by Greg Klein | January 19, 2017
Fable and fiction have often associated King Solomon’s mines with diamonds or gold. But Israeli archeologists say they’ve gained a new perspective on a 10th century BC site that produced the critical element of its time—copper.
An ancient smelting facility in southern Israel’s Timna Valley was discovered in 1934 but recent excavations have revealed a military fortification, shedding new light on long-distance trade and wars fought over a strategic metal.
“While there is no explicit description of ‘King Solomon’s mines’ in the Old Testament, there are references to military conflicts between Israel and the Edomites in the Arava Valley,” said archeologist Erez Ben-Yosef in a statement from Tel Aviv University. “According to the Bible, David travelled hundreds of miles outside of Jerusalem and engaged in military conflict in the desert—striking down ‘18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt.’ Now, having found evidence of defensive measures—a sophisticated fortification—we understand what must have been at stake for him in this remote region: copper.”
The reddish metal “was a rare product and very challenging to produce,” he continued. “Because copper—like oil today, perhaps—was the most coveted commodity, it landed at the very heart of military conflicts. The discovery of the fortification indicates a period of serious instability and military threats at that time in the region.”
Focus of ongoing study by Tel Aviv University, the Timna Valley hosts a number of ancient smelting operations and thousands of mine shafts.
“The historical accuracy of the Old Testament accounts is debated, but archaeology can no longer be used to contradict them,” Ben-Yosef added. “On the contrary, our new discoveries are in complete accordance with the description of military conflicts against a hierarchical and centralized society located south of the Dead Sea.”
by Greg Klein | January 18, 2017
With a fresh batch of assays from underground drilling, Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM progresses towards its goal of reviving southern British Columbia’s Greenwood mining camp. Results from nine holes (one released previously) totalling 805 metres show the May Mac project’s Skomac vein mineralization continues past the former mine’s #7 level.
Some highlights show:
Hole MU16-01 (previously released)
True widths weren’t available.
These results follow assays released in December from May Mac as well as the 16,000-hectare Greenwood project’s Amigo, Glory Hole and Sylvester K former mines. But the January 17 announcement revised one December hole, a surface stepout labelled BF16-26. The hole “not only demonstrates the northwest strike extension, but also extends the vein to 13 metres below the #7 adit level,” the company stated. “It indicates that mineralization similar to that historically mined from the upper levels of the mine is present down to the #7 level, and that the mineralization continues along strike and is open to the northwest. Further surface drill testing will test the extent of the mineralized zone.”
Meanwhile May Mac has underground drilling scheduled to resume by January 21. The company also has permitting underway to extend the #7 drift northwest and extract a bulk sample of up to 10,000 tonnes. The material would be processed at Golden Dawn’s Greenwood mill, 15 kilometres southeast of May Mac.
Pending a dewatering permit and the dewatering process, production would resume at Greenwood’s Lexington gold-copper mine, which has been on care and maintenance since 2008. The project has measured and indicated resources calculated last year that total 96,300 gold-equivalent ounces. Golden Dawn has also submitted a work application to drill its Golden Crown property, which has a 2016 resource showing 62,500 gold-equivalent ounces indicated and 13,100 ounces inferred.
The company stands to gain a $5.2-million advance payment from a purchase agreement announced earlier this month for gold that would be produced at Lexington and Golden Crown. The money would be used to repay a bridge loan, for working capital and to complete the acquisition of Kettle River Resources and its 12,000 hectares hosting 30 former mines. Golden Dawn expects to complete a 43-101 technical report on the property this month.
by Greg Klein | January 18, 2017
Buoyed by new assays from Phase II drilling, Rockcliff Copper TSXV:RCU has increased its Talbot drill program from 6,000 metres to 7,500 metres. The company holds a 51% option on the polymetallic copper project, part of its 45,000-hectare Snow Lake holdings in Manitoba’s Flin Flon-Snow Lake mining region.
Talbot’s latest results, from hole TB-016, show:
Earlier this month Rockcliff reported assays from hole TB-012:
True widths weren’t provided.
TB-012 confirmed “continuity of the main lens in an area void of drilling along the deposit’s north boundary of the main lens,” the company stated.
A January 2016 resource estimate for three deposits at Talbot showed an inferred category totalling:
Rockcliff describes Talbot as “similar to that of present and past-producing base metal deposits of bi-modal volcanoclastic rocks in the Flin Flon-Snow Lake greenstone belt.”
With mineralization open in all directions, the program will “focus on resource expansion of the deposit as well as drill-testing geophysical plates/anomalies recently discovered from the resurveying of historic drill holes,” said president/CEO Ken Lapierre. The property has year-round road access.
Last week Rockcliff released grab samples grading up to 25 g/t and 34.77 g/t gold from the Snow Lake project’s Laguna site, which has state-of-the-art airborne magnetics planned. The company’s other Snow Lake assets include a 100% interest in the Rail deposit, with an indicated resource of 822,000 tonnes averaging 3.9% copper-equivalent, and non-43-101, historic estimates for four other deposits.
Rockcliff has about $2.5 million in the bank and no debt.
by Greg Klein | January 16, 2017
Calling it the “first systematic, scientific exploration program on the property in over 70 years,” Rockcliff Copper TSXV:RCU has a high-resolution airborne survey planned for its Laguna gold property in central Manitoba’s Flin Flon-Snow Lake camp. Twenty-five recent grab samples from four vein systems on the former mine site brought grades ranging from 0.01 grams per tonne gold up to 25 g/t and 34.77 g/t. The results indicate a trend covering over six kilometres within the 3,499-hectare property, the company stated.
A magnetic survey conducted by a state-of-the-art helicopter-style drone will allow the program to “economically fly extremely tight line spacings with high-density ground sampling distances without the need for linecutting,” Rockcliff added.
“It is now possible to resolve individual magnetic anomalies that were previously indistinguishable when surveyed using conventional ground and airborne surveys—perfect for structurally controlled gold exploration targets like that at the Laguna property.”
Located 20 kilometres from a Hudbay Minerals TSX:HBM gold mill now on care and maintenance, the Laguna project comprises part of Rockcliff’s 45,000-hectare Snow Lake portfolio. Included are 43-101 estimates for the Talbot and Rail copper-gold-zinc-silver resources, as well as historic, non-43-101 zinc deposits.
How does your mobile phone last for 12 hours on just one charge? It’s the power of cobalt, along with several other energy metals, that keeps your lithium-ion battery running.
The only problem? Getting the metal from the source to your electronics is not an easy feat, and this makes for an extremely precarious supply chain for manufacturers.
This infographic comes to us from LiCo Energy Metals TSXV:LIC and it focuses on where this important ingredient of green technology originates from, and the supply risks associated with its main sources.
What is cobalt?
Cobalt is a transition metal found between iron and nickel on the periodic table. It has a high melting point (1493° C) and retains its strength to a high temperature.
Similar to iron or nickel, cobalt is ferromagnetic. It can retain its magnetic properties to 1100° C, a higher temperature than any other material. Ferromagnetism is the strongest type of magnetism: it’s the only one that typically creates forces strong enough to be felt and is responsible for the magnets encountered in everyday life.
These unique properties make the metal perfect for two specialized high-tech purposes: superalloys and battery cathodes.
High-performance alloys drive 18% of cobalt demand. The metal’s ability to withstand intense temperatures and conditions makes it perfect for use in:
Batteries drive 49% of demand—and most of this comes from cobalt’s use in lithium-ion battery cathodes:
|Type of lithium-ion cathode||Cobalt in cathode||Spec. energy (Wh/kg)|
The three most powerful cathode formulations for li-ion batteries all need cobalt. As a result, the metal is indispensable in many of today’s battery-powered devices:
The Tesla Powerwall 2 uses approximately seven kilograms and a Tesla Model S (90 kWh) uses approximately 22.5 kilos of the energy metal.
The cobalt supply chain
Cobalt production has gone almost straight up to meet demand, more than doubling since the early 2000s.
But while the metal is desired, getting it is the hard part.
1. No native cobalt has ever been found.
There are four widely distributed ores that exist but almost no cobalt is mined from them as a primary source.
2. Most cobalt production is mined as a byproduct.
|Mine source||% cobalt production|
This means it is hard to expand production when more is needed.
3. Most production occurs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country with elevated supply risks.
|Rest of World||52,785||43.0%|
(Source: CRU, estimated production for 2017, tonnes)
The future of cobalt supply
Companies like Tesla and Panasonic need reliable sources of the metal and right now there aren’t many failsafes.
The United States hasn’t mined cobalt in significant volumes since 1971 and the USGS reports that the U.S. only has 301 tonnes of the metal stored in stockpiles.
The reality is that the DRC produces about half of all cobalt and it also holds approximately 47% of all global reserves.
Why is this a concern for end-users?
1. The DRC is one of the poorest, most corrupt and most coercive countries on the planet.
2. The DRC has had more deaths from war since WWII than any other country on the planet.
Recent wars in the DRC:
3. Human rights in mining
The DRC government estimates that 20% of all cobalt production in the country comes from artisanal miners—independent workers who dig holes and mine ore without sophisticated mines or machinery.
There are at least 100,000 artisanal cobalt miners in the DRC and UNICEF estimates that up to 40,000 children could be in the trade. Children can be as young as seven years old and they can work up to 12 hours with physically demanding work earning $2 per day.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International alleges that Apple, Samsung and Sony fail to do basic checks in making sure the metal in their supply chains did not come from child labour.
Most major companies have vowed that any such practices will not be tolerated in their supply chains.
Where will tomorrow’s supply come from and will the role of the DRC eventually diminish? Will Tesla achieve its goal of a North American supply chain for its key metal inputs?
Mining exploration companies are already looking at regions like Ontario, Idaho, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories to find tomorrow’s deposits.
Ontario: Ontario is one of the only places in the world where cobalt-primary mines have existed. This camp is near the aptly named town of Cobalt, which is located halfway between Sudbury, the world’s nickel capital, and Val-d’Or, one of the most famous gold camps in the world.
Idaho: Idaho is known as the Gem State while also being known for its silver camps in Coeur d’Alene—but it has also been a cobalt producer in the past.
B.C.: The mountains of B.C. are known for their rich gold, silver, copper, zinc and met coal deposits. But cobalt often occurs with copper and some mines in B.C. have produced cobalt in the past.
Northwest Territories: Cobalt can also be found up north, as the NWT becomes a more interesting mineral destination for companies. One hundred and sixty kilometres from Yellowknife, a gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper deposit is being developed.
Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.
by Greg Klein | December 20, 2016
Two conmen who touted a Tanzanian gold mining stock now face prison time and restitution orders, the Ontario Securities Commission announced December 20. William Wallace and Robert Heward were each sentenced to four years and ordered to pay back $6.67 million to approximately 105 people who invested in Londoni Gold Corp. The pair were convicted of fraud, illegal distribution and unregistered trading. The last two charges brought concurrent 18-month sentences.
We will continue to seek prison sentences for individuals who commit crimes like these, which have a devastating impact on the lives of people and their families.—Jeff Kehoe,
OSC director of enforcement
Despite never having been registered with the OSC and having no prospectus for their company, the two sold Londoni shares between December 2009 and December 2013. In doing so they misrepresented the project’s operations, management, viability and production potential, the court heard. “A significant portion” of the money they raised financed their personal lifestyles.
They first appeared in a Toronto court in September 2014.
“This case sends a strong message to individuals engaged in securities fraud and illegal distributions that they will be held accountable for their misconduct,” said OSC director of enforcement Jeff Kehoe. “We will continue to seek prison sentences for individuals who commit crimes like these, which have a devastating impact on the lives of people and their families.”
The charges followed an investigation by the Joint Serious Offences Team, a partnership of the OSC, RCMP Financial Crime program and Ontario Provincial Police Anti-Rackets Branch.
by Greg Klein | December 19, 2016
Following up on last summer’s airborne EM, Aurvista Gold TSXV:AVA plans to complete a ground survey on its Douay gold project by next month. The company describes the University of Toronto Electro-Magnetic system as “different from other EM systems in that it can detect good EM conductors in the presence of poorer ones…. UTEM sees both the freely decaying and directly driven part of the magnetic field. It is this second aspect that makes UTEM unique and so important in detecting and characterizing extremely conductive deposits such as massive sulphides.”
The survey will target three near-surface conductive bedrock anomalies surrounding the Abitibi project’s South porphyry. Last summer’s EM also found four anomalies proximal to the Casa Berardi deformation zone, northwest of the Adam Creek gold deposit.
Aurvista considers one of the current targets, anomaly E, most promising because of its location near the gold-bearing Main, South and Adam porphyries. “There are chlorite-sulphide bearing feeder pipes nearby as observed in drill holes DO-92-24 and DO-11-34, typically found in association with massive sulphide mineralization, yet to be found at Douay,” the company stated.
The other two targets, anomalies F and G, are larger “but are believed, based on nearby re-logged drill core from the Phase I program, to be related to sulphide mineralization.”
Last week the company announced it had chosen seven drill locations to update resources for four of the project’s zones. Eight zones were included in a 2012 resource estimate that used a 0.3 g/t cutoff and totalled:
In November the company closed a private placement of $5.99 million.
Of the 14,520-hectare project, Aurvista holds 100% of 13,310 hectares, 90% of 20 hectares and 75% of 1,190 hectares.
by Greg Klein
During the doom and gloom of mid-2015 Charles Desjardins saw a hopeful sign in zinc. A search for prospective sources led the president of Pistol Bay Mining TSXV:PST to the volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits of western Ontario’s Confederation Lake greenstone belt. There he found different operators left what he considered a mixed legacy—work that was very impressive but carried out in a rather unco-ordinated manner. Now, with a commodity that’s justified his optimism and a portfolio that’s poised to be the belt’s largest, his company’s launching an ambitious new program to take a region-wide approach to Confederation Lake.
“Even though there’s been a lot of money spent in that region there really hasn’t been a lot of continuity in exploration programs,” says Desjardins. “For example we found 8,000 rock geochemistry samples that Noranda did. In today’s terms that’s about $300,000 worth of work just for the analysis, never mind actually acquiring all those samples. We don’t know if Noranda did anything with this, it might have been right when they were getting out of there. But it showed us some obvious things, including a couple of new, big, big targets and extensions of known targets.”
That’s just part of the inspiration for a two-tiered program to begin in January. Drilling would start with about six holes and a few thousand metres, he says. “Beyond that, the plan is to do a regional airborne survey with new technology that can see VMS-style mineralization at 600 to 700 metres. When you look at Flin Flon and Snow Lake, geophysics there found two major deposits at the 500-metre level.”
Confederation Lake characterizes the tendency of VMS deposits to appear in clusters, Desjardins points out. He attributes the region’s largest mine, South Bay, for around 354 million pounds of zinc, 57.6 million pounds of copper and 3.74 million ounces of silver produced between 1972 and 1981. Grades averaged about 11.06% zinc, 1.8% copper and 72.7 g/t silver.
Pending exchange approval for a four-year option on AurCrest Gold’s (TSXV:AGO) regional holdings, Pistol Bay’s turf comprises 7,050 hectares along a 43-kilometre stretch of the 60-kilometre-long belt. The projects include four historic deposits.
Already under a four-year option is a contiguous group of properties named Dixie 17, 18, 19 and 20 that’s been consolidated into a single project. Dixie comes with a 1992 historic, non-43-101 “mineral inventory” from Noranda estimating 150,000 short tons with an average 14% zinc.
Some eight kilometres southeast, the Dixie 3 property, formerly called Snake Falls, hosts another historic, non-43-101 Noranda estimate, this one 91,000 short tons averaging 1% copper and 10% zinc.
Roughly 20 kilometres northeast sits the Arrow zone, one of the acquisitions waiting approval. Arrow comes with a 2007 resource compiled by AurCrest predecessor Tribute Minerals that Pistol Bay isn’t treating as 43-101 and intends to re-do. Using three cutoff grades, the estimate showed:
3% zinc-equivalent cutoff
5% zinc-equivalent cutoff
10% zinc-equivalent cutoff
That acquisition includes the contiguous Copperlode A or Fredart zone, with its historic, non-43-101 estimate of 425,000 tonnes averaging 1.56% copper and 33.6 g/t silver.
Even though there’s been a lot of money spent in that region there really hasn’t been a lot of continuity in exploration programs.—Charles Desjardins,
president of Pistol Bay Mining
Obviously these deposits cry out for 43-101 treatment. Pistol Bay intends to begin with Arrow, the most recent resource but with another 16 holes to consider. Desjardins hopes to have that done within six months.
He points to assays that followed historic estimates on the other deposits, like 7.34% zinc and 1.4% copper over 9.5 metres, and another 15.44% zinc and 0.43% copper over 4.3 metres at Dixie. Intriguing zinc-copper intercepts also came from the Joy-Caravelle area, part of the AurCrest package. Historic sampling at Copperlode A found molybdenum grading up to 1.46%.
Then there’s the 8,000 geochemistry samples left by Noranda. Additionally, Pistol Bay has MPH Consulting at work on an extensive review of previous geophysics. Add to that the new airborne and drilling to begin in January and Desjardins looks forward to a wealth of data with considerable potential waiting to be unlocked.
There’s strong community support too, he adds. “One First Nation invested I think about $600,000 in AurCrest,” he says.
In Saskatchewan’s uranium-prolific Athabasca Basin, Pistol Bay JVs with a Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO subsidiary on the C-5 project. Having earned 75% of its option already, Rio has stated its intention to acquire the full 100% by the end of 2019. That would bring Pistol Bay $5 million and a 5% net profit interest.
The company expects to soon close the first tranche of a private placement offered up to $810,000. Other financings would follow, as Confederation Lake’s regional exploration continues in stages.
“We already have significant deposits that might be developed with one central mill,” Desjardins says. “But we’ll be looking for an elephant too.”
by Greg Klein | December 13, 2016 | updated with revised assays January 17, 2017
A well-financed company working to bring new life to a cluster of past-producers 500 kilometres east of Vancouver, Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM released assays from former mines on December 13. The results come from the Amigo, Glory Hole, May Mac and Sylvester K sites, part of the mostly contiguous 16,000 hectares comprising the Greenwood project.
At May Mac, two of three surface holes from the same collar missed the Skomac vein system. But BF16-26, described as a “very significant 100-metre stepout hole along the northwesterly trend” of the vein system, showed these revised assays, which were released January 17:
True widths weren’t provided.
The results show that historically mined mineralization continues another 75 metres vertically, remaining open at depth and along strike to the northeast, Golden Dawn stated. The company plans further drilling in that direction early next year.
An underground percussion hole at May Mac’s #7 drift showed these highlights from two consecutive 1.2-metre samples of cutting sludge:
Cautioning that accuracy might be affected by material loss, Golden Dawn stated the results show substantial mineralization within five metres of the end of the #7 level.
That level also underwent nine diamond drill holes totalling 805 metres, with assays pending for eight. Hole MU16-01 was drilled horizontally from the end of the adit to determine the distance to the vein. One intercept showed:
One kilometre south of May Mac, the former Amigo and Glory Hole mines underwent a surface drill program of 16 holes totalling 904 metres to search out extensions of known veins. Highlights include:
Due diligence on a proposed property acquisition included seven channel samples at the Sylvester K past-producer, three kilometres from Golden Dawn’s mill. Six in a continuous line averaged 9.92 g/t gold over a true width of 15.2 metres.
Following the Christmas break, a program of 20 to 25 holes begins at the Greenwood project in mid-January. Permitting is in process to extract a 10,000-tonne bulk sample at May Mac adit #7, which would be processed at Golden Dawn’s mill, 15 kilometres from the former mine.
Last month the company closed a $1.18-million private placement, part of $3.97 million in private placements, $2.93 million in exercised warrants and US$2.4 million in long-term debt raised in 2016 that totals about $10.03 million.