Tuesday 23rd January 2018

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘diamonds’

Matthew Vickery writes about a Bavarian city built with local stone bearing millions of tiny asteroid-created diamonds

December 27th, 2017

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The missing diamonds, the homeless hero and a media-spun Christmas fable

December 27th, 2017

by Greg Klein | December 27, 2017

This small Vancouver Island city’s best known for its eponymous Nanaimo bars, known to Canadians not as biker-infested boozers but an exquisitely sweet confection believed to have originated with 19th-century Scottish coal mining families. Just in time for Christmas, some media turned the local tale of a missing diamond ring into a concoction just as rich.

Missing diamonds, a homeless hero and a media-spun Christmas fable

An overly sweet Nanaimo concoction.
(Photo: Tourism Nanaimo)

An out-of-town visitor lost the ring, which was sitting in her change purse, when she accidentally scooped it up with some money that she offered a street guy. On realizing what happened, she made a public appeal for the ring’s return, emphasizing that the guy received it purely by accident. The Nanaimo News Bulletin reported that in a straightforward December 16 story.

On December 18 in downtown Nanaimo I was approached by a stranger who I later recognized from media photos as the guy who eventually found the ring’s recipient, obtained the missing item and returned it to the owner. The stranger asked me to make a phone call for him. I replied that I don’t have a cell phone. Nevertheless he tagged along with me, talking semi-coherently about a missing diamond ring and a TV reporter named Skye. At one point he blurted out that he’d been “clean for a day.”

I asked him if he knew the ring’s whereabouts. He shouted, “I do now!” Referring to the News Bulletin story, I said the owner asked that it be turned in to the Salvation Army. He replied, “OH YEAH?” and suddenly ran off.

The Sally Ann was a block and a half in another direction.

Later that day he met up with CHEK TV and the ring’s owner. Maybe he was surprised by the fruits of his televised altruism.

They included a “generous cash reward” from the owner, followed by other gifts that poured in after CHEK broadcast its emotively condescending account. A CHEK follow-up report encouraged more donations to be dropped off at a downtown business.

Then Canadian Press took up the story, which was relayed in a dozen or more media in Canada and internationally.

But between the CHEK broadcast and the nearly viral CP account, the News Bulletin ran another story, again avoiding emotionalism. In its straightforward manner the paper also noted that two of the ring’s diamonds “had apparently been pried from their settings and were missing.”

That detail wasn’t mentioned by the CHEK reporter who witnessed the ring’s return. CP euphemistically referred to the missing stones as “some damage to the jewelry.”

Not to worry, a jeweller—an unnamed jeweller who contacted the owner directly, not through the media—has offered to replace the gems and repair the ring for free.

For all that, the owner’s goodwill knows no bounds. She wants to track down the ring’s earlier recipient to give him a cash reward too. She spent Christmas Eve handing out money to street people and started a GoFundMe campaign to help the ring returner move out of his friend’s place and into a home of his own—“and maybe even get him a puppy to love.”

A fairy tale town that’s—no fairy tale, this—made of diamonds

November 24th, 2017

by Greg Klein | November 24, 2017

Sitting amid a 72,000-tonne supply and featuring a 5,000-carat diamond church, this Bavarian city might strain the imagination of even the most feverish newsletter writer. But Nordlingen’s diamonds are real, albeit too small to have economic value. Matthew Vickery described his visit in a BBC report this week.

A fairy tale town that’s—no fairy tale, this—made of diamonds

The picture book town seen from the
tower of St. George’s 5,000-carat church.

The ninth-century town was built largely of suevite, in which the locally quarried variety comes “embedded with millions of tiny diamonds, in a concentration seen nowhere else in the world,” he states. As a result, the town’s buildings, city walls and other structures display a “shimmering” effect that locals take for granted.

As SmithsonianMag.com explains, the tiny stones were created not at depth but on surface about 15 million years ago when the site of the future town got clobbered by a one-kilometre-wide, three-billion-ton asteroid. The collision created suevite, “an impact breccia or coarse-grained rock comprised of angular fragments that can include glass, crystal and diamonds, and is commonly found at impact sites such as this one.

“When the asteroid hit the Earth, the force caused graphite-bearing gneiss rocks in the region to form diamonds due to the immense pressure—believed to have been 60 gigapascals, according to one study.”

Fifteen million years later, the locals assumed the circular town’s basin was created by a volcano which they confidently presumed to be extinct. A 1960s study by two American geologists determined the 24-kilometre-long Ries crater’s extra-terrestrial instigator. In the 1990s British researchers discovered the microscopic diamonds, attributing to the crater a not-quite-43-101 estimate of 72,000 tonnes.

“Although suevite can be found in other parts of the world from similar impacts, nowhere is the gemstone concentration as high as it is in Nordlingen,” points out Vickery. But the “gemstones” are actually not gem-quality. The tower watchman for the 5,000-carat-encrusted church of St. George tells him that the diamonds are luckily “very, very small, otherwise the tower would’ve been taken down a long time ago.”

Exploration begins at Arctic Star’s Finnish diamond project

November 23rd, 2017

Update: On November 24 Arctic Star announced the closing of a final tranche of an oversubscribed private placement totalling $1.7 million.

by Greg Klein | November 23, 2017

Having closed the acquisition a week earlier, Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD now has a crew busy at its Timantti diamond project in Finland. Located among favourable regional infrastructure in the Fennoscandian Shield, which hosts the major Russian diamond mines Lomonosov and Grib, the property has geophysics, sampling and drilling planned.

Exploration begins at Arctic Star’s Finnish diamond project

Arctic Star VP of exploration Buddy Doyle
gathers kimberlite float samples at Timantti.

Timantti’s White Wolf kimberlite has already revealed 169 microdiamonds, 111 from 52.7 metres of historically extracted core and another 58 from an 18.9-kilogram sample. The current program will include ground magnetic, gravity and electromagnetic surveys over the Black and White kimberlites to define their sizes and identify other drill-worthy anomalies.

Additionally, 20 backhoe till samples will be taken to search for diamond indicator minerals. Drilling will consist of about eight holes totalling 1,500 metres, with a 500-kilogram core sample from each of the two kimberlites. Results of the program will determine whether to proceed with bulk sampling.

Work will focus on a 243-hectare area covered by an exploration permit. The project also includes a 95,700-hectare exploration reservation.

Among other projects, Arctic Star holds the Cap property in east-central British Columbia, host to an extremely rare carbonatite-syenite complex that’s potentially associated with several commodities. In September the company reported “highly anomalous” assays for niobium, rare earths and phosphate from sampling and a drill hole.

In the Northwest Territories’ diamondiferous Lac de Gras region, Arctic Star also holds a 40% stake in the Diagras JV, where majority partner Margaret Lake Diamonds TSXV:DIA carried out geophysics last summer.

This week Arctic Star appointed Scott Eldridge as president/CEO. From 2008 to 2016 Eldridge led Euroscandic International Group, providing investment banking and advisory services to resource companies. He has been responsible for raising over $500 million in equity and debt financing for mining projects internationally.

Earlier this month the company closed a private placement first tranche of $965,000.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Arctic Star’s Patrick Power.

Jeweller Laurence Graff attributes unusual powers to the $53-million Lesedi La Rona rough diamond

October 20th, 2017

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Authors William Dalrymple and Anita Anand consider responses to India and Pakistan’s rival claims to the Koh-i-Noor diamond, now part of Britain’s Crown Jewels

October 17th, 2017

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Lucara Diamond scoops up $53 million for world’s largest uncut rough

September 25th, 2017

by Greg Klein | September 25, 2017

The second-largest gem-quality diamond ever found now advances to “its next stage of evolution,” as Graff Diamonds takes on the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona. A company that modestly credits itself with fashioning “the most fabulous jewels in the world” plunked down $53 million for the product of Lucara Diamond’s (TSX:LUC) Karowe mine in Botswana, an ongoing source of record-sized rocks.

Lucara Diamond scoops up $53 million for world’s largest uncut rough

The Lesedi La Rona “will dictate how it
wants to be cut,” said buyer Laurence Graff.
(Photo: Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Sotheby’s)

Curiously, Lucara president/CEO William Lamb called the price “an improvement on the highest bid received at the Sotheby’s auction in June 2016.” That was when his company rejected a reported $61-million bid, hoping to haul in $70 million or more. Presumably the discrepancy results from what would have been the gavel-swinger’s piece of the action. As is usually the case for rough sales, the Graff transaction took place sans auction. By press time Lamb hadn’t responded to a ResourceClips.com inquiry.

Graff had previously paid the miner $17.5 million for a 373.72-carat shard that broke off Lesedi during the recovery process. With improved technology, Lucara and other companies hope to avoid such damage, making super-sized stones less uncommon.

The Lesedi sale amounts to $47,777 per carat, but falls short of a record for rough. In May 2016 Lucara got $63.11 million, or $77,649 per carat, for the 812.77-carat Constellation, another Karowe monster.

“The stone will tell us its story,” Laurence Graff said of his latest purchase. “It will dictate how it wants to be cut and we will take the utmost care to respect its exceptional properties.”

They’ll have to. Given the unique qualities of each stone, cutting and polishing can present heart-stopping challenges. But, since the time South Africa’s 3,106.75-carat Cullinan diamond was subdivided into nine components of Britain’s Crown Jewels, technology has improved the ability to both understand a rock’s properties and reshape it into brilliant bling.

But “why would you want to polish it?” Lamb reportedly had asked previously. According to a July 2017 Reuters story, he argued, “The stone in the rough form contains untold potential…. As soon as you polish it into one solution, everything else is gone.”

Lesedi has not only raised Karowe’s profile but influenced proposed legislation that would allow Botswana to purchase exceptionally large or unusual diamonds from its mines. Earlier this month Lucara stated its support for the plan, emphasizing that prices would reflect market values.

Read about the recently published Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond.

Arctic Star Exploration finds “highly anomalous” niobium, rare earths and phosphate at B.C. project

September 25th, 2017

by Greg Klein | September 25, 2017

Highly anomalous means highly encouraging, especially at such an early stage of exploration. That’s how Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD characterized its first batch of assays from the Cap property in east-central British Columbia. The news follows last month’s announcement of an extremely rare carbonatite-syenite discovery, suggesting potential for a range of commodities. Now assays for grab samples and the first drill hole show highly anomalous niobium, rare earths and phosphate, the company stated.

Arctic Star Exploration finds “highly anomalous” niobium, rare earths and phosphate at B.C. project

Some intervals of
carbonatite from CAP17-004.

Five selected grab samples assayed 0.2% niobium pentoxide, hitting a peak of 0.96% Nb2O5, while three grab samples brought more than 0.2% total rare earth oxides, peaking at 0.39% TREO. Three samples contained over 5% phosphorus pentoxide with a peak value of 12.62% P2O5.

CAP17-004, the first of four drill holes, showed:

  • 0.35% Nb2O5 over 10.42 metres, starting at 85.24 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.63% Nb2O5 over 2.26 metres)

  • 9.94% P2O5 over 19.63 metres, starting at 98.87 metres
  • (including 20.97% P2O5 over 2.55 metres)

  • 0.81% TREO over 2.4 metres, starting at 136.1 metres

True widths weren’t provided. The last interval also showed a peak value of 69 ppb gold and over 1% TREO.

Along with sampling and drilling, the summer program included mapping and prospecting over an area of about three kilometres by one kilometre.

“The discovery of highly anomalous concentrations of niobium, phosphate and REOs at such an early stage in the exploration of the Cap project should be considered highly encouraging,” said consulting geologist Jody Dahrouge. “Future exploration at Cap will follow up on surface samples that contained highly anomalous concentrations of niobium and may be related to drill hole CAP17-004.”

Reporting from their Diagras diamond project in the Northwest Territories late last month, Arctic Star and 60% JV partner Margaret Lake Diamonds TSXV:DIA announced geophysical results that could potentially indicate “the largest kimberlite complex in the Lac de Gras field.” Further geophysics are on the 18,699-hectare property’s spring agenda, with drilling to follow.

As for Arctic Star’s recently acquired Timantti diamond project in Finland, assays released in July from historic core on the White Wolf kimberlite showed 111 microdiamonds. The company had earlier found 58 microdiamonds in an 18.9-kilogram sample taken from the same kimberlite.

Timantti covers part of the Fennoscandian Shield, host to major Russian diamond mines Lomonosov and Grib.

In July the company offered a $1.25-million private placement.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Arctic Star president/CEO Patrick Power.

Pomp and plunder

September 23rd, 2017

Indians increasingly dominate diamonds, but their most fabled stone remains elusive

by Greg Klein

Maybe it’s fitting that Indians, said to be the first to truly appreciate the gems, have returned to such prominence in the global diamond trade. The country’s alluvial finds constituted the world’s main source until supplanted by Brazil in the early 18th century. Although Indians originally held rubies and emeralds in even higher esteem, their admiration for diamonds spread to neighbouring cultures and beyond. The story of the Koh-i-Noor shows how one stone came to be associated not only with beauty, majesty and mystery but, more recently, with controversy too.

Indians increasingly dominate diamonds, but their most fabled stone eludes them

By no means the largest diamond ever found, it’s nevertheless been credited with good luck and blamed for misfortune. Some viewers found it dazzling for its brilliance, others were disappointed by its dimness. But it passed through a number of empires, often amid horrific bloodshed, before ending up in Britain’s Crown Jewels. Authors William Dalrymple and Anita Anand recount the rock’s odyssey in their recently published Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond.

While revelling in the myths, legends, propaganda and guesswork associated with the stone, the writers try to set the historical record straight with previously untranslated documents and new gemmological research that reconstructs the Koh-i-Noor as a rough stone.

Ancient accounts refer to a number of large Indian diamonds which could include the Koh-i-Noor. Some were bigger and believed to transmit supernatural power, but the Koh-i-Noor eventually prevailed as the most renowned. Even so, the first definite written reference doesn’t come until the mid-18th century, referring back to northern India’s 17th-century Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.

Such was his captivation for precious stones that they all but monopolized his attention at a banquet featuring a dozen dancing girls of “lascivious and suggestive dress, immodest behaviour and posturing.” In 1635 he made the Koh-i-Noor the centrepiece of his Peacock Throne. An especially lavish piece of furniture meant to evoke the Koranic Solomon’s throne, it cost twice as much to build as the Taj Mahal.

Indians increasingly dominate diamonds, but their most fabled stone eludes them

The Queen Mother’s crown features the Koh-i-Noor
within a Maltese cross between two fleurs-de-lys.

Eventually the Mughals dismantled their seat of ostentation and the Koh-i-Noor became in turn a symbol of power for Persians, the Durrani Empire of Afghanistan and the Sikh empire, as each looting victor became a looted victim. Finally an 1849 treaty ending the Second Anglo-Sikh War ordered a terrified 10-year-old Maharajah Duleep Singh to surrender the celebrated stone to Queen Victoria.

Surviving a perilous voyage, the rock went on display to widespread public anticipation at the 1851 Crystal Palace Great Exhibition. It bombed.

Prince Albert tried to enhance the stone’s effect with gas lamps and angled mirrors. That fizzled too, as the props “turned the display into a sauna, causing visitors to swoon after only a few minutes. The press began to blame the Koh-i-Noor for being difficult, as if it were some kind of contrary and disappointing child.”

Albert then summoned experts who agreed that the diamond “was flawed at its very heart. Yellow flecks ran through a plane at its centre, one of which was large and marred its ability to refract light.” The authorities disagreed, however, on whether the gem could be re-cut without wrecking it. Eventually two of the world’s top pros arrived from Amsterdam and set to work with a state-of-the-art steam-powered grinder in a specially designed shop.

Their bill, for a few months of work, amounted to over a million pounds in today’s terms. Despite assurances to the contrary, moreover, they savaged the stone’s size from 190.3 carats to 93 carats. But dazzle it did. With an unusual symmetry of 33 facets each above and below the gem’s “table,” the cutters redeemed both the stone’s beauty and its public image.

Indians increasingly dominate diamonds, but their most fabled stone eludes them

It helped Victoria dazzle too, in those years before she went into morbid mourning. Waltzing with Napoleon III before 1,200 guests at Versailles, she wore a white satin gown and a diadem adorned with almost 3,000 small diamonds. Among them, the great K “gleamed like a third eye.” Other royal figures ordered it mounted and re-mounted on various regalia until the Queen Mother had it placed in its current crown. She sported the headgear at her daughter’s coronation. But for some reason (maybe trepidation about its supposed curse, the authors suggest), Elizabeth II has never worn it.

Since then, calls for its return have come from competitors, among them India, Pakistan and even the Taliban.

“Others have suggested that it be cut up once again and a piece each given to all those countries that make a credible argument for its return—including modern-day Iran and Afghanistan. But it is most unlikely that such Solomonic wisdom would ever be entertained by the British, nor indeed would it satisfy any of the various parties involved.”

The most persistent calls come from Indians. Equally tenacious has been Britain in its refusals. On a 2010 visit to Punjab, the authors relate, then-PM David Cameron said, “If you say yes to one you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty.”

Yet the country where the great diamond first came to prominence returned to diamond prominence itself late last century. Ironically that happened not due to gems of magnificence but through smaller, lower-quality stones originating in other countries and disdained by the rest of the trade. Through such humble beginnings, the west coast city of Surat now handles more than 80%, or even 90%, of the world’s cutting and polishing work. Mumbai, 290 kilometres south, hosts the world’s biggest diamond bourse. In the world diamond-sorting capital of Antwerp, Indians conduct about three-quarters of the business.

As for rough supply, Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO walked out on the country’s best hope for a major diamond mine in February, when the company handed ownership of the Bunder deposit, once anticipated for 2019 production, to the state government of Madhya Pradesh.

Meanwhile the Dalrymple/Anand book has reportedly spawned renewed activity in the search for India’s alluvial diamonds, maybe even another Koh-i-Noor, with all its blessings and curses.

Crucial commodities

September 8th, 2017

Price/supply concerns draw end-users to Commerce Resources’ rare earths-tantalum-niobium projects

by Greg Klein

“One of the things that really galls me is that the F-35 is flying around with over 900 pounds of Chinese REEs in it.”

That typifies some of the remarks Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE president Chris Grove hears from end-users of rare earths and rare metals. Steeply rising prices for magnet feed REEs and critical minerals like tantalum—not to mention concern about stable, geopolitically friendly sources—have brought even greater interest in the company’s two advanced projects, the Ashram rare earths deposit in northern Quebec and the Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia. Now Commerce has a list of potential customers and processors waiting for samples from both properties.

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F-35 fighter jets alongside the USS America:
Chinese rare earths in action.
(Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Of course with China supplying over 90% of the world’s REEs, governments and industries in many countries have cause for concern. Tantalum moves to market through sometimes disturbingly vague supply lines, with about 37% of last year’s production coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo and 32% from Rwanda, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. One company in Brazil, Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM), produces about 85% of the world’s niobium, another critical mineral.

As Ashram moves towards pre-feasibility, Commerce has a team busy getting a backlog of core to the assay lab. But tantalum and niobium, the original metals of interest for Commerce, have returned to the fore as well, with early-stage exploration on the Quebec property and metallurgical studies on the B.C. deposit.

The upcoming assays will come from 14 holes totalling 2,014 metres sunk last year, mostly definition drilling. Initial geological review and XRF data suggest significant intervals in several holes, including a large stepout to the southeast, Grove’s team reports.

“We’re always excited to see this project’s drilling results,” he says. “We know we’re in carbonatite basically all of the time and over the last five years, in all the 9,200 metres we’ve done since the last resource calculation, we’ve basically always hit more material than was modelled in the original resource—i.e. we’ve always found less waste rock at surface, we’ve always hit material in the condemnation holes and we’ve always had intersections of higher-grade material. So all those things look exciting for this program.”

Carbonatite comprises a key Ashram distinction. The deposit sits within carbonatite host rock and the minerals monazite, bastnasite and xenotime, which are well understood in commercial REE processing. That advantage distinguishes Ashram from REE hopefuls that foundered over mineralogical challenges. Along with resource size, mineralogy has Grove confident of Ashram’s potential as a low-cost producer competing with China.

As for size, a 2012 resource used a 1.25% cutoff to show:

  • measured: 1.59 million tonnes averaging 1.77% total rare earth oxides

  • indicated: 27.67 million tonnes averaging 1.9% TREO

  • inferred: 219.8 million tonnes averaging 1.88% TREO

A near-surface—sometimes at-surface—deposit, Ashram also features strong distribution of neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium, all critical elements and some especially costly. Neodymium and dysprosium prices have shot up 80% this year.

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Commerce Resources’ field crew poses at the Eldor property,
home to the Ashram deposit and Miranna prospect.

Comparing Ashram’s inferred gross tonnage of nearly 220 million tonnes with the measured and indicated total of less than 30 million tonnes, Grove sees considerable potential to bolster the M&I as well as increase the resource’s overall size and average grade.

This season’s field program includes prospecting in the Miranna area about a kilometre from the deposit. Miranna was the site of 2015 boulder sampling that brought “spectacular” niobium grades up to 5.9% Nb2O5, nearly twice the average grade of the world’s largest producer, CBMM’s Araxá mine, Grove says. Some tantalum standouts showed 1,220 ppm and 1,040 ppm Ta2O5. Significant results for phosphate and rare earth oxides were also apparent.

Should Miranna prove drill-worthy, the synergies with Ashram would be obvious.

That’s the early-stage aspect of Commerce’s tantalum-niobium work. In B.C. the company’s Blue River deposit reached PEA in 2011, with a resource update in 2013. Based on a tantalum price of $381 per kilo, the estimate showed:

  • indicated: 48.41 million tonnes averaging 197 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,610 ppm Nb2O5 for 9.56 million kilograms Ta2O5 and 77.81 kilograms Nb2O5

  • inferred: 5.4 million tonnes averaging 191 ppm Ta2O5 and 1,760 ppm Nb2O5 for 1 million kilograms Ta2O5 and 9.6 million kilograms Nb2O5

Actually that should be 1,300 kilograms less. That’s the size of a sample on its way to Estonia for evaluation by Alexander Krupin, an expert in processing high-grade tantalum and niobium concentrates. “As with Ashram, we’ve already found that standard processing works well for Blue River,” Grove points out. “However, if Krupin’s proprietary method proves even more efficient, why wouldn’t we look at it?”

We’re always excited to see this project’s drilling results. We know we’re in carbonatite basically all of the time and over the last five years, in all the 9,200 metres we’ve done since the last resource calculation, we’ve basically always hit more material than was modelled in the original resource.—Chris Grove,
president of Commerce Resources

Back to rare earths, Commerce signed an MOU with Ucore Rare Metals TSXV:UCU to assess Ashram material for a proprietary method of selective processing. Others planning to test proprietary techniques on Ashram include Texas Mineral Resources and K-Technologies, Rare Earth Salts, Innovation Metals Corp, the University of Tennessee and NanoScience Solutions at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

Should proprietary methods work, all the better, Grove states. But he emphasizes that standard metallurgical tests have already succeeded, making a cheaper process unnecessary for both Blue River and Ashram.

Potential customers show interest too. Concentrate sample requests have come from Solvay, Mitsubishi, Treibacher, BASF, DKK, Albemarle, Blue Line and others covered by non-disclosure agreements. Requests have also come for samples of fluorspar, a potential Ashram byproduct and another mineral subject to rising prices and Chinese supply dominance.

A solid expression of interest came from the province too, as Ressources Québec invested $1 million in a February private placement. The provincial government corporation describes itself as focusing “on projects that have good return prospects and foster Quebec’s economic development.”

Also fostering the mining-friendly jurisdiction’s economic development is Plan Nord, which has pledged $1.3 billion to infrastructure over five years. The provincial road to Renard helped make Stornoway Diamond’s (TSX:SWY) mine a reality. Other projects that would benefit from a road extension towards Ashram would be Lac Otelnuk, located 80 kilometres south. The Sprott Resource Holdings TSX:SRHI/WISCO JV holds Canada’s largest iron ore deposit. Some projects north of Ashram include the Kan gold-base metals project of Barrick Gold TSX:ABX and Osisko Mining TSX:OSK, as well as properties held by Midland Exploration TSXV:MD.

But, Grove says, it’s rising prices and security of supply that have processors and end-users metaphorically beating a path to his company’s door. And maybe nothing demonstrates the criticality of critical minerals better than a nearby superpower that relies on a geopolitical rival for commodities essential to national defence.