Saturday 29th April 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘northwest territories’

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

April 7th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 7, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

92 Resources begins metallurgical tests on NWT lithium

March 28th, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 28, 2017

A Northwest Territories lithium project gets its first-ever metallurgical studies as 92 Resources TSXV:NTY announced a two-phase program on March 28. The 1,659-hectare Hidden Lake property underwent channel sampling last year on four of six known lithium-bearing spodumene dykes, with the best intercept showing:

  • 1.58% Li2O and 31 ppm Ta2O5 over 8.78 metres

  • (including 1.78% Li2O and 31 ppm Ta2O5 over 6.93 metres)
92 Resources begins metallurgical tests on NWT lithium

Hidden Lake’s metallurgical tests follow
last year’s successful sampling program.

The met program’s first phase examines the property’s spodumene and waste materials, leading to a mineral processing phase intended to separate the two and produce a high-grade concentrate.

Material from four pegmatites will be evaluated separately and, if no significant differences are found, a single composite will undergo processing tests. Those tests would include grinding, heavy liquid separation, magnetic separation and flotation. Plans then call for a preliminary flowsheet and a small amount of potentially marketable spodumene concentrate.

The program will also evaluate potential tantalum recovery.

Hidden Lake has all-weather road access to Yellowknife, 45 kilometres southwest. Carrying out the tests will be SGS Canada, which has considerable experience in spodumene pegmatite processing, 92 Resources stated.

In northern Quebec, 92 Resources has initial lithium exploration planned for Pontax, a 5,536-hectare property in a district known for spodumene-bearing pegmatites as well as gold potential.

Earlier this month the company expanded its Golden frac sand project from 807 hectares to 3,211 hectares. The southeastern British Columbia property sits adjacent to the Moberly silica sand project, now being redeveloped into a frac sand operation and among the assets sought by Northern Silica in its takeover bid for Heemskirk Consolidated.

Late last month 92 Resources closed an oversubscribed private placement of $895,199.

Equitorial Exploration files 43-101 for NWT lithium project

March 17th, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 17, 2017

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

Equitorial Exploration files 43-101 for NWT lithium project

LNPG’s mountainous terrain could undergo drilling this year.

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

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

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

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

92 Resources expands B.C. frac sand property adjacent to takeover target

March 13th, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 13, 2017

A 2,404-hectare addition to 92 Resources’ (TSXV:NTY) Golden frac sand property brings the total to 3,211 hectares next to a silica sand mine in southeastern British Columbia.

“A domestic or western Canadian frac sand deposit with suitable quality would benefit from more advantageous transportation and exchange rate costs over foreign competitors,” said 92 Resources president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux. “We believe these to be important factors in the recent takeover of the neighbouring Moberly silica sand mine.”

92 Resources expands B.C. frac sand property adjacent to takeover target

Next door to the Golden property, Heemskirk Canada’s Moberly project produced silica sand for high-quality glass manufacture for over 30 years. It’s now being redeveloped as a frac sand production and processing operation. Meanwhile Heemskirk’s parent company, Heemskirk Consolidated, is subject to a takeover bid by Northern Silica, a subsidiary of Taurus Resources No. 2 BC, that’s expected to close next month.

Golden’s expansion gives the property over 18 kilometres of strike along the Mount Wilson formation, which consists of high-purity, white quartzite, 92 Resources stated. With only initial prospecting, sampling and testing done so far, results from the most recent program in 2014 show silica content grading 98.3% to 99% SiO2. In two of four samples, over 65% of material fell in the 40- to 170-mesh range. “The two adequate size fraction samples passed 6,000 PSI compressibility testing, each producing 8.1% fines,” the company added.

92 Resources has mapping, sampling and drilling now in the planning stages for Golden.

Besides a product used in oil and gas exploration, 92 Resources pursues a clean energy commodity at two lithium properties. In January the company filed a 43-101 for its Hidden Lake project in the Northwest Territories, which hosts at least six lithium-bearing spodumene dykes. Channel samples on four of them averaged 1.03% Li2O, with one hitting a peak of 3.31%. Ground magnetics, along with liquid separation and flotation tests, have been recommended for the project.

The 1,659-hectare property has all-weather access to Yellowknife, 45 kilometres southwest.

92 Resources also anticipates initial exploration this year on its 5,536-hectare Pontax property in Quebec’s James Bay region.

Last month the company closed an oversubscribed private placement of $895,199.

As new budgets announced, Canadian mineral exploration gets some government support

March 10th, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 10, 2017

The exploration industry had a good week for government incentives from Ottawa, the Northwest Territories and, going back a bit farther, British Columbia. Federal Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr helped kick off PDAC by announcing a one-year renewal of the 15% mineral exploration tax credit, along with his government’s maintenance of the flow-through credit. The announcement incorporates key PDAC submissions for the federal budget, expected to be delivered later this month.

As new budgets announced, Canadian mineral exploration gets some government support

Citing estimates from Finance Canada, the Association for Mineral Exploration said the flow-through credit stimulates $3 in exploration for every $1 in tax saving.

On March 3 the NWT announced an increase in the territory’s mining incentive program from $400,000 to $1 million. Last year five companies received grants for six projects ranging from $34,575 to $85,000. Five prospectors got amounts ranging from $11,952 to $15,000.

The NWT also extended its work credit program for another two years and boosted the incentive by making it easier to keep claims active. Exploration spending will now be assessed at one and a half times its value.

NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines president Gary Vivian called the budget adjustments “the right action to help the NWT grow the lower-than-expected exploration investment recently projected by Natural Resources Canada.” The federal agency predicts a 3% spending reduction on the territory’s exploration and deposit appraisals, to $64.4 million this year.

“Furthermore, the GNWT’s actions are well aligned with the NWT Minerals Development Strategy, which is critical for the sustainability of the minerals industry in the north and the valuable socio-economic activity this industry brings to the governments and people of the NWT,” Vivian added.

A week earlier, B.C. tabled a budget confirming Premier Christy Clark’s announcement at AME’s Roundup conference in January. The province extended its flow-through credit to the end of the year and expanded eligibility for the mining exploration tax credit to include costs of environmental studies and community consultations. Further encouragement came from a two-year, $10-million grant to Geoscience BC.

Additionally, the province’s Ministry of Energy and Mines gets an extra $18 million over three years to help support permitting, compliance and enforcement.

The industry’s buoyant mood, noticed in the latter part of 2016 and evident at VRIC 2017, Roundup and PDAC, follows a particularly bad year for B.C. According to a report from the provincial ministry, AME and EY, exploration spending in the province declined through four consecutive years, dropping last year to $205 million from exploration companies and $1.8 million from prospectors. That represented a 25% decline over 2015 and the lowest level since 2009.

(Natural Resources Canada reports a 2016 B.C. low of $220.4 million.)

Released March 7, the British Columbia Mineral and Coal Exploration Survey 2016 said the province had come to the end of a 10- to 15-year mine development cycle, returning to a cycle focusing on grassroots and early-stage exploration.

“Notwithstanding the current downturn, the industry remained an important source of jobs and was, and continues to be, an economic contributor to communities throughout the province,” the report stated.

Natural Resources Canada forecasts about $237.5 million being spent on B.C. exploration and deposit appraisals in 2017, more than 7.7% above the agency’s 2016 total. For the country overall, NRC predicts an 18% increase this year, to $1.844 billion.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba first and second globally as mining jurisdictions

March 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 1, 2017

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

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

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

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

1 Saskatchewan (2)

2 Manitoba (19)

3 Western Australia (1)

4 Nevada (3)

5 Finland (5)

6 Quebec (8)

7 Arizona (17)

8 Sweden (13)

9 Ireland (4)

10 Queensland (16)

Here are the Canadian runners-up:

15 Yukon (12)

16 Newfoundland and Labrador (25)

18 Ontario (15)

21 Northwest Territories (35)

27 British Columbia (18)

31 Nunavut (23)

40 New Brunswick (45)

47 Alberta (34)

52 Nova Scotia (59)

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

95 Mozambique (84)

96 Zimbabwe (98)

97 India (73)

98 Mendoza province, Argentina (101)

99 La Rioja province, Argentina (109)

100 Afghanistan (not available)

101 Chubut province, Argentina (104)

102 Venezuela (108)

103 Neuquen province, Argentina (93)

104 Jujuy province, Argentina (86)

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

Download the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2016.

92 Resources files 43-101 for NWT lithium project, outlines 2017 plans

January 24th, 2017

by Greg Klein | January 24, 2017

Crediting itself with a successful 2016, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY greeted the new year with a 43-101 technical report for its Hidden Lake lithium project and outlined plans for two other “new energy” properties. Besides the Northwest Territories’ Hidden Lake, the company holds the Pontax lithium property in northern Quebec and the Golden frac sand property in southeastern British Columbia.

92 Resources files 43-101 for NWT lithium project, outlines 2017 plans

With sample bags ready for the lab, a
geologist documents the Hidden Lake project.

Last year’s channel sampling at the Hidden Lake flagship tested four of at least six known lithium-bearing spodumene dykes, with the 308 samples averaging 1.03% Li2O. Forty-nine channels averaged over 0.5%, with the average grade and length for the 49 coming to 1.16% over 5.29 metres. One sample hit a peak of 3.31% Li2O.

Encouraged by the results, the report’s author proposed a ground magnetics survey, along with liquid separation and flotation tests to confirm samples are suitable for producing a spodumene concentrate. Should work prove successful, the next phase would call for drilling and further metallurgy.

The 1,659-hectare property has both helicopter access and an all-weather road connection to Yellowknife, 45 kilometres southwest.

The 5,536-hectare Pontax property, in a district known for spodumene-bearing pegmatites and geology favourable to gold occurrences, has initial exploration expected this year. The company also intends to develop opportunities around its 808-hectare Golden frac sand property, adjacent to Heemskirk Canada’s Moberly silica mine.

92 Resources raised a total of $1.49 million last year.

Arctic Star looks to B.C. for rare metals and rare earths

January 17th, 2017

by Greg Klein | January 17, 2017

A previously acquired property gets new attention as Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD applies for a drill permit to search for niobium, tantalum and rare earth elements in central British Columbia.

Arctic Star looks to B.C. for rare metals and rare earths

Field work during 2010 on the 2,825-hectare CAP project found 481 to 981 parts per million niobium, 1,125 to 3,191 ppm zirconium, over 100 ppm lanthanum, over 100 ppm cerium and over 50 ppm neodymium. Two historic, non-43-101 samples returned strongly anomalous results of 0.13% and 0.1% rare earth elements, the company stated.

A circular magnetic anomaly of about three to five kilometres’ diameter could indicate a carbonatite or similar intrusion at depth, Arctic Star added. “Carbonatite-related deposits are a major host for rare metals, such as niobium and tantalum, and rare earth elements.”

Located about 80 kilometres from Prince George, CAP can be reached by logging roads during the summer and helicopter year-round.

In December the company closed a second tranche of financings totalling $1.47 million, including $300,000 of flow-through earmarked for CAP.

In November Arctic Star announced a JV with Margaret Lake Diamonds TSXV:DIA on their newly compiled Diagras property in the Northwest Territories’ diamondiferous Lac de Gras region.

Cobalt: A precarious supply chain

January 14th, 2017

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist

Cobalt: A precarious supply chain

 

How does your mobile phone last for 12 hours on just one charge? It’s the power of cobalt, along with several other energy metals, that keeps your lithium-ion battery running.

The only problem? Getting the metal from the source to your electronics is not an easy feat, and this makes for an extremely precarious supply chain for manufacturers.

This infographic comes to us from LiCo Energy Metals TSXV:LIC and it focuses on where this important ingredient of green technology originates from, and the supply risks associated with its main sources.

What is cobalt?

Cobalt is a transition metal found between iron and nickel on the periodic table. It has a high melting point (1493° C) and retains its strength to a high temperature.

Similar to iron or nickel, cobalt is ferromagnetic. It can retain its magnetic properties to 1100° C, a higher temperature than any other material. Ferromagnetism is the strongest type of magnetism: it’s the only one that typically creates forces strong enough to be felt and is responsible for the magnets encountered in everyday life.

These unique properties make the metal perfect for two specialized high-tech purposes: superalloys and battery cathodes.

Superalloys

High-performance alloys drive 18% of cobalt demand. The metal’s ability to withstand intense temperatures and conditions makes it perfect for use in:

  • Turbine blades

  • Jet engines

  • Gas turbines

  • Prosthetics

  • Permanent magnets

Lithium-ion batteries

Batteries drive 49% of demand—and most of this comes from cobalt’s use in lithium-ion battery cathodes:

Type of lithium-ion cathode Cobalt in cathode Spec. energy (Wh/kg)
LFP 0% 120
LMO 0% 140
NMC 15% 200
LCO 55% 200
NCA 10% 245

The three most powerful cathode formulations for li-ion batteries all need cobalt. As a result, the metal is indispensable in many of today’s battery-powered devices:

  • Mobile phones (LCO)

  • Tesla Model S (NCA)

  • Tesla Powerwall (NMC)

  • Chevy Volt (NMC/LMO)

The Tesla Powerwall 2 uses approximately seven kilograms and a Tesla Model S (90 kWh) uses approximately 22.5 kilos of the energy metal.

The cobalt supply chain

Cobalt production has gone almost straight up to meet demand, more than doubling since the early 2000s.

But while the metal is desired, getting it is the hard part.

1. No native cobalt has ever been found.

There are four widely distributed ores that exist but almost no cobalt is mined from them as a primary source.

2. Most cobalt production is mined as a byproduct.

Mine source % cobalt production
Nickel (byproduct) 60%
Copper (byproduct) 38%
Cobalt (primary) 2%

This means it is hard to expand production when more is needed.

3. Most production occurs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country with elevated supply risks.

Country Tonnes %
Total 122,701 100.0%
United States 524 0.4%
China 1,417 1.2%
DRC 67,975 55.4%
Rest of World 52,785 43.0%

(Source: CRU, estimated production for 2017, tonnes)

The future of cobalt supply

Companies like Tesla and Panasonic need reliable sources of the metal and right now there aren’t many failsafes.

The United States hasn’t mined cobalt in significant volumes since 1971 and the USGS reports that the U.S. only has 301 tonnes of the metal stored in stockpiles.

The reality is that the DRC produces about half of all cobalt and it also holds approximately 47% of all global reserves.

Why is this a concern for end-users?

1. The DRC is one of the poorest, most corrupt and most coercive countries on the planet.

It ranks:

  • 151st out of 159 countries in the Human Freedom Index

  • 176th out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index

  • 178th out of 184 countries in terms of GDP per capita ($455)

  • 148th out of 169 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index

2. The DRC has had more deaths from war since WWII than any other country on the planet.
Recent wars in the DRC:

  • First Congo War (1996-1997)—An invasion by Rwanda that overthrew the Mobutu regime.

  • Second Congo War (1998-2003)—The bloodiest conflict in world history since WWII, with 5.4 million deaths.

3. Human rights in mining

The DRC government estimates that 20% of all cobalt production in the country comes from artisanal miners—independent workers who dig holes and mine ore without sophisticated mines or machinery.

There are at least 100,000 artisanal cobalt miners in the DRC and UNICEF estimates that up to 40,000 children could be in the trade. Children can be as young as seven years old and they can work up to 12 hours with physically demanding work earning $2 per day.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International alleges that Apple, Samsung and Sony fail to do basic checks in making sure the metal in their supply chains did not come from child labour.

Most major companies have vowed that any such practices will not be tolerated in their supply chains.

Other sources

Where will tomorrow’s supply come from and will the role of the DRC eventually diminish? Will Tesla achieve its goal of a North American supply chain for its key metal inputs?

Mining exploration companies are already looking at regions like Ontario, Idaho, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories to find tomorrow’s deposits.

Ontario: Ontario is one of the only places in the world where cobalt-primary mines have existed. This camp is near the aptly named town of Cobalt, which is located halfway between Sudbury, the world’s nickel capital, and Val-d’Or, one of the most famous gold camps in the world.

Idaho: Idaho is known as the Gem State while also being known for its silver camps in Coeur d’Alene—but it has also been a cobalt producer in the past.

B.C.: The mountains of B.C. are known for their rich gold, silver, copper, zinc and met coal deposits. But cobalt often occurs with copper and some mines in B.C. have produced cobalt in the past.

Northwest Territories: Cobalt can also be found up north, as the NWT becomes a more interesting mineral destination for companies. One hundred and sixty kilometres from Yellowknife, a gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper deposit is being developed.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Diamonds—2016 glitter in review

December 22nd, 2016

by Greg Klein | December 22, 2016

The stones began the year still mired in their 2015 slump, in which rough prices reportedly fell 15%. The two biggest players, representing nearly two-thirds of global production, didn’t exactly agree on strategy. De Beers cut production and lowered prices while Alrosa initially boosted production, held prices stable and stockpiled some output. By April De Beers raised prices and Alrosa lowered production. The following month had De Beers talking about a “fragile recovery.”

Diamonds—2016 glitter in review

Sales records for polished got pulverized, though. In May Sotheby’s raked in $32 million for the 15.38-carat Unique Pink in a jewelry sale that totalled a world record $175.1 million. The next day Christie’s scooped up $58.25 million for the 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue, “a new record price for any gemstone and per carat.”

Rough rode roughshod over records, too. The week before Sotheby’s and Christie’s big sales, Lucara Diamond TSX:LUC got $63.11 million for its fresh-from-the-mine 812.77-carat Constellation. High expectations led to disappointment in late June, however, when the company rejected a $61-million offer for its 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona rough stone, the second-biggest diamond ever found. Lucara wanted at least $70 million.

As for Canadian diamond mining, it thrived.

A 100-million-carat production milestone brought celebrations to Diavik, the Northwest Territories JV of Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO and Dominion Diamond TSX:DDC. In July Dominion finally decided to add the Jay pipe and its 78.6 million carats to the company’s majority-held Ekati mine.

The year brought new mines to Canada too. Gahcho Kué, the world’s largest new diamond producer in 13 years, was officially opened in September by partners De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds TSX:MPV. October saw Stornoway Diamond TSX:SWY do the same at Renard, Quebec’s first diamond mine. It reached commercial production just days before Christmas.

Looking at potential mines-to-be, Peregrine Diamonds TSX:PGD took its Chidliak project on Baffin Island to PEA in July. In Saskatchewan’s Fort à la Corne region, meanwhile, Shore Gold TSX:SGF continued working on a feasibility update for its majority-held Star-Orion South project. Back in the NWT, Kennady Diamonds TSXV:KDI completed its maiden resource in December.

The company’s Kennady North project sits in the same Lac de Gras region hosting Ekati, Diavik and Gahcho Kué. November marked the 25th anniversary of the Chuck Fipke/Stewart Blusson Ekati discovery that triggered the world’s biggest staking rush, brought diamond mining to Canada and helped transform the diamond industry.

In December the vertically integrated company Almod Diamonds announced plans to broaden the NWT diamond industry, the backbone of the territorial economy, by re-opening a Yellowknife cutting and polishing facility.

A few days after that announcement, the allure of diamonds played out differently in an Atlanta department store. Eighty-six-year-old Doris Payne, a determined, unrepentant and often unsuccessful diamond thief, wracked up another arrest. She’s been stealing stones for over sixty years.