Saturday 15th August 2020

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘lead’

Emerita Resources raises $2.35 million, prepares drill permitting for southern Spain polymetallic project

August 14th, 2020

by Greg Klein | August 14, 2020

Backed by two recently closed private placements, a Spanish exploration company readies its historic property for a new round of drilling. Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO now has environmental documentation underway for an exploration permit, and has begun a digital database for its Paymogo polymetallic project.

Emerita Resources raises $2.35 million, prepares drill permitting for southern Spain polymetallic project

Emerita was formally granted the Paymogo claims in late June, following a lengthy legal process. Located in southern Spain’s Iberian Pyrite Belt adjacent to the Portuguese border, the property has highway access to the Atlantic port of Huelva, about 50 kilometres away.

Encouraging to both the environmental process and mineralization potential, the Iberian belt hosts many past-producers along with active operations.

According to an historic, non-43-101 estimate, Paymogo’s Romanera deposit hosts 34 million tonnes averaging 0.42% copper, 2.2% lead, 2.3% zinc, 44.4 g/t silver and 0.8 g/t gold. Within that deposit a higher-grade zone shows an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 11.21 million tonnes averaging 0.4% copper, 2.47% lead, 5.5% zinc, 64 g/t silver and 1 g/t gold.

The deposit starts at surface, reaches 350 metres in depth and remains open down dip, according to historic records.

About eight kilometres from the Romanera deposit, the Paymogo property also includes the Infanta area, with historic, non-43-101 results showing high-grade copper-lead-zinc-silver intervals.

But previous operators might have neglected Paymogo’s gold and silver, Emerita believes. “At the time Romanera was being explored by the previous operators, there was very little interest in the precious metals potential and some earlier drill holes were not assayed for gold,” said president Joaquin Merino. “Based on the historic data available and our knowledge of the deposits, we are very encouraged by what we are seeing.”

Along with survey results, there are 51 previous holes from Romanera and 48 from Infanta to compile in the digital database and 3D model that will help guide the next drill campaign.

Looking at another Iberian Pyrite Belt project, Emerita awaits a court decision regarding a disputed tender for the Aznalcollar zinc-lead past-producer.

Last May the company announced a binding letter agreement to earn a 55% interest in the Sierra Alta gold project in northern Spain. The acquisition would cost Emerita $50,000, 500,000 shares and $500,000 in two years of spending.

The company’s portfolio also includes a 50% interest in the Cantabrica do Zinco joint venture and its Plaza Norte project near Spain’s northern coast. Emerita has filed a technical report to renew these claims with the regional ministry of mines. In August 2019 the company reported a drill intercept grading 4.57% zinc over 9.5 metres from an area that has also seen historic drilling.

Earlier this week Emerita closed a fully subscribed private placement of $1 million that was offered following overwhelming response to a previous placement that closed on $1.35 million in July.

Taranis Resources gets B.C. Ombudsperson intervention in regulatory dispute; B.C. plans Mines Act revisions

July 2nd, 2020

by Greg Klein | July 2, 2020

In what might be a unique approach to regulatory uncertainty, a would-be British Columbia miner says it has “helped set the trend towards more transparent, accessible and fair proceedings for bulk-sampling projects.” Exasperated by its dealings with the provincial mines ministry, Taranis Resources TSXV:TRO went to the province’s Ombudsperson. As a result, the company and the ministry have agreed to procedures and a timeline for the company’s permitting application.

Taranis Resources gets B.C. Ombudsperson intervention in regulatory dispute; B.C. plans Mines Act revisions

Taranis has sunk about 250 holes at Thor
since acquiring the Kootenay property in 2006.
(Photo: Taranis Resources)

Taranis proposes to conduct a 10,000-tonne sample as part of the feasibility studies for the Thor project in southeastern B.C. The 3,172-hectare property hosts five historic mines and a potential silver-gold-lead-zinc-copper open pit.

Last March the company castigated B.C.’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, charging that a supposedly 60-day review had dragged on since September 2019, involving 28 government reviewers, “multiple catastrophic deficiencies and concerns,” and “moving goalposts.”

But on July 2 CEO John Gardiner thanked the ministry and the Ombudsperson “for formulating a number of positive measures that pertain not only to Taranis, but to B.C.’s exploration and mining sector as a whole.”

The resolution calls for draft engineering drawings of a water management plan and tailings storage facility to be completed with ministry collaboration within three to four weeks before being sent to the province’s Mine Development Review Committee for comments.

“Taranis expects the permit recommendation to be sent from EMPR to the statutory decision maker this year,” the company stated. “EMPR will try to complete this work by August 31, 2020, in order to mitigate further delay.”

We wish to thank the Ombudsperson’s office and EMPR … for formulating a number of positive measures that pertain not only to Taranis, but to B.C.’s exploration and mining sector as a whole.—John Gardiner,
Taranis Resources CEO

Taranis also stated that the ministry committed to completing and posting online a draft policy and information bulletin entitled Permitting Custom and Pilot Mill Operations, and a fact sheet for bulk sampling.

The province has been blamed for “moving the goalposts” on another mining proposal, and in this case the criticism came from a Supreme Court judge. But although the court ordered the government in 2013 to reconsider Pacific Booker Minerals’ (TSXV:BKM) application to build the Morrison copper-gold-molybdenum mine, the company still faces regulatory uncertainty. Late last month independent MLA and former Green leader Andrew Weaver accused the government of imposing conditions too vague for compliance. “For Pacific Booker, this order has been tantamount to a rejection of its project without the ministry formally saying no,” he charged.

Also last month B.C.’s New Democrat government announced proposed updates to the province’s Mines Act. Among the changes would be the separation of health and safety enforcement from responsibility for permitting decisions.

A newly created chief auditor’s staff would inspect mines and issue orders to rectify dangers to people, property or the environment.

Mine inspectors would gain stronger powers to stop work until remedial environmental protection takes place, and broader authority to conduct inspections. Inspections could include “indigenous accompaniment.”

Emerita Resources wins mining rights to Paymogo VMS property in Spain

June 29th, 2020

by Greg Klein | June 29, 2020

Following the successful outcome of a lengthy legal contest and additional bidding process, rights to a disputed southern Spain polymetallic project have finally been resolved. The Andalusian regional government granted the claims to Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO, the company announced June 29.

Emerita Resources wins mining rights to Paymogo VMS property in Spain

Last November Emerita won a Supreme Court decision ordering the bidding process to re-open, following a dispute that began in 2014.

Company president Joaquin Merino said work will begin immediately on a technical program and permitting, with drilling to begin “as soon as practically possible. 

“The company will employ best practices with respect to protecting the health and safety of our employees and the communities in which we work, and is developing the necessary safety protocols to commence work in a safe manner.”

Early last month Spain began a series of measures to relax the COVID-19 lockdown imposed in mid-March.

An historic, non-43-101 estimate credits Paymogo’s Romanera deposit with 34 million tonnes averaging 0.42% copper, 2.2% lead, 2.3% zinc, 44.4 g/t silver and 0.8 g/t gold. A higher-grade zone within the deposit hosts an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 11.21 million tonnes averaging 0.4% copper, 2.47% lead, 5.5% zinc, 64 g/t silver and 1 g/t gold.

Beginning at surface, the deposit reaches 350 metres in depth and remains open down dip, according to historic reports.

The property also includes the Infanta area about eight kilometres from Romanera, with historic, non-43-101 assays showing high-grade copper-lead-zinc-silver intervals.

Located in the Iberian Pyrite Belt on the Portuguese border, Paymogo can be reached from southern Spain’s Atlantic port of Huelva, about 50 highway kilometres away.

The company awaits a court resolution of a tender dispute for the former Aznalcollar zinc-lead mine in southern Spain.

In May Emerita reported a binding letter agreement to earn a 55% interest in the Sierra Alta project from privately held Western Metallica. The deal would cost Emerita $50,000, 500,000 shares and $500,000 in two years of spending.

The company also holds a 50% interest in the Cantabrica do Zinco JV and its Plaza Norte project near Spain’s northern coast. Emerita has filed a technical report for renewal of claims with the regional ministry of mines. In August Emerita announced an intercept reaching 4.57% zinc over 9.5 metres from an area that has also undergone historic drilling.

Last month the company increased a private placement offer from $1 million to $1.35 million.

IMC International Mining releases historic B.C. copper-gold-silver results, prepares summer campaign

June 4th, 2020

by Greg Klein | June 4, 2020

A compilation of previously collected high-grade assays from three more areas completes a review of this newly acquired central British Columbia project. On June 4 IMC International Mining CSE:IMCX released copper-gold-silver results from the CJL, Mat and Lake areas of its Thane property, following similar reviews announced last month for the Cathedral, Gail and Cirque areas.

The property’s six areas came under scrutiny to re-assess over 1,400 rock samples, along with soil samples and a 2019 induced polarization survey undertaken by previous operators, as well as regional airborne magnetics conducted by Geoscience BC.

The review “demonstrates the presence of significant copper-gold mineralization throughout the 206-square-kilometre Thane property,” commented IMC president/CEO Brian Thurston. “With the Cathedral area modelled as an alkalic porphyry, and such systems usually occurring in clusters, the copper and gold values detected on the property to date highlight the potential for other significant discoveries.”

IMC International Mining releases historic B.C. copper-gold-silver results, prepares summer campaign

Of 56 rock samples collected at CJL in 2016, 31 surpassed 0.1% copper and 10 exceeded 1% copper. Some highlights include:

  • 9.51% copper and 16.7 g/t silver

  • 8.82% copper and 16.6 g/t silver

  • 5.18% copper and 9.4 g/t silver

  • 3.1% copper and 28.9 g/t silver

  • 2.25% copper and 3.3 g/t silver

Among results suggesting yellow metal potential, one sample assayed 0.632 g/t gold, as well as 1.06% copper and 2.74 g/t silver.

At Thane’s Mat area, historic, non-43-101 assays include 41 chip samples dating to 1983 that averaged 746 g/t silver. That vein also yielded a 2015 grab sample with a non-43-101 grade of 4,950 g/t silver, 1.5% copper, 3.3% lead and 1.2% zinc.

A 2012 discovery, the Lake area also underwent extensive sampling. Historic, non-43-101 results from 141 rock samples showed 77 samples above 0.1% copper, with 15 samples surpassing 1%. As for gold, 39 samples exceeded 0.1 g/t. Eight of them reached beyond 1 g/t gold.

Some non-43-101 Lake highlights include:

  • 4.56% copper and 3.81 g/t gold

  • 3.37% copper and 1.39 g/t gold

  • 3.08% copper and 1.34 g/t gold

  • 2.55% copper and 3.07 g/t gold

  • 1.85% copper and 1.2 g/t gold

  • 1.01% copper and 1.33 g/t gold

  • 0.77% copper and 1.2 g/t gold

  • 0.73% copper and 1.28 g/t gold

The company’s summer agenda calls for mapping, geochemical sampling and an IP survey, possibly leading to a fall drill campaign. “Although the focus for IMC this summer will be at the Cathedral area, IMC has plans to revisit all of these other areas, advancing them through exploration and evaluating their potential,” said Thurston.

The company also holds the early-stage Bullard Pass gold property in Arizona. Last month IMC closed private placements totalling $1.76 million. In April the company negotiated a private equity draw-down of $8 million.

Read more about IMC International Mining.

Emerita Resources updates Spanish projects as country relaxes lockdown

May 4th, 2020

by Greg Klein | May 4, 2020

Emerita Resources updates Spanish projects as country relaxes lockdown

Historic, non-43-101 assays from Plaza Norte reached as high as 9.72% zinc over 18.95 metres.
(Photo: Emerita Resources)

 

A gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions demonstrates guarded optimism in one of Europe’s hardest-hit countries. While the general lockdown continues, new measures took effect on May 4 that anticipate a possible restart of wider economic activity. That same day Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO issued updates for its Spanish base metals properties.

Emerita won a court decision in November, allowing the company to appeal a tender process that would have rejected its bid for the Paymogo project in the southern province of Huelva. The region’s new government has expressed its interest in the property’s economic potential and its intention to follow the court’s instructions, Emerita stated.

“We look forward to the pending resolution of this title dispute,” commented CEO David Gower. “We expect the Paymogo project to be a cornerstone project for the company’s immediate focus. We have held numerous meetings with investors, many of whom have indicated an interest in participating in the development of the project.”

Paymogo’s Romanera deposit hosts an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 34 million tonnes averaging 0.42% copper, 2.2% lead, 2.3% zinc, 44.4 g/t silver and 0.8 g/t gold. Within that estimate sits a higher-grade historic, non-43-101 resource with 11.21 million tonnes grading 0.4% copper, 2.47% lead, 5.5% zinc, 64 g/t silver and 1 g/t gold.

The historic resource begins at surface and remains open.

Previous drilling has also tested Paymogo’s La Infanta area, about eight kilometres from Romanera, bringing historic, non-43-101 reports of high-grade copper-lead-zinc-silver intervals.

The property links to the port of Huelva by about 50 kilometres of paved road.

Concerning the disputed tender over the former Aznalcollar zinc-lead mine in southern Spain, Emerita expects a resolution when courts re-open after the lockdown. As reported by the company, a previous court decision found bidder Minorbis-GM “failed to comply with the requirements of the first stage of the tender process and should never have been eligible to participate in the second stage of the tender. On the basis of the Appellate Court ruling, that bid should be disqualified leaving the Emerita submission as the only remaining qualified bid.”

The company also reported a binding letter agreement with privately held Western Metallica to earn a 55% interest in the Sierra Alta project. Pending TSXV approval, Emerita would pay $50,000, issue 500,000 shares and, within two years, spend $500,000.

Regarding the Plaza Norte project near Spain’s northern coast, Emerita has filed a technical report for renewal of claims with the regional ministry of mines. The company holds a 50% interest in the property through the Cantabrica do Zinco joint venture. Last August Emerita released an interval of 4.57% zinc over 9.5 metres from an area that has also seen impressive historic results.

Mining resumes under COVID-19 but faces slow return: GlobalData

April 28th, 2020

by Greg Klein | April 28, 2020

Mining resumes under COVID-19 but faces slow return GlobalData

 

As of April 27 some 729 mines worldwide remain suspended, down from more than 1,600 shutdowns on April 3. The numbers, released by GlobalData, reflect government decisions to declare the industry an essential service, as well as implementation of new health standards and procedures. Those efforts, often involving staff reductions, contribute to “a slow return for the industry,” stated the data and analytics firm.

“Silver production is currently being severely damaged by lockdown measures,” pointed out GlobalData mining analyst Vinneth Bajaj. “As of 27 April, the equivalent of 65.8% of annual global silver production was on hold. Silver mining companies such as First Majestic, Hochschild, Hecla Mining and Endeavour Silver have all withdrawn their production guidance for 2020 in the wake of the outbreak.

Mining resumes under COVID-19 but faces slow return GlobalData

“Progress has also been halted on 23 mines under construction, including the US$5.3-billion Quellaveco copper mine in Peru, which is one of the world’s biggest copper mines currently under development…. In Chile, while a lockdown is not in force, Antofagasta has halted work on its Los Pelambres project and Teck Resources has suspended work on the Quebrada Blanca Phase II mine.”

Jurisdictions that have lifted suspensions include Quebec, India, Argentina, Zimbabwe and South Africa, GlobalData added. Countries with government-ordered lockdowns still in force include Bolivia (until April 30), Namibia (May 4), Peru (May 10) and Mexico (May 30).

At least one Mexico operator, Argonaut Gold TSX:AR, plans to re-open on May 18 under an exception for businesses operating in municipalities with few or no cases of COVID-19.

Quebec’s resumption of mining drew strong criticism from Makivik Corporation, which represents the Inuit of the province’s Nunavik region.

“Makivik will not entertain the opening of any mines at this time in Nunavik. This is very dangerous,” said corporation president Charlie Watt on April 17. “The Inuit-elected officials in the communities and in the different regional organizations need to be heard and need to make the decisions and call the shots.”

One day later production resumed at Glencore’s Raglan nickel mine. The company stated that Nunavik authorities have banned travel between the mine and regional villages to protect the local population. Local workers stay home with compensation, while the mine employs workers from the south, including Inuit who live in the south.

Without question this is taking a toll on all of our mines and service/supply companies.—Ken Armstrong, NWT and
Nunavut Chamber of Mines

Six mines still operating in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories use similar staffing precautions. “The mines are operating with reduced workforces which they must fly in by charter from as far away as eastern Canada,” said NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines president Ken Armstrong. “To protect vulnerable northern communities from the virus they have sent their local employees home with pay and they are maintaining costly and unplanned virus protection measures.”

Meanwhile Labrador politicians expressed concern about renewed operations at Champion Iron’s (TSX:CIA) Bloom Lake mine on the Quebec side of the Labrador Trough. On April 28 VOCM radio reported that MP Yvonne Jones asked the company to avoid the Wabush airport in her riding and transport employees entirely through Quebec. Member of the House of Assembly Jordan Brown said contractors were making unnecessary trips to the Newfoundland and Labrador side.

Another pandemic-caused Quebec mining suspension will stay on care and maintenance due to market forces. Renard owner Stornoway Diamond stated, “Despite positive signs in the diamond market in early 2020, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the entire marketing chain and diamond price collapse.”

Prior to the suspension, Renard operated only through creditor support.

Another diamond casualty has been the Northwest Territory’s Ekati mine, which suspended operations last month. Majority owner Dominion Diamond Mines received insolvency protection on April 22.

Discovered in 1991 and opened in 1998, Ekati “provided nearly 33,000 person-years of employment, and $9.3 billion in business spending, with over half the benefits (51% of jobs and 69% of spending) going to northern residents and businesses,” the Chamber stated. “Billions of dollars in various taxes and royalties have also been paid to public and indigenous governments by the mine.”

Crisis response

April 3rd, 2020

A look at mining, exploration, infrastructure and supply chains under the pandemic

by Greg Klein | April 3, 2020

A look at mining, exploration, infrastructure and supply chains

 

Idled explorers: Can you help?

“Essential supplies and personnel are needed to create and operate temporary facilities for testing, triage, housing and isolation areas for vulnerable populations,” states the Association for Mineral Exploration. “As mineral explorers, we have access to the supplies needed and are in a unique position to help.”

AME calls on the industry to contribute excess capacity of the following:

  • Insulated structures (both hard and soft wall)

  • Camp gear such as furniture, lighting and kitchen appliances

  • Medical equipment

  • Camp support personnel such as caterers, housekeepers, janitors, etc.

  • Available medical staff including such qualifications as OFA3s, paramedics, RNs, etc.

  • Other supplies or skills

If you can help, please fill out this form and AME will be in touch. 

For further information contact Savannah Nadeau.

Preparing for a wider emergency

Given the danger of one crisis triggering others, essential infrastructure remains at risk. One plan to safeguard Ontario’s electricity service would require Toronto workers to bunk down in employer-supplied accommodation under lockdown conditions better known to isolated locations.

A look at mining, exploration, infrastructure and supply chains

Quarantines might require essential
services to provide job-site bed and board.
(Photo: Independent Electricity System Operator)

It hasn’t happened yet, but the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator stands ready for the possibility, according to a Canadian Press story published by the Globe and Mail. A not-for-profit agency established by the province, the IESO co-ordinates Ontario electricity supply to meet demand.

About 90% of its staff now work at home but another 48 employees must still come into work, CEO Peter Gregg said. Eight six-person teams now undergo 12-hour shifts in two Toronto-area control rooms.

“Should it become necessary, he said, bed, food and other on-site arrangements have been made to allow the operators to stay at their workplaces as a similar agency in New York has done,” CP reported.

Similar plans may well be underway not only for essential infrastructure but also for essential production, processing, manufacturing, communications, transportation and trade. One sign of the times to come could be locked-down camps in supermarket parking lots for our under-appreciated retail-sector heroes.

Meanwhile, retaining and protecting care-home staff already constitute a crisis within a crisis.

Australia guards against predatory foreign takeovers

With China prominently in mind, Australia has taken extra measures to protect companies and projects shattered by the COVID-19 economy. Canberra has temporarily granted its Foreign Investment Review Board extra powers to guard distressed companies and assets against acquisitions by opportunistic foreigners. Although previous foreign acquisitions came under review only when the price passed certain thresholds, now all such transactions get FIRB scrutiny.

The changes follow concerns raised by MPs on Australia’s intelligence and security committee. The Sydney Morning Herald quoted committee chairperson Andrew Hastie warning of “foreign state-owned enterprises working contrary to our national interest. More than ever, we need to protect ourselves from geo-strategic moves masquerading as legitimate business.”

Committee member Tim Wilson added, “We can’t allow foreign state-owned enterprises and their business fronts to use COVID-19’s economic carnage as a gateway to swoop distressed businesses and assets.”

Among protected assets are exploration and mining projects, utilities, infrastructure and an interest of 20% or more in a company or business.

Critical minerals become ever more critical

As Lynas Corp extended the suspension of its rare earths processing facility in line with Malaysian government pandemic orders, the company noted the importance of its products “in permanent magnets used in medical devices including ventilators, and in lanthanum products used in oil refineries for petroleum production.”

A look at mining, exploration, infrastructure and supply chains

The suspension of its Malaysian plant prompted
Lynas to emphasize REs’ criticality to virus treatment.
(Photo: Lynas Corp)

Originally set to expire on March 31, the government order currently stays in force until April 14. RE extraction continues at Lynas’ Mount Weld mine in Western Australia.

In late February Malaysia granted the company a three-year licence renewal for the processing facility, which had been threatened with closure due to controversy about its low-level radioactive tailings. Among conditions for the renewal are development of a permanent disposal facility for existing waste and putting a cracking and leaching plant in operation outside Malaysia by July 2023 to end the practice of transporting radioactive material to the country.

Committed to maintaining a non-Chinese supply chain, the company plans to locate the C&L plant in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

Sharing the disease, hoarding the treatment

A problem recognized in American defence procurement has hit health care—the need to build non-Chinese supply chains. Most of the world’s ventilators and about half the masks are manufactured in China, points out a recent column by Terry Glavin.

The West is learning, finally and the hard way, “that thriving liberal democracies cannot co-exist for long within a model of neo-liberal globalization that admits into its embrace such a tyrannical state-capitalist monstrosity as the People’s Republic of China.”

The U.S., for example, relies heavily on China for antibiotics, painkillers, surgical gowns, equipment that measures blood oxygen levels and magnetic resonance imaging scanners. China effectively banned medical equipment exports as soon as Wuhan went on lockdown, Glavin adds.

“It probably didn’t help that Ottawa sent 16,000 tonnes of gear to China back in February. That was a lot of gear—1,101 masks, 50,118 face shields, 36,425 medical coveralls, 200,000 pairs of gloves and so on—but a drop in Beijing’s bucket. A New York Times investigation last month found that China had imported 56 million respirators and masks, just in the first week of the Wuhan shutdown.

“It is not known how much of that cargo came from the massive bulk-buying campaign organized and carried out across Canada by affiliates of the United Front Work Department, the overseas propaganda and influence-peddling arm of the Chinese Communist Party.”

A look at mining, exploration, infrastructure and supply chains

Desperate need for health care supplies
pits country against country. (Photo: 3M)

Nor does the non-Chinese world display altruism. In response to the crisis, the EU and more than 50 countries have either banned or restricted exports of medical equipment, Glavin states.

By April 3 global health care products supplier 3M revealed that Washington asked the company to stop exporting U.S.-manufactured N95 respirators to Canada and Latin America. 3M noted “significant humanitarian implications” but also the possibility of trade retaliation. “If that were to occur, the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease.”

The company did win China’s permission to import 10 million of its own Chinese-manufactured N95s into the U.S.

Meanwhile the Canadian government comes under increasing criticism for discouraging the public from wearing masks.

Chinese supply chains also jeopardized by Chinese disease

As the world’s main exporter of manufactured goods, China’s the main importer of raw materials, especially metals. But, as the world’s main exporter of disease, China managed to threaten its own supplies.

Reuters columnist Andy Home outlined lockdown-imposed cutbacks of copper, zinc and lead from Chile and Peru, and chrome from South Africa; reductions in cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo, in tin from already depleting Myanmar, and in nickel from the Philippines, the latter a hoped-for replacement after Indonesia banned unprocessed exports.

The longer the lockdowns, “the greater the potential for supply chain disruption,” Home comments. “As the biggest buyer of metallic raw materials, this is a ticking time-bomb for China’s metals producers.”

Miners’ providence unevenly distributed

Probably no other foreign shutdowns have affected as many Canadian miners and explorers as that of Mexico. Considered non-essential, their work will be suspended until April 30, with extensions more than likely. Mexico’s announcement must have sounded familiar to Pan American Silver TSX:PAAS, which had already pressed the pause button to comply with national quarantines in Peru, Argentina and Bolivia. That currently limits the company’s mining to Timmins, where production has been reduced by about 10% to 20% to allow physical distancing.

A look at mining, exploration, infrastructure and supply chains

Mauritania exempted Kinross Gold’s Tasiast mine
from domestic travel restrictions. (Photo: Kinross Gold)

One company more favourably located, so far, is Kinross Gold TSX:K. As of April 1, operations continued at its seven mines in Nevada, Alaska, Brazil, Mauritania, Russia and Ghana, while work went on at its four non-producing projects in Alaska, Mauritania, Russia and Chile.

Expanded shutdowns ordered by Ontario on April 3 include many construction and industrial projects but exempt mining. Earlier that day New Gold TSX:NGD announced Rainy River’s restart after a two-week suspension to allow self-isolation among employees. Many of the mine’s workers live locally and made short trips into Minnesota before the border closed.

Quebec border restrictions have hindered the Ontario operations of Kirkland Lake Gold TSX:KL, cutting off a source of employees and contractors. As a result the company reduced production at its Macassa mine and suspended work at its Holt complex, comprising three gold mines and a mill. Kirkland reduced operations at its Detour Lake mine effective March 23, after a worker showed COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolated on March 14. He tested positive on March 26. Production continues at the company’s Fosterville mine in Australia.

Some explorers have been idled by government restrictions, others by market conditions. Still, some companies have money and jurisdictions in which to spend it. Liberty Gold TSX:LGD, for example, resumed drilling its Black Pine gold project in Idaho on March 31.

Some jurisdictions, like B.C. and New Brunswick, have extended work requirement deadlines to help companies keep exploration claims active.

“China needs to be held responsible”

A few Canadian journalists are saying what we might never hear from our politicians. Here, for example, is Toronto Sun columnist Lorrie Goldstein:

“China needs to be held responsible. The problem is, because of its political power— and you see it in the World Health Organization announcements, in Canadian announcements—they’ve been praising what China did. There would have been a virus anyway. China made it worse. More people are dying, more people are being infected, and its dictators need to be held to account.”

Taranis Resources alleges “catastrophic deficiencies and concerns” with B.C. mines ministry

March 16th, 2020

by Greg Klein | March 16, 2020

Stating it’s “in a unique position to experience every aspect of the permitting process in B.C.,” an explorer levelled strong complaints about how a bulk sampling application has been handled. Taranis Resources TSXV:TRO, operator of the Thor polymetallic project in southeastern British Columbia, made the charges in a March 16 news release following a conference call with ministry officials.

Taranis Resources alleges catastrophic deficiencies and concerns with B.C. mines ministry

Taranis received its most recent drill permit last January, after
filing an application in March 2019. (Photo: Taranis Resources)

In October 2018 the company applied for permission to conduct a 10,000-kilogram sample. The program would supply material for metallurgical tests as part of Thor’s PEA studies and also remove environmentally harmful stockpiles resulting from historic mining, Taranis states. Since then, the company maintains, it has dealt with “28 technical reviewers from four sectors” over a 17-month period.

Responding in 2018, the government applied requirements previously used only for large-scale commercial mining but which were to be adapted to the bulk mining proposal, the company states. Taranis says it agreed, but a technical review that should have taken 60 days has dragged on since September 2019.

Input from 28 technical reviewers led to modifications of site layouts, water treatment and other aspects of the original proposal, Taranis avers, but the process also featured “multiple catastrophic deficiencies and concerns,” as well as “moving goalposts.”

The latter consisted of a demand that engineering drawings be stamped “final” instead of “draft,” undermining “the spirit of technical review.” The company called for assurance that “‘final’ site-engineering plans aren’t modified multiple times based on whims of improperly managed technical reviewers.”

During a March 12 conference call between the company and ministry officials, Taranis states, deputy chief mines inspector Lowell Constable attributed Mount Polley to the decision to apply large-scale commercial mining standards to the bulk sample application.

In a 2014 tailings dam failure at Imperial Metals’ (TSX:III) Mount Polley copper-gold operation, some eight million cubic metres of waste poured into the waterways of B.C.’s Cariboo region.

According to Taranis, Constable said that “there are no minor tailings facilities anymore in the code. So big or small, I’m not going to lie, there are a lot of pieces still moving around in the tailings management code.”

The company argues that “it is unreasonable that full-scale commercial mine permitting scope and associated costs be applied carte blanche to any and all test production scenarios.”

While the company believed conditional permitting would be a “cornerstone” of its application, Taranis quoted mines ministry executive regional director Heather Cullen as saying, “We are getting away from issuing conditional permits—conditional permits are not the way we are going.…”

It is easy to conclude that the current B.C. government is intent on eliminating the mining industry in the province by instituting a barrage of vague and ever-changing requirements for permitting and operation…—Taranis Resources
board of directors

Taranis maintains that the conference call demonstrated that “there are no clear, concise, reasonable permitting allowances for exploration bulk sampling in B.C.—an essential exploration tool to the mining business. Up until 2018, there was a well-defined permitting process for exploration bulk sampling.”

The company’s board of directors states: “Based on our experience, it is easy to conclude that the current B.C. government is intent on eliminating the mining industry in the province by instituting a barrage of vague and ever-changing requirements for permitting and operation, with a complement of inexperienced and unqualified civil servants in positions of authority whose obvious intention is nothing less than making sure nothing gets done.”

A week before the conference call, independent MLA and former B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver criticized the New Democratic government for prolonging “regulatory inconsistencies” regarding Pacific Booker Minerals’ (TSXV:BKM) proposed Morrison copper-gold-molybdenum mine. After the initial rejection by B.C.’s previous Liberal government in 2012, the provincial Supreme Court found the decision “failed to comport with the requirements of procedural fairness.” Ordered to reassess the proposal, the NDP government “once again rejected the project in order to undergo further assessment,” Weaver argued. “However, in its order, the government appeared to issue unclear directions that substantially delay the process.”

Thor’s 2013 maiden resource gave the project open pit and underground resources totalling:

  • indicated: 640,000 tonnes averaging 0.88 g/t gold, 187 g/t silver, 0.14% copper, 2.51% lead and 3.51% zinc

  • inferred: 424,000 tonnes averaging 0.98 g/t gold, 176 g/t silver, 0.14% copper, 2.26% lead and 3.2% zinc

The property includes five zones that began mining in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

July 2, 2020, update: Taranis Resources gets B.C. Ombudsperson intervention in regulatory dispute; B.C. plans Mines Act revisions.

Teck gets brownfields green energy project with re-acquisition of legendary mine

January 16th, 2020

by Greg Klein | January 16, 2020

Teck gets brownfields green energy project with re-acquisition of legendary mine

The SunMine sits atop reclaimed land over a onetime world leader in zinc-lead production.
(Photo: Teck Resources)

 

A former mine that’s been regenerated to generate clean electricity has come back to a former owner. A recent purchase returns the surface site of southeastern British Columbia’s legendary Sullivan mine to Teck Resources TSX:TECK.A/TSX:TECK.B, bringing with the property a 1.05 MW solar farm.

Built by the city of Kimberley on land provided by Teck after Sullivan’s 2001 shutdown, SunMine began operation in 2015 as B.C.’s first grid source of solar electricity. But declining revenues in recent years prodded the municipality into negotiations with the company, resulting in a $2-million payment that meets Kimberley’s SunMine-related debt.

Teck gets brownfields green energy project with re-acquisition of legendary mine

Affluent travelers can lap up luxury at
a former open pit near Shanghai airport.
(Photo: InterContinental Hotels and Resorts)

An 1892 discovery that became a major zinc-lead-silver producer, Sullivan was taken over in 1910 by Cominco, which merged with Teck in 2001. During Kimberley’s tourist season, visitors can take an open air train ride into the former underground operation.

Numerous former industrial sites have been refashioned into green energy production, notably the solar farm that opened at Chernobyl in 2018. In other cases reclaimed land hosts recreational facilities, such as the ski resort on the surface area of North Star, another Kimberley silver-lead mine.

Former open pits and underground workings have also been put to new uses. Billed as the world’s first underground hotel when it opened in 2018, the Shanghai Wonderland rises just two storeys above a former andesite quarry that contains the other 16 floors.

Some underground examples reported by the Smithsonian consist of cycling, zip-lining and ATV riding. More fanciful uses, however, include a onetime Polish salt mine that’s now a resort offering a “subterraneotherapy” spa as well as “religious services, adventure tours, art galleries, a museum and two underground hotels.”

A former Romanian salt mine now features “a surreal theme park complete with a Ferris wheel, mini-golf course, a lake with paddle boats, a bowling alley, an amphitheater, sports fields and ping pong tables.”

Apart from supplying grid power, Teck gets 81% of its own electricity consumption from renewable sources, the company stated. “Our involvement with SunMine is part of our commitment to taking action on climate change, advancing renewable energy development and supporting the global transition to a low-carbon economy,” said president/CEO Don Lindsay.

More contentiously, the company now has its proposed $20.6-billion Frontier oilsands mine awaiting a federal decision. In July a joint federal/provincial environmental review recommended approval but Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has suggested his cabinet might reject the Alberta project.

 

A 1993 episode of Gold Trails and Ghost Towns discusses the Sullivan mine.

Kris Lane examines a great mine’s legacy in Potosí: The Silver City that Changed the World

January 15th, 2020

…Read more