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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)

Belmont Resources finds lithium grades extending at depth, plans more Nevada drilling this month

November 1st, 2018

by Greg Klein | November 1, 2018

As the crew drills deeper into the Kibby Basin project, assays continue to show “consistently high levels of lithium,” Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA announced November 1. The results come from the previously reported hole KB-3 but at depths between 387.3 metres and 548.4 metres. A 42.4-metre section brought a weighted average of 393 ppm lithium.

Belmont Resources finds lithium grades extending at depth, plans more Nevada drilling this month

Another round of drilling along with downhole
geophysics will keep the Kibby Basin team busy this month.

Some highlights included 530 ppm lithium over 3.05 metres, 530 ppm over 1.83 metres, 520 ppm over 3.05 metres, 470 ppm over 3.05 metres, 510 ppm over 3.05 metres, 480 ppm over 3.05 metres and 420 ppm over 3.05 metres. Out of 59 samples, six surpassed 500 ppm while 41 exceeded 300 ppm.

The news follows two batches of KB-3 assays released in September, both reaching highs of 580 ppm. One batch brought a 30.5-metre section averaging 415 ppm, while the second showed 20 samples above 100 ppm, seven of them beyond 375 ppm.

The autumn agenda calls for more drilling this month, accompanied by downhole geophysics to search for possible lithium brine permeable and conductive zones above and within the magnetotelluric conductor found last February, Belmont added. Groundwater and sediment samples will undergo analysis.

MGX Minerals CSE:XMG has until year-end to earn another 25% of the 2,056-hectare project, raising its interest to 50% and opening the way to a joint venture that would use MGX’s proprietary lithium rapid extraction technology.

The companies compare Kibby Basin to Clayton Valley, about 65 kilometres south and home to North America’s only operating lithium mine. Similarities include a “closed structural basin, a large conductor at depth, lithium anomalies at surface and depth, evidence of a geothermal system and potential aquifers in porous ash and gravel zones.”

Belmont’s portfolio also includes a 50% stake in northern Saskatchewan’s Crackingstone and Orbit Lake uranium properties, with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT holding the other half.

Last July Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont CFO/director Gary Musil.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals expand Nevada lithium drilling

October 16th, 2018

by Greg Klein | October 16, 2018

Similarities to the Clayton Valley and successful exploration so far have prompted two potential JV partners to plan a busy autumn at their Kibby Basin lithium project. Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG now plan up to 1,465 metres over four holes in an area where geophysics found a strong magnetotelluric conductor. Added to the agenda are downhole geophysics to search for possible aquifers.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals expand Nevada lithium drilling

Drilling begins soon on a program that follows last season’s
encouraging lithium results at Kibby Basin in Nevada.

Earlier this month the companies delivered another 59 core samples from hole KB-3 for assays. In September Belmont and MGX announced results from the same hole that twice reached a high of 580 ppm lithium.

This season’s downhole geophysics will take over where previous water samples met unexpected technical complications. Lithium concentrations in water samples failed to show anomalous results despite the core sample assays. A new approach including downhole geophysics will “improve the chances to accurately locate layers of high conductivity and porosity and allow high-quality, representative samples to be taken where lithium concentrations are potentially higher,” the companies stated.

Having already earned 25% of the project, MGX has until year-end to increase its stake to 50%. The companies hope to form a 50/50 JV that would use rapid lithium extraction technology developed by MGX. The method won MGX the Base and Specialty Metals Industry Leadership Award at the 2018 S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards in London last May.

Located about 50 kilometres north of Clayton Valley, the 2,056-hectare Kibby Basin project shares a number of similarities with the region hosting North America’s only lithium-producing operation, including a “closed structural basin, a large conductor at depth, lithium anomalies at surface and depth, evidence of a geothermal system and potential aquifers in porous ash and gravel zones,” the companies stated.

In northern Saskatchewan Belmont and International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT share a 50/50 stake in the Crackingstone and Orbit Lake uranium properties.

Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000 in July.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont CFO/director Gary Musil.

Cross-country events mark Investor Education Month

October 2nd, 2018

by Greg Klein | October 2, 2018

Following the ounce-of-prevention principle, securities commissions across Canada plan a number of initiatives to encourage smarter, safer investment strategies. A month of events begins with World Investor Week, in which Canadian regulators join the International Organization of Securities Commissions from October 1 to 7. Here’s an outline of this country’s events from province to province.

British Columbia
The B.C. Securities Commission will release new research on millennials this month, along with new tools to help people understand their investment returns. The BCSC also plans design updates to InvestRight.org to improve its efficacy.

Cross-country events mark Investor Education Month

Alberta
A digital education campaign called Spot the Odd will raise awareness of the Alberta Securities Commission’s free resources as well as encourage financial literacy and fraud awareness. A number of activities across the province will include Don’t Get Tricked, to be held in Calgary on October 17.  The ASC provides other resources on CheckFirst.ca.  

Saskatchewan
The province’s Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority has a cryptocurrency awareness campaign slated for Facebook, Twitter, the FCAA website and YouTube. In addition, businesses planning to use cryptocurrencies are invited to discuss their project with the FCAA to learn whether it falls under securities legislation.

Manitoba
The Manitoba Securities Commission will formally launch MoneySmartManitoba.ca to promote financial literacy and planning. The MSC will also take to the Twittersphere with news, tips and strategies for investors.

Ontario
The Ontario Securities Commission plans social media chats on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #IEM2018. The OSC also hosts GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca, plans a telephone townhall for October 10, presents public events around the province with OSC in the Community and further encourages awareness through an investor newsletter.

Participating in World Investor Week helps promote investor education and protection both locally and globally.—Tyler Fleming,
Ontario Securities Commission

Quebec
L’Autorité des marchés financiers will release results of its fourth Financial Awareness Index, measuring the public’s knowledge and use of financial products and services. The AMF will also present the third edition of its Talking Money in Class! contest for high school teachers and take part in the Quebec Seniors’ Fair.

New Brunswick
The Financial and Consumer Services Commission will present online info with special emphasis on initial coin offerings. For more tips on fraud, investors may visit fcnb.ca and follow the commission on Facebook and Twitter. The Fortune online trivia game allows investors to compete with others across the province to learn more and win prizes.

In addition to all that, the Canadian Securities Administrators umbrella group offers its own online tools and resources. The CSA invites the public to take advantage of Investor Education Month and World Investor Week by following @CSA_News on Twitter and @CSA.ACVM on Facebook.

Read: Regulators emphasize innovation and deterrence as financial sanctions fail.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals continue to find lithium at depth in Nevada

September 28th, 2018

by Greg Klein | September 28, 2018

More assays from hole KB-3 at Nevada’s Kibby Basin project show additional lithium at depths between 387.3 metres and 548.4 metres. Earlier this month Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG announced KB-3 results for a section between 338.5 and 369 metres in depth which averaged 415 parts per million lithium and reached a high of 580 ppm. The latest batch comes from 25 core samples representing different lithologies. Twenty of the samples surpassed 100 ppm lithium, with seven of them exceeding 375 ppm. One sample matched the high reported on September 12 of 580 ppm.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals continue to find lithium at depth in Nevada

Kibby Basin’s first hole of the season
continues to deliver.

Ash layers accounted for four samples below 100 ppm, “suggesting that initial lithium content may have been leached from the porous ash layers and transported to brines elsewhere in the basin,” the companies stated.

KB-3 tested the southern part of a strong magnetotelluric conductor that “still has potential for saturated sediments containing lithium-rich brines.” Geophysical data suggests a second hole might similarly find an aquifer between 274.5 and 305 metres and reduced clays potentially with high lithium content below 305 metres’ depth.

Comparing Kibby Basin with the lithium-producing Clayton Valley 50 kilometres south, Belmont and MGX note similarities in a “closed structural basin, a large conductor at depth, lithium anomalies at surface and depth, evidence of a geothermal system and potential aquifers in porous ash and gravel zones.”

MGX is working on its initial 25% of a possible 50% earn-in for the 2,056-hectare project. Last May the company’s rapid lithium extraction technology won the Base and Specialty Metals Industry Leadership Award at the 2018 S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards in London.

Belmont also holds the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick, where historic, non-43-101 samples suggest potential for zinc, copper and cobalt. In northern Saskatchewan Belmont and International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT each hold a 50/50 share of two uranium properties.

In July Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont CFO/director Gary Musil.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals reach 580 ppm lithium in season’s first hole

September 12th, 2018

by Greg Klein | September 12, 2018

Sixty-five kilometres north of Nevada’s Clayton Valley, encouraging assays from the first hole of the year averaged 415 parts per million lithium at Kibby Basin, with a high of 580 ppm. Belmont Resources’ (TSXV:BEA) earn-in partner MGX Minerals CSE:XMG collected 125 samples from mud rotary drilling to 387 metres in downhole depth, then continued with small-diameter core drilling to 548 metres.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals average 415 ppm lithium in Nevada

With promising results from the program’s first hole, Belmont
Resources and MGX Minerals have more drilling planned.

The assays came from a section between 338.5 and 369 metres in depth. Results are pending for 25 core samples from the lower section, as well as for water samples. This hole targeted the southern area of a large magnetotelluric conductor, finding four zones of sand and gravel that might represent brine-bearing aquifers, with one zone showing a potential major aquifer.

A second hole is in the planning stages. Last year’s two-hole campaign, prior to the MT geophysics program, brought assays between 70 ppm and 200 ppm Li2O, with 13 of 25 samples surpassing 100 ppm.

MGX is working towards an initial 25% of the project, with the option of increasing its stake to 50%. Similarities between Kibby Basin and Clayton Valley include a “closed structural basin, large conductor at depth, lithium anomalies at surface and depth, evidence of a geothermal system and potential aquifers in porous ash and gravel zones,” the companies stated.

Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000 in July.

In New Brunswick the company holds the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property, where historic, non-43-101 sampling suggests zinc, copper and cobalt potential. Belmont also shares a 50/50 stake in two Saskatchewan uranium properties with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont CFO/director Gary Musil.

Belmont Resources teams up with MGX Minerals to resume Nevada lithium drilling

July 13th, 2018

by Greg Klein | July 13, 2018

With an option agreement now in place, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA gains a new partner and new money for the Kibby Basin lithium property, 65 kilometres north of Nevada’s Clayton Valley. The deal allows MGX Minerals CSE:XMG to earn an initial 25% interest in the 2,760-hectare property by spending up to $300,000. Work would include a deep test hole on a geophysical anomaly found earlier this year. Should that program meet success, MGX may increase its stake to 50% with up to $300,000 in further expenditures and drilling a second deep test hole. The company would then become operator of a 50/50 joint venture.

Belmont Resources teams up with MGX Minerals to resume Nevada lithium drilling

Ready to get boots on the ground soon, the Kibby Basin
crew will test a geophysical anomaly found earlier this year.

An initial drill program last year consisted of two holes totalling 624 metres. Core samples graded between 70 ppm and 200 ppm Li2O, with 13 of 25 samples exceeding 100 ppm. This year’s program of deep-sensing magnetotelluric geophysics identified a conductive zone that starts at about 500 metres in depth.

Should the JV come into fruition, other potential duties for MGX could include additional exploration, operating a test well, and installing and operating a pilot plant. MGX’s wide range of assets includes a proprietary process to recover lithium, magnesium and other minerals from a variety of brines. The JV would gain access to the process and would also market any lithium or other commodities potentially produced.

“This agreement puts Belmont on secure footing with regard to funding the next stage of evaluation of the Kibby property and, at the same time, enables us to get a significant leg-up on lithium production by partnering with one of the leaders in extraction technology,” commented Belmont CEO James Place.

MGX will also invest $200,000 in a Belmont private placement. In April the latter company closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $198,000.

Belmont’s portfolio also includes the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick, where historic, non-43-101 sampling suggests zinc, copper and cobalt potential. Additionally the company shares a 50/50 interest with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT in two Saskatchewan uranium properties.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont CFO/director Gary Musil.

Update: Belmont Resources permitted for July drilling on Nevada lithium property

June 20th, 2018

by Greg Klein | Updated June 20, 2018

With permits now in hand, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA expects to activate a rig on its Kibby Basin lithium project next month. Once completed, the boreholes may be converted to exploration wells to test for lithium brine aquifers.

Located 65 kilometres north of Nevada’s Clayton Valley, the 2,760-hectare property underwent deep-sensing magnetotelluric geophysics earlier this year, finding a conductive zone that starts at about 500 metres in depth. The program followed last year’s initial drill campaign that sunk two holes totalling 624 metres. Core samples graded between 70 ppm and 200 ppm Li2O, with 13 of 25 samples surpassing 100 ppm.

Preparations move Belmont Resources toward Nevada lithium drilling

This year’s magnetotelluric geophysical program helped identify
drill targets for Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin lithium project.

The company has described the upcoming program as “work of a significant scope” that includes water well installation and monitoring.

In May Belmont announced the appointment of Ian Graham to the company’s advisory board. A former principal geologist with De Beers’ South African division, he also spent 15 years with Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO where he took part in evaluation and pre-development projects including the Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories and the Resolution copper deposit in Arizona. He also oversaw permitting for the Eagle nickel mine in Michigan and played a key role in the initial economic assessment for the Bunder diamond project in India. More recently Graham served as CEO of United Energy Corp, which held a Nevada lithium project.

Belmont also holds the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick, where historic, non-43-101 sampling has shown zinc, copper and cobalt potential. In Saskatchewan the company shares a 50/50 interest with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT in the Crackingstone and Orbit Lake uranium properties.

Belmont closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $198,000 in April.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont CFO/director Gary Musil.

Preparations move Belmont Resources toward Nevada lithium drilling

May 23rd, 2018

This story has been updated and moved here.

Belmont Resources readies drill targets, selective extraction for Nevada lithium

April 6th, 2018

by Greg Klein | April 6, 2018

Supported by a successful financing and encouraging geophysical and drill results, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA prepares to advance its Kibby Basin lithium project on two fronts. The company now plans to sink up to five holes on the 2,760-hectare Nevada property while continuing lithium extraction discussions with other companies that have requested samples.

Belmont Resources readies drill targets, selective extraction for Nevada lithium

A Quantec Geoscience crew member sets induction
coil for this year’s Spartan Magnetotelluric survey.

The drill campaign would be Kibby Basin’s second, following two holes from last year. Core samples graded between 70 ppm and 200 ppm Li2O. Thirteen of 25 samples surpassed 100 ppm, “indicating that the sediments could be a potential source of lithium for the underlying aquifers,” the company stated.

Since then a magnetotelluric survey covered some 36 square kilometres, adding geophysical detail to a 2016 gravity survey and showing a conductive zone that starts about 500 metres in depth.

Backing the campaign will be fresh financing. The second tranche of private placements totalling $198,000 closed this month.

In New Brunswick last November, Belmont acquired the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property, where historic, non-43-101 sampling showed prospectivity for zinc, copper and cobalt. Along with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT, Belmont shares a 50/50 interest in two Saskatchewan uranium properties, Crackingstone and Orbit Lake.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont Resources CFO/director Gary Musil.