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Posts tagged ‘Noble Mineral Exploration Inc (NOB)’

Week in review

January 25th, 2013

A mining and exploration retrospect for January 19 to 25, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Canadian company’s employees still held hostage in Colombia

Kidnappers continue to hold five workers abducted from Braeval Mining’s TSX:BVL Snow Mine project in Colombia. According to a Thursday story in Colombia Reports, two Colombian hostages are being held separately from two Peruvians and a Canadian. The government has offered a cash reward while the army said it has 2,700 soldiers searching for the victims.

A Monday Colombia Reports article said soldiers had arrested three of the 20 to 25 kidnappers. The story gave the victims’ names as Canadian Jernoc Wobert, Peruvians Jose Manami and Javier Ochoa, and Colombians William Batista and Manuel Francisco Zabaleta.

Rebels abducted them on January 18 in northern Colombia’s Bolivar department. Among grievances cited by the kidnappers, the National Liberation Army (ELN) listed unequal distribution of mining rights, stated Colombia Reports.

Most Mali operations safe so far

A mining and exploration retrospect

“If you are still in Mali, you should leave immediately,” Canada’s Foreign Affairs department warned on Sunday. But Tuesday’s Toronto Star reported that work continues in most of southwestern Mali’s mining operations while French-led forces battle rebels hundreds of kilometres away. Over 15 Canadian exploration and mining companies operate in the country although some, especially in the northeast, have suspended work.

Endeavour Mining TSX:EDV Neil Woodyer described the turmoil as “part of the nature of the beast, as far as we’re concerned, being miners.” But his company’s properties, like most of Mali’s advanced-stage projects and operating mines, are in the southwest.

Mali is Africa’s third-largest gold-mining country, the Star reported. According to a 2008 estimate cited by the CBC, about 17% of the country’s government revenue comes from gold mining.

BCSC finds sloppy disclosures an ongoing problem

NI 43-101 regulations govern not only news releases and technical reports but also company Web sites, speeches, corporate presentations and other communications considered to be voluntary disclosures. But that fact sometimes slips the minds of company officials.

Of a sample of companies reviewed by the British Columbia Securities Commission between 2009 and 2012, only half met 43-101 standards in their voluntary disclosures. According to the BCSC 2012 Mining Report released Thursday, the problem is especially apparent when reporting PEA results, historic estimates, quality control, lab procedures and identifying the qualified person who takes responsibility for the information.

Yet compliance in non-voluntary disclosures is hardly reassuring. Only 65% of companies made the 43-101 grade. PEAs were especially problematic, flunking out in more than half of all cases for both voluntary and compulsory disclosures. A lack of cautionary language was the most frequent reason.

Non-compliant data verification, resource and reserve estimates, pre‐feas and feasibility studies also raised concerns. A common problem with resource estimates was totalling all categories instead of segregating the inferred numbers.

Among other monitoring activities, the commission targeted 82 companies between February 2011 and September 2012 that were selected because of “poor disclosure we observe in e-mail blasts, news releases and paid promotions on industry‐related Web sites,” the report stated.

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Shining Potential

June 5th, 2012

Noble finds Awaruite among Ontario Nickel and Gold

By Greg Klein

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Awaruite—pronounced a-WHAH-roo-ite—is a naturally occurring nickel-iron alloy that might be described as naturally occurring stainless steel, according to Vance White, President/CEO of Noble Mineral Exploration TSXV:NOB. And the stuff bids fair to further enhance the company’s Project 81, which already offers not only gold and nickel targets but also timber rights in the Ontario’s Timmins region.

That’s not to say that anyone expects to mine shining pots and pans straight out of the ground. But, as White points out, “Awaruite lends itself to magnetic separation in processing, which can mean shipping a concentrate direct to steel mills without smelting. It has tremendous benefits from both an environmental and a cost standpoint. You don’t need the CAPEX or operating costs of a processing facility.”

Noble finds Awaruite among Ontario Nickel and Gold

Noble's Project 49: Awaruite, nickel, gold and infrastructure galore.

Elsewhere this alloy, which is usually found in ratios of approximately three parts nickel to one part iron, has attracted the attention of Cliffs Natural Resources NYE:CLF. In 2009, this giant supplier to the steelmaking industry entered a joint venture with First Point Minerals TSXV:FPX on the Decar Project in BC. First Point says it believes Decar is “the first property of its type anywhere in the world to be explored for possible commercial production of nickel entirely from awaruite.” And last year, Cliffs struck a strategic partnership with Altius Minerals Corp TSX:ALS, attracted by the company’s awaruite exploration in Newfoundland.

Noble‘s awaruite turned up in samples from Project 81′s Kingsmill Deposit that had previously been assayed for nickel. The new results prompted Noble to bring on new talent, metallurgical consultant Gordon Bacon, who boasts extensive experience in awaruite deposits around the world.

“We’re very pleased to see the awaruite occurrence and to retain Dr Bacon,” White says. “We look forward to the additional evaluation that he’ll be carrying out over the next few weeks.”

Kingsmill’s nickel assays had thus far been provided in two forms, aqua regia and total-digestion inductively coupled plasma (AR-ICP and TD-ICP). In an interview last March, Noble‘s VP Exploration Randy Singh explained the distinction. “Aqua regia dissolves the sulphide nickel. Total digestion is a four-acid digestion that dissolves everything, the silicate nickel and the sulphide nickel. We use both assays because if all your nickel is in silicates, it’s not economically possible to recover it. Any assay that is more than 0.25% nickel aqua regia gets a third assay. It’s a wet chemistry technique, which is an assay-quality analysis that’s even more accurate for sulphide nickel. It’s a much more involved analysis, and we’ll release those results when we receive them.”

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Neglected No Longer

March 20th, 2012

Noble Explores Overlooked Ontario Nickel and Gold Targets

By Greg Klein

How did virgin territory remain unmolested in Ontario’s promiscuously explored Timmins region? For a number of reasons, the mineral potential of Project 81 went largely unnoticed until 2010. Only the following year did it come under the control of an explorer, at the time known as Ring of Fire Resources. Now, under its new name, Noble Mineral Exploration TSXV:NOB, the company has its attention focused firmly on the property’s Kingsmill nickel and Lucas gold targets.

Timber, not gold or nickel, was the property’s original attraction. That, along with low metal prices and relatively primitive geophysical technology, explains the neglect of its mining potential, Noble President/CEO Vance White explains.

Noble Explores Overlooked Ontario Nickel and Gold Targets

“They were lands owned by AbitibiBowater [now Resolute Forest Products],” White says, “and a subsidiary of INCO would come in to carry out early geophysical work. At that time, it was basically two-frequency geophysics, so it was pretty rudimentary, and they couldn’t see very deep.” Nevertheless, early 1960s exploration did find compelling results by today’s standards.

“There were reports of a 1,265-foot [385.8-metre] intersection of 0.36% nickel. This [non-43-101] information was never in the public domain because these lands were private patented lands, so there was no need to file any of this data with the ministry in Ontario.” White points out some other attractions. “Incorporated into this large block of ground are something like seven or eight dams that provided power to AbitibiBowater’s sawmills and pulp mills. With that came access roads to the entire block of ground. It’s infrastructure galore where you have road, rail, power, water, drilling contractors, mining service personnel and all the rest close by.”

Randy Singh, Noble’s VP of Exploration, managed to track down more historic results, both nickel from Kingsmill and gold from Lucas in late 2010. White promptly contacted Abitibi, then dealing with its bankruptcy. But others were interested, and a bidding contest ensued. With funding from Franco-Nevada TSX:FNV, White and his team emerged victorious. Further acquisitions boosted the size to 72,218 hectares from the original 60,000, making the company one of the region’s largest landholders. Airborne geophysics began late last year and in January 2012, for the first time in decades, a drill bit struck the ground at Kingsmill.

The nickel assays have so far been released in two forms: aqua regia and total digestion inductively coupled plasma (AR-ICP and TD-ICP). As Singh explains, “Aqua regia dissolves the sulphide nickel. Total digestion is a four-acid digestion that dissolves everything, the silicate nickel and the sulphide nickel. We use both assays because if all your nickel is in silicates, it’s not economically possible to recover it. Any assay that is more than 0.25% nickel aqua regia gets a third assay. It’s a wet chemistry technique, which is an assay-quality analysis that’s even more accurate for sulphide nickel. It’s a much more involved analysis, and we’ll release those results when we receive them.”

March 5 Kingsmill assays include

  • 0.17% nickel AR-ICP and 0.2% nickel TD-ICP over 250.4 metres
    (including 0.23% AR-ICP and 0.27% TD-ICP over 122.4 metres)
  • 0.22% AR-ICP and 0.25% TD-ICP over 114.2 metres
    (including 0.24% AR-ICP and 0.27% TD-ICP over 72.2 metres)
    (including 0.26% AR-ICP and 0.29% TD-ICP over 11.2 metres)

February 28 assays include

  • 0.25% AR-ICP and 0.3% TD-ICP over 502.6 metres
    (including 0.26% AR-ICP and 0.32% TD-ICP over 322 metres)
    (including 0.3% AR-ICP and 0.33% TD-ICP over 39 metres)

White comments, “We believe we’re dealing with a very, very large anomaly, probably two-plus kilometres in strike length. We put in a section of holes on the west side, from which we’ve received very positive results, albeit low grade. But it’s at the higher end of these low-grade nickel deposits. And by stepping out 1,800 metres to almost 2,000 metres to the east, we’ve put down another set of holes, and we’re just in the process of receiving results back on that. I think that will show mineralization to the east is very similar to that in the west. Then you could draw a conclusion whereby the widths are probably between 400 and 500 metres, and the strike length is probably about a couple of thousand metres. We know it’s open at depth, and therefore you could be looking at a very large tonnage, perhaps over 1.5 billion tonnes.”

As for the Lucas gold target, historic, non-43-101 results include

  • 2.97 g/t gold over 37 metres
    (including 3.1 g/t over 35.7 metres)
  • 3.15 g/t over 9.2 metres
  • 2.78 g/t over 12.9 metres
  • 3.51 g/t over 8.8 metres

We believe we’re dealing with a very, very large anomaly, probably two-plus kilometres in strike length —Vance White

Noble is now completing ground geophysics. “We’ve got our initial interpretations back, and it looks very promising,” White says. “It helps us understand why certain [historic] drill holes missed their target and why others came back with fairly significant grades in today’s environment. I think we have a pretty good handle on how we’re going to be successful in growing a mineral resource there.” Noble’s drilling will start after spring break-up: “within the next four to six weeks at the very outside.”

Then there’s the timber rights, which came with the 2011 acquisition. An independent forestry consultant has come up with an NPV of $18.5 million for both harvestable timber and timber that will grow into a harvestable asset, White reports. “We’re sourcing potential purchasers on either a per-piece basis or as a complete disposition of the rights.”

Looking further ahead, White says, “We’re considering making two entities, one focusing on gold and the other on nickel. Another opportunity is the potential to bring in other junior explorers. We have one party that has expressed interest in a certain area within Project 81, and we’re negotiating that right now.”

Under the October 2011 funding agreement, Franco-Nevada buys a $2-million, three-year debenture earning 5% interest and convertible to shares at $0.20. Franco-Nevada also backstops Noble’s $1.5-million payment to Resolute and pays $500,000 for Noble’s right to purchase royalties from Resolute.

Noble holds additional properties in Ontario and Saskatchewan. However, “Our entire focus is going to be consumed with Project 81,” White declares. “We have two very, very good targets that need all kinds of follow-up. We’re in the early stages of the discovery curve, and I think as we move forward we’ll get recognition both from a retail and institutional perspective. That’s when you’re going to start seeing some traction in the marketplace.”

At press time Noble had 125.5 million shares trading at $0.12 for a market cap of $15.1 million.