Saturday 18th August 2018

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘silver’

Saville Resources discovers new zinc-silver-nickel zone at surface in Quebec

August 8th, 2018

by Greg Klein | August 8, 2018

A property with limited exploration but encouraging geophysics shows further promise following a recent field program. Of eight surface samples collected by Saville Resources TSXV:SRE on its 3,370-hectare Covette project in Quebec’s James Bay region, one returned 1.2% zinc and 68.7 g/t silver, while three others assayed between 0.13% and 0.19% nickel.

Saville Resources discovers new zinc-silver-nickel zone at surface in Quebec

Saville Resources now plans trenching and channel
sampling to follow Covette’s grab sample assays.

Sampling took place along a visible strike of about 200 metres directly above an area of high conductivity found by a 2016 VTEM program that spotted several EM conductors coinciding with strong magnetic anomalies.

Underlying the region is a greenstone belt “comprised of various mafic to ultramafic rock units considered prospective for base and precious metals (nickel-copper-cobalt-platinum group elements-gold-silver), as well as pegmatite-hosted rare metals (lithium-tantalum),” Saville reported. “Komatiites have also been described in the region with such rock types known to host significant nickel-copper massive sulphide deposits at other localities globally, adding further to the prospective nature of the region.”

A sampling program in 2017 brought 0.18% nickel, 0.09% copper and 87 ppm cobalt. One historic, non-43-101 grab sample returned 4.7% molybdenum, 0.73% bismuth, 0.09% lead and 6 g/t silver. Another historic sample showed 1.2 g/t silver and 0.18% copper.

Further plans include follow-up trenching and channel sampling. Saville filed a 43-101 technical report on the property and closed its 100% acquisition in June.

Covette sits about 190 kilometres east of the town of Radisson and 10 kilometres north of the all-weather Trans-Taiga road and the adjacent hydro-electricity transmission line.

In another northern Quebec project, Saville has a 43-101 technical report underway for the Miranna claims situated on the Eldor property that hosts Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) advanced-stage Ashram rare earths deposit. Saville would acquire a 75% earn-in subject to exchange approval. In April the companies released niobium-tantalum boulder sample grades as high as 4.3% Nb2O5 and 700 ppm Ta2O5.

Last month Saville offered two private placements totalling up to $2 million.

Read more about Saville Resources.

More than just money

June 27th, 2018

The Royal Canadian Mint breaks the numismatic mould to cast creative coins

by Greg Klein

The Royal Canadian Mint breaks the numismatic mould to cast creative coins

Although often extending the bounds of traditional coinage, the Mint acknowledged its heritage
with a Colonial Currency of the Atlantic Provinces set that mimics the condition of used currency.
(All photos: Royal Canadian Mint)

 

Money’s appeal couldn’t be more obvious, yet coins specifically bring to mind values intrinsic, speculative or esthetic. By no means neglecting the first two, the Royal Canadian Mint has been emphasizing the third, and in ways increasingly innovative. Issuing over 200 such products each year, its “coins” have become more and more exotic. That shows in two recent releases, which can be said to source their materials from the end of the Earth and beyond.

“As a commercial Crown corporation, we don’t rely on any taxpayer funding to finance our operations,” explains communications officer Alex Reeves. “So we need to finance ourselves and that has led us to a number of competitive fields, collector coins being one, bullion being a big part of it as well, and foreign circulating coins also.”

Although this year’s Q1 results suggest more modest gains, the Mint reported a 2017 consolidated profit of $36.1 million, up from $24.5 million the previous year and buoyed partly by Canada 150 collectibles. Ottawa raked in $93.2 million in dividends last year.

While the Bank of Canada prints paper money, the Mint strikes currency coins for Canada as well as countries on every continent. Its bullion, especially the one-ounce Maple Leaf gold coin, is sought after by the world’s speculators and hoarders, as well as collectors.

But can the Mint’s increasingly creative collectibles still be considered coinage? Yes, according to Reeves. “They are coins by definition as legal tender, having a denomination and identifying country of origin,” he points out. That doesn’t mean they can’t be innovative.

“Collectors come to us from all over the world so innovation helps us stand out in a crowded marketplace. We use it to get people’s attention and increase the appeal of our products.”

The Royal Canadian Mint breaks the numismatic mould to cast creative coins

That’s illustrated in the two newest releases. Each commemorating a special date, one coin contains purely Nunavut-mined gold, the other a little chunk of meteorite.

The gold coin gets its yellow metal from TMAC Resources’ (TSX:TMR) Hope Bay and Agnico Eagle Mines’ (TSX:AEM) Meadowbank to present Andrew Qappik’s images of a walrus, ptarmigan, polar bear, bowhead whale and narwhal. In another innovation, the one-tenth-ounce piece has the same diameter as a quarter-ounce coin, providing a larger canvas for the Inuk artist’s work. Part of the Symbols of the North series, the coin anticipates Nunavut’s 20th anniversary next April.

“Our Inuit employees, suppliers and partners can all take great pride in knowing that they have participated in making this unique coin that celebrates their heritage and culture,” commented Agnico Eagle CEO Sean Boyd. With a face value of $20, the coin sells for $359 in a limited mintage of 1,500.

At a ceremony attended by former Canadian astronaut Dave Williams, the Mint used the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s 150th anniversary to unveil “a truly out-of-this-world collectible.” As if to make the one-ounce silver coin impractical for vending machines, a bit of rock from Campo del Cielo sticks out of the surface. The fragment fell to earth about 4,500 years ago when the Argentinian field underwent a meteorite bombardment.

The Royal Canadian Mint breaks the numismatic mould to cast creative coins

Using designs from Canadian artist Alexandra Lefort, the coin depicts the Eagle Nebula and its pillars of interstellar gas and dust along with the Moon, the Andromeda Galaxy and a blazing meteorite in addition to the genuine iron-enriched supplement.

Also with a $20 face value, 5,500 versions—each unique for the shape of its other-worldly content—went on the market for $149.95 each.

In April the Mint marked another extra-terrestrial event with an elliptical black-light-glowing piece portraying Manitoba’s 1967 Falcon Lake UFO sighting.

Last year’s glow-in-the-dark toonie was named Most Innovative Circulating Coin by the International Mint Directors Conference.

The Mint’s collectibles date back to a 1935 silver dollar commemorating King George V’s Silver Jubilee and portraying a voyageur paddling his canoe against a faint Northern Lights backdrop. “It gradually evolved to commemorative circulation coins, coin sets and then, with the advent of the Montreal Olympics, we started producing a higher volume of annual collector coins in silver and some in gold as well,” Reeves says. “We’ve continued to grow that part of our business.”

The Royal Canadian Mint breaks the numismatic mould to cast creative coins

Some other unusual creations this month included a six-ounce silver coin with a gold-plated miniature carousel that rotates with the help of a magnet. “Even the horses move up and down on this dazzling creation which is limited to a worldwide mintage of only 1,000,” states a promo.

But musical accompaniment, apparently, has thus far escaped the Mint’s R&D ingeniousness.

Still, last May Mint boffins announced one of their most complicated technical projects ever with a “coin” that’s half of a miniature Stanley Cup. “If you put two of them together, you would have an entire Stanley Cup replica, albeit a fraction of the size of the actual trophy,” the Mint quoted techie Michael Groves. He compared the project’s complexity to that of the Mint’s 100-kilo, million-dollar gold coin and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics medals.

To keep the ideas flowing, the Mint maintains two R&D departments, one at the Winnipeg home of circulating coin production, the other in Ottawa, location of the head office, as well as bullion and collectible production.

“We do have a broad range of expertise in our staff and it’s something we take seriously and keep investing in,” Reeves says. “We see ourselves as industry leaders for innovation” with some examples including colouring processes and security features. “We’ve made security features on our bullion coins that can’t be found elsewhere, and we have a broad range of innovation on our collector products as well. It benefits the industry if you’re able to raise the bar, create something new and inspire others to look at their own ways of improving coin-making or coming up with something brand new.”

Whether others have been inspired to imitate the Mint’s ideas or steal them is a question currently before Australian courts. The Mint has demanded its Down Under counterpart turn over or destroy some $2 million worth of collectibles that allegedly appropriated a patented method of applying colour to metal. Australia responded with a counter-claim asking that Canada’s patent be declared invalid.

But high-tech expertise notwithstanding, Canada’s coin creator won’t be venturing into the world of cryptocurrencies, Reeves insists. “The Mint is a manufacturer of physical coins, of cash in other words, and for the foreseeable future we see cash continuing to play an important role in Canadian daily commerce. We’re going to continue innovating in that area in ways that increase the security and durability of our products.”

Learn more about the Royal Canadian Mint.

Royal Canadian Mint breaks the numismatic mould to cast creative coins

June 26th, 2018

This story has been expanded and moved here.

Saville Resources closes Quebec nickel-copper-cobalt acquisition, files 43-101, readies summer program

June 26th, 2018

by Greg Klein | June 26, 2018

An undrilled property with encouraging geophysical results will undergo a summer field program, now that Saville Resources TSXV:SRE has finalized its acquisition of the James Bay-region Covette project. A 1,402-line VTEM survey from 2016 outlined at least six areas of high conductivity on the 3,315-hectare property, with one zone extending southeast about 4.5 kilometres and another trending northeast. Those areas “need to be evaluated,” stated a 43-101 technical report filed this month.

Saville Resources closes Quebec nickel-copper-cobalt acquisition, files 43-101, readies summer program

A pegmatite ridge on Saville Resources’ Covette
project, which now has Phase I field work planned.

Sampling conducted last year showed 0.18% nickel, 0.09% copper and 87 ppm cobalt, but the field program wasn’t sufficient to explain the source of the VTEM anomalies, which may indicate a source at depth, the company stated.

An historic, non-43-101 sample assayed 4.7% molybdenum, 0.73% bismuth, 0.09% lead and 6 g/t silver. Another brought 1.2 g/t silver and 0.18% copper.

A Phase I field program recommended by the technical report would include detailed mapping and sampling in areas of high-conductivity, channel sampling and further geophysics. The project sits about 10 kilometres north of the all-weather Trans-Taiga road and adjacent transmission line.

Meanwhile work continues on another Quebec acquisition as Saville prepares a 43-101 technical report on the Miranna claims, located on the Eldor property that hosts Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) advanced-stage rare earths deposit. In April the companies reported assays as high as 4.3% Nb2O5 and 700 ppm Ta2O5, results in line with previous high grades. Subject to exchange approval, Saville would acquire a 75% earn-in on Miranna.

Read more about Saville Resources.

Pistol Bay Mining releases zinc-copper assays from Ontario, prepares for new drilling

June 13th, 2018

by Greg Klein | June 13, 2018

As a long-overdue modern exploration program continues on northwestern Ontario’s Confederation Lake, Pistol Bay Mining TSXV:PST released assays for an initial three-hole 1,555-metre program on the property’s Arrow zone. The results “confirm the consistent nature of mineralization in the Arrow zone and give us more confidence in the existing mineral resource estimate,” noted president/CEO Charles Desjardins. The assays show:

Hole GL18-01

  • 0.73% copper, 2.22% zinc, 12 g/t silver, 0.307 g/t gold and 0.03% lead for 4.34% zinc-equivalent over 10.9 metres, starting at 432.7 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.69% copper, 4.49% zinc, 22.2 g/t silver, 0.217 g/t gold and 0.1% lead for 6.65% zinc-equivalent over 2.9 metres)
  • (and including 1.16% copper, 1.48% zinc, 12.8 g/t silver, 0.64 g/t gold and 0.01% lead for 4.91% zinc-equivalent over 3 metres)
Pistol Bay Mining releases zinc-copper assays from Ontario, prepares for new drilling

Drilling will soon resume
at Confederation Lake’s
Fredart zone.

GL18-03

  • 0.13% copper, 1.13% zinc, 3.3 g/t silver, 0.044 g/t gold and 0.02% lead for 1.54% zinc-equivalent over 12.9 metres, starting at 563.1 metres
  • (including 0.2% copper, 1.93% zinc, 4.3 g/t silver, 0.083 g/t gold and 0.04% lead for 2.54% zinc-equivalent over 3.8 metres)
  • (which includes 0.11% copper, 2.69% zinc, 3.4 g/t silver, 0.04 g/t gold and 0.07% lead for 3.09% zinc-equivalent over 1.5 metres)
  • (and also includes 0.48% copper, 2.92% zinc, 8.5 g/t silver, 0.15 g/t gold and 0.05% lead for 4.28% zinc-equivalent over 1.3 metres)

True widths weren’t provided.

In early May the company released the program’s first hole, showing 5.15% zinc-equivalent over 12.85 metres.

Last year Pistol Bay filed a 43-101 resource for Arrow, with a base case 3% zinc-equivalent cutoff for an inferred category showing:

  • 2.1 million tonnes averaging 5.78% zinc, 0.72% copper,19.5 g/t silver and 0.6 g/t gold, for a zinc-equivalent grade of 8.42%

Contained amounts come to:

  • 274 million pounds zinc, 34.3 million pounds copper, 1.33 million ounces silver and 41,000 ounces gold

As the rig moves to the project’s Fredart copper-gold zone, the team keeps busy re-compiling all Arrow drill results and incorporating new surveys of collar locations and azimuths using differential GPS equipment, Pistol Bay stated.

Although Fredart underwent extensive drilling between 1965 and 1985, the zone lacks a 43-101 resource due to uncertainty about drill hole locations and the lack of previous core to confirm historic assays, the company added.

The drill campaign follows the 15,000-hectare property’s first survey by modern geophysics which, in another first for Confederation Lake, was conducted on a regional scale.

Read more about Pistol Bay Mining.

Streamers turn to cobalt as Vale extends Voisey’s Bay nickel operations

June 11th, 2018

by Greg Klein | June 11, 2018

It was a day of big moves for energy minerals as China bought into Ivanhoe, Vale lengthened Voisey’s and streaming companies went after the Labrador nickel mine’s cobalt.

On June 11 Robert Friedland announced CITIC Metal would pay $723 million for a 19.9% interest in Ivanhoe Mines TSX:IVN, surpassing the boss’ own 17% stake to make the Chinese state-owned company Ivanhoe’s largest single shareholder. Another $78 million might also materialize, should China’s Zijin Mining Group decide to exercise its anti-dilution rights to increase its current 9.9% piece of Ivanhoe.

Streamers turn to cobalt as Vale extends Voisey’s Bay nickel operations

At peak production, Voisey’s underground operations are expected to
ship about 45,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate annually to Vale’s
processing plant at Long Harbour, Newfoundland.

Proceeds would help develop the flagship Kamoa-Kakula copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Platreef platinum-palladium-nickel-copper-gold mine in South Africa, as well as upgrade the DRC’s historic Kipushi zinc-copper-silver-germanium mine. Ivanhoe and Zijin each hold a 39.6% share in the Kamoa-Kakula joint venture.

Even bigger news came from St. John’s, where Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball joined Vale NYSE:VALE brass to herald the company’s decision to extend Voisey’s Bay operations by building an underground mine.

The announcement marked the 16th anniversary of Vale’s original decision to put Voisey (a Friedland company discovery) into production. Mining began in 2005, producing about $15 billion worth of nickel, copper and cobalt so far. Open pit operations were expected to end by 2022. Although a 2013 decision to go ahead with underground development was confirmed in 2015, the commitment seemed uncertain as nickel prices fell. That changed dramatically over the last 12 months.

With construction beginning this summer, nearly $2 billion in new investment should have underground operations running by April 2021, adding at least 15 years to Voisey’s life. The company estimates 16,000 person-years of employment during five years of construction, followed by 1,700 jobs at the underground mine and Long Harbour processing plant, with 2,135 person-years in indirect and induced employment annually.

Nickel’s 75% price improvement over the last year must have prodded Vale’s decision. But streaming companies were quick to go after Voisey’s cobalt. In separate deals Wheaton Precious Metals TSX:WPM and Cobalt 27 Capital TSXV:KBLT have agreed to buy a total of 75% of the mine’s cobalt beginning in 2021, paying US$390 million and US$300 million respectively. They foresee an average 2.6 million pounds of cobalt per year for the first 10 years, with a life-of-mine average of 2.4 million pounds annually.

Both companies attribute cobalt’s attraction to clean energy demand and a decided lack of DRC-style jurisdictional risk. But Vale also emphasizes nickel’s promise as a battery metal. Last month spokesperson Robert Morris told Metal Bulletin that nickel demand for EVs could rise 10-fold by 2025, reaching 350,000 to 500,000 tonnes.

Total nickel demand currently sits at slightly more than two million tonnes, Morris said. New supply would call for price increases well above the record levels set this year, he added.

Golden Dawn Minerals reports high gold-copper grades in B.C., prepares for trial mining

June 11th, 2018

by Greg Klein | June 11, 2018

Channel sample results from the face of previous underground workings auger well for plans to re-start southern British Columbia’s Lexington mine, Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM stated June 11. The company released several dozen assays from a campaign that’s collected 339 samples so far. Four of the best composite results showed:

  • 30.18 g/t gold and 4.93% copper (37.57 g/t gold-equivalent) over 1.8 metres

  • 26.67 g/t gold and 1.77% copper (29.33 g/t gold-equivalent) over 2.3 metres

  • 13.41 g/t gold and 2.08% copper (16.54 g/t gold-equivalent) over 3.9 metres

  • 17.04 g/t gold and 3.42% copper (22.16 g/t gold-equivalent) over 2.6 metres
Golden Dawn Minerals reports high gold-copper grades in B.C. while preparing for trial mining

Underground refurbishment, equipment maintenance,
engineering studies and permitting bring the Lexington mine
closer to renewed operations.

The grades bolster confidence in the 2016 resource and would help reduce dilution of mill feed during trial mining, anticipated to begin later this year, the company stated. Having produced a PEA for its Greenwood properties last year, Golden Dawn hopes to re-start some of the former mines without de-risking at the feasibility level. The 15,400-hectare portfolio includes 31 historic mines. Processing would take place at the company’s nearby Greenwood mill, a 212-tpd facility that’s expandable to 400 tpd.

Using a base case cutoff of 3.5 g/t gold-equivalent, Lexington’s resource shows:

  • measured: 58,000 tonnes averaging 6.98 g/t gold and 1.1% copper (8.63 g/t gold-equivalent) for 16,100 gold-equivalent ounces

  • indicated: 314,000 tonnes averaging 6.38 g/t gold and 1.04% copper (7.94 g/t gold-equivalent) for 80,200 gold-equivalent ounces

  • inferred: 12,000 tonnes averaging 4.42 g/t gold and 1.03% copper (5.96 g/t gold-equivalent) for 2,300 gold-equivalent ounces

Under a previous operator between April and December 2008, the mine produced 5,486 ounces of gold, 3,247 ounces of silver and 860,259 pounds of copper.

Recent work suggests possible extensions to the northwest of two potential parallel mineralized zones near Lexington’s Main zone. Golden Dawn also sees a “one-kilometre-long trend of favourable host rocks” stretching from Lexington into the former Lone Star mine just across the border in Washington state. “The favourable stratigraphy also extends over three kilometres to the northwest through the historic Lexington, Mable and Number 7 mines, where minimal past exploration drilling was done,” the company stated. Previous sampling shows further potential around the nearby City of Paris former mine, Golden Dawn added.

The company continues its extensive work on Lexington’s mine infrastructure, equipment, engineering studies and permitting.

Earlier this month Golden Dawn closed a $734,700 first tranche of a private placement offered up to $5.4 million. Last month the company issued shares to repay $160,339 in debt to Lind Asset Management.

Read more about Golden Dawn Minerals.

Fabled Klondike gateway sold to cruise ship line for US$290 million

June 7th, 2018

by Greg Klein | June 7, 2018

It’s been a local fixture for decades but a company that panders to pampered argonauts will officially take over the Alaska panhandle port of Skagway. This of course was the landing point for an earlier, much hardier breed nicknamed after Jason and his buddies of Golden Fleece fame. The Klondike argonauts also sailed storm-tossed seas but, while passing through this little town seeking gold, often got fleeced themselves.

Fabled Klondike gateway sold to cruise ship line for US$290 million

From frontier hellhole to tourist mecca,
Skagway trades on its Klondike connection.
(Photo: Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Such was the case when frontier bad guy Soapy Smith and his gang ran Skagway like a criminal fiefdom. They succeeded for a while, but it was right on the docks in 1898 that Smith and vigilante Frank Reid shot and killed each other. Their mortal remains rest in a graveyard on the edge of town.

Skagway was one of two main ports of arrival for the Klondike, along with Dyea, about five kilometres northwest. The latter town led to the Chilkoot Trail, where desperate hopefuls would make something like 50 trips of up to six hours each climbing to a North West Mounted Police checkpoint to carry supplies sufficient to survive a Yukon winter.

The rival route led to the White Pass, “a hellish place even for those inured to hardship and disappointment by having survived the different hell that was Skagway,” wrote Douglas Fetherling in The Gold Crusades. Railway construction began a few months before Smith’s death, with the line reaching Whitehorse in 1900. There, the White Pass and Yukon Route transferred its goods and passengers onto riverboats towards Dawson City.

In the 1950s the WP&YR became a world innovator by introducing the concept of containerized freight handling, loading the cargo from the world’s first container ship to rail at Skagway and then truck at Whitehorse. The distinctive containers can still be seen around Skagway, serving various purposes such as garden sheds.

The WP&YR’s fortunes rose and fell with those of the mining industry, recounted Marina McCready in Gateway to Gold. Competition arrived in 1978 from a new Whitehorse-to-Skagway highway. A mining slump shut down the service in 1982, but it reopened in 1988 to offer summer sightseeing excursions. They still run 110 kilometres between the little downtown and Carcross, Yukon, passing through a corner of northwestern British Columbia.

Today “dat tourist trap Skagway,” as a character in Ken Kesey’s Sailor Song called it, features numerous restored turn-of-the-century buildings, some of them transplanted from Dyea. Part of the town comprises the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, which in 1998 became an international site managed by both the U.S. and Canada.

From May to September the narrow docks host cruise ships magnificent for their stature but still dwarfed by mountains rising suddenly to the north and south.

On June 6 TWC Enterprises TSX:TWC announced an agreement to sell the WP&YR’s “complete rail, port and merchandise operations” to Carnival Corporation & plc for US$290 million. Debt estimated between $70 million and $80 million will be deducted from the price. TWC may take up to $84 million of the proceeds in Carnival shares. Expected to close by July 31, the transaction would put three docks and four cruise ship berths under a single cruise ship line.

The port also ships concentrate from Yukon’s only hardrock mining operation, the Minto copper-gold-silver mine held by Capstone Mining TSX:CS but subject to a purchase agreement with Pembridge Resources plc. Proponents of some would-be mines in B.C.’s Golden Triangle contemplate shipment through Skagway.

Jobs, revenues, share prices benefit as higher commodity prices boost B.C. mining

May 11th, 2018

by Greg Klein | May 11, 2018

Jobs, revenues, share prices benefit as higher commodity prices boost B.C. mining

A 75%/25% partnership of Copper Mountain Mining TSX:CMMC and Mitsubishi
Materials brought a former mine back into production, employing 430 workers.

 

The bull’s still not back but higher commodity prices continue to sustain a mood of cautious optimism among British Columbia miners, PricewaterhouseCoopers assures us. Its 50th annual report on B.C. mining sketched a broad picture of the province’s industry by surveying 13 companies, focusing on 15 operating mines, a smelter and seven projects in the exploration, permitting or environmental review stage.

Among survey participants, gross revenue hit $11.7 billion in 2017, a 35% jump from the previous year and reflecting an upward trend in the mining cycle. (Except for commodity prices, all figures are given in Canadian dollars.) Governments scooped up $859 million in total mining revenues from those companies last year, compared with $650 million in 2016.

Shareholders fared especially well, reaping 31.1% pre-tax gains from the companies involved, compared with 13.5% in 2016 and 6.3% in 2015. “This is the highest return we’ve seen in recent years and it has surpassed the historic high levels of 2012,” PwC stated.

Direct employment among the companies climbed to 10,196 jobs, compared with 9,329 in 2016 and 9,221 in 2015. PwC attributed most of the increase to Conuma Coal Resources’ two operating mines in the northeast.

Indeed, the participants’ metallurgical coal revenue rose to $5.2 billion from $3 billion in 2016 and $2 billion in 2015. Prices averaged $173 a tonne last year, up from $115 in 2016 and $101 in 2015. At a 50% increase over 2016, the steelmaking stuff struck the highest price increase of any commodity included in the report.

Revenue from copper concentrate came to nearly $1.9 billion, after $1.8 billion in 2016 and $2 billion in 2015. Average red metal prices rose 27% to $2.80 a pound, compared with $2.21 in 2016 and $2.50 in 2015.

Despite a slight decrease in shipments, a 38% price increase lifted participants’ zinc revenue to $1.2 billion, compared with $877 million in 2016 and $818 million the previous year. Prices swelled to an average $1.31 a pound, compared with $0.95 in 2016 and $0.87 in 2015.

Participants’ gold revenues rose to $829 million from $651 million in 2016 and $519 million in 2015. Although B.C. produces the yellow metal largely as a copper byproduct, the 2017 increase largely came from Pretium Resources’ (TSX:PVG) Brucejack mine, which began commercial production that year. Average prices underwhelmed, however, at $1,259 an ounce, although slightly less depressed than the $1,248 in 2016 and $1,160 in 2015.

Silver revenues slipped to $509 million from $589 million the previous year and $535 million in 2015. Average prices wallowed around $17.08 an ounce, compared with $17.11 in 2016, up from $15.71 in 2015. B.C. mines generally garner silver as a byproduct of metals like copper, gold, lead and zinc.

As for lead, it dropped to $224 million in revenues from $255 million the previous year, despite prices rising to $1.05 a pound from $0.85 in 2016.

Molybdenum more than doubled to $104 million from $45 million in 2016 and $51 million in 2015, thanks to higher volumes and prices, which reached $7.07 a pound from $6.37 in 2016.

[The return on shares for participating companies] is the highest return we’ve seen in recent years and it has surpassed the historic high levels of 2012.

Saying “the worst may be over,” PwC stated: “Many in the industry haven’t felt this positive since it was recovering from the fallout of the 2008-09 global financial crisis. There’s cautious optimism the industry will continue to recover.”

But a warning came from an otherwise upbeat Bryan Cox, president of the Mining Association of B.C.: “Mining projects are capital-intensive, multi-year commitments, from exploration to mine development and operation, necessitating clarity, consistency and co-ordination from governments for investors to deploy capital. If any one of those three Cs is missing, then capital investment is at risk.”

This marks PwC’s 50th such report since 1967, when “Lester B. Pearson was Canada’s prime minister, W.A.C. Bennett was the premier of British Columbia and [get this!] the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. As for mining, in 1967 the price of gold was about $35 per ounce, copper was trading around $0.50 per pound and the Britannia mine, now a museum, was still producing copper, gold, silver and other metals and minerals.”

Download 50 years on… The mining industry in British Columbia 2017.

Who’s doing what, and why?

May 10th, 2018

Four banks manipulate six commodities to manage other markets, says Ed Steer

by Greg Klein

Probably the most facile way to dismiss a conspiracy theorist is to label the person “a conspiracy theorist.” Conventional thinking gives the term negative connotations, even though history and current events have an inconvenient tendency to reveal conspiracies in action. Ed Steer’s interest in bullion manipulation started with the Hunt brothers’ 1970s silver conspiracy. Having spent decades watching the machinations of others, the newsletter writer and Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee board member adamantly declares that “there are no markets, just interventions.”

Four banks manipulate six commodities to manage other markets, says Ed Steer

Ed Steer speaks at the International Mining
Investment Conference, held in
Vancouver on May 15 and 16.

Drawing on the work of GATA and analyst Ted Butler, Steer believes precious metals “have been managed actively” in the COMEX futures market since 1973. Price suppression supports “the paper game they’re playing in the stock and bond markets,” a game that’s continued since the U.S. dropped the gold standard in 1971, he argues.

“We’ve had a complete blow-up of paper assets because of unlimited money printing. They don’t want that showing up in the commodities market because the moment that it does, all the paper’s going to rush out of Wall Street, the bond market, the Dow and every other index, and into gold and silver in particular and commodities in general. And that’s not what they want to happen.”

If those two metals merit suppression, so do platinum and palladium. “You couldn’t have a $3,000 or $4,000 platinum price while gold’s sitting at $1,200,” he states. “People would start asking questions.”

Not just bullion but, more recently, copper and crude too. “If you can control the prices of those six, you can pretty well control the prices of other commodities, whether they’re wheat, oats, sugar, lumber or whatever. There will be circumstances of course when supply-demand factors in some commodities will cause a run-up in prices. But overall, they keep those six commodities under price control and, when they do that, they can control everything else.”

Who are they? He attributes special prominence to JPMorgan Chase. “They’re the biggest players in all four precious metals, and they’re also in the crude oil market to a certain extent. It’s JPMorgan Chase, HSBC USA, Scotiabank here in Canada, and most likely Citigroup, but JPMorgan is by far the ringleader. There may be some investment houses involved as well like Morgan Stanley and I think Goldman Sachs, which is now a bank. So it’s the Wall Street paperhangers, four or five of them versus everybody else. There’s also lots of foreign banks involved, maybe up to 30, but their positions are very, very minor compared to the big traders that control almost 50% of the COMEX futures market in gold right now.

Four banks manipulate six commodities to manage other markets, says Ed Steer

“This is total collusion. They all buy at the same time, they all sell at the same time…. There’s no free market in any of this.”

Now, with the gold-silver ratio sometimes surpassing 80 to one, Steer blames this extraordinary divergence on the same tactics.

“JPMorgan has taken silver down from $49 in 2011 all the way to $16 or $17, and they’ve held it there. If the gold-silver ratio were even close to normal it would be around 25 or 30 to one. Of course that would be double or triple the silver price that we have today, and even that doesn’t fully take into account supply and demand. As far as I’m concerned the silver price should be well over $100 an ounce by now and the ratio should be about 20 to one.”

Oil presents another example. “It’s up over 30% since the middle of December. The gold price has done basically nothing. That’s not what normally happens. When oil prices rise, it’s a sign that commodity prices will rise and of course gold and silver are normally the leading indicators. The metals aren’t being allowed to function as leading indicators because they’re trying to get the oil price up without affecting gold and silver prices—and they’ve done an awesome job of that.”

It doesn’t make any difference how many bombs fall on Syria, Iraq or Iran, or what the supply-demand situation is. It all depends on what’s happening in the COMEX futures market.

External forces play little or no role, he maintains. “It doesn’t make any difference how many bombs fall on Syria, Iraq or Iran, or what the supply-demand situation is. It all depends on what’s happening in the COMEX futures market.”

He does concede, however, “If things got really extreme, if downtown Tehran disappeared under a mushroom cloud, that would probably move the markets.”

But sometime in the foreseeable future, those in control will have to let bullion rise, he adds. “It’s very hard to defend this price right now. Demand is exceeding supply, certainly in gold. They’re going to have to increase the prices in both gold and silver, but whether they’ll allow prices to run free remains to be seen. They might just allow gold to rally $300 or $400 or so, and up to $50 in silver, and hold the prices at that new level. But they’re going to have to let it go sooner or later and I think the day is coming sooner.”

That would mean the two metals do offer a safe haven after all. “I think this COMEX futures paper game is going to end pretty soon and those who were already positioned are going to reap substantial rewards. It’s better to be a year or two early rather than five minutes or two days late.”

Ed Steer speaks at the International Mining Investment Conference, held in Vancouver from May 15 to 16. For a 25% admission discount click here and enter the code RESOURCECLIPS.

Read about conference speakers Jayant Bhandari and Simon Moores.