Friday 26th May 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘finland’

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.”

Saskatchewan and Manitoba first and second globally as mining jurisdictions

March 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 1, 2017

Saskatchewan edged one notch upwards to take first place worldwide while Manitoba soared from 19th to second in this year’s Fraser Institute survey of mining and exploration jurisdictions. Those two provinces pushed last year’s top performer, Western Australia, down to third place. Canada’s other top 10 spot went to Quebec, rising to sixth from eighth the year before. All continents but Antarctica came under scrutiny but Canadian, American, Australian and European locales monopolized the top 10.

Farther down the list, the strongest Canadian improvements were Newfoundland and Labrador, climbing to 16th from 25th, and the Northwest Territories, now 21st, previously 35th. Most disappointing were British Columbia (falling to 27th from 18th), Nunavut (31st from 23rd) and Alberta (47th from 34th).

Those findings come from the survey’s Investment Attractiveness Index, which combines two other indices—Policy Perception, a “report card” on government attitudes, and Best Practices Mineral Potential, concerning geological appeal. Representatives of 104 companies responded with their 2016 experiences in mind, giving a numerical rating to questions in several categories regarding their likelihood of investing in a particular jurisdiction. The previous year 109 companies responded.

Here’s the top 10 globally for overall investment attractiveness, with last year’s standings in parentheses:

1 Saskatchewan (2)

2 Manitoba (19)

3 Western Australia (1)

4 Nevada (3)

5 Finland (5)

6 Quebec (8)

7 Arizona (17)

8 Sweden (13)

9 Ireland (4)

10 Queensland (16)

Here are the Canadian runners-up:

15 Yukon (12)

16 Newfoundland and Labrador (25)

18 Ontario (15)

21 Northwest Territories (35)

27 British Columbia (18)

31 Nunavut (23)

40 New Brunswick (45)

47 Alberta (34)

52 Nova Scotia (59)

At least those provinces and territories steered far clear of the bottom 10, where Argentina figures prominently:

95 Mozambique (84)

96 Zimbabwe (98)

97 India (73)

98 Mendoza province, Argentina (101)

99 La Rioja province, Argentina (109)

100 Afghanistan (not available)

101 Chubut province, Argentina (104)

102 Venezuela (108)

103 Neuquen province, Argentina (93)

104 Jujuy province, Argentina (86)

“We believe that the survey captures, at least in broad strokes, the perceptions of those involved in both mining and the regulation of mining in the jurisdictions included in the survey,” stated authors Taylor Jackson and Kenneth P. Green.

Download the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2016.

Nickel One Resources signs definitive agreement to acquire Finnish PGE-polymetallic deposit

February 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 1, 2017

Nickel One Resources signs definitive agreement to acquire Finnish PGE-polymetallic deposit

The 3,750-hectare LK property
benefits from $10 million of previous work.

Jurisdiction, infrastructure, two deposits and a mouthful of a name attracted Nickel One Resources TSXV:NNN to Finland and the Lantinen Koillismaa platinum group element-copper-nickel project. But the company calls it LK for short. On February 1 two parties signed a definitive agreement on a deal that’s been several months in the making.

Subject to regulatory approvals, Nickel One gets the property by taking over a subsidiary of Finore Mining CSE:FIN, which outlined resources for two potential open pits in 2013.

(Update: In a later clarification issued March 22, Nickel One stated the estimates aren’t supported by a compliant NI 43-101 technical report and “should not be relied on until they have been verified and supported by a compliant technical report.” The company expected to file a technical report within three weeks.)

The property’s Kaukua estimate shows:

  • indicated: 10.4 million tonnes averaging 0.73 g/t palladium, 0.26 g/t platinum, 0.08 g/t gold, 0.15% copper, 0.1% nickel and 65 g/t cobalt

  • inferred: 13.2 million tonnes averaging 0.63 g/t palladium, 0.22 g/t platinum, 0.06 g/t gold, 0.15% copper, 0.1% nickel and 55 g/t cobalt

Three zones of LK’s Haukiaho estimate total:

  • inferred: 23.2 million tonnes averaging 0.31 g/t palladium, 0.12 g/t platinum, 0.1 g/t gold, 0.21% copper, 0.14% nickel and 61 g/t cobalt

Companies accustomed to the Canadian north might look with envy at LK’s location, 65 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle. The property has power, year-round road access, rail 40 kilometres away and a port 160 kilometres west. Nickel One describes the region as “populated by several large-scale producers and three smelters,” while the company’s management “is highly experienced in the exploration and development of ultramafic intrusion-hosted nickel-copper-PGE projects.”

Part of that experience comes from Nickel One’s Tyko property in northwestern Ontario, from where the company announced drill results last spring.

Read more about Nickel One Resources and the Lantinen Koillismaa acquisition.

Nickel One Resources moves closer to PGE-copper-nickel acquisition in Finland

October 19th, 2016

by Greg Klein | October 19, 2016

Nickel One Resources moves closer to Finnish PGE-copper-nickel acquisition

Over $10 million in previous work has gone into Lantinen Koillismaa.

Nickel One Resources’ (TSXV:NNN) Finland entry took another step forward with a binding letter agreement announced October 19. Already holding the Tyko project in western Ontario, Nickel One would get a 100% interest in Finore Mining’s (CSE:FIN) Lantinen Koillismaa platinum group element-copper-nickel project in north-central Finland. An LOI was announced in August.

The property would come through the purchase of Finore subsidiary Nortec Minerals Oy in a deal costing five million shares and 2.5 million warrants exercisable at $0.12 for two years. Nickel One has paid $50,000, which would be applied to a private placement of up to $100,000 into Finore following due diligence.

Benefiting from over $10 million in previous work, LK has 2013 resource estimates for two potential open pits.

(Update: In a later clarification issued March 22, Nickel One stated the estimates aren’t supported by a compliant NI 43-101 technical report and “should not be relied on until they have been verified and supported by a compliant technical report.” The company expected to file a technical report within three weeks.)

The Kaukua deposit shows:

  • indicated: 10.4 million tonnes averaging 0.73 g/t palladium, 0.26 g/t platinum, 0.08 g/t gold, 0.15% copper, 0.1% nickel and 65 g/t cobalt

  • inferred: 13.2 million tonnes averaging 0.63 g/t palladium, 0.22 g/t platinum, 0.06 g/t gold, 0.15% copper, 0.1% nickel and 55 g/t cobalt

The Haukiaho deposit has three zones totalling:

  • inferred: 23.2 million tonnes averaging 0.31 g/t palladium, 0.12 g/t platinum, 0.1 g/t gold, 0.21% copper, 0.14% nickel and 61 g/t cobalt

The acquisition would bring Nickel One into “a mining-friendly jurisdiction with some of the best infrastructure in the world,” commented president Vance Loeber. The project also provides “a foothold in Finland from which we will be taking a hard look at other opportunities to continue to build a strong portfolio of projects,” he added.

Read more about Nickel One Resources and the Lantinen Koillismaa acquisition.

A second flagship

August 11th, 2016

Nickel One Resources plans a Finnish acquisition as well as Ontario drilling

by Greg Klein

A position in Scandinavia would give Nickel One Resources TSXV:NNN a dual approach or, as president/CEO Vance Loeber describes it, “a double-barrelled shotgun.” On August 11 the company announced an LOI to gain a Finore Mining CSE:FIN subsidiary with a 100% interest in Lantinen Koillismaa, a nickel-copper-PGE deposit in an active mining region of Finland. Additionally, encouraged by positive results from last spring’s assays, the company plans to resume drilling on its Tyko project in Ontario.

Nickel One Resources plans Finnish acquisition as well as Ontario drilling

With equally spectacular aurora borealis, arctic Finland
boasts far greater infrastructure than northern Canada.

A 3,750-hectare property just 65 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, LK actually enjoys a favourable location—and that demonstrates the contrast between the Canadian and Scandinavian north. An all-weather, government-maintained road comes right to the property, a rail line runs 40 kilometres away and Oulu, a Gulf of Bothnia port that’s home to 200,000 people, sits 160 kilometres west. Work is practical right through the winter, as several mines and three smelters in the region attest.

“The local community is very supportive, the Finnish Geological Survey is very supportive and it’s a beautiful place to work,” enthuses Loeber.

Finore took LK to resource level in 2013 for two deposits with open pit potential. (Update: In a later clarification issued March 22, Nickel One stated the estimates aren’t supported by a compliant NI 43-101 technical report and “should not be relied on until they have been verified and supported by a compliant technical report.” The company expected to file a technical report within three weeks.)

The Kaukua deposit shows:

  • indicated: 10.4 million tonnes averaging 0.73 g/t palladium, 0.26 g/t platinum, 0.08 g/t gold, 0.15% copper, 0.1% nickel and 65 g/t cobalt

  • inferred: 13.2 million tonnes averaging 0.63 g/t palladium, 0.22 g/t platinum, 0.06 g/t gold, 0.15% copper, 0.1% nickel and 55 g/t cobalt

Three zones at the Haukiaho deposit total:

  • inferred: 23.2 million tonnes averaging 0.31 g/t palladium, 0.12 g/t platinum, 0.1 g/t gold, 0.21% copper, 0.14% nickel and 61 g/t cobalt

Further study might put a new perspective on the estimate. “Although the plan is to look at it from a fresh approach, a higher-grade/lower-tonnage point of view, we’re not going to lose sight of the higher-tonnage aspect either,” explains Loeber. “But in the short term we’ll be looking at some higher-grade tonnage, both through additional exploration and a re-engineered 43-101 report.”

A new perspective maybe, but from experienced eyes. “With this acquisition we also get the combined geological talent of Finore’s founders, Mohan Vulimiri and Peter Tegart,” Loeber points out. “They’re pretty serious guys so it’s not like we’re going in blind.”

Another Finland veteran is Nickel One VP of exploration and former PDAC president Scott Jobin-Bevans. “He did his PhD dissertation on this type of mineralization,” says Loeber.

The deal would cost Nickel One five million shares. The company would also contribute up to $100,000 towards any future private placement undertaken by Finore. Loeber doesn’t offer an anticipated closing date but says his team wants the deal wrapped up “sooner rather than later.”

But looking at Finland doesn’t mean neglecting western Ontario. “Tyko is still very much in our sights. We had some great results in our initial program and we’re planning a late-summer, early-fall follow-up program.”

That would take the crew about 40 kilometres north of Hemlo in an area that’s surprisingly more remote than arctic Finland. Still, Tyco’s accessible by highway, logging roads and float plane.

The 14 holes and 1,780 metres drilled so far this year followed 13 holes and 2,230 metres sunk by North American Palladium TSX:PDL up to 2007. Nine North American holes revealed mineralization.

Near-surface intercepts reported by Nickel One in June returned as much as 1.47% nickel, 0.49% copper and 0.71 ppm PGEs over 6.05 metres. Another assay showed 1.06% nickel, 0.35% copper and 0.65 ppm PGEs over 6.22 metres. Along with the other results, the company sees increasing optimism in its magma conduit theory suggesting a potential link between the property’s RJ and Tyko zones, 1.5 kilometres apart.

The extent of Tyco’s upcoming program remains “finance-dependent,” Loeber says. But given market response to the LOI, he’s confident of raising funds. As for a closing date for LK, “We’re going to make this happen as quickly as we can.”

How fares Canada in the Fraser Institute’s global mining survey?

February 25th, 2015

by Greg Klein | February 25, 2015

Saskatchewan’s number two worldwide, Quebec’s back in the top 10 and Manitoba climbed 17 notches. But Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia took a beating in the latest Fraser Institute survey of mining jurisdictions. Released February 24, the study rates 122 jurisdictions (including provinces and states in Canada, the United States, Australia and Argentina) based on 485 returned questionnaires. Drawing on their 2014 experience, mining and exploration companies provided numerical ratings for a number of factors, which the institute tracked on separate indexes.

Most important is the Investment Attractiveness Index, which combines two other indexes—Best Practices Mineral Potential (geology) and Policy Perception (government attitudes). The institute weighs the IAI 60% for geology and 40% for public policy, roughly the same consideration companies reported for their investment decisions.

Here’s the top 10 IAI globally, with 2013 rankings in brackets:

1 Finland (4)
2 Saskatchewan (7)
3 Nevada (2)
4 Manitoba (13)
5 Western Australia (1)
6 Quebec (18)
7 Wyoming (11)
8 Newfoundland and Labrador (3)
9 Yukon (8)
10 Alaska (5)

Here are the Canadian runner-ups:

15 Northwest Territories (25)
21 New Brunswick (23)
22 Alberta (10)
23 Ontario (14)
28 British Columbia (16)
29 Nunavut (27)
42 Nova Scotia (47)

Prince Edward Island wasn’t included.

As for the bottom 10:

113 Sudan
114 Nigeria
115 Bulgaria
116 Guatemala
117 Egypt
118 Solomon Islands
119 Honduras
120 Kenya
121 Hungary
122 Malaysia

The 122 jurisdictions totalled 10 more than in 2013. For inclusion, the institute requires a minimum of 10 responses per jurisdiction.

The anonymous replies also included comments which, for Canadian provinces and territories, note serious but unsurprising concerns.

But for some people, the rankings rankled. B.C.’s 10th-place finish out of 12 Canadian jurisdictions doesn’t jibe with the province’s second-place status for mining investment, according to the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia. Citing data from Natural Resources Canada, AME BC credited Ontario as Canada’s favourite for attracting investment. Fraser Institute respondents stuck that province with ninth place in Canada.

“Furthermore, one of the best indicators of success in exploration is seeing discoveries move through to mine development,” said AME BC president/CEO Gavin Dirom. “In recent years, we have seen a number of new major metal mines constructed in our province, including Copper Mountain in 2011, New Afton in 2012 and Mount Milligan in 2013. Also, Red Chris is being readied for commercial operations, and the KSM and Kitsault mine development projects have received environmental assessment certificates.”

The NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines noted the Northwest Territories’ considerable improvement and its breakaway territory’s slight slump. The organization vowed to continue working with federal and territorial governments “to improve the investment climate for exploration and mining in the two territories.”

Download the Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies 2014.

Alberta most attractive mining destination in Canada, third worldwide

March 3rd, 2014

by Cecilia Jamasmie | March 3, 2014 | Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

Alberta most attractive mining destination in Canada, third worldwide

Oilsands development in northern Alberta.

 

For the second consecutive year, Alberta—home to the booming and controversial oilsands industry—ranked first in the country and third worldwide as the most attractive jurisdiction for mining investors in the Fraser Institute’s annual global survey of mining executives.

The study, released March 3 as the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention kicked off in Toronto, is based on input from 690 mineral exploration and development company executives.

Sweden and Finland scored the top places in this year’s survey, which spotlighted 112 jurisdictions worldwide. Kyrgyzstan and Venezuela were named the worst two countries to venture.

“Miners praise Alberta for its transparent and productive approach to mining policy. The province offers competitive taxation regimes, sound legal systems and relatively low uncertainty around land claims. That’s what miners look for,” said Kenneth Green, Fraser Institute senior director of energy and natural resources.

Two other Canadian jurisdictions—New Brunswick (7), and Newfoundland and Labrador (9)—ranked in the top 10 worldwide, followed by Saskatchewan (12), Yukon (19), Quebec (21), Manitoba (26), Ontario (28), Nova Scotia (29), British Columbia (32), Nunavut (44) and the Northwest Territories (47).

Quebec, once the darling of mining investors, continued to fall down the rabbit hole. From 2007 to 2009, the French-speaking district topped the survey, then dropped to fifth in 2011, 11th in 2012 and finally 21st worldwide in 2013, due in part to amendments to Quebec’s mining act and recent tax policy changes.

“If Quebec wants to renew confidence in the global mining sector, it should reduce red tape, minimize the risk associated with policy changes and tax increases, and respect negotiated contracts,” Green said.

B.C. dropped to 32nd from 31st in 2012, though the survey recorded improved perceptions regarding the western province’s political stability and availability of labour and skills.

The Canadian public policy think tank also identified the 10 places mining enthusiasts should avoid. From the bottom, they are Kyrgyzstan, Venezuela, Philippines, Argentina (La Rioja and Mendoza), Angola, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Indonesia and Madagascar.

Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

Athabasca Basin and beyond

December 7th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 30 to December 6, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Introducing the Alpha Minerals spinco—Alpha Exploration Inc

With court blessing announced December 2 for the Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW takeover by Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU, the deal faces just one more approval, this one from the TSXV. That was expected, but not announced, on December 6. Alpha’s spinco, Alpha Exploration Inc (anticipated ticker TSXV:AEX) gets about $3 million cash and all non-Patterson Lake South assets, including properties in Ontario and British Columbia as well as Saskatchewan. Each Alpha Minerals share fetches 5.725 Fission shares and one-half spinco share. Since December 3 Alpha Minerals shares have no longer traded with spinco shares attached.

The current Alpha Minerals board and management will “substantially” move into AEX positions.

Court approval for Fission Uranium’s spinco—tentatively titled Fission 3.0 to also commemorate Fission Uranium’s predecessor and Denison Mines’ TSX:DML acquisition Fission Energy—was announced the previous week. Each Fission Uranium shareholder gets one share of post-arrangement Fission Uranium as well as a share of the Fission spinout, expected to start trading December 10.

Having obtained full PLS ownership from its 50/50 joint venture ally, Fission Uranium has undoubtedly caught the attention of much bigger takeout artists.

Read more about the takeover.

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

Lakeland/Declan Resources JV accelerates work, strengthens their positions

In this market you have to work with strong partners. You have to collaborate and be a bit creative. We’re fortunate to work with people like Declan president Wayne Tisdale’s team and the financial connections they can bring.—Ryan Fletcher, director of Lakeland Resources

A new team of Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK and Declan Resources TSXV:LAN means an accelerated winter drill program for their Gibbon’s Creek flagship as well as the opportunity to put additional work into other Basin-area projects.

Declan’s first-year commitment will inject another $1.25 million into Gibbon’s, a 12,771-hectare north-central Basin property that already underwent over $3 million of work prior to last fall’s field campaign by Lakeland. Declan may earn 50% of the project by spending that $1.25 million, paying Lakeland $100,000 and issuing two million shares in 12 months. Over four years Declan may obtain a 70% interest for a total of $1.5 million in cash, 11 million shares and $6.5 million in spending.

The agreement further demonstrates Declan’s new direction, following its acquisitions in September and October of the 9,000-hectare Patterson Lake Northeast and 50,000-hectare Firebag River properties.

Declan’s commitment also allows Lakeland to ramp up its campaign for two other north-central Basin properties, South Pine and Perch Lake. Work on all those properties will be managed by Dahrouge Geological Consulting, led by PLS and Waterbury Lake veteran Jody Dahrouge.

Field results from Lakeland’s fall campaign are pending, while new appointments are anticipated from Declan.

Read more about the Lakeland/Declan JV and their other projects.

Read more about Lakeland Resources here and here.

Macusani claims low-cost uranium potential in Peruvian PEA

Macusani Yellowcake TSXV:YEL presented its case for a low-grade but potentially low-cost uranium mining operation in Peru with a preliminary economic assessment released December 5. The company envisions both open pit and underground operations with “a low stripping ratio in the open pit operations, anticipated low acid consumption and high process plant recoveries expected to be achieved in a short period of time.”

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 30 to December 6, 2013

The under-explored Macusani plateau shows considerable
uranium potential, according to the eponymous Macusani Yellowcake.

The report, using U.S. dollars, uses an 8% discount rate to calculate a $417-million after-tax net present value with a 32.4% internal rate of return. Those numbers assume a long-term price of $65 a pound uranium oxide (U3O8).

Initial capital expenditures would come to $331 million to build the mine and a plant processing 8.5 million tonnes per year. Total sustaining capital costs for the 10-year lifespan would reach $228 million. Payback would take 3.5 years.

Life of mine cash costs would average $20.57 a pound but, Macusani emphasized, years one to five would average $19.45, “placing it in the lowest quartile in the world using 2012 production figures.” Those first five years would produce an average 5.17 million pounds annually which would, were it operating now, rank the mine the world’s sixth largest, the company maintained. The 10-year average would be 4.3 million pounds.

The project, on the Macusani plateau in southeastern Peru, features multiple deposits, some adjacent to each other, others a few to several kilometres apart. The December 5 news release once again claimed last August’s resource update showed a 167% increase in measured and indicated categories. But there was no increase in the measured category. In fact measured pounds equal less than 1% of the M&I total.

Calling the project potentially “one of the lowest-cost uranium producers in the world,” Macusani CEO Laurence Stefan added, “The PEA demonstrates that the Macusani plateau has significant potential to become a major uranium-producing district, considering that only small areas have been explored to date.”

The company expects to begin pre-feasibility work in 2014.

NexGen announces initial geophysical results for Rook 1

An airborne radiometric survey over the PLS-vicinity Rook 1 project found at least five zones with elevated readings, NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE reported on December 2. Two of the zones are “proximal” to last summer’s drilling and could provide targets for another program beginning in January. Additionally aeromagnetic data identified regional and local basement structures.

The company will pursue the source of the elevated radiometrics next summer through ground radiometric surveying, mapping and sampling. Meanwhile the current data from 5,772 line-kilometres of high-resolution magnetic, very low frequency and radiometric surveys undergoes more comprehensive analysis.

Still to come are assays from NexGen’s nine-hole, 3,473-metre campaign at the eastside Basin Radio project, where the company holds a 70% option two kilometres east of Rio Tinto’s NYE:RIO Roughrider deposits. Having raised $5 million in late August, NexGen stated it’s still well-financed.

More near-surface, district-wide potential found in Argentina, says U3O8

In mid-November U3O8 Corp TSX:UWE said a discovery roughly 40 kilometres northeast of its Laguna Salada deposit could indicate district-scale potential. On December 4 the company stated another Argentinian discovery, on the southern extension of Laguna Salada, further suggests that potential. In both cases vertical channel sampling found near-surface, soft gravel uranium-vanadium mineralization.

Laguna Salada trials showed that screening could concentrate over 90% of its uranium in about 10% of the gravel’s original mass, resulting in 10 to 11 times greater grade, U3O8 stated. The company maintains its deposits offer continuous surface mining potential with alkaline leaching.

Dubbed La Susana, the new discovery’s slated for pitting and trenching to determine the extent of mineralization. While Laguna Salada’s PEA nears completion, the company continues JV negotiations with a province-owned mining company that could unite Laguna Salada with adjoining concessions.

U3O8 has a Colombian uranium-polymetallic project with a PEA and an earlier-stage project in Guyana.

Aldrin finishes Triple M gravity survey, offers $2-million private placement

With its ground gravity survey complete, Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN stated anomalies coincide with previous results and already-identified drill targets. Data from 871 stations on Triple M, adjacent to and southwest of PLS, covered two parallel bedrock conductors already noted from an airborne VTEM survey and surface radon anomalies, the company reported on December 4.

Gravity anomalies consist of relatively low readings “reflecting the dissolution and removal of rock mass by the same basinal fluids that may also precipitate uranium,” Aldrin explained.

Two days earlier the company announced a $2-million private placement for Triple M exploration and drilling. The offer comprises 18.18 million units at $0.11, with each unit consisting of one flow-though share and one-half warrant, with each full warrant exercisable at $0.16 for 18 months.

In early November Aldrin reported closing a $972,500 first tranche of a private placement that had been announced the previous month. The company has also indicated plans to buy the Virgin property around the Basin’s south-central rim.

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Norilsk Nickel to invest $8 billion in Russian projects, sell the rest

October 7th, 2013

by Ana Komnenic | October 7, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of Mining.com

Russia’s Norilsk Nickel has a new strategy: Get rid of non-Russian assets by 2016 and focus on the Arctic.

The world’s largest nickel and palladium producer revealed details of its plans to investors on Friday. The company had announced a month ago that it would be making changes.

The sell-off includes assets in Finland, Australia, Botswana and South Africa.

Norilsk Nickel to invest $8 billion in Russian projects, sell the rest

Photo: Norilsk Nickel image gallery

As with most metals miners today, Norilsk is trying to cut costs and will implement a “comprehensive cost-cutting program,” the company noted in a Friday statement.

Over the next few years, the Russian miner will focus on its Polar division and Kola MMC site, which include a total of 10 mines. These projects are part of the company’s self-classified tier 1 assets—projects which are large-scale, deliver more than $1 billion in revenue, have an EBITDA margin greater than 40% and a reserve life of over 20 years.

The new focus will include an $8-billion investment over the next four years.

Meanwhile, Norilsk’s CEO Vladimir Potanin, who took the job in December 2012 and said he would stay for only two years, recently told Reuters reporters he wasn’t planning on leaving any time soon.

“For a rich and reasonably successful guy, it is impossible not to enjoy your job, otherwise why would you spend so much time and effort doing it? I am a great fan of Norilsk and I like this kind of challenge,” the billionaire told Reuters.

Reprinted by permission of Mining.com

Athabasca Basin and beyond

August 25th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for August 17 to 23, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Fission/Alpha extend zone, find “potential candidate” for PLS bedrock source

More scintillometer readings from Patterson Lake South show a 47-metre interval of continuous radioactivity and a 15-metre extension to one zone. Of five holes reported August 22, three showed no sandstone above the basement unconformity. According to joint venture partners Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW and Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU, that “makes the R390E zone a potential candidate area for one of the bedrock sources of the large uranium boulder field.” R390E is the second of four zones extending northeast along a 1.05-kilometre potential strike.

The hand-held scintillometer scans drill core to measure gamma rays in counts per second up to an off-scale reading above 9,999 cps. Scintillometer readings are not substitutes for assays, which have yet to come. Radioactivity will also be measured with a downhole probe.

Dips range from 84 to 90 degrees, making downhole depths close to vertical depths. True widths were unavailable. Hole PLS13-078 was drilled to a total depth of 224 metres, encountering sandstone at 50 metres and the basement unconformity at 53.5 metres. Highlights include:

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 31.5 metres, starting at 85 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to 5,900 cps over 10 metres

Drilled to a total depth of 230 metres, hole PLS13-081 found two metres of sandstone before striking the basement unconformity at 51.5 metres. The one result released showed:

  • <300 to 7,300 cps over 25.5 metres, starting at 105 metres in downhole depth

Hole PLS13-083 stepped out 15 metres west to extend the zone’s strike. It found no sandstone before striking the basement unconformity at 53 metres, reaching a total depth of 278 metres. Highlights include:

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 17.5 metres, starting at 53 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 16.5 metres

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 7.5 metres

With a total depth of 224 metres, hole PLS13-085 hit the basement unconformity at 57 metres without encountering sandstone. Highlights include:

  • <300 to 2,800 cps over 5.5 metres, starting at 58.5 metres in vertical depth

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 22.5 metres

Hole PLS13-086 was drilled to a total depth of 263 metres, finding no sandstone but hitting the basement unconformity at 50 metres. Highlights include:

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 47 metres, starting at 75 metres in downhole depth

  • (including 530 to >9,999 cps over 22.5 metres)

PLS13-083’s 15-metre step-out brings the R390E zone’s strike to 120 metres, twice that of last winter. The zone remains open in all directions. The 50/50 JV’s $6.95-million campaign of drilling and ground geophysics continues just beyond the Athabasca Basin’s southwestern rim.

Update: On August 26 Fission announced a proposal to take over Alpha. Read more.

Fission, Azincourt complete airborne geophysics over Patterson Lake North

Backed by another JV partner, Azincourt Uranium TSXV:AAZ, Fission is also exploring the Patterson Lake North project adjacent to PLS and about 5.7 kilometres north of the discovery. On August 20 the companies announced completion of an airborne VTEM survey over the 27,000-hectare property’s northern half.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for August 17 to 23, 2013

JV partners Fission and Azincourt plan a $1.53-million
summer/winter program for their Patterson Lake North project.

At 400-metre line-spacing, the survey flew 303 line-kilometres to provide data that might show basement conductors or enhanced sandstone alteration. Late summer and fall are scheduled for ground geophysics featuring time domain electromagnetic (TDEM) and magnetotellurics surveys. The partners have budgeted $530,000 for geophysics and about $1 million for winter drilling.

Azincourt may earn 50% of the project by paying $4.75 million in cash or shares and spending $12 million by April 2017. Fission retains a 2% NSR and acts as operator. Prior to the JV Fission had already spent about $4.7 million exploring PLN.

Forum begins Clearwater ground campaign, raises private placement to $2.25 million

Adjacently southwest of PLS, Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC has begun field work on its 9,910-hectare Clearwater project. Having interpreted data from airborne surveys, Forum says the EM conductor hosting the PLS discovery and parallel conductors trend onto Clearwater in a northeast-southwest direction. Radiometrics show uranium channel anomalies and historic surveys reveal two areas with highly anomalous lake sediment samples, according to the August 20 announcement.

Clearwater’s current campaign consists of prospecting with scintillometers, soil radon surveys and lake sediment sampling, along with additional ground geophysics. The company plans to begin drilling in January.

A $1.5-million private placement announced the morning of August 21 was, by late afternoon, raised to $2.25 million. On offer are up to 6.08 million units at $0.37, with each unit comprised of one share and one warrant exercisable at $0.50 for two years. Proceeds will go to Clearwater’s ground geophysics and 3,000-metre campaign.

Ground work begins at Aldrin’s PLS-adjacent Triple M

Adjacently west of PLS and contiguous with Clearwater, Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN has begun field work on its Triple M property, according to an August 20 news release. Following up on radiometric anomalies identified by an airborne survey, the company will prospect for uranium boulders and map surficial geology. In September another crew will take surface radon samples above bedrock conductive anomalies found in an airborne VTEM survey.

The schedule calls for drilling to begin by January.

Skyharbour arranges additional $75,000 private placement

On August 19 Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH announced an additional $75,000 non-brokered private placement of 937,500 flow-through units at $0.08. Each unit consists of one flow-through share and one non-transferable warrant exercisable for a non-flow-through share at $0.10 for two years. No finder’s fee will be paid.

The company also granted incentive stock options up to a total of 531,250 shares at $0.10 for five years. The previous week Skyharbour closed a $425,000 private placement that left the company fully funded for its portion of a $6-million, two-year program.

Skyharbour is part of the Western Athabasca Syndicate, a four-company strategic alliance with Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Noka Resources TSXV:NX and Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY that’s exploring the PLS-area’s largest land package.

Read more about the Western Athabasca Syndicate Project.

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