Friday 18th September 2020

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘u.s.’

Saville Resources, Commerce Resources find more fluorspar in re-assayed core from Quebec niobium-tantalum project

September 10th, 2020

by Greg Klein | September 10, 2020

Saville Resources, Commerce Resources find increased fluorspar mineralization in re-assayed core from Quebec niobium-tantalum project

A map approximates the fluorspar mineralized
trend found within the property’s wider niobium trend.

 

By focusing on some critical minerals another was neglected, these companies realized. Already aware of niobium, tantalum and phosphate, Saville Resources TSXV:SRE re-assayed core extracted last year and in 2008 on northern Quebec’s Niobium Claim Group project. The area in focus was the property’s Mallard prospect.

Located two kilometres from Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) advanced-stage Ashram rare earths-fluorspar deposit, Saville operates the earlier-stage, 1,223-hectare Niobium Claim Group on a 75% earn-in from Commerce.

Originally, only the highest-grade intervals were assayed for fluorine. But a review of two programs of historic drilling and Saville’s own 2019 Phase I campaign outlined a previously under-rated fluorspar trend within the project’s niobium trend. 

Saville Resources, Commerce Resources find increased fluorspar mineralization in re-assayed core from Quebec niobium-tantalum project

Fluorspar shows its true colours in this 2008 core.

A second look at selected intervals supports that analysis. The re-assayed intervals confirm “a broad and extensive fluorspar mineralized trend at Mallard, which extends for at least 600 metres along strike and is open to the northwest, southeast, down-dip, and is interpreted to continue to surface,” the companies stated. “The trend remains to be delineated significantly outside of the core Mallard area.”

One 2008 intercept originally graded 30.7% CaF2 over 22.3 metres. New assays show that interval to be part of a wider zone grading 21.5% over 38.6 metres. Additionally, the intercept shows niobium, tantalum and phosphate at moderate grades of 0.36% Nb2O5, 103 ppm Ta2O5 and 5.3% P2O5.

Another 2008 hole hadn’t previously been assayed for fluorspar. It now shows 8% CaF2 over 47.2 metres, including 23.6% over five metres.

A 2019 hole reached 8.4% CaF2, 0.36% Nb2O5, 122 ppm Ta2O5 and 5.4% P2O5 over 22.5 metres, including 11.9% CaF2 over six metres. This interval extends at depth a 2010 hole that assayed 14.8% CaF2 over 6.2 metres. These results suggest continuation northwest along strike.

Another 2019 hole now shows 8.5% CaF2 over six metres.

True widths were unavailable.

Saville plans a 3D model of the trend to locate targets where high-grade fluorspar-bearing carbonatite might overlap with high-grade niobium-bearing carbonatite.

Fluorspar, niobium, tantalum and rare earths all appear on the U.S. list of 35 critical minerals. Along with phosphate rock, they also make the recently released EU list of 30 critical raw materials. In June Canada and the U.S. reaffirmed their commitment to the Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration announced in January, which would encourage investment and development for North American mining projects and supply chains.

As part of the EU plan to secure critical materials, this week the European Commission stated that “pilot partnerships with Canada, interested countries in Africa and the EU’s neighbourhood will start as of 2021.”

European Union looks to Canada and others for critical minerals supply

September 4th, 2020

by Greg Klein | September 4, 2020

The EU’s newly released 10-point critical raw materials action plan calls for development of European supplies and supply chains, as well as further re-use and recycling. But for those materials not found on the continent, the European Commission says, “pilot partnerships with Canada, interested countries in Africa and the EU’s neighbourhood will start as of 2021. In these and other fora of international co-operation, the commission will promote sustainable and responsible mining practices and transparency.”

European Union looks to Canada and others for critical minerals supply

The commission made the proclamation September 3 as part of its Green Deal, a program to achieve a climate-neutral, digital economy and “stronger Europe.” As has been the case in the U.S. over the last four years, the continent has been expressing increasing concern about security of supply for necessary resources. The EU also released an updated list of critical raw materials, the first since 2017.

Using the same methodology that emphasizes economic importance and supply challenges, the new list numbers 30, compared with 27 in 2017. Added for the first time are lithium, bauxite, titanium and strontium. Helium was dropped due to a decline in economic importance.

Heavy rare earths, light rare earths and scandium rate three separate categories. Also included are critical standbys like niobium, tantalum, fluorspar, cobalt and platinum group metals. Not exclusive to minerals, the list includes natural rubber.

Coking coal, phosphorus and silicon metal ranked among EU choices that didn’t make the most recent (from 2018) U.S. list of 35 critical minerals. Some other American exclusives not listed by the EU are helium, manganese, potash and chromium.

The commission referenced World Bank data showing “demand for metals and minerals increases rapidly with climate ambition. The most significant example of this is electric storage batteries, where the rise in demand for relevant metals aluminium, cobalt, iron, lead, lithium, manganese and nickel would grow by more than 1,000% by 2050 under a 2°C scenario, compared to a business-as-usual scenario.”

The commission’s Maroš Šefčovič added, “For e-car batteries and energy storage alone, Europe will for instance need up to 18 times more lithium by 2030 and up to 60 times more by 2050.”

Supply security can be jeopardized by reliance on a single country or company, the commission warned. “China provides 98% of the EU’s supply of rare earth elements, Turkey provides 98% of the EU’s supply of borate, and South Africa provides 71% of the EU’s needs for platinum and an even higher share of the platinum group metals iridium, rhodium and ruthenium. The EU relies on single EU companies for its supply of hafnium and strontium.”

The commission’s specific mention of Canada as a preferred supply source follows the Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration that the U.S. and Canada announced in January and reaffirmed last June.

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.

 

Lionel Shriver’s novel The Mandibles portrays American confiscation of gold in all its forms

August 6th, 2020

…Read more

Stan Sudol to Elon Musk:

July 26th, 2020

Stop fretting over potential nickel shortages and back some potential nickel mines

by Stan Sudol | posted with permission of Republic of Mining

Stop fretting over potential nickel shortages and back some potential mines

As its Gigafactory continues to ramp up production, Tesla already
produces more kWh of batteries than all other automakers combined.
(Photo: Tesla Inc.)

 

Elon Musk is practically begging nickel miners to boost production as potential future shortages would severely impact his ability to manufacture electric vehicles, as the metal is a key component for the batteries Tesla Inc. depends on.

Historically, nickel has always been a boom/bust metal due to the fact the world only produces about 2.1 million tonnes of the material a year, as opposed to a more commonly used metal like copper at 20 million tonnes. And roughly only half of nickel production is of the Class-1 type that is used in batteries that run electric vehicles.

Currently the cost of nickel is nearing a cyclical bottom, hence the reluctance of nickel miners to invest the possible near-billion it takes to bring on a new mine.

Musk is a multi-billionaire and his company stock is at an all-time high. Instead of whining to the mineral industry to invest “their shareholder money” in new nickel production at a time of low returns, here are some suggestions to calm his fear of future shortages:

 

Stop fretting over potential nickel shortages and back some potential mines

“At the heart of these products are batteries,” says Tesla.
But Elon Musk worries about the nickel needed to make them.
(Photo: Joni Hanebutt/Shutterstock.com)

1. Why can’t Tesla start stockpiling Class-1 nickel now during a time of low prices? The American military stockpiled nickel during the 1950s and 1960s as it was in constant short supply due to a booming economy and its use as a critical metal for military production—the Korean conflict, Vietnam War and the Cold War between the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. What is to prevent the company from stockpiling two or three years’ worth of nickel needed for its car batteries? This would help firm up prices and encourage more exploration or expanded production.

During the 1950s, the U.S. government gave Falconbridge/Glencore a $40-million subsidy—roughly an astonishing $390 million in 2020 dollars—to help develop one of their Sudbury nickel mines and ensure diversity of supply. At the time, INCO supplied almost 80% to 90% of the West’s supply of nickel and the military were terrified of being so dependent on one key supplier. Perhaps subsidizing a few companies that are near production might be the route to go.

 

2. Polish miner KGHM has a terrific nickel deposit—the Victoria in the Sudbury Basin. They don’t seem to be that interested in developing the project that some analysts feel would need roughly a billion to put into production.

For much of the last century, the Sudbury Basin was basically the Saudi Arabia of nickel mining for the Western world.

Just a quick tangent for any Americans or Canadians who are not “mine literate.” For much of the last century, the Sudbury Basin was basically the Saudi Arabia of nickel mining for the Western world. The communist East had the astonishingly rich nickel mines of Norilsk, located in the isolated wilderness of Siberia. There are still enormous nickel reserves in the Sudbury Basin. Why we are not producing more would practically take an entire book to explain!

Why doesn’t Musk try to buy the deposit from KGHM and hire contractors to build and run his own mine? He would get nickel, copper and some cobalt for his car batteries. In addition, the mine would also provide him with platinum group metals and some gold and silver. If KGHM refuses to sell at a reasonable price, Ontario/Canada might enact some sort of “build/sell it or lose it” legislation!

 

3. Sudbury junior miner Wallbridge Mining has some very promising nickel properties in the Parkin Offset Dyke in the northeastern corner of the Sudbury Basin. According to the Wallbridge website, “The quality of the mineralization found in the Parkin Offset is high. The average nickel tenor for the mineralization found within the Parkin Offset is approximately 4%, which is comparable to the tenors of some deposits found in the Copper Cliff Offset Dyke.” Some of the Sudbury Basin’s biggest nickel mines, past and present, are on the Copper Cliff Offset Dyke, hence the importance of that statement!

Unfortunately, Wallbridge is not doing any exploration on this property during 2020 as the company is focused on its Quebec gold properties. Who can blame it with the precious metal hitting $1,900 an ounce? Why doesn’t Musk buy an equity position in the junior and fund it to the tune of $20 million or $40 million worth of exploration on the Parkin Offset Dyke?

 

4. Another junior nickel explorer that might be worth looking at is Canada Nickel and its promising nickel-cobalt sulphide project near Timmins, Ontario. A maiden resource estimate last February showed 600 million tonnes (measured and indicated) at 0.25% nickel and 310 million tonnes (inferred) at 0.23% nickel. As with all junior explorers, financing is always a challenge. Perhaps a significant equity position by Musk in exchange for future nickel and cobalt would ensure Tesla has no problems accessing these critical metals.

 

For crying out loud, it’s a skinny 300-kilometre gravel road and a couple of bridges. We are not building the Panama Canal or the Pyramids of Giza!

5. And finally there is the enormous mineral potential of the Ring of Fire with a 43-101 nickel deposit owned by junior miner Noront Resources. More nickel deposits may be discovered. Perhaps Musk could chat with Premier Ford and impress on him the importance of shortening environmental assessments and building that road into the Ring of Fire. For crying out loud, it’s a skinny 300-kilometre gravel road and a couple of bridges. We are not building the Panama Canal or the Pyramids of Giza! In the 1940s, the Canadian-Alaskan highway—roughly 2,700 kilometres—was built in eight months. No typographical error folks, less than one year!

The proposed road is on the traditional territories of Webequie and Marten Falls first nations, who both want it built. Hell, Musk should even consider putting a few hundred million in financing that road—I say this only half in jest as both the provincial and federal levels of government might be broke before construction starts.

And Premier Ford might even share the seat on that bulldozer with Musk to start building that vital road which was promised during the 2018 Ontario election campaign.

The Ring of Fire not only has nickel but potentially significant deposits of copper, zinc and various other critical metals along with chromite. And Premier Ford might even share the seat on that bulldozer with Musk to start building that vital road which was promised during the 2018 Ontario election campaign. It’s been a little over two years since the Conservatives have come to power and the patience of the entire sector is wearing thin! Road construction would be a terrific infrastructure investment to help alleviate the pending COVID recession/depression!

 

6. Sorry about the Ring of Fire road digression. I have not even mentioned the Thompson, Manitoba Nickel Belt, Newfoundland’s Voisey Bay nickel mine and Quebec’s Raglan nickel deposits, all of which probably have some juniors that could use some seed funding to drill near these world-class deposits—as the old saying goes, the best place to find a new mine is in the shadow of a headframe.

 

So I wish Elon Musk all the best, but please stop complaining about possible Class-1 nickel shortages and perhaps start strategically investing in the Canadian nickel sector yourself, if you really want to ensure that you have access to this vital metal.

 

For a brief history of the extraordinary Sudbury nickel deposits and their geo-political significance, click here.

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant, freelance mining columnist and owner-editor of Republic of Mining.

Posted with permission of Republic of Mining.

Saville Resources, Commerce Resources announce fluorspar trend on Quebec niobium property

July 23rd, 2020

by Greg Klein | July 23, 2020

Further analysis of previous drilling shows further critical mineral potential for an early-stage project. Saville Resources TSXV:SRE has identified an encouraging fluorspar trend in the Mallard area of its Niobium Claim Group following review of assays showing niobium, tantalum and phosphate, as well as fluorspar.

Saville Resources, Commerce Resources announce fluorspar trend on Quebec niobium property

Saville operates the 1,223-hectare project on a 75% earn-in from Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE that calls for $5 million of spending within five years. Two kilometres away, Commerce moves its Ashram rare earths-fluorspar deposit towards pre-feasibility.

Saville’s review covered results from historic drilling as well as last year’s five-hole, 1,049-metre program. Overall, three drill campaigns have totalled 14 holes and 3,537 metres.

The study outlines a fluorspar trend within the primary niobium trend that’s “broader and more extensive than previously understood,” the company stated. Stretching laterally at least 600 metres, the fluorspar trend remains open to the northwest, southeast and down dip, “and is interpreted to continue to surface where it is obscured by a shallow veneer of overburden,” Saville added. “Fluorspar mineralization is readily observable to the naked eye as the fluorspar present is purple in colour and relatively abundant where grades are of interest.”

The company now plans to have assay pulps undergo laboratory fluorine analysis.

Fluorspar, niobium and tantalum have been designated critical minerals by the United States. A number of American initiatives to secure domestic and allied sources include the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 which recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives and now faces Senate debate. In June Canada and the U.S. reaffirmed their commitment to the Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration announced in January, which would encourage investment and development for North American mining projects and supply chains.

The U.S. Nuclear Fuel Working Group warns of Chinese and Russian supremacy in domestic and exported nuclear energy capacity

July 7th, 2020

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Sergey Saveliev of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos accuses the U.S. of plans to “expropriate outer space”

June 30th, 2020

…Read more

A critical first for the U.S.

June 26th, 2020

Ares Strategic Mining has near-term plans for the country’s only fluorspar operation

by Greg Klein | June 26, 2020

The way James Walker tells it, Utah’s Lost Sheep fluorspar mine was down to a part-time operation for just two men. Having seen better days between 1948 and 2007, operations dwindled to the point that “a couple of old guys were just driving a loader straight into the face of the fluorspar and putting that into bags. The grade was so rich that was all they had to do. So they just did that a couple of days a week and then they’d go off and fish most of the time.”

Ares Strategic Mining has near-term plans for the country’s only fluorspar operation

VP of exploration Raul Sanabria at
one of the project’s fluorspar showings.

Sounds idyllic, but the president/CEO of Ares Strategic Mining TSXV:ARS saw far greater potential. Walker was looking for a project “that was close to cash-flow and didn’t need a huge investment like $20 million to boost production,” he relates. “We looked over a couple of hundred projects and this one came up. It had been overlooked because the mineral itself wasn’t very well known. It was the only mine in all of America that was permitted and producing fluorspar.”

A year of effort consummated in February with Ares’ 100% acquisition which, along with additionally staked claims, delivered a 586-hectare potentially near-term producer that would comprise an American mining monopoly.

That’s based on a bold plan to move forward without the usual 43-101 de-risking stages. Walker attributes his confidence partly to the project and partly to the market.

As he said, fluorspar isn’t well known. But it’s highly coveted nonetheless. Also known as fluorite and more technically referred to as calcium fluoride (CaF2), it’s considered a critical mineral by the U.S. and EU.

Acidspar, the higher-priced fluorspar grading over 97% CaF2, is used to create hydrofluoric acid for refrigerants, pharmaceuticals and electronics, among other applications, and is also used in lithium-ion batteries and aluminum production. Lower-priced metspar, grading under 97%, goes into steel and cement production.

China produced over 57% of world fluorspar supply last year, according to U.S. Geological Survey data, followed by Mexico at 17%. With no significant production of its own, the U.S. has been importing about 66% of supply from Mexico, 13% from Vietnam, 8% from South Africa and 6% from China. Several of the world’s mines have been operating at or near full capacity, the USGS added. Roskill considers China likely to become a net fluorspar importer.

Ares Strategic Mining has near-term plans for the country’s only fluorspar operation

Assays are pending from last spring’s
delineation and exploration drill campaigns.

Ares’ work so far has Walker enthusiastic.

Although assays are still to come, last spring the company sunk 12 holes totalling 900 metres to delineate the old guys’ target area. Another five-hole, 300-metre exploration program revealed visible fluorspar in three holes. Metallurgical tests, meanwhile, upgraded Lost Sheep material beyond 97% CaF2, into the higher-priced acidspar level. That highlights the potential for bulk mining instead of selective extraction, Walker says.

He foresees possible production by October or even September with an initial 15- to 20-person operation. The mine plan calls for an adit to intersect a fluorspar-bearing pipe which would be drilled and blasted from the bottom. An underground loader or conveyor belt would move material to a truck which would carry it to the company’s own crushing, grinding, flotation and bagging facility.

“We also have a stockpile of discarded low-grade just sitting there. The other guys couldn’t sell it, they didn’t have a refining process.”

An impressive vote of confidence quickly came from the Mujim Group, a multinational fluorspar mining and distribution company. Soon after Ares announced the Lost Sheep acquisition, Mujim engineers visited the property. A strategic partnership resulted, with the group buying a 9% stake in Ares. Mujim managing director Bob Li joined Ares’ board earlier this month, bringing with him experience running fluorspar mines in Thailand and Laos, along with fluorspar trading companies in India, China and the Emirates. He’ll advise Ares on topics ranging from equipment selection and mining methods to processing techniques.

Walker himself is an engineer, not a common background for a junior mining CEO but especially suitable for a near-term producer. He’s worked on design projects for nuclear reactors, submarines, chemical plants, factories, infrastructure and automotive machinery, as well as mine processing facilities.

In charge of the Lost Sheep mine plan is Keith Minty, a mining engineer with 26 years of project development and operation experience over three continents. “He’s helped put nine mines into production that are way bigger than ours,” enthuses Walker.

Ares Strategic Mining has near-term plans for the country’s only fluorspar operation

CEO James Walker foresees operations
by September or October.

VP of exploration Raul Sanabria’s 20-year background includes five years with the Minersa Group, an industrial minerals company that’s Europe’s largest fluorspar producer. Denise Nunes brings over 20 years of experience as a process engineer and metallurgist to manage Ares’ bench testing and design a processing facility.

“We’re quite well-connected in the mining world so we have access to the best personnel for this project,” Walker emphasizes.

He points to financial backing too. Sprott Capital Partners helped broker a private placement that closed on $1.97 million in February. Haywood Securities acted as financial adviser on an over-subscribed private placement that closed on $1.13 million earlier this month. Walker anticipates a debt financing with Sprott on completing the mine plan.

In northern British Columbia, meanwhile, the company acquired the Liard fluorspar project last April. The highway-accessible 476-hectare property comes with historic, non-43-101 resources for seven areas. A joint venture, possibly with Mujim, might be the vehicle to drive the project, Walker says.

Other acquisitions are possible too, especially in the U.S., he adds. Should all go to plan with Lost Sheep, Ares would hold an American mining monopoly on fluorspar. That’s a distinction Walker would like to maintain.

Watch a January interview with Roskill analyst Adam Coggins on fluorspar demand and prices.

Commerce Resources’ Quebec rare earths project gets international academic attention

June 1st, 2020

by Greg Klein | June 1, 2020

Not a subject that normally excites investors, tailings management is nevertheless an important consideration for advanced-stage projects. A previously announced academic article on Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram rare earths deposit now comes to an international audience.

Commerce Resources’ Quebec rare earths project gets international academic attention

Written and researched by a six-person team led by PhD candidate Sophie Costis, Assessment of the Leaching Potential of Flotation Tailings from Rare Earth Mineral Extraction in Cold Climates was published last month in Science of the Total Environment, an international peer-reviewed journal.

The study results from tailings characterization test programs still underway by le Centre Eau Terre Environnement of l’Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS).

Funding comes from a $300,000 grant provided jointly by le Fonds de recherche du Québec—Nature et technologies and le Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles. Although the program was scheduled to finish next December, Commerce and INRS hope to extend the project through the same funding sources.

An earlier presentation on her Ashram research won Costis first prize in the Geoscience Research Challenge held by l’Association Québécoise des Sciences de la Terre. Her award was announced in November at the Quebec Mines + Energy conference in Quebec City.

“We continue to be impressed by the quality of work being completed by Sophie Costis and the team at the INRS, and are very happy to have been able to be involved and contribute to REE research in Quebec, and now globally,” said Commerce president Chris Grove.

The company’s work continues on the northern Quebec Ashram rare earths-fluorspar project, which hosts two of the 35 minerals considered critical by the U.S. Rare earths have been an increasing cause of concern to the American government, which relies heavily on China for these elements essential to defence, medicine and clean energy technology, among other applications.

Apart from a friendly jurisdiction, Ashram benefits from carbonatite host rocks with relatively simple monazite, bastnasite and xenotime mineralogy that’s familiar to conventional rare earths processing.

See other news about flowsheet studies for Commerce Resources’ Ashram rare earths deposit.

Read more about Commerce Resources.