by Greg Klein | July 21, 2016
Mining on the property dates back at least as far as the Romans but there’s evidence of still more gold to come. With that in mind, Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO has begun exploring its Sierra Alta project in the Asturias region of northwestern Spain. The program calls for detailed mapping, bedrock sampling and trenching to determine drill targets on the 2,500-hectare property, the company announced July 21.
Work will initially focus on an area about three kilometres long by 300 metres wide that contains a high density of Roman excavations distributed along a structure that seems to control the mineralization’s distribution, Emerita stated. Historic, non-43-101 data from the 1990s reported bedrock samples as high as 338 grams per tonne and 48.96 g/t gold in an area where soil samples showed strong gold anomalies.
Very limited follow-up work has been done. But later sampling during Emerita’s initial property assessment found grades up to 10.65 g/t.
Another area of gold geochemical anomalies to the south measures about 1.5 kilometres by 200 metres. Part of the Navelgas Gold Belt, Sierra Alta features a geological environment comparable to the El Valle-Boinas and Carles gold mines operating 35 kilometres east. “Gold mineralization in the area typically occurs in high-grade epithermal veins, skarns and as intrusive-related gold deposits,” the company added.
“The combination of modern geochemical anomalies and extensive Roman mining excavations, the largest of which is hundreds of metres in length, combined with high-grade samples in bedrock, make this a very compelling and highly prospective target,” commented CEO Joaquin Merino. “We expect to have initial assay results from the exploration program by mid-August.”
Last month Emerita announced a 100% option on the Falcon Litio MG property in Brazil, 500 metres from the country’s only operating lithium mine. In May the company announced a letter agreement with the Aldesa Group, an international builder of specialized infrastructure, to create a JV to acquire and explore mineral projects.
Emerita closed an oversubscribed private placement of $954,000 in May.
by Greg Klein
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“There’s excitement in the air,” said Cambridge House International founder Joe Martin. That’s the mood he senses as junior explorers emerge from the downturn. And certainly optimism was evident on June 14 as more than 450 people converged on the Vancouver Commodity Forum for an afternoon of expert talks amid a showcase of two dozen companies. Keynote speakers included Martin, Chris Berry of the Disruptive Discoveries Journal, Jon Hykawy of Stormcrow Capital, John Kaiser of Kaiser Research Online and Stephan Bogner of Rockstone Research.
Lithium, not surprisingly, stood out as a commodity of interest. While cautioning against over-enthusiasm for the exploration rush, Berry and Hykawy each affirmed the need for juniors to find new sources of the metal. Cobalt and scandium featured prominently too, as did other commodities including what Kaiser called “the weird metals”—lesser known stuff that’s vital to our lives but threatened with security of supply.
Kaiser also noted he was addressing a crowd larger than his last PDAC audience, another indication that “we’ve turned the corner.”
Attendees also met and mingled with company reps. Potential investors learned about a wide gamut of projects aspiring to meet a growing demand for necessities, conveniences and luxuries.
Presented by Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC, the forum’s success will make it an annual event, said company president Dave Hodge. Berry emceed the conference, holding the unenviable task of “making sure Dave stays well-behaved.”
Read interviews with keynote speakers:
Meet the companies
Most companies were core holdings of Zimtu, a prospect generator that connects explorers with properties and also shares management, technical and financing expertise. Zimtu offers investors participation in a range of commodities and companies, including some at the pre-IPO stage.
After sampling high-grade lithium on its Hidden Lake project in the Northwest Territories earlier this month, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY plans to return in mid-July for a program of mapping, exposing spodumene-bearing pegmatite dykes, and channel sampling. The company closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $318,836 in April. Hidden Lake’s located near Highway 4, about 40 kilometres from Yellowknife and within the Yellowknife Pegmatite Belt.
With one of the Athabasca Basin’s largest and most prospective exploration portfolios, ALX Uranium TSXV:AL has a number of projects competing for flagship status. Among them is Hook-Carter, which covers extensions of three known conductive trends, one of them hosting the sensational discoveries of Fission Uranium TSX:FCU and NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE. ALX’s strategic partnership with Holystone Energy allows that company to invest up to $750,000 in ALX and retain the right to maintain its ownership level for three years. ALX closed a private placement first tranche of $255,000 last month, amid this year’s busy news flow from a number of the company’s active projects.
Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD boasts one of northern Canada’s largest 100%-held diamond exploration portfolios. Among the properties are the drill-ready Stein project in Nunavut and others in the Lac de Gras region that’s the world’s third-largest diamond producer by value. North Arrow Minerals TSXV:NAR holds an option to earn up to 55% of Arctic Star’s Redemption property.
Aurvista Gold TSXV:AVA considers its Douay property one of Quebec’s largest and last undeveloped gold projects. The Abitibi property has resources totalling 238,400 ounces of gold indicated and 2.75 million ounces inferred. Now, with $1.1 million raised last month, the company hopes to increase those numbers through a summer program including 4,000 metres of drilling. Douay’s 2014 PEA used a 5% discount rate to forecast a post-tax NPV of $16.6 million and a post-tax IRR of 40%.
Looking for lithium in Nevada, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA now has a geophysics crew en route to its Kibby Basin property, which the company believes could potentially host lithium-bearing brines in a similar geological setting to the Clayton Valley, about 65 kilometres south. Results from the gravity survey will help identify targets for direct push drilling and sampling.
A mineral perhaps overlooked in the effort to supply green technologies, zeolite has several environmental applications. Canadian Zeolite TSXV:CNZ holds two projects in southern British Columbia, Sun Group and Bromley Creek, the latter an active quarrying operation.
With a high-grade, near-surface rare earths deposit hosted in minerals that have proven processing, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE takes its Ashram project in Quebec towards pre-feasibility. The relatively straightforward mineralogy contributes to steady progress in metallurgical studies. Commerce also holds southeastern B.C.’s Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.
Permitted for construction following a 2014 PEA, Copper North Mining’s (TSXV:COL) Carmacks copper-gold-silver project now undergoes revised PEA studies. The agenda calls for improved economics by creating a new leach and development plan for the south-central Yukon property. In central B.C. the company holds the Thor exploration property, 20 kilometres south of the historic Kemess mine.
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by Greg Klein | December 7, 2015
The December 5 announcement that Colombia may have located history’s greatest sunken treasure brought wide-ranging estimates of gold worth up to $17 billion. An American company called Sea Search Armada says it found the Spanish galleon back in 1981. Spain continues to claim ownership of its ships lost at sea. The United Nations, meanwhile, considers such loot to be cultural artefacts that should be preserved in museums.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos suggested the ship was found in a different location than the Sea Search claim, according to an Associated Press story published by the CBC. The exact location remains a state secret, he said.
But a lawyer representing Sea Search told AP, “The government may have been the one to find it but this really just reconfirms what we told them in 1982.”
The company says Colombia gave Sea Search a 35% share in a deal that the government later overturned. While the country claims a court challenge was settled in its favour, “nothing could be further from the truth,” Sea Search managing director Jack Harbeston told CNN.
Meanwhile Spain watches closely. Spanish culture secretary José Maria Lasalle said his country will consider “what action to take in defence of what we consider to be our sunken wealth and in accordance with UNESCO agreements that our country signed,” the Guardian reported.
In a New York Times story about another disputed Spanish galleon christened San José, Ulrike Guérin of UNESCO’s underwater culture program said the organization wants to stop the practice of commercial salvaging, which can damage archeological sites.
“Critics say buried coins and loot should be studied and preserved in a museum, not sported around an investor’s neck,” the NYT stated.
But if the booty’s worth billions, it’s hard to imagine cultural preservation taking priority over profit. And, given the likelihood that at least some of the gold was plundered from natives in the first place, another ownership claim could be pending.
by Greg Klein
Gold’s allure, where it exists at all, can manifest itself in different ways. British Columbia natives, for example, remained indifferent to the metal until the arrival of prospectors. Those gold-hungry newcomers, on the other hand, were driven almost entirely by rapacity. But the pre-Conquest indigenous peoples of today’s Colombia saw nothing of value in the metal itself until, converted by metallurgy and craftsmanship, it became an object not only of beauty but of symbolic importance or transformational power.
That’s demonstrated by Allure of Gold, an exhibit within the exhibit called Gold Rush! El Dorado in British Columbia at Victoria’s Royal B.C. Museum. Holding 137 pieces of pre-Hispanic artefacts dating to 500 BC, the display makes its first North American appearance from Bogota’s Museo del Oro. Even now the pieces symbolize the Colombian peoples’ identity, pride and shared past, Museo director Maria Alicia Uribe Villegas told ResourceClips.com.
“These were objects that were produced mainly for display and to build power—political and religious power—by transmitting the properties of the materials,” she explained. People believed the objects asserted status, hosted spirits, or enhanced fertility and the overall quality of life.
According to belief, many objects wielded power to transform the person wearing it into another being. “They could for example acquire the identity of the jaguar, of birds, of bats,” Uribe said. “By wearing the ornament they believed they transformed their body, and by transforming their body they changed their perspective and their identity. So the power of many rulers came from that transformation. They believed that by transforming into a bird, you could fly to other worlds, to other dimensions, to the spiritual dimension, meet the spirits and the gods and ask for things, ask for hunting prey or for rain or things that your group needed.”
Some objects also presented a view of cosmology, she pointed out. “In most of these societies there isn’t this difference between nature and culture. Animals and people were nature and culture at the same time. Animals are also humans, different kinds of humans than people, so the relations between animals and humans were understood as social relations…. When you hunt you have to seduce the prey and you have to give the spiritual owner of the animal a gift in exchange.” Uribe said gold then functioned in “a transactional world,” but in a symbolic sense, not as currency.
Why was gold chosen for such representations? “It’s interesting because it’s a cultural choice,” she replied, noting that B.C. aboriginals knew about gold but didn’t use it. “It’s a wonderful material,” she added. “It’s beautiful for its colour and the shine you can give it, it doesn’t corrode, it lasts forever, and also you can give it the shape you want by hammering it or casting it.”
Although natives north of Mexico didn’t practise metallurgy, those of Colombia produced gold-copper and gold-silver alloys. When silver was used it was normally in the country’s south, which had cultural connections with today’s Peru and Ecuador. Colombians used platinum too. They couldn’t melt it because of the metal’s exceptional resistance to heat but South Americans were “the only people in the ancient world that used platinum.”
Almost all that effort was motivated by symbolism and spirituality, not practicality. But Colombians did make some metal tools for fashioning other metal objects, for example to hammer gold, Uribe noted. They also fashioned metal into needles and fishing hooks. But “those were the only practical tools they made.” Otherwise precious metals were used “for these objects of meaning.”
It’s a wonder that any of it survived the efficiently bloodthirsty business of confiscating the artwork and turning it into bullion. As Matthew Hart wrote about Francisco Pizarro’s 16th century conquest of Peru, “The artistic output of a thousand years vanished into the furnaces. It must be one of the most potent images in history—the transformation of a culture into cash.”
Most of what survived were funerary offerings hidden in tombs. “But the Spanish learned how to identify these tombs and many of them were looted,” Uribe said. Incredibly, ancient artefacts were still being melted as late as the 19th and even 20th century.
Where’s that gold now? You might be wearing some of it. The global gold supply comes from diverse and sometimes ancient sources, one of the museum displays points out. The bling in your ring could come from a Colombian chief or an Egyptian pharaoh.
But some of Colombia’s treasures were preserved by local collectors and European museums. The Museo del Oro’s collection started in 1939, after Colombia’s minister of education prevailed on the country’s national bank, then holding a monopoly on gold ownership, “to keep these objects out of the market, being taken abroad and melted,” Uribe said.
Now all such artefacts belong to the country’s entire population, she explained. A private collector must register with the office of archeological heritage and may ask for tenancy on a privately held collection. But Colombia retains ownership. “You cannot buy it, sell it or even inherit it.”
So while the commodity’s spot price keeps gold bugs guessing, these objects remain priceless.
Allure of Gold appears with Gold Rush! El Dorado in British Columbia at Victoria’s Royal B.C. Museum until October 31.
The dream of any health and safety manager and probably every mine worker is about to hit the market. A Spanish company is introducing in Chile a mining helmet that incorporates advanced systems of sensors and communication tools to locate missing miners and save lives.
The piece of gear, created by Presistem, comes with—among other features—detection systems for gas, polluted atmosphere and motion. It also includes various communication systems such as warnings by vibration, LED lights, sounds, text messaging, and self-generated SOS alerts. No wonder its creator has named it “Angelhelmet.”
On top of that, it includes an interactive smart control system, which allows users and managers to constantly monitor workers’ integrity and safety.
The smart helmet is already sold in Spain and it will be introduced in Chile next month, creator Darío García told MINING.com. Although he declined commenting on the price tag, he said it would also be available this year in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Poland. He added the company is currently in talks with distributors in Australia, South Africa and Germany.
Reprinted by permission of MINING.com
by Greg Klein
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Spincos Fission 3.0 and Alpha Exploration debut on TSXV, Fission Uranium plans most aggressive campaign ever
Never mind Fission 3.0’s FUU ticker. When Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU was created out of Fission Energy earlier this year, only a last-minute change prevented that spinco from becoming FUC. And now that Alpha Minerals has delisted to create its spinco, Alpha Exploration TSXV:AEX, two new companies join the Venture while Patterson Lake South comes under the sole ownership of Fission Uranium, a particularly tempting takeover target.
Fission 3.0 debuted December 10 at $0.12 and quickly shot up to $0.30 before plunging to a $0.135 close. The stock finished December 13 at $0.16. With 152.96 million shares outstanding, Mach III had a $24.47-million market cap.
Alpha Exploration began trading December 12 at $0.45 and reached a daily high of $0.63. But it fell all the way to a $0.30 close. The following day’s finish dropped a penny lower. AEX’s 13.96 million shares represented a market cap of $4.05 million.
Each spinco got $3 million in start-up money from Fission Uranium. Alpha Minerals nominees Warren Stanyer and Kurt Bordian joined Fission Uranium’s board, replacing Frank Estergaard and Jeremy Ross who moved to Fission 3.0 along with Dev Randhawa and Ross McElroy, who lead both Fissions. Alpha Exploration’s management and board remains “substantially the same” as that of Alpha Minerals.
Meanwhile the PLS role played by father/son team Ben and Garrett Ainsworth (ex-Alpha Minerals now Alpha Ex) have won them the 2013 Colin Spence Award for excellence in global mineral exploration, the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia announced on December 12.
Fission 3.0 keeps its predecessor’s uranium focus with six Athabasca Basin-area projects and another in the Macusani region of Peru. Alpha Exploration lists its initial key assets as two gold projects, Mikwam in Ontario and Donna in B.C., as well as Saskatchewan uranium properties.
The spin-outs have hardly diminished Fission Uranium’s attraction, a $12.87-million financing suggests. Announced December 11, the company’s 8.58 million $1.50 subscription receipts have been exchanged for one flow-through share each, a transaction that closed after the Alpha Minerals acquisition.
Evidently emboldened by all that dough, McElroy announced Fission Uranium’s “most aggressive drill program to date at PLS—approximately 30,000 metres in up to 100 drill holes,” the news release quoted him. “Our core focus will be growth, including the specific goal of eliminating the distance between the six identified zones. We will also be testing new targets, using radon sampling on other EM conductors and employing resistivity ground geophysics to help identify additional prospective corridors.”
With assays still pending for over 50 holes, Fission Uranium might be accused of teasing investors prior to a first resource.
Late December 13 the company announced it granted a consultant one million options at $1.10 for two years.
Lakeland Resources bolsters team with Canon Bryan and Sam Wong
Two more appointments add to a busy period of announcements from Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK. On December 9 mining financial professional Canon Bryan joined Lakeland’s advisory board. Two days later another mining specialist, Sam Wong, took the position of chief financial officer.
With Bryan’s appointment Lakeland not only gains additional expertise but renews a relationship that’s already proved successful. Bryan’s resume lists management positions for several public and private companies including Uranium Energy Corp NYSE MKT:UEC, which Bryan co-founded. He also founded Terrestrial Energy Inc, which is developing a commercial molten salt reactor, and operates a merger-and-acquisition consulting service for the uranium sector.
Now he’s working again with people who’ve benefited from his past accomplishments. Lakeland director Ryan Fletcher recalls the genesis for what’s now NioCorp Developments TSXV:NB. “Canon came to us [Zimtu Capital Corp TSXV:ZC] with the idea to go to Nebraska and acquire a niobium project,” Fletcher says. “It was a great project, although difficult because we had to acquire it from 40 farmers. It took quite a while and a bit of money but we were successful.”
I co-founded [Uranium Energy Corp] with three other folks and took it through the hoops. It’s now listed on the New York Stock Exchange and producing uranium in Texas.—Lakeland Resources
adviser Canon Bryan
Known as Elk Creek, NioCorp calls it “the only primary niobium deposit in the U.S., and… the highest-grade, large-tonnage undeveloped deposit in North America.”
Bryan says, “I found the project and Zimtu was able to facilitate funding, so it was a good collaboration and profitable for everyone.”
With Uranium Energy Corp, “I co-founded the company with three other folks and took it through the hoops,” Bryan adds. “It’s now listed on the New York Stock Exchange and producing uranium in Texas. Producing uranium in the U.S. is quite a rare thing. It’s something I’m personally quite proud of.”
He says working with Lakeland renews “a collaboration that’s never really gone away. We’re colleagues in the industry. We agreed it would be a good fit for everybody, very much an organic fit.”
“Uranium M&A is my area of expertise,” Bryan says. “So naturally that’s something I would like to bring to the table.”
Wong, Lakeland’s new CFO, holds the same position at Lowell Copper TSXV:JDL and Chesapeake Gold TSXV:CKG. He’s also served as corporate controller at Luna Gold TSX:LGC, where he oversaw the finance division during Luna’s transition from development to commercial production. Wong articled as a chartered accountant at Deloitte & Touche LLP, where he specialized in assurance and advisory for mining companies.
In a statement accompanying the December 11 announcement, Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes said Wong brings “strength in financial reporting, strategic planning, corporate governance, equity financings, due diligence for acquisitions and corporate development to our growing team. His attention to detail and in running a tight ship will be another strong asset for Lakeland as we advance as an up-and-coming leader in the Athabasca Basin.”
The appointments follow a flurry of recent news from the uranium explorer, which includes a joint venture with Declan Resources TSXV:LAN that expands Lakeland’s upcoming Gibbon’s Creek drill program, another JV with Star Minerals Group TSXV:SUV that increases Lakeland’s portfolio and the publication of a research report by Zimtu research and communications officer Derek Hamill.
Meanwhile results are pending from last season’s exploration on the Riou Lake/Gibbon’s Creek property in the north-central Basin.
Forum completes ground gravity survey, plans ground EM at Clearwater
A December 11 announcement moves Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC closer to drilling its Clearwater project. With a ground gravity survey finished, around 11 drill targets have been chosen. The survey followed up on previously identified electromagnetic conductors and radon anomalies to find four gravity lows, three of which held several conductors. An early January ground EM survey will further refine targets for drilling that’s expected to start later that month.
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Global steel production rose 6.6% in October compared to output a year ago, with China again setting the pace for overall output, World Steel Association data showed on November 20.
Steel production is a key indicator of activity in global industry and iron ore, the key steelmaking ingredient, is the second most-traded commodity around the world behind crude oil.
China, which produces almost as much steel as the rest of the world combined, recorded growth of 9.2% in October to 65.1 million tonnes compared to last year, while global number two Japan’s production was up 7.7% to 9.5 million tonnes.
World Steel Association data also showed healthy growth outside Asia with U.S. production jumping 8.7% to 7.4 million tonnes and European Union production up 4%, led by a surprising 23.9% output boost in Spain and a 17.9% increase in Britain.
The liberalization of China’s hukou system is expected to be a main driver of a fresh wave of urbanization inside the country of 1.3 billion people.
China’s Iron and Steel Association released data November 19 showing the country’s daily crude steel output for the first 10 days of November rose a further 2.18% from the already torrid pace of late October.
The daily run rate for Chinese blast furnaces is now 2.144 million tonnes and the increase in output follows a rally in steel prices prompted by reforms announced at the Chinese Congress Third Plenum policy meetings.
Amid other market-friendly reforms, the liberalization of China’s hukou system is expected to be a main driver of a fresh wave of urbanization inside the country of 1.3 billion people.
Under China’s 4,000-year-old hukou system, people are registered in their town of birth and can only access government services including education, housing and welfare there.
This led to millions of migrant labourers and especially their children in large cities becoming an underclass without ways to put down roots.
The strength in the global steel industry has offset some of the price pressures brought on by increased supply of the main raw materials for blast furnaces.
The price of iron ore has held up well despite record-setting exports from Australia and a looming flood of new supply through 2017.
The benchmark CFR import price of 62% iron ore fines at the Chinese port of Tianjin climbed to $136.40 a tonne on November 20, up 23% from its lows for the year struck at the end of May, according to data provided by Steel Index.
The price of metallurgical coal has recovered from steep declines during the first half of 2013 but remains relatively soft.
Benchmark Australian premium coking coal was changing hands for $143 a tonne on November 20, up from multi-year lows of $131 struck in early July, but down 2.5% so far in November.
Reprinted by permission of MINING.com
The spot copper price enjoyed another strong session on Tuesday, adding more than 2% to its gains yesterday to a high of $3.32 a pound.
By early afternoon the red metal was trading at $3.30 on Comex in New York, up 2.2% or $0.0725 from Monday’s close.
The move higher on Tuesday amid a generally strong day for mining and metals was driven by good manufacturing numbers from China and the UK on Monday, followed by data showing surprisingly strong industrial activity in the Eurozone and continued recovery in the U.S. out on Tuesday.
UK order books and output grew at their fastest pace in almost two decades in August while Eurozone manufacturing data released Monday showed the recovery in Germany spreading to laggards Spain and Italy.
On Monday, official Chinese non-manufacturing purchasing managers data dipped slightly but new orders showed a sharp increase setting up strong growth over the coming months, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The non-official index of the manufacturing sector out last week also provided a pleasant surprise to markets, rising above 50 for the first time in four months, indicating expansion.
U.S. manufacturing also showed improvement. While top line growth shrunk, inventories fell dramatically with demand outstripping available supply last month.
Copper gained 4.5% in August, a second month of gains, and hit a two-month intra-day high of $3.38 in the middle of last month.
Copper has also rallied more than 8.5% from the intra-day low of $3.03 hit at the end of July.
Reprinted by permission of Mining.com