Saturday 3rd December 2016

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘molybdenum’

King’s Bay Gold to acquire never-drilled copper-cobalt property in Labrador

October 28th, 2016

by Greg Klein | October 28, 2016

An intriguing chance find has King’s Bay Gold TSXV:KBG hoping the Trans-Labrador Highway will be a road to discovery. That’s the story behind the company’s October 27 announcement of a definitive agreement to acquire the Lynx Lake copper-cobalt property in south-central Labrador.

King’s Bay Gold to acquire never-drilled copper-cobalt property in Labrador

Powerlines and the Trans-Labrador Highway
run adjacent to the Lynx Lake copper-cobalt property.

As Newfoundland was building the highway in 2008, a provincial contractor with prospecting experience noticed evidence of disseminated and massive sulphides, King’s Bay geologist/director Nick Rodway explains. Some geological sleuthing eventually drew the contractor to the property’s east side, where a quarry had been blasted for aggregate.

Grab samples assayed the following year showed non-43-101 results up to 1.39% copper, 0.94% cobalt, 0.21% nickel and 6.5 g/t silver. Regional low-res magnetic surveys undertaken by the province and preliminary work in 2014 with a hand-held EM-16 device suggest strong conductors underlying the area.

Grab samples taken on the property’s west side in 2015 brought non-43-101 results up to 1.03% copper, 0.566% cobalt, 0.1% nickel, 5 g/t silver, 0.36% chromium, 0.39% molybdenum and 0.23% vanadium.

With a team returning to Lynx Lake next week, King’s Bay intends to conduct a sampling program to bring 43-101 results, along with further EM-16 surveys. Should all go to plan, airborne geophysics could follow this winter.

Open to year-round work, highway-accessible and with adjacent powerlines, the 20-square-kilometre property sits about 100 kilometres southeast of the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Subject to approvals, the acquisition costs King’s Bay $100,000 over three years and 900,000 shares over two years. On October 27 the company also announced a private placement of up to $1 million.

The news comes amid growing concerns over future cobalt supply. Nearly 60% of global production comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country rife with political instability and conflict mining.

At the same time increased demand comes from “the energy storage revolution,” reports Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Its data shows “2015 total global supply at 100,000 tpa, of this the battery market consumed 48,000 tpa.

“With a lithium-ion battery production surge well underway—and Benchmark recently revising its megafactories tracker to now 14 that are under construction ranging from three- to 35-GWh capacity—lithium-ion battery demand for cobalt is set to exceed 100,000 tpa by 2020.”

Pistol Bay Mining to take largest position in Ontario’s VMS-rich Confederation Lake

October 19th, 2016

by Greg Klein | October 19, 2016

Pistol Bay Mining to take largest position in Ontario’s VMS-rich Confederation Lake

Pistol Bay’s holdings will cover a 31-kilometre length of the VMS-rich Confederation Lake greenstone belt.

 

A new acquisition would make Pistol Bay Mining TSXV:PST the biggest claimholder in Ontario’s Confederation Lake greenstone belt. The 5,136-hectare package comprises all the regional claims held by AurCrest Gold TSXV:AGO and includes a zinc-copper-silver resource as well as an historic, non-43-101 estimate. Along with Pistol Bay’s optioned Dixie and Dixie 3 properties, the letter of intent announced October 19 would increase the company’s holdings to 7,050 hectares on the volcanogenic massive sulphide-rich belt.

With three cutoff grades, the package’s Arrow zone has resources showing:

3% zinc-equivalent cutoff

  • indicated: 2.07 million tonnes averaging 5.92% zinc, 0.75% copper, 21.1 g/t silver and 0.58 g/t gold

  • inferred: 120,550 tonnes averaging 2.6% zinc, 0.56% copper, 18.6 g/t silver and 0.4 g/t gold

5% zinc-equivalent cutoff

  • indicated: 1.76 million tonnes averaging 6.75% zinc, 0.79% copper, 22.3 g/t silver and 0.61 g/t gold

  • inferred: 51,630 tonnes averaging 3.86% zinc, 0.79% copper, 23.9 g/t silver and 0.58 g/t gold

10% zinc-equivalent cutoff

  • indicated: 633,000 tonnes averaging 14.3% zinc, 1.11% copper, 31.7 g/t silver and 0.85 g/t gold
Pistol Bay Mining to take largest position in Ontario’s VMS-rich Confederation Lake

Pistol Bay’s Dixie properties have been
undergoing field work and a review of historic data.

Additionally, the Copperlode A or Fredart zone has an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 425,000 tonnes averaging 1.56% copper. Exploration in the 1970s produced samples up to 1.46% molybdenum.

The 100% option would cost $25,000 and one million shares on closing and $25,000 90 days later, as well as $50,000 and one million shares on each of the four anniversaries following closing. In addition to regulatory approvals, the transaction needs the consent of Glencore plc, whose rights to the Confederation Lake property include a 2% NSR.

The companies expect to close within a week.

“Pistol Bay proposes an ambitious exploration program that will not only pursue existing targets and known VMS deposits, but will use the latest airborne geophysical survey technologies to explore the whole area to a greater depth than was possible in the past,” said president Charles Desjardins.

Earlier this month the company announced MPH Consulting will review historic geophysical data on Pistol Bay’s Confederation Lake-region Dixie properties, where field work began in September. Historic drilling has found zinc, copper and silver, while the recently optioned Dixie 3 project comes with an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 82,500 tonnes averaging 1% copper and 10% zinc.

The company has a joint venture with a Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO subsidiary on the C-5 uranium property in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin. Having already earned 75% of its option, Rio has stated its intention to acquire the full 100%.

Pistol Bay closed a $563,450 private placement last August.

Casino, Selwyn Chihong sign MOU to power Yukon/NWT projects with B.C. LNG

September 21st, 2016

by Greg Klein | September 21, 2016

Liquefied natural gas would be the fuel of choice to electrify two potential northern mines, according to a memorandum of understanding announced September 21. Casino Mining and Selwyn Chihong Mining said the proposed deal with Ferus Natural Gas Fuels would cut costs as well as CO2 emissions.

Casino, Selwyn Chihong sign MOU to power Yukon projects with B.C. LNG

LNG could overcome diesel dependency
in grid-less regions of the North.

Through its subsidiary, Western Copper and Gold TSX:WRN has the Casino gold-copper-molybdenum project undergoing environmental assessment. Selwyn Chihong’s Selwyn zinc-lead project currently moves towards pre-feasibility.

The plan would have Ferus build an LNG plant at Fort Nelson, in northeastern British Columbia’s Peace River oil and gas region. Ferus built and operates Canada’s first merchant LNG plant in northwestern Alberta. A related company, Eagle LNG Partners, has an LNG plant under construction in Florida. Ferus stated it provides LNG and compressed natural gas fuelling services including liquefaction, compression, storage and delivery to the oil and gas, mining, marine, rail and power generation sectors.

The plan “may also benefit neighbouring mines, industries and communities currently powered by diesel, by making the LNG more broadly available,” commented Ferus president/CEO Dick Brown.

“Neighbouring” might cover a lot of ground. Casino’s located in west-central Yukon. Selwyn straddles the Yukon/Northwest Territories border.

But for the time being the Coffee gold project, Yukon’s likeliest new mine and located only about 30 kilometres northwest of Casino, sticks to a diesel-fuelled plan. Low diesel costs ruled out “the additional $1.5-million capital expense associated with LNG storage and vaporization,” according to last January’s feasibility study. “If in the future diesel fuel costs increase, significant power generation cost savings may be realized by substituting LNG for diesel.”

Goldcorp TSX:G subsidiary Kaminak Gold hopes to begin Coffee construction in mid-2018.

Backers of the Fort Nelson proposal anticipate two phases of development to be commissioned in 2020 and 2022.

Earth science for everyone

July 29th, 2016

Geoscience B.C. puts extensive resource knowledge into the public domain

by Greg Klein

Geoscience B.C. puts extensive resource knowledge into the public domain

Outfitted with sensitive magnetometers, three Cessna Super Caravans
will fly the largest survey in Geoscience B.C.’s 11-year history.
(Photo: Geoscience B.C.)

 

It’s probably one of the biggest geophysical surveys underway anywhere. Pilots now have three magnetometer-equipped Cessnas criss-crossing an especially rugged 24,000-square-kilometre expanse of west-central British Columbia on tight, 250-metre linespacing. This is Search Phase II, part of an even bigger project that will make “a generational contribution to better understand the area’s geology and mineral potential,” says Bruce Madu, VP of minerals and mining for Geoscience B.C. But the results will hardly be limited to industry. The non-profit’s mission is to access “earth science for everyone.”

Data of this quality rarely finds its way to junior explorers, let alone prospectors. But proprietary software makes it available to anyone with an internet connection. Besides mineral opportunities, practical advantages include land use planning for regional districts, local communities and First Nations.

The grid extends from Fort Fraser to Smithers, building on two previous surveys. Last year’s Phase I flew over neighbouring terrain between Terrace, Kitimat and Smithers. The 2013 TREK program covered an area bounded by Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Quesnel, conducting sampling and mapping, as well as airborne mag. The three surveys combined will cover 55,500 square kilometres, about the size of Nova Scotia.

Geoscience B.C. puts extensive resource knowledge into the public domain

When combined with two previous surveys, this year’s program
will provide magnetic data for 55,500 square kilometres.
(Photo: Geoscience B.C.)

TREK’s inspiration came from the Blackwater discovery, now New Gold’s (TSX:NGD) proposed open pit mine with reserves of 8.2 million ounces gold and 61 million ounces silver. Yet “the surrounding geology is poorly understood,” Madu says.

The Phase II flyover includes another proposed mine, Pacific Booker Minerals’ (TSXV:PBM) Morrison copper-gold project, as well as Thompson Creek Metals’ (TSX:TCM) majority-held Endako molybdenum mine and the former Bell-Granisle copper-gold mines. The survey just bypasses Imperial Metals’ (TSX:III) 50%-held Huckleberry copper mine.

Low prices put Endako on care and maintenance, with Huckleberry slated to follow this summer. But Geoscience B.C. helped extend the latter mine’s life by about two years, Madu says. “We flew some geophysics, the company participated and ended up drilling new ore. A couple of hundred jobs were given a couple more years.”

The region “clearly has substantial mineral potential,” Madu points out. “Even more importantly it has excellent infrastructure, lots of road networks, there’s rail in the area and hydro nearby, so it can be quite a cost-effective place to discover and develop a mine.”

Having just reconnoitred with the Search Phase II crew, Madu waxes enthusiastically about the staff, the three Cessna Super Caravans especially suited for this survey’s challenges, the ultra-sensitive magnetometers and the preliminary data. “It excites me—the quality is superb.”

Phase II comprises one of 13 projects scheduled for this year, with a budget totalling $2.5 million. “They cover all sorts of perspectives,” Madu says. “We’ll be active in the Sheep Creek, Barkerville and Cassiar gold camps, the Toodoggone region, we’ve got a mapping crew south of Terrace working on last year’s geophysics, we’ll be east of the Penticton gold camp around the Boundary area. We have chemistry projects re-analyzing almost 5,000 archive samples from southeastern British Columbia as well as the Atlin area. And we’ve got a lot of value-added projects on the go this year, taking existing data and putting together a more complete picture combining geophysics, geochemistry and geology, which I think is a big advantage for the industry’s future, being able to have these super-sized data sets.”

Not limited to mineral exploration, Geoscience B.C. also conducts surveys related to areas such as oil and gas, geothermal energy and groundwater.

In addition to fundamental baseline data creation, we do a lot of innovative research as well.—Bruce Madu,
VP of minerals and
mining for Geoscience B.C.

“On the minerals side, during our 11 years of operation we surveyed a large portion of the province with geophysics, we re-analyzed almost the entire suite of geochemical samples for the province, we provided a lot of innovative research in glacial tills and tree-top sampling, we funded new geochemical methods using water in the field as well as capturing gases and sampling organic materials. So in addition to fundamental baseline data creation, we do a lot of innovative research as well.”

Next year’s plans call for Search Phase III extending northeast to the Quesnel copper belt and covering a region that hosts Imperial’s Mount Polley copper-gold-silver mine, the auriferous turf of Barkerville Gold Mines TSXV:BGM, Thompson Creek’s Mount Milligan copper-gold operation and AuRico Metals’ (TSX:AMI) gold-copper-silver deposits at Kemess.

Looking further ahead, Madu sees the organization “looking at the mining cycle instead of just exploration to see what we can do to help the development or efficiency of mining. We might look at research into subjects like water, tailings and metallurgy, for example.”

The group was founded in 2005 when the province put up money as an inducement to industry contributions. A lot of those contributions come from preferred rates or volunteer work supporting a small staff. Regional trusts have also contributed. Last May the province forked over $5 million.

The results of all that go online, available to everyone. Geoscience B.C.’s Earth Science Viewer opens with a satellite image of the province. Users can zoom in on a particular area, load a layer of data from the selections to the left, then overlay additional data. New info comes online as survey results are processed. Mineral tenures are updated daily, with links to the government’s database of claimholders.

“Viewers can put the tie-dyed geophysical charts on top of the geology layer to see how they agree or don’t agree,” says Madu. “I think that’s quite a powerful prospecting tool because one thing we want to do is challenge assumptions. If the geology and geophysics are telling different stories, we want people to research that and explore it.”

A planned upgrade, possibly within a year, will make the viewer three-dimensional, “something like Google Earth where you can tip it on its side and fly around valleys a bit,” he adds.

With a wealth of practical info for industry and communities alike, the viewer “puts the power of information into the hands of people who can use it.”

Kyrgyzstan gains B.C. foothold as Centerra hedges jurisdictions

July 5th, 2016

by Greg Klein | July 5, 2016

A “balanced geopolitical risk profile” would counter Centerra Gold’s (TSX:CG) Kyrgyzstan woes with a solid foundation in more favourable countries. But with Kyrgyzstan currently holding nearly a third of Centerra shares, that country retains a sizeable piece of the action. Late July 5 Centerra announced a definitive agreement to pick up Thompson Creek Metals TSX:TCM and its Mount Milligan copper-gold mine in British Columbia. Also included are Thompson Creek’s Endako molybdenum mine in B.C. and its Thompson Creek moly mine in Idaho, both on care and maintenance, as well as two development projects in B.C.

Kyrgyzstan gains B.C. foothold as Centerra hedges jurisdictions

Gold miner Centerra takes on Thompson
Creek’s debt to move into a safer jurisdiction.

Subject to approvals, the share swap values Thompson Creek at C$0.79, a 33% premium to the company’s 20-day volume-weighted average to July 4. The deal would leave Thompson Creek shareholders with about 8% of Centerra. The company also pays off Thompson Creek’s outstanding notes. The companies value the transaction at approximately US$1.1 billion.

Royal Gold’s Mount Milligan gold stream would drop from 52.25% to 35% in exchange for an 18.75% copper stream.

The deal gives Centerra “an operating base in Canada—one of the lowest-risk mining jurisdictions in the world—which will complement our [50%-held] Canadian-based Greenstone project and provide for further flexibility to expand into the Americas,” commented CEO Scott Perry.

In addition to its flagship Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan, Centerra holds Mongolia’s Boroo gold mine, currently on care and maintenance, and two advanced-stage gold projects in Mongolia and Turkey.

At the company’s May AGM the CEO reportedly acknowledged that Kyrgyzstan is “not viewed as a top-tier jurisdiction”—a considerable understatement. Out of 109 countries ranked by the Fraser Institute’s annual mining survey, Kyrgyzstan ranks 19th from last on the Investment Attractiveness Index and eighth from last on the Policy Perception Index. B.C., although no paradise itself for miners, ranks 18th from top on the IAI and 41st on the PPI.

Centerra’s Kyrgyzstan adversities have included a police raid on the company’s office, a US$220-million pollution fine, a US$9-billion claim by the country’s Green Party, criminal investigations against the company’s executives, a ban on executives leaving the country, the arrest of a former CEO in Bulgaria reportedly at Kyrgyzstan’s behest, illegal roadblocks, violent mobs, and the arrest and deportation of a Centerra welder after he posted a Facebook remark comparing a local sausage to “horse penis.”

Centerra holds a 100% interest in Kumtor but Kyrgyzstan holds 32.7% of Centerra. In December the company offered to trade a 50% stake in the mine for the country’s shares. But now Kyrgyzstan faces dilution through the C$170-million bought deal Centerra also announced on July 5.

The company expects to close the offer around July 20 and the acquisition in autumn.

Geoscience B.C. gets $5-million grant, plans “new generation” of airborne mag

May 18th, 2016

by Greg Klein | May 18, 2016

A non-profit organization that puts geophysical results in the public domain, Geoscience B.C. announced another $5 million in provincial funding on May 18. The group now plans its largest airborne magnetic survey ever, with the Search Phase II project on a 24,000-square-kilometre grid over west-central British Columbia.

Geoscience B.C. gets $5-million grant, plans “new generation” of airborne mag

The region hosts the former Bell-Granisle porphyry copper-gold mines and one of North America’s largest molybdenum mines, Thompson Creek Metals’ (TSX:TCM) majority-held Endako, now on care and maintenance. Just outside the survey area sits Imperial Metals’ (TSX:III) 50%-held Huckleberry operation and New Gold’s (TSX:NGD) proposed Blackwater gold-silver open pit.

Calling the project “a new generation of airborne magnetic survey,” Geoscience B.C. VP of minerals and mining Bruce Madu said, “The line spacing we will fly will be much tighter than in previous surveys of this scale, providing a data resolution that is much more detailed and accurate.

“The Search Phase II survey is a key piece of the puzzle that will bridge the gap between the Search Phase I geophysical survey completed last year and the TREK survey in 2013,” he added. “Together, these three adjoining projects will provide a continuous modern survey of high-quality magnetic data covering a 55,500-square-kilometre area—equivalent to the size of Nova Scotia.”

Results will be posted next year on the organization’s data release page and its Earth Science viewer. Beneficiaries will include not only the mineral exploration industry but also local communities and land use planners.

“Usually only the largest companies have access to this kind of data,” said Rob Maurer of the Smithers Exploration Group, which supports mineral exploration and mining in the province’s northwest. “But in B.C., the innovative work conducted by Geoscience B.C. puts tools in the hands of any individual who wants to go out and prospect for minerals.”

B.C. Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman credited the organization with helping strengthen his sector’s regulation. “They have done outstanding work identifying deeper saline aquifers appropriate for industry use, which goes a long way towards better protecting ground- and surface-water needed to sustain First Nations and other communities in northeast B.C.”

The organization released its previous airborne mag findings in January. Last month it announced results from an innovative program of helicopter-borne tree-top geochemical sampling.

Hunter Dickinson-backed Taseko battles Chicago private equity firm

May 6th, 2016

by SmallCapPower.com | May 6, 2016

As far as proxy battles go, it doesn’t get much nastier than this. In one corner is the management of Taseko Mines TSX:TKO, which has the backing of Hunter Dickinson. In the other is Raging River Capital, the dissidents, a Chicago-based private equity and investment firm which wants to replace the current board of directors with its own slate of nominees.

Hunter Dickinson-backed Taseko battles Chicago private equity firm

Taseko’s flagship is its 75%-owned Gibraltar,
Canada’s second-largest open pit copper mine.

Taseko’s flagship asset is its 75%-owned Gibraltar copper-molybdenum mine in British Columbia, the second-largest open pit copper mine in Canada, which produced a record 142 million pounds of copper in 2015. The company also owns the Florence copper project, an advanced-staged development project in Arizona, which it acquired when it bought Curis Resources in 2014.

Interesting upside for Taseko could come from its Aley niobium project in northern British Columbia, the third-largest niobium deposit in the world, which the company purchased for $5.4 million in 2007. After the company invested $30 million into exploration and development work, it claims the project has an $860-million net present value.

Niobium is used primarily in the manufacturing of high-strength, light-weight and corrosion-resistant steel. Brazil has a dominant share (about 85%) of the world’s niobium output. Despite the fact that Aley’s grades are about one-third of those found in Brazil, it would offer up a new supply source for North American buyers, although the project’s remote access could be a problem.

Weighing on Taseko’s stock price during the past few years, in addition to falling commodities prices, has been the First Nations and Canadian government’s opposition to the company’s New Prosperity project in British Columbia, a large gold-copper porphyry deposit.

Continue reading this article on SmallCapPower.com.

Taseko sues Ottawa

February 12th, 2016

B.C. miner says feds favoured opponents before rejecting New Prosperity

by Greg Klein

The Canadian government acted unlawfully to reject a mine proposal, according to a lawsuit filed February 11 by Taseko Mines TSX:TKO. Senior federal officials hosted undisclosed meetings with project opponents, showed them draft documents and allowed them to provide submissions that weren’t divulged to the company or public, Taseko maintains. Canada’s environment minister and federal cabinet relied on those submissions in their decision to reject New Prosperity, a $1.5-billion copper-gold open pit proposed for south-central British Columbia, the company further stated.

At least some of the federal authorities involved “knew that their actions or omissions were unlawful,” according to the claim.

B.C. miner says feds favoured opponents before rejecting proposal

Named as defendants are Canada’s Attorney General and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. Those allegedly involved include former environment minister Leona Aglukkaq, her parliamentary secretary, five deputy or former deputy ministers, as well as the president and four employees of the CEAA.

Although the alleged actions would have happened while the Conservatives held office, the new Liberal government “would be responsible for the acts of the previous government in our view,” Taseko counsel John J.L. Hunter tells ResourceClips.com.

Damages weren’t specified. “There have been an awful lot of dollars spent on this that have gone to naught,” Hunter says—over $130 million according to the document.

Taseko operates Canada’s second-largest open pit, the Gibraltar copper-molybdenum mine, also in south-central B.C., in which the company holds a 75% stake.

New Prosperity, on the other hand, has been a focus of strong native opposition. A redesign of a former project that passed the provincial assessment but met federal rejection in 2010, New Prosperity added $300 million to the capex to move its tailings facility and avoid draining a 118-hectare lake. The proposal underwent a two-year review that included 24 days of public hearings in 2013. A CEAA-appointed panel found significant adverse environmental effects in three areas. But the panel “recommended mitigation measures to address the anticipated adverse environmental effects on Tsilqot’in archeological and historical resources,” Taseko’s claim states.

Nevertheless rejection came from the minister and cabinet in late February 2014. Tsilhqot’in chiefs said the 2010 and 2014 decisions resulted from “an unprecedented two scathing independent expert panel reports which make clear that the project was unacceptable environmentally and in terms of its impact on First Nations’ rights and culture, and that these impacts were immitigable.”

Taseko claims that, between the panel completing its report and the feds announcing their decision, senior officials including deputy ministers and Aglukkaq’s parliamentary secretary held undisclosed meetings with opponents and accepted their written submissions. The company says its requests to attend any such meetings and review additional input were rebuffed. The last few meetings took place just two weeks before Aglukkaq released her decision, Taseko alleges, and opponents “provided input on draft conditions for the decision statement.”

[The 2010 and 2014 decisions resulted from] an unprecedented two scathing independent expert panel reports which make clear that the project was unacceptable environmentally and in terms of its impact on First Nations’ rights and culture, and that these impacts were immitigable.—Tsilhqot’in chiefs comment
on the proposal’s rejection

The company learned of the meetings through Facebook, spokesperson Brian Battison told ResourceClips.com.

Among previous complaints from Taseko, the company says Natural Resources Canada studied a tailings storage design different from the proposed plan. The CEAA included the NRC study in its review. That allegation will be among procedural and fairness concerns examined by two judicial reviews that Taseko has already launched.

“There’s some overlap in the claims but the remedies that could be obtained are quite different from judicial review and from civil action,” Hunter explains. He anticipates the judicial reviews being heard this year but the lawsuit will likely take longer to come to court.

The defendants have yet to respond to Taseko’s allegations, which haven’t been proven.

The lawsuit opens a new chapter in a long, discouraging tale. But earlier this month the Mining Association of Canada lauded efforts that have brought about 265 active agreements between miners and native communities, as well as joint ventures, training, employment and other collaboration. “These serve as a testament to the ongoing development of progressive relationships between mining companies and aboriginal communities,” commented MAC president/CEO Pierre Gratton.

The group called for more jurisdictions to adopt government revenue-sharing programs for native bands affected by mining projects. B.C. did so in 2010, but that failed to sway the Tsilhqot’in National Government. Quebec, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the three territories have also implemented revenue-sharing for natives.

While Taseko’s lawsuit attempts to hold the current government accountable for alleged actions before it came to power, the Liberals campaigned on a promise to overhaul the environmental review process. The new regime’s stated goal is to “ensure that decisions are based on science, facts and evidence, and serve the public’s interest.”

MOU offers Americans scrutiny over B.C. mining projects

November 25th, 2015

by Greg Klein | November 25, 2015

British Columbians and Alaskans will seek involvement in each other’s mining proposals following a memorandum of understanding signed November 25. The MOU calls for governments and natives to take part in environmental assessment and permitting processes in their neighbour’s jurisdiction. But with an emphasis on trans-boundary waters, which mostly would consist of rivers and streams originating in B.C., Canadian projects might get more scrutiny than those next door.

B.C.-Alaska MOU pledges cross-border co-operation on mining and environment

The memo follows visits by B.C. mines minister Bill Bennett and Alaska lieutenant-governor Byron Mallott to each other’s turf. Bennett’s trips, following the tailings dam collapse at Imperial Metals’ (TSX:III) Mount Polley mine, tried to reassure Alaskans about B.C. environmental practices.

In August 2014, just weeks after the disaster, Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources asked Canada’s Environmental Assessment Agency for participation in the approval process for Seabridge Gold’s (TSX:SEA) KSM gold-copper project near the state border. Provincial approval had already been granted the previous month. The federal permit came through last December.

Other prominent projects in B.C.’s northwestern corner include:

  • Galore Creek, a NovaGold Resources TSX:NG/Teck Resources TSX:TCK.A and TCK.B copper-gold-silver project that reached pre-feasibility in 2011

  • Schaft Creek, a Copper Fox Metals TSXV:CUU/Teck copper-gold-molybdenum-silver project that achieved feasibility in 2013

  • Chieftain Metals’ (TSXV:CFB) Tulsequah Chief zinc-copper-gold project, now permitted for construction

  • Pretium Resources’ (TSX:PVG) Brucejack gold-silver project, slated for 2017 commercial production

  • Imperial’s Red Chris copper mine, which achieved commercial production in July

The MOU sets no timeframe for achieving its goals. Money for the cross-border initiative would come from existing government budgets, with the possibility of additional “alternate public or private sector funding.”

B.C. orders further assessment of Pacific Booker’s proposed Morrison mine

July 8th, 2015

by Greg Klein | July 8, 2015

British Columbia’s ministries of mines and the environment dealt another setback to Pacific Booker Minerals’ (TSXV:BKM) proposed Morrison mine on July 7. The central B.C. copper-gold-molybdenum project now has up to three years to complete further studies for its environmental assessment.

B.C. orders further assessment of Pacific Booker’s proposed Morrison mine

B.C. originally rejected the open pit operation in October 2012 despite an environmental assessment which repeatedly stated that, with successful implementation of mitigation measures and conditions, the mine is “not likely to have significant adverse effects.” The two provincial ministries, however, considered a “risk/benefit approach” that speculated what might happen if mitigation measures failed. The province also noted native opposition. It later transpired that draft recommendations from the Environmental Assessment Office’s executive director didn’t recommend rejection.

The company lawyered up and in December 2013 the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the province “failed to comport with the requirements of procedural fairness.” The court ordered B.C. to let Pacific Booker respond to the environmental decision. The company did, but now faces further requirements.

Environment Minister Mary Polak and Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett cited a number of concerns including uncertainty about the mine’s design and mitigation measures, insufficient understanding of the Morrison Lake ecosystem and “whether there may be other design alternatives and/or mitigation measures that might support a higher level of confidence.”

The ministers detailed several studies to take place within three years, also ordering “further engagement with Lake Babine Nation and other first nations with respect to their perspectives and opinions about the mine and the potential effects on their aboriginal interests.”

But according to a July 8 Pacific Booker statement, the additional requirements include “many components which were required to be completed in support of the Mines Act/Environmental Management Act permits and [were] planned to be completed prior to applying for permits after receiving the environmental assessment certificate.”

Since June 2011, four B.C. mine proposals received EA certificates and six mines began production, stated a July 8 president/CEO’s message from Gavin Dirom of the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia. He added that last month JDS Silver received construction permits for its Silvertip (formerly Midway) silver-lead-zinc mine near the Yukon border.