Sunday 19th February 2017

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘quebec’

Province of Quebec invests in Commerce Resources’ Ashram rare earths project

February 17th, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 17, 2017

With potential customers waiting for rare earths concentrate samples, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE closed a $1.71-million private placement on February 17 that included $1 million from Ressources Québec. A subsidiary of the provincial government corporation Investissement Québec, Ressources Québec “focuses on projects that have good return prospects and foster Québec’s economic development,” the organization says. “Its role is complementary to private funders.”

We are excited to have the support of the Quebec government with this investment from Ressources Québec. The province of Quebec continues to prove that it is one of the most attractive jurisdictions to develop a mineral project. —Chris Grove,
president of Commerce Resources

“We are excited to have the support of the Quebec government with this investment from Ressources Québec,” Commerce president Chris Grove stated. “The province of Quebec continues to prove that it is one of the most attractive jurisdictions to develop a mineral project. We are excited to be advancing our Ashram project with this financing.”

The private placement will be used to complete the project’s pilot plant, to produce samples of REE and fluorite concentrates, and for general working capital. Among companies requesting REE samples are Solvay, Mitsubishi, Treibacher, BASF, DKK, Albemarle and Blue Line.

The money comes in addition to a three-year, $300,000 environmental grant from the province to optimize tailings management.

Ashram’s high-grade, near-surface deposit benefits from relatively simple metallurgy, suggesting a potentially low-cost operation with an impressive distribution of magnet feed elements. Now moving towards pre-feas, the project reached PEA in 2012.

Commerce also holds the Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

As cobalt prices soar, King’s Bay expands prospects with Newfoundland acquisition

February 16th, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 16, 2017

A name and a commodity that are both objects of feverish attention seem to meet up in Newfoundland, where King’s Bay Gold TSXV:KBG has acquired the Trump Island copper-cobalt property. A 100% option announced February 16 expands the company’s cobalt prospects in Newfoundland, Labrador and Quebec.

Back in 1863 a Cornish miner sunk a six-metre shaft to follow a zone of massive chalcopyrite. He reportedly sent a shipment of high-grade copper-cobalt ore to Wales.

King’s Bay expands cobalt prospects with Newfoundland acquisition

Grab samples collected nearby in 1999 brought historic, non-43-101 results up to 3.8% copper, 0.3% cobalt, 2.9 g/t gold and 10.9 g/t silver.

The initial King’s Bay agenda would call for additional sampling, along with mapping and a local-scale electromagnetic survey on the 200-hectare property. Successful results could bring a summer drill campaign.

Subject to approvals, King’s Bay gets Trump Island for 200,000 shares at a deemed value of $0.195 and a 2% NSR.

The boat-accessible property sits seven kilometres south of Twillingate, a town immortalized in Newfoundland’s unofficial national anthem.

In Labrador, meanwhile, King’s Bay has airborne EM planned for its Lynx Lake copper-cobalt project, where grab samples have shown non-43-101 results up to 1.39% copper, 0.94% cobalt and 0.21% nickel, as well as chromium, molybdenum and vanadium values. Last month the company expanded Lynx Lake from about 2,000 hectares to approximately 24,000 hectares.

Earlier this month King’s Bay picked up three cobalt projects in Quebec. The company closed a $938,752 private placement in January.

The acquisitions come as cobalt prices continue their meteoric rise, hitting six-year highs up to $20 a pound, reported That represents an approximately 50% increase since September, according to Reuters. Stating that many traders are hoarding the metal, Reuters predicted a supply deficit this year “exacerbated by an insecure supply chain. Almost 60% of the world’s cobalt lies in politically risky Democratic Republic of Congo.”

See an infographic about cobalt.

Update: BonTerra Resources increases financings—again—to nearly $15 million

February 13th, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 13, 2017

What started as a $6-million bought deal for BonTerra Resources TSXV:BTR has been raised three times—twice in one day—for gross proceeds of $13.97 million, in addition to a non-brokered $1.02 million.

The company first announced the bought deal at $6 million on February 6. Just one day later the amount increased to $9.39 million. The morning of February 13, the bought deal hit $12.9 million as BonTerra also announced the non-brokered private placement. Hours later the $12.9 million got a “final” increase to $13.97 million. Gross proceeds of both offers come to $14,999,600.

Acting as lead underwriter will be Sprott Capital Partners, a division of Sprott Private Wealth LP, along with underwriter INFOR Financial Inc. The news comes as BonTerra readies a third rig for its Gladiator drill campaign in Quebec’s Abitibi region.

BonTerra Resources increases bought deal to $12.9 million, adds non-brokered $1 million

Additional financing will back BonTerra’s ambitious drill program.

The bought deal consists of 11 million flow-through shares at $0.35 and 36.16 million shares at $0.28. The non-brokered placement offers 3.66 million shares at $0.28. The parties anticipate closing by March 2.

On February 2 BonTerra released results from two holes drilled last year on Gladiator, which currently has two rigs busy and a third waiting to join in. Hole BA-16-47 intersected the project’s Main zone as well as a new zone south of the deposit, with highlights showing:

  • 5.6 g/t gold over 1 metre, starting at 254 metres in downhole depth (Main zone)

  • 2 g/t over 3 metres, starting at 376 metres (New zone)

BA-16-48 delivered these results:

  • 14.9 g/t gold over 1 metre, starting at 358 metres (Footwall zone)

  • 16.8 g/t over 3.8 metres, starting at 394 metres (Main zone)

True widths weren’t available.

Two days earlier the company released three intervals from this year’s first hole, with assays as high as 15.7 g/t over 8.5 metres. As the 25,000-metre program continues, BonTerra hopes to connect zones across a 1.2-kilometre potential strike.

A 2012 resource estimate used a 4 g/t cutoff to show an inferred 905,000 tonnes averaging 9.37 g/t for 273,000 ounces. An update could be completed this spring or summer.

BonTerra also holds the Larder Lake project in Ontario, which hosts two historic, non-43-101 deposits. The Bear Lake estimate came to 683,000 gold ounces inferred, while the Cheminis estimate showed 43,800 gold ounces indicated and 233,400 ounces inferred. With an additional 25,000 metres drilled by Gold Fields NYSE:GFI to consider, BonTerra has a new 43-101 in preparation.

Read more about BonTerra Resources.

Updated: BonTerra Resources bought deal increases from $6 million to $9.39 million, follows high-grade gold assays

February 6th, 2017

This story has been updated and moved here.

King’s Bay Gold acquires three Quebec cobalt projects

February 6th, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 6, 2017

A metal facing rising prices and supply-side risk, cobalt has drawn King’s Bay Gold TSXV:KBG to three new properties in Quebec. Previous work has shown cobalt on each acquisition.

King’s Bay Gold acquires three Quebec cobalt projects

Northeast of the Hudson Bay coast, the 875-hectare Ninuk Lake project underwent surface sampling, mapping and electromagnetics by Falconbridge in 2001. Samples from massive sulphides in outcrop found historic, non-43-101 results up to 2.6% nickel, 1.8% copper and 0.27% cobalt. Falconbridge neglected to follow up due to other discoveries that year, King’s Bay stated.

A northwestern Quebec property, the 418-hectare Broadback River project revealed several large conductors through airborne surveys in 1985. Sampling by Falconbridge from 1999 to 2000 showed historic, non-43-101 results up to 0.7% nickel, 0.3% copper and 0.09% cobalt. Drilling tested the property’s northwestern area but not the southeastern conductors.

South of Quebec City, the 179-hectare Roberge project has undergone soil sampling with historic, non-43-101 results up to 1.06% cobalt.

Now compiling data from the properties, King’s Bay plans a spring program of mapping and sampling to confirm the historic results.

Last month the company closed its acquisition of the 24,000-hectare Lynx Lake copper-cobalt project in south-central Labrador, which has airborne EM planned. Grab samples from the property’s east side brought non-43-101 results up to 1.39% copper, 0.94% cobalt, 0.21% nickel and 6.5 g/t silver. Grab samples on the west side showed non-43-101 results up to 1.03% copper, 0.566% cobalt, 0.1% nickel, 5 g/t silver, 0.36% chromium, 0.39% molybdenum and 0.23% vanadium.

King’s Bay closed a $938,752 private placement in January.

See an infographic about cobalt.

Aurvista Gold advances Abitibi project with drilling, hiring, buying

February 2nd, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 2, 2017

Having raised $7.5 million last year in three private placements at increasing prices, Aurvista Gold TSXV:AVA outlined aggressive plans for its Douay gold-base metals project in Quebec’s Abitibi region. Along with the announcements came new expertise introduced February 2.

Exploration manager Alex Horvath’s 30-year career includes service as COO/VP of exploration for Champion Iron TSX:CIA, where he played a major role in the Bloom Lake acquisition. He also spent 20 years with Asarco Inc and Asarco Exploration, taking part in exploration, project generation and ore reserve estimates, among other responsibilities.

Aurvista Gold advances Abitibi project with drilling, hiring, buying

As mineral co-ordinator of resources and project development, Peter Karelse brings three decades of experience in exploration, resource development, and both underground and open pit mining. He’s helped bring three projects into production.

Database co-ordinator Antoine Yassa’s CV shows a 35-year international background using database management and software for resource estimates, project evaluation and resource modelling.

With a 40-year involvement in precious metals, base metals, chromium, lithium, graphite and uranium exploration and mining projects, Yvan Bussières takes the role of Douay gold project co-ordinator.

The new faces “bring a significant amount of both intellectual capital and operational experience and will be key members of the company as we grow our strong foundation of quality gold resources,” said president/CEO Jean Lafleur.

Two days previously the company announced the buy-back of a 1.5% NSR on 32 claims within Douay from Northern Abitibi Mining TSXV:NAI for $325,000. Aurvista CFO Bryan Keeler said the purchase “cleans up project ownership, improves the Douay economics and opens up opportunities in future financing.”

The entire geological picture of Douay was changed from a convoluted mixture of poorly understood and unrecognizable rock units and unconnected mineralized zones to now well-recognized volcanic rocks and a porphyries package typical of Abitibi belt gold-bearing deposits.

With a 74-hole, 30,000-metre drill program that began testing nine targets last month, the company vowed to move into “a more aggressive exploration stage by adding additional gold mineralization within a series of east-west corridors, termed the Adam Creek gold deposit, covering for now a minimum 10 kilometres by three kilometres of prime exploration ground.”

A Q2 resource update will take into consideration re-interpreted historic core as well as new assays. Preliminary metallurgical tests have also begun.

Among last year’s accomplishments, the company stated, “the entire geological picture of Douay was changed from a convoluted mixture of poorly understood and unrecognizable rock units and unconnected mineralized zones to now well-recognized volcanic rocks and a porphyries package typical of Abitibi belt gold-bearing deposits. At Douay, these rocks structurally host for now an identified minimum of 11 gold-bearing lenses. The 10-kilometre-long gold system remains open along the remaining 10-kilometre strike length and at depth below 300 metres.”

Using a 0.3 g/t cutoff, a 2012 resource for eight zones along a five-kilometre trend totalled:

  • indicated: 2.69 million tonnes averaging 2.76 g/t for 238,435 gold ounces

  • inferred: 114.65 million tonnes averaging 0.75 g/t for 2.75 million ounces

The resource stopped at a vertical depth of about 400 metres.

Of the 14,520-hectare property, Aurvista holds a 100% interest in 13,310 hectares, a 90% interest in 20 hectares and a 75% interest in the 1,190-hectare North West zone. The latter comprises a JV with 25% partner SOQUEM, the mineral exploration branch of the provincial government’s Investissement Québec.

Read more about Aurvista Gold.

BonTerra Resources hits 15.7 g/t gold over 8.5 metres in Abitibi stepout drilling

January 31st, 2017

by Greg Klein | January 31, 2017

With the year’s first stepout hole to the east, BonTerra Resources TSXV:BTR announced three gold intercepts on January 31 from its Abitibi-region Gladiator project. The first interval revealed a new zone, the company stated, while the two deeper intercepts marked the 7,563-hectare property’s Main and Footwall zones, near the contact between mafic volcanic units and a mineralized felsic porphyritic intrusive. Results for hole BA-17-01 show:

  • 1.6 g/t gold over 10 metres, starting at 262 metres in downhole depth

  • 15.7 g/t over 8.5 metres, starting at 367 metres

  • 20.7 g/t over 5 metres, starting at 566 metres
BonTerra Resources hits 15.7 g/t gold over 8.5 metres in Abitibi stepout drilling

A placid camp contrasts with strenuous
activity elsewhere on the Gladiator property.

True widths weren’t available.

Gladiator’s 2012 resource used a 4 g/t cutoff to show an inferred 905,000 tonnes averaging 9.37 g/t for 273,000 ounces of gold. Last year’s campaign expanded the known mineralization from about 200 metres long and 200 metres deep to about 1,200 metres long and 650 metres deep. With two rigs now at work and a third waiting for suitable ice conditions, a resource update could arrive in spring or summer. The 2016-2017 campaign calls for about 25,000 metres of drilling.

Just over the Ontario border, BonTerra’s Larder Lake project has two historic, non-43-101 estimates, with Bear Lake showing 683,000 ounces of gold inferred, and Cheminis 43,800 ounces of gold indicated and 233,400 ounces inferred. The company is compiling a new 43-101 incorporating another 25,000 metres drilled by Gold Fields NYSE:GFI since the historic estimates.

Read more about BonTerra Resources.

The Ashram advantage

January 30th, 2017

Commerce Resources prepares for a rare earths paradigm shift

by Greg Klein

The appeal to Western markets is obvious—an advanced, low-cost rare earths project in a friendly jurisdiction. So even before the recent military build-up in the South China Sea, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE experienced an increase in American requests for concentrate samples from its northern Quebec Ashram deposit. With the U.S. Navy now challenging Chinese territorial aggression, the confrontation seems to pit two superpowers against each other. But what does that really indicate?

It’s actually “one lonely small old Russian-built carrier against three U.S. Nimitz-class supercarriers,” Commerce president Chris Grove points out. “So when Beijing says it’s going to take off the gloves, I think they’re referring to trade.”

Commerce Resources prepares for a rare earths paradigm shift

That brings to mind the Senkaku incident, a much smaller 2010 confrontation in the same region that prompted China to cut off rare earths exports to Japan, sending global supply chains into turmoil and prices soaring. A possible Senkaku redux is one of a number of aspects to a global paradigm shift that Grove sees coming, to the benefit of Western industry in general and Ashram in particular.

The U.S. might easily outgun China, but China produces about 90% of the world’s rare earths. They’re essential to several defence needs, “a fact that really drives certain people in the U.S. absolutely apoplectic,” says Grove.

While Westerners have struggled to compete with China on costs, prices mean little to the U.S. Department of Defense, which last year began putting money behind potential domestic processors, Grove says. That support complements a multi-faceted advantage that the West is gaining over China, he explains. The latter country struggles with rising labour costs and the need to finally address its environmental woes. Meanwhile Western countries offset their labour costs with technological innovation and maintain the world’s highest environmental standards.

Even putting aside defence, demand for rare earths continues to grow with another global development. The international commitment to address climate change through clean energy, exemplified by the Paris Agreement, increases rare earths demand for numerous applications ranging from EVs to wind turbines.

In a research report last year, Chris Berry noted that “REE usage continues to grow at a pace well above global GDP growth with demand CAGRs growing anywhere from 4% to 8%, with permanent magnet demand forecast to lead this charge to 2020.”

Commerce Resources prepares for a rare earths paradigm shift

Ashram has undergone another 9,200 metres since
its resource estimate, often hitting even higher grades.

Clearly there’s a market for non-Chinese sources. And Grove sees Ashram uniquely positioned to help serve that market. Certainly others have failed but, he emphasizes, they lacked Ashram’s benefits of mineralogy, metallurgy, grade and jurisdiction—all of which add up to lower costs.

The project reached PEA in 2012, with an amended PEA in 2015. Since then the company’s been busy on multiple fronts as it advances towards pre-feasibility.

Ashram’s advantage begins with its relatively simple mineralogy, with carbonatite host rock and rare earths within the minerals monazite, bastnasite and xenotime, which dominate commercial REE processing.

Pilot plant metallurgical tests have quadrupled the PEA’s concentrate grade, producing 41% total rare earth oxides and 43% TREO, both at 71% recovery. That puts the grade well within the range of commercial producers and does so through a single-leach process that simplifies the flowsheet.

Requests for concentrate samples have come from Solvay, Mitsubishi, Treibacher, BASF, DKK, Albemarle and Blue Line, among others covered by non-disclosure agreements.

Metallurgy has also found a potential fluorspar byproduct, offering an advantage to both revenue and opex. Grove credits Glencore Canada’s interest in fluorspar with the willingness of its NorFalco Sales division to supply Commerce with sulphuric acid on highly favourable terms.

Proud as he is of Ashram’s high-grade, near-surface resource, Grove anticipates an even more impressive upgrade. The current estimate uses a 1.25% cutoff to show:

  • measured: 1.59 million tonnes averaging 1.77% total rare earth oxides

  • indicated: 27.67 million tonnes averaging 1.9% TREO

  • inferred: 219.8 million tonnes averaging 1.88% TREO

Commerce has since drilled another 9,200 metres, mostly infill but always with some stepout holes as well. “In all those drill programs, we always hit mineralized material in the stepouts, we always encountered less waste rock at surface than was modelled in the resource and we always hit zones that were higher than the average grade,” he says.

Ashram’s magnet feed distribution also has Grove enthused. Overall, the deposit ranks with the largest producers for praseodymium, neodymium, terbium and dysprosium. Ashram’s medium-to-heavy REO resource, moreover, surpasses the producers for those elements. And, as Grove points out, those are critical elements. Efforts to find substitutes for magnet REEs have failed.

Companies with higher operating costs are probably praying for higher prices. Commerce Resources doesn’t need them. We still have a margin at today’s prices.—Chris Grove

Benefiting both Ashram’s opex and the environment would be wind energy, currently being studied for the project. Commerce’s environmental commitment as well as its community outreach have been recognized by the e3 Plus Award for social responsibility from l’Association de l’exploration minière du Québec.

The company has also received a $300,000 provincial grant to optimize tailings management, funding that shows Quebec’s commitment to mining as well as the environment. Grove calls the province “a fantastic jurisdiction,” one that invests directly in companies through Ressources Québec and makes tangible progress on the visionary Plan Nord infrastructure program.

Following a private placement of up to $2.5 million offered last month, Grove looks forward to a number of near-term milestones. Still to come are final assays from last year’s drilling. The agenda also calls for completing the pilot plant and filling requests for REE and fluorspar concentrate samples. The samples, Grove suggests, could spur interest in a JV or offtake agreement.

The Commerce quest for rare metals hasn’t been confined to rare earths. Last September sampling on the company’s property about a kilometre from Ashram found “spectacular” results up to 5.9% niobium pentoxide, described by Grove as “approximately double the grade of the largest and longest-running niobium producer’s head grade, CBMM’s Araxa deposit in Brazil.”

Commerce also holds the Blue River project in southeastern British Columbia. The property’s Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

But Commerce remains very much focused on Ashram. Whether events in the South China Sea send RE prices soaring, Grove sees possible increases coming from producers boosting revenues. But, he emphasizes, Ashram doesn’t need higher prices. “Companies with higher operating costs are probably praying for higher prices,” he says. “Commerce Resources doesn’t need them. We still have a margin at today’s prices.”

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.

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.