Sunday 25th June 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘tantalum’

92 Resources begins frac sand field work while advancing lithium metallurgy

June 6th, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 6, 2017

With a crew already en route, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY has a 10-day exploration program about to begin on its Golden frac sand project in eastern British Columbia. A team from Dahrouge Geological Consulting will undertake further mapping and sampling for a 43-101 technical report. While the company’s focus remains the Hidden Lake lithium project in the Northwest Territories, 92 Resources sees potential in another energy-related commodity.

92 Resources begins frac sand field work while advancing lithium metallurgy

“Despite fluctuating oil and gas prices, North American demand for frac sand is exceptionally robust and there remains a nearly non-existent domestic supply of high-quality proppant within Canada,” said president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Close to the Alberta border and with nearby roads, the property’s located five kilometres from Golden, B.C., on the Canadian Pacific main line. Adjacent to the property is Heemskirk Canada’s Moberly project, a former producer of silica sand for the glass industry that’s now being redeveloped as a frac sand production and processing operation. The parent company, Heemskirk Consolidated, is the object of a takeover bid by Northern Silica, held by Taurus Resources No. 2 Fund.

Running through the 3,211-hectare Golden property is an 18-kilometre strike of the Mount Wilson formation, described as hosting high-purity, white, quartzite and friable sandstones. Four samples collected in 2014 showed silica content averaging 98.6% SiO2, with low boron and iron values. “Preliminary testing on these samples indicates favourable frac sand characteristics, as well as metallurgical-grade silica potential,” 92 Resources stated.

Last week the company announced initial results from Phase I metallurgical tests for its Hidden Lake lithium property in the NWT. Early findings suggest material from the hard rock project might be suitable for a conventional flowsheet. As the program goes into Phase II, potential tantalum recovery will be examined as well. 92 Resources filed a 43-101 technical report on the property in January.

The company also holds the 5,536-hectare Pontax lithium property in northern Quebec.

92 Resources advances metallurgy for NWT hard rock lithium

June 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 1, 2017

Phase I mineralogy studies have 92 Resources TSXV:NTY confident that its Hidden Lake lithium project in the Northwest Territories could be amenable to a conventional flowsheet. QEMSCAN and Electron Probe Micro Analysis on a composite sample from each of four pegmatites showed similar results, confirming spodumene as the primary host of lithium. The coarse-grained spodumene shows very good liberation characteristics and low iron content, the company stated.

92 Resources advances metallurgy for NWT hard rock lithium

The 1,659-hectare Hidden Lake project has all-weather
road access to Yellowknife, 45 kilometres southwest.

Spodumene liberation “indicates a strong potential for recovery using dense media separation and flotation techniques, which are common processing methods applied to spodumene-bearing pegmatites,” 92 Resources added.

The program also found potential for tantalum recovery, which will be further assessed in Phase II. About to begin, the program will conduct flotation tests to determine the reagent scheme and assess the ability to produce spodumene concentrate without additional processing.

Last year’s channel sampling targeted four of six known lithium-bearing spodumene dykes, with the best result showing:

  • 1.58% Li2O and 31 ppm Ta2O5 over 8.78 metres

  • (including 1.78% Li2O and 31 ppm Ta2O5 over 6.93 metres)

The company filed a 43-101 technical report on Hidden Lake in January.

92 Resources’ portfolio also includes the 5,536-hectare Pontax lithium prospect in northern Quebec and the 3,211-hectare Golden frac sand project in southeastern British Columbia.

In February the company closed an oversubscribed private placement of $895,199.

Margaret Lake, Arctic Star begin geophysical search for NWT diamonds

May 9th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 9, 2017

Modern geophysics and a new approach come to a property with diamondiferous kimberlites in the Northwest Territories’ prolific Lac de Gras region, as Margaret Lake Diamonds TSXV:DIA and Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD start work on their Diagras JV. Expected to finish in mid-May, the program consists of ground gravity, magnetics and Ohm Mapper EM.

Margaret Lake, Arctic Star begin geophysical search for NWT diamonds

Margaret Lake and Arctic Star hold a 60% and 40% stake respectively, with Margaret Lake acting as project operator.

The companies hope to find non-magnetic evidence that was missed in the 1990s when De Beers flew airborne surveys that identified the property’s magnetic kimberlites.

Diagras hosts 13 known kimberlites, most of them diamondiferous, according to historic data. The property’s Jack Pine kimberlite shows “multiple phases with different geophysical responses,” the JV stated. “It is hoped that our planned surveys will reveal similar geology around the other pipes. There is also a good chance to find new kimberlites using these new ground geophysical techniques.”

In November the JV attributed those techniques to Kennady Diamonds’ (TSXV:KDI) progress at Kennady North, Lac de Gras’ most advanced exploration project.

Results of the Diagras program will be considered for follow-up drilling.

In January Arctic Star applied for a drill permit for its 100%-held CAP niobium-tantalum-REE property in north-central British Columbia. The company raised over $1.47 million in private placements that closed late last year.

More critical than ever

April 13th, 2017

The USGS promotes awareness about essential resources and their supply chains

by Greg Klein

Let’s call it Critical Minerals Awareness Month. The U.S. Geological Survey hasn’t actually labelled April that way, but the agency does have a “big push” underway to inform American decision-makers and the general public about the country’s often tenuous hold on commodities vital to the economy and security of that country. Of course those concerns apply to its allies as well.

The USGS promotes public awareness about essential resources and their supply chains

“We decided to do a big push on critical minerals in April largely because we’ve got several big publications coming out on the subject,” USGS public affairs specialist Alex Demas tells ResourceClips.com.

“One of the things we’ve been focusing on is supply chain security, so with the sheer number of mineral commodities that are used in the United States, and the number of them deemed critical, we felt it was important to emphasize where a lot of those mineral resources are coming from and if there are any potential issues in the supply chain, getting them from the source to the United States.”

Computers provide an obvious example, increasing their use from “just 12 elements in the 1980s to as many as 60 by 2006,” points out one recent USGS news release. Smartphones offer another example. Looking back 30 years ago, “‘portable’ phones were the size of a shoebox and consisted of 25 to 30 elements,” states another USGS release. “Today they fit in your pocket or on your wrist and are made from about 75 different elements, almost three-quarters of the periodic table.”

Larry Meinert, USGS deputy associate director for energy and minerals, pointed out some of the sources. “For instance, the industrial sand used to make the quartz in smartphone screens may come from the United States or China, but the potassium added to enhance screen strength could come from Canada, Russia or Belarus. Australia, Chile and Argentina often produce the lithium used in battery cathodes, while the hard-to-come-by tantalum—used in smartphone circuitry—mostly comes from Congo, Rwanda and Brazil.”

That brings an ominous warning. “With minerals being sourced from all over the world, the possibility of supply disruption is more critical than ever.”

The campaign also reveals the agency’s methods for tracking this essential stuff. A USGS-designed early warning system described as “mathematically rigorous and elegant” helps the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency monitor a watch list of about 160 minerals. Not all have been labelled critical, but those so defined can change due to technological development and geopolitical conflict.

The USGS itself tracks something like 90 minerals important to the American economy or security but sourced from about 180 countries. For last year the agency identified 20 minerals on which the U.S. relied entirely on imports and 47 on which the country imported more than half its supply.

Not all the source countries are always best buddies with the West. China supplies most of America’s mined commodities, including 24 of the 47 minerals supplied 51% or more by imports. Among the critical items are rare earth elements, 100% imported, over 90% directly from China and much of the rest through supply chains originating there.

As a supplier, Canada came a distant second, the chief provider of 16 minerals, not all of them critical. Runners-up Mexico, Russia and South Africa were each chief suppliers for eight American mineral imports.

Among the research reports coming soon will be “a compendium of everything the USGS knows about 23 minerals critical to the United States,” Demas says. “It’s going to cover the industry side of things, the reserves, production, shipment, etc. It’s going to cover geology and sustainability. Each chapter on each mineral will have a section on how this can be mined sustainably so we can meet our needs not only today, but also in the future.”

In part the publications target “decision-makers in Congress, as well as the Defense Department and others who use mineral resources,” Demas adds. But he emphasizes the campaign wasn’t motivated by the proposed METALS Act (Materials Essential to American Leadership and Security). Currently before U.S. Congress, the bill calls on government to support domestic resources and supply chains of critical and strategic minerals. On introducing the bill, Rep. Duncan Hunter argued the risk of foreign dependence to national security “is too great and it urgently demands that we re-establish our depleted domestic industrial base.”

As Demas notes, “Since we are a non-regulatory, non-policy agency, we don’t directly influence policy. But we do want policy-makers to have our tools available so they can make the best science-informed decisions.”

And while this month will see special attention to critical minerals, Demas says the subject’s an ongoing concern for the USGS. Some of the reports coming out now will be updates of annual publications.

“We’re really trying to promote the idea that USGS has a lot of really useful information that we put out all the time,” he adds. “This information will hopefully be useful to people when they’re considering where their resources are coming from.”

Follow USGS news here.

Read about the West’s dependence on non-allied countries for critical minerals here and here.

USGS: Possibility of supply disruption more critical than ever

April 5th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 5, 2017

USGS: Possibility of supply disruption more critical than ever

Many and various are the sources of smartphone minerals.
(Map: U.S. Geological Survey)

 

In another article warning of foreign dependency, the U.S. Geological Survey uses smartphones as a cautionary example. Looking back 30 years ago, “‘portable’ phones were the size of a shoebox and consisted of 25 to 30 elements,” pointed out Larry Meinert of the USGS. “Today they fit in your pocket or on your wrist and are made from about 75 different elements, almost three-quarters of the periodic table.”

USGS: Possibility of supply disruption more critical than ever

Smartphones now require nearly 75% of the periodic
table of the elements. (Graphic: Jason Burton, USGS)

The increasing sophistication of portable communications results from a “symphony of electronics and chemistry” that includes, for example, “household names like silicon, which is used for circuit boards, or graphite used in batteries. Then there are lesser known substances like bastnasite, monazite and xenotime. These brownish minerals contain neodymium, one of the rare earth elements used in the magnets that allow smartphone speakers to play music and the vibration motor that notifies you of new, funny cat videos on social media,” the USGS stated.

Almost as varied are the sources. “For instance, the industrial sand used to make the quartz in smartphone screens may come from the United States or China, but the potassium added to enhance screen strength could come from Canada, Russia or Belarus. Australia, Chile and Argentina often produce the lithium used in battery cathodes, while the hard-to-come-by tantalum—used in smartphone circuitry—mostly comes from Congo, Rwanda and Brazil.”

Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are also sources of conflict minerals.

“With minerals being sourced from all over the world, the possibility of supply disruption is more critical than ever,” Meinert emphasized.

The April 4 article follows a previous USGS report on an early warning system used by the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency to monitor supply threats. In January the USGS released a list of 20 minerals for which the country relies entirely on imports. Whether or not by design, the recent awareness campaign coincides with a bill before U.S. Congress calling on government to support the development of domestic deposits and supply chains for critical minerals.

See an illustrated USGS report: A World of Minerals in Your Mobile Device.

Read about the West’s dependence on non-allied countries for critical minerals here and here.

92 Resources begins metallurgical tests on NWT lithium

March 28th, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 28, 2017

A Northwest Territories lithium project gets its first-ever metallurgical studies as 92 Resources TSXV:NTY announced a two-phase program on March 28. The 1,659-hectare Hidden Lake property underwent channel sampling last year on four of six known lithium-bearing spodumene dykes, with the best intercept showing:

  • 1.58% Li2O and 31 ppm Ta2O5 over 8.78 metres

  • (including 1.78% Li2O and 31 ppm Ta2O5 over 6.93 metres)
92 Resources begins metallurgical tests on NWT lithium

Hidden Lake’s metallurgical tests follow
last year’s successful sampling program.

The met program’s first phase examines the property’s spodumene and waste materials, leading to a mineral processing phase intended to separate the two and produce a high-grade concentrate.

Material from four pegmatites will be evaluated separately and, if no significant differences are found, a single composite will undergo processing tests. Those tests would include grinding, heavy liquid separation, magnetic separation and flotation. Plans then call for a preliminary flowsheet and a small amount of potentially marketable spodumene concentrate.

The program will also evaluate potential tantalum recovery.

Hidden Lake has all-weather road access to Yellowknife, 45 kilometres southwest. Carrying out the tests will be SGS Canada, which has considerable experience in spodumene pegmatite processing, 92 Resources stated.

In northern Quebec, 92 Resources has initial lithium exploration planned for Pontax, a 5,536-hectare property in a district known for spodumene-bearing pegmatites as well as gold potential.

Earlier this month the company expanded its Golden frac sand project from 807 hectares to 3,211 hectares. The southeastern British Columbia property sits adjacent to the Moberly silica sand project, now being redeveloped into a frac sand operation and among the assets sought by Northern Silica in its takeover bid for Heemskirk Consolidated.

Late last month 92 Resources closed an oversubscribed private placement of $895,199.

Equitorial Exploration files 43-101 for NWT lithium project

March 17th, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 17, 2017

Citing highly encouraging results, a 43-101 technical report has been completed and filed for Equitorial Exploration’s (TSXV:EXX) Little Nahanni Pegmatite Group property in the Northwest Territories.

Equitorial Exploration files 43-101 for NWT lithium project

LNPG’s mountainous terrain could undergo drilling this year.

Also referred to as LNPG or the Li property, the project underwent sampling last year, with results reported in October and September.

Field work traced lithium-cesium-tantalum pegmatite dyke swarms over a combined length of 13 kilometres on the property’s mountainous terrain, the company stated. The dykes’ vertical extent has been traced for 300 metres through natural exposure and drilling in 2007. “Where sampled, each dyke swarm is up to 52.6 metres wide and contains multiple dykes that range from 0.2 to 10 metres in width.”

This year Equitorial anticipates resampling the 2007 core, drilling, channel sampling, mapping and prospecting.

Located in the southern NWT just east of the Yukon border, LNPG sits about 30 kilometres from the former Cantung tungsten mine. In addition to the NWT hardrock project, Equitorial has begun the acquisition of two lithium brine projects in Utah and Nevada, proximal to the Tesla Gigafactory #1.

Commerce Resources and TUGLIQ Energy ink MOU on wind power for Quebec rare earths project

March 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 1, 2017

Looking at the dual benefits of cutting costs and cutting emissions, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE and TUGLIQ Energy have signed a memorandum of understanding to assess the potential for wind energy on the Ashram rare earths project. Announced February 28, the MOU follows TUGLIQ’s preliminary evaluation of local and regional wind data proximal to the northern Quebec deposit that Commerce is advancing towards pre-feasibility. Funding for the wind energy study comes partly from the province’s Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles.

Commerce Resources and TUGLIQ Energy ink MOU on wind energy for Quebec rare earths project

TUGLIQ Energy provides wind-generated electricity
for Glencore’s Raglan mine. (Photo: TUGLIQ Energy)

An independent power producer already active in northern Quebec, TUGLIQ operates a 3 MW wind turbine with energy storage that the company built in 2014 at Glencore’s Raglan mine. In the Northwest Territories, the Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO/Dominion Diamond TSX:DDC Diavik mine has been supplementing its diesel power with a four-turbine, 9.2 MW wind farm since 2012.

TUGLIQ’s Ashram study will consist of wind resource assessment, electrical system engineering and an integration study including assessment of greenhouse gas emission reductions.

“We are excited to be collaborating with TUGLIQ and to have the support of the Quebec government on this renewable resource project,” said Commerce president Chris Grove. “We look forward to evaluating this potential in much further detail. The potential to incorporate cost-effective renewable energy into the Ashram project only makes it that much more attractive for development.”

In mid-February the company closed a $1.71-million private placement that included $1 million from Ressources Québec, a subsidiary of the provincial government corporation Investissement Québec. The money will be used to complete Ashram’s pilot plant and produce REE and fluorite concentrates for companies that requested samples. Among them are Solvay, Mitsubishi, Treibacher, BASF, DKK, Albemarle and Blue Line.

Having reached PEA in 2012, the high-grade, near-surface deposit features an impressive distribution of magnet feed elements and relatively simple metallurgy, suggesting a potentially low-cost operation.

Quebec maintains its respected position as a mining jurisdiction, according to a Fraser Institute study released February 28. “Quebec ranks third in Canada and sixth globally—up from eighth spot last year—and is the only other Canadian jurisdiction [along with Saskatchewan and Manitoba] in the top 10 worldwide for overall investment attractiveness,” the FI stated.

In another rare metals project, Commerce holds the Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

Province of Quebec invests in Commerce Resources’ Ashram rare earths project

February 17th, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 17, 2017

With potential customers waiting for rare earths concentrate samples, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE closed a $1.72-million private placement on February 17 that included $1 million from Ressources Québec. A subsidiary of the provincial government corporation Investissement Québec, Ressources Québec “focuses on projects that have good return prospects and foster Québec’s economic development,” the organization says. “Its role is complementary to private funders.”

We are excited to have the support of the Quebec government with this investment from Ressources Québec. The province of Quebec continues to prove that it is one of the most attractive jurisdictions to develop a mineral project. —Chris Grove,
president of Commerce Resources

“We are excited to have the support of the Quebec government with this investment from Ressources Québec,” Commerce president Chris Grove stated. “The province of Quebec continues to prove that it is one of the most attractive jurisdictions to develop a mineral project. We are excited to be advancing our Ashram project with this financing.”

The private placement will be used to complete the project’s pilot plant, to produce samples of REE and fluorite concentrates, and for general working capital. Among companies requesting REE samples are Solvay, Mitsubishi, Treibacher, BASF, DKK, Albemarle and Blue Line.

The money comes in addition to a three-year, $300,000 environmental grant from the province to optimize tailings management.

Ashram’s high-grade, near-surface deposit benefits from relatively simple metallurgy, suggesting a potentially low-cost operation with an impressive distribution of magnet feed elements. Now moving towards pre-feas, the project reached PEA in 2012.

Commerce also holds the Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern British Columbia, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

U.S. increases its dependence on critical mineral imports

January 31st, 2017

by Greg Klein | January 31, 2017

U.S. increases its dependence on critical mineral imports

China stands out in a map showing major sources of non-fuel mineral
commodities of which the U.S. imported more than 50% of its supply in 2016.
(Graphic: U.S. Geological Survey)

 

Lacking any domestic sources at all, the United States imported 100% of its supply of 20 minerals last year, the USGS reports. That number increased from 19 the previous year and 11 in 1984. Included in the 2016 list were rare earths, manganese and niobium, “which are among a suite of materials often designated as ‘critical’ or ‘strategic’ because they are essential to the economy and their supply may be disrupted.”

U.S. increases its dependence on critical mineral imports

Imports of rare earth compounds and metals increased 6% over 2015, although the value dropped from $160 million to $120 million. China supplied 72% directly, with other imports coming from Estonia (7%), France (5%), Japan (5%) and other countries (11%).

But the Estonian, French and Japanese material was derived from concentrates produced in China and elsewhere, the USGS added.

American imports of tantalum increased about 40% over 2015. The USGS attributed about 37% of 2016 global production to the Democratic Republic of Congo and 32% to Rwanda. Estimates reverse those numbers for the previous year.

An alphabetical list of the 20 minerals follows, with rare earths, scandium and yttrium each comprising a separate category:

  • arsenic
  • asbestos
  • cesium
  • fluorspar
  • gallium
  • graphite
  • indium
  • manganese
  • mica
  • niobium
  • quartz crystal
  • rare earths
  • rubidium
  • scandium
  • strontium
  • tantalum
  • thallium
  • thorium
  • vanadium
  • yttrium

The report listed 50 minerals for which the U.S. imported over half of its supply. Overall China was the largest exporter, with Canada running second.