Monday 24th October 2016

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Posts tagged ‘manitoba’

Rediscovering the planet

September 9th, 2016

Laurentian University and its partners hope to re-write the geoscientific Book of Genesis

by Greg Klein

Laurentian University and its partners hope to re-write the geoscientific Book of Genesis

Metal Earth puts some of the world’s best-exposed, best-known
rocks under additional scrutiny to unlock evolutionary secrets.


Looked at this way, the future of mineral exploration lies in the past—billions of years in the past. But with state-of-the-art tools, techniques and expertise, Precambrian mysteries can be solved, leading to another generation of discoveries. Researchers with Laurentian University’s Metal Earth project intend to do just that, confidently stating they will transform our understanding of how mineral deposits originated during the planet’s evolution.

What accounts for such boldness? “We are trying new techniques, doing research on a scale that has not been done before and I’m confident that we’re going to make discoveries,” Harold Gibson tells As director of the Mineral Exploration Research Centre at Laurentian’s Harquail School of Earth Sciences and head of the Metal Earth project, he can barely contain his enthusiasm.

Laurentian University and its partners hope to re-write the geoscientific Book of Genesis

An extensive, innovative, seven-year study makes
its headquarters at Sudbury’s Laurentian University.
(Photo: Laurentian University)

“It’s a fully integrated study of our Earth,” he continues. “We’re looking at producing MRI-like images through transects of known endowed areas and structures and compare them with structures that appear to be similar but not endowed. It’ll be backed up by a lot of geology, geochemistry, mantle xenolith geochemistry, geophysics. We’re going to apply the same scrutiny to the less endowed areas to determine the underlying processes and help guide industry to select areas. We’re going to peel back time, peel back the Earth’s crust, essentially. This has never been done before.”

Gibson’s hardly alone in his confidence. Barely a week into the project’s existence, Metal Earth has attracted cash and in-kind backing totalling over $104 million. That includes a very prestigious award of $49.27 million from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

With money sufficient for a seven-year run, Metal Earth will draw researchers from Laurentian and other schools, including over 35 post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, technicians and support staff, over 80 grad students, 100 undergrads and numerous subcontractors.

Industry partners so far include the looming Sudbury presence of Vale NYSE:VALE, TMAC Resources TSX:TMR, nearing production at Hope Bay in Nunavut, and Ring of Fire explorer Noront Resources TSXV:NOT. Mira Geoscience brings its world-class earth modelling expertise while the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation provides additional computational facilities. Several universities and geological surveys have also joined in partnership.

Gibson expects ground-breaking results, in more ways than one.

Metal Earth will surpass Lithoprobe as Canada’s most extensive earth science project, he says. Some experts consider the 1980s-to-’90s endeavour to be the world’s best project of its kind. “Metal Earth is building on that with much more detail, much better equipment. We have more tools now,” he points out.

“Some ore deposits were integrated into Lithoprobe, but not a lot.” Even so the project “revolutionized ideas of tectonics, the evolution of our Shield, as well as ore deposits. This is much more focused on ore deposits and large-scale systems, so I know we’re going to have new results that will be extremely interesting. If we’re only 20% successful we’ll still change a lot of ideas.”

We’re going to peel back time, peel back the Earth’s crust, essentially. This has never been done before.—Harold Gibson,
Metal Earth project lead

Probably starting in October, field work will begin with the Abitibi Greenstone Belt. That puts a number of familiar areas under additional scrutiny. Then boots hit the ground on a less prolific belt, northwestern Ontario’s Wabigoon. Hope Bay, the Sudbury area and Manitoba will also come under investigation.

“We focused on Canada because we have the best-exposed and best-known Shield in the world—and tons of expertise. We can do this research best here but we see the results applicable globally and to younger terrains.”

Some data provided by companies will be kept confidential, but the results “will all be open source,” Gibson says. “All the data that we collect, which will be enormous, will be open to the public.”

That’ll primarily be “spatial data, on maps, plotted in 3D, in formats need by industry, government and other researchers.” Some of it will even be 4D, with the fourth dimension being time.

“We want to understand how time fits into this equation. We want to look back at the geometry, the morphology, the tectonics of the Precambrian,” he explains. “We’re going to do that through geochronology and isotope geochemistry. We’ll be looking at zircons collected by researchers and at government surveys throughout the Superior and Slave provinces, analyze them and use them as surrogates for looking at the nature of the crust at that time…. We can start reconstructing our paleo shields and look into how and when deposits fit into that.”

The results will offer a multitude of uses for exploration companies, Gibson says. He anticipates they’ll begin by poring over “an incredible amount of new data. Then we’ll be interpreting that data, creating images, integrating it all and making that available. We’ll be generating new algorithms, new ways of treating the data to see patterns that haven’t been seen before.” Info will be accessible online through Laurentian and through government partners.

While his enthusiasm’s obvious, Gibson’s well aware of the enormous challenge ahead of his team.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us, a tremendous opportunity for geoscience in Canada, but with that comes a tremendous responsibility to do it right,” he emphasizes. “And that’s what we’re going to do.”

Where the money is

June 10th, 2016

Joe Martin sees a fundamental transformation coming to junior financing

by Greg Klein

The old system’s not only broken, it can’t be fixed. The world of finance for mineral exploration is changing and juniors must learn new rules and master new tools to survive. That’s the message from Joe Martin, a former business journalist, the founder of Cambridge House International and a prominent advocate for investment regulatory reform.

Well, better scratch that last designation. He’s no longer advocating reform. “There’s no sense trying to change the existing rules because no one at the executive level wants to,” Martin says. “So we have to look at new opportunities emerging, primarily through electronic media.”

Joe Martin sees a fundamental transformation in junior financing

The reform movement failed, he says, despite encouraging response to an open letter by the Venture Capital Markets Association last August. The status quo prevailed—and for that, Martin blames political indifference, bureaucratic intransigence, the self-serving agendas of Canada’s fragmented securities commissions and banks that wield power over the TSX Venture. “Nobody wants to take action and we don’t have the money to fund a multi-million-dollar campaign,” he says.

Now he’s addressing the juniors, not the regulators, and he’s urging them to recognize new financing opportunities in crowdfunding, peer-to-peer transactions and the U.S. JOBS Act.

Crowdfunding has already prompted considerable buzz, especially with the arrival of Australian mine-funder Mineral Intelligence in late 2015, followed by Canada’s Red Cloud Klondike Strike after Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia laid down a regulatory framework in January. Investors register with Klondike under the ordinary, eligible or accredited category.

Klondike’s first listing, Banyan Gold TSXV:BYN put up a $750,000 offer on March 2. The company closed a more conventional private placement of $200,000 the previous January. By press time, Banyan had yet to update the progress of its online offer.

Following that company by six days, Radisson Mining Resources TSXV:RDS offered up to $1 million on Klondike after completing a $324,000 private placement in December. Radisson expected to complete its offer by April 8. But it wasn’t until June 6 that the company announced closing of the second and final tranche, with a total $675,010 raised.

Joe Martin sees a fundamental transformation in junior financing

Joe Martin: “You’d better get in
this game and learn the new rules.”

Klondike’s biggest involvement so far might be IDM Mining TSXV:IDM, which raised a total of $10.85 million in April with Rob McEwan participating. But IDM didn’t divulge how much crowdfunding contributed. The company had said a portion of the placement would be brokered through a syndicate of Klondike, Haywood Securities and Medalist Capital.

Current offers listed on Klondike come from GoviEx Uranium CSE:GXU (up to $2 million), Sarama Resources ($2.25 million) and Brixton Metals TSXV:BBB ($1 million and $1.3 million).

Martin foresees a fairly gradual transformation but a definite change nevertheless with crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and the U.S. JOBS Act “all blending together to bring in a new world of financing. P2P, for example, is becoming very big in England.”

With last month’s Tier III enactment of JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups), American crowdfunding has “opened up big time,” Martin says. “Less than 1% of Canadians are accredited investors who can take part in private placements.” The new U.S. regulations allow crowdfunding participants to invest a portion of their income or net worth, up to a percentage that depends on the individual’s financial circumstances.

“Those rules are changing. Canada isn’t changing, so we may be going to the States for financing.”

Martin also sees hope for Canadian juniors on foreign exchanges, as well as the Venture’s rival. “The CSE is doing a pretty good job. They’re a lot easier to deal with.”

Having despaired of fixing the existing system, he sees new opportunities elsewhere—provided juniors adapt. “You’d better get in this game and learn the new rules,” he emphasizes. “But don’t try to change the old ones because we’re not going to get it done.”

Joe Martin addresses the Vancouver Commodity Forum on June 14. Click here for free registration.

Canada down to one NDP government as Tories take Manitoba

April 19th, 2016

by Greg Klein | April 19, 2016

The Orange Wave once predicted for Canada took another fall April 19 when Manitoba’s Progressive Conservatives brought the New Democratic Party’s 17-year reign to a decisive end. At press time other media outlets stood in for the still-silent Elections Manitoba by proclaiming a Tory majority. Last time around, in 2011, the score was NDP 37, PCs 19 and Liberals one.

That leaves Alberta as Canada’s sole remaining NDP jurisdiction, one that’s increasingly at odds with its federal counterparts over their radically resource-restricting LEAP Manifesto.

Canada down to one NDP government as Tories take Manitoba

A former teacher, founder of a financial services
company and federal MP, premier-elect
Brian Pallister represents a Winnipeg riding.
(Photo: Manitoba Progressive Conservatives)

Manitoba’s NDP failure was easier to predict than the federal party’s lackluster performance in October’s national election. Some observers date the downfall to 2013 when NDP premier Greg Selinger raised the provincial sales tax, breaking budget legislation as well as an election promise. Brian Pallister’s PCs promised a PST rollback.

On mining issues, the NDP pledged to increase the province’s Mineral Exploration Assistance Program, support the Manitoba Geological Survey’s work with explorers, improve mining investment and tax credit processing “and make sure companies open up more exploration on undeveloped leases.”

Somewhat platitudinously, the PCs promised to create a “framework” on the duty to consult natives and to “build respectful and effective partnerships” for resource development.

The night before the election, the Tories returned to the “Hydro jobs for votes scandal,” citing a “just-filed lawsuit [alleging] that Greg Selinger released highly sensitive financial and business information to benefit a third party in December 2015.”

But it was Selinger who faced heavy criticism for “desperate” attacks against Pallister, in which the former cast aspersions on the latter’s Costa Rican real estate and, “in light of the Panama Papers,” his personal income taxes.

Manitobans face a clear choice: Brian Pallister’s plan to cede our province to Saskatchewan and turn us all into Roughriders fans, or our plan to see 42,000 more Manitobans cheering on the Jets and the Bombers.—An April 1 jest
from Manitoba’s NDP

Even so, the NDP campaign wasn’t without levity. On April 1 the party announced a plan to annex Kenora, Ontario. “Manitobans face a clear choice: Brian Pallister’s plan to cede our province to Saskatchewan and turn us all into Roughriders fans, or our plan to see 42,000 more Manitobans cheering on the Jets and the Bombers,” the NDP spoof quoted Selinger. “We’re going to keep growing Manitoba’s economy—whether it’s through investments, immigration or expansion.”

According to government figures released in January, mining comprises Manitoba’s second-largest primary resource sector and serves as one of the north’s largest employers of natives. The 2014 production value of metals and industrial minerals surpassed $1.3 billion and created over 3,200 jobs.

The province’s six mines produce all of Canadian cesium, 11.9% of nickel, 23.6% of zinc, 5.5% of copper, 2.4% of gold and 5.6% of silver.

Are miners denigrating Canadian geology?

March 4th, 2016

by Greg Klein | March 4, 2016

Are miners denigrating Canadian geology?


A look at Canadian jurisdictions in this year’s Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies suggests perceptions of the country’s geology have declined. The survey emphasizes two main indexes, one addressing matters of government policy, the other considering geology as well as policy. The biggest changes from the previous year showed up in the latter index.

Called the Investment Attractiveness Index, it weighs responses from mining and exploration professionals, giving 60% for their answers on questions about mineral potential and 40% on questions about public policy. The 60/40 split reflects the way companies generally base their investment decisions, according to the survey.

The IAI ranked New Brunswick 11th out of 12 Canadian jurisdictions (Prince Edward Island wasn’t included) and 45th out of 109 jurisdictions worldwide. That’s a steep fall from the previous year, when New Brunswick came in 19th out of 122 jurisdictions.

But the survey’s Policy Perception Index was less dramatic, showing the province fell from third place in 2014 to ninth place in the current poll.

The IAI dropped Manitoba from fifth to 19th place globally. But the PPI actually raised the province two notches, from 15th to 13th.

Then there’s Nova Scotia, with Canada’s worst IAI score. But the province gets a middling sixth place in Canada for public policy. (Globally, the province ranked 59 on IAI and 17 on PPI.)

Obviously public policy can change significantly and quickly. But, barring dramatic new discoveries, widespread mine depletion or plunging commodity prices, wouldn’t mineral potential undergo more gradual transformation?

When rating geology, companies “have downgraded Canada a bit and they’re saying it’s less attractive this year,” says Fraser Institute policy analyst Taylor Jackson, who co-authored the survey with Kenneth Green. “This is the reason we saw Australia surpass Canada as the region that’s the most overall attractive in the world.”

Jackson adds, “It could be that they’re factoring in that certain commodities are less attractive to them than in the past. It is tough to say, though, what they’re thinking. It could be a combination of things.”

Strangest of all Canadian rankings was Nunavut. The territory showed strong IAI improvement, moving from 34th to 23rd place. That contrasted with its PPI score, which declined from 51st to 54th.

Despite Canada’s slump, Saskatchewan held on to its second-place global IAI position and moved from fifth to fourth place on the global PPI. Apparently the potash gloom failed to overshadow mining-friendly policies and high Athabasca Basin uranium grades.

Download the Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies 2015.

Read about the previous week’s Fraser Institute report on permitting times across Canada.

How Long Blues

February 23rd, 2016

The Fraser Institute looks at exploration permit wait times across Canada

by Greg Klein

The Fraser Institute looks at exploration permit wait times across Canada

Mineral explorers in Canada generally wait longer than before for permits, the Fraser Institute reports.
Chart: The Fraser Institute

A country’s mineral output doesn’t necessarily correspond to its geological endowment, a new study reminds us. Other factors also play a role, among them exploration permitting. In many parts of Canada, that early but crucial step towards finding a new mine faces growing wait times, questionable transparency and increasing uncertainty. Those are some of the findings of a Fraser Institute study released February 23. The first-time survey, focusing on this one issue and limited to Canadian jurisdictions, arrives a week before the institute’s annual global survey of miners and explorers.

“This is a topic for which we’ve received feedback both in previous years’ surveys and in conversations we’ve had with explorers, and it’s something they consistently note to us as a growing problem,” says Taylor Jackson, an institute policy analyst and report co-author along with Kenneth Green.

It’s a growing problem in more ways than one. But there’s considerable variation between some jurisdictions, with Saskatchewan shining brightly while Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut look relatively gloomy. And although it’s slowing, Canadian permitting’s still faster than the global average.

Survey answers came from 122 people reporting on 10 jurisdictions. (Alberta, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island drew too few responses to be included.) Five jurisdictions had the majority saying that permitting times had lengthened over the last decade. Those who reported shorter wait times were the minority. But a slim majority of Newfoundland and Labrador respondents (56%) said wait times had stayed the same.

Saskatchewan, which ranked #2 in last year’s global survey, drew the smallest proportion of complaints (27%) about lengthening wait times.

Of Canada’s three biggest exploration targets, Ontario provoked more wait time pessimism than British Columbia or Quebec. Fourteen percent of Ontario explorers forecast waits of 11 to 14 months, compared to B.C.’s 2% and Quebec’s 3%. Another 7% of Ontario explorers anticipated waiting over two years for a permit, compared to another 2% in B.C. and 3% in Quebec.

The Fraser Institute looks at exploration permit wait times across Canada

A 1983 study found that mineral production in Western countries correlated poorly with geological riches. More recently, about 60% of Fraser Institute respondents say
they base their investment decisions on geology. The rest
cite policy-related factors. Image: The Fraser Institute

Transparency arises as another critical issue. “When explorers do not understand what the rules are or how they are applied, the result can be a deterrent to investment,” the report states.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan drew the highest proportions of respondents (50% and 47% respectively) saying the jurisdiction’s transparency actually encourages exploration. Moreover, the results were mostly positive when combining those who said a jurisdiction’s transparency encourages exploration with those who at least said that transparency concerns didn’t create a deterrent. Only the NWT flunked that one with a dismal 31%, while neighbouring Nunavut got 50%.

Saskatchewan came out on top with 94%, followed by New Brunswick (83%), Newfoundland and Labrador (78%) and Quebec (71%).

Although respondents remained confidential, they weren’t given the chance to express open-ended comments, as the institute’s global survey allows. Jackson says that could change if the survey’s repeated in future years.

The next time we might open it up to Australia and U.S. and get some feedback on how Australian and American states are performing, with the idea of determining who’s got the best practices and make some policy recommendations for Canada.—Taylor Jackson, Fraser Institute policy analyst and report co-author

Nor does the study report specific problems or make recommendations. This initial effort focused on “identifying which jurisdictions are performing well and which are not,” he explains. “The next time we might open it up to Australia and U.S. and get some feedback on how Australian and American states are performing, with the idea of determining who’s got the best practices and make some policy recommendations for Canada.”

Confidentiality’s the key to companies’ candour. So a similar survey about mine permitting would be problematic, Jackson points out. With mine proposals far fewer than exploration projects, governments might suss out who said what.

“But this is an issue that we would like to look at,” he says. “I don’t know if we’d do it in a survey form but it’s certainly an issue for setting up a mine as well.”

Two weeks ago Taseko Mines TSX:TKO launched a lawsuit alleging serious breaches of transparency in the federal process that rejected the company’s proposed New Prosperity mine. Pacific Booker Minerals TSXV:BKM has filed Freedom of Information requests with the B.C. government regarding its rejection of the proposed Morrison mine. The company had previously taken the province to court over the matter.

The institute’s study follows a January report from the Northern Policy Institute examining why “a major mining boom” with nine potential operations in northwestern Ontario failed to materialize.

Do studies like these influence the people who matter?

“I do know that decision-makers are listening to what’s said in the survey,” Jackson responds. “I can say that about the broader mining survey. We have some general examples where politicians have come and talked to us and we’ve seen policy reform later. They take the survey and it helps them identify which areas they’re performing poorly in, so I think they are listening. I don’t know if the message gets across all the time but I would say they are listening.”

Here are Canada’s rankings from last year’s international survey, with their global position in parentheses:

  • Saskatchewan (2)
  • Manitoba (4)
  • Quebec (6)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador (8)
  • Yukon (9)
  • Northwest Territories (15)
  • New Brunswick (21)
  • Alberta (22)
  • Ontario (23)
  • British Columbia (28)
  • Nunavut (29)
  • Nova Scotia (42)

PEI wasn’t included. The institute’s 2015 global survey comes out March 1.

Download Permit Times for Mining Exploration: How Long Are They?

Infographic: Mining a crucial industry for Manitoba

November 24th, 2015

Presented by the Mining Association of Manitoba | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | November 24, 2015

Infographic: Mining a crucial industry for Manitoba


Mining in Manitoba had humble beginnings. Settlers of the province needed non-metallic raw materials and began to extract salt from brine springs and stone locally for building materials.

However, the mining industry has changed dramatically since those days. Communities such as Thompson, Flin Flon, Snow Lake, Lynn Lake, Leaf Rapids, Bissett and Lac du Bonnet were built on great mining deposits.

Today the mining industry is one of the most important sources of wealth in the province, consisting of 6% of the Gross Provincial Product. $1.3 billion worth of minerals were produced in 2013 and the workforce is approximately 3,200 people.

In terms of size, mining is the fourth-largest primary industry in the province, behind agriculture, hydro and oil production.

Mining provides some of the safest and highest-paying jobs in Manitoba. In terms of safety (lost time accidents), mining has dramatically improved over the years. In fact, mining boasted fewer cases of time loss injuries compared to other industry sectors such as agriculture, transportation, construction, manufacturing and trade.

Salaries are also very high in mining compared to other industrial sectors. For example, the average salary in mining in Manitoba is $90,000, while other sectors took home between $55,000 and $60,000 on average.

In 2014, Manitoba produced 11.8% of Canada’s nickel, 5.5% of Canada’s copper, 2.4% of Canada’s gold, 5.7% of Canada’s silver and 23.6% of Canada’s zinc.

Yet only 1.4% of the country’s mineral exploration expenditures are in the province.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Nearly $1.9 billion for 2015 Canadian exploration: Where goes the money?

November 6th, 2015

by Greg Klein | November 6, 2015

Newly released numbers offer a glimpse of how exploration money’s being spent in this country by location and commodity. The info comes from a Natural Resources Canada survey asking companies about this year’s spending intentions for exploration and deposit appraisal. The feds then compared their responses with figures going back to 2010. Not surprisingly, we’re at a six-year low.

Total spending intentions for 2015 sunk to $1,879.8 million, almost 6.7% lower than last year and (read and weep) a nearly 56% plunge from the heady days of 2011. This year’s total breaks down to $1,037.3 million for exploration and $842.5 million for deposit appraisal.

Nearly $1.9 billion on 2015 Canadian exploration: Where goes the money?

Each jurisdiction’s share of nearly $1.9 billion planned
for Canadian exploration and deposit appraisal in 2015.

Ontario gets the most, $399.8 million or 21.3% of Canada’s total. Nearly 73% of the province’s outlay will go to the pursuit of precious metals.

British Columbia comes second, with $355.8 million, or 18.9% of the total. Precious metals will get nearly 41% while base metals get about 29%.

About $297.1 million, or 15.8% of the national total, goes to third-place Saskatchewan. Uranium gets nearly 52% of that.

Quebec’s share comes to $280.9 million, or 14.9%, with nearly 40% of that being spent on precious metals.

Nunavut places fifth nationally with $202.5 million or 10.8% of Canada’s total. Precious metals projects attract almost 80% of the territory’s spending this year.

Several jurisdictions improved over last year’s performance. This year’s plans show increases of 21% for Saskatchewan (from $245 million to $297.1 million), 27% for Alberta (from $26.1 million to $33.2 million), 28% for Nunavut (from $158 million to $202.5 million), 30% for Manitoba (from $28 million to $36.4 million) and 44% for Nova Scotia (from $7 million to $10.4 million).

Nor do all minerals have spending on six-year lows. Although coal sits at a five-year low of $113.1 million, that’s nearly double the amount spent in 2010. Uranium exploration and appraisal gets $172.1 million in 2015, a bit better than its 2013 low of $167.4 million. Diamond spending should reach a six-year high of $119.6 million. The Northwest Territories gets $76.7 million of that, which accounts for just over 81% of the NWT total.

Of the national total, majors plan to put up $1,130.9 million this year and juniors the other $748.9 million. Ontario has the greatest major/junior disparity, in which the big guys plan $308.8 million, compared to $91.1 million from their smaller cap cousins. The gap’s narrowest in Quebec, where majors plan $145.3 million, followed closely by the juniors’ $135.6 million.

Natural Resources Canada defines exploration and deposit appraisal as “on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities, field work, overhead costs, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment and land access costs.”

See the Natural Resources Canada data.

Vale to add at least 15 years to Voisey’s Bay lifespan

August 10th, 2015

by Greg Klein | August 10, 2015

The commitment was made in March 2013 but confirmed August 10: Vale NYE:VALE intends to develop two underground deposits that would extend its Voisey’s Bay nickel operation past 2035. A joint announcement by the company and the government of Newfoundland and Labrador projected hundreds of construction jobs as well as a workforce that would grow from 450 to 850 people at the mine and its Long Harbour processing plant.

Vale to add at least 15 years to Voisey’s Bay lifespan

Production began in 2005 and will continue past
2035 as Voisey’s Bay goes underground.

“We are very excited about our future here and we look forward to the continued support of all of our stakeholders as we move forward,” said Stuart Macnaughton, Vale’s Newfoundland and Labrador VP.

The Reid Brook and Eastern Deeps deposits sit adjacent to the current open pit. Procurement planning begins immediately, with construction slated to start next year. The company expects to begin ore production by 2020.

Although Vale made the commitment with the province in 2013, confirmation had been expected last June following completion of an engineering report. The mine, which opened in 2005 following the historic 1993 discovery, currently produces 6,000 tonnes per day of nickel-cobalt-copper and copper concentrate.

Long Harbour, a $4.3-billion hydrometallurgical facility 117 kilometres west of Saint John’s, is expected to begin processing Voisey’s concentrate next year after ramping up operations. While Long Harbour began operations in 2014 with higher-grade concentrate from Indonesia, Voisey’s material still goes to Vale’s Sudbury and Thompson locations for processing.

Athabasca Basin and beyond

May 1st, 2015

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to May 1, 2015

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

NexGen ends winter with outstanding step-outs, plans 2015 maiden resource

Following a season in which 44 of 46 holes at Rook 1’s Arrow zone found mineralization, the last one released by NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE showed the project’s highest total composite mineralization. That April 29 announcement followed an April 23 batch of results that included some of the zone’s strongest offscale radioactivity. Although lots of assays are still pending, drilling resumes in early June with five rigs expected to sink a total of 25,000 metres. The longer-term goal is a maiden resource by December.

Winter’s record-breaker was angled hole AR-15-45b, which drilled through A2 and A3, two of the zone’s three mineralized shears. It returned a composite 226 metres of mineralization distributed within a 468-metre section starting at 391 metres in downhole depth. Included was a composite 9.8 metres that went “offscale” between 10,000 and 54,000 counts per second.

The results come from a hand-held scintillometer that measures drill core radioactivity. Readings above 10,000 cps are considered offscale due to the limitations of earlier devices. These measurements don’t substitute for assays, which have yet to arrive.

Another radioactive announcement six days earlier heralded a substantial expansion to A2’s high-grade core, some of Arrow’s strongest off-scale measurements and semi-massive to massive pitchblende that would make a geologist’s mouth water. Currently marking Arrow’s southwestern border, hole AR-15-44b stepped out 76 metres southwest along strike from AR-14-30, which last October assayed 7.54% U3O8 over 63.5 metres.

AR-15-44b found a composite 190.7 metres within a 519-metre section, starting at 430.5 metres in depth. The results included an offscale composite of 40.45 metres.

Other highlights include:

  • AR-15-43a, with 92 composite metres within a 501.5-metre section, starting at 346 metres

  • AR-15-42a, with 68.9 composite metres within a 592.5-metre section starting at 142.5 metres

Arrow now covers 515 metres by 215 metres, with mineralization found vertically at depths between 100 metres and 920 metres. Still open in all directions and at depth, the zone boasts significant off-scale mineralization at both its southwestern and northeastern extents.

Beyond Arrow, NexGen’s winter season also resulted in Rook 1’s Bow discovery.

Athabasca Basin bought deals: Fission closes $20 million, Denison announces $15 million

April 29 proved a good day for uranium financings as the Basin’s two most prominent explorers announced substantial bought deals. Fission Uranium TSX:FCU completed a private placement of 13.34 million flow-through shares at $1.50 to bring in $20.01 million. Denison Mines TSX:DML announced an agreement to purchase 12 million flow-through shares at $1.25 for $15 million, an offer that’s expected to close around May 26.

Fission’s placement started at $15 million on April 1. Within hours the figure rose to $17.4 million. With the underwriters exercising their additional 15% option, the deal closed on $20.01 million. Earlier this month the company finished its winter program at Patterson Lake South, which strived to expand and upgrade the Triple R deposit and the R600W zone, as well as explore the PLS property farther afield.

Denison also wrapped up winter work earlier this month after sinking 61 holes totalling 30,400 metres on seven projects, most of them joint ventures. Summer plans call for about 34,000 metres on eight projects, focusing on the flagship Wheeler River project, which has a maiden resource for the Gryphon zone planned for December to complement the very high-grade Phoenix deposit three kilometres southeast. Denison holds 60% of the JV with Cameco Corp TSX:CCO (30%) and JCU (Canada) Exploration (10%).

Also announced April 29, Cameco’s Q1 results showed $566 million in revenue, a 35% increase over the same period last year. Gross profit reached $129 million, a 19% increase. But a net loss attributable to shareholders sunk to $9 million, or $0.02 per share diluted, 107% below Q1 2014 performance. The company attributed blame “primarily due to higher mark-to-market losses on foreign exchange derivatives.”

In a more modest financing the following day, Kivalliq Energy TSXV:KIV closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling nearly $2.8 million. UEX Corp TSX:UEX offered a $2.5-million placement on April 21.

Phase I drilling finds U3O8 at Lakeland Resources’ Star/Gibbon’s Creek project

Assays released May 1 show a promising start to Lakeland Resources’ (TSXV:LK) Star/Gibbon’s Creek project. As a result the company plans geophysics and drilling to complement last winter’s 14-hole, 2,550-metre program on the road-accessible property a few kilometres from the town of Stony Rapids, on the Basin’s north-central rim.

Among highlights from the project’s South trend was hole GC15-03, immediately below the sub-Athabasca unconformity, which showed:

  • 333.8 ppm U3O8 over 1.1 metres, starting at 106.8 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.13% over 0.23 metres)

True widths weren’t available.

The hole also revealed uranium enrichment, strong hydrothermal alteration and the pathfinder elements boron, cobalt and nickel between 106.8 and 133 metres in depth.

Additional anomalous uranium came from two holes north and south of GC15-03:

Phase I drilling finds U3O8 at Lakeland Resources’ Star/Gibbon’s Creek project

Drill results show uranium enrichment, strong hydrothermal
alteration and pathfinder geochemistry for hole GC15-03.


  • 86.7 ppm over 1 metre, starting at 114.2 metres


  • 123.3 ppm over 2.1 metres, starting at 103.4 metres

GC15-02, collared near an historic hole that assayed 0.18% over 0.13 metres, showed:

  • 120.3 ppm over 1 metre, starting at 101 metres

At the South zone’s eastern end, GC15-10 returned “a strong illite clay alteration assemblage from the unconformity (80.9 metres) to 148 metres’ depth,” Lakeland stated. “This interval corresponds to a zone of strong ductile shearing and local brittle-ductile cataclastic brecciation.”

GC15-06 on the Centre zone tested an area with some of the Basin’s strongest land-based RadonEx measurements. “Highly anomalous geochemical pathfinders were noted throughout the hole, including a zone of uranium enrichment from approximately 41 metres to 109.5 metres in depth.”

The company now plans airborne electromagnetics on the project’s eastern margins, ground gravity at the South trend and additional RadonEx surveys. Further drilling around GC15-06 and the South trend will follow.

“Given the early stage of exploration at Gibbon’s Creek, results obtained from this first round of drilling are very encouraging,” said president Jonathan Armes. “The geochemical, clay and alteration results are suggestive of a nearby basement-hosted or unconformity-hosted uranium occurrence…. Lakeland will have multiple exploration programs ongoing in and around the Athabasca Basin this summer and fall, which should provide for an exciting year.”

With one of the Basin-region’s largest portfolios, Lakeland currently holds 32 properties totalling over 300,000 hectares. Among other drill-ready projects are Newnham Lake, east of Star/Gibbon’s, and Lazy Edward Bay on the Basin’s southern rim.

Last week the company appointed well-known geologist Jody Dahrouge to Lakeland’s board of directors. During his 25-year career he played a key role in Fission Energy’s acquisition of Waterbury Lake, Patterson Lake and Patterson Lake South. Waterbury Lake now hosts the J-zone discovery, while PLS holds the Triple R deposit.

Read more about Lakeland Resources’ Star/Gibbon’s Creek project.

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