations of mineral wealth.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

See an infographic about the Golden Triangle’s mining history.