Monday 17th December 2018

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘quebec’

Niobium-tantalum in Quebec

December 5th, 2018

Successful sampling readies Saville Resources to drill for critical metals

by Greg Klein

“Building momentum” is the way Saville Resources TSXV:SRE president Mike Hodge puts it. Steady progress, shown most recently through another encouraging sampling program, puts the company’s early-stage niobium-tantalum project in Quebec on track for drilling this winter. Assays so far have the company hopeful about proving up a maiden resource in this mining-friendly jurisdiction next door to a country increasingly concerned about sourcing critical metals.

Successful sampling readies Saville Resources to drill for critical metals

Conducted by Dahrouge Geological Consulting, the fall
program brought the Niobium claim group to drill-ready status.

The autumn field program met all of its objectives, Hodge enthuses. Twenty-two boulder samples surpassed 0.7% Nb2O5, with 14 of them exceeding 0.8% and one peaking at 1.5%. Tantalum made its presence known too. Those same 14 niobium samples also graded between 160 ppm and 1,080 ppm Ta2O5.

The project gained yet another target, where boulders reached 0.88% and 1.28% Nb2O5. A ground magnetics survey highlighted the prospectivity of the Moira area, already the location of exceptionally high-grade samples. In all, the results show a drill-ready project that should see action this winter.

Saville holds a 75% earn-in from Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE on the Niobium claim group, a 1,223-hectare package on the latter company’s Eldor property in Quebec. Just a few kilometres from the Niobium project and with obvious synergistic potential for Saville, Commerce has its Ashram rare earths deposit moving towards pre-feasibility. All this takes place in a province that demonstrates its support for mining through a number of initiatives, including direct investment and the Plan Nord infrastructure program. The northeastern Quebec region has two treaties in place that clearly define procedures for native consultation. Saville’s three-quarters stake in the Niobium claim group calls for $5 million in work over five years.

A 43-101 technical report filed in September followed field programs by previous companies including 41 holes totalling 8,175 metres drilled by Commerce. In addition to niobium-tantalum, the report noted phosphate and fluorspar as potential secondary commodities.

Some of the standout results from previous sampling came from the property’s as-yet undrilled Miranna area, where boulder samples graded as high as 2.75%, 4.24%, 4.3% and an exceptional 5.93% Nb2O5.

Other locations have been drilled, but not since 2010. Some 17 holes and 4,328 metres on the Southeast area brought near-surface highlights that include:

  • 0.82% Nb2O5 over 21.89 metres, starting at 58.93 metres in downhole depth

  • 0.72% over 21.35 metres, starting at 4.22 metres
  • (including 0.9% over 4.78 metres)

  • 0.72% over 17.35 metres, starting at 70 metres

  • 0.71% over 15.33 metres, starting at 55.1 metres

True widths were unavailable. Southeast results also showed tantalum and phosphate, as well as suggesting a possible fluorspar zone.

A wide, near-surface interval from the Northwest area showed:

  • 0.46% Nb2O5 over 46.88 metres, starting at 30.65 metres
  • (including 0.61% over 11.96 metres)
Successful sampling readies Saville Resources to drill for critical metals

Surface outcrops and near-surface core
produce encouraging grades for Saville Resources.

As in the Southeast, the Northwest area showed encouraging signs of tantalum and phosphate. But tantalum came through most strongly in the property’s Star Trench area, with results as high as 1,810 ppm Ta2O5 (with 1.5% Nb2O5) over 0.52 metres, as well as 2,220 ppm Ta2O5 (with 1.69% Nb2O5, and phosphate grading 20.5% P2O5) over 0.31 metres.

Another area gains greater prominence too, thanks to this autumn’s ground magnetics survey. A strong anomaly at the Moira target, about 250 metres north of Miranna, coincides with several overlapping boulder trains that suggest Moira could be one of several possible sources of mineralization.

And a new, yet-to-be-named area gave up two of the fall program’s best assays. About 400 metres south of the drill area, the new target produced boulder samples hitting 1.28% Nb2O5 and 260 ppm Ta2O5, along with 0.88% Nb2O5 and 1,080 ppm Ta2O5.

Intriguingly, glacial ice suggests the two rocks, found about 100 metres apart, originated in an area farther southeast that’s had very little attention so far.

Saville also holds the 3,370-hectare Covette project in Quebec’s James Bay region, where last summer’s field program found surface samples including 1.2% zinc and 68.7 g/t silver. Three other samples returned nickel values ranging from 0.13% to 0.19%.

Work focused on a highly conductive area identified by a 2016 VTEM survey. Samples gathered in 2017 included grades of 0.18% nickel, 0.09% copper and 87 ppm cobalt. One historic, non-43-101 grab sample brought 4.7% molybdenum, 0.73% bismuth, 0.09% lead and 6 g/t silver, while another historic sample returned 1.2 g/t silver and 0.18% copper.

As for niobium, it’s considered a critical metal by the American government for its use in steels and super-alloys necessary for jet engine components, rocket sub-assemblies, and heat-resisting and combustion equipment, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Almost 90% of last year’s world production came from Brazil, where new president Jair Bolsonaro has expressed concern about increasing Chinese ownership of resources.

Also a component of military super-alloys, tantalum additionally plays a vital role in personal electronics including phones and computers. The U.S. imports its entire supply of tantalum. About 60% of last year’s world production came from the troubled countries of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

With the advantages of markets, jurisdiction and geology, Hodge looks forward to winter drilling. “We’ve now got about 20 targets that we can go after,” he says. “One priority would be to define the Southeast area because we’ve got such good niobium numbers there. On getting a potential inferred resource, we’d go after Miranna or Moira and the untested targets. We’re looking forward to a busy, productive season.”

Read more about U.S. efforts to secure critical minerals here and here.

Geologist Darren Smith discusses 92 Resources’ Corvette-FCI lithium project in Quebec

November 29th, 2018

…Read more

Goldcorp credits artificial intelligence with forecasting first-hole results

November 27th, 2018

by Greg Klein | November 27, 2018

Assays are pending but IBM’s Watson AI technology has already helped human geologists choose drill locations “with the first target yielding the predicted mineralization at the expected depth,” Goldcorp TSX:G announced. Drilling continues at other AI-suggested spots on the northwestern Ontario Red Lake project.

Goldcorp credits AI with forecasting first-hole results

Goldcorp hopes a joint AI/human program
will extend Red Lake’s mine life. (Photo: Goldcorp)

Having collaborated with IBM since 2017, the miner said Watson scrutinized previous info using spatial analytics, machine learning and predictive models “to develop geological extrapolations in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods.” The project’s data bank goes back 80 years.

“This is the first time this solution has been ever used, which makes this project all the more significant,” stated IBM Canada partner Mark Fawcett.

Earlier this month Goldcorp’s use of AI won an Ingenious Award from the Information Technology Association of Canada in recognition of “excellence and innovation in the use of information and communications technology.” At the time Goldcorp noted that geologists “could spend up to 80% of their analytical time searching for and preparing data, and only 20% interpreting and analyzing the data. Watson’s big advantage over conventional computer systems is its ability to ingest and process massive amounts of data faster and more accurately than conventional systems.”

Having given up 29 million gold ounces since 1949, Red Lake currently hosts proven and probable reserves totalling 2.17 million ounces. Two underground operations on the complex are expected to produce 235,000 ounces this year. But the company emphasized Watson’s potential for finding new areas of mineralization on the 42,000-hectare property.

Along with other sponsors, Goldcorp presents the third annual #DisruptMining award on March 3 at PDAC. The winning proposal brings its technological innovator a US$1-million investment or contract. Last year’s winner was Acoustic Zoom, a geophysics company specializing in innovative seismic work. Two companies shared the previous year’s prize, with Cementation Canada getting the $650,000 portion for a process of transporting ore to surface using a pump-driven pipeline loop. KORE Geosystems won the remainder for its proposal to apply AI to geoscientific data.

#DisruptMining was preceded by the Online Gold Rush Challenge hosted by Integra Gold (since taken over by Eldorado Gold TSX:ELD) at PDAC in 2016. SGS Geostat won $500,000 for its innovative analysis of 75 years of data from Integra’s Sigma/Lamaque project in Quebec’s Abitibi region.

Goldcorp president/CEO David Garofalo has told PDAC, “In the future, every mining company will be a technology company.”

92 Resources adds B.C. vanadium project to Quebec lithium package

November 20th, 2018

by Greg Klein | November 20, 2018

Expanding its portfolio of energy metals, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY moves into a vanadium exploration region in eastern British Columbia. The 3,735-hectare Silver Sands property sits directly east of Ethos Gold’s (TSXV:ECC) Pine Pass project, where a recent trenching program brought results including 0.48% V2O5 over 130 metres, part of a cumulative, non-continuous extent averaging 0.43% V2O5 over 218 metres. Ethos reports approximately 20 kilometres of subcrop strike distance on the property.

92 Resources adds B.C. vanadium project to Quebec lithium package

Silver Sands hosts similar features, 92 states. The company interprets the property’s rock types as “an adjacent thrust sheet, of analogous or identical lithologies” to those at Pine Pass, with both properties hosting “regionally mapped early Triassic-aged Spray River Group rocks (containing the Toad River and Grayling formations), which have been known to host vanadium-bearing horizons associated with phosphatic shales.

“Specifically, the project is host to the Lemoray phosphate prospect, a phosphatic horizon which has been historically noted in the academic literature, but its relation to vanadium mineralization has not yet been tested.”

92 hopes to begin initial field work once snow melts, says Neil McCallum of Dahrouge Geological Consulting.

92 president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux said the acquisition suits the company’s strategic plans. “With a focus on future energy metals such as lithium and frac sand, we have now positioned the company with a key vanadium asset in a mine-friendly jurisdiction. We will now evaluate and put together our winter exploration plans that should contain our Phase I drill program at the Corvette-FCI lithium project in Quebec.”

An option signed in September with Osisko Mining TSX:OSK gives 92 a 75% earn-in on the 10,000-hectare FCI claims adjacent to the flagship Corvette project. Corvette channel samples released that month averaged 1.35% Li2O, along with tantalum averaging 109 ppm Ta2O5.

Vanadium prices now approach an all-time high, having jumped over 550% since September 2016, Lamoureux added. Chinese steel accounts for most demand but vanadium-redox flow batteries offer additional future potential.

Pine Pass regional infrastructure includes Highway 97, the Canadian National Railway, transmission lines and natural gas pipelines.

92 gets Silver Sands by paying staking costs of $15,000, while the vendor keeps a 2% NSR.

In addition to Silver Sands and Corvette, the company holds three other Quebec lithium projects, Pontax, Eastmain and Lac du Beryl, as well as the Golden frac sand project in southern B.C.

Read more about 92 Resources.

Drill-ready money

November 19th, 2018

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

by Greg Klein

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Osisko Mining’s (TSX:OSK) Windfall project offers one reason why
Quebec leads Canada and gold leads metals for exploration spending.
(Photo: Osisko Mining)

 

Blockchain might offer intrigue and cannabis promises a buzz, but mineral exploration still attracts growing interest. A healthy upswing this year will bring Canadian projects a nearly 8% spending increase to $2.36 billion, the industry’s highest amount since 2012. According to recently released data, that’s part of an international trend that puts Canada at the top of a worldwide resurgence.

The $2.36 billion allotted for Canadian exploration and deposit appraisal forms just a small part of the year’s total mineral resource development investments, which see $11.86 billion committed to this country, up from $10.61 billion in 2017.

Those numbers come from Natural Resources Canada, which surveyed companies between April and September on their spending intentions within the country for 2018. The $2.36-billion figure includes engineering, economic and feasibility studies, along with environmental work and general expenses.

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Trial extraction for Pure Gold Mining’s (TSXV:PGM)
Madsen feasibility studies encourages interest in
Ontario’s Red Lake region. (Photo: Pure Gold Mining)

Of that number, Quebec edges out Ontario for first place with $623.1 million in spending this year, 26.4% of Canada’s total. Ontario’s share comes to $567.5 million or 24%. Last year’s totals came to $573.9 million for Quebec and $539.7 million for its western neighbour. Prior to that, however, Ontario held a comfortable lead year after year.

Third-place British Columbia gets $335.5 million or 14.2% of Canada’s total this year, an increase from $302.6 million in 2017.

On a per-capita basis, Yukon’s enjoying an exceptional year with an expected $249.4 million or 10.6% of Canada’s total. That’s the territory’s second substantial increase in a row, following $168.7 million the previous year.

Saskatchewan dips this year to $187.2 million (7.9%) from $191.2 million in 2017. But the Fraser Institute’s last survey of mining jurisdictions placed the province first in Canada and second worldwide.

Nunavut drops too, for the third consecutive time, to $143.9 million (6.1%), compared with $177 million in 2017. The Northwest Territories’ forecast declines to $86.2 million (3.7%) this year after $91.2 million last year.

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Among companies leading Yukon’s exceptional performance
is White Gold TSXV:WGO, with substantial backing from
Agnico Eagle Mines TSX:AEM and Kinross Gold TSX:K.
(Photo: White Gold)

Especially troubling when contrasted with Yukon’s performance, data for the other territories prompted NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines president Gary Vivian to call on federal, territorial and native governments and boards to help the industry “by creating certainty around land access, by reducing unnecessary complexity and by addressing the higher costs they face working in the North. Sustaining and growing future mining benefits depend on it.”

The pursuit of precious metals accounts for $1.5 billion in spending, nearly 64% of Canadian exploration. Ontario gets almost 31% of the precious metals attention, with 27% going to Quebec.

Base metals, mostly in Quebec, B.C. and Ontario, get 15.5% of the year’s total. Uranium gets 5%, almost entirely in Saskatchewan. Diamonds get nearly 4%, most of it going to the NWT and Saskatchewan. But nearly 11% of this year’s total goes to a category vaguely attributed to other metals, along with coal and additional non-metals.

Getting back to this year’s exploration total ($2.36 billion, remember?), senior companies commit themselves to nearly 55%, compared with nearly 51% last year. But the juniors’ share remains proportionately much larger than the pre-2017 years.

Additional encouragement—and on an international level—comes from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Using different methodology to produce different results, the Metals and Mining Research team found worldwide budgets for nonferrous exploration jumping 19% this year to $10.1 billion.

Juniors have been reaping the biggest budget gains at 35%. Over 1,651 functional exploration companies represent an 8% improvement over last year and the first such increase since 2012. But that’s “still about 900 companies less than in 2012, representing a one-third culling of active explorers over the past five years.”

The most dramatic spending increase hit cobalt and lithium, this year undergoing an 82% leap in exploration spending. That’s part of a 500% climb since 2015, SPGMI says.

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Nemaska Lithium’s Whabouchi project in Quebec
contributes to the enthusiasm for energy metals.
(Photo: Nemaska Lithium)

Even so, precious and base metals retained their prominence as gold continues “to benefit the most from the industry recovery.” The global strive for yellow metal will claim $4.86 billion this year, up from $4.05 billion in 2017. Base metals spending will grow by $600 million to $3.04 billion. “Copper remained by far the most attractive of the base metals, although zinc allocations have increased the most, rising 37% in 2018, the report states. “Budgets are up for all targets except uranium.”

SPGMI finds Canada keeping its global top spot for nonferrous exploration with a 31% year-on-year budget increase. Second-place Australia achieved a 23% rise. The U.S. total places third, although with a 34% increase over the country’s 2017 performance.

In each of the top three countries, over 55% of the budgets focused on gold.

“Improved metals prices and margins since 2016 have encouraged producers to expand their organic efforts the past two years,” commented SPGMI’s Mark Ferguson. “Over the same period, equity market support for the junior explorers has improved, leading to an uptick in the number and size of completed financings. This allowed the group to increase exploration budgets by 35% in 2018.”

Active participants

November 7th, 2018

A new study finds greater native involvement in resource projects

by Greg Klein

A new study finds greater native involvement in resource projects

Representatives of Nemaska Lithium and Nemaska Cree negotiate the Chinuchi Agreement in 2014.
(Photo: Nemaska Lithium)

 

Trans Mountain—it’s likely been Canada’s biggest and most discouraging resource story this year. The subject of well-publicized protests, the proposed $9.3-billion pipeline extension met federal court rejection on the grounds of inadequate native consultation. But any impression of uniform aboriginal opposition to that project in particular or resource projects in general would be false, a new report emphasizes. In fact native involvement increasingly advances from reaping benefits to taking active part, with corresponding advantages to individuals and communities.

That’s the case for the oil and gas sector, forestry, hydro-electricity and fisheries, with mining one of the prominent examples provided by the Montreal Economic Institute in The First Entrepreneurs – Natural Resource Development and First Nations. “While some First Nations oppose mining and forestry or the building of energy infrastructure, others favour such development and wish to take advantage of the resulting wealth and jobs,” state authors Germain Belzile and Alexandre Moreau. “This cleavage is no different from what is found in non-indigenous cities and villages in Canada, where there is no vision for the future that everyone agrees upon.”

A new study finds greater native involvement in resource projects

Visitors tour a cultural site at the Éléonore mine.
(Photo: Goldcorp)

Mining provides a case in point, and the reason’s not hard to understand. “In 2016, First Nations members working in the mining sector declared a median income twice as high as that of workers in their communities overall, and nearly twice as high as that of non-indigenous people as a whole.”

“Between 2000 and 2017, 455 agreements were signed in this sector, guaranteeing benefits in addition to those stemming from extraction royalties due to rights held by First Nations on their territories.” Those agreements often include native priority in hiring and subcontracting, which helps explain why “6% of indigenous people work in the mining sector, compared to only 4% in other industries.”

Of course the proportion rises dramatically in communities close to mines. MEI notes that Wemindji Cree make up about 25% of Goldcorp’s (TSX:G) Éléonore staff in Quebec’s James Bay region. The native total comes to 225 workers out of a community of 1,600 people. Their collaboration agreement also makes provisions for education, training and business opportunities.

At another Quebec James Bay project, Nemaska Lithium TSX:NMX expects to begin producing concentrate in H2 of next year. Collaboration with the Nemaska Cree began in 2009 and brought about the 2014 Chinuchi Agreement covering training, employment and revenue sharing, among other benefits. The community holds 3.6% of Nemaska stock.

Even stalled projects can benefit communities. Uranium’s price slump forced Cameco TSX:CCO to put its majority-held Millennium project in northern Saskatchewan on hold in 2014. But the 1,600-member English River First Nation still gained $50 million from the project in 2014 and $58 million in 2015.

Or, to take an example not mentioned in the report, natives can also profit from an operating mine that fails to make a profit. In Nunavut, a benefit agreement with Baffinland Iron Mines’ Mary River operation gave the Qikiqtani Inuit Association $11.65 million this year, as well as the better part of $3.7 million that the QIA reaped in leases and fees. In production since 2014, Mary River remains in the red.

Of course some natives still oppose some projects. Last month Star Diamond TSX:DIAM received provincial environmental approval for its Star-Orion South project in southern Saskatchewan’s Fort à la Corne district. That decision followed federal approval in 2014.

Star says the mine would cost $1.41 billion to build and would pay $802 million in royalties as well as $865 million in provincial income tax over a 20-year lifespan. The mine would employ an average 669 people annually for a five-year construction period and 730 people during operation. But continued opposition from the James Smith Cree Nation calls into question whether environmental approval will suffice to allow development.

Similar circumstances played out in reverse for Mary River. Last summer the Nunavut Impact Review Board recommended Ottawa reject Baffinland’s proposed production increase. But support from the QIA and territorial Premier Joe Savikataaq convinced the feds to approve the company’s request. So the veto, if it exists, can work both ways.

James Smith opposition stems largely from Saskatchewan’s lack of revenue-sharing programs, a basic component of benefit agreements in other jurisdictions. “As a government it’s our position that we will not and do not consider resource revenue sharing as a part of any proposal going forward,” enviro minister Dustin Duncan told the Prince Albert newspaper paNOW. He said the province uses mining revenue “to fund programs for the benefit of all Saskatchewan residents and not just one particular group or region.”

The MEI report quotes an estimated $321 million in 2015-to-2016 revenues from natural resources overall for First Nations, a category that doesn’t include Inuit or Metis, and a dollar figure that doesn’t include employment or business income and other benefits.

While Trans Mountain stands out as an especially discouraging process, MEI points out that proponent Kinder Morgan signed benefit agreements with 43 First Nations totalling $400 million. After Ottawa bought the company, “several First Nations showed interest in a potential takeover. For some of them, the possibility of equity stakes was indeed the missing element in the Kinder Morgan offer.”

That might take negotiations well past the stage of benefits and further into active participation. As JP Gladu of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business told MEI, “The next big business trend that we are going to see, and that is happening already, is not only that aboriginal businesses are going to be stronger components of the corporate supply chain, but we are also going to see them as stronger proponents of equity positions and actual partners within resource projects.”

 

A new study finds greater native involvement in resource projects

The category of First Nations excludes Inuit and Metis.
(Chart: Montreal Economic Institute. Sources: Statistics Canada,
2016 Census, 98-400-X2016359, March 28, 2018)

Out crops opportunity

October 31st, 2018

Outcrops, pegmatites and spodumene mean lithium and tantalum for 92 Resources

by Greg Klein

Outcrops, pegmatites and spodumene mean lithium for 92 Resources

92 Resources’ James Bay-region Corvette property features
drill-ready targets as well as 15 kilometres of potential strike to evaluate.

 

An early-stage but steadily advancing project shows 92 Resources TSXV:NTY focusing firmly on northern Quebec’s lithium. Successful field work so far has inspired two large property expansions, one in a deal with Osisko Mining TSX:OSK. Now with about 15 kilometres of potential strike length in one package, 92 hopes to prove up grade and tonnage to bring its Corvette property to an advanced level.

A series of outcrops reveals lithium along with tantalum occurring in spodumene-bearing pegmatite over at least two sub-parallel structures, explains Darren Smith. “We have drill-ready targets as well as lots of highly prospective ground to explore.” Having worked with the company for about two years through Dahrouge Geological Consulting and been a 92 advisory board member since July, he’s obviously enthusiastic about the project.

Outcrops, pegmatites and spodumene mean lithium for 92 Resources

Surface showings have 92 Resources
optimistic about Corvette’s deeper potential.

And as a resident of Quebec City, he likes the jurisdiction too. “Quebec offers a lot of provincial support for mining,” Smith points out. “Also our Quebec projects fall within the James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement, which has structures in place for First Nations engagement and resource management.”

Corvette marked a change of direction for the company, after 92 optioned its Hidden Lake lithium property in the Northwest Territories to Far Resources CSE:FAT last January. Despite that project’s favourable sampling and metallurgical results, 92 saw even greater potential in its Quebec acquisitions. The theory found support from subsequent channel sampling grades and widths.

In September 92 released assays from 40 channel samples taken on the property’s CV1 pegmatite that averaged 1.35% Li2O. Tantalum showed up too, grading an average 109 ppm Ta2O5. Some highlights revealed:

  • 1.54% Li2O and 136 ppm Ta2O5 over 8 metres

  • 1.77% Li2O and 54 ppm Ta2O5 over 6 metres

  • 1.36% Li2O and 128 ppm Ta2O5 over 11 metres

  • 1.2% Li2O and 128 ppm Ta2O5 over 4 metres

  • 1.02% Li2O and 95 ppm Ta2O5 over 11 metres

About 50 metres north, the CV2 pegmatite showed:

  • 0.73% Li2O and 140 ppm Ta2O5 over 4 metres

  • 0.55% Li2O and 136 ppm Ta2O5 over 4 metres

True widths weren’t known.

Another promising development was the discovery of two more spodumene-bearing pegmatites. A grab sample grading 1.61% Li2O came from CV3, about 250 metres south of CV1. A 0.74% grab sample marked CV4, about three kilometres northeast and along strike of CV1.

Outcrops, pegmatites and spodumene mean lithium for 92 Resources

Corvette outcrops can host a helicopter
as well as spodumene-bearing pegmatite.

“We’re looking for tonnage and grade, and the grade has been demonstrated to be quite favourable,” Smith says. “The program added more tonnage potential through the CV3 and CV4 pegmatites, which show there might be multiple parallel structures. Because we have large occurrences over a three-kilometre strike length, it is inferred that it could be decent depth and that’s how to build tonnage. So now we have a structure over three kilometres along strike with mineralized spodumene-bearing pegmatite at either end. This is very positive because pegmatites tend to occur in swarms and congregations.”

The potential strike could be much greater yet, thanks to recent property expansions. In August the company staked another 4,918 hectares, more than doubling Corvette’s size. The following month 92 announced a 75% earn-in on Osisko’s neighbouring FCI claims, adding 14,034 hectares to the project and putting a potential strike of 15 kilometres into one package.

“Satellite imagery suggests favourable-looking outcrops there as well, so we’re pretty excited about that. We now have a lot of strike length that remains to be evaluated on the joint venture with Osisko, as well as drill-ready targets on the CV1 and 2 pegmatites.”

With a $250,000 work commitment for year one, FCI might take precedence over CV1 and 2. Plans will be determined shortly by a committee made up of two reps from each company. Osisko will act as operator on FCI in accordance with a previous ownership agreement.

Outcrops, pegmatites and spodumene mean lithium for 92 Resources

An earn-in with Osisko Mining
expands Corvette’s size and potential.

Gold and base metals possibilities also merit attention. An earlier grab sample from FCI reported by Virginia Mines brought historic, non-43-101 results of 38.1 g/t gold, while another graded 0.3 g/t gold, 150 g/t silver, 1.89% copper, 11.15% lead and 1.45% zinc.

Interestingly, that was the report that tipped off 92 about Corvette’s lithium potential. Not focused on the energy metal, Virginia just briefly noted the presence of pegmatite. Intrigued, 92 made an initial one-day visit in October 2017 “and saw massive spodumene sparkling on this big outcrop,” remembers Smith. Grab samples revealed 0.8%, 3.48% and 7.32% Li2O from the then-unnamed CV1 pegmatite and 1.22% from CV2, which also returned 90 ppm Ta2O5.

Currently helicopter-accessible, the exploration area sits about 15 kilometres south of the all-season Trans-Taiga Road and transmission line.

92’s also been busy with lithium-bearing pegmatite on its Pontax project, roughly 260 crow-flying kilometres southwest of Corvette. A week of work curtailed by last summer’s forest fires brought one grab sample grading 0.94% Li2O and 520 ppm Ta2O5, while another taken 600 metres away showed 0.72% Li2O and 87 ppm Ta2O5. A third sample taken another 1.3 kilometres along strike assayed 631 ppm Ta2O5 and an anomalous 0.02% Li2O.

“The samples come from an area of large outcrops that likely connect. The samples are random and separated by a decent distance, so they’re probably representative,” says Smith. “It’s a very good secondary project that complements Corvette.”

The company holds two other James Bay-region properties hosting pegmatite, Eastmain and Lac du Beryl. Looking at an entirely different energy-related commodity, 92 filed a 43-101 technical report for the Golden frac sand project in southern British Columbia last April. Located adjacent to the Moberly silica mine where Northern Silica restarted operations last year, Golden “hits the criteria for grade, rail and other infrastructure, proximity to markets and commodity demand,” says Smith.

As for Corvette, “I think it has enormous potential. It has a lot of tonnage potential, it’s in a new area, the geology works and the next program could really make the difference. So it’s positioned with a maximum amount of upside. The Osisko deal is very positive too and they’re a good partner to have, so I think 92 is well-positioned to really maximize the value of this asset.”

Saville Resources president Mike Hodge discusses the fall field program on the company’s niobium-tantalum project in Quebec

October 30th, 2018

…Read more

92 Resources expands Quebec lithium potential with new pegmatite discovery

October 25th, 2018

by Greg Klein | October 25, 2018

While remaining focused on its flagship Corvette project, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY announced surface exploration results from another Quebec lithium property. A week of field work at the James Bay-region Pontax project found pegmatite hosting lithium along with tantalum. One outcrop grab sample graded 0.94% Li2O and 520 ppm Ta2O5, while another taken 600 metres away assayed 0.72% Li2O and 87 ppm Ta2O5. A third sample taken another 1.3 kilometres along strike revealed 631 ppm Ta2O5 and an anomalous 0.02% Li2O.

92 Resources expands Quebec lithium potential with new pegmatite discovery

Last summer’s field program found lithium-bearing pegmatite
at surface on 92 Resources’ Pontax property in northern Quebec.

The program followed a review of historic work, satellite imagery and last spring’s tightly spaced airborne magnetic survey. Satellite imagery suggests the presence of several outcrops which might indicate a larger body under thin overburden, the company stated.

Further prospecting brought samples grading up to 141 ppb gold. Forest fires limited work, leaving some geophysical targets yet to be assessed.

The 5,536-hectare property sits in a region hosting other lithium projects including Nemaska Lithium’s (TSX:NMX) Whabouchi mine now under construction about 90 kilometres east.

Last month 92 Resources announced channel sample results from Corvette, another James Bay-region project and the company’s flagship. Forty samples taken from the property’s CV1 pegmatite ranged between 0.02% and 3.85% Li2O, averaging 1.35%. CV1 samples also averaged 109 ppm Ta2O5, while CV2 pegmatite samples averaged 138 ppm Ta2O5.

CV3 and CV4, two recently discovered spodumene-bearing pegmatites, showed grab samples grading 1.61% Li2O and 0.74% Li2O respectively. The company has permitting underway for an initial drill program on CV1 and CV2, and plans follow-up surface work on CV3 and CV4.

Earlier last month 92 Resources signed a 75% option on adjoining claims that make up the eastern area of Osisko Mining’s (TSX:OSK) FCI property. The acquisition would place the entire pegmatite trend currently defined by Corvette’s four known pegmatites in one project.

In April 92 Resources filed a 43-101 technical report on the Golden silica property in eastern British Columbia.  The company has optioned its Hidden Lake lithium project in the Northwest Territories to Far Resources CSE:FAT, which earned an initial 60% on completing last summer’s 10-hole drill campaign.

Depending on the enemy

October 10th, 2018

The U.S. calls for new supply strategies to meet economic and defence risks

by Greg Klein

The goal might be summed up by a new slogan: Make America Self-Reliant Again. Or, with a tad less concision: Let’s Stop Relying on an Economic Rival that’s a Potential Military Threat for the Stuff We Need to Compete with an Economic Rival that’s a Potential Military Threat.

A newly released study from the U.S. Secretary of Defense illustrates that absurd dilemma. The dependency runs the gamut from sourcing raw materials to refining them, manufacturing key components, developing R&D, training workers, even setting prices. As the report says, “The central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition by what the National Security Strategy classifies as revisionist powers. It is increasingly clear that China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model—gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions.”

The U.S. calls for new supply chain strategies to meet economic and defence risks

But Russia merits little mention in the 146-page document. China comes up again and again as the pre-eminent economic and military threat with a long-term hegemonic strategy.

That strategy’s been very successful, leaving the U.S. sorely unprepared for the resulting risks. Ordered by President Donald Trump in July 2017, the report urges a government-wide program to address the entire range of supply chain challenges.

The 2010 Senkaku incident, dramatic as it was, can be seen as a mere microcosm of a much bigger threat.

“China’s domination of the rare earth element market illustrates the potentially dangerous interaction between Chinese economic aggression guided by its strategic industrial policies and vulnerabilities and gaps in America’s manufacturing and defense industrial base,” the report warns. “China has strategically flooded the global market with rare earths at subsidized prices, driven out competitors, and deterred new market entrants. When China needs to flex its soft power muscles by embargoing rare earths, it does not hesitate, as Japan learned in a 2010 maritime dispute.”

It was a lesson learned by other countries too. The report describes rare earths as “critical elements used across many of the major weapons systems the U.S. relies on for national security, including lasers, radar, sonar, night vision systems, missile guidance, jet engines, and even alloys for armored vehicles.”

Rare earths figure prominently in the U.S. list of 35 critical minerals drafted last February and confirmed in May. American dependency was further highlighted when the country dropped rare earths from a revised list of tariffs on Chinese imports announced in September.

China’s soft power hardball has targeted other American allies as well, waging “aggressive economic warfare” against South Korea after the country installed an American air defence system. Other examples of “economic coercion” include “a ban on Philippine bananas over territorial disputes in the South China Sea; the aforementioned restriction of rare earth exports to Japan following the Senkaku Islands dispute in 2010; persistent economic intimidation against Taiwan; and the recent ceding of a Sri Lankan port.”

China can play nice too. But at a price. The country invests heavily in developing countries, often building infrastructure “in exchange for an encumbrance on their natural resources and access to their markets.”

As for Chinese electronics exports, they “lack the level of scrutiny placed on U.S. manufacturers, driving lower yields and higher rates of failures in downstream production, and raising the risk of ‘Trojan’ chips and viruses infiltrating U.S. defense systems.”

Technological expertise becomes a strategic weapon too. “As part of its industrial policy aggression, China has forced many American companies to offshore their R&D in exchange for access to the Chinese market.”

With an advanced-stage rare earths project in northern Quebec as well as advanced-stage tantalum-niobium in southern British Columbia, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE president Chris Grove keeps tabs on Canada’s neighbour. “People in Washington tell me the anxiety level on these issues has never been higher,” he notes.

Here’s the world’s biggest military and they’re saying, ‘We need Chinese stuff to make it all work?’ That’s really for most Americans an absolutely untenable and unbelievable position of weakness.—Chris Grove,
president of Commerce Resources

“Apart from the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China, there’s the vulnerability of the U.S. military. Here’s the world’s biggest military and they’re saying, ‘We need Chinese stuff to make it all work?’ That’s really for most Americans an absolutely untenable and unbelievable position of weakness.”

Sources in Washington encouraged Grove to apply for a research grant from the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency. If successful, the application would bring up to $3 million to further metallurgical progress on his company’s Ashram rare earths project, advancing a potential source in a stable and allied country.

That would complement one of the report’s key recommendations, to “diversify away from complete dependency on sources of supply in politically unstable countries who may cut off U.S. access; diversification strategies may include re-engineering, expanded use of the National Defense Stockpile program, or qualification of new suppliers.”

Other recommendations include creating an industrial policy that supports national security, working with allies and partners on industrial development, expanding industrial investment, addressing manufacturing and industrial risk within the energy and nuclear sectors, encouraging home-grown scientific expertise and occupational skills, and exploring next generation technology for future threats.

In ordering the study, Trump stated the loss of key companies, over 60,000 American factories and almost five million manufacturing jobs since 2000 “threatens to undermine the capacity and capabilities of United States manufacturers to meet national defense requirements and raises concerns about the health of the manufacturing and defense industrial base.”