Saturday 20th January 2018

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘ontario’

Castle Silver Resources’ Frank Basa sees cobalt exploration bringing new interest to a former silver mine

December 12th, 2017

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Castle Silver Resources samples 4.7% at a second Ontario cobalt project

December 9th, 2017

by Greg Klein | December 9, 2017

Recent work at the former Beaver mine shows why some Ontario silver past-producers have attracted Castle Silver Resources TSXV:CSR in its quest for cobalt. An initial field program collected three composite samples averaging 4.68% cobalt, 3.09% nickel, 46.9 g/t silver and 0.08 g/t gold.

Castle Silver Resources samples 4.7% at a second Ontario cobalt project

The individual breakdowns come to:

  • 4.746% cobalt, 3.985% nickel, 37.4 g/t silver and 0.06 g/t gold

  • 4.743% cobalt, 4.624% nickel, 26.9 g/t silver and 0.09 g/t gold

  • 4.554% cobalt, 0.676% nickel, 76.5 g/t silver and 0.09 g/t gold

The three composites came from selected hand-cobbed material gathered at surface and weighing a total of 38.7 kilograms. The samples don’t necessarily reflect the property’s mineralization, Castle Silver cautioned.

Located near the town of Cobalt and within the eponymous camp known for high-grade silver, Beaver shows similarities to Castle, another former silver mine and the company’s flagship, 80 kilometres to the northwest. Last week the company released assays from underground mini-bulk sampling at Castle that graded up to 3.1% cobalt. In November Castle Silver announced a drill intercept of 1.55% cobalt over 0.65 metres from the same property, the first assay from a summer drill program that sunk 22 holes totalling 2,405 metres. More assays are pending for both surface drilling and underground sampling.

The company also holds the former Violet silver-cobalt mine proximal to Beaver.

Noting an obvious discrepancy between Castle Silver’s moniker and its commodity of choice, president/CEO Frank Basa said the February AGM will consider a name change to “further build CSR’s brand in the Canadian cobalt sector with the company holding unique competitive advantages in the northern Ontario Cobalt region, including underground access at Castle and a proprietary metallurgical process (Re-2OX).”

Castle Silver Resources grades 3.1% cobalt from underground sampling in Ontario

December 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | December 1, 2017

Historically the northeastern Ontario region was known for a precious metal but more recent activity focuses on an energy metal. Cobalt sampling from a former mine “supports our original thesis that past operators may have left much behind at Castle in their strict focus on mining high-grade silver,” stated Castle Silver Resources TSXV:CSR president/CEO Frank Basa. On December 1 the company released more assays from ongoing underground sampling in the past-producer’s first level.

Castle Silver Resources grades 3.1% cobalt from underground sampling in Ontario

An adit seen from the Castle mine’s first of 11 levels
totalling about 18 kilometres of underground development.

Results for two mini-bulk samples graded:

  • 3.124% cobalt, 21 g/t silver and 0.128% nickel

  • 1.036% cobalt, 12.7 g/t silver and 0.117% nickel

A composite from the two samples showed:

  • 2.323% cobalt, 68.7 g/t silver and 0.355% nickel

More assays are pending.

Last month Castle Silver released the first assay from a 2,405-metre summer drill program that the company said found mineralization in all of the 22 holes. The near-surface intercept graded 1.55% cobalt, 0.65% nickel, 0.61 g/t gold and 8.8 g/t silver over 0.65 metres.

Also in November the company teamed up with Granada Gold Mine TSXV:GGM to announce a provisional milling agreement for a plant that would be located on Castle Silver’s property near the town of Gowganda, about 204 kilometres by road from the Granada project. Granada has a 2014 pre-feasibility study and a June resource update.

Southeast of Gowganda and within Ontario’s Cobalt camp, Castle Silver also holds the past-producing Violet and Beaver mines.

B.C. Securities Commission under fire as half a billion in penalties remains unenforced

November 21st, 2017

by Greg Klein | November 21, 2017

Although some small cap companies seem to consider regulators the bane of their existence, big-time scammers might take a more benign view. A Postmedia investigation has revealed that the British Columbia Securities Commission—with 234 staffers and a $46.6-million budget—has collected less than 2% of $510 million in fines and payback orders issued over the last decade. The collection rate manages to fall even farther, to less than 0.1%, for 29 such orders of $1 million or more that total $458 million.

B.C. Securities Commission under fire as half a billion in penalties remains unenforced

Although the BCSC responds that the con artists may have hidden their assets or disappeared, journalist Gordon Hoekstra reports, “Postmedia tracked down $31 million in potential assets linked to the fraudsters,” including homes in affluent B.C. suburbs, Las Vegas and Hawaii.

Among available enforcement strategies, the BCSC “can file any of its decisions in B.C. Supreme Court, a simple administrative exercise, which automatically makes the penalties an order of the court,” Hoekstra points out. “If a property has been transferred to someone else, for example, a spouse, to escape a penalty, that may also be considered fraud.”

Regulators in other provinces do somewhat better, according to the study. Securities commissions in Ontario and Alberta achieved 18% collection rates over the last decade, while Quebec reached about 20% over the past four years. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission hit nearly 60% during the past five years.

The exposé seems to have taken both of B.C.’s main political parties by surprise. In a written statement NDP Finance Minister Carole James noted the commission operates at arms-length from the government. “We would encourage any proposals from the BCSC on any new mechanisms they may need to collect the fines,” she stated.

“No details were released by James, who ministry officials said was unavailable for an interview, on how the provincial government would follow up or monitor any proposals,” Hoekstra added.

As for the opposition party that had been government during most of the 10-year period, the BC Liberals “said in an e-mail that ‘unfortunately’ no MLAs were available for comment. The Liberals have 41 sitting MLAs, including two finance critics, Shirley Bond and Tracy Redies.”

Pistol Bay Mining wants to bring blockchain to resource companies

November 15th, 2017

Update: On November 20 Pistol Bay announced it had created a subsidiary called PB Blockchain Inc to create applications for mining and resource companies.

by Greg Klein | November 15, 2017

While still focused on its Confederation Lake zinc-copper portfolio in northwestern Ontario, Pistol Bay Mining TSXV:PST sees untapped potential in technology’s current upheaval. The company reports ongoing discussions to form a wholly owned subsidiary that would create blockchain applications for the mining sector, as well as oil and gas and possibly other industries. Some products could include “Ethereum smart contracts, security, claim management, resource management and the tokenization of resources,” Pistol Bay stated.

Pistol Bay Mining wants to bring blockchain to resource companies

“We believe a unique opportunity exists to lead the mineral development industry by building a resource-focused blockchain company to facilitate modern mining-related transactions,” explained president/CEO Charles Desjardins. “This represents an exciting opportunity for the shareholders of Pistol Bay and, as a founder of the original Investment.com portal, I have always recognized the need to be early in adapting to new technologies.”

Back to mineral exploration, last month Pistol Bay announced confidentiality agreements with two companies interested in partnering on Pistol Bay’s 17,000-hectare Confederation Lake properties. One company was described as a mid-tier producer, the other a junior explorer. The news followed completion of the first regional and modern geophysical program carried out over the VMS-rich greenstone belt.

Having already received an exploration permit for Confederation Lake’s Dixie claims, Pistol Bay now has applications pending for the Garnet, Fredart, Moth and Fly claim groups. “With zinc prices at a record high, there’s lots of demand for zinc and copper exploration projects,” said Desjardins. “Not many companies can offer a belt-wide property base with proven VMS mineralization and a new airborne EM survey with multiple untested targets.”

Read more about Pistol Bay Mining here and here.

Castle Silver Resources drills 1.55% cobalt over 0.65 metres with nickel, gold and silver in Ontario

November 13th, 2017

by Greg Klein | November 13, 2017

Last summer’s drilling at Ontario’s former Castle mine “intersected mineralization in each and every hole,” Castle Silver Resources TSXV:CSR reported November 13. The one assay released so far hit 1.55% cobalt, 0.65% nickel, 0.61 g/t gold and 8.8 g/t silver over 0.65 metres starting near surface at 3.85 metres in downhole depth. The company estimates true width between 65% and 85%.

Drilling finished in late August when an originally planned 1,500-metre program completed 22 holes totalling 2,405 metres.

Castle Silver Resources drills 1.55% cobalt over 0.65 metres with nickel, gold and silver in Ontario

Castle Silver expanded its summer campaign
from 1,500 metres to 2,405 metres.

“Once again we’ve demonstrated how historical operators overlooked the potential for cobalt, gold and base metals at the Castle mine as they focused exclusively on the extraction of high-grade silver,” said president/CEO Frank Basa.

“We will carry out trenching to follow up on an array of new near-surface targets generated by this drilling in the immediate vicinity of the Castle mine. But our priority now is to complete final preparations to carry out critical trenching and drilling of untested structures on the first level of the mine.”

With intermittent production between 1917 and 1989, the former mine has 11 levels totalling about 18 kilometres of underground workings. “This does not include an unknown extent of drilled vein structures which were never mined, typically due to silver grades below a certain high-grade threshold, for which CSR has records,” the company added.

Using XRF analysis, an independent firm has found potential for high-grade cobalt mineralization within unmined structures along first-level adit drifts and walls. In July Castle Silver released results from an 82-kilogram bulk sample of vein material that showed 1.48% cobalt as well as 5.7 g/t gold and 46.3 g/t silver. As a result, the company re-evaluated five previous chip samples for gold, with results averaging 3.7 g/t. The samples originally assayed 1.06% cobalt, 5.3% nickel and 17.5 g/t silver.

Earlier this month Castle Silver and Granada Gold Mine TSXV:GGM announced a provisional milling agreement for a plant that would be located on Castle Silver’s property in Gowganda, Ontario. About a 204-kilometre drive from Gowganda, Granada’s project reached pre-feas in 2014 and a resource update in June.

Castle Silver closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $1.2 million in June.

Mining commentator Stan Sudol says undue emphasis on the gold rushes stifles Canadians’ understanding of a vital industry

November 10th, 2017

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Castle Silver Resources and Granada Gold Mine sign provisional milling agreement

November 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | November 1, 2017

Two companies plan to co-operate on a proposed facility to process Quebec gold and Ontario cobalt-silver. Castle Silver Resources TSXV:CSR and Granada Gold Mine TSXV:GGM announced a provisional milling agreement to develop a flowsheet for a plant that would be located on Castle Silver’s property in Gowganda, Ontario. The Granada gold mine is located near Rouyn‐Noranda and about 204 kilometres by road from Gowganda.

Castle Silver Resources and Granada Gold Mine sign provisional milling agreement

As cobalt prices soar, Castle Silver Resources hopes to
revive a past-producer in Ontario’s historic Cobalt camp.

The companies have overlapping management and directors. Funding would come from US$20 million in loans, “which debt raise will be facilitated by a family office in the UK,” the companies stated.

The agreement foresees batch processing of at least 600,000 tonnes of Granada material grading four grams per tonne over three years. An option would allow treatment of another 1.4 million tonnes of pre‐concentrated waste rock. Initial metallurgical tests used a conventional coarse gravity process to achieve 70% gold recovery from Granada waste rock averaging 0.5 g/t, producing a 4.5 g/t gravity concentrate to be further processed at the mill.

The Granada project reached the pre-feasibility level in 2014 and a resource update last June. The Castle mine underwent intermittent silver-cobalt production between 1917 and 1989. Assays are pending from last summer’s 22-hole, 2,405-metre drill campaign.

In June Castle Silver closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $1.2 million.

Charles Desjardins discusses Pistol Bay Mining’s portfolio covering most of Ontario’s Confederation Lake belt

October 27th, 2017

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Paved with mineralization

October 27th, 2017

Norman B. Keevil’s memoir retraces Teck’s—and his own—rocky road to success

by Greg Klein

Norman B. Keevil’s memoir retraces Teck’s—and his own—rocky road to success

Profitable right from the beginning, Teck’s Elkview mine “would become
the key chip in the consolidation of the Canadian steelmaking coal industry.”
(Photo: Teck Resources)

 

“We were all young and relatively inexperienced in such matters in those days.”

He was referring to copper futures, a peril then unfamiliar to him. But the remark’s a bit rich for someone who was, at the time he’s writing about, 43 years old and president/CEO of a company that opened four mines in the previous six years. Still, the comment helps relate how Norman B. Keevil enjoyed the opportune experience of maturing professionally along with a company that grew into Canada’s largest diversified miner. Now chairperson of Teck Resources, he’s penned a memoir/corporate history/fly-on-the-wall account that’s a valuable contribution to Canadian business history, not to mention the country’s rich mining lore.

Norman B. Keevil’s memoir retraces Teck’s—and his own—road to success

Norman B. Keevil
(Photo: Teck Resources)

Never Rest on Your Ores: Building a Mining Company, One Stone at a Time follows the progress of a group of people determined to avoid getting mined out or taken out. In addition to geoscientific, engineering and financial expertise, luck accompanies them (much of the time, anyway), as does acumen (again, much of the time anyway).

Teck gains its first foothold as a predecessor company headed by Keevil’s father, Norman Bell Keevil, drills Temagami, a project that came up barren for Anaconda. The new guys hit 28% copper over 17.7 metres. Further drilling leads to the three-sentence feasibility study:

Dr. Keevil: What shall we do about Temagami?

Joe Frantz: Let’s put it into production.

Bill Bergey: Sounds good to me.

They schedule production for two and a half months later.

A few other stories relate a crucial 10 seconds in the Teck-Hughes acquisition, the accidental foray into Saskatchewan oil, the Toronto establishment snubbing Afton because of its VSE listing, an underhanded ultimatum from the British Columbia government, getting out of the oyster business and winning an unheard-of 130% financing for Hemlo.

Readers learn how Murray Pezim out-hustled Robert Friedland. But when it came to Voisey’s, Friedland would play Inco and Falconbridge “as though he were using a Stradivarius.” Keevil describes one guy welching on a deal with the (apparently for him) unarguable excuse that it was only a “gentleman’s agreement.”

Norman B. Keevil’s memoir retraces Teck’s—and his own—rocky road to success

Through it all, Teck gets projects by discovery or acquisition and puts them into production. Crucial to this success was the Teck team, with several people getting honourable mention. The author’s closest accomplice was the late Robert Hallbauer, the former Craigmont pit supervisor whose team “would go on to build more new mines in a shorter time than anyone else had in Canadian history.” Deal-making virtuoso David Thompson also gets frequent mention, with one performance attributed to his “arsenal of patience, knowledge of the opponents, more knowledge of the business than some of them had, and a tad of divide and conquer…”

Partnerships span the spectrum between blessing and curse. International Telephone and Telegraph backs Teck’s first foray into Chile but frustrates its ability to do traditional mining deals. The Elk Valley Coal Partnership puts Teck, a company that reinvests revenue into growth, at odds with the dividend-hungry Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Working with a Cominco subsidiary, Keevil finds the small-cap explorer compromised by the “ephemeral response of the junior stock market.” And smelters rip off miners. But that doesn’t mean a smelter can’t become a valued partner.

Keevil argues the case for an almost cartel-like level of co-operation among miners. Co-ordinated decisions could avoid surplus production, he maintains. Teck’s consolidation of Canada’s major coal mines helped the industry stand up to Japanese steelmakers, who had united to take advantage of disorganized Canadian suppliers. “Anti-trust laws may be antediluvian,” he states.

Keevil admits some regrets, like missing Golden Giant and a Kazakhstan gold project now valued at $2 billion. The 2008 crash forced Teck to give up Cobre Panama, now “expected to be a US$6 billion copper mine.” Teck settled a coal partnership impasse by buying out the Ontario Teachers’ share for $12 billion. Two months later the 2008 crisis struck. Over two years Teck plunged from $3.6 billion in net cash to $12 billion in net debt.

But he wonders if his own biggest mistake was paying far too much for the remaining 50% of Cominco when an outright purchase might not have been necessary. Keevil attributes the initial 50%, on the other hand, to a miracle of deal-making.

For the most part Keevil ends his account in 2005, when he relinquishes the top job to Don Lindsay. By that time the company had 11 operating mines and a smelting/refining facility at Trail. A short chapter on the following 10 years, among the most volatile since the early ’70s, credits Teck with “a classic recovery story which deserves a full chapter in the next edition of Never Rest on Your Ores.” Such a sequel might come in another 10 years, he suggests.

Let’s hope he writes it, although it’ll be a different kind of book. As chairperson he won’t be as closely involved in the person-to-person, deal-to-deal, mine-to-mine developments that comprise the greatest strength of this book—that and the fact that the author grew with the company as it became Canada’s largest diversified miner.

Meanwhile, maybe Lindsay’s been keeping a diary.

The author’s proceeds go to two organizations that promote mining awareness, MineralsEd and Mining Matters.