Friday 19th January 2018

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘uranium’

Deep-penetrating geophysics to probe Belmont Resources’ Nevada lithium project

January 17th, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 17, 2018

Now being mobilized, an electromagnetic survey will help target brine aquifers on Belmont Resources’ (TSXV:BEA) Kibby Basin property. The company describes Quantec Geoscience’s Spartan AMT/MT method as “a full tensor magnetotelluric technology that acquires resistivity data in the 10 kHz to 0.001 Hz frequency band. The result is a measurement that is applicable from near-surface to potential depths of three kilometres or more.” Belmont credits Quantec with over 5,000 geophysical programs in over 50 countries.

Deep-penetrating geophysics to probe Belmont Resources’ Nevada lithium project

Two holes sunk on Kibby Basin last year brought
core samples between 70 ppm and 200 ppm lithium.

The Kibby Basin survey should take nine days, with another two weeks for an initial report.

The program follows a satellite data review and two-hole 2017 drill campaign on the 2,760-hectare Nevada property 65 kilometres north of Clayton Valley. Thirteen of 25 core samples surpassed 100 ppm lithium, “indicating that the sediments could be a potential source of lithium for the underlying aquifers,” the company stated.

A gravity survey the previous year suggested the property hosts a closed basin which the company later estimated to cover four square kilometres, extending to at least 1.5 kilometres in depth.

Last week Belmont announced its lawyers would request the annulment of a decision by the International Centre For Settlement Of Investment Disputes reported in August. The tribunal stated it had no jurisdiction in a dispute involving Belmont, EuroGas Inc and the Slovak Republic regarding Rozmin SRO’s ownership of the Gemerska Poloma talc deposit. Belmont seeks to be restored as a claimant in the arbitration proceedings.

The company also holds the Mid Corner-Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick, a prospect with some historic, non-43-101 zinc-copper-cobalt sampling results that has yet to undergo modern geophysics.

In northern Saskatchewan, Belmont and International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT share a 50/50 stake in the Crackingstone and Orbit Lake uranium properties.

Belmont closed an oversubscribed private placement of $312,200 in December.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont Resources CFO/director Gary Musil.

Visual Capitalist and VRIC 2018 look at the raw materials that fuel the green revolution

January 10th, 2018

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | January 10, 2018

 

Records for renewable energy consumption were smashed around the world in 2017.

Looking at national and state grids, progress has been extremely impressive. In Costa Rica, for example, renewable energy supplied five million people with all of their electricity needs for a stretch of 300 consecutive days. Meanwhile, the UK broke 13 green energy records in 2017 alone, and California’s largest grid operator announced it got 67.2% of its energy from renewables (excluding hydro) on May 13, 2017.

The corporate front also looks promising and Google has led the way by buying 536 MW of wind power to offset 100% of the company’s electricity usage. This makes the tech giant the biggest corporate purchaser of renewable energy on the planet.

But while these examples are plentiful, this progress is only the tip of the iceberg—and green energy still represents a small but rapidly growing segment. For a full green shift to occur, we’ll need 10 times what we’re currently sourcing from renewables.

To do this, we will need to procure massive amounts of natural resources—they just won’t be the fossil fuels that we’re used to.

Green metals required

Today’s infographic comes from Cambridge House as a part of the lead-up to its flagship conference, the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference 2018.

A major theme of the conference is sustainable energy—and the math indeed makes it clear that to fully transition to a green economy, we’ll need vast amounts of metals like copper, silicon, aluminum, lithium, cobalt, rare earths and silver.

These metals and minerals are needed to generate, store and distribute green energy. Without them, the reality is that technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, lithium-ion batteries, nuclear reactors and electric vehicles are simply not possible.

First principles

How do you get a Tesla to drive over 300 miles (480 kilometres) on just one charge?

Here’s what you need: a lightweight body, a powerful electric motor, a cutting-edge battery that can store energy efficiently and a lot of engineering prowess.

Putting the engineering aside, all of these things need special metals to work. For the lightweight body, aluminum is being substituted for steel. For the electric motor, Tesla is using AC induction motors (Models S and X) that require large amounts of copper and aluminum. Meanwhile, Chevy Bolts and soon Tesla will use permanent magnet motors (in the Model 3) that use rare earths like neodymium, dysprosium and praseodymium.

The batteries, as we’ve shown in our five-part Battery Series, are a whole other supply chain challenge. The lithium-ion batteries used in EVs need lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite and many other metals or minerals to function. Each Tesla battery, by the way, weighs about 1,200 pounds (540 kilograms) and makes up 25% of the total mass of the car.

While EVs are a topic we’ve studied in depth, the same principles apply for solar panels, wind turbines, nuclear reactors, grid-scale energy storage solutions or anything else we need to secure a sustainable future. Solar panels need silicon and silver, while wind turbines need rare earths, steel and aluminum.

Even nuclear, which is the safest energy type by deaths per TWh and generates barely any emissions, needs uranium in order to generate power.

The pace of progress

The green revolution is happening at breakneck speed—and new records will continue to be set each year.

Over $200 billion was invested into renewables in 2016 and more net renewable capacity was added than coal and gas put together:

Power Type Net Global Capacity Added (2016)
Renewable (excl. large hydro) 138 GW
Coal 54 GW
Gas 37 GW
Large hydro 15 GW
Nuclear 10 GW
Other flexible capacity 5 GW

The numbers suggest that this is only the start of the green revolution.

However, to fully work our way off of fossil fuels, we will need to procure large amounts of the metals that make sustainable energy possible.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

The Vancouver Resource Investment Conference 2018 takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre West from January 21 to 22. Click here for more details and free registration.

Mark Mihalasky of the USGS discusses a unique discovery in the American West

December 18th, 2017

…Read more

Satellite imagery helps Belmont Resources home in on Nevada lithium targets

December 14th, 2017

by Greg Klein | December 14, 2017

Thanks to NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, archived satellite data sharpens the focus on Belmont Resources’ (TSXV:BEA) Kibby Basin lithium project in Nevada. The company now has geophysics and other work planned for a busy new year.

Satellite imagery helps Belmont Resources home in on Nevada lithium targets

The satellite info shows hydrothermal indicator minerals over about one square kilometre of the 2,760-hectare property, CEO/president Vojtech Agyagos stated. “This area hosted the highest lithium surface samples as well and is the site of our proposed third drill hole. Our 2017 drill program discovered both water (fresh) and up to 200 ppm lithium in the core in the eastern side of the property about two kilometres from these thermal alterations.”

Drill results released last June showed clay-rich core samples grading between 70 ppm and 200 ppm lithium, “with 13 of 25 core samples assaying over 100 ppm lithium, indicating that the sediments could be a potential source of lithium for the underlying aquifers,” Belmont announced at the time.

Agyagos added that the satellite-revealed geothermal alteration “sits above the deepest gravity-indicated area from Belmont’s 2016 Wright geophysical ground gravity survey.”

Results from that survey suggest a basin model about 4,000 metres deep with similarities to Clayton Valley, host to Albemarle Corp’s (NYSE:ALB) Silver Peak lithium mine.

Belmont’s next plans call for a number of surveys including magnetotelluric, vertical electrical sounding, geothermal probe, electromagnetic resistivity and possibly seismic to help identify lithium brine drill targets. The company expects to finish EM work in early January.

Along with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT, Belmont holds a 50/50 stake in two northern Saskatchewan uranium properties, Crackingstone and Orbit Lake, for which the companies seek JV partners.

In New Brunswick last month, Belmont acquired the Mid Corner-Johnson Croft zinc-copper property, which shows promising historic sampling results but has yet to undergo modern geophysics.

Last week the company closed an oversubscribed private placement of $312,200.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont Resources CFO/director Gary Musil.

Double discovery

November 18th, 2017

The USGS reports new American uranium potential and a new uranium “species”

by Greg Klein

The USGS reports new American uranium potential and a new uranium “species”

The Southern High Plains of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma
might someday boost U.S. domestic uranium supply.
(Photo: Public domain)

 

The dream of discovery must motivate many a geologist. Through skill, effort and luck they hope to eventually find something precious, useful or otherwise valuable—something well known yet found in a previously unknown location. But a group of geo-boffins from the U.S. Geological Survey not only identified a type of uranium deposit previously unknown to their country, they discovered a new mineral.

It’s finchite, “a new uranium mineral species,” as a press release described it last week. The discovery actually dates to 2015, says Brad Van Gosen, the USGS scientist who did the discovering.

While surveying a Texas cotton ranch Van Gosen collected samples of what he and his colleagues thought was carnotite, “a pretty common yellow, near-surface uranium mineral.” Back in the lab, he put it under a scanning electron microscope, which kept showing strontium with the uranium and vanadium, he recalls. To a geologist, it was unusual—very unusual. A eureka moment was looming.

The USGS reports new American uranium potential and a new uranium “species”

First to recognize the new mineral finchite, USGS scientist
Brad Van Gosen examines rock layers in Texas.
(Photo: Susan Hall/USGS, public domain)

“We looked it up and there’d been no strontium-uranium mineral ever reported before. So [team leader Susan Hall] worked with a crystallography/mineralogy lab that specializes in micro-analysis up at Notre Dame and they concluded, ‘By gosh you’re right.’” Further study continued before sending the evidence to the International Mineralogical Association. “They’re the high council and they blessed it as a new mineral.” Finchite’s moniker honours the late Warren Finch, a USGS uranium expert.

Another major finding was that the uranium was hosted in calcrete rock formations, a style of deposit known elsewhere but reported for the first time in the U.S.

Some previously secret info led to the twin epiphanies. Hall, as leader of a project that’s reassessing national uranium resources, gained privy to some unpublished 1970s and ’80s data from the former Kerr-McGee company. Included were estimates for two deposits, Sulphur Springs Draw and Buffalo Draw, with marginal grades of 0.04% and 0.05% U3O8 respectively. Together they held an estimated 2.6 million pounds U3O8.

(Of course data from historic sources and the U.S. government agency falls outside the framework of NI 43-101 regulations.)

The newly transpired, near-surface deposits led Hall and her group to the Southern High Plains spanning parts of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. It was there that they recognized calcrete, its first known manifestation in the U.S.

The USGS reports new American uranium potential and a new uranium “species”

Surface showings of yellow finchite might have previously
been mistaken for sulphur, says Van Gosen.
(Photo: Susan Hall/USGS, public domain)

The stuff’s associated with uranium in other countries. Among major calcrete-style deposits listed by the World Nuclear Association are Yeelirrie in Western Australia, along with Trekkopje and Langer Heinrich in Namibia. Yeelirrie is a potential open pit held by a Cameco Corp TSX:CCO subsidiary and averaging 0.16% U3O8. Trekkopje, a potential open pit majority-held by AREVA Resources, averages 0.01%. Langer Heinrich, an open pit mine operated on behalf of Paladin Energy, the majority owner now under administrative control, averages 0.052%.

According to the USGS, grades for potential Southern High Plains deposits range from 0.012% to 0.067%, with a median 0.034% U3O8. Gross tonnage estimates range from 200,000 to 52 million tonnes, with a median 8.4 million tonnes. Together, the region’s calcrete-style potential comes to 39.9 million pounds U3O8.

But that’s a regional assessment, not a resource estimate, reflecting how USGS methodology contrasts with that of exploration companies. The agency uses a three-part approach, explains Mark Mihalasky, who co-ordinated the assessment. The procedure first delineates areas that would allow the occurrence of a particular kind of deposit. Using additional geoscientific evidence, the agency estimates how many deposits might be awaiting discovery. How much those potential deposits hold can be estimated through comparisons with similar known deposits around the world.

Mineral assessment and mineral exploration are two different things…. It’s not a ‘drill here’ assessment.—Mark Mihalasky

“Mineral assessment and mineral exploration are two different things,” Mihalasky emphasizes. “The purpose of our assessment is to help land planners, decision-makers and people in the region get an idea of what could be there, based upon probability. It’s not a ‘drill here’ assessment.

“This whole region is a relatively newly recognized area of potential and while we’re not saying this is a new uranium province we are saying there’s something here that hasn’t been found before in the United States and this might be worth looking into in greater detail if you’re an exploration company.”

Already one company from Australia has been asking “lots of questions,” says Van Gosen. Although most uranium mining in the American west uses in-situ recovery, the shallow depth and soft host rock of the Southern High Plains could present open pit opportunities “assuming uranium prices and other factors are favourable.”

Any positive price assumption will have to wait, however. One week earlier Cameco announced the impending suspension of its high-grade McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin. The company said that long-term contracts had shielded it from uranium’s post-Fukushima plunge of over 70%, but those contracts are now expiring. Cameco had previously suspended its Rabbit Lake mine and reduced production at its American operations.

But while production faces cutbacks, controversy over American dependence on foreign uranium flared up again last month with renewed questions about the sale of Uranium One to Russia’s state-owned Rosatom. The formerly TSX-listed Uranium One holds American resources that could potentially produce up to 1,400 tonnes of uranium annually, according to the WNA. But last year the company’s sole U.S. operation, the Willow Creek ISR mine, produced just 23 tonnes of the country’s total output of 1,126 tonnes.

As the world’s largest consumer of uranium for energy, the U.S. relies on nukes for about 19% of the country’s electricity, according to USGS numbers. Only 11% of last year’s uranium purchases came from domestic sources.

Update: The full USGS report is now available here.

USGS reports new domestic uranium potential and new uranium “species”

November 14th, 2017

This story has been expanded and moved here.

Confederation Lake in focus

October 2nd, 2017

Regional geophysics bring expansion and JV potential to Pistol Bay’s quest for Ontario VMS zinc-copper

by Isabel Belger

Isabel Belger

Isabel Belger

Isabel: I would like to introduce the president and CEO of Pistol Bay Mining [TSXV:PST] Charles Desjardins. I am very glad you could find the time. Charles, tell us something about your background and how you got started in the mineral exploration industry.

Charles: I started in Vancouver as a stockbroker in the 1980s. Then you could say I got lured into the venture capital space, at that time the Vancouver stock exchange. The first thing that I worked on was actually a technology deal. Since then I have worked in a lot of different sectors: tech, biotech, oil and gas, diamonds, mining, etc.

This was a natural transition—I started more as a promoter and then I just became more hands-on because I wanted to get things done the way that I wanted to do them.

Isabel: How did you get involved with Pistol Bay?

Charles: Pistol Bay was actually in the Dave Hodge camp before as Solitaire Minerals and it came from somebody that kind of gave up. I wanted to take it over and one of the first things I acquired were the C3, C4, C5 and C6 uranium properties in Saskatchewan, which we are selling now to Rio Tinto [NYSE:RIO].

I got an e-mail from them last night. Basically I asked them if they were planning to pay the $1.5 million this year and they said probably. If they don’t pay it this year, then they’ll have to pay $2 million next year. It’s most likely that they will pay in 2017.

Isabel: Your principal properties are located in the Confederation Lake VMS greenstone belt in Ontario. Can you give me a little overview of what you have there and what makes your projects valuable?

Charles: Confederation Lake has been explored to some extent since the 1950s with only one producing mine, the South Bay mine. There are about nine historic occurrences there that we control.

Regional geophysics bring expansion and JV potential to Pistol Bay’s quest for Ontario VMS copper-zinc

The technology of exploration and mining has changed a lot just since 2000. I was recently in Toronto and I met the geophysicist who used to handle the area for Noranda. A lot of this ground was Noranda. Up until 2000 they couldn’t see anything beyond 200 metres in depth. Originally my plan two years ago was to tie up zinc and copper properties focusing on zinc. At that time zinc was at 62 cents per pound, now it is more like $1.40. Let’s call it prescience—I was able to tie up most of the belt, which is over 50 kilometres long and about 28 kilometres wide. The whole goal was to explore the belt using modern exploration methods, mostly with a deep-penetrating airborne study. Pistol Bay has just completed that.

I would also like to mention that there are about 800 historic drill holes in this belt and we have data on 600 of them. And we have access to a big geochemical study that was done, probably worth about $500,000 or even $600,000, that was never really followed up on or plotted in to any degree. That is very valuable because it went through all alteration zones and all the occurrences. Recently we did the airborne survey, as I have mentioned. I doubled the size of the survey area, ending up being about 2,100 line-kilometres. What that does, and what it has shown us, is that there are two trends in this belt. The first trend has stronger copper and zinc numbers and the lower trend is more zinc-dominated. The conductors we found are actually deeper in places. They have not been followed up before…. Keeping that in mind we have also staked another 14,500 acres [about 5,860 hectares] of conductors and IP anomalies. So there is a lot to follow up on.

Isabel: What is the plan for the rest of 2017 and where do you see more excitement?

We are talking right now to four companies about joint-venturing this. We don’t really have the capital to pay for our own drill program unless Rio Tinto writes us that cheque. I don’t want to dilute at this moment. I’d rather wait for the cheque if I have to or enter in joint ventures.—Charles Desjardins

Charles: We are talking right now to four companies about joint-venturing this. We don’t really have the capital to pay for our own drill program unless Rio Tinto writes us that cheque. I don’t want to dilute at this moment. I’d rather wait for the cheque if I have to or enter in joint ventures. I can say that we are permitting right now for drilling, but it might be a joint venture partner drilling. In the worst-case scenario we would drill in the first quarter of next year.

But I am pretty sure that Rio Tinto will write the cheque.

Isabel: You have a 5% NPI royalty on the Rio Tinto project, is that correct?

Charles: Yes, we have a 5% net profit interest after they paid the $1.5 million. I am rather confident that at some point they will come and try to buy that. If it is something that they think they are going to take to production—of course it is not even close to that—they would never leave us with 5% NPI.

Isabel: You said that you won’t be able to do a drill program yourself right now. How much money do you have in the bank right now?

Charles: A couple of hundred thousand.

Isabel: How much of Pistol Bay is held by the management?

Charles: Management, friends and family own about 35%.

Isabel: That is quite a bit. Interesting. Let’s talk a bit about zinc and copper. Recently a lot of articles were published on copper. It was Robert Friedland who recently noted that about 150 kilograms of copper is required for each electric vehicle manufactured, whereas people talk mostly about lithium and cobalt and EVs, but not so much about the increasing demand for copper. But I think many people are aware of rising copper prices and what copper is used for, being an interesting commodity in this “rechargeable” era. But maybe not everyone is as well-informed about zinc and what it is used for. Can you say a bit about the usage of zinc and also the zinc market?

Charles: One of the reasons that I got into zinc was that I was looking at all the commodities at a time when the resource market was quite depressed. I was looking for something that looked promising for a commodity shock. The zinc market is working in a production deficit. The prices have more than doubled, I wouldn’t call that a commodity shock, but it has gone well. And the fact that we hadn’t had that jump is probably the length of the bull zinc market.

About its usage, more than half of all zinc that is mined is used for galvanizing other metals, such as steel and iron. And significant amounts of zinc are also used to form alloys with other metals.

Isabel: What do you like most about your job?

Charles: I always like this kind of work. It is risky and can be stressful at times, but it doesn’t mean sitting behind a desk. I was up at the property in Ontario earlier this summer seeing first hand what everything looks like. How much infrastructure there is, which I was certainly quite surprised about, roads and even power lines as well. I love the variety that the job offers.

Isabel: What is your favourite commodity beside the ones in your company?

Charles: Probably gold though we do have some gold in our Confederation Lake. To me, in a world right now with the geopolitics that we are facing it is kind of a must-have. You have to have some gold.

Isabel: Thank you so much for the insights.

Charles: Thanks for having me, Isabel.

Isabel Belger

Charles Desjardins, president/CEO
of Pistol Bay Mining

Bio

Mr. Desjardins brings more than 25 years of experience in public company finance and management. He is president and CEO of Tandem Capital Group Inc, which was active in the investor relations field during the mid 1980s. Mr. Desjardins was also past president of numerous public mineral exploration and technology companies which traded on the TSXV.

Fun facts

My hobbies: Running marathons, biking, fishing
My favourite airport: JFK
My favourite tradeshow: Mines and Money Hong Kong, PDAC
My favourite commodities: Copper, zinc and gold
With this person I would like to have dinner: Elon Musk
If I could have a superpower, it would be: Extraordinary vision

Read more about Pistol Bay Mining here and here.

Nevada’s new-era fuel

July 7th, 2017

Gary Musil sees Clayton Valley similarities in Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin lithium project

by Isabel Belger

Isabel Belger

Isabel Belger

Isabel: I would like to introduce Gary Musil, CFO and director of Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA. Hi Gary, it is a pleasure to talk to you again.

Gary: Likewise, always a pleasure to talk to you.

Isabel: To get started, tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved with Belmont Resources.

Gary: Belmont was a client of mine, and in 1992 they asked me to get more involved by joining the board of directors and later as a full-time chief financial officer in 1999.

Isabel: Belmont Resources has two different locations that you are involved with. Could you tell us a bit more about these two?

Gary: Belmont holds 50% interest in a large uranium land package (12,841 hectares) in the northern Athabasca Basin near Uranium City, Saskatchewan, Canada. Approximately $2 million was incurred on the claims from magnetic, radiometric, electromagnetic and radon gas surveys through to a successful 20-hole diamond drill program totalling 3,075 metres. The project is available for a joint venture partner or acquisition. Belmont’s current focus is on its 2,760-hectare Kibby Basin-Monte Cristo Valley, Nevada lithium project.

Isabel: So your focus is on the Kibby Basin lithium project. What makes that project so appealing?

Gary: The demand and price of lithium continues to increase as we move into a new era of electric vehicles and other technology that is requiring lithium. In addition, we are near the construction of a large facility, the Tesla Motors Gigafactory #1, near Sparks, Nevada, which will be a huge consumer of the end product. Secondly, expansion of a large electric bus factory in California to the south will also see increased consumption of lithium production for batteries. Furthermore, our Kibby Basin hosts several key features that are similar to the nearby and only operating lithium mine in North America, the area at Silver Peak-Clayton Valley, Nevada.

Gary Musil sees Clayton Valley similarities in Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin lithium project

Lithium assays from last spring’s campaign have
Belmont Resources returning for additional geophysics and drilling.

Isabel: What is the most exciting thing about the Kibby Basin property up to now—what work have you accomplished there?

Gary: We commenced last year with all the baseline work, such as a NI 43-101 geological technical report, followed by a ground geophysical survey and then a detailed gravity survey to map the central basin. This generated a 3D model of the basin which provided the coverage to enhance the potential of the Kibby Basin to host a lithium-bearing brine structure.

The basin model revealed the basin to be in the order of 4,000 metres deep and approximately 7.4 kilometres long. In June Belmont drilled two diamond drill core holes, KB-1c to 548 feet [167 metres] on the eastern basin-bounding fault and KB-2c to a depth of 1,498 feet [457 metres] in the playa-dry lake bed, in the area.

The company was pleased with the core sample assays, to discover the presence of lithium ranging from 70 ppm to 200 ppm lithium with 13 of 25 core samples assaying over 100 ppm lithium, indicating that the sediments could be a potential source of lithium for the underlying aquifers.

Isabel: What are your experiences working in the U.S.A.? It is known that a lot of lithium comes from China and we’ve heard Donald Trump wants to “make America great again.” Has there been any changes in regard to working on a project that could produce lithium in the U.S.A.?

Gary: Belmont’s original mineral project, going back over 30 years ago, was a joint venture in a silver-producing mine in Nevada. We usually contract out work, i.e. geologists, geophysics work, surveys, drilling contractors, etc., to local reputable contractors. This saves costs and develops a good working relationship with the state and county officials. Any changes from the federal and state governments in regards to working on a project that could produce lithium in the U.S.A. should be positive for Belmont Resources. We anticipate governments could add incentives to mining exploration and producing companies to encourage them to expand the mineral resources and sell the end products to factories being built in Nevada, rather than importing lithium and other minerals from foreign countries.

Gary Musil sees Clayton Valley similarities in Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin lithium project

Thirteen of 25 Kibby Basin core
samples surpassed 100 ppm lithium.

Isabel: What are the plans for the rest of 2017?

Gary: Belmont’s next stage of evaluation will consist of carrying out a further geophysical survey, i.e. electromagnetic resistivity survey and possibly seismic surveys, of the property, which should generate higher aquifer probability targets for further drilling this year.

Isabel: How much money do you have in the bank right now?

Gary: Belmont recently completed a four-million-unit private placement at $0.05 per share complete with a two-year transferable warrant (eight-cent warrant in year one and 10-cent warrant in year two) which generated $200,000. We will continue to raise further financing in order to continue exploration of the Kibby Basin throughout the year.

Isabel: How much of Belmont Resources is held by the management?

Gary: Belmont’s management currently owns 5.5% of the issued and outstanding shares and is increasing its position as demonstrated in participation in the recently completed private placements, as well as exercising of warrant and stock option shares. Including friends, relatives and close associates, these holdings increase to over 25%.

Isabel: What do you like about the mineral exploration business?

Gary: The anticipation of drilling results and then the discovery of minerals in a new area is always exciting. Also, travelling to new areas of the world and meeting new people there.

Isabel: What is your favourite commodity and why?

Gary: Belmont has explored for silver, antimony, gold, uranium, as well as oil and gas. Lithium will be my favourite for years to come, as I see the uses of this commodity expanding, as technology continues to develop and expand along with it.

Gary Musil sees Clayton Valley similarities in Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin lithium project

Gary Musil, CFO/director
of Belmont Resources

Fun facts

Your hobbies: Golf, cycling, hiking

Sources of news you use: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and CNN through TV and the Vancouver Sun/Financial Post newspapers

Your favourite airport: Vancouver International Airport and Phoenix, Arizona, as that usually means a golf vacation during the winter months

Your favourite tradeshow: Outdoor Recreation and Golf Show in Vancouver

Favourite commodity besides the ones in your company: Gold, especially placer gold

People you’d most like to have dinner with: Ha—Fred Couples, senior professional golfer; So Yeon Ryu, ladies’ professional golfer; Shania Twain, country music star; and of course having dinner with my wife in many new places in the world where we have been and not been to yet

If you could have a superpower, it would be: Healing

‘Everyone’s hiring again’

May 24th, 2017

Mining headhunter Andrew Pollard says executive recruiting presages a wave of M&A

by Greg Klein

As an executive search firm, the Mining Recruitment Group might serve as a bellwether for the industry. Founder and self-described mining headhunter Andrew Pollard says, “I put together management teams for companies, I connect people with opportunities and opportunities with people.” In that role, he experienced the upturn well before many industry players did.

To most of them, the long-awaited resurgence arrived late last year. Pollard saw it several months earlier.

Mining headhunter Andrew Pollard says executive recruiting could presage a wave of M&A

“The market came back in a huge way, at least in the hiring side, early last year when my phone started ringing a hell of a lot more,” he explains. “There was a huge volume. And what I’ve found is that the available talent pool for executives shrank in a period of about six months. In January 2016, for example, I was working on a search and there was almost a lineup out the door of some really big-name people. What I’m finding now, a year and a half later, is that the available talent has almost evaporated. It’s much harder to recruit for senior positions.”

Lately his work suggests another industry development. “The major upturn I’m seeing in the market now is a huge demand for corporate development people who can do technical due diligence on projects. Over the last few years large mining companies and investment banks cut staff almost to the bone in that regard because no one was interested in doing deals or looking at acquisitions.”

Just completed, his most recent placement was for Sprott. “They had me looking for someone with a technical background who can do due diligence for their investments. In doing so I spoke with everyone on the street, from investment banks to some big name corporate development people and they all said the same thing: Everyone’s hiring again. These are people who couldn’t get job offers a year ago, now every single candidate on the short list for this last search has multiple offers from companies looking to get them. I haven’t seen that in five years.

“So that leads me to believe companies have been staffing up their corporate development teams. I see that as a major sign that you’re going to see M&A pick up in a huge, huge way, probably over the next three to six months.”

An early example would be last week’s Eldorado Gold TSX:ELD buyout of Integra Gold TSXV:ICG—“one of my best clients over the years”—in a deal valued at $590 million.

Mining headhunter Andrew Pollard says executive recruiting could presage a wave of M&A

Andrew Pollard: Executive recruiting “leads me to believe companies have been staffing up their corporate development teams.”

“I think there’s leverage for other companies to start pulling the trigger faster because they’re adding the expertise to get these things done.”

Having founded the Mining Recruitment Group over a decade ago at the age of 20, “a snotty kid” with only a single year of related experience, he’s placed people in companies with market caps ranging from $5 million to well over $200 million. Now in a position to pick and choose his assignments, Pollard’s business concentrates on “the roles that will have the most impact on a company’s future.” That tends to be CEO, president, COO and board appointments.

Last year he placed five CEOs, as well as other positions. Among those assignments, Pollard worked with Frank Giustra on a CEO search for Fiore Exploration TSXV:F and filled another vacancy for Treasury Metals TSX:TML as it advances Goliath toward production.

But the hiring surge coincides with an industry-wide recruitment challenge. Pollard attributes that to a demographic predicament complicated by mining’s notorious cyclicality.

During the 1990s, he points out, fewer people chose mining careers, resulting in a shortage of staffers who’d now be in their 40s and 50s. Greater numbers joined up during the more promising mid-2000s, only to “get spat out” when markets went south. Now Pollard gets a lot of calls to replace baby boomers who want to retire. Too many of those retirements are coming around the same time, he says, because stock losses during the downturn had forced executives to postpone their exit.

Now, with a wave of retirements coinciding with a demographic gap, Pollard sees a “perfect storm to identify the next batch of young leaders.”

But he also sees promise in a new generation. That inspired him to assemble Young Leaders, one of two panel discussions he’ll present at the International Metal Writers Conference in Vancouver on May 28 and 29.

“By talking with some very successful executives age 35 and under, I want to show that we need to look at people one generation younger, and foster and develop this talent.”

By talking with some very successful executives age 35 and under, I want to show that we need to look at people one generation younger, and foster and develop this talent.

Well, it’s either talent or a precocious Midas touch that distinguishes these panel members. Maverix Metals TSXV:MMX CEO Dan O’Flaherty co-founded the royalty/streaming company just last year, already accumulating assets in 10 countries and a $200-million market cap.

As president/CEO of Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Jordan Trimble proved adept at fundraising and deal-making while building a 250,000-hectare uranium-thorium exploration portfolio in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin. Integra president/CEO Steve de Jong raised the company from a $10-million market cap in 2012 to last week’s $590-million takeout.

And, demographic gap notwithstanding, Pollard’s second panel features three other success stories, just a bit older but with lots of potential left after guiding three of last year’s biggest M&A deals. They’ll take part in the Vision to Exit discussion, which closes the conference on May 29.

Eira Thomas burst into prominence at the Lac de Gras diamond fields where she discovered Diavik at age 24. Her most recent major coup took place last year on the Klondike gold fields with Goldcorp’s (TSX:G) $520-million buyout of Kaminak Gold.

Featherstone Capital president/CEO Doug Forster founded and led Newmarket Gold, producing over 225,000 ounces a year from three Australian mines and enticing Kirkland Lake Gold’s (TSX:KL) billion-dollar offer.

Now chairperson of Liberty Gold TSX:LGD and a director of NexGen Energy TSX:NXE, Mark O’Dea co-founded and chaired True Gold Mining, acquired in April 2016 by Endeavour Mining TSX:EDV. Three other companies that O’Dea co-founded, led and sold were Fronteer Gold, picked up by Newmont Mining NYSE:NEM in 2011; Aurora Energy, sold to Paladin Energy TSX:PDN in 2011; and True North Nickel, in which Royal Nickel TSX:RNX bought a majority interest in 2014.

“We’ll be looking at how they go into deals, what their philosophy is, what’s their current reading of the market and what they’re going to do next. They each have a big future ahead of them.”

Pollard’s two panel discussions take place at the International Metal Writers Conference on May 28 and 29 at the Vancouver Convention Centre East. Pre-register for free or pay $20 at the door.

In all, the conference brings generations of talent, expertise and insight to an audience of industry insiders and investors alike.

Read more about the International Metal Writers Conference.

B.C. election: Inconclusive result puts focus on Green Party

May 10th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 10, 2017

What looks like British Columbia’s first minority government since 1952 will evoke plenty of speculation, not the least from miners. As cliff-hanger metaphors competed with seesaw comparisons throughout the night of May 9, the B.C. election came to an inconclusive result by ResourceClips.com press time. While the B.C. Elections website took most of the day and night off, CBC pegged the post-midnight results at 43 Liberals elected, 41 New Democrats elected and three Greens in the upper echelons (two elected and one leading, compared with just one seat last time).

B.C. election: Inconclusive result puts focus on Green Party

During the campaign all three parties professed support for mining, especially the continuation of flow-through tax credits. But the much more vexatious issue of permitting drew largely euphemistic responses.

Quoted by the Association for Mineral Exploration, NDP leader John Horgan pledged his party would address the uncertainty of permitting by working with Geoscience B.C., the B.C. Geological Survey and First Nations “to develop comprehensive mineral land use plans.”

In the same publication Green leader Andrew Weaver professed his commitment to fix B.C.’s “structurally broken” environmental review process, in which the “professional reliance model” has lost the confidence of First Nations and the general public.

Former mines minister Bill Bennett, who retired as the writ was dropped, reminded AME about his government’s inducements to native support, including royalty sharing and training programs.

But the mining-related issue that unexpectedly gained most prominence was thermal coal and its trans-shipment from the U.S. to Asia via B.C. The stuff “fouls the air. It fouls the oceans. It’s terrible for the environment,” Canadian Press quoted BC Liberal leader Christy Clark.

She spoke in response to the U.S. president’s 20% tariff on softwood lumber imports, most of which come from B.C.

Her proposed $70-a-tonne penalty would not only cripple thermal coal exports from the U.S., but also from Alberta, to the detriment of that province’s mines and this province’s ports. Clark’s comments didn’t acknowledge B.C.’s reliance—notwithstanding its hydro resources—on Alberta’s coal-generated electricity. That’s not to mention B.C.’s dependency on nuclear-generated power from Washington state. B.C. has banned uranium exploration.

Additionally Clark’s proposal would hammer the final nail in the coffin of Quinsam, B.C.’s last thermal coal mine. Hillsborough Resources suspended the Vancouver Island underground operation in January 2016 due to low prices.

A coal mining topic unacknowledged in the campaign was the election’s coincidence with the 25th anniversary of Nova Scotia’s Westray disaster, which killed 26 miners. Down Easterners marked that anniversary as a former director of mine-owner Curragh Inc, 83-year-old BC Liberal Ralph Sultan, swept to his fifth straight victory in the affluent riding of West Vancouver-Capilano.

Meanwhile preliminary results offer the Greens potential power that’s unprecedented for their party in Canada. All three projected Green seats are on southern Vancouver Island, also home to Canada’s sole Green MP, Elizabeth May. Apart from B.C., only New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have Green MLAs, one each in those two provinces.

However B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver stands apart from the other parties’ undistinguished professional politicians. A University of Victoria professor, he shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his participation in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

His influence, with maybe two other Greens, could be formidable. That might be especially true since this election will mark the first new government after the 2014 Mount Polley tailings dam disaster that challenged public support for mining.