Saturday 21st July 2018

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Posts tagged ‘ontario’

Fraud Awareness Month begins amid criticism of lax enforcement against serial scammers

March 7th, 2018

by Greg Klein | March 7, 2018

Education more than deterrence seems to be the focus of Canadian securities commissions as Fraud Awareness Month begins. Two series of articles by Postmedia and the Globe and Mail reveal numerous examples of con artists evading administrative penalties and criminal charges, leaving victims powerless to recover losses.

Fraud Awareness Month begins amid criticism of lax enforcement against serial scammers

The British Columbia Securities Commission kicked off the annual awareness campaign by releasing results of a survey. The people most susceptible to investment scams, the poll found, are millennials. Over 500 respondents were tested on their reaction to a fictional investment offer that guaranteed no-risk returns of 14% to 25%.

“Although the claim contains several investment fraud warning signs, 26% of respondents said the offer was ‘worth looking into,’” the BCSC reported. “More troubling, 20% of the respondents who would look into the offer said they were interested because they need the money, indicating even greater vulnerability.”

Adults aged 18 to 34 showed the greatest naiveté, with 47% of women and 35% of men that age expressing interest. Just 13% of people 55 years and over gave similar answers, a decline from 26% in a similar 2012 study.

“Investors should always be skeptical of anyone offering a risk-free investment with an unusually high return, because there’s no such thing,” warned BCSC director of communications and education Pamela McDonald. “We encourage investors to look carefully at every investment they make, but also to listen to your gut. If something doesn’t make sense, or doesn’t feel right, we encourage you to contact the BCSC.”

The admonition follows criticism of weak enforcement by the BCSC and its counterparts. In December the Globe and Mail’s Grant Robertson and Tom Cardoso reported their analysis of 30 years of regulatory records, finding one in nine people pronounced guilty of securities fraud go on to re-offend, some even defying multiple lifetime trading bans through aliases and “jurisdiction-hopping.” Ill-gotten gains can far exceed penalties, which at any rate often remain unenforced.

In November a Postmedia series by Gordon Hoekstra reported numerous cases of uncollected BCSC fines and payback orders on scammers who in some cases continue to hold significant assets. Others transfer assets with relative ease.

Between the fiscal years ending in 2008 and 2017, Hoekstra stated, the BCSC collected less than 2% of $510 million in fines and payback orders. The Ontario Securities Commission did somewhat better, collecting 18% over the last decade.

In a December response to the Globe and Mail, the Canadian Securities Administrators stated that securities commissions are limited to pursuing administrative cases, with police responsible for criminal matters. But last month Hoekstra reported examples of Vancouver police and RCMP refusing to investigate fraud allegations. Vancouver cops say they typically refer cases of investment fraud to the BCSC. The RCMP declined to investigate another example on the grounds that it was a BCSC matter.

In another February story, Hoekstra revealed the BCSC “quietly” stayed more than $35 million of penalties regarding nine cases following a B.C. Court of Appeal decision on a pump-and-dump operation.

Underground mini-bulk sampling brings Canada Cobalt Works 2.47% cobalt in Ontario

February 27th, 2018

by Greg Klein | February 27, 2018

Eastern Ontario’s former Castle mine gave up more high-grade assays as Canada Cobalt Works TSXV:CCW takes initial permitting steps for dewatering the underground workings and building a processing facility for another project. A 13-kilogram sample showed 2.47% cobalt, 23.4 g/t silver, 0.68% nickel and 1.83 g/t gold. A 14-kilo sample brought 0.91% cobalt, 460 g/t silver and anomalous nickel and gold. The company, formerly Castle Silver Resources, warned that the samples are selective and not necessarily representative.

Underground mini-bulk sampling brings Canada Cobalt Works 2.47% cobalt in Ontario

Two mini-bulk samples released in early December graded 3.124% and 1.036% cobalt, along with silver and nickel. Assays are pending from last summer’s 2,405-metre surface drill campaign, from where a single intercept released so far graded 1.55% cobalt, along with nickel, gold and silver over 0.65 metres.

The company’s now preparing to apply for government permission to dewater levels two to 11 of the former mine, which operated intermittently between 1917 and 1989.

With plans to build a 600-tpd gravity flotation cyanidation mill, Canada Cobalt has retained an engineering firm to begin earthworks studies for permitting. The plant would be financed by Granada Gold Mine TSXV:GGM to process material from its project near Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, about 200 road kilometres away. Granada’s gold project reached pre-feasibility in 2014 and a resource update in June.

Canada Cobalt also holds the former Beaver mine in Ontario’s Cobalt camp, about 80 kilometres southeast of the flagship Castle project. In December the company released assays for three composite samples that averaged 4.68% cobalt, 3.09% nickel, 46.9 g/t silver and 0.08 g/t gold.

A private placement that closed in mid-January brought the company $1.03 million.

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

December 12th, 2017

…Read more

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

December 9th, 2017

by Greg Klein | December 9, 2017

Update: Effective February 23, 2018, Castle Silver Resources begins trading as Canada Cobalt Works TSXV:CCW.

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

Update: Effective February 23, 2018, Castle Silver Resources begins trading as Canada Cobalt Works TSXV:CCW.

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.