Thursday 22nd August 2019

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘uranium’

The end is still nigh

August 21st, 2019

So James Rickards found time to write another doomsday survival guide

by Greg Klein

So James Rickards found time to write another doomsday survival guide

 

St. John wrote just one Book of the Apocalypse but James Rickards has finished six so far. His most recent, Aftermath: Seven Secrets of Wealth Preservation in the Coming Chaos, offers a warning and advice for the economic end times that he considers imminent. Exactly how and when that’ll happen, he doesn’t say. But this book continues his exposé of the world’s monetary system: “the real system as distinct from the one elites would have you believe exists.”

What Aftermath offers in addition to Rickards’ trademark pitch for gold are some very general tips on investment and asset allocation—so general, however, that they hardly merit a book. This volume’s strength comes in its essays, discussions and digressions on a variety of (usually related) topics.

Among the most important is public debt, primarily that of the U.S. Long unsustainable, the burden groans under a 300% increase over 20 years, currently fuelled by Donald Trump’s revival of trillion-dollar deficits. He gets away with it, though: “Entitlements and defense both get to gorge at the trough, so there’s no dissension in D.C. The only loser is the country.”

So James Rickards found time to write another doomsday survival guide

Among the less-acknowledged causes of American debt are student loans, “now more than 50 percent larger than the junk mortgage pile in the last financial crisis” and growing. Also growing are the default rates, already more than three times that of mortgages at the height of the 2007-to-2008 crisis.

Debt hardly distinguishes the U.S. from other countries, and the entire world remains at risk from contagious sovereign defaults in emerging countries. Rickards’ at-risk list might surprise some readers.

China is a Ponzi like Madoff. China has trillions of dollars in external dollar-denominated debt, wealth management products, bank loans, intercompany loans, and other financially engineered arrangements that can never be repaid. If everyone with a claim on China wanted her money back, China couldn’t come close to satisfying even a small portion of those seeking liquidity.

…. Apart from borrowed money, wasted infrastructure investment, and fictitious accounting, there is no Chinese economic growth miracle.

While the U.S. denominates its debt in U.S.-printable U.S. dollars, money-creation won’t work forever. The only thing supporting fiat currency is confidence, and that can’t last, Rickards argues. History, psychology and common sense demonstrate that “confidence in money is fragile, easily lost, and impossible to regain.”

Spreading to all reserve currencies, “this loss of confidence will be exacerbated by malicious efforts on the part of Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, and others to abandon dollars entirely and to bypass the U.S.-dollar payments system.”

This accumulation of risk factors is entirely new, and outside the experience of any trader or quant.

Contagion demonstrates one danger of interconnected systems, but exceedingly complex technology and financial instruments intensify the peril. Flash crashes only hint at the possibilities, Rickards suggests. “Markets now confront a lethal brew of passivity, product proliferation, automation, and hypersynchronous behavioral responses. This accumulation of risk factors is entirely new, and outside the experience of any trader or quant.”

Getting back to currencies, the author presents intriguing evidence that a gold standard is actually in place. Using research from D.H. Bauer, Rickards says that special drawing rights, the International Monetary Fund reserve asset that’s speculated to replace the U.S. dollar as the world currency, have been pegged to gold. Bauer’s data shows yellow metal hovering around SDR900, fluctuating no more than SDR50 in either direction.

 An important pillar of a global monetary reset seems already in place.

Rickards blames China. “Even if the peg is nonsustainable in the long run, it’s a clear short-run signal that China is betting on the SDR and gold, not the yuan or the dollar. An important pillar of a global monetary reset seems already in place.”

Sometimes digressive in his subject matter, Rickards’ other topics include an interesting perspective on the Uranium One purchase. He served on a CIA advisory board as manoeuvres by Frank Giustra and Bill and Hillary Clinton led to the company’s takeover by Rosatom. “It’s as if the deal were being handled inside the intelligence community on a special track, precisely to avoid the analysis our group was formed to provide.”

Another digression looks at the disturbing prevalence of surveillance, data mining and choice architecture to monitor and manipulate citizens. “Neofascist” China plans 600 million surveillance cameras, digital facial and gait recognition software and internet monitoring to reward its people for good deeds or penalize them for offences ranging from smoking in public to tweeting verboten thoughts.

Most plans for catastrophe will fall apart in the first five minutes of being needed.

He also criticizes some alternative end time strategies. “Most plans for catastrophe will fall apart in the first five minutes of being needed.” Survivalists holed up in bunkers will face “pop-up militias,” he warns. The ultra-rich, with plans to flee to their luxurious New Zealand estates, haven’t considered how they’ll get to the airport, how they’ll refuel their private planes en route, whether they’ll get past the NZ military on arrival, or how they’ll ensure the loyalty of their private security guards. The catastrophe will be worse than they imagine.

Even so, too many of his digressions are unnecessary, such as his tedious account of being locked out of his car, an unnecessarily long rebuttal of behavioural psychology and the rather weird discussion of finite size involving King Kong, Godzilla, skyscrapers and whales.

“Investors should not focus on the cause of the collapse (it’s a long list and the timing is uncertain),” he notes. Certainly the book’s rambling nature belies any sense of urgency. He even hopes to finish another volume before the catastrophe finally hits. That would be his seventh on the subject since 2012.

Belmont Resources plans September follow-up to high-grade gold sampling in southern B.C.

August 15th, 2019

by Greg Klein | August 15, 2019

Inspired by recent surface samples as high as 29.2 g/t gold, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA plans another field program on its recently acquired Pathfinder project in British Columbia’s Greenwood camp. Scheduled to start early next month, the two-week campaign follows encouraging assays released late last month. Out of 15 samples, seven exceeded 1 g/t gold, with the best result bringing 29.2 g/t gold, 16.4 g/t silver, 365 ppm copper and 4 ppm lead.

Belmont Resources plans September follow-up to high-grade gold sampling in southern B.C.

Historic work at Pathfinder included trenching and drilling.

Now, backed by data gleaned from historic records, Belmont plans soil and grab sampling from the Pathfinder zone to the Diamond Hitch zone, on a target area averaging about 2,500 metres by 600 metres. Samples will be collected every 50 metres along the grid lines, with higher resolution possible for some areas.

The results would prepare for possible sub-surface exploration that could include geophysics and drilling. Pathfinder underwent trenching and 17 drill holes from 2008 to 2009. The 296-hectare property is surrounded on three sides by KG Exploration, a subsidiary of Kinross Gold TSX:K.

In Nevada, Belmont’s Kibby Basin lithium project has undergone drilling by MGX Minerals CSE:XMG, which has so far earned 25% of the project. Last May the companies announced a drill hole averaging 100 ppm lithium. Previous holes graded up to 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres.

In northern Saskatchewan, Belmont and International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT each hold 50% of two uranium properties.

Belmont expects to close a private placement of $252,000, subject to exchange approval.

Belmont Resources samples 29.2 g/t gold at B.C.’s Greenwood camp

July 30th, 2019

by Greg Klein | July 30, 2019

Recent work suggests new potential for an historic gold- and copper-producing region in southern British Columbia. Surface sampling results on a property acquired last March by Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA have graded up to 29.2 g/t gold.

Belmont Resources samples 29.2 g/t gold at B.C.’s Greenwood camp

An adit bears witness to Pathfinder’s auriferous history.

The project, now expanded to 295 hectares, formed part of the historic Pathfinder property in the Greenwood camp, where mining began in the late 1880s. Something like 26 former mines produced over 1.2 million ounces of gold and 270,000 tonnes of copper, along with silver, lead and zinc, according to Geoscience BC. More recent exploration includes work by Kinross Gold TSX:K subsidiary KG Exploration, which holds property neighbouring Belmont on three sides.

Following a detailed review of historic data, Belmont conducted a five-day field program of mapping and sampling from outcrops and mine waste. Seven out of 15 samples surpassed 1 g/t gold, with five standouts showing:

  • 29.2 g/t gold, 16.4 g/t silver, 365 ppm copper and 4 ppm lead

  • 4.51 g/t gold, 90.4 g/t silver, 21.6 ppm copper and 14,250 ppm lead

  • 3.23 g/t gold, 0.61 g/t silver, 383 ppm copper and 4.3 ppm lead

  • 2.44 g/t gold, 16.7 g/t silver, 5,180 ppm copper and 24.2 ppm lead

  • 1.08 g/t gold, 14.75 g/t silver, 47 ppm copper and 62.7 ppm lead

With continued analysis of historic data along with recent findings, Belmont will plan Pathfinder’s next stage of exploration. Among the earlier work was a 2008-2009 program that included trenching and 17 drill holes.

In Nevada the company holds the 2,056-hectare Kibby Basin lithium project, subject to an earn-in by MGX Minerals CSE:XMG. A drill hole announced last May brought results ranging from 38 ppm to 127 ppm lithium, with an average of 100 ppm. Previous holes graded up to 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres.

Belmont also shares a 50/50 stake in two northern Saskatchewan uranium properties with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT.

Subject to exchange approval, Belmont expects to close an oversubscribed private placement of $252,000.

Washington continues critical inquiries into rare earths and uranium supply chains

July 15th, 2019

by Greg Klein | July 15, 2019

While somewhat relaxing its concern about uranium, the U.S. appears increasingly worried about rare earths supply. A Reuters exclusive says Washington has begun an inventory to itemize domestic RE projects.

Washington continues critical inquiries into rare earths and uranium supply chains

With an inventory of domestic RE projects
already underway, the U.S. called for a study
of uranium supply chain potential.

“The Pentagon wants miners to describe plans to develop U.S. rare earths mines and processing facilities, and asked manufacturers to detail their needs for the minerals, according to the document, which is dated June 27,” the news agency reported. “Responses are required by July 31, a short time frame that underscores the Pentagon’s urgency.”

The request mentions the possibility of investment by the military, Reuters added.

The move marks another development in American plans to reduce the country’s dependency on critical minerals from economic and geopolitical rivals. Last month the U.S. announced a new critical minerals strategy calling for closer co-operation with allies. Out of an official list of 35 critical minerals, rare earths repeatedly come up for special attention. China supplies 80% of American demand for this economic and military essential, with more imports coming indirectly from China. Compounding the conundrum is the fact that America’s only rare earths mine, Mountain Pass in California, ships its entire output to China.

Last month Reuters stated that U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructed their officials “to develop a joint action plan on critical minerals collaboration.”

But if heightened American urgency about some critical minerals looks positive for Canadian projects, so does a reduction in urgency about U.S. uranium supplies.

Cameco Corp TSX:CCO expressed itself pleased with Trump’s decision not to introduce new trade restrictions on uranium imports.

The president disagreed with a July 12 report stating that the country’s heavy reliance on imports threaten to impair U.S. national security. The secretary of commerce found the country’s foreign dependency now accounts for 93% of American uranium supply, up from 85.8% in 2009. The secretary attributed the number to “increased production by foreign state-owned enterprises, which have distorted global prices and made it more difficult for domestic mines to compete,” the White House stated.

But, citing significant concerns nonetheless, Trump called for the creation of a nuclear fuel working group “to develop recommendations for reviving and expanding domestic nuclear fuel production” within 90 days.

Cameco president/CEO Tim Gitzel said the company “also sees tremendous value in increasing co-operation between the United States and Canada to address critical mineral issues and strengthen security of supply on a North American, rather than strictly national, basis.”

Trump and Trudeau’s commitment to a joint action plan “is an excellent initiative, and we see uranium being a key component of that strategy,” Gitzel added.

The U.S. report results from a petition by Energy Fuels TSX:EFR and Ur-Energy TSX:URE, who together took credit for over half of U.S. uranium production in 2017. Yet their estimates for last year showed total domestic production supplied only about 2% of U.S. demand.

The companies called for a 25% domestic quota on uranium purchases in the U.S., suggesting state-owned companies in Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan keep prices below a profitable threshold for American producers. The Eurasian trio provided about one-third of U.S. demand in 2017.

“If Russia and its allies take control of this critical fuel, the threat to U.S. national and energy security would be incalculable,” the companies maintained.

An infographic intro into in-situ mining

June 25th, 2019

by Nicholas LePan | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | June 25, 2019

 

An intro to in-situ mining

 

How do you mine without moving a rock?

When most people think of mining they think of massive open pits or deep underground tunnels. But there is one mining method that does not move a rock and leaves the landscape as is.

This infographic from Excelsior Mining TSX:MIN outlines a unique mining method, in-situ recovery or ISR, also known as in-situ mining.

ISR is not a recent innovation in the mining sector. In fact, ISR has been used for the past 50 years in uranium mining and 48% of the world’s uranium gets mined this way. Uranium is not the only mineral ISR can extract; there is also silver, copper and sometimes gold.

ISR involves dissolving a mineral deposit in the ground and then processing it at surface, all without moving any rock. It is cost effective and environmentally friendly.

But if this method is so great, why don’t more companies mine this way?

The right geology

ISR is not widely used because the geological conditions have to be just right. There are few locations around the world that meet the following criteria:

Highly permeable ore body: In the case of copper, the ore body must be naturally broken, fractured and permeable.

Mineable: The target mineral must be soluble with the right fluid, typically a weak acid.

Under the water table: The mineral deposit must be below the water table to allow for the movement of fluids throughout the ore body.

If geologists can find these conditions and it is a large-enough mineral deposit, it is time to mine.

The ISR process for copper

Once the right conditions are met and drill holes are sunk into the ore body, mining can begin.

  • Leaching solution is pumped through injection wells

  • The solution moves through the naturally fractured rock and leaches the copper

  • Recovery wells extract the copper-rich solution

  • Solution is pumped to the surface to the plant for processing

  • Copper is extracted from the solution to create pure copper sheets

  • Mining solution is recycled back to the wellfield

Once an area is mined, the wells are flushed with water to clean out any remaining leaching solution. Meanwhile, the surface is returned back to pre-mining conditions, allowing it to be used for any purpose in the future.

Advantages of in-situ mining

The environmental advantages include minimal noise, dust or greenhouse gas emissions, along with minimal visual disturbance. In addition, ISR also lowers capital and operating costs while creating a safer environment for mine workers.

Too bad not all mines can operate without moving a rock.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Ever unconventional

May 24th, 2019

Rick Rule might be even more contrarian than you thought

by Greg Klein

Not for the faint-hearted, resource stocks hardly suit reckless investors either. Rick Rule’s long and successful career in this volatile world likely stems from shrewd insight borne of a non-conformist outlook. The president/CEO of Sprott U.S. Holdings took time to talk with ResourceClips.com about his favourite commodities, mining management, trade wars and critical minerals as well as—if only to demonstrate the principle of enlightened self-interest—the Sprott Natural Resource Symposium returning to Vancouver from July 29 to August 2.

As miners and manufacturers struggle to secure adequate supplies of essential minerals, does he still see justification for gold’s special status?

Rick Rule might be even more contrarian than you thought

“I do,” he replies. “I think gold has a special place of its own among metals in the investment universe in that, while it has fabrication value in things like jewelry, iconography and electronics, it is also simultaneously a unit of exchange and a store of value.

“It is also a metal that attracts a certain class of equity investors precisely because of its volatility, and what that means is that people who have a reputation for being able to either find or produce gold more efficiently than their competitors have the lowest cost of capital of any entrepreneurs in the mining business. So I would suggest that precious metals are unique in the mining space.”

What other metals interest him?

“Well the truth is I’m agnostic as to how I make my money. But traditionally two commodities, iron and copper, have been unusually profitable, although they’re usually the domains of the big mining companies. Iron doesn’t occupy a very large part of the exploration space. What are particularly attractive to me right now are commodities that are so deeply out of favour that, on a global basis, the cost to produce them exceeds the price that they sell for, implying industries that are ostensibly in liquidation. So minerals that especially attract me at present are nickel, zinc, copper and in particular uranium.

“Having said that, Sprott will back a top-quality management team, or will finance what appears to be potentially a Tier I asset, irrespective of commodity.”

Speaking of mining management, that’s a subject he’s previously lambasted with scathing comments. Does he see the problem as unique to mining?

Rick Rule might be even more contrarian than you thought

Rick Rule:
An insider with an outsider’s perspective.

“I’ve spent 40 years in extractive industries and don’t have experience in other industries, so I don’t know how widespread the problem is in other places. I do know that in one study, a young Sprott intern pulled at random financial statements and income statements over I believe five years from 25 junior miners. The median expenditure on general and administrative expenses exceeded 65% of capital raised. That’s not the prescription for a successful industry.

“It’s worth noting that in joint ventures that we’ve observed where a major mining company is earning into an exploration project operated by a junior, the median general and administrative expenses allowed as a percentage of total expenditures is 12%. So that would suggest that the junior public company format is inefficient.

“Now it bears noting that the junior mining industry has been enormously profitable to me personally and also to Sprott. And the conclusion that one has to draw is that functionally all of the value delivered over time by the junior mining industry is delivered by a fairly small number of teams. I would argue that less than 5% of the management teams in the business generate well in excess of 50% of the value created. Their contributions are so valuable that they add legitimacy and sometimes even lustre to a sector that overall has a very poor track record.”

Rule applies his contrarianism to trade wars and legislated efforts to secure critical minerals. He opposes government intervention and considers the U.S.-China dispute unnecessary.

“I believe that tariffs are an indirect form of tax and that protectionism ultimately backfires on the protector by making him or her less efficient. Now having said that, with regards to the Section 232 review of uranium, I would personally be a beneficiary of any action that Trump took. So it would be bad for the United States of America and good for me. I’m an unalloyed believer in free trade and free investment. To benefit a small number of claimants at the expense of a market is, I think, very bad policy.”

While many observers fear the trade war will provoke a second Senkaku with China manipulating its rare earths dominance, Rule thinks the gambit would rebound to the benefit of non-Chinese producers.

If the Chinese decided to obviate their competitive advantage with some stupid political ploy, they would find themselves with a much smaller proportion of the global market.

“If the Chinese decided to obviate their competitive advantage with some stupid political ploy, they would find themselves with a much smaller proportion of the global market. So I’m unconcerned about access to those so-called critical metals.”

Meanwhile he thinks the trade war “is political posturing and it is clientelist in the most pernicious sense, seeking to benefit a few interests who might be big campaign contributors at the expense of markets and consumers.”

Does he think the Sino-American conflict will have long-lasting effects?

“I’m not a political analyst, but I hope this is a circumstance where Xi benefits by looking tough to a domestic political constituency and Trump does the same, and nothing much comes of it. My hope is this is just populist puffery on behalf of both executives.

“At least in my lifetime, every tariff that has ever existed is a euphemism for a tax, and has served no useful purpose and in fact has been destructive to global trade and to the nation imposing the tariff. Similarly, so-called free trade agreements are really political pacts that may serve a political purpose for a favoured few. But the truth is, a free trade agreement could be written on one piece of paper. You could say: There will be no legal impediments between the voluntary buying and selling of any willing parties. Period.

“Instead, NAFTA was 3,600 pages.”

Among the challenges facing junior mining is powerful competition from cannabis stocks. Does he see that as a short-term trend?

“Yeah, I do. I think the cannabis craze will wear itself out the same way any other craze does. I don’t know that the hot money necessarily will move back to mining until after it isn’t needed anymore. Frankly I welcome the move of hot money, dumb money, out of mining and into crypto and cannabis. The mining business has been over-funded and the subject of unrealistic expectations for 30 years to the extent that the industry went on a forced diet for a while, a lot of issuers failed and rational expectations returned to the space. I think that would be a very good thing.

I’m also delighted frankly that in places like Vancouver and Los Angeles management teams that were formally in mining have moved on to substances that they’re interested in and familiar with, like cannabis. If you live in Vancouver, it’s very clear that due diligence is conducted nightly on most street corners downtown.

“I’m also delighted frankly that in places like Vancouver and Los Angeles management teams that were formally in mining have moved on to substances that they’re interested in and familiar with, like cannabis. If you live in Vancouver, it’s very clear that due diligence is conducted nightly on most street corners downtown.”

And speaking of Vancouver, what’s Rule got to say about Sprott’s upcoming event?

“We hope to deliver the best possible experience that we can, all the way from big picture commentators like Danielle DiMartino Booth, Nomi Prins, Jim Rickards and Doug Casey, but also including really interesting industry participants. One of the things we’ve been doing for 25 years is we have always made room for speakers who are active in the mining business today after building billion-dollar companies from scratch. This is important because they talk not just about mining but also how the lessons they learned building their companies impact the way they invest their own money, and the way that speculators should invest theirs. Further, unlike any other conference I know, an exhibitor has to be owned in a Sprott-managed account. Our attendees have told us our exhibitors are not from their point of view mere advertisers, but rather they’re content too.

“Finally, while most resource-oriented conferences have shrunk demonstrably in size over the last four or five years, ours has grown every year. One of the benefits investors get attending our conference is that they do so in the company of 700 of their peers, high net worth investors who have been successful in natural resources. And there is a lot to be gained not merely from the dais or the exhibit hall, but also from talking to other experienced, successful and battle-scarred speculators and investors.”

Rick Rule hosts the Sprott Natural Resource Symposium in Vancouver from July 29 to August 2. Click here for more information.

Belmont Resources announces Nevada lithium results

May 2nd, 2019

by Greg Klein | May 2, 2019

Reporting from the Kibby Basin project in Nevada, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA released assays from the most recent hole on the 2,056-hectare property. After reaching a depth of 256 metres into lakebed sediments, the hole averaged 100 ppm lithium, ranging from 38 ppm to 127 ppm.

Belmont Resources announces Nevada lithium results

With only four holes sunk so far, most
of the 2,056-hectare Kibby Basin project
remains unexplored.

Groundwater samples showed the presence of saline, rather than fresh water that’s rich in sodium and magnesium but low in lithium, the company stated. “The presence of shallow aquifers containing saline groundwater with chemical composition similar to, but lower than that of lithium brines is encouraging for the discovery of lithium brines deeper in the basin.”

Results from previous drilling indicate continued potential for lithium brines in unexplored areas of the property, Belmont added. A 2018 hole about 2,300 metres southwest brought intervals of 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres, reaching a high of 580 ppm.

MGX Minerals CSE:XMG has spent $300,000 on exploration so far to earn 25% of the project. The company may increase its interest to 50% with another $300,000 of work.

In March the companies announced a “milestone” water rights permit that might be the first of its kind for Nevada. The permit allows extraction of up to 943.6 million U.S. gallons of water annually for brine processing and potential production of lithium compounds. About 91% of the water would be returned to the source, the companies stated.

Also last March, Belmont announced a foray into southern British Columbia’s busy Greenwood camp with the acquisition of a 253-hectare property in a region of historic gold, copper, silver, lead and zinc mining. The company has historic data under review to prepare for exploration this year.

In northern Saskatchewan, Belmont shares a 50/50 interest in two uranium properties with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT.

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.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals receive “milestone” water rights permit, await assays from Nevada lithium project

March 21st, 2019

by Greg Klein | March 21, 2019

Considered a milestone for two companies pursuing lithium, a recently granted water rights permit might be the first of its kind for Nevada. Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG received the permit to extract up to 943.6 million U.S. gallons of water annually from the Monte Cristo Groundwater Basin for brine processing and potential production of lithium compounds on their Kibby Basin property. Some 91% of the water will be returned to the source through injection wells or infiltration galleries, the companies stated.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals receive “milestone” water rights permit, await assays from Nevada lithium project

Assays are pending from winter drilling
on the Belmont/MGX Kibby Basin project.

The news follows a winter drill campaign that reached 256 metres into lakebed sediments in hole KB-4, testing a potential fault where geophysical and geological analysis suggests geothermal activity might have brought concentrations of dissolved minerals close to surface.

The team currently has logging and sample preparation from drill cuttings underway, as well as water sampling from a layer near the bottom of the hole. Assays will follow.

Some 2,300 metres southwest of KB-4, KB-3 produced results averaging 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres, reaching a high of 580 ppm.

Having spent $300,000 so far, MGX has earned 25% of the project and may increase its interest to 50% with another $300,000 of work. The 2,056-hectare Kibby Basin property sits 65 kilometres north of Albemarle’s (NYSE:ALB) Silver Peak mine, North American’s only lithium producer.

In northern Saskatchewan, Belmont has a 50% stake in two uranium properties, with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT holding the remainder.

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

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.