Saturday 21st October 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘nevada’

Gary Musil of Belmont Resources comments on lithium exploration in the U.S.

August 11th, 2017

…Read more

Nevada’s new-era fuel

July 7th, 2017

Gary Musil sees Clayton Valley similarities in Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin lithium project

by Isabel Belger

Isabel Belger

Isabel Belger

Isabel: I would like to introduce Gary Musil, CFO and director of Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA. Hi Gary, it is a pleasure to talk to you again.

Gary: Likewise, always a pleasure to talk to you.

Isabel: To get started, tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved with Belmont Resources.

Gary: Belmont was a client of mine, and in 1992 they asked me to get more involved by joining the board of directors and later as a full-time chief financial officer in 1999.

Isabel: Belmont Resources has two different locations that you are involved with. Could you tell us a bit more about these two?

Gary: Belmont holds 50% interest in a large uranium land package (12,841 hectares) in the northern Athabasca Basin near Uranium City, Saskatchewan, Canada. Approximately $2 million was incurred on the claims from magnetic, radiometric, electromagnetic and radon gas surveys through to a successful 20-hole diamond drill program totalling 3,075 metres. The project is available for a joint venture partner or acquisition. Belmont’s current focus is on its 2,760-hectare Kibby Basin-Monte Cristo Valley, Nevada lithium project.

Isabel: So your focus is on the Kibby Basin lithium project. What makes that project so appealing?

Gary: The demand and price of lithium continues to increase as we move into a new era of electric vehicles and other technology that is requiring lithium. In addition, we are near the construction of a large facility, the Tesla Motors Gigafactory #1, near Sparks, Nevada, which will be a huge consumer of the end product. Secondly, expansion of a large electric bus factory in California to the south will also see increased consumption of lithium production for batteries. Furthermore, our Kibby Basin hosts several key features that are similar to the nearby and only operating lithium mine in North America, the area at Silver Peak-Clayton Valley, Nevada.

Gary Musil sees Clayton Valley similarities in Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin lithium project

Lithium assays from last spring’s campaign have
Belmont Resources returning for additional geophysics and drilling.

Isabel: What is the most exciting thing about the Kibby Basin property up to now—what work have you accomplished there?

Gary: We commenced last year with all the baseline work, such as a NI 43-101 geological technical report, followed by a ground geophysical survey and then a detailed gravity survey to map the central basin. This generated a 3D model of the basin which provided the coverage to enhance the potential of the Kibby Basin to host a lithium-bearing brine structure.

The basin model revealed the basin to be in the order of 4,000 metres deep and approximately 7.4 kilometres long. In June Belmont drilled two diamond drill core holes, KB-1c to 548 feet [167 metres] on the eastern basin-bounding fault and KB-2c to a depth of 1,498 feet [457 metres] in the playa-dry lake bed, in the area.

The company was pleased with the core sample assays, to discover the presence of lithium ranging from 70 ppm to 200 ppm lithium with 13 of 25 core samples assaying over 100 ppm lithium, indicating that the sediments could be a potential source of lithium for the underlying aquifers.

Isabel: What are your experiences working in the U.S.A.? It is known that a lot of lithium comes from China and we’ve heard Donald Trump wants to “make America great again.” Has there been any changes in regard to working on a project that could produce lithium in the U.S.A.?

Gary: Belmont’s original mineral project, going back over 30 years ago, was a joint venture in a silver-producing mine in Nevada. We usually contract out work, i.e. geologists, geophysics work, surveys, drilling contractors, etc., to local reputable contractors. This saves costs and develops a good working relationship with the state and county officials. Any changes from the federal and state governments in regards to working on a project that could produce lithium in the U.S.A. should be positive for Belmont Resources. We anticipate governments could add incentives to mining exploration and producing companies to encourage them to expand the mineral resources and sell the end products to factories being built in Nevada, rather than importing lithium and other minerals from foreign countries.

Gary Musil sees Clayton Valley similarities in Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin lithium project

Thirteen of 25 Kibby Basin core
samples surpassed 100 ppm lithium.

Isabel: What are the plans for the rest of 2017?

Gary: Belmont’s next stage of evaluation will consist of carrying out a further geophysical survey, i.e. electromagnetic resistivity survey and possibly seismic surveys, of the property, which should generate higher aquifer probability targets for further drilling this year.

Isabel: How much money do you have in the bank right now?

Gary: Belmont recently completed a four-million-unit private placement at $0.05 per share complete with a two-year transferable warrant (eight-cent warrant in year one and 10-cent warrant in year two) which generated $200,000. We will continue to raise further financing in order to continue exploration of the Kibby Basin throughout the year.

Isabel: How much of Belmont Resources is held by the management?

Gary: Belmont’s management currently owns 5.5% of the issued and outstanding shares and is increasing its position as demonstrated in participation in the recently completed private placements, as well as exercising of warrant and stock option shares. Including friends, relatives and close associates, these holdings increase to over 25%.

Isabel: What do you like about the mineral exploration business?

Gary: The anticipation of drilling results and then the discovery of minerals in a new area is always exciting. Also, travelling to new areas of the world and meeting new people there.

Isabel: What is your favourite commodity and why?

Gary: Belmont has explored for silver, antimony, gold, uranium, as well as oil and gas. Lithium will be my favourite for years to come, as I see the uses of this commodity expanding, as technology continues to develop and expand along with it.

Gary Musil sees Clayton Valley similarities in Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin lithium project

Gary Musil, CFO/director
of Belmont Resources

Fun facts

Your hobbies: Golf, cycling, hiking

Sources of news you use: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and CNN through TV and the Vancouver Sun/Financial Post newspapers

Your favourite airport: Vancouver International Airport and Phoenix, Arizona, as that usually means a golf vacation during the winter months

Your favourite tradeshow: Outdoor Recreation and Golf Show in Vancouver

Favourite commodity besides the ones in your company: Gold, especially placer gold

People you’d most like to have dinner with: Ha—Fred Couples, senior professional golfer; So Yeon Ryu, ladies’ professional golfer; Shania Twain, country music star; and of course having dinner with my wife in many new places in the world where we have been and not been to yet

If you could have a superpower, it would be: Healing

Equitorial Exploration to drill for NWT lithium

June 28th, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 28, 2017

The rig returns to a Northwest Territories hardrock lithium project for the first time in a decade as Equitorial Exploration TSXV:EXX heads to the field in July. About 30 kilometres from the former Cantung tungsten mine in the territory’s southwest, the Little Nahanni Pegmatite Group project will also undergo mapping, channel sampling and resampling of drill core from 2007 when two holes struck intervals of 1.2% Li2O over 10.94 metres and 0.92% over 18.27 metres.

Equitorial Exploration to drill for NWT lithium

Red paint marks a channel sample
interval from last year’s field work at LNPG.

Summer drilling will test the vertical extent of lithium-cesium-tantalum-type pegmatite dyke swarms now identified at about 300 metres in depth and 13 kilometres in strike. The dykes are well exposed on cirque walls of the mountainous terrain, the company stated.

Channel sampling last year brought assays up to 1.13% Li2O, 71.1 g/t Ta2O5 and 0.03% SnO2 over 10.35 metres. That included a sub-interval of 1.86% Li2O, 116.7 g/t Ta2O5 and 0.05% SnO2 over 6.3 metres.

Three specimen samples released in October brought results up to 2.85% Li2O, 28.1 g/t Ta2O5 and 0.05% SnO2.

Equitorial filed a 43-101 technical report on the LNPG project in March.

In Utah last May, the company staked another 1,092 hectares, expanding its Tule Valley lithium project to about 2,792 hectares. That gives Equitorial the entire Tule Valley Basin, which the company describes as a closed basin which could be similar to Nevada’s Clayton Valley. Equitorial also sees Clayton Valley similarities in the company’s Gerlach property in Nevada.

Equitorial Exploration expands Utah lithium claims

May 24th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 24, 2017

Pleased with geophysical results from its Tule Valley lithium project in Utah, Equitorial Exploration TSXV:EXX has increased its holdings to take in the entire Tule Valley Basin. A ground gravity survey shows “the Tule Valley fill has a depth of over 500 metres in the western portion of the property” and “the valley fill deepens further than 500 metres heading east from the current claim blocks,” Equitorial stated.

Equitorial Exploration expands Utah lithium claims

As a closed basin, Tule Valley might
host an extremely mineralized brine.

As a result the company staked another 1,092 hectares, expanding the property to about 2,792 hectares. Equitorial plans to drill the property this season.

The company also has discussions underway with other parties to assess methods of extracting metals from water.

Equitorial characterizes the Tule Valley as a closed basin in which surface water and groundwater flowing into the basin have no escape route. Surface evaporation leaves minerals dissolved in brines and evaporation pools. In that respect Tule Valley might be similar to Nevada’s Clayton Valley, the company added.

The road-accessible property sits about 190 kilometres from Salt Lake City.

Equitorial’s two other lithium projects include the Gerlach property in Nevada, which the company describes as an under-explored closed basin “in an area structurally comparable to that of Clayton Valley.” In the Northwest Territories, the company holds the Little Nahanni Pegmatite Group property, for which Equitorial filed a 43-101 technical report last March.

Belmont Resources has drilling imminent for Nevada lithium

April 19th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 19, 2017

In search of lithium-bearing brines similar to those of the Clayton Valley, 65 kilometres south, drilling could resume any day now at Belmont Resources’ (TSXV:BEA) Kibby Basin project. Having attempted sonic drilling in February, the company now has Harris Exploration Drilling and Associates mobilizing a track-mounted rig for an HQ program to possible depths of about 300 metres.

Belmont Resources has drilling imminent for Nevada lithium

A new drilling contractor brings considerable Clayton Valley experience
and proprietary techniques to Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin.

The contractor brings extensive Clayton Valley experience in recovering core from unconsolidated lakebed sediments and in testing lithium brine with Harris’ proprietary instrumentation, Belmont stated.

Based on last year’s gravity survey on the 2,760-hectare property, initial holes “are designed to test the eastern basin-bounding fault, where lithium brines are likely to well up in the structural zone, analogous to the concentration of lithium brines along the Paymaster fault in Clayton Valley, and to test the stratigraphy near the central axis of the basin,” the company added. “The holes will test for porous basin sediments, which could serve as aquifers for lithium brines.”

In Saskatchewan’s Uranium City region, Belmont holds a 50/50 JV with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT in the 12,091-hectare Crackingstone and Orbit claims.

Belmont also has international arbitration proceedings underway regarding the revocation of mining rights at a talc project in Slovakia.

During February and March the company closed private placements totalling $467,500.

Equitorial Exploration closes acquisition of two western U.S. lithium properties

April 7th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 7, 2017

With the deal now complete, Equitorial Exploration TSXV:EXX builds a portfolio of lithium properties. The company picked up the Tule Valley project in Utah and the Gerlach property in Nevada by paying Umbral Energy CSE:UMB $50,000 and two million shares, as well as assuming a payment of $100,000. A 2% NSR applies to both properties.

Equitorial Exploration closes acquisition of western U.S. lithium properties

The under-explored Gerlach property might
host structural similarities to Clayton Valley.

Umbral described Tule Valley as a closed valley several kilometres south of lithium source rocks, with active groundwater flow along its western margin. The property “has been affected by evaporate-style processes,” the company stated. “Tule Valley may therefore be conducive to the presence of lithium-bearing groundwater. In this respect, Tule Valley has similar characteristics to Clayton Valley, Nevada, a dry lake bed where lithium is derived from brines located within more porous sediment layers at depth under playa.”

As for Gerlach, also known as the San Emidio project, Umbral characterized it as an under-explored closed basin “in an area structurally comparable to that of Clayton Valley, being bounded by normal faults to the east and west of the property and surrounded by volcanics such as rhyolitic flows and tuffs.”

In March Equitorial filed a 43-101 technical report for its Little Nahanni Pegmatite Group property in the Northwest Territories, a hardrock project that underwent sampling last year. This year’s LNPG program could include resampling previous core, mapping, prospecting, channel sampling and drilling.

Equitorial Exploration files 43-101 for NWT lithium project

March 17th, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 17, 2017

Citing highly encouraging results, a 43-101 technical report has been completed and filed for Equitorial Exploration’s (TSXV:EXX) Little Nahanni Pegmatite Group property in the Northwest Territories.

Equitorial Exploration files 43-101 for NWT lithium project

LNPG’s mountainous terrain could undergo drilling this year.

Also referred to as LNPG or the Li property, the project underwent sampling last year, with results reported in October and September.

Field work traced lithium-cesium-tantalum pegmatite dyke swarms over a combined length of 13 kilometres on the property’s mountainous terrain, the company stated. The dykes’ vertical extent has been traced for 300 metres through natural exposure and drilling in 2007. “Where sampled, each dyke swarm is up to 52.6 metres wide and contains multiple dykes that range from 0.2 to 10 metres in width.”

This year Equitorial anticipates resampling the 2007 core, drilling, channel sampling, mapping and prospecting.

Located in the southern NWT just east of the Yukon border, LNPG sits about 30 kilometres from the former Cantung tungsten mine. In addition to the NWT hardrock project, Equitorial has begun the acquisition of two lithium brine projects in Utah and Nevada, proximal to the Tesla Gigafactory #1.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba first and second globally as mining jurisdictions

March 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 1, 2017

Saskatchewan edged one notch upwards to take first place worldwide while Manitoba soared from 19th to second in this year’s Fraser Institute survey of mining and exploration jurisdictions. Those two provinces pushed last year’s top performer, Western Australia, down to third place. Canada’s other top 10 spot went to Quebec, rising to sixth from eighth the year before. All continents but Antarctica came under scrutiny but Canadian, American, Australian and European locales monopolized the top 10.

Farther down the list, the strongest Canadian improvements were Newfoundland and Labrador, climbing to 16th from 25th, and the Northwest Territories, now 21st, previously 35th. Most disappointing were British Columbia (falling to 27th from 18th), Nunavut (31st from 23rd) and Alberta (47th from 34th).

Those findings come from the survey’s Investment Attractiveness Index, which combines two other indices—Policy Perception, a “report card” on government attitudes, and Best Practices Mineral Potential, concerning geological appeal. Representatives of 104 companies responded with their 2016 experiences in mind, giving a numerical rating to questions in several categories regarding their likelihood of investing in a particular jurisdiction. The previous year 109 companies responded.

Here’s the top 10 globally for overall investment attractiveness, with last year’s standings in parentheses:

1 Saskatchewan (2)

2 Manitoba (19)

3 Western Australia (1)

4 Nevada (3)

5 Finland (5)

6 Quebec (8)

7 Arizona (17)

8 Sweden (13)

9 Ireland (4)

10 Queensland (16)

Here are the Canadian runners-up:

15 Yukon (12)

16 Newfoundland and Labrador (25)

18 Ontario (15)

21 Northwest Territories (35)

27 British Columbia (18)

31 Nunavut (23)

40 New Brunswick (45)

47 Alberta (34)

52 Nova Scotia (59)

At least those provinces and territories steered far clear of the bottom 10, where Argentina figures prominently:

95 Mozambique (84)

96 Zimbabwe (98)

97 India (73)

98 Mendoza province, Argentina (101)

99 La Rioja province, Argentina (109)

100 Afghanistan (not available)

101 Chubut province, Argentina (104)

102 Venezuela (108)

103 Neuquen province, Argentina (93)

104 Jujuy province, Argentina (86)

“We believe that the survey captures, at least in broad strokes, the perceptions of those involved in both mining and the regulation of mining in the jurisdictions included in the survey,” stated authors Taylor Jackson and Kenneth P. Green.

Download the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2016.

Opportunism knocks

December 5th, 2016

First Mining Finance found bad times beneficial for good deals

by Greg Klein

Struggling junior? Not this company. Since its trading debut in April 2015, First Mining Finance TSXV:FF has compiled 25 projects covering some 300,000 hectares, from early stage to a PEA with 4.4 million gold ounces indicated. Just as aggressively, the company boosted its treasury to a current $35 million. Now First Mining looks forward to a $21-million exploration and development program for 2017 that includes 47,000 metres of drilling.

“We were able to execute on the vision of the company, which last year was to take advantage of the bear market and acquire projects,” VP of investor relations Derek Iwanaka explains. “I don’t know of any other company that was able to acquire as many projects, or projects as good as we got, during that period.”

First Mining Finance found bad times beneficial for good deals

Located in northwestern Ontario’s Birch-Uchi greenstone belt,
First Mining’s 32,448-hectare Springpole flagship has an
updated PEA scheduled for next year.

Certainly there were deals to be had for canny acquisitors. But that was while many other companies faced financing difficulties. First Mining bucked the trend last August by closing a $27-million private placement. How did they pull that off?

“Quite easily,” responds Iwanaka. “We were literally turning down millions of dollars. We had over $70 million in orders but we didn’t want that kind of dilution. So we just took the $27 million. That should carry us for at least the next few years, including all the drilling and overhead.”

First Mining seems to have something that eludes others.

“First of all we have Keith Neumeyer at the helm, who runs a multi-billion-dollar company as it stands,” says Iwanaka. “Keith has been adept at starting companies during very bad times and manoeuvring them so when times are good we can reap the rewards for our shareholders.”

Among companies founded by the First Mining director were First Quantum Minerals TSX:FM and First Majestic Silver TSX:FR, where Neumeyer’s president/CEO. First Majestic acts as a sort of mentor to First Mining, placing some FR directors in FF’s management and board, helping to get the new company started, lending it about $1 million, vending three Mexican properties and even providing office space.

Among considerations behind an acquisition are “size and quality of the project,” Iwanaka points out. “We look at projects with good grade, scalability, exploration upside. The jurisdiction’s quite important to us. We’re basically looking at North America, but not the North. We will look at South America as well. Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland are our favourite places although we could go to other provinces too. In the U.S. we see Nevada and Arizona as fairly mining-friendly states. We could probably look at New Mexico as well. We do have some early-stage properties in Mexico, where First Majestic has its base, but we certainly focus on Canada.”

As for commodities, “we particularly like gold but silver, platinum and palladium are also attractive, as well as base metals—anything that’s exchange-tradeable.”

Other factors include “the price of the projects, the holding cost, the infrastructure. In many cases the projects we take already have roads and power lines going to them.”

If gold’s the company’s focus, the Springpole flagship explains why. Described as one of Canada’s largest undeveloped gold projects, the northwestern Ontario potential open pit came with the past owner’s 2013 PEA. Using a 0.4 g/t gold cutoff, the 2012 resource showed:

  • indicated: 128.2 million tonnes averaging 1.07 g/t gold and 5.7 g/t silver for 4.41 million ounces gold and 23.8 million ounces silver

  • inferred: 25.7 million tonnes averaging 0.83 g/t gold and 3.2 g/t silver for 690,000 ounces gold and 2.7 million ounces silver

First Mining has work underway to bring the resource and PEA up to date. But looking back at 2013, the report calculated a post-tax NPV of US$388 million using a 5% discount, with a 13.8% post-tax IRR. Initial capex came to US$438 million with payback in 35 months of an 11-year mine life.

First Mining Finance found bad times beneficial for good deals

Visible gold was one attraction of the Goldlund project,
which has another 27,000 metres of drilling planned.

“We expect the updated PEA will be even more robust,” Iwanaka says. “The U.S. dollar has appreciated since 2013, when it was at par. We’re also looking at increasing the recovery and the pit shell. Those three things could substantially improve the economics and we hope to have the new PEA out probably by the first half of next year.”

With assays pending, a four-hole, 1,712-metre fall program provided metallurgical fodder. Next summer’s agenda calls for another 6,000 metres of infill to upgrade the resource. In the meantime, pre-permitting environmental and baseline work will soon begin.

A newer acquisition gets even more rig attention next year. Goldlund, about 60 kilometres north of Dryden and roughly 200 klicks south of Springpole, has 27,000 metres planned to upgrade the resource and work towards an eventual PEA. The former open pit and underground operation came with an estimate that First Mining considers an historic non-43-101. Using a 0.4 g/t gold cutoff, it showed:

  • measured and indicated: 19.1 million tonnes averaging 1.94 g/t for 1.19 million ounces gold

  • inferred: 25.8 million tonnes averaging 2.51 g/t for 2.08 million ounces

Cameron, maybe another 100 kilometres south of Goldlund, gets up to 9,000 metres of infill to pump up the measured and indicated prior to PEA. Using a 0.5 g/t cutoff, a 2015 resource from Chalice Gold Mines TSX:CXN showed:

  • measured: 3.72 million tonnes averaging 2.64 g/t for 316,000 ounces gold

  • indicated: 4.1 million tonnes averaging 1.92 g/t for 253,000 ounces

  • inferred: 14.5 million tonnes averaging 1.92 g/t for 894,000 ounces

Moving to southwestern Newfoundland, Hope Brook will see 5,000 metres of exploration and infill. A high 3 g/t gold cutoff gives the current resource:

  • indicated: 5.5 million tonnes averaging 4.77 g/t for 844,000 ounces gold

  • inferred: 836,000 tonnes averaging 4.11 g/t for 110,000 ounces

Again, a resource upgrade precedes a PEA, this one slated for late 2017.

Back in Ontario and roughly 110 kilometres northeast of the Springpole flagship, autumn drilling has wrapped up at Pickle Crow. Assays from the nine-hole, 1,319-metre campaign are expected in early 2017. The former mine came with a 2011 inferred resource that used a 2.25 g/t gold cutoff for an underground deposit and a 0.35 g/t cutoff for an open pit deposit:

Underground

  • 6.52 million tonnes averaging 5.4 g/t for 1.14 million ounces gold

Open pit

  • 3.63 million tonnes averaging 1.1 g/t for 126,000 ounces

Total

  • 10.15 million tonnes averaging 3.9 g/t for 1.26 million ounces

With assays to come, drilling to do and announcements for other North American projects anticipated, First Mining plans a steady news flow, says Iwanaka.

Correction: Voltaic Minerals to vend Nevada property, builds 3D model of Utah lithium project

August 17th, 2016

by Greg Klein | August 17, 2016

Under a memorandum of understanding announced August 17, Voltaic Minerals TSXV:VLT would sell a lithium property acquired by staking. Subject to approvals, Macarthur Minerals TSXV:MMS would buy the 2,300-hectare Stonewall property in Nevada for two million shares and US$50,000.

Voltaic Minerals signs MOU for Nevada lithium property, builds 3D model of Utah project

In neighbouring Utah, Voltaic began Phase I work on its Green Energy lithium project in June. Using historic drill results and estimates, the company stated it would build a 3D model to “better understand the potential lithium-bearing horizon known as Clastic Unit #31 and to identify prospective wellhead locations for re-entry or drilling of new wells.”

Records dating back to the 1950s include results of approximately 100 oil well drill holes as well as seismic data. Only three historic holes were sampled for lithium.

The program’s preliminary budget estimate comes to less than $200,000. Voltaic closed a $765,000 private placement in May.