Sunday 8th December 2019

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Posts tagged ‘northwest territories’

Northern challenge

November 8th, 2019

NWT prosperity depends on rebuilding investor confidence, miners warn

by Greg Klein

NWT prosperity depends on rebuilding investor confidence, miners warn

 

What happens when a mining-based economy runs out of mines? The Northwest Territories risks finding out the hard way but the reason won’t be a lack of mineral resources. For too long, investors have been discouraged from backing territorial exploration. That’s the message the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines delivered to the legislative assembly in Yellowknife last month. Now the industry group awaits a response, one backed with action, as the newly elected government prepares for its four-year term.

The territory’s three mines, all diamond operations, have passed peak production, facing closures over the coming decade. The NWT hosts only a few advanced projects, none comparing in potential economic clout with the big three. The problem contrasts with the NWT’s two northern neighbours, where the industry continues to thrive.

Projections released in July by the Conference Board of Canada call for Nunavut to lead the country in annual economic expansion, with an average 4.6% up to 2025. “Mining will be the main driver of growth, as Agnico Eagle prepares to bring its Meliadine mine and Amaruq satellite deposit into operation, and Sabina works on its Back River project.”

More tepid growth in mining will have repercussions on other areas of the economy, with growth in services-based industries remaining flat for much of the forecast. In all, economic growth in the Northwest Territories is forecast to contract by an average annual pace of 1.6% between now and 2025.—Conference Board of Canada

Yukon “will also experience a boom, with growth of 4.6% this year and 6.2% in 2019,” again thanks to mining. But the NWT faces decline:

“Two new metal mines should help offset some of the losses for the mining sector, but not until after 2020,” the Board stated. “More tepid growth in mining will have repercussions on other areas of the economy, with growth in services-based industries remaining flat for much of the forecast. In all, economic growth in the Northwest Territories is forecast to contract by an average annual pace of 1.6% between now and 2025.”

A lack of exploration spending explains the lack of projects in the pipeline, according to the Chamber of Mines. “The NWT has basically been flat-lining for the last 12 years,” says executive director Tom Hoefer. “That’s a problem because that’s the very investment you need to come up with new mines.”

But it’s a problem industry can’t solve without government help, he emphasizes.

“The government goes to Roundup and other conferences with really good marketing tools and they’re putting out all the right messages, such as: ‘Come unlock our potential.’ But if it’s that easy, why hasn’t the industry picked up?” Hoefer asks.

“Well, it’s because these other things happen.”

His group outlined a number of causes in its presentation to the assembly: high cost of living, relative lack of infrastructure, regulatory uncertainty, unsettled land claims and additional expanses of land (over 30% of the territory) deemed off limits for exploration and development.

NWT prosperity depends on rebuilding investor confidence, miners warn

Benefiting from previously built infrastructure,
NorZinc hopes to begin zinc-lead-silver mining
at Prairie Creek by 2022. (Photo: NorZinc)

Hoefer also mentions “contortions” imposed on companies. As examples he cites some early-stage exploration projects that were sent to environmental assessment, “something that would never happen in southern Canada,” and two companies being required to collect data about lakes from which they might or might not draw water in small amounts for diamond drilling, “a totally new requirement, totally out of step with what happens in the rest of the country.

“What that says to investors is, ‘You’d better be careful when you come up to the NWT because there are these surprises coming out of the woodwork.’”

Convincing the territorial government calls for a different approach than in most of Canada. With no political parties, the Chamber deals with 19 individual MLAs tasked with working on consensus. They put together collective priorities, Hoefer explains, then create a mandate for their four-year term. His group looks forward to seeing the current mandate, expected to be released soon.

“Candidates don’t run on a platform but on a community-by-community basis, saying ‘this is what I would do for our community.’ So the challenge is pulling them all together to serve the entire NWT and try to keep them on that path over the next four years.”

Should problems remain unresolved, however, the territory risks an unfortunate repeat of late 1990s history.

NWT prosperity depends on rebuilding investor confidence, miners warn

Considerable infrastructure remains at the former
Pine Point operation, where Osisko Metals upgrades
Canada’s “largest pit-constrained zinc deposit.”
(Photo: Osisko Metals)

“We were in a similar situation before the first diamond mine opened because the gold mines were winding down. At the same time Nunavut was created, and the new territory pulled a lot of funding away to create a parallel government. The Yellowknife economy really took a dive and housing prices went way down. At the time the government was actually offering $10,000 grants to encourage people to buy homes. We went through a lot of pain then, but I think a lot of people have forgotten that.”

Even Ekati seemed insufficient to buoy the economy. “But when Diavik got its approval the change was palpable. There was this big sigh of relief, money started to flow and the economy turned around.”

Now the challenge is to overturn 12 years of neglect that have made investors “gun shy about the NWT,” he says. “We have to rebuild that trust by showing that things are different now. It’s going to take all of us working together to help make it better.”

With no other industries ready to take mining’s place, “we have to encourage companies to come up here and bring their expertise to do what government can’t do, and that’s turn rock into opportunity.”

 

Current and potential mines: Comparing job numbers and durations

 

NWT prosperity depends on rebuilding investor confidence, miners warn

While updating indicated and inferred resources,
Vital Metals sees near-term potential for a short-lived
operation at its Nechalacho rare earths deposits.
(Photo: Avalon Advanced Materials)

Employment numbers reported by the Chamber for the NWT’s existing diamond mines in 2018 show 1,625 workers at Dominion Diamond Mines’ majority-held Ekati, 1,113 at Rio Tinto’s (NYSE:RIO)/Dominion’s Diavik and 527 at De Beers’/Mountain Province Diamonds’ (TSX:MPVD) Gahcho Kué.

Projections for the territory’s four likeliest potential mines show estimated average annual employment of 363 workers at Prairie Creek (for 15 years), 300 at Pine Point (13 years), 225 at NICO (21 years) and 30 at Nechalacho (four years).

The NWT’s next mine will be Prairie Creek, according to NorZinc TSX:NZC. Built to near-completion by 1982 but never operated, the zinc-lead-silver project reached feasibility in 2017. The company hopes to receive its final permit, for an all-season road, this month. Should financing fall in place, NorZinc plans to begin production in 2022.

Having operated from 1964 to 1987, the Pine Point zinc-lead camp retains infrastructure including an electrical substation and an all-season 96-kilometre link to Hay River, the head of Canada’s only industrial railway north of 60. A previous operator reached PEA in 2017 but current owner Osisko Metals TSX:OM has been drilling the property to upgrade a 2018 inferred resource of 38.4 million tonnes averaging 4.58% zinc and 1.85% lead, for 6.58% zinc-equivalent, Canada’s “largest pit-constrained zinc deposit.”

Fortune Minerals’ (TSX:FT) NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper project reached feasibility in 2014 based on a mill production rate of 4,650 tpd for a combined open pit and underground operation. A further study considered but rejected a rate of 6,000 tpd. Fortune now has several other proposals under consideration to improve the project’s economics and “align the development schedule with the expected deficit in cobalt supply in 2022-23.”

The project sits about 50 kilometres north of Whati, which will have an all-season connection to Yellowknife via the Tlicho road now under construction.

Avalon Advanced Materials TSX:AVL brought its Nechalacho rare earths project to feasibility in 2013 but this year divided the property with another company, privately owned Cheetah Resources which was taken over by ASX-listed Vital Metals in October. Under a $5-million property acquisition that closed soon after the takeover, Vital gets two near-surface deposits while Avalon retains the ground below that. Now working on an update to the indicated and inferred resources, Vital says its deposits show near-term “potential for a start-up operation.”

See the Chamber’s PowerPoint presentation to the NWT government.

Related:

PDAC infographics: Highlighting mining’s contributions to Canada’s economy

October 28th, 2019

by Greg Klein | October 28, 2019

Although Canadian miners hold global stature, Canadians don’t always recognize the industry’s importance to our own country. Yet the numbers tell a story that’s not only impressive but vital to understanding an economy in which mining supports one in 29 jobs and provides the largest private sector source of native employment.

To state the case clearly, the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada created a series of infographics outlining the industry’s contributions. Check them out yourself by scrolling down to see facts and figures for Canada overall and for each province or territory. Or click on the menu below for a direct link to each jurisdiction.

Canada nationwide | Yukon | Northwest Territories/Nunavut | British Columbia | Alberta | Saskatchewan | Manitoba | Ontario | Quebec | New Brunswick/Nova Scotia | Newfoundland and Labrador/Prince Edward Island

Posted with permission of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada.

 

PDAC infographics Highlighting mining’s contributions to Canada’s economy

 

PDAC Yukon mining infographic

 

PDAC NWT Nunavut mining infographic

 

PDAC BC mining infographic

 

PDAC Alberta mining infographic

 

PDAC Saskatchewan mining infographic

 

PDAC Manitoba mining infographic

 

PDAC Ontario mining infographic

 

PDAC Quebec mining infographic

 

PDAC Nova Scotia New Brunswick mining infographic

 

PDAC Newfoundland Labrador PEI mining infographic

Posted with permission of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada.

Gary Vivian of the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines welcomes construction of the Tlicho all-season road

October 21st, 2019

…Read more

Paved with promises II

October 9th, 2019

The North’s infrastructure deficit impacts sovereignty, the economy and quality of life

by Greg Klein

The North’s infrastructure deficit impacts sovereignty, the economy and quality of life

The Chinese government’s majority-held Izok Corridor project
would benefit from Canadian infrastructure. (Photo: MMG Ltd)

 

This is the second of a two-part series. See Part 1.

Canada would gain a deep-water arctic port, Nunavut would get its first road out of the territory and mineral-rich regions would open up if two mega-proposals come to fruition. Recent funding announcements to study the Northwest Territories’ Slave Geological Province Corridor and Nunavut’s Grays Bay Road and Port projects could lead to a unified all-season route from a highway running northeast out of Yellowknife to stretch north through the Lac de Gras diamond fields, past the Slave and Izok base and precious metals regions, and on to Arctic Ocean shipping.

In mid-August, as federal and NWT elections neared, representatives from both levels of government announced a $40-million study into a possible 413-kilometre all-season route linking the NWT’s Highway #4 with a proposed Nunavut road. The project would also extend the NWT electrical grid to the Slave region, which straddles both sides of the NWT-Nunavut border.

The North’s infrastructure deficit impacts sovereignty, the economy and quality of life

Isolated Grays Bay could become an arctic shipping hub,
helping fulfill a dream that dates back to John Diefenbaker
and, not exactly a contemporary, Martin Frobisher.
(Photo: Grays Bay Road and Port Project)

That same month the federal and Nunavut governments, along with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, announced $21.5 million to study a possible 230-kilometre Nunavut section. That proposal includes building a deep-sea port at Grays Bay, about midway along the Northwest Passage. Supporters hope to reach the “shovel-ready” stage in two to three years.

A “champion and proponent” of the project, KIA president Stanley Anablak said, “We know that this is only the first step, but if it is constructed, this infrastructure project will be a game-changer with respect to improved community re-supply, marine safety, arctic sovereignty, regional economic development and international investment.”

KIA perseverance helped revive the proposal after Ottawa refused to provide majority funding for the $527-million estimate in April of last year, 18 months before the federal election.

Another supporter is MMG Ltd, with two advanced base metals deposits in the region: Izok holds 15 million tonnes averaging 13% zinc and 2.3% copper, while High Lake shows 14 million tonnes averaging 3.8% zinc and 2.5% copper.

The North’s infrastructure deficit impacts sovereignty, the economy and quality of life

The Nunavut portion of a grand trans-territorial proposal.
(Map: Grays Bay Road and Port Project)

The Kitikmeot region “hosts some of the world´s more attractive undeveloped zinc and copper resources,” MMG stated. “However, located near the Arctic Circle and with no supporting infrastructure, these resources have remained undeveloped since their discoveries roughly 50 years ago.”

But could a supposed nation-building project become a nation-buster, compromising sovereignty for the sake of another country’s new silk roads? The proposal’s main beneficiary “will be the Chinese government, more so than the government of Nunavut or the government of Canada,” Michael Byers told the National Post in August.

About 26% of MMG stock trades on the ASX. China’s state-owned China Minmetals Corp owns the rest.

Byers, a political science prof and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law, “does not see a problem with a Chinese-controlled company operating mines in Canada,” the NP stated, “but he wonders if the company will be allowed to bring in Chinese workers to build the road and if Canadian taxpayers should foot the bill.”

The prospect of a Chinese company importing Chinese workers for a Canadian resource project has already been demonstrated by HD Mining International. In 2012 the company planned to staff underground operations at a proposed British Columbia coal mine exclusively with Mandarin-speaking Chinese. The mine was later put on hold, but not before an 18-month bulk sampling program conducted entirely by Chinese workers.

A new Grays Bay port and 350-kilometre all-season road formed part of the 2012 pre-feasibility study for MMG’s proposed mine. The company has since backed away from the estimated $6.5-billion price tag, calling for collaboration with others to build regional infrastructure.

We know that this is only the first step, but if it is constructed, this infrastructure project will be a game-changer with respect to improved community re-supply, marine safety, arctic sovereignty, regional economic development and international investment.—Stanley Anablak,
president of the
Kitikmeot Inuit Association

Certainly other companies would benefit too, as would the communities represented by the KIA. And as for sovereignty, neglecting infrastructure would cause the greater setback. That’s the perspective of a Senate report issued in June that called for several measures to expand the northern economy and enhance its culture. “The impact of federal under-investment hits hardest on the Arctic’s greatest asset, Indigenous youth,” the committee emphasized. “Opportunities for nation-building can no longer be missed.”

Among the senators’ priorities were energy and communications, as well as transportation, for the benefit of communities and industry. The committee recognized that mining comprises “the largest private sector employer in the Arctic, contributing to 20% to 25% of the GDP of the northern territories and supporting about 9,000 jobs directly, or one in every six jobs.”

The report also noted “growing global interest in the Arctic and rising international rivalry outside of the Arctic. Several non-arctic states in Europe and Asia have developed arctic policies or strategies.” Canada’s sovereignty over the Northwest Passage and other arctic waters depends on the principle of use it or lose it, the committee suggested.

The Northwest Passage route to Asia had been an alternative considered by Baffinland Iron Mines, the Nunatsiaq News reported last month. With ambitious infrastructure proposals of its own, the Baffin Island company currently relies on  trans-Atlantic routes to Europe and has also used Russia’s Northern Sea Route to reach Asia.

As part of its Phase II plans to increase production, Baffinland has applied for permission to build the territories’ second railway, which would run north from the Mary River mine to the company’s Milne Inlet port, now reached by a 100-kilometre freight road. The new track would precede a 150-kilometre southern rail extension to a port the company would build at Steensby Inlet. The Steensby route and facilities received environmental approvals in 2014.

This is the second of a two-part series. See Part 1.

Related reading: Reaching arctic mines by sea.

Paved with promises

October 7th, 2019

The North’s infrastructure needs get some attention from campaigning politicians

by Greg Klein

This is the first of a two-part series. See Part 2.

Could this be the time when decision-makers finally get serious about Northern infrastructure? With one territorial election just concluded and a deficit-budget-friendly incumbent federal party campaigning for re-election, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut might have reason to expect definitive action demonstrated by men, women and machinery at work. But while some projects show real progress, much of Canada’s Northern potential remains bogged down in talk and studies.

The North’s infrastructure deficit gets some attention from campaigning politicians

That’s despite some $700 million allocated to the North in Ottawa’s pre-election budget and months of Liberal spending promises since then. Not all that money was intended for infrastructure, however, and even some of the projects labelled that way turn out to be social or cultural programs. Not necessarily new money either, much of it comes out of Ottawa’s $2-billion National Trade Corridors Fund, now two years into an 11-year program that promised up to $400 million for transportation infrastructure in the three territories by 2028.

Yukon, once again home to active mining, has $157 million planned to upgrade the North Klondike Highway from Carmacks up to the mineral-rich White Gold region, where the Dempster Highway branches off towards Inuvik.

The Klondike section slated for upgrades has connections to a new mine and a soon-to-be revived operation. Highway #11 turns east from the Klondike, meeting with a 90-kilometre year-round service road to Victoria Gold’s (TSXV:VIT) recently opened Eagle operation.

The Minto copper-silver-gold mine that Pembridge Resources plans to restart in Q4 has a 20-kilometre access road with seasonal barge service or ice bridge crossing the Yukon River to the Klondike Highway at Minto Landing. From there, the company will ship concentrate to the Alaska Panhandle deep water port of Skagway.

The North’s infrastructure deficit gets some attention from campaigning politicians

With no deep water facilities of its own, Yukon connects
with the Alaskan port of Skagway and, pictured above,
the B.C. port of Stewart. (Photo: Stewart Bulk Terminals)

Intended to increase safety and capacity while addressing permafrost thaw, the North Klondike Highway project gets $118 million from Ottawa and $29 million from the territory. The money will be spent over seven years beginning in 2020.

A July feasibility report for BMC Minerals’ Kudz Ze Kayah polymetallic copper mine foresees concentrate shipment along a 24-kilometre access road to southern Yukon’s Highway #4, part of a 905-kilometre journey to Stewart, British Columbia, the continent’s most northerly ice-free port.

Another project approaching development but more distant from highways, Newmont Goldcorp’s (TSX:NGT) proposed Coffee gold mine calls for a 214-kilometre all-season road north to Dawson City. But with upgrades to an existing service road, the route would require only 37 kilometres of new construction.

In the NWT, work began last month on the Tlicho all-season road to connect the hamlet of Whati with Yellowknife, 97 kilometres southeast. Expected to finish by fall 2022, the $200-million P3 project would replace an existing ice road, giving communities year-round access to the highway system and encouraging resource exploration and development.

[The Tlicho road], which includes Indigenous participation from the Tlicho Government, is great news for our industry and a positive step forward in addressing the infrastructure deficit in the Northwest Territories.—Gary Vivian, NWT and Nunavut
Chamber of Mines president

About 50 kilometres north of Whati, Fortune Minerals’ (TSX:FT) NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper project undergoes studies for a scaled-down feasibility update in light of lower cobalt and bismuth prices. Fortune has already received environmental approval for a spur road to Whati, part of a plan to truck NICO material to Hay River where the territories’ only rail line (other than short tourist excursions in southern Yukon) connects with southern Canada.

A much more ambitious priority of the NWT’s last legislative assembly was supposed to have been the Mackenzie Valley Highway, a Diefenbaker-era dream that would link the territory’s south with the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean. The subject of numerous studies, proposals and piecemeal construction for about 60 years, the proposal has received more than $145 million in taxpayers’ money since 2000.

A 149-kilometre stretch from Inuvik to Tuk opened in 2017, linking the ocean with the Dempster route to the Yukon. Now underway are studies for a 321-kilometre route between Wrigley and Norman Wells, where further driving would depend on an ice road. Assuming receipt of environmental approvals, native agreements and an estimated $700 million, the NWT’s last assembly hoped construction on the Wrigley-to-Wells portion would begin in September 2024.

Far more ambitious proposals for the NWT and Nunavut took initial steps forward with funding announcements made just prior to the federal election campaign’s official start. Part 2 of this series discusses the Slave Geological Province Corridor and Grays Bay Road and Port projects.

New NWT assembly faces economic challenges with resource depletion and exploration cutbacks: Chamber of Mines

October 3rd, 2019

by Greg Klein | October 3, 2019

Even with three candidates winning by acclamation, Tuesday’s Northwest Territories election featured several closely fought contests that left two Yellowknife ridings up for recount. Current standings in the party-less legislative assembly show 12 newcomers out of 19 seats. Former premier Bob McLeod didn’t run and only one cabinet minister, Caroline Cochrane, won re-election.

Mining comprises the jurisdiction’s biggest private sector employer but the three current operations, all diamond mines, face depletion. With no comparable advanced projects to take their place and a drop in exploration spending, the territory faces “impending economic decline,” the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines warned. The group called on the new assembly to strengthen mining and exploration as well as diversify the economy by working with Ottawa to improve road and power infrastructure.

“We are hopeful the 19th Assembly will accept this challenge with gusto,” said Chamber president Gary Vivian. “Our Chamber of Mines looks forward to helping the newly elected Assembly in taking steps quickly to rejuvenate investment and reverse the expected decline in mineral production and its significant benefits to the NWT.”

The Chamber polled candidates during the campaign for responses on mining-related questions. In another document distributed to candidates, the Chamber offered recommendations on seven mining-related issues:

New NWT legislative assembly faces economic challenges with resource depletion and exploration cutbacks

  • access to land

  • insufficient infrastructure

  • high Northern costs

  • regulatory costs and delays

  • Indigenous governments’ expectations and demands

  • public awareness of the industry

  • a strategy to improve investment confidence

Last year’s Fraser Institute survey of mining companies showed the territory climbing to 10th place from #21 on the Investment Attractiveness Index, which rates a region’s geological bounty as well as government policies. But the NWT languished at #42 on the Policy Perception Index, which focuses on government treatment of the industry.

Data quoted by the Chamber attributes over 40% of territorial GDP to mining and exploration, and 1,540 jobs in 2018 to diamond mining. As of January 1 the territory’s population came to 44,598 people, according to a Statistics Canada estimate.

In a system that recognizes no political parties, the MLAs will meet on October 25 to choose a premier and six-member Executive Council that acts as the government’s decision-making body.

Almod Diamonds opens a cutting and polishing facility in Yellowknife

September 25th, 2019

…Read more

92 Resources hits high-grade copper-gold-silver with new Quebec discoveries

September 10th, 2019

by Greg Klein | September 10, 2019

Update: On October 17, 2019, 92 Resources began trading under a new name and stock symbol: Gaia Metals Corp TSXV:GMC.

Sample assays from two new discoveries have this company “ecstatic” about its James Bay-region Corvette-FCI project. Coming at the end of last summer’s 23-day field program, the findings have 92 Resources TSXV:NTY obviously enthusiastic about the property’s New Lorraine and Elsass prospects.

92 Resources hits high-grade copper-gold-silver with new Quebec discoveries

The highlight of 92’s summer campaign, this New Lorraine
sample graded 8.15% copper, 1.33 g/t gold and 171 g/t silver.

Some highlights from a New Lorraine outcrop include:

  • 8.15% copper, 1.33 g/t gold and 171 g/t silver

  • 1.55% copper, 0.14 g/t gold and 20.9 g/t silver

  • 0.23% copper, 3.55 g/t gold and 37.7 g/t silver

Located about 2.3 kilometres east along trend, Elsass hosts three outcrops over an approximately 350-metre strike that’s about 60 metres wide. Some Elsass samples feature:

  • 3.63% copper, 0.64 g/t gold and 52.3 g/t silver

  • 2.68% copper, 0.2 g/t gold and 43.9 g/t silver

  • 1.86% copper, 1.12 g/t gold and 32.6 g/t silver

Both prospects form part of the larger Maven trend, formerly called the Southern trend, and sit on the property’s FCI West claim block. With similar rock types and mineralization, the company considers the area between the two prospects highly prospective.

92 Resources hits high-grade copper-gold-silver with new Quebec discoveries

A sample of chalcopyrite mineralization
characterizing Elsass outcrops.

Proclaiming himself “ecstatic” with the results, president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux said, “With over eight kilometres of under-explored prospective trend and no drilling completed to date, we have literally only scratched the surface of this trend’s potential.”

The four-person crew from Dahrouge Geological Consulting collected 680 rock samples, as well as 211 soil samples up-ice from the Lac Bruno prospect. About three-quarters of the program explored the project’s FCI-East and FCI-West blocks, under a 75% option from Osisko Mining TSX:OSK. The remainder of the work targeted 92’s 100%-held Corvette claims. 

The project sits within the Lac Guyer Greenstone Belt, part of the La Grande Greenstone Belt, about six to 18 kilometres south of the Trans-Taiga Road and adjacent powerline.

The Maven trend hosting New Lorraine and Elsass also includes new discoveries at the Black Forrest and Hund showings. A Black Forrest sample graded 1.13% copper, 0.05 g/t gold and 19.5 g/t silver. Hund featured 3.28% copper, 0.78 g/t gold and 30.1 g/t silver.

Historic work on Maven’s Lac Smokycat-SO, Golden Gap and Tyrone T-9 showings have also brought high grades, although in non-43-101 reports. Together, the prospects suggest a potential copper-gold-silver trend stretching more than eight kilometres, 92 stated.

Still to come are regional assays, along with lithium-tantalum results. Channel samples released last year from Corvette’s CV1 pegmatite graded up to 2.28% Li2O and 471 ppm Ta2O5 over six metres.

Other 92 properties in Quebec include Eastman, Lac du Beryl and Pontax. Grab samples from Pontax featured up to 0.94% Li2O and 520 ppm Ta2O5.

In British Columbia 92 holds the Golden frac sand project adjacent to Northern Silica’s Moberly silica mine, as well as the Silver Sands vanadium prospect. In the Northwest Territories the company has a 40% stake in the Hidden Lake lithium project, where all 10 holes of last year’s 1,079-metre drill program hit grades above 1% Li2O.

Diamond beneficiation returns to NWT as Yellowknife plant revived

August 14th, 2019

by Greg Klein | August 14, 2019

Delays and missteps notwithstanding, Yellowknife once again has a diamond cutting and polishing facility in operation. On August 13 Almod Diamonds announced its Crown of Light factory had transformed a first batch of rough stones into jewelry. The parent company of Diamonds International specializes in its proprietary 90-facet Crown of Light cut, marketed largely through tax- and duty-free retailers in the Caribbean and other cruise ship destinations.

Diamond beneficiation returns to NWT as Yellowknife facility revived

Almod reintroduces cutting and polishing to one of the
world’s most important diamond-mining jurisdictions.
(Photo: Almod Diamonds)

The YK operation takes place under the Northwest Territories’ amended Diamond Policy Framework, which seeks to expand benefits from diamond mining, by far the territory’s largest private sector employer. The policy seeks to have 10% of NWT-mined diamonds cut and polished within the territory, with experienced staff training local workers.

Currently the sole company taking part, Almod stated that increasing demand for its patented cut “created the need for this factory to invest in building a skilled team to cut the Crown of Light. The goal is to continue skills transfer and career development.”

The company hopes expanded operations will lead to a grand opening tentatively scheduled for next year.

Almod has planned a YK operation since buying the Laurelton factory in 2016 but failed to meet its 2017 opening target. Despite government incentives, previous attempts to encourage NWT diamond beneficiation have failed. Laurelton Diamonds and Arslanian Cutting Works shut down their local operations in 2009. In 2013 Deepak International vowed to revive the industry. But by 2017 RCMP were looking for president Deepak Kumar, alleging he fraudulently used storage containers full of junk as collateral for a loan of more than $1 million.

As a De Beers sightholder, Almod gets its NWT rough from Gahcho Kué, a 51%/49% JV that the global giant shares with Mountain Province Diamonds TSX:MPVD. The territory’s other two diamond producers are Ekati (majority-held by Dominion Diamond Mines) and Diavik (Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO/Dominion).

Almod also runs cutting and polishing facilities in New York, Namibia and Ukraine.

92 Resources finds new potential for gold, copper, lithium in northern Quebec

August 8th, 2019

by Greg Klein | August 8, 2019

With the conclusion of a productive summer field program, additional areas of interest open up at the James Bay-region Corvette-FCI property. A four-person, 23-day campaign discovered a new copper prospect, further explored a gold prospect and found several spodumene-bearing pegmatites, among other showings. Encouraging visual evidence has 92 Resources TSXV:NTY looking forward to assays.

About three-quarters of the program focused on the project’s FCI-East and FCI-West blocks, optioned under a 75% earn-in from Osisko Mining TSX:OSK. The rest targeted 92’s 100%-held Corvette claims. 

92 Resources finds new potential for gold, copper, lithium in northern Quebec

Chalcopyrite mineralization at the Elsass copper
prospect opens a new area of interest for 92 Resources.

Discovered late in the season, the Elsass copper prospect features chalcopyrite mineralization at surface over widths estimated from 40 to 60 metres along a strike of at least a kilometre. Pending lab results for surface samples, the crew could return this fall for further exploration.

The company also awaits assays from the property’s Lac Bruno gold prospect. Finding similar mineralogy up-ice from a boulder field where historic, non-43-101 samples graded between 1 g/t and 38 g/t gold, the crew collected soil samples on the 100%-held Corvette claims.

Apart from precious and base metals, Corvette-FCI shows potential for energy minerals. The summer program found the project’s largest known pegmatite so far. An outcrop about 220 metres long and 20 to 40 metres wide was located about a kilometre southwest along strike of the property’s CV1 and CV2 pegmatites. Lithium-tantalum channel samples released last year from CV1 reached up to 2.28% Li2O and 471 ppm Ta2O5 over six metres. Still to come are this summer’s assays.

The campaign also targeted the Golden Gap prospect at FCI West, where historic results include outcrop samples between 3.1 g/t and 108.9 g/t gold, a drill intercept of 10.5 g/t over seven metres, and a channel sample of 14.5 g/t over two metres.

The summer program also focused on the southern copper trend and other historic mineral showings, 92 reported.

Corvette-FCI sits within the Lac Guyer Greenstone Belt, part of the La Grande Greenstone Belt, about six to 18 kilometres south of the Trans-Taiga Road and powerline.

The company’s Quebec portfolio also includes the Eastman, Lac du Beryl and Pontax properties. Grab samples from the latter graded up to 0.94% Li2O and 520 ppm Ta2O5.

92’s diverse projects extend to British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. In B.C. the company holds the Silver Sands vanadium prospect and, adjacent to Northern Silica’s high-grade Moberly silica mine, the Golden frac sand project. 92 also has a 40% stake in the NWT’s Hidden Lake lithium project, where Far Resources CSE:FAT holds the remainder. All 10 holes of last year’s 1,079-metre drill campaign found grades above 1% Li2O, with one intercept showing 1.6% over 9.2 metres. A mini pilot plant produced 40 kilograms of concentrate grading 6.11% Li2O, with recovery surpassing 80%, from Hidden Lake material.