Monday 21st September 2020

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘spain’

Emerita Resources releases historic assays prior to drilling Spanish base and precious metals project

September 9th, 2020

by Greg Klein | September 9, 2020

Past and future drilling suggest additional potential for southern Spain’s Iberian Pyrite Belt. A batch of newly released historic intercepts supports Emerita Resources’ (TSXV:EMO) plans for its Paymogo project.

The assays come from the Infanta area, about eight kilometres east of the property’s Romanera deposit, which hosts an historic, non-43-101 resource. The Infanta grades result from 41 holes dating to the late 1970s and early ’80s. Drilling started near surface, reaching depths of only about 130 metres and extended along strike for approximately 600 metres. Remaining open along strike and down dip, mineralization potentially extended beyond the earlier project’s border, Emerita stated. Expansion since then places potential extensions within Paymogo’s turf.

Some highlights from the historic, non-43-101 results show:

Emerita Resources releases historic assays prior to drilling Spanish base and precious metals project

  • 0.5 g/t gold, 176.4 g/t silver, 3.1% copper, 11.1% lead, 20.7% zinc over 6.3 metres, starting at 49.5 metres in downhole depth

  • 1 g/t gold, 202.3 g/t silver, 1.1% copper, 6.1% lead, 12.3% zinc over 13.5 metres, starting at 117.4 metres

  • 85.6 g/t silver, 3% copper, 8.7% lead, 14.5% zinc over 8.14 metres, starting at 78 metres

  • 186.2 g/t silver, 3.2% copper, 11.5% lead, 21.5% zinc over 4.23 metres, starting at 104.92 metres

  • 0.9 g/t gold, 240 g/t silver, 3.8% copper, 13.1% lead, 25.3% zinc over 5.3 metres, starting at 81.2 metres

  • 0.4 g/t gold, 214 g/t silver, 3.8% copper, 18.2% lead, 31.2% zinc over 3.63 metres, starting at 72.37 metres

True widths were unavailable.

Along with other project data, the complete set of assays will be used to create 3D modelling to help guide an upcoming drill campaign to compile a 43-101 resource estimate. Permitting is currently underway.

“We are very excited to be planning the upcoming drill program for Infanta,” said president Joaquin Merino. “It is rare to find mineralization with excellent grades this close to surface that has not been closed off by drilling.”

Emerita is also compiling data for Paymogo’s more highly advanced Romanera deposit. Based on 1990s drilling, an historic, non-43-101 estimate credits Romanera with 34 million tonnes averaging 0.42% copper, 2.2% lead, 2.3% zinc, 44.4 g/t silver and 0.8 g/t gold.

A higher-grade zone within that deposit shows an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 11.21 million tonnes averaging 0.4% copper, 2.47% lead, 5.5% zinc, 64 g/t silver and 1 g/t gold.

The deposit extends from surface to about 350 metres in depth, remaining open down dip, according to historic records.

Paymogo sits adjacent to the Portuguese border, on the western part of the Iberian Pyrite Belt, described by Emerita as one of the world’s most highly mineralized volcanogenic massive sulphide terranes. The Atlantic port of Huelva is about 50 kilometres away.

The company has now received formal mineral title to Paymogo following a lengthy legal dispute that settled in June.

Meanwhile Emerita awaits a court decision regarding its disputed tender for Aznalcollar, a former zinc-lead mine on the same Iberian belt. In May the company signed a binding letter agreement to earn a 55% interest in the Sierra Alta gold project in northern Spain. The acquisition would cost Emerita $50,000, 500,000 shares and $500,000 in two years of spending.

Closer to Spain’s northern coast, the company holds a 50% interest in the Cantabrica do Zinco joint venture and its Plaza Norte base metals project, now subject to renewal of claims. In August 2019 the company reported a drill interval reaching 4.57% zinc over 9.5 metres from an area that has undergone historic drilling.

Last month Emerita closed a fully subscribed private placement of $1 million that followed a $1.35-million placement in July.

Meet the Zimtu teams

September 3rd, 2020

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

by Greg Klein | September 3, 2020

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

 

Their projects span early exploration to advanced development. Their goals include base, precious and critical minerals, but also extend to technology and energy. A wide range of potential comes to the fore on September 10, when Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC presents a Zoom conference highlighting eight of its colleague companies.

Below we offer an overview of each company. But first here’s how to take part.

To attend, RSVP MPatience@Zimtu.com.

The event takes place September 10 at 8 a.m. Vancouver/Pacific time, 11 a.m. Toronto/Eastern time, 5 p.m. Frankfurt/Central European time.

Click this link to connect.

If prompted, enter meeting ID 868 2490 1684 and meeting passcode 679221.

To take part by phone, dial by location:

Canada toll-free
855 703 8985     

U.S. toll-free
833 548 0276
833 548 0282
877 853 5257
888 475 4499       

Germany toll-free
0 800 000 6954
0 800 000 1590

Switzerland
+41 43 210 71 08
+41 44 529 92 72
+41 22 591 00 05
+41 22 591 01 56
+41 31 528 09 88
+41 43 210 70 42

Meeting ID: 868 2490 1684

Click here to find your local number.

 

And here are the companies

 

Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD

Promising geology and proven methodology will come together at Arctic Star Exploration’s (TSXV:ADD) Diagras project in the Northwest Territories’ diamondiferous Lac de Gras region. Currently holding 40% of a joint venture, the company intends to assume operation and increase its ownership when spring offers optimum work conditions.

In addition to drilling, Arctic Star’s plans include gravity and electromagnetic surveys on seven of the property’s 21 known kimberlites. The gravity/EM approach follows that of Kennady Diamonds, which successfully employed the methodology on its Kennady North project two kilometres away. In 2018 Kennady North was acquired by Mountain Province Diamonds TSX:MPVD, De Beers’ JV partner on the adjacent Gahcho Kué mine. Gravity and EM have so far found five drill targets at Diagras.

Arctic Star’s 100%-held Timantti diamond project in Finland hosts nine known diamondiferous kimberlites. With some 150 kilograms of samples ready for processing, ground work is expected to resume once pandemic conditions allow.

Read more about Arctic Star Exploration.

 

Ares Strategic Mining TSXV:ARS

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

Once re-opened, Lost Sheep will be
America’s only producing fluorspar mine.

The U.S. currently imports its entire supply of this critical mineral but Ares Strategic Mining TSXV:ARS plans to change that soon by opening the country’s only fluorspar operation. Production at Utah’s Lost Sheep mine could begin this autumn without de-risking through successive PEA and feasibility studies, but with the apparent confidence of the Mujim Group. The multinational fluorspar mining and distribution company visited the property earlier this year prior to buying a 9% stake in Ares.

Three of five exploration holes found visible fluorspar, while assays have just been released from 12 holes totalling 900 metres of delineation drilling. Results show high grades over wide intervals from near-surface and at-surface intercepts. Metallurgical tests have upgraded Lost Sheep material above 97% CaF2, achieving the level of higher-priced acidspar.

Ares also holds the Liard fluorspar project in northern British Columbia. Seven areas of the highway-accessible 476-hectare property host historic, non-43-101 estimates.

Read more about Ares Strategic Mining.

September 9 update: Ares launches this summer’s second drill program at Lost Sheep.

 

Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

Well-understood host minerals, distribution of magnet
feed elements and a friendly jurisdiction distinguish
Commerce Resources’ RE-fluorspar project.

Few if any elements dominate concern about critical minerals like rare earths. That places all the more focus on Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram deposit, an advanced-stage Quebec project that also hosts one of the world’s largest fluorspar resources. While working towards pre-feasibility, the company has metallurgical studies advancing on a number of levels, benefiting not only Ashram but the creation of supply chains independent of China. The deposit’s carbonatite-hosted mineralization and relatively simple monazite, bastnasite and xenotime mineralogy complement conventional rare earths processing. Metallurgy has also upgraded Ashram’s fluorspar content to higher-priced acidspar.

Ashram also features a strong presence of high-demand magnet feed elements neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium. Work is underway to upgrade the 2012 resource that used a 1.25% cutoff to show:

  • measured and indicated: 29.27 million tonnes averaging 1.9% total rare earth oxides and 2.94% fluorine

  • inferred: 219.8 million tonnes averaging 1.88% TREO and 2.21% F

The deposit starts at surface.

Looking at other critical minerals, Commerce also holds the advanced-stage Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit in southern British Columbia.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

September 10 update: Saville Resources, Commerce Resources find more fluorspar in re-assayed core from Quebec niobium-tantalum project.

 

Core Assets Corp CSE:CC

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

Historic results, more recent sampling and a
greater understanding of regional geology prompted
Core Assets’ major land expansion in B.C.

Determined to become a major explorer in northwestern British Columbia’s Golden Triangle, Core Assets Corp CSE:CC started trading in July, then began September with a nine-fold property expansion. The inspiration for boosting its Blue and Silver Lime holdings to 14,815 hectares comes from continual advancements in the understanding of porphyry, skarn and carbonate replacement-type deposits globally and in the Triangle itself.

The new ground covers the Llewelyn fault zone, which the company believes to be the main transport corridor for high-grade metals found on the property at surface. An historic, non-43-101 drill hole at Blue reached 0.27% copper over 173.2 metres. Grab samples from 2018 graded up to 1.57 g/t gold, 46.5 g/t silver and 8.46% copper.

The 2018 grab samples from never-drilled Silver Lime included 1.16 g/t gold, 913 g/t silver, 12.45% zinc and 20% lead. Core’s regionally experienced team plans a regional magnetic survey over the property.

Watch an interview with the Core Assets team.

 

Dimension Five Technologies CSE:DFT

Creating high-value products, even energy, from waste materials is the goal of Aduro Energy, now subject of an LOI for a reverse takeover by Dimension Five Technologies CSE:DFT. Founded in 2012, Ontario-based Aduro has developed a smart chemistry approach using three water-based technologies to transform diverse feedstocks that include renewable oils as well as waste plastics, foams and rubber. The result can be new plastics, foams, hydrocarbon fuels or specialty chemicals.

Aduro has its three areas of technology—trademarked as Hydrochemolytic Plastics Upgrading, Hydrochemolytic Renewables Upgrading and Hydrochemolytic Bitumen Upgrading—now undergoing demonstration and commercialization stages.

Learn more about Aduro Energy.

 

Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

Despite extensive previous mining, Aznalcollar
hosts an impressive historic base metals estimate.

Most of Spain’s bullion came from the New World but Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO believes there’s untapped gold-silver potential on its Paymogo polymetallic project. Located amid former and current operations in southern Spain’s Iberian Pyrite Belt, Paymogo’s Romanera deposit hosts an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 34 million tonnes averaging 0.42% copper, 2.2% lead, 2.3% zinc, 44.4 g/t silver and 0.8 g/t gold.

Eight kilometres away, Paymogo’s Infanta area has historic, non-43-101 reports of high-grade copper-lead-zinc-silver intervals. While preparing an exploration permit application, Emerita is compiling data from 51 holes at Romanera and 48 at Infanta for a digital database to guide another round of drilling.

The company also awaits a court decision regarding a disputed tender for the Aznalcollar zinc-lead past-producer on the same Iberian belt. In May Emerita signed a binding letter agreement to earn a 55% interest in the Sierra Alta gold property in northern Spain. Company assets also include a 50% JV interest in the Plaza Norte zinc project near Spain’s northern coast.

Read more about Emerita Resources.

September 9 update: Emerita releases historic assays prior to drilling Paymogo.

 

Saville Resources TSXV:SRE

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

Saville outperformed historic intercepts with its
Phase I drill program on the Niobium Claim Group in Quebec.

Two kilometres from Commerce Resources’ Ashram RE-fluorspar deposit, another company explores for other critical minerals—niobium and tantalum. Working on a 75% earn-in from Commerce, Saville Resources TSXV:SRE has also found fluorspar potential on the early-stage Niobium Claim Group.

Saville sunk five holes last year in a promising Phase I campaign on the property’s Mallard prospect. Along with historic results, three drill programs total 14 holes and 3,537 metres on Mallard. Each program surpassed its predecessor for grades and widths while expanding three zones of mineralization that remain open in all directions. Encouraging historic drill results have also come from the project’s Northwest and Star Trench prospects. Yet to be drilled are other high-priority areas, especially Miranna where high-grade boulder samples have reached an exceptional 5.93% Nb2O5.

The property’s host rock predominates in pyrochlore-group minerals and/or ferrocolumbite, amenable to familiar processing methods as the world’s main source of niobium supply.

September 10 update: Saville Resources, Commerce Resources find more fluorspar in re-assayed core from Quebec niobium-tantalum project.

 

Zinc8 Energy Solutions CSE:ZAIR

Intermittent green electricity, grid backup and off-grid supply call for long-term electrical storage. Zinc8 Energy Solutions CSE:ZAIR has made inroads into New York by offering a low-cost, reliable approach.

The company’s system stores electricity in zinc particles, avoiding expensive battery minerals like lithium, vanadium and cobalt. When the storage system provides electricity, zinc particles combine with oxygen. When the system recharges, the zinc particles are regenerated and oxygen is returned.

Storage can be scaled from 20 kW to megawatts, making Zinc8’s system suitable for microgrids and utilities. The latter have already shown interest. 

In January the New York Power Authority, America’s largest public power organization, selected the Zinc8 system out of more than 60 contenders for a commercial or industrial demonstration facility. Two months later Digital Energy Corp chose Zinc8 to install a 100 kW/1.5 MWh storage system at a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Brooklyn. Buoyed by New York interest, Zinc8 has since created a U.S. subsidiary.

Read an op-ed by Zinc8 president/CEO Ron MacDonald.

 

The Zoom with Zimtu event takes place September 10 at 8 a.m. Vancouver/Pacific time, 11 a.m. Toronto/Eastern time, 5 p.m. Frankfurt/Central European time. Click here and learn how to attend.

 

Emerita Resources raises $2.35 million, prepares drill permitting for southern Spain polymetallic project

August 14th, 2020

by Greg Klein | August 14, 2020

Backed by two recently closed private placements, a Spanish exploration company readies its historic property for a new round of drilling. Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO now has environmental documentation underway for an exploration permit, and has begun a digital database for its Paymogo polymetallic project.

Emerita Resources raises $2.35 million, prepares drill permitting for southern Spain polymetallic project

Emerita was formally granted the Paymogo claims in late June, following a lengthy legal process. Located in southern Spain’s Iberian Pyrite Belt adjacent to the Portuguese border, the property has highway access to the Atlantic port of Huelva, about 50 kilometres away.

Encouraging to both the environmental process and mineralization potential, the Iberian belt hosts many past-producers along with active operations.

According to an historic, non-43-101 estimate, Paymogo’s Romanera deposit hosts 34 million tonnes averaging 0.42% copper, 2.2% lead, 2.3% zinc, 44.4 g/t silver and 0.8 g/t gold. Within that deposit a higher-grade zone shows an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 11.21 million tonnes averaging 0.4% copper, 2.47% lead, 5.5% zinc, 64 g/t silver and 1 g/t gold.

The deposit starts at surface, reaches 350 metres in depth and remains open down dip, according to historic records.

About eight kilometres from the Romanera deposit, the Paymogo property also includes the Infanta area, with historic, non-43-101 results showing high-grade copper-lead-zinc-silver intervals.

But previous operators might have neglected Paymogo’s gold and silver, Emerita believes. “At the time Romanera was being explored by the previous operators, there was very little interest in the precious metals potential and some earlier drill holes were not assayed for gold,” said president Joaquin Merino. “Based on the historic data available and our knowledge of the deposits, we are very encouraged by what we are seeing.”

Along with survey results, there are 51 previous holes from Romanera and 48 from Infanta to compile in the digital database and 3D model that will help guide the next drill campaign.

Looking at another Iberian Pyrite Belt project, Emerita awaits a court decision regarding a disputed tender for the Aznalcollar zinc-lead past-producer.

Last May the company announced a binding letter agreement to earn a 55% interest in the Sierra Alta gold project in northern Spain. The acquisition would cost Emerita $50,000, 500,000 shares and $500,000 in two years of spending.

The company’s portfolio also includes a 50% interest in the Cantabrica do Zinco joint venture and its Plaza Norte project near Spain’s northern coast. Emerita has filed a technical report to renew these claims with the regional ministry of mines. In August 2019 the company reported a drill intercept grading 4.57% zinc over 9.5 metres from an area that has also seen historic drilling.

Earlier this week Emerita closed a fully subscribed private placement of $1 million that was offered following overwhelming response to a previous placement that closed on $1.35 million in July.

Emerita Resources wins mining rights to Paymogo VMS property in Spain

June 29th, 2020

by Greg Klein | June 29, 2020

Following the successful outcome of a lengthy legal contest and additional bidding process, rights to a disputed southern Spain polymetallic project have finally been resolved. The Andalusian regional government granted the claims to Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO, the company announced June 29.

Emerita Resources wins mining rights to Paymogo VMS property in Spain

Last November Emerita won a Supreme Court decision ordering the bidding process to re-open, following a dispute that began in 2014.

Company president Joaquin Merino said work will begin immediately on a technical program and permitting, with drilling to begin “as soon as practically possible. 

“The company will employ best practices with respect to protecting the health and safety of our employees and the communities in which we work, and is developing the necessary safety protocols to commence work in a safe manner.”

Early last month Spain began a series of measures to relax the COVID-19 lockdown imposed in mid-March.

An historic, non-43-101 estimate credits Paymogo’s Romanera deposit with 34 million tonnes averaging 0.42% copper, 2.2% lead, 2.3% zinc, 44.4 g/t silver and 0.8 g/t gold. A higher-grade zone within the deposit hosts an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 11.21 million tonnes averaging 0.4% copper, 2.47% lead, 5.5% zinc, 64 g/t silver and 1 g/t gold.

Beginning at surface, the deposit reaches 350 metres in depth and remains open down dip, according to historic reports.

The property also includes the Infanta area about eight kilometres from Romanera, with historic, non-43-101 assays showing high-grade copper-lead-zinc-silver intervals.

Located in the Iberian Pyrite Belt on the Portuguese border, Paymogo can be reached from southern Spain’s Atlantic port of Huelva, about 50 highway kilometres away.

The company awaits a court resolution of a tender dispute for the former Aznalcollar zinc-lead mine in southern Spain.

In May Emerita reported a binding letter agreement to earn a 55% interest in the Sierra Alta project from privately held Western Metallica. The deal would cost Emerita $50,000, 500,000 shares and $500,000 in two years of spending.

The company also holds a 50% interest in the Cantabrica do Zinco JV and its Plaza Norte project near Spain’s northern coast. Emerita has filed a technical report for renewal of claims with the regional ministry of mines. In August Emerita announced an intercept reaching 4.57% zinc over 9.5 metres from an area that has also undergone historic drilling.

Last month the company increased a private placement offer from $1 million to $1.35 million.

Emerita Resources updates Spanish projects as country relaxes lockdown

May 4th, 2020

by Greg Klein | May 4, 2020

Emerita Resources updates Spanish projects as country relaxes lockdown

Historic, non-43-101 assays from Plaza Norte reached as high as 9.72% zinc over 18.95 metres.
(Photo: Emerita Resources)

 

A gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions demonstrates guarded optimism in one of Europe’s hardest-hit countries. While the general lockdown continues, new measures took effect on May 4 that anticipate a possible restart of wider economic activity. That same day Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO issued updates for its Spanish base metals properties.

Emerita won a court decision in November, allowing the company to appeal a tender process that would have rejected its bid for the Paymogo project in the southern province of Huelva. The region’s new government has expressed its interest in the property’s economic potential and its intention to follow the court’s instructions, Emerita stated.

“We look forward to the pending resolution of this title dispute,” commented CEO David Gower. “We expect the Paymogo project to be a cornerstone project for the company’s immediate focus. We have held numerous meetings with investors, many of whom have indicated an interest in participating in the development of the project.”

Paymogo’s Romanera deposit hosts an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 34 million tonnes averaging 0.42% copper, 2.2% lead, 2.3% zinc, 44.4 g/t silver and 0.8 g/t gold. Within that estimate sits a higher-grade historic, non-43-101 resource with 11.21 million tonnes grading 0.4% copper, 2.47% lead, 5.5% zinc, 64 g/t silver and 1 g/t gold.

The historic resource begins at surface and remains open.

Previous drilling has also tested Paymogo’s La Infanta area, about eight kilometres from Romanera, bringing historic, non-43-101 reports of high-grade copper-lead-zinc-silver intervals.

The property links to the port of Huelva by about 50 kilometres of paved road.

Concerning the disputed tender over the former Aznalcollar zinc-lead mine in southern Spain, Emerita expects a resolution when courts re-open after the lockdown. As reported by the company, a previous court decision found bidder Minorbis-GM “failed to comply with the requirements of the first stage of the tender process and should never have been eligible to participate in the second stage of the tender. On the basis of the Appellate Court ruling, that bid should be disqualified leaving the Emerita submission as the only remaining qualified bid.”

The company also reported a binding letter agreement with privately held Western Metallica to earn a 55% interest in the Sierra Alta project. Pending TSXV approval, Emerita would pay $50,000, issue 500,000 shares and, within two years, spend $500,000.

Regarding the Plaza Norte project near Spain’s northern coast, Emerita has filed a technical report for renewal of claims with the regional ministry of mines. The company holds a 50% interest in the property through the Cantabrica do Zinco joint venture. Last August Emerita released an interval of 4.57% zinc over 9.5 metres from an area that has also seen impressive historic results.

Potosí’s legacy

December 5th, 2019

A renowned but notorious mountain of silver looms over Bolivia’s turmoil

by Greg Klein

Far overshadowed by the political violence plaguing Bolivia over the last several weeks was a slightly earlier series of protests in the country’s Potosí department. Arguing that a proposed lithium project offered insufficient local benefits, residents convinced then-president Evo Morales to cancel a partnership between the state-owned mining firm and a German company that intended to open up the country’s vast but unmined lithium resources.

A renowned but notorious mountain of silver looms over Bolivia’s turmoil

In the heart of the Andes, 4,000 metres above sea level,
the city of Potosí sits beneath the infamous Cerro Rico.
(Photo: Shutterstock.com)

Other events overtook the dispute, sending Morales into exile and the country towards an uncertain future that could bring elections, military coup or civil war. Yet Potosí serves as a stark example of Bolivia’s plight: a mineral-rich land that’s one of South America’s poorest countries. That’s one of the contradictions related in Kris Lane’s recent book Potosí: The Silver City that Changed the World.

Unlike so many other New World mineral rushes, the 1545 discovery held enduring global importance. More typically, and probably more dramatically, it was “rife with paradox from the start, a site of human depravity and ingenuity, oppression and opportunity, piety and profligacy, race mixture and ethnic retrenchment,” Lane recounts. “The list could go on.”

Looming over a boom town both squalid and magnificent was the great mountain of silver, Cerro Rico. For their first century of operation its mines and mills churned out nearly half the world’s silver, and then about 20% up to 1825.

The red mountain of Potosí is still producing silver, tin, zinc, lead, and other metals, and it never seems to have stopped doing so despite many cycles since its discovery in 1545. Current estimates range from 30,000 to 60,000 tons of silver produced to date, and geologists estimate that the Cerro Rico, easily the world’s richest silver deposit, contains an equivalent amount dispersed in low-grade, refractory ores that would require sophisticated processing.

A renowned but notorious mountain of silver looms over Bolivia’s turmoil

This huge supply came online just as Europe was suffering a “bullion famine,” Lane writes. More than gold, silver served as the world’s exchange medium. Globalization can be dated to 1571, when Spain launched trans-Pacific trade and Chinese demand for silver “reset the clock of the world’s commercial economy just as Potosí was hitting its stride.”

Yet Spain served as little more than a transfer point for its share. With longstanding armed conflicts on a number of fronts, “the king’s fifth went to fund wars, which is to say it went to pay interest on debts to Charles V’s and Philip II’s foreign creditors in southern Germany, northern Italy, and Flanders.”

As for the rest, “once taxed, most private silver went to rich merchants who had advanced funds to Potosí’s mine owners. They then settled their accounts with distant factors, moving massive mule-loads and shiploads of silver across mountains, plains, and oceans. Global commerce was the wholesale merchants’ forte, and most such merchants were junior factors linked to larger wholesalers in Lima, Seville, Lisbon, and elsewhere. Some had ties to Mexico City and later to Manila, Macao, and Goa; still others were tied to major European trading hubs such as Antwerp, Genoa, and Lyons.”

But wealth wasn’t unknown near the source. Known for its “opulence and decadence, its piety and violence,” the boom town “was one of the most populous urban conglomerations on the planet, possibly the first great factory town of the modern world…. By the time its population topped 120,000 in the early seventeenth century, the Imperial Villa of Potosí had become a global phenomenon.”

It was also a “violent, vice-ridden, and otherwise criminally prolific” contender for the world’s most notorious Sin City.

By comparison the much-later Anglo-Saxon boom towns seem small time, only partly for their ephemeral nature. But the men (and later women) who moiled for Potosí silver weren’t the adventurous free spirits of gold rush legend. Slaves and, to a greater extent, conscripted Andean natives endured the inhumane conditions “perhaps exceeded only by work in the mercury mines of Huancavelica, located at a similarly punishing altitude in Peru.”

Native Andeans and Europeans began a long process of negotiation and struggle that would last beyond the end of the colonial era. Potosí’s mineral treasure served as a fulcrum.

At the same time some natives, like some foreigners, achieved affluence as merchants, contractors or traders in bootleg ore boosted by the conscripts. Andean innovation helped keep the mines going, for example by smelting with indigenous wind furnaces after European technology failed, and using a native method of cupellation.

“Put another way, native Andeans and Europeans began a long process of negotiation and struggle that would last beyond the end of the colonial era. Potosí’s mineral treasure served as a fulcrum.”

A “noisy, crushing, twenty-four-hour polluting killer, a monster that ate men and poisoned women and children” needed some rationale for its existence. Spain’s excuse was the money-burning responsibility of defending the faith. Still “the steady beat of Potosí’s mills and the clink of its newly minted coins hammered away at the Spanish conscience. Priests, headmen, and villagers, even some local elites denounced the mita [forced native labour] as immoral. As one priest put it, even if the king’s demand for treasure was righteous, [the] Potosí and Huancavelica mitas were effectively killing New World converts in the name of financing the struggle against Old World heresy. God’s imagination could not possibly be so limited.”

More practical matters stained the empire’s reputation too, as the 1649 Potosí mint debasement scandal unfolded. World markets recoiled and Spain’s war efforts suffered as money lenders and suppliers refused the once-prized Spanish coins. “Indeed, the great mint fraud showed that when Potosí sneezed, the world caught a cold.”

A renowned but notorious mountain of silver looms over Bolivia’s turmoil

Potosí miners, seen here in 2017, work at
surface with Cerro Rico in the background.
(Photo: SL-Photography/Shutterstock.com)

With the 1825 arrival of Simón Bolívar, “the Liberator symbolically proclaimed South American freedom from atop the Cerro Rico. Yet British investors were close on his heels.”

Foreign owners brought new investment and infrastructure. But “the turn from silver to tin starting in the 1890s revolutionized Bolivian mining and also made revolutionaries of many miners. The fiercely militant political sensibility of the Potosí miner so evident today was largely forged in the struggles of the first half of the twentieth century.”

Those clashes bring to mind events of recent weeks, in which dozens have been killed by police and military.

Lane’s narrative continues to Morales’ “seeming ambivalence” toward miners and Potosí’s transformation into a “thriving metropolis” that hopes tourism will offset mineral depletion. Meanwhile underpaid, often under-age, miners continue to toil in woefully unhealthy conditions.

The breadth of Lane’s work is tremendous. He covers Potosí’s history from global, colonial, economic and social perspectives, outlines different practices of mining and metallurgy, recites contemporary accounts and provides quick character studies of the people involved. All that gives the book wide-ranging Christmas gift potential. It also offers considerable context as the geologically bountiful country once again experiences troubled times.

Emerita Resources announces positive legal outcome in disputed Spanish tender

November 6th, 2019

by Greg Klein | November 6, 2019

A lengthy legal battle has reached a favourable decision from Spain’s Supreme Court, Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO reported November 5. The company says judges affirmed its appeal and rejected a counter-appeal regarding the tender process for the Paymogo zinc project in the country’s southwest.

Emerita Resources announces positive legal outcome in disputed Spanish tender

The dispute dates back to a 2014 public tender decision that awarded the property to another company. Emerita challenged the process behind that decision, alleging procedural errors and a lack of impartiality. In 2017 the Upper Court of Andalusia ordered that the two companies’ bids be reconsidered under altered criteria. The following month, Andalusia’s regional government appealed that order to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has now upheld the regional court’s decision. Emerita maintains the court-ordered tender process would award the company 34.46 points over 29.37 points for the rival bidder.

Emerita is “prepared to begin work on the Paymogo project as soon as the tender can be finalized, in line with the instructions from the courts,” said CEO David Gower. “We are highly encouraged by public statements from senior officials of the new government in Andalusia that they will abide by the rulings of the court and that they look forward to seeing the economic activity and potential job creation such a project can generate. The Paymogo project is highly prospective in our view and we are excited to work on its development.”

With paved road access to the port of Huelva about 50 kilometres away, the property sits within the Iberian pyrite belt, one of the world’s most highly mineralized VMS terrains, Emerita states. Extensive drilling at Paymogo has probed two areas about eight kilometres apart, La Infanta and Romanera. The latter hosts an historic, non-43-101 estimate dating to the 1990s that showed 34 million tonnes averaging 0.42% copper, 2.2% lead, 2.3% zinc, 44.4 g/t silver and 0.8 g/t gold. The deposit reportedly extends from surface to about 350 metres in depth.

Within that deposit is a higher-grade resource, again historic and non-43-101, showing 11.21 million tonnes grading 0.4% copper, 2.47% lead, 5.5% zinc, 64 g/t silver and 1 g/t gold.

The Infanta zone has been drilled from surface outcrops to about 100 metres in depth, with historic, non-43-101 reports from the 1980s of several high-grade copper-lead-zinc-silver intervals.

In another disputed tender, last month the company announced the Appellate Court of Seville ordered an investigation into the process for the Aznalcollar zinc-lead property, which Emerita argues was wrongfully awarded to another bidder.

Reporting on summer drilling at its Plaza Norte project last August, Emerita released an initial result of 4.57% zinc over 9.5 metres. The company holds a 50% stake in the JV near the northern Spanish coast.

Emerita Resources confirms high-grade zinc in historic Spanish camp

August 8th, 2019

by Greg Klein | August 8, 2019

Working a region steeped in zinc mining history, the first hole of a drill campaign adds optimism to high-grade historic assays. The initial result grades 4.57% zinc over 9.5 metres starting at 591 metres in downhole depth, and includes a higher-grade sub-interval of 9.02% over 4 metres (true widths). Joint venture partners Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO and the Aldesa Group plan further confirmation drilling to prove up a 43-101 resource on their Plaza Norte project.

Aldesa is a specialized infrastructure company with over 40 years of experience in major projects. Emerita acts as operator for the 50/50 Cantabria del Zinc JV that holds the 3,600-hectare project. The property covers most of the Santillana-San Román syncline on the Reocin Basin known for high-grade Mississippi Valley-type zinc-lead. One of Europe’s biggest zinc producers was the former Reocin mine, which extracted around 62 million tonnes averaging 11% zinc and 1.4% lead up to 2003.

Emerita Resources confirms high-grade zinc in historic Spanish camp

Plaza Norte’s former Mercadal mine operated from 1850 to 1836 and 1955 to 1978, with reported averages of 10% zinc and 1.5% lead.

Plaza Norte’s new result follows drill reports from the 1980s and ’90s on four areas of the property: Yuso, Queveda, San Miguel and Mercadal, the latter a past-producing mine. The first phase of confirmation drilling targets Queveda, where historic, non-43-101 assays showed:

  • 9.72% zinc over 18.95 metres, starting at 557.8 metres

  • 9.82% over 3.22 metres, starting at 560 metres

  • 5.7% over 6.1 metres, starting at 588.9 metres

  • 7.74% over 5.3 metres, starting at 557.3 metres

As confirmation drilling continues, Emerita focuses on an area covering about 1,500 metres by 600 metres. With tighter spacing than previously used, the results should provide data on the structural controls of mineralization as well as build a 43-101 resource.

Regarding a southern Spain property, Emerita expresses confidence that a court will uphold its acquisition of the Aznalcóllar claims. Pending a successful outcome, the company would move the zinc-lead-silver-copper deposit to feasibility studies for an underground mine.

In another possible southern Spain acquisition, Emerita hopes a review board will award the company the Paymogo property with its two zinc deposits.

Last month Emerita closed the second and final tranche of a private placement that totalled $2.22 million.

‘The Asian century’

April 4th, 2019

East has surpassed West, whether the West knows it or not, says Peter Frankopan

by Greg Klein

East has surpassed West, whether we know it or not, says Peter Frankopan

“Silk roads” can refer to the process of connecting people and cultures
through trade, according to Peter Frankopan’s recently published book.

 

Less than two years ago tensions along an especially sensitive border area sparked fighting between Chinese and Indian troops. Outside Asia, who knew? “As most of the world focused on the Twitter account of the US president and the circus surrounding Brexit, the threat of the two most populous countries on earth going to war was not just a possibility, it looked like becoming a fact,” writes Peter Frankopan. An uneasy truce eventually stalled hostilities but the West’s ignorance of the wider world remains. That’s both symptom and cause of the West’s decline, the author says.

The decisions being made in today’s world that really matter are not being made in Paris, London, Berlin or Rome—as they were a hundred years ago—but in Beijing and Moscow, in Tehran and Riyadh, in Delhi and Islamabad, in Kabul and in Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan, in Ankara, Damascus and Jerusalem. The world’s past has been shaped by what happens along the Silk Roads; so too will its future.—Peter Frankopan

Relatively few Westerners realize the extent of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Actually a complex suite of alliances concerning resources, infrastructure, trade, security and even culture, the BRI forms just part of an Asian awakening that’s shifting the planet’s centre of importance while strengthening Eastern influence beyond Asia and Africa to make inroads into Europe, the Americas, the Arctic, cyberspace and outer space.

That’s the message of historian Frankopan’s latest book, The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World. While present and future aren’t normally the precinct of historians, it was historical perspective that brought Frankopan to the topic. In context, Western global supremacy has been a recent, short-lived development.

Since announcing the BRI in 2013, China has promised nearly $1 trillion, mostly in loans, for about 1,000 projects, Frankopan reports. That money could “multiply several times over, to create an interlinked world of train lines, highways, deep-water ports and airports that will enable trade links to grow ever stronger and faster.”

That would enhance China’s access to, and control over, resources ranging from oil and gas to mines and farmland; provide markets for Chinese exports including surplus steel, cement and metals, as well as manufactured goods; create projects for Chinese contractors; secure foreign ports and other strategic commercial and military locations; and build closer foreign alliances for geopolitical as well as economic benefits.

Backed by Chinese money and local sovereign debt, Chinese companies have pushed roads, railways, power plants, grids and pipelines through Africa and Asia at a much faster rate than ever seen through Western aid. Of course that can put the supposed beneficiaries at the mercy of their Chinese creditors.

East has surpassed West, whether we know it or not, says Peter Frankopan

In 2011, for example, China forgave neighbouring Tajikistan’s infrastructure-related debt in exchange for several hundred square kilometres of territory. A $7-billion rail line in Laos represents over 60% of the country’s GDP. A rail-building boom in Angola left citizens with a per capita debt to China of $754 out of a per capita income of $6,200. In 2017 a Chinese company got a 99-year lease in lieu of debt on the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota, a strategic site for both commercial and military reasons. Other ports in Maldives, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Djibouti could face a similar fate.

Even so, something like 85% of BRI projects “have proceeded without difficulty,” Frankopan states. China conducts many of its most opportunistic acquisitions openly, like buying a controlling interest in Piraeus, the Athenian port since antiquity. Other seaport purchases have taken place in Spain, Italy and Belgium.

Strategic ports and an alliance with Pakistan help position China in the Indian Ocean, while China continues to expand its South China Sea presence by building artificial islands for military bases. This isn’t just “the crossroads of the global economy” but a ploy to extend military power thousands of miles farther, according to a U.S. Navy admiral. China’s ambitions continue in the disputed East China Sea, location of the 2010 Senkaku conflict, in which China’s rare earths tactics demonstrated yet another weapon in the country’s arsenal.

As an economic powerhouse as well as a “geopolitical alternative to the US,” China can profit from American sanctions on countries like Iran. Russia too challenges U.S. policies towards countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey, while the latter shows its willingness to trade with Iran and buy arms from Moscow.

Military co-operation can create unlikely allies. Last summer, in Russian’s largest war games since 1981, Beijing contributed 30 fighter jets and helicopters along with more than 3,000 troops. Included in the exercises were simulated nuclear attacks.

While futurologists and networking pioneers often talk about how the exciting world of artificial intelligence, Big Earth Data and machine learning promise to change the way we live, work and think, few ever ask where the materials on which the digital new world [depends] come from—or what happens if supply either dries up or is used as a commercial or a political weapon by those who have a near-monopoly on global supply.—Peter Frankopan

Even India, America’s strongest Asian ally and the Asian country most wary of Chinese expansion, stands to undermine U.S. influence with proposed transportation connections and free trade with Iran and Afghanistan.

Yet obvious perils weaken any notion of a united Asia working harmoniously towards a common goal. Russian-Chinese military co-operation doesn’t preclude Moscow stationing its 29th Army 3rd Missile Brigade, with nuclear missile capabilities, near the Chinese border.

Time will tell whether other countries can overcome the Eurasian chaos that inspired this maxim of Canadian miners: “Never invest in a country with a name ending in ‘stan’.”

Then there’s extremist Islam. Uighurs from western China have fought in Syria for the Islamic State in numbers estimated “from several thousand to many times that number.” China risks wider Muslim anger by running a gulag archipelago for Muslims. The country’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region hosts “the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today.”

Oddly enough for someone who knocks Western insularity, Frankopan seems to share the current preoccupation with the U.S. president. Among Frankopan’s criticisms of the West is its supposed opposition to immigration, even though that’s a marginal position within liberal countries but official policy in most of the East.

Nor does Frankopan mention the weird ideological zealotry that threatens to destabilize if not destroy the West from within.

Still, history’s greatest value might be perspective on the present. This historian’s view of the present and future can help Westerners understand their not-so-esteemed status in the Asian century.

World Gold Council hedges its forecasts for 2019

January 11th, 2019

by Greg Klein | January 11, 2019

Both financial market instability and structural economic improvements bode well for its favourite metal, the World Gold Council reports. The WGC’s Outlook 2019 attributes an optimistic price outlook to an interplay of those two factors along with U.S. interest rates and the dollar.

Bullion and gold-backed ETFs would benefit as savings, investments, jewelry and technology drive up demand. The prognosis also sees central bank demand continuing to rise. Last year’s sovereign purchases reached the highest level since 2015 “as a wider set of countries added gold to their foreign reserves for diversification and safety.”

Accentuating gold’s safe haven status would be the financial market uncertainty apparent in higher volatility, European instability, protectionist policies and “an increased likelihood of a global recession,” the report states.

“Stubbornly low” bond yields offer poor protection against uncertainty, the WGC notes. Meanwhile Europe’s economy lags behind the U.S. as the continent faces Brexit, social unrest in France and separatism in Spain, among other challenges. Increasing protectionism and trade war rhetoric threaten economies with inflation and restrictions to “the flow of capital, goods and labour.”

Comprising 70% of consumer gold demand, emerging markets remain “very relevant” to gold’s long-term performance. China’s Belt and Road projects boost regional economic and infrastructure development. India’s economic modernization should continue last year’s 7.5% growth into 2019, “outpacing most global economies and showing resilience to geopolitical uncertainty.

“Given its unequivocal link to wealth and economic expansion, we believe gold is well poised to benefit from these initiatives. We also believe that gold jewellery demand will strengthen in 2019 if sentiment is positive, while increase marginally should uncertainty remain.”

To the allure of gold, the WGC attributes its returns on investment and its liquidity. Additionally, the metal provides an almost unique hedge that often correlates with the market in good times but detaches itself during negative periods, the council states.

While a stronger U.S. economy and dollar could stall gold, the last two months have shown a correction in equities along with weaknesses in other assets, said Joseph Cavatoni, WGC managing director for the U.S. and ETFs. With political uncertainty also troubling investors “we’re going to see gold start to have a much more relevant role to play in people’s investment portfolios.”

Not without skin in the game itself, the WGC represents some of the world’s top gold miners.

Download Outlook 2019: Global economic trends and their impact on gold.