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Athabasca Basin and beyond

August 2nd, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 26 to August 1, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Fission off to a scintillating summer at Patterson Lake South

Fourteen widely mineralized holes released July 28 mark Fission Uranium’s (TSXV:FCU) first summer results from Patterson Lake South. All tested R780E, the middle and largest of five zones along a 2.24-kilometre potential strike. Two holes extended the eastern part of the zone about 50 metres north. Among other PLS news is a new technique that allows barge-based angle drilling to better determine the mineralization’s size and shape. And new technology—a scintillometer can now measure radioactive drill core up to 65,535 counts per second, replacing a model that maxed out at 9,999 cps.

Scintillometer readings, as the usual disclaimer relates, are no substitute for assays, which are pending. But the brand new gizmo shows measurements that would have been well off scale for the older device. Some examples from Fission’s multi-page chart include:

Hole PLS 14-219

  • <300 to 33,000 counts per second over 17 metres, starting at 160 metres in downhole depth
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 26 to August 1, 2014

PLS 14-220

  • <300 to 15,000 cps over 32 metres, starting at 59.5 metres

  • <300 to 30,000 cps over 14.5 metres, starting at 97 metres

  • <300 to 41,000 cps over 11 metres, starting at 163 metres

PLS 14-223

  • <300 to 41,000 cps over 13.5 metres, starting at 176.5 metres

PLS 14-224

  • <300 to 42,000 cps over 19.5 metres, starting at 128.5 metres

PLS 14-225

  • <300 to 30,000 cps over 39 metres, starting at 145.5 metres

PLS 14-229

  • <300 to 31,300 cps over 27.5 metres, starting at 96.5 metres

One interval in hole PLS 14-230 came close to maxing out the new scintillometer:

  • <300 to 65,500 cps over 24 metres, starting at 229 metres

True widths weren’t provided.

Forty-three holes of the 63-hole, 20,330-metre summer program will attack the project’s main mineralized trend in hopes of extending it north, south and along strike to the east, as well as delineating the December resource. In the meantime, the market awaits assays for the last 24 holes from 92 sunk last winter.

Denison steps out at Wheeler’s Gryphon zone

On the southeastern Athabasca Basin, step-out drill results from Denison Mines’ (TSX:DML) Wheeler River showed some strong numbers, although possibly not as strong as the company had hoped. Out of 10 holes reported July 29 from the project’s Gryphon zone, seven were 50-metre step-outs from two previously announced holes: Gryphon discovery hole WR-556, which assayed 15.3% U3O8 over 4 metres, and WR-560, which showed 21.2% over 4.5 metres.

The latest batch was provided as radiometric-equivalent uranium from a downhole probe. Lab assays are pending. Some highlights showed:

Hole WR-564

  • 0.8% uranium oxide-equivalent (eU3O8) over 20.5 metres, starting at 736.3 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 3% over 2.3 metres)
  • (also including 4.5% over 1 metre)


  • 1.1% over 2.7 metres, starting at 727.2 metres


  • 3.1% over 3 metres, starting at 662.6 metres

  • 9.4% over 3.7 metres, starting at 679.3 metres

  • 8.1% over 1.1 metres, starting at 692.3 metres

  • 5.3% over 5.9 metres, starting at 702.1 metres

  • 3% over 2 metres, starting at 724 metres


  • 2.3% over 6.5 metres, starting at 755.8 metres
  • (including 10.9% over 1 metre)
  • (also including 1.9% over 1.1 metres)

True widths were estimated at approximately 75%. Three other step-outs failed to find significant mineralization, as did two extensions of historic holes.

Denison described the area as a zone of mineralization above 1% eU3O8 enveloped by lower-grade stuff. “The higher-grade mineralization plunges to the northeast and has now been drilled over 150 metres in the along-plunge direction and over 50 metres across the plunge,” the company added. “Mineralization is open down plunge to the northeast, up plunge to the southwest and across the plunge at depth.”

Last March’s Gryphon discovery diverted attention from Wheeler River’s Phoenix deposit three kilometres southeast. Nevertheless, in June Denison announced a 34% increase in Phoenix indicated resources.

Wheeler’s agenda calls for another 10 holes at Gryphon this summer. Denison acts as operator and holds 60% of the 12,333-hectare property, along with Cameco Corp TSX:CCO (30%) and JCU Canada Exploration (10%).

The previous week Denison announced a $13.04-million bought deal that’s expected to close around August 12. In June the company closed its acquisition of International Enexco. Denison plans to spend $15 million on Canadian exploration this year.

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Quebec uranium inquiry attacked by 70 geologists and engineers

June 10th, 2014

by Greg Klein | June 10, 2014

Quebec uranium inquiry attacked by 70 geos and engineers

Now stalled by Quebec’s moratorium on uranium, Strateco’s Matoush project has a January 2012
resource estimate of 7.78 million pounds U3O8 indicated and 19.22 million pounds inferred.


This story has been updated and moved here.

Athabasca Basin and beyond

March 9th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for March 1 to 7, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Fission Uranium merges two zones, narrows gap between two others at Patterson Lake South

Fission Uranium merges two zones, narrows gap between two others at Patterson Lake South

Fission Uranium has four of its five rigs trying
to fill the gaps in the now six-zone PLS project.

With several zones stretched along a 1.78-kilometre potential strike at Patterson Lake South, Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU obviously wants to find one big, shallow, high-grade deposit. That dream came closer to reality with radiometric results released March 5 and 7. Zones R780E and R945E are now one, forever intertwined, while the gap between two zones to the west has been narrowed.

Scintillometer results from 20 holes released March 5 show mineralization at depths as shallow as 54 metres and as deep as 459 metres. Thirteen holes showed off-scale intervals, reaching the maximum 9,999 counts per second on the hand-held device that measures drill core for gamma radiation. Scintillometer readings are no substitute for assays, which are pending.

Apart from the hope of merging more zones—the goal of this winter’s drill program—Fission Uranium sees expansion potential. The best hole of this batch was the most easterly of the newly merged zone, which “bodes extremely well for high-grade expansion to the east.”

Two days later Fission Uranium unveiled scintillometer results for four more holes, each from a different zone, starting with R780E and moving west to the discovery zone. The interval nearest to surface started at 51 metres and the deepest ended at 276 metres. Intervals from one hole showed a total of 16.18 metres of off-scale radioactivity, while another hole gave up an off-scale composite of 2.65 metres. The gap between R390E and R585E has been narrowed to about 60 metres.

With 36 of the planned 85 winter holes complete, Fission Uranium claims a 100% hit rate. The company has one rig exploring outside the mineralized trend and four others attacking the gaps between these six zones:

The discovery zone, R00E, has a 165-metre strike and a lateral width up to about 45 metres. About 135 metres east, R390E has a 255-metre strike and a lateral width up to about 50 metres. Sixty metres east again, R585E has a 75-metre strike and a lateral width up to about 20 metres. About 105 metres east, R780E now has an approximately 270-metre strike, as a result of subsuming R945E. The lateral width reaches up to about 90 metres.

R780E’s geology “is similar to other zones,” Fission Uranium stated, “consisting of mineralization primarily associated with sequences of steeply south-dipping pelitic lithology with localized mylonites and cataclasites.”

Two other zones at the eastern and western extremities, R1155E and R600W, bring the potential strike to 1.78 kilometres.

Two weeks earlier Fission Uranium released lab assays from R585E that showed the project’s best hole ever—or maybe that should be “so far.”

Update: On March 10 Fission released its “second-best” radiometric results from PLS. Read more.

NexGen announces $10-million bought deal for Athabasca Basin exploration

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for March 1 to 7, 2014

With Fission Uranium’s PLS rigs in the background, NexGen drills Rook 1.

A $10-million bought deal for NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE reinforces the company’s new prominence in Athabasca Basin uranium exploration. Announced March 4, the private placement follows news of radiometric results from a new area of the company’s Rook 1 project, which is adjacent to PLS.

Subject to approvals, the deal involves 22.3 million units at $0.45 and gives the underwriters an option to buy an additional 15%. Each unit consists of a share and one-half warrant, with each entire warrant exercisable at $0.65 for two years. Proceeds will go to Basin exploration, working capital and general corporate purposes.

NexGen’s stock took off with the February 19 release of radiometric readings from the first hole in Rook 1’s Arrow area, which the company called “a totally new zone of uranium mineralization.” The news propelled the company from a 52-week low of $0.225 to a 52-week high of $0.65 in two days. The stock closed March 7 at $0.49.

Meanwhile NexGen has moved its other rig to Arrow to focus two drills on the new area.

NexGen holds several properties in the Basin. But it has yet to release results from last summer’s nine-hole campaign on the Radio project, where the company has a 70% earn-in.

NexGen expects to close the bought deal by March 26.

Zadar announces 2014 plans for PNE and Pasfield projects

With permit applications submitted, Zadar Ventures TSXV:ZAD announced plans for two projects on March 3. The 15,292-hectare PNE, about 11 kilometres northeast of PLS, has about 3,500 metres scheduled for winter and summer drilling, along with ground-based geophysics. Previously identified radon anomalies and conductive trends will help determine targets.

Plans for the 37,445-hectare Pasfield Lake property, within the Cable Bay shear zone in the east-central Basin, include airborne and ground geophysics and a proposed 3,800 metres of drilling “followed by a staged program of uranium exploration culminating in [a] 32,000-metre drilling program,” the company stated.

Pasfield Lake is one of a number of properties that Zadar acquired from Canterra Minerals TSXV:CTM late last year.

Noka Resources/Alpha Exploration begin radon surveys on Carpenter Lake

Radon surveys on lake water and sediment have begun at Carpenter Lake on the Basin’s south-central edge. Announced March 4 by Noka Resources TSXV:NX and Alpha Exploration TSXV:AEX, the four-to-five-week agenda will include sampling from about a thousand locations over a 16-kilometre stretch of the Cable Bay shear zone, which the companies have described as a “major regional shear zone with known uranium enrichment.”

Spring and summer plans for the 20,637-hectare property include high-resolution airborne radiometrics to search for near-surface uranium boulders, followed by ground prospecting and geochemical sampling. The work is part of the Alpha Minerals spinco’s 60% earn-in from Noka, a member of the Western Athabasca Syndicate that plans to drill its PLS-vicinity Preston Lake property this month.

Late last month Noka closed a $1.13-million private placement. Alpha Exploration announced plans for other projects in December and January.

Hodgins Auctioneers pursues Basin uranium claims

A company specializing in auctioning equipment and real estate has signed a conditional agreement to acquire uranium interests in the Basin. Under a deal announced March 6 with Majesta Resources Inc, Hodgins Auctioneers TSXV:HA would get a 25% interest in a 39,125-hectare contiguous package that comes within 10 kilometres of the Key Lake mill.

Apart from TSXV approval, the transaction hinges on raising a $350,000 private placement.

An initial 25% would cost Hodgins $100,000 in cash or debt, two million shares and $300,000 in exploration spending. An additional 35% would require an extra four million shares and $400,000 in spending. A further 30% would call for another $400,000 cash or debt and two million shares.

Hodgins attributed a “low cost relative to similar transactions in the area due to the relationship between two of the insiders of the corporation and the party which owns the mineral claims.” Majesta would act as project operator.

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Greenland says yes to uranium mining

October 25th, 2013

by Ana Komnenic | October 25, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

Greenland has taken a major step in opening up its mining industry. The country’s parliament voted on October 24 to end a decades-long ban on mining for radioactive materials. The decision clears the way for uranium and rare earths mining.

Greenland says yes to uranium mining

“We cannot live with unemployment and cost of living increases while our economy is at a standstill. It is therefore necessary that we eliminate zero tolerance towards uranium now,” Greenland Prime Minister Aleqa Hammond said according to Reuters.

Some major REE deposits had been off limits because they are connected to radioactive materials.

Lawmakers passed the decision 15 to 14 votes.

With the restrictions lifted, China might have something to worry about. The Asian giant currently produces 95% of the world’s REE supply. Greenland is believed to have enough of these metals to satisfy one-quarter of global demand over the next 50 years.

One company in particular stands to benefit. Greenland Minerals and Energy, an Australian company, has both uranium and REE projects in the country.

See also: Greenland to revise controversial mining law
China growing uneasy over Greenland’s rare earth ambitions

Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

China growing uneasy over Greenland’s rare earth ambitions

August 9th, 2013

by Ana Komnenic | August 9, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of Mining.com

China has long enjoyed its supremacy in the rare earths field but lately this position has been challenged by an often overlooked, massive island nation: Greenland.

The Asian giant produces 95% of the world’s Rare Earth Elements (REE) supply—a fact that has caused much unease among U.S. lawmakers—and has never had to face any real contenders, until now. Late last year the industry was buzzing with rumours that Greenland could hold enough of these metals to satisfy one-quarter of global demand over the next 50 years.

A recent visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to Denmark—Greenland’s official hegemon—caused some analysts to speculate that the People’s Republic may be getting a little antsy over the country’s valuable deposits, Ice News reports.

According to European Commission data, Greenland has “especially strong potential in six of the 14 elements on the EU critical raw materials list.”

In fact, one company is well on its way to becoming a real threat: Greenland’s Tanbreez Mining—of Australian parentage—has been eyeing the island’s southern region since 2010. According to a company news release, they planned to file a final application for an exploration licence by July 2013.

But the People’s Republic may find some solace in the fact that Greenland is overwhelmingly concerned about the environmental and safety implications of mining rare earths, which may cause some roadblocks. However, Tanbreez asserts that these concerns do not apply to the areas it plans on mining.

Meanwhile, China’s domestic REE industry is hitting a rough patch. According to Ice News, “excessive mining” has made extraction difficult for the country’s miners. Illegal mining has also plagued the sector.

Aside from Greenland, China’s rare earths industry has other challengers to consider. According to Greenland’s Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, Brazil has 37% of the world’s rare earth potential—12% more than China—and Vietnam 10%.

The U.S. is also ramping up exploration and recently tasked the U.S. Geological Survey with uncovering domestic supplies in old mine site tailings.

Chinese officials and REE producers addressed these concerns at the country’s Baotou Rare Earth Industry Forum on Thursday.

“The output of each rare earth mine in the United States, Australia and Russia is often less than 25,000 tonnes,” Zhang Zhong, president of China’s top rare earth producer told Xinhuanet. “Although Vietnam, India, Canada and South Africa have launched some rare earth projects, they need plenty of time to put them into operation and realize the capacity.”

Week in review

March 15th, 2013

A mining and exploration retrospect for March 9 to 15, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Getting a fix on “the fix”

“When the Libor scandal broke, my first reaction at the time was, ‘Wait ‘til they look at gold.’” Dow Jones Newswires reporter and Wall Street Journal contributor Tatyana Shumsky discussed “the fix” in a Thursday WSJ Live interview after breaking the news that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission was looking into the way gold prices are set.

In a Thursday follow-up, Reuters explained the process this way:

The subject of gold price manipulation hit CNBC, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal this week

The subject of gold price manipulation hit CNBC,
Reuters and the Wall Street Journal this week.

“Currently, gold-fixing happens twice a day by teleconference with five banks: Bank of Nova Scotia-ScotiaMocatta [BNS], Barclays Bank Plc (BARC.L), Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE), HSBC Bank USA, NA and Société Générale (SOGN.PA). The fixings are used to determine prices globally.

“At the start of each gold price-fixing, the chairman announces an opening price to the other four members who relay that to their customers and, based on orders received from them, instruct their representatives to declare themselves as buyers or sellers at that price. The gold price is adjusted up and down until demand and supply is matched at which point the price is declared “fixed.” The fixings are used to determine spot prices for the billions of dollars of the two precious metals traded each day. Buyers and sellers can get insight on price changes and the level of interest during the fixing process. They can cancel, increase or decrease their interest based on that information.”

According to Ross Norman, owner of bullion broker Sharps Pixley, “The fix is open, consequential, transparent and has stood the test of time,” he told Reuters. “It’s not open to manipulation in the same way as Libor.” But Shumsky told WSJ Live, “To even deal with these banks, you have to have 20, 50 million dollars in gold alone.”

CFTC head Scott O’Malia downplayed his office’s interest. “I think we’ve had a couple of conversations. We’re looking at energy, indexes, prices, how they’re set,” Reuters quoted him. “We’ll look at all of the range of index-setting.”

Shumsky acknowledged, “It is very early days right now. But it is interesting that they’re looking at it because a lot of commodities markets are opaque like this. You have coal, iron ore, platinum….” And silver, the interviewer added.


Chris Powell, on the other hand, said he’s “always suspicious” of the CFTC. “This is not an investigation,” the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee secretary/treasurer said in a Thursday CNBC interview. “They’ve been investigating silver for four and a half years and have not issued any report…. The attorney general of the United States said before the Senate judiciary committee a few days ago that the big banks and investment houses in the United States are not only too big to fail, they’re too big to jail.”

An interviewer asked, “What needs to be done to make the market more transparent, less susceptible to manipulation? Do we need to scrap the gold fix?”

“No, I think we need to commit journalism,” Powell responded. “You simply have to ask the central banks very specific questions about gold, as GATA has done over the years … what are you doing in the gold market today? Show us your gold books, your gold swaps, your gold leases. What is the purpose of your trading secretly in the gold market?”

While Eastern central banks keep buying gold, their Western counterparts swap, lease and sell the stuff to protect their currencies, he maintained. “None of us alive today has ever seen a free gold price.”

CNBC buried the video within a story that quotes Jeffery Christian of the commodities research firm CPM Group, who said he thinks GATA are “outright liars … pretty much what they do is nonsense.”

Who’ll get Venezuela’s gold?

As for gold repatriation, it might prove tumultuous to Venezuela. A Wednesday Reuters commentary by Peter Christian Hall said the 160 tons President Hugo Chavez brought home in 2011 would be worth about $9 billion today. But during the first eight months of 2012 about $550 million was sold. “Did further sales follow over the past six months, with proceeds partly paying for the public largesse that helped fuel Chavez’s victorious up-from-the-sickbed presidential run?” Hall asked.

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Week in review

February 8th, 2013

A mining and exploration retrospect for February 2 to 8, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Dangerous work

A Quebec rescue team recovered the bodies of two quarry workers on Saturday, four days after a landslide buried them in an open gravel pit. Daniel Brisebois and Marie-Claude Laporte worked for Maskimo Construction at L’Epiphanie, about 50 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

On Tuesday Eastern Platinum TSX:ELR reported the death of Allan Swartz, a shift supervisor at the Crocodile River Mine in South Africa, after he fell through an empty ore pass.

Five workers from Braeval Mining’s TSX:BVL Snow Mine project in northern Colombia remain missing after being abducted by the National Liberation Army (ELN) on January 18.

Natives end De Beers protest

A four-day blockade outside De Beers Victor diamond mine in northern Ontario ended peacefully Thursday night, the Timmins Press reported. A company spokesperson told the paper that De Beers agreed to discuss changes to an existing impact benefit agreement regarding employment, training “and maximizing the benefits.”

Supply convoys were prevented from reaching the site by about 16 protestors from the native community of Attawapiskat, 90 kilometres away.

Vague definitions give aboriginals enormous power

A mining and exploration retrospect

In Saturday’s Globe and Mail, columnist Jeffrey Simpson rather candidly addressed the vague but powerful native rights that have created a “de facto veto” over resource development in Canada.

Native demands, he wrote, stem from “treaty rights, however defined, and from aboriginal rights, however defined, in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” In its 1997 Delgamuukw decision, Canada’s Supreme Court established the duty to consult natives before working on Crown land. But the court didn’t define the consultation process except to say, in effect, “the stronger the aboriginal [land] claim, the more serious the consultation,” Simpson stated.

Consequently “it’s obviously in the interests of aboriginals to make the most sweeping initial claims possible, whether they have much justification in history, current reality or law. As long as the claim is there, aboriginals can interpret Delgamuukw as giving them a de facto veto, even if that isn’t what the ruling said.”

In a later court ruling, “once again, the meaning and reality of ‘consult’ was left vague, perhaps necessarily so, since how can one define a process of consultation that would be agreed to by all parties. In practice, what ‘consult’ means to aboriginals is ‘we must agree.’”

Most recently, a December decision from the Yukon Court of Appeal declared that the territorial government must consult and “accommodate” the Ross River Dena Council even before very early-stage prospecting in the Ross River area. The ruling is considered to have strong repercussions for other jurisdictions as well.

“Even before a company does anything, the government’s obligation to consult kicks in. From now on—in ways yet to be determined—governments have to consult aboriginals before anything is done that might some day, somehow, have an impact on whatever land they might claim, or have claimed, even if such claims haven’t been tested or resolved,” Simpson wrote.

The Yukon government may appeal the decision. But Simpson’s conclusion might imply that judges already have their minds made up.

“Aboriginals must be delighted with goalposts moving closer all the time toward their conception of consultation as approval by them of anything and everything that might occur on land over which they claim rights, proven or unproven.”

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Year in review: Part II

December 29th, 2012

A mining and exploration retrospect for 2012

by Greg Klein

Read Part I of Year in Review.

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Graphite boom, bust and echo

One of the commodities that excited the 2012 market, graphite began stirring interest in 2011 and really gained momentum early this year. But the precipitous fall, right around April Fool’s Day, let cynics bask in schadenfreude. It was a bubble all along, they insisted.

Well, not quite. Despite reduced share values, work continued as the front-runners advanced their projects and earlier-stage companies competed for position in graphite’s second wave of potential producers. By autumn some of the advanced-stage outfits, far from humbled by last spring’s events, boldly indulged themselves in a blatant bragging contest.

Old king coal to regain its throne

If clean carbon doesn’t excite investors like it used to, plain old dirty carbon might. By 2017 coal’s share of the global energy market will rival that of oil. So says the International Energy Agency, which issued its Medium-Term Coal Market Report in December.

A mining and exploration retrospect for 2012

The forecast sees China consuming over half the world’s production by 2017. “Even if Chinese GDP growth were to slow to a 4.6% average over the period, coal demand would still increase both globally and in China,” the report stated. India, with the world’s “largest pocket of energy poverty,” will take second place for consumption.

Coal’s growth in demand is slowing, however. But its share of the energy mix continues to increase even though Europe’s “coal renaissance” (sic) appears to be temporary.

Bringing coal miners to new hassle

Chinese provide much of the market and often the investment. So why shouldn’t they provide the workers too? That seems to be the rationale of Chinese interests behind four British Columbia coal projects.

The proponents plan to use Chinese underground workers exclusively at the most advanced project, HD Mining International’s Murray River, for 30 months of construction and two additional years of mining. Only then would Canadians be initiated into the mysteries of Chinese longwall mining. But with only 10% of the workforce to be replaced by Canadians each year, Chinese “temporary” workers would staff the mine until about 2026. The B.C. government has known about these intentions since at least 2007.

The HD Mining saga has seen new developments almost every week since the United Steelworkers broke the story on October 9.

As Greenland’s example suggests, the scheme might represent another facet of China’s growing power.

Geopolitical geology

Resource imperialism aside, resource nationalism and other aspects of country risk continued throughout 2012. South American Silver TSX:SAC continues to seek compensation after spending over $16 million on a silver-polymetallic project that the Bolivian government then snatched as a freebie. Centerra Gold TSX:CG escaped nationalization in Kyrgyzstan but works its way through somewhat Byzantine political and regulatory intrigue, as does Stans Energy TSXV:HRE. In November the latter claimed a court victory over a hostile parliamentary committee.

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Week in review

December 7th, 2012

A mining and exploration retrospect for December 1 to 7, 2012

by Greg Klein

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Lawyer wants to cross-examine Bre-X wives

A lawyer representing Alberta investors wants to know what happened to $95 million that two families received from the Bre-X fraud. The multi-billion-dollar mining scam hit the fan in 1997 and the company filed for bankruptcy in 2002. On Tuesday class-action lawyer Clint Docken told media he wants to cross-examine Ingrid Felderhof, ex-wife of Bre-X chief geologist John Felderhof, and Jeannette Walsh, widow of founder David Walsh, about affidavits the women made concerning their financial situation.

According to Tuesday’s Calgary Sun, Docken told court that the company founder received $25 million from investors while the chief geologist got $70 million. Ingrid Felderhof lives in the Cayman Islands. Jeannette Walsh lives in the Bahamas.

A mining and exploration retrospect

Docken told the Calgary Herald he also wants an appraisal of a Cayman Islands mansion the Felderhofs bought 15 years ago for $3 million.

“It’s important to know what it’s worth now,” the Herald quoted him. “That’s an asset that should be taken into consideration. If this claim is successful, she may have to sell it.”

Lawyers representing bankruptcy trustees Deloitte & Touche want the suit dismissed, saying there’s no money left. The Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench adjourned the case to May 30. The Herald also stated that Ontario has a parallel class-action suit underway.

Darryl Stretch’s downfall

Solid Gold Resources TSXV:SLD announced on Monday that it replaced outspoken CEO Darryl Stretch. According to a company statement, the BOD appointed director/chief financial officer Alan Myers interim CEO.

Stretch courted controversy several times after coming into conflict with the Wahgoshig native band and the Ontario government. He said the Wahgoshig wanted him to fund a $100,000 archeological study prior to drilling claims near Lake Abitibi in northeastern Ontario. Saying the company couldn’t afford it, he told the Globe and Mail last March, “It’s not my obligation to go find arrowheads for those people, period…. If they don’t like you, you don’t work.” That outburst followed a January court injunction ordering him to suspend drilling and consult with the Wahgoshig band. The company filed for leave to appeal, arguing that consultation wasn’t a legal obligation.

The Wahgoshig, in turn, filed a claim in February against the province and Solid Gold. According to a company statement, “the claim states that ‘the mining act does not establish any requirement on the Crown or the holder of a prospectors licence to consult or accommodate aboriginal communities’ therefore the act ‘is unconstitutional and of no force and effect.’”

According to an August Solid Gold statement, “While the company was restricted from operating in the area, the [Wahgoshig First Nation] used information obtained from Solid Gold during the consultation process to stake mineral claims over an area approximately six kilometres long and 500 metres wide, bordering the Solid Gold property.”

By September, a judge granted Solid Gold leave to appeal the court-imposed drilling suspension. The judge, according to a company statement, wrote that he saw “no basis in the facts of this case for an imposition of a duty to consult on Solid Gold. If the Crown wishes to delegate operational aspects of its duty it must establish a legislative or regulatory scheme. The mining act does not presently contain such a scheme.”

Such a scheme was already underway. Under new rules to take full effect April 1, the province will require companies to consult native bands prior to early-stage exploration drilling on Crown land. The bands will have 30 days to express concerns, which could then block a permit.

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