Tuesday 25th October 2016

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘New Gold Inc (NGD)’

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.”

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.

Innovative geochem sampling takes to the tree tops

April 11th, 2016

by Greg Klein | April 11, 2016


Even if money doesn’t grow on trees, they might hold traces of valuable metals. So Geoscience B.C. used a helicopter to clip spruce branches over an especially difficult-to-access part of British Columbia. On April 11 the non-profit released the results, hoping to evaluate the technique’s potential to help find deposits.

“It’s well established that coniferous trees such as spruce can pick up metals and other elements from the soil and concentrate them in the bark, twigs and needles,” said Bruce Madu, Geoscience B.C.’s VP of minerals and mining. “Through this program, we hope to provide new information that will encourage people to take a fresh look at the area’s mineral potential.”

Innovative geochem sampling takes to the tree tops

The TREK program uses innovative, multidisciplinary approaches
to geological understanding. (Photo: Geoscience B.C.)

He was referring to 1,000 square kilometres within central B.C’s Fraser Plateau. Although parts of the wider region have undergone geochemical sampling, the spruce survey focused on an area that’s been neglected due to especially thick forest, with few lakes or roads. About 15 klicks north New Gold TSX:NGD advances its Blackwater project, a proposed open pit with proven and probable reserves of 8.2 million ounces gold and 60.8 million ounces silver.

Whether twigs and needles can help find a similar deposit remains to be seen. Samples from 399 trees spaced 1,500 metres apart have been analysed, with detailed results available here.

The survey forms part of Geoscience B.C.’s Targeting Resources through Exploration and Knowledge project, a multidisciplinary approach to better understand the geology of a 24,000-square-kilometre chunk of land. TREK procedures include stream, lake, soil and till sampling, as well as airborne geophysics, mapping and mineral deposit studies.

The $4-million program is Canada’s largest publicly funded project of its kind. The organization makes its data available not only to the exploration sector but also to the public for land use planning and community awareness. In January Geoscience B.C. released airborne magnetic data for a 6,700-square-kilometre expanse of the province.

Group Ten selects tightly spaced drill targets for its Ontario gold project

March 7th, 2016

by Greg Klein | March 7, 2016

One week after expanding its Yukon PGM-nickel-copper property, Group Ten Metals TSXV:PGE updated its Drayton-Black Lake gold project in northwestern Ontario. Following a review of historic results, the company has chosen targets for a recommended 20-hole 2,000-metre drill campaign.

Group Ten selects tightly spaced drill targets for its Ontario gold project

Located in the same belt hosting Treasury Metals’ (TSX:TML) Goliath, Tamaka Gold’s Goldlund and New Gold’s (TSX:NGD) Rainy River projects, Group Ten’s 7,968-hectare property includes an historic database with multiple high-grade bulk samples and over 120 drill holes, as well as geological, geochemical and geophysical data, the company states. “While 43% of past drill holes intercepted gold or copper mineralization, they did not adequately test the mineralized zones, which are now better understood in the area.”

Trench mapping and surface sampling in the property’s Moretti area indicate higher-grade mineralization occurs within steeply plunging shoots averaging less than 30 metres long and 10 metres thick, Group Ten found. While historic drilling was too widely spaced to effectively test the shoots, the company’s recommended 20 holes would be collared about 20 metres apart.

“The dimensions of these shoots are similar in size to those delineated by closely spaced drilling at the Goliath project, where shoots have been traced down plunge for as much as several hundred metres,” Group Ten added.

The company also proposes additional mapping and sampling on the property’s Bonanza, Dragfold and Clamshell areas.

Group Ten CEO Michael Rowley credited Max Baker, Drayton-Black Lake’s new project manager, with confirming that “the geological model seen at the adjacent Goliath and Goldlund projects applies to our Drayton-Black Lake project.”

Last week the company announced completion of a field program on its Spy project in southwestern Yukon. The company staked an additional 1,250 hectares, bringing the property up to 3,135 hectares. Results are pending from silt and rock sampling, prospecting, mapping and reinterpretation of previous geophysics. Historic, non-43-101 grab samples have assayed as high as 75.8 grams per tonne platinum, 7.9 g/t palladium, 7 g/t gold, 2.6% nickel and 10.45% copper.

Ten years into B.C.’s new era

May 15th, 2015

Challenges remain, but native-industry co-operation continues

by Greg Klein

Not even a billion-dollar offer could win native support for the Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas proposal in British Columbia. News that the Lax Kw’alaams band rejected Petronas’ 40-year, $1.14-billion deal suggested aboriginal agreement constitutes an insurmountable barrier to development. But, as a non-profit advocacy group points out, what the band actually opposed was the terminal location. The Lax Kw’alaams council stated it’s otherwise still open to the project. Further accentuating the positive—while acknowledging the challenges—Resource Works released a new report on May 14, Becoming Partners: A Decade of Progress in Aboriginal-Industrial Relations in B.C.

Challenges remain, but native-industry co-operation continues

A map shows some of B.C.’s 86 proposed and ongoing
projects with native participation. (Image: Resource Works)

Speaking with eight people active in native negotiations, author David Jordan found several success stories, lots of room for improvement and an understanding that the province has entered a new era of development. Courts led the way, although with inadequately explained admonitions to “consult.” Governments followed by rejecting projects when consultation failed. That left industry and aboriginals to sort matters out themselves, a problem intensified by B.C.’s unresolved land claims. Maybe the most important lesson learned is the importance of aboriginal engagement right from the outset.

With natives on side, regulatory hurdles fall, stated one source. Referring to an agreement between northern B.C.’s Haisla Nation and Chevron Canada, Roger Harris told Jordan the project sped through the regulatory process. “Once the Haisla and Kitimat LNG agreement was in place it was less than six months, by the feds and the province. The bureaucrats couldn’t sign it off fast enough when they knew that there were no longer any first nation issues to deal with.”

A partner in the public affairs firm Harris Palmer and former B.C. forestry minister, he added, “The value the band will bring to the table by getting them to support you will save you millions in the regulatory process, both in the beginning and on the ongoing operation, because you’re always needing a permit to do something. And having these guys as partners makes the government just go away.”

The bureaucrats couldn’t sign it off fast enough when they knew that there were no longer any first nation issues to deal with.—Roger Harris, of public affairs firm Harris Palmer

It’s thanks to its government, however, that B.C. leads Canada in direct revenue sharing. An initiative that helped win support for a number of mining projects, the program began in 2013 with an agreement between two native bands and New Gold’s (TSX:NGD) New Afton mine. Joint ventures or other partnerships often accompany the agreements.

While Harris blames any failure to agree solely on industry, other respondents acknowledge challenges from the native side too. One problem is that band administration “can be cleared out” when a new council gets elected, said Bruce Falstead, manager of aboriginal initiatives for FortisBC.

“People who have institutional knowledge and have been around for a while get shuffled out in favour of nepotism. We couldn’t possibly do business if at Vancouver City Hall half the people got fired and other people got put in every four years. That’s exactly what’s going on and it’s not being addressed.”

Another challenge is inexperience, which holds back some native communities from taking part in projects themselves. Some “have set aggressive targets for developing industrial capacity,” Jordan stated, “but the vast majority of the approximately 200 first nation communities in the province have no experience in resource development; some have chosen not to actively pursue developing that capacity, and those that have made it a priority face the daunting task of building industrial capacity from scratch.”

Among the success stories is the McLeod Lake Indian Band, which runs the Duz Cho group including a road-building company and the province’s third-largest logging outfit. McLeod Lake has now partnered with two other bands to pursue even bigger contracts.

Companies and first nations want to see the same thing happen. They want to see value generated off of land that doesn’t see value being generated yet.—John Jack, Huu-ay-aht
First Nations councillor

A former mines minister now working for a number of resource companies including the Duz Cho group, Blair Lekstrom attributes McLeod Lake’s success to merit. “Many feel entitled to the work because they’re first nation commercial entities,” he said. “We’ve never taken that approach; we will earn the work through quality of work and competitive price.”

Should a band lack experience to negotiate, Falstead stated, FortisBC will pay the community “to hire the expertise that you need in order to engage with us.”

But he calls on government to help those who find themselves swamped with offers. Falstead knows of bands getting 2,000 inquiries a year. “When you get that many requests you can’t effectively respond, so it creates a risk for the company, it creates a risk for the government, and first nations don’t get to be properly heard because they don’t have the ability to respond.”

Overlapping land claims present further problems. But they’re not insurmountable. That fact was demonstrated by what Jordan calls an “historic watershed,” the 2013 agreement between 15 bands and Apache Canada over the 463-kilometre Pacific Trail pipeline proposal.

“Companies and first nations want to see the same thing happen,” explained Huu-ay-aht councillor John Jack. “They want to see value generated off of land that doesn’t see value being generated yet…. Why and whether it gets done is a question of will and communication and relationship-building.”

Jordan credits LNG proponents with bolstering B.C.’s new era of co-operation. He calls last year’s completion of B.C. Hydro’s 340-kilometre Northwest Transmission line “a major infrastructure project that wouldn’t have been possible without the co-operation of the Tahltan and Iskut first nations.” His report notes several native-owned logging companies as well as native participation in 28 clean energy projects. Jordan also lists at least 15 native agreements for mines and mining proposals.

Download the Resource Works report.

Read more about aboriginal engagement.

Over three years later, the BCSC rules on geo’s tip-off, wife’s insider trading

April 13th, 2015

by Greg Klein | April 13, 2015

News from her geologist husband helped Amina Weicker swing a $40,000 profit through insider trading, the British Columbia Securities Commission found. On April 10 the BCSC stated the investor’s husband, Robert Weicker, “tipped his wife” and that she consequently “engaged in illegal insider trading.”

Over three years later, the BCSC rules on geo’s tip-off, wife’s insider trading

The circumstances go back to 2011, when Geo Minerals Ltd, then trading on the Venture, was in takeover talks with New Gold TSX:NGD. Between September 12 and October 11 of that year—while negotiations progressed, a non-binding letter of intent was received and lock-up agreements were signed—Amina Weicker bought a total of 729,945 shares at prices between $0.10 and $0.11. The two companies announced the takeover on October 17, 2011. Seven weeks later Amina Weicker sold at $0.16, realizing an approximately $40,000 profit.

During that time Robert Weicker was a consulting geologist for Geo.

A BCSC panel found “he informed his wife of material information that had not been generally disclosed regarding the acquisition of that company. Amina Weicker then used this information, prior to its public disclosure, to purchase securities of Geo Minerals.”

The panel concluded that Amina Weicker committed insider trading and Robert Weicker disclosed material facts by someone in a special relationship with an issuer.

An allegation of insider trading against Robert Weicker was dismissed.

The parties have until next month to make submissions on the sanctions to be levied by the commission.

Speaking to ResourceClips.com, BCSC media relations manager Richard Gilhooley said he can’t comment on how and when the commission learned about the case. As for the time it took to come before a panel, “These investigations tend to be quite complex and there are a lot of moving parts, particularly with an insider trading investigation,” he stated. “So I think it’s down to the complexity of these cases.”

The Geo acquisition and coinciding takeover of Silver Quest Resources expanded New Gold’s Blackwater claims in central B.C. The company, which operates mines in B.C., Mexico, California and New South Wales, took Blackwater to feasibility in December 2013.

How fares Canada in the Fraser Institute’s global mining survey?

February 25th, 2015

by Greg Klein | February 25, 2015

Saskatchewan’s number two worldwide, Quebec’s back in the top 10 and Manitoba climbed 17 notches. But Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia took a beating in the latest Fraser Institute survey of mining jurisdictions. Released February 24, the study rates 122 jurisdictions (including provinces and states in Canada, the United States, Australia and Argentina) based on 485 returned questionnaires. Drawing on their 2014 experience, mining and exploration companies provided numerical ratings for a number of factors, which the institute tracked on separate indexes.

Most important is the Investment Attractiveness Index, which combines two other indexes—Best Practices Mineral Potential (geology) and Policy Perception (government attitudes). The institute weighs the IAI 60% for geology and 40% for public policy, roughly the same consideration companies reported for their investment decisions.

Here’s the top 10 IAI globally, with 2013 rankings in brackets:

1 Finland (4)
2 Saskatchewan (7)
3 Nevada (2)
4 Manitoba (13)
5 Western Australia (1)
6 Quebec (18)
7 Wyoming (11)
8 Newfoundland and Labrador (3)
9 Yukon (8)
10 Alaska (5)

Here are the Canadian runner-ups:

15 Northwest Territories (25)
21 New Brunswick (23)
22 Alberta (10)
23 Ontario (14)
28 British Columbia (16)
29 Nunavut (27)
42 Nova Scotia (47)

Prince Edward Island wasn’t included.

As for the bottom 10:

113 Sudan
114 Nigeria
115 Bulgaria
116 Guatemala
117 Egypt
118 Solomon Islands
119 Honduras
120 Kenya
121 Hungary
122 Malaysia

The 122 jurisdictions totalled 10 more than in 2013. For inclusion, the institute requires a minimum of 10 responses per jurisdiction.

The anonymous replies also included comments which, for Canadian provinces and territories, note serious but unsurprising concerns.

But for some people, the rankings rankled. B.C.’s 10th-place finish out of 12 Canadian jurisdictions doesn’t jibe with the province’s second-place status for mining investment, according to the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia. Citing data from Natural Resources Canada, AME BC credited Ontario as Canada’s favourite for attracting investment. Fraser Institute respondents stuck that province with ninth place in Canada.

“Furthermore, one of the best indicators of success in exploration is seeing discoveries move through to mine development,” said AME BC president/CEO Gavin Dirom. “In recent years, we have seen a number of new major metal mines constructed in our province, including Copper Mountain in 2011, New Afton in 2012 and Mount Milligan in 2013. Also, Red Chris is being readied for commercial operations, and the KSM and Kitsault mine development projects have received environmental assessment certificates.”

The NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines noted the Northwest Territories’ considerable improvement and its breakaway territory’s slight slump. The organization vowed to continue working with federal and territorial governments “to improve the investment climate for exploration and mining in the two territories.”

Download the Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies 2014.

Aboriginal engagement

January 30th, 2015

AME BC’s Gathering Place sees progress among the problems, hope for the future

by Greg Klein

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Over 6,700 participants from 35 countries descended on Vancouver to give Roundup 2015 the fourth-largest crowd in its 32-year history. Promotion, deals and networking thrived, but so did the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia’s education and outreach programs. Prominent among them was Gathering Place, a four-day dialogue in which miners, natives and others tackled tough issues as the industry undergoes a cultural transformation.

AME BC’s Gathering Place sees progress among the problems, hope for the future

Tsimshian, Coast Salish, Tlingit and Kwakwaka’wakw
dancers take part in a Roundup cultural performance.

Generalities and platitudes flowed freely. But discussion could be candid too. Some company reps outlined specific policies to bring aboriginals into mining and exploration while natives suggested further courses of action. While acknowledging the seemingly slow pace of progress, one CEO maintained, “If you look back 25 years ago and look where we are today, I think you’d probably describe it as a revolution.”

Among the success stories would appear to be Kaminak Gold’s (TSXV:KAM) Coffee project. Now moving towards feasibility, Kaminak reached out to local communities in 2010, soon after optioning the Yukon property and prior to staking additional claims.

“We wanted to know if there were trap lines in the area, we wanted to know if there were any cultural or sensitive areas, or any historical areas that we need to be aware of,” explained Allison Rippin Armstrong, Kaminak’s VP of lands and environment.

Natives alerted the company about nearby gravesites, which Kaminak then excluded from staking. “That early engagement helped us avoid what potentially could have been a very distressing situation,” Armstrong said. The company funded a heritage resource study for reference when planning exploration. Environmental monitoring also began in 2010 with the help—and input—of employees from the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in first nation (TH). The natives, who’d already signed a land claim agreement, have traditional territory covering Kaminak’s deposit.

The project currently has three TH environmental monitors working with consultants who collect data at the site. The monitors also help “develop and define the baseline programs so they come from a first nation community perspective as opposed to just a purely scientific perspective,” Armstrong emphasized.

As Kaminak president/CEO Eira Thomas told a panel discussion, the company solicits native concerns during its environmental work. By the time Kaminak files a permit application, she hopes those concerns will be addressed.

In another forward-looking precaution, Kaminak provides pre-season work plans to first nations for input and review. An exploration and co-operation agreement signed with TH in 2013 includes a conflict resolution process.

Kaminak has also developed a program of modular training, involving flexible courses that can be scheduled around work and other commitments. The courses don’t require a high school diploma yet could lead to university studies, Armstrong said.

A partnership with Yukon College will bring about two pilot courses this year to prepare TH citizens for skilled jobs. “If and when our mine gets built, the entire environmental department will be TH citizens.”

Fewer specifics came from a panel discussion involving the heads of four companies with mines or advanced-stage projects.

New Gold TSX:NGD president/CEO Robert Gallagher did point out that certain contracts at the company’s New Afton mine in central B.C. are restricted to first nations businesses. Natives make up 23% of the mine’s employees. A plan to team up aspiring aboriginal businesses with experienced joint venture partners, however, failed to transmit skills from one company to the other.

Then New Gold brought in a business development director. “He works with the first nations to develop the skills and put training in place so they can really learn the business,” Gallagher said. As it stands now, the new business still works with a JV partner. But New Gold plans to eventually split the contract between two former partners as the JV ends and a standalone native-owned company emerges.

An aboriginal business owner in the audience urged companies to train natives to adapt to camp life. “If you don’t train them the right way, you’re just wasting money because it’s a Jerry Springer show every night after supper in the rec room.”

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Urban dependence

November 6th, 2014

The livelihood of city dwellers relies more on resource industries than many people realize

by Greg Klein

People in Dawson Creek, Sudbury and Val-d’Or get it. But what about those living in larger, southern Canadian cities like Vancouver? How many people realize how much we depend on resource extraction, and not just for the commodities we consume? As a new report points out, Greater Vancouver’s economy relies heavily on British Columbia’s resource industries.

That’s the message of Community Impacts: Exploring the Natural Resource Sector’s Economic Impact on B.C., Its Regions and Urban Centres. The study was released last month by Resource Works, which considers the campaigns for B.C.’s November 15 municipal elections an opportunity to influence public debate.

The livelihood of city dwellers relies more on resource industries than many people realize

Just how far removed is Vancouver
from British Columbia’s resource industries?

Even so, Resource Works executive director Stewart Muir says the organization’s “not choosing candidates.” Calling the study impartial, he tells ResourceClips.com, “We don’t believe it’s political in itself.”

The non-profit group was founded in March with seed money from the Business Council of British Columbia. It’s now looking for donations from individuals and organizations, he says.

The group is backed by an advisory board representing “a coalition of people who would advise and, through their participation, show their support for what we’re trying to do. They include leaders from first nations, labour, business, multicultural groups, academia and the environmental movement. They meet quarterly, advise us and are central to our success.”

Report author Peter Severinson emphasizes his study is illustrative, not representative. Without trying to estimate the full extent of economic impacts, his research presents some examples that might otherwise be overlooked or taken for granted. The three-part study, which underwent independent academic reviews, evaluated the impact of B.C.’s top three resource industries of forestry, mining, and oil and gas.

Severinson used BC Stats data to look at province-wide impacts, while using industrial property assessments to gauge the sector’s regional prominence. Part three focuses on eight Greater Vancouver municipalities “where the connection with the resource sector is least obvious.”

There, Severinson evaluated the spending of seven companies: Catalyst Paper TSX:CYT, Copper Mountain Mining TSX:CUM, Encana Corp TSX:ECA, New Gold TSX:NGD, Taseko Mines TSX:TKO, Teck Resources TSX:TCK.A and TCK.B, and Western Forest Products TSX:WEF. Alberta-headquartered Encana made the list due to its heavy B.C. expenditures.

Again, this approach gives illustrative examples that might otherwise be overlooked, not a fully representative study. “The economic impact of the entire resource sector will be greater than the impacts described in this report,” Severinson writes.

Those seven companies alone poured $1.3 billion into Greater Vancouver last year. More than half, $732 million, went to the city of Vancouver itself, mostly to “professional service providers including lawyers, accountants, engineers, consultants and educators.” That’s in a city whose incumbent mayor opposes local pipeline expansion.

Next door, the municipality of Burnaby got $41.6 million from the seven companies. Burnaby’s entire city council sides with Vancouver’s mayor on pipeline expansion.

North Vancouver, a generally affluent mountainside suburb that sometimes approximates an urban ecotopia, got $162 million last year. Surrey, a ’burb that’s forecast to overtake Vancouver’s population, got $230 million. Richmond, where large new homes contrast with the remaining farmland, got $63 million.

As for Greater Vancouver’s Tri-Cities, Coquitlam got $13 million in 2013, Port Coquitlam got $19 million and even little Port Moody got $8 million.

Muir points to the “profound effect on the Vancouver economy” of an estimated 800 to 1,200 mining and mineral exploration companies headquartered in the city. “What we’ve got now is a real sense of what just seven companies can do in a year in terms of local impacts. What if next time we study 50 companies and look at their impact?”

With a $22.2-billion GDP contribution that took up nearly 12% of the provincial total, resources make up B.C.’s second-largest sector after real estate and leasing. 2010 numbers show about 184,000 jobs representing one-tenth of B.C.’s total jobs come from resources, the study points out. And that’s “only counting those jobs that are either directly within resource industries or that can be closely tied to outputs from those industries.”

We’ve got a high-tech economy because we’ve got a resource economy. And it’s also a green economy because these environmental technicians and people working to protect the environment and improve practices—guess what they’re doing? They’re doing resource jobs to protect the environment.—Stewart Muir, executive director
of Resource Works

So while people in Dawson Creek, Sudbury and Val-d’Or need no explanation, the value of resources can be lost on those living in bigger southern cities. Muir talks of “a divide between the real economy and what lots of people, for good reasons, wish the economy was. The economy we see people wishing for is high tech and green. It’s an economy that’s modern and a departure from the past. And for a lot of people, that’s an economy that’s post-resources.”

But, he says, of the FP 500’s top 50 companies, “15 of them are resource companies. And those 15 have 2013 revenues of almost $300 billion, which means they produce more revenue than all the finance, banking and insurance companies in the top 50.”

Nor does the resource economy fit another misconception.

“We see in British Columbia $250 million a year in R&D spending for mining and petroleum,” he says, citing a recent report from B.C. Stats. “That report is waved around by people who say we need this high-tech economy to replace the resource economy. But I look at the same data and say we’ve got a high-tech economy because we’ve got a resource economy. And it’s also a green economy because these environmental technicians and people working to protect the environment and improve practices—guess what they’re doing? They’re doing resource jobs to protect the environment.”

Muir portrays this high-tech, green resource economy as “a way of being a leader on the world stage. We can continue to export our regulatory know-how, our technical know-how, our strong ability to raise capital for mining projects, and develop not just our own resources but help other countries develop theirs responsibly. That’s modern Canada.”

What’s next for Resource Works? The group hopes to produce two to four papers per year, similar in substance to Community Impacts. A backgrounder on the B.C. government’s proposed LNG-backed Prosperity Fund will look at royalty schemes in Alaska, Alberta, Norway and Kuwait. Slated for December release is a detailed report resulting from eight discussion sessions involving 120 people with wide-ranging views on resources. The group also plans to present its findings to municipal council meetings across the province.

“Our most important issue is how the environment and the economy concerns the average person,” Muir says. “That’s where we have this great disconnect today and that’s where the work is needed.”

Not surprisingly, the non-profit hopes for more support from industry. “Our movement is directed at people who aren’t in the resource industries but we do need people who already get it, who already see the linkages that validate our work.”

Download Community Impacts: Exploring the Natural Resource Sector’s Economic Impact on B.C., Its Regions and Urban Centres.

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Albany’s area play continues

August 16th, 2013

More companies move in on Zenyatta’s Ontario graphite project

by Greg Klein

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In just over five weeks at least a dozen companies have picked up properties around Zenyatta Ventures’ TSXV:ZEN Albany graphite project in north-central Ontario. A steady source of encouraging news since its January 2012 discovery, Albany was bound to attract admirers—but why so late and suddenly so many? Little is being said, other than the properties became available and the timing couldn’t be better.

“It’s been great for the markets,” says Michael England, CEO/director of Cariboo King Resources TSXV:CKR. “All the juniors that have gone in have seen an increase in volume and even some financings. It’s been fantastic. It’s kind of what the doctor ordered for our markets. All of us were so dead but with the [Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW/Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU] uranium play in the Athabasca Basin and this one—wow! What a change it’s made.”

More companies move in on Zenyatta’s Ontario graphite project

Among the earlier entrants reported by ResourceClips.com on July 17 were Brookemont Capital TSXV:BKT with its 416-hectare Albany East property, Cavan Ventures’ TSXV:CVN 768-hectare Cage claims, TAD Mineral Exploration’s TSXV:TJ 257-hectare Constance Lake property and Bluenose Gold’s TSXV:BN.H Zenyatta West project.

Other acquisitions include Weststar Resources’ TSXV:WER 304-hectare Albany South East property announced July 16, TAD’s second foray with the 386-hectare Constance Lake West property announced July 25 and Ashburton Ventures’ TSXV:ABR 16-claim, 256-hectare Page property announced the following day.

Cariboo King heralded its 256-hectare Nezen property July 29. The next day Alchemist Mining TSXV:AMS did the same for its 256-hectare Mondatta property and the day after that MPH Ventures TSXV:MPS got in on the act with its same-sized North Albany. On August 13 GTA Resources and Mining TSXV:GTA said it increased its Auden project to over 26,000 hectares, making it the area’s largest landholder.

Then the play moved farther afield with two August 15 announcements, Cariboo King’s 1,536-hectare Pito property 20 kilometres west of Albany’s drill holes and, about 25 kilometres east of Zenyatta, the 256-hectare Hearst project for Benton Resources TSXV:BEX—which passed it on to Alabama Graphite CNSX:ALP the very next day. Alabama IR officer Danny Gravelle tells ResourceClips.com, “The property became prospective to Benton not only because of the location but an historic report by Noranda which gave some really strong indicators that there’s potential for graphite.”

But what prompted so many companies to pour into the Albany area at this time? Gravelle responds that Zenyatta’s story obviously has investors compelled. After trading for less than $2 in May the stock hit a 52-week high of $5 on July 26. “For a stock to perform as it has in the worst market I’ve seen in my lifetime shows a significant amount of strength. I think investors are convinced that Zenyatta has great potential because they’ve shown they like this story even in the worst of markets. That’s what really generated the interest.”

Cariboo King, with projects close to a number of former graphite mines in Quebec and also to Timcal Graphite & Carbon’s operating Lac-des-Iles mine, evidently lets others lead the way. “I do play closeology a lot with my companies,” England tells ResourceClips.com. He saw the policy pay off when New Gold TSX:NGD took out Geo Minerals in December 2011. “That was something that we never even drilled but it was close to their Blackwater deposit.”

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