Saturday 25th May 2019

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘tantalum’

Commerce Resources and two Inuit corporations sign LOI to advance northern Quebec rare earths

May 15th, 2019

by Greg Klein | May 15, 2019

Commerce Resources and two Inuit corporations sign LOI to advance northern Quebec rare earths

The parties consider Inuit involvement critical to this critical minerals project.

 

While a project that would provide essential raw materials continues towards pre-feasibility, a letter of intent ensures Inuit participation, the signatories announced May 15. The Nayumivik Landholding Corporation of Kuujjuaq and the Makivik Corporation signed the LOI with Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE regarding the Ashram rare earths deposit in arctic Quebec’s Nunavik region.

The letter marks “a first for Nunavik mining development, specifically for a pre-development project,” said Maggie Emudluk, Makivik VP of economic development. The LOI ensures “Inuit will be directly involved upstream in any discussions and proposed planning of this project. They will also be enabled to provide insights and share concerns during the progression of the project. Makivik is pleased that the LOI is in accordance with the Nunavik Inuit Mining Policy objectives that look forward to establishing clear lines of communication with the industry.”

Commerce Resources and two Inuit corporations sign LOI to advance northern Quebec rare earths

The Nunavik Mineral Exploration Fund held the recent
Nunavik Mining Workshop to discuss the region’s
mineral potential as well as its rich culture.

With one of the most advanced deposits outside China hosting these elements deemed critical by the U.S., Ashram shows favourable metallurgy as well as grade. The project’s rare earths occur within carbonatite host rock and the minerals monazite, bastnasite and xenotime, which are familiar to commercial REE processing. Near-surface mineralization further optimizes potential cost advantages.

Using a base case 1.25% cutoff, a 2012 resource shows:

  • measured: 1.59 million tonnes averaging 1.77% total rare earth oxides

  • indicated: 27.67 million tonnes averaging 1.9% TREO

  • inferred: 219.8 million tonnes averaging 1.88% TREO

The deposit also features some of the most sought-after REEs, with a strong distribution of neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium. Metallurgical tests also show potential for a fluorspar byproduct.

“We look forward to working closely with Commerce and Makivik Corporation to implement the LOI during the pre-development phase of the proposed Ashram deposit,” commented Sammy Koneak, Nayumivik Landholding president. “We are confident that continued communication between the parties under the terms and spirit of the LOI will result in ongoing respect for our rights and our environment.”

Commerce president Chris Grove heralded the LOI as “a milestone that speaks to the cooperation between all parties— a document that recognizes the primacy of the James Bay Agreement, the practicalities of advancing our Ashram deposit through the next few years of development, the practicalities of getting our material to world markets, and the best way to achieve our collective goals of a new producing mine in Nunavik through the cooperation of the Inuit and Commerce towards our mutual benefit. We look forward to this future with the Inuit in Nunavik.”

The urgency of securing rare earths and other critical minerals has been recognized in a number of American government initiatives. This week the U.S. exempted rare earths and other critical minerals from tariffs imposed on China, emphasizing America’s reliance on a trade war enemy for commodities essential to the economy and defence. Last week a bipartisan group of U.S. senators proposed legislation to reduce their country’s reliance on unreliable sources of critical minerals.

Looking at other critical minerals, Commerce holds the Niobium Claim Group just a few kilometres from Ashram. Working towards a 75% earn-in, Saville Resources TSXV:SRE awaits assays from this year’s spring drill program. Previous intervals of near-surface, high-grade niobium along with tantalum support the company’s optimism.

Commerce also holds the Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit in southern British Columbia, which reached PEA in 2011.

Saville Resources reports favourable geology, plans Phase II drilling at Quebec niobium-tantalum project

April 29th, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 29, 2019

Assays are pending but the first drill program since 2010 has Saville Resources TSXV:SRE optimistic about results. With five holes totalling 1,049 metres, the season devoted four holes to the Mallard target in the property’s southeastern area. Historic, non-43-101 results from Mallard’s previous campaign brought near-surface high grades that included:

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

  • 0.72% over 21.35 metres, starting at 4.22 metres
  • (including 0.9% over 4.78 metres)
Saville Resources reports favourable geology, plans Phase II drilling at Quebec niobium-tantalum project

A spring campaign under winter conditions
comprised the project’s first drill program since 2010.

True widths were unknown.

The spring campaign sunk an additional hole 60 metres from another location of high-grade, near-surface results that included an historic, non-43-101 interval of 0.71% Nb2O5 over 15.33 metres, starting at 55.1 metres. The new hole tested the intercept down-dip as well as the strike extension of the main mineralized zone.

“In each hole, favourable rock types and coarse-grained pyrochlore mineralization were visually identified over varying widths and concentrations,” the company stated. “Portable XRF data and detailed geological logging further support these observations.”

Saville plans further drilling at Mallard, as well as Miranna and several other targets, to build a 43-101 resource estimate. Previous boulder samples from Mallard include an exceptional 5.93% Nb2O5, as well as 2.75%, 4.24% and 4.3% Nb2O5. Tantalum samples from the area reached up to 1,040, 1,060 and 1,220 Ta2O5.

Work on the 1,223-hectare Niobium Claim Group takes place under a 75% earn-in from Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE, whose Ashram rare earths deposit a few kilometres away moves towards pre-feasibility.

In early April Saville released assays from last year’s campaign on the Bud property in southern British Columbia’s historic Greenwood mining camp, with samples reaching as high as 4.57 g/t gold, 27.7 g/t silver and 6.7% copper.

A private placement first tranche that closed in December brought Saville $311,919. In March the company optioned its James Bay-region Covette nickel-copper-cobalt property to Astorius Resources TSXV:ASQ. A 100% fulfillment would bring Saville $1.25 million over three years, with Astorius spending another $300,000 on exploration within two years. Saville retains a 2% NSR.

Read more about Saville Resources.

92 Resources increases its Quebec lithium-polymetallic potential with expanded acquisition

April 24th, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 24, 2019

An amended option with “no additional share, cash or work commitment” brings more land and greater prospects in northern Quebec’s James Bay region to 92 Resources TSXV:NTY. A 4,253-hectare increase to a previous 75% earn-in with Osisko Mining TSX:OSK now covers that company’s entire FCI property. Combined with 92’s adjacent and wholly owned Corvette project, the Corvette-FCI property now comprises three contiguous claim blocks in a 14,496-hectare parcel that stretches for over 25 kilometres along the Lac Guyer greenstone belt.

92 Resources increases its Quebec lithium-polymetallic potential with expanded acquisition

Past work at the newly acquired FCI West found 16 showings of base and precious metals along two parallel trends extending over 10 kilometres in length. Historic, non-43-101 assays from FCI West’s Golden Gap prospect included outcrop samples as high as 108.9 g/t gold, a 2003 drill interval of 10.5 g/t gold over seven metres and a channel sample of 14.5 g/t gold over two metres.

FCI West’s Tyrone-T9 prospect includes an historic, non-43-101 channel sample of 1.15% copper over 2.1 metres. Despite high-grade lithium showings at Corvette, FCI West has never been evaluated for the energy metal, the company stated.

Immediately south and west of 92’s new turf sits Azimut Exploration’s (TSXV:AZM) Pikwa property. Adjacently north of FCI West, Midland Exploration’s (TSXV:MD) 2018 field program on the Mythril project found outcrop and boulder samples grading 16.7% copper, 16.8 g/t gold and 3.04% molybdenum. 92 anticipates significant activity by multiple companies along the Lac Guyer greenstone belt this year “as the magnitude of the Mythril-style copper-gold mineralization unfolds.”

Regional infrastructure includes a powerline and the all-season Trans-Taiga Road 10 kilometres north of Corvette-FCI.

This year’s exploration program will follow evaluation of historic data, with work expected to wrap up in summer.

The amended option with Osisko would give 92 the additional claims by satisfying terms of the 75% earn-in on FCI East. That deal calls for an initial million shares, another million shares and $250,000 of work in year one, another $800,000 in year two and a further $1.2 million in year three, while Osisko acts as project operator. At that point the companies would form a 50/50 JV. Another $2 million in expenditures from 92 would raise the company’s stake to 75%. With FCI West now incorporated into that agreement, “no additional share, cash or work commitment is required by the company,” 92 emphasized.

The company retains a 100% interest in Corvette’s 172 claims.

92’s Quebec portfolio also includes the Pontax, Eastman and Lac du Beryl properties. Lithium-tantalum grab samples from Pontax have reached up to 0.94% Li2O and 520 ppm Ta2O5.

In British Columbia 92 holds the Silver Sands vanadium prospect and the Golden frac sand project. In the Northwest Territories, Far Resources CSE:FAT works towards a 90% earn-in on 92’s Hidden Lake lithium project.

92 closed a private placement of $618,000 last December.

Read more about 92 Resources here and here.

Ximen Mining expands its presence in British Columbia’s Greenwood camp

April 5th, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 5, 2019

A former mining region about 500 highway kilometres east of Vancouver continues to attract interest as another company picks up additional property. Through a combination of purchase and staking, Ximen Mining TSXV:XIM acquired over 12,900 hectares surrounding its Gold Drop project, now optioned to GGX Gold TSXV:GGX.

Last year’s drilling at Gold Drop returned near-surface, high-grade intervals of gold and silver along with tellurium, classified by the U.S. government as a critical mineral. Some highlight assays include:

Ximen Mining expands its presence in British Columbia’s Greenwood camp

A quartz sample from Ximen’s recent site
visit brought 2.87 g/t gold and 127 g/t silver.

Hole COD18-67

  • 129.1 g/t gold, 1,154.9 g/t silver and 823.4 g/t tellurium over 7.28 metres, starting at 23.19 metres in downhole depth

COD18-70

  • 107.5 g/t gold, 880 g/t silver and 640.5 g/t tellurium over 6.9 metres, starting at 22.57 metres

True widths were unavailable. The operator has spring drilling scheduled to begin this month.

Ximen’s new Providence claim also borders Grizzly Discoveries’ (TSXV:GZD) Greenwood project, where Kinross Gold TSX:K subsidiary KG Exploration works towards a 75% earn-in. Other companies active in the Greenwood area include Quebec niobium-tantalum explorer Saville Resources TSXV:SRE, which this week announced sampling found high-grade gold and copper along with silver on its Bud project. Last week Nevada lithium explorer Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA announced its acquisition of the Greenwood-area Pathfinder project. Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM has been working a number of properties in the area, home to numerous former mines.

Ximen Mining expands its presence in British Columbia’s Greenwood camp

An historic pit yielded this sample
of copper-rich massive sulphide.

Among those within or bordering Ximen’s acquisition is the Providence mine, which produced 10,426 tonnes containing 183 kilograms of gold, 42,552 kilograms of silver, 183 tonnes of lead and 118 tonnes of zinc during intermittent operation between 1893 and 1973, according to historic reports. The historic Combination deposit gave up 11 tonnes for 60,340 grams of silver and 653 grams of gold. Ximen’s new claims cover 11 known mineral occurrences, the company stated.

Recent sampling returned 2.87 g/t gold and 127 g/t silver from a mine dump northeast of the former Providence operation. Another sample showed 2,350 ppm copper from one of the property’s undocumented exploration pits that show exposed massive sulphides containing chalcopyrite, bornite and magnetite.

In southern B.C.’s Okanagan region, Ximen also holds the Brett gold project. In November the company announced that metallurgical tests on material stockpiled in the 1990s during early-stage mine development support an historic account of 4 g/t to 5 g/t gold.

About three and a half hours’ driving distance from Vancouver, Ximen has its Treasure Mountain property under option to New Destiny Mining TSXV:NED. Grab samples collected last year included 11.3 g/t and 8.81 g/t gold, as well as samples showing up to 1.45% zinc, 122 g/t silver, 0.87 g/t gold, 57 g/t tellurium and 12.3 g/t indium.

Ximen closed private placements of $540,000 in December and $250,000 in February. Last month the company arranged a private placement of $405,000 subject to TSXV approval.

Read more about Ximen Mining.

Saville Resources samples 4.57 g/t gold and 6.7% copper at southern B.C.’s Greenwood camp

April 3rd, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 3, 2019

High gold-copper grades from a 2018 field program indicate another encouraging project in the portfolio of a company now drilling for niobium-tantalum in Quebec. Saville Resources TSXV:SRE released 20 sample assays from its Bud property, located in an historic southern British Columbia mining camp that has attracted considerable exploration activity.

Six highlights show elevated gold grades coinciding with elevated copper:

Saville Resources samples 4.57 g/t gold and 6.7% copper at southern B.C.’s Greenwood camp

Mining at the Bud property’s Morrison showing from
the late 1890s to 1903 produced 2,918 tons containing
230 ounces of gold, 837 ounces of silver and 23,629 pounds
of copper, according to historic reports.

  • 4.57 g/t gold, 27.7 g/t silver and 6.7% copper

  • 4.44 g/t gold, 17 g/t silver and 6.84% copper

  • 3.54 g/t gold, 76.4 g/t silver and 2.41% copper

  • 1.96 g/t gold, 12.3 g/t silver and 1.2% copper

  • 1.74 g/t gold, 19.3 g/t silver and 1.65% copper

  • 1.23 g/t gold, 66.3 g/t silver and 7.14% copper

The program shows renewed interest in the 381-hectare property following a hiatus. Excavator trenching in 2003 revealed 1.9 g/t gold, 19.5 g/t silver and 1.5% copper over 1.3 metres. One sample averaged 7.8 g/t gold, 9.3 g/t silver and 2,156 ppm copper, while another graded 51.6 g/t gold, 403 g/t silver and 4.16% copper.

A three-hole, 538-metre drill program in 2005 identified a large hydrothermal system with prospective structure and stratigraphy, the company stated. A few selected intervals showed:

  • 3.82 g/t gold, 5.5 g/t silver and 656 ppm copper over 1.15 metres
  • (including 14.3 g/t gold, 22.6 g/t silver and 2,653 ppm copper over 0.15 metres)

  • 3.97 g/t gold, 23.8 g/t silver and 2.03% copper over 0.5 metres

True widths weren’t provided.

The 380-hectare property sits about four kilometres northwest of the town of Greenwood, roughly 500 kilometres by highway east of Vancouver. The surrounding Boundary district includes the former camps of Republic, Belcher, Rossland and Greenwood, which historically produced over 7.5 million ounces of gold, Saville noted. A resurgence of activity has included the Gold Drop property two kilometres southwest of Bud, where last month Ximen Mining TSXV:XIM and GGX Gold TSXV:GGX reported near-surface intervals of tellurium in addition to gold and silver.

Other Greenwood-area explorers include Kinross Gold TSX:K subsidiary KG Exploration, working towards a 75% earn-in on Grizzly Discoveries’ (TSXV:GZD) Greenwood project, Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM, and Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA, which last week announced acquisition of the Pathfinder property.

In Quebec’s James Bay region, meanwhile, a crew prepares to drill Saville’s flagship Niobium Claim Group, where the agenda calls for at least four holes and 700 metres in an area with encouraging historic assays. More recent boulder samples on the property have provided niobium grades as high as 2.75%, 4.24%, 4.3% and an outstanding 5.93% Nb2O5.

Read more about Saville Resources.

Belmont Resources moves into B.C.’s historic Greenwood mining camp

March 28th, 2019

by Greg Klein | March 28, 2019, updated April 2

A company drilling for Nevada lithium has taken on new turf in a storied southern British Columbia gold-copper district. The acquisition brings Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA a 253-hectare property that formed part of the former Pathfinder project, about 18 kilometres north of Grand Forks and 500 klicks by highway east of Vancouver. The location sits on the northeastern edge of the Boundary mining camp, also known as the Republic-Greenwood gold district.

Belmont Resources moves into B.C.’s historic Greenwood mining camp

Greenwood-area mining dates back to the late 1880s. Approximately 26 former mines produced more than 1.2 million ounces of gold and over 270,000 tonnes of copper, as well as silver, lead and zinc, according to Geoscience BC. Among the past-producers are some workings on the former Pathfinder property. More recent prospecting, sampling, drilling and a magnetic survey on Pathfinder have provided historic data to help Belmont plan a 2019 exploration program.

Kinross Gold TSX:K subsidiary KG Exploration holds property bordering three sides of the Belmont acquisition. The Kinross subsidiary has so far spent $1.28 million towards a 75% earn-in on Grizzly Discoveries’ (TSXV:GZD) Greenwood project and plans further work this year. Ximen Mining TSXV:XIM and GGX Gold TSXV:GGX have recently reported near-surface gold, silver and tellurium assays from their Greenwood-area Gold Drop project. Other companies in the district include Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM and Quebec niobium-tantalum explorer Saville Resources TSXV:SRE.

To close the acquisition Belmont pays each of two vendors 625,000 shares and 625,000 warrants on TSXV approval, along with another 125,000 shares and 125,000 warrants each within a year. Together, the vendors retain a 1.5% NSR, half of which Belmont may buy for $1 million.

Reporting from their Kibby Basin lithium project in Nevada last week, Belmont and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG announced a “milestone” permit to extract up to 943 million U.S. gallons of water annually for brine processing and potential production of lithium compounds. Assays are pending from last winter’s drilling, which tested a potential fault about 2,300 metres from a previous target that averaged 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres.

Belmont’s portfolio also includes an interest in two northern Saskatchewan uranium properties held 50/50 with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT.

Subject to exchange approval, Belmont expects to close a private placement first tranche of $67,500. The company closed a private placement totalling $375,000 in July.

Saville Resources begins niobium-tantalum drilling in Quebec

March 25th, 2019

by Greg Klein | March 25, 2019

The search for critical minerals on the Labrador Trough’s Quebec side continues as Saville Resources TSXV:SRE puts a rig to work on the Niobium Claim Group property this week. A Phase I program of at least four holes totalling a minimum 700 metres will target an area that—despite encouraging historic assays—hasn’t been drilled since 2010.

Saville currently works on a 75% earn-in on the 1,223-hectare property from Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE, whose Ashram rare earths deposit a few kilometres away advances towards pre-feasibility.

Saville Resources begins niobium-tantalum drilling in Quebec

Saville’s focus will be the Mallard target, previously known as the Southeast target. Location of the most extensive work so far, Mallard underwent nine holes totalling 2,490 metres, with EC10-033 featuring impressive, near-surface intervals in these historic, non-43-101 results:

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

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

True widths were unknown.

The current program will test the hole’s southeastern extension. “Strong mineralization has been returned at this target historically and confirming and extending this trend is a logical next step as we advance towards an initial mineral resource estimate,” said president Mike Hodge.

A Phase II campaign would continue at Mallard as well as other targets including Miranna, an undrilled area where boulder samples reached as high as 2.75%, 4.24% and 4.3% Nb2O5, along with an outstanding 5.93% Nb2O5. Miranna’s tantalum samples graded up to 1,040, 1,060 and 1,220 Ta2O5.

The company expects Phase I to wrap up in about a month.

Both niobium and tantalum have been classified as critical minerals by the U.S. government. Used in steel and superalloy production, 88% of world niobium supply comes from Brazil, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Sixty-six percent of global tantalum supply, necessary for automotive electronics, cellphones and computers, came from the strife-torn countries of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the USGS reported. Additional concerns involve opaque supply lines that can mask conflict sources in those countries.

In late December Saville closed a private placement first tranche of $311,919. Earlier this month the company optioned its James Bay-region Covette nickel-copper-cobalt property to Astorius Resources TSXV:ASQ . A 100% fulfillment would bring Saville $1.25 million over three years, while Astorius would spend another $300,000 on the project within two years. Saville retains a 2% NSR.

Read more about Saville Resources.

Got the minerals?

March 4th, 2019

A new book says self-imposed obstacles block U.S. self-sufficiency

by Greg Klein

“The Middle East has oil, China has rare earths.”

Deng Xiaoping’s 1992 implied threat became all too real eight years later in the Senkaku aftermath, when RE dependency put Japan and the West at China’s mercy. But just as the United States overcame the 1973 OPEC embargo to become the world’s leading oil producer, that country can overcome its growing reliance on dodgy sources of mineral production and processing. So say authors Ned Mamula and Ann Bridges in Groundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence.

Their country’s problem isn’t geology but policies, the book argues. Repeatedly pointing to Canada and Australia as role models, the authors say their own country’s mining potential can restore mining self-sufficiency, or at least minimize a crippling dependency.

A new book says self-imposed obstacles block U.S. self-sufficiency

Indeed, the mighty nation has a mighty problem with minerals: Imports supply many critical minerals and metals in their entirety, with heavy reliance on Russia and especially China, “countries we consider at best our competitors, and at worst our adversaries.”

Rare earths stand out as the “poster child for U.S. critical mineral vulnerability.” As the authors note, REs remain “essential for military and civilian use, for the production of high-performance permanent magnets, GPS guidance systems, satellite imaging and night vision equipment, cellphones, iPads, flat screens, MRIs and electric toothbrushes, sunglasses, and a myriad of other technology products. Since they offer that extra boost to so many new technologies, these rare earth metals rival energy in importance to our 21st century lifestyle.”

Industrial countries not only surrendered rare earths mining and processing to China, but gave up technological secrets too. That happened when China forced RE-dependent manufacturers to move their operations to China. After Apple transplanted some of its manufacturing to that country, China copied and reproduced the company’s products, at times outselling the iPhone with knock-offs.

A new book says self-imposed obstacles block U.S. self-sufficiency

Other intellectual property faces threats. “U.S. companies—Intematix, GE (Healthcare/MRI Division), Ford (Starter Motor Division), and Battery 1,2,3—have all added manufacturing capacity in China, and so has Japan’s Showa Denko, Santoku, and scores of other global electronics companies.”

RE dominance has also allowed China to lead the world in technology for electric vehicles, renewable energy and next-generation nuclear power. And America relies on its rival for defence: “Most of the U.S.’ advanced weapon systems procurement is 100% dependent on China for advanced metallurgical materials.”

Foreign dependency includes tantalum, “critical to the economy and national defense,” gallium, cobalt, uranium and the list goes on.

According to a just-published report from the U.S. Geological Survey, “in 2018, imports made up more than half of U.S apparent consumption for 48 non-fuel mineral commodities, and the U.S. was 100% net import-reliant for 18 of those.

“For 2018, critical minerals comprised 14 of the 18 mineral commodities with 100% net import reliance and 15 additional critical mineral commodities had a net import reliance greater than 50% of apparent consumption. The largest number of non-fuel mineral commodities were supplied to the U.S. from China, followed by Canada.”

The takeover of former TSX listing Uranium One by Russia’s state-owned Rosatom brings threats worse than most observers realized, the authors say. The acquisition granted the Russian government membership in trade organizations and therefore valuable intel formerly available only through espionage. Uranium One also gives Russia the ability to curtail future American uranium production and use its influence on Kazakhstan, the world’s top producer, to flood the U.S. with cheaper, subsidized supply. That could put both U.S. production and processing out of business in a tactic reminiscent of China’s RE machinations.

China’s communist government uses a ‘debt trap’ model of economic development and finance which proffers substantial financing to developing countries in exchange for an encumbrance on their minerals resources and access to markets. This predatory model has been particularly effective in countries characterized by weak rule of law and authoritarian regimes.—Ned Mamula
and Ann Bridges

The Chinese “are now masters at securing and controlling core natural resources globally, especially minerals.” The country uses long-term contracts, equity investments and joint ventures, as well as the “debt trap” that provides “substantial financing to developing countries in exchange for an encumbrance on their minerals resources and access to markets. This predatory model has been particularly effective in countries characterized by weak rule of law and authoritarian regimes.”

The U.S., meanwhile, suffers not only from naivete and short-term thinking, but from self-induced challenges. The authors devote an entire chapter to Alaska’s Pebble project, maybe the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold-molybdenum deposit. After more than two decades and over $150 million in spending, “Pebble is still more about politics than geology, much less mining the minerals known to exist there.”

The story stands out as “the classic cautionary tale in U.S. history of how a powerful federal regulatory agency can go rogue and impose its will on an unsuspecting permit applicant.”

Suggestions to alleviate these ills include streamlining the permitting process, among other recommendations to open up domestic production and re-build supply chains. One of the authors’ more interesting ideas concerns teaming up with environmental activists to promote ethical green supply chains that would shut out conflict minerals.

The book’s marred by repetition, sloppy English and some bold-faced typographical shouting. It’s also cluttered with a few questionable information sources and excerpts from a novel that would have been better left unwritten. The portrayal of Canada as a role model, moreover, might induce bitter laughter from this side of the border. But Groundbreaking offers a vital message to general readers. In doing so, it could reinforce a growing awareness in the U.S. about the need to minimize foreign dependency.

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

Saville Resources options Quebec nickel-copper-cobalt property to Astorius Resources

March 1st, 2019

by Greg Klein | March 1, 2019

By granting an option on its James Bay-region Covette property, Saville Resources TSXV:SRE stands to gain a cash infusion while another company works the project. Under the agreement, Astorius Resources TSXV:ASQ may acquire 100% of the nickel-copper-cobalt property by paying $1.25 million over three years and spending $300,000 by February 2021. Saville retains a 2% NSR.

Saville Resources options Quebec nickel-copper-cobalt property to Astorius Resources

Covette sits 10 kilometres north of the all-weather
Trans-Taiga road and adjacent powerline.

Previous work on Covette includes a 2016 VTEM survey and early-stage field work in 2017 and 2018, which included grab samples grading up to 0.09% copper and 0.19% nickel. Samples from outcrop showed up to 1.2% zinc, 68.7 ppm silver, 0.15% copper and 0.19% nickel.

In July Saville filed a 43-101 technical report recommending detailed mapping, surface sampling, channel sampling and further geophysics.

Saville’s focus remains the Niobium claim group in northern Quebec, a 75% earn-in from Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE, whose Ashram rare earths deposit a few kilometres away advances towards pre-feasibility. Autumn work on the Saville project found 22 boulder samples above 0.7% Nb2O5, with one peaking at 1.5%. Fourteen of the samples exceeded 0.8% Nb2O5 and brought encouraging tantalum results.

The program included a ground magnetic survey and also opened up a new target area where one standout boulder sample graded 1.28% Nb2O5 and 260 ppm Ta2O5, while another showed 0.88% Nb2O5 and 1,080 ppm Ta2O5.

In late December Saville closed a private placement first tranche of $311,919.

Read more about Saville Resources.

Periodic table: New version warns of elements that are endangered

January 25th, 2019

by David Cole-Hamilton, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, University of St Andrews | posted with permission of The Conversation | January 25, 2019

Periodic table New version warns of elements that are endangered

Period pains. (Image: European Chemical Society)

 

It is amazing to think that everything around us is made up from just 90 building blocks—the naturally occurring chemical elements. Dmitri Mendeleev put the 63 known during his time into order and published his first version of what we now recognize as the periodic table in 1869. In that year, the American Civil War was just over, Germany was about to be unified, Tolstoy published War and Peace and the Suez Canal was opened.

There are now 118 known elements but only 90 that occur in nature. The rest are mostly super-heavy substances that have been created in laboratories in recent decades through nuclear reactions and rapidly decay into one or more of the natural elements.

Where each of these natural elements sits in the periodic table allows us to know immediately a great deal about how it will behave. To commemorate the 150th anniversary of this amazing resource, UNESCO has proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table.

Periodic table New version warns of elements that are endangered

Dmitri Mendeleev.
(Artwork: Marusya Chaika)

As part of the celebrations, the European Chemical Society has published a completely new version of the periodic table. (See main image.) It is designed to give an eye-catching message about sustainable development. Based on an original idea in the 1970s from the American chemist William Sheehan, the table has been completely redrawn so that the area occupied by each element represents its abundance on a log scale.

Red for danger

Each area of the new table has been colour-coded to indicate its vulnerability. In most cases, elements are not lost but, as we use them, they become dissipated and much less easy to recover. Red indicates that dissipation will make the elements much less readily available in 100 years or less—that’s helium (He), silver (Ag), tellurium (Te), gallium (Ga), germanium (Ge), strontium (Sr), yttrium (Y), zinc (Zn), indium (In), arsenic (As), hafnium (Hf) and tantalum (Ta).

To give just a couple of examples, helium is used to cool the magnets in MRI scanners and to dilute oxygen for deep-sea diving. Vital rods in nuclear reactors use hafnium. Strontium salts are added to fireworks and flares to produce vivid red colours. Yttrium is a component of camera lenses to make them shock- and heat-resistant. It is also used in lasers and alloys. Gallium, meanwhile, is used to make very high-quality mirrors, light-emitting diodes and solar cells.

Meanwhile, the orange and yellow areas on the new periodic table anticipate problems caused by increased use of these elements. Green means that plenty is available—including the likes of oxygen (O), hydrogen (H), aluminium (Al) and calcium (Ca).

Four elements—tin (Sn), tantalum (Ta), tungsten (W) and gold (Au)—are coloured in black because they often come from conflict minerals; that is, from mines where wars are fought over their ownership. They can all be more ethically sourced, so it’s intended as a reminder that manufacturers must carefully trace their origin to be sure that people did not die in order to provide the minerals in question.

Smartphone shortages

Out of the 90 elements, 31 carry a smartphone symbol reflecting the fact that they are all contained in these devices. This includes all four of the elements from conflict minerals and another six with projected useful lifetimes of less than 100 years.

Let us consider indium (In), for instance, which is coloured red on the table. Every touch screen contains a transparent conducting layer of indium tin oxide. There is quite a lot of indium, but it is already highly dispersed. It is a byproduct of zinc manufacture, but there is only enough from that source for about 20 years. Then the price will start to rise quickly unless we do something to preserve current stocks.

The three main possibilities are: replace, recycle or use less. Huge efforts are being made to find alternative materials based on Earth-abundant elements. Reclaiming indium from used screens is possible and being attempted. But when we look at the periodic table and the very precious nature of so many of the elements, can we possibly justify changing our phone every two or so years?

At present over one million phones are traded every month in the UK alone, as well as 10 million in Europe and 12 million in the U.S.

At present over one million phones are traded every month in the UK alone, as well as 10 million in Europe and 12 million in the U.S. When we trade in our smartphones, many of them go to the developing world initially for reuse. Most end up in landfill sites or undergo attempts to extract a few of the elements under appalling conditions. The other elements remain in acidic brews. Along with the very many that lie around in drawers, this is how the elements in mobile phones become dissipated.

The number of phones we trade in could be greatly reduced and lower the demand on limited resources such as indium. In this context, the recent Apple profit warning, partly due to customers replacing their iPhones slightly less frequently, was at least a sign of improvement.

But as the new version of the periodic table underlines, we must do all we can to conserve and recycle the 90 precious building blocks that make up our wonderfully diverse world. If we don’t start taking these problems more seriously, many of the objects and technologies that we now take for granted may become relics of a more abundant age a few generations from now—or available only to richer people.

David Cole-Hamilton is affiliated with the UK Liberal Democratic Party. He is vice-president of the European Chemical Society (EuChemS). He is past-president of the Royal Society of Chemistry Dalton Division covering Inorganic Chemistry. He is a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) Education Committee, RSE Learned Societies Group on STEM Education, RSE European Strategy Group and chairs the sub-group on Research, Innovation and Tertiary Education. He is a trustee of the Wilkinson Charitable Foundation.

Posted with permission of The Conversation.

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