Friday 14th December 2018

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘uranium’

Belmont Resources readies the rig for more Nevada lithium drilling

November 22nd, 2018

by Greg Klein | November 22, 2018

Belmont Resources readies the rig for more Nevada lithium drilling

With positive assays from previous drilling,
Belmont Resources returns for another
campaign at Kibby Basin.

Following lithium results released earlier this month, Belmont Resources’ (TSXV:BEA) drill contractors return to the Kibby Basin project imminently for another attack. The target this time will be 2,300 metres northeast of hole KB-3, where the most recent assays showed an average 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres. Previous results for the same hole averaged 415 ppm over 30.5 metres.

The crew expects rotary drilling to spend a week sinking the next hole, KB-4, to an initial depth of about 366 metres. Downhole geophysics will identify layers to be sampled and deeper drilling may follow.

Work takes place on a magnetotelluric conductor found last February, which followed a gravity survey conducted in 2016.

The company interprets the 2,056-hectare project’s geology to hold similarities with Nevada’s lithium-producing Clayton Valley, 65 kilometres south.

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

Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000 in July.

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

Drill-ready money

November 19th, 2018

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

by Greg Klein

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Osisko Mining’s (TSX:OSK) Windfall project offers one reason why
Quebec leads Canada and gold leads metals for exploration spending.
(Photo: Osisko Mining)

 

Blockchain might offer intrigue and cannabis promises a buzz, but mineral exploration still attracts growing interest. A healthy upswing this year will bring Canadian projects a nearly 8% spending increase to $2.36 billion, the industry’s highest amount since 2012. According to recently released data, that’s part of an international trend that puts Canada at the top of a worldwide resurgence.

The $2.36 billion allotted for Canadian exploration and deposit appraisal forms just a small part of the year’s total mineral resource development investments, which see $11.86 billion committed to this country, up from $10.61 billion in 2017.

Those numbers come from Natural Resources Canada, which surveyed companies between April and September on their spending intentions within the country for 2018. The $2.36-billion figure includes engineering, economic and feasibility studies, along with environmental work and general expenses.

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Trial extraction for Pure Gold Mining’s (TSXV:PGM)
Madsen feasibility studies encourages interest in
Ontario’s Red Lake region. (Photo: Pure Gold Mining)

Of that number, Quebec edges out Ontario for first place with $623.1 million in spending this year, 26.4% of Canada’s total. Ontario’s share comes to $567.5 million or 24%. Last year’s totals came to $573.9 million for Quebec and $539.7 million for its western neighbour. Prior to that, however, Ontario held a comfortable lead year after year.

Third-place British Columbia gets $335.5 million or 14.2% of Canada’s total this year, an increase from $302.6 million in 2017.

On a per-capita basis, Yukon’s enjoying an exceptional year with an expected $249.4 million or 10.6% of Canada’s total. That’s the territory’s second substantial increase in a row, following $168.7 million the previous year.

Saskatchewan dips this year to $187.2 million (7.9%) from $191.2 million in 2017. But the Fraser Institute’s last survey of mining jurisdictions placed the province first in Canada and second worldwide.

Nunavut drops too, for the third consecutive time, to $143.9 million (6.1%), compared with $177 million in 2017. The Northwest Territories’ forecast declines to $86.2 million (3.7%) this year after $91.2 million last year.

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Among companies leading Yukon’s exceptional performance
is White Gold TSXV:WGO, with substantial backing from
Agnico Eagle Mines TSX:AEM and Kinross Gold TSX:K.
(Photo: White Gold)

Especially troubling when contrasted with Yukon’s performance, data for the other territories prompted NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines president Gary Vivian to call on federal, territorial and native governments and boards to help the industry “by creating certainty around land access, by reducing unnecessary complexity and by addressing the higher costs they face working in the North. Sustaining and growing future mining benefits depend on it.”

The pursuit of precious metals accounts for $1.5 billion in spending, nearly 64% of Canadian exploration. Ontario gets almost 31% of the precious metals attention, with 27% going to Quebec.

Base metals, mostly in Quebec, B.C. and Ontario, get 15.5% of the year’s total. Uranium gets 5%, almost entirely in Saskatchewan. Diamonds get nearly 4%, most of it going to the NWT and Saskatchewan. But nearly 11% of this year’s total goes to a category vaguely attributed to other metals, along with coal and additional non-metals.

Getting back to this year’s exploration total ($2.36 billion, remember?), senior companies commit themselves to nearly 55%, compared with nearly 51% last year. But the juniors’ share remains proportionately much larger than the pre-2017 years.

Additional encouragement—and on an international level—comes from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Using different methodology to produce different results, the Metals and Mining Research team found worldwide budgets for nonferrous exploration jumping 19% this year to $10.1 billion.

Juniors have been reaping the biggest budget gains at 35%. Over 1,651 functional exploration companies represent an 8% improvement over last year and the first such increase since 2012. But that’s “still about 900 companies less than in 2012, representing a one-third culling of active explorers over the past five years.”

The most dramatic spending increase hit cobalt and lithium, this year undergoing an 82% leap in exploration spending. That’s part of a 500% climb since 2015, SPGMI says.

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Nemaska Lithium’s Whabouchi project in Quebec
contributes to the enthusiasm for energy metals.
(Photo: Nemaska Lithium)

Even so, precious and base metals retained their prominence as gold continues “to benefit the most from the industry recovery.” The global strive for yellow metal will claim $4.86 billion this year, up from $4.05 billion in 2017. Base metals spending will grow by $600 million to $3.04 billion. “Copper remained by far the most attractive of the base metals, although zinc allocations have increased the most, rising 37% in 2018, the report states. “Budgets are up for all targets except uranium.”

SPGMI finds Canada keeping its global top spot for nonferrous exploration with a 31% year-on-year budget increase. Second-place Australia achieved a 23% rise. The U.S. total places third, although with a 34% increase over the country’s 2017 performance.

In each of the top three countries, over 55% of the budgets focused on gold.

“Improved metals prices and margins since 2016 have encouraged producers to expand their organic efforts the past two years,” commented SPGMI’s Mark Ferguson. “Over the same period, equity market support for the junior explorers has improved, leading to an uptick in the number and size of completed financings. This allowed the group to increase exploration budgets by 35% in 2018.”

Active participants

November 7th, 2018

A new study finds greater native involvement in resource projects

by Greg Klein

A new study finds greater native involvement in resource projects

Representatives of Nemaska Lithium and Nemaska Cree negotiate the Chinuchi Agreement in 2014.
(Photo: Nemaska Lithium)

 

Trans Mountain—it’s likely been Canada’s biggest and most discouraging resource story this year. The subject of well-publicized protests, the proposed $9.3-billion pipeline extension met federal court rejection on the grounds of inadequate native consultation. But any impression of uniform aboriginal opposition to that project in particular or resource projects in general would be false, a new report emphasizes. In fact native involvement increasingly advances from reaping benefits to taking active part, with corresponding advantages to individuals and communities.

That’s the case for the oil and gas sector, forestry, hydro-electricity and fisheries, with mining one of the prominent examples provided by the Montreal Economic Institute in The First Entrepreneurs – Natural Resource Development and First Nations. “While some First Nations oppose mining and forestry or the building of energy infrastructure, others favour such development and wish to take advantage of the resulting wealth and jobs,” state authors Germain Belzile and Alexandre Moreau. “This cleavage is no different from what is found in non-indigenous cities and villages in Canada, where there is no vision for the future that everyone agrees upon.”

A new study finds greater native involvement in resource projects

Visitors tour a cultural site at the Éléonore mine.
(Photo: Goldcorp)

Mining provides a case in point, and the reason’s not hard to understand. “In 2016, First Nations members working in the mining sector declared a median income twice as high as that of workers in their communities overall, and nearly twice as high as that of non-indigenous people as a whole.”

“Between 2000 and 2017, 455 agreements were signed in this sector, guaranteeing benefits in addition to those stemming from extraction royalties due to rights held by First Nations on their territories.” Those agreements often include native priority in hiring and subcontracting, which helps explain why “6% of indigenous people work in the mining sector, compared to only 4% in other industries.”

Of course the proportion rises dramatically in communities close to mines. MEI notes that Wemindji Cree make up about 25% of Goldcorp’s (TSX:G) Éléonore staff in Quebec’s James Bay region. The native total comes to 225 workers out of a community of 1,600 people. Their collaboration agreement also makes provisions for education, training and business opportunities.

At another Quebec James Bay project, Nemaska Lithium TSX:NMX expects to begin producing concentrate in H2 of next year. Collaboration with the Nemaska Cree began in 2009 and brought about the 2014 Chinuchi Agreement covering training, employment and revenue sharing, among other benefits. The community holds 3.6% of Nemaska stock.

Even stalled projects can benefit communities. Uranium’s price slump forced Cameco TSX:CCO to put its majority-held Millennium project in northern Saskatchewan on hold in 2014. But the 1,600-member English River First Nation still gained $50 million from the project in 2014 and $58 million in 2015.

Or, to take an example not mentioned in the report, natives can also profit from an operating mine that fails to make a profit. In Nunavut, a benefit agreement with Baffinland Iron Mines’ Mary River operation gave the Qikiqtani Inuit Association $11.65 million this year, as well as the better part of $3.7 million that the QIA reaped in leases and fees. In production since 2014, Mary River remains in the red.

Of course some natives still oppose some projects. Last month Star Diamond TSX:DIAM received provincial environmental approval for its Star-Orion South project in southern Saskatchewan’s Fort à la Corne district. That decision followed federal approval in 2014.

Star says the mine would cost $1.41 billion to build and would pay $802 million in royalties as well as $865 million in provincial income tax over a 20-year lifespan. The mine would employ an average 669 people annually for a five-year construction period and 730 people during operation. But continued opposition from the James Smith Cree Nation calls into question whether environmental approval will suffice to allow development.

Similar circumstances played out in reverse for Mary River. Last summer the Nunavut Impact Review Board recommended Ottawa reject Baffinland’s proposed production increase. But support from the QIA and territorial Premier Joe Savikataaq convinced the feds to approve the company’s request. So the veto, if it exists, can work both ways.

James Smith opposition stems largely from Saskatchewan’s lack of revenue-sharing programs, a basic component of benefit agreements in other jurisdictions. “As a government it’s our position that we will not and do not consider resource revenue sharing as a part of any proposal going forward,” enviro minister Dustin Duncan told the Prince Albert newspaper paNOW. He said the province uses mining revenue “to fund programs for the benefit of all Saskatchewan residents and not just one particular group or region.”

The MEI report quotes an estimated $321 million in 2015-to-2016 revenues from natural resources overall for First Nations, a category that doesn’t include Inuit or Metis, and a dollar figure that doesn’t include employment or business income and other benefits.

While Trans Mountain stands out as an especially discouraging process, MEI points out that proponent Kinder Morgan signed benefit agreements with 43 First Nations totalling $400 million. After Ottawa bought the company, “several First Nations showed interest in a potential takeover. For some of them, the possibility of equity stakes was indeed the missing element in the Kinder Morgan offer.”

That might take negotiations well past the stage of benefits and further into active participation. As JP Gladu of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business told MEI, “The next big business trend that we are going to see, and that is happening already, is not only that aboriginal businesses are going to be stronger components of the corporate supply chain, but we are also going to see them as stronger proponents of equity positions and actual partners within resource projects.”

 

A new study finds greater native involvement in resource projects

The category of First Nations excludes Inuit and Metis.
(Chart: Montreal Economic Institute. Sources: Statistics Canada,
2016 Census, 98-400-X2016359, March 28, 2018)

Belmont Resources finds lithium grades extending at depth, plans more Nevada drilling this month

November 1st, 2018

by Greg Klein | November 1, 2018

As the crew drills deeper into the Kibby Basin project, assays continue to show “consistently high levels of lithium,” Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA announced November 1. The results come from the previously reported hole KB-3 but at depths between 387.3 metres and 548.4 metres. A 42.4-metre section brought a weighted average of 393 ppm lithium.

Belmont Resources finds lithium grades extending at depth, plans more Nevada drilling this month

Another round of drilling along with downhole
geophysics will keep the Kibby Basin team busy this month.

Some highlights included 530 ppm lithium over 3.05 metres, 530 ppm over 1.83 metres, 520 ppm over 3.05 metres, 470 ppm over 3.05 metres, 510 ppm over 3.05 metres, 480 ppm over 3.05 metres and 420 ppm over 3.05 metres. Out of 59 samples, six surpassed 500 ppm while 41 exceeded 300 ppm.

The news follows two batches of KB-3 assays released in September, both reaching highs of 580 ppm. One batch brought a 30.5-metre section averaging 415 ppm, while the second showed 20 samples above 100 ppm, seven of them beyond 375 ppm.

The autumn agenda calls for more drilling this month, accompanied by downhole geophysics to search for possible lithium brine permeable and conductive zones above and within the magnetotelluric conductor found last February, Belmont added. Groundwater and sediment samples will undergo analysis.

MGX Minerals CSE:XMG has until year-end to earn another 25% of the 2,056-hectare project, raising its interest to 50% and opening the way to a joint venture that would use MGX’s proprietary lithium rapid extraction technology.

The companies compare Kibby Basin to Clayton Valley, about 65 kilometres south and home to North America’s only operating lithium mine. Similarities include a “closed structural basin, a large conductor at depth, lithium anomalies at surface and depth, evidence of a geothermal system and potential aquifers in porous ash and gravel zones.”

Belmont’s portfolio also includes a 50% stake in northern Saskatchewan’s Crackingstone and Orbit Lake uranium properties, with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT holding the other half.

Last July Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000.

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

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals expand Nevada lithium drilling

October 16th, 2018

by Greg Klein | October 16, 2018

Similarities to the Clayton Valley and successful exploration so far have prompted two potential JV partners to plan a busy autumn at their Kibby Basin lithium project. Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG now plan up to 1,465 metres over four holes in an area where geophysics found a strong magnetotelluric conductor. Added to the agenda are downhole geophysics to search for possible aquifers.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals expand Nevada lithium drilling

Drilling begins soon on a program that follows last season’s
encouraging lithium results at Kibby Basin in Nevada.

Earlier this month the companies delivered another 59 core samples from hole KB-3 for assays. In September Belmont and MGX announced results from the same hole that twice reached a high of 580 ppm lithium.

This season’s downhole geophysics will take over where previous water samples met unexpected technical complications. Lithium concentrations in water samples failed to show anomalous results despite the core sample assays. A new approach including downhole geophysics will “improve the chances to accurately locate layers of high conductivity and porosity and allow high-quality, representative samples to be taken where lithium concentrations are potentially higher,” the companies stated.

Having already earned 25% of the project, MGX has until year-end to increase its stake to 50%. The companies hope to form a 50/50 JV that would use rapid lithium extraction technology developed by MGX. The method won MGX the Base and Specialty Metals Industry Leadership Award at the 2018 S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards in London last May.

Located about 50 kilometres north of Clayton Valley, the 2,056-hectare Kibby Basin project shares a number of similarities with the region hosting North America’s only lithium-producing operation, including a “closed structural basin, a large conductor at depth, lithium anomalies at surface and depth, evidence of a geothermal system and potential aquifers in porous ash and gravel zones,” the companies stated.

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 a private placement totalling $375,000 in July.

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

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals continue to find lithium at depth in Nevada

September 28th, 2018

by Greg Klein | September 28, 2018

More assays from hole KB-3 at Nevada’s Kibby Basin project show additional lithium at depths between 387.3 metres and 548.4 metres. Earlier this month Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG announced KB-3 results for a section between 338.5 and 369 metres in depth which averaged 415 parts per million lithium and reached a high of 580 ppm. The latest batch comes from 25 core samples representing different lithologies. Twenty of the samples surpassed 100 ppm lithium, with seven of them exceeding 375 ppm. One sample matched the high reported on September 12 of 580 ppm.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals continue to find lithium at depth in Nevada

Kibby Basin’s first hole of the season
continues to deliver.

Ash layers accounted for four samples below 100 ppm, “suggesting that initial lithium content may have been leached from the porous ash layers and transported to brines elsewhere in the basin,” the companies stated.

KB-3 tested the southern part of a strong magnetotelluric conductor that “still has potential for saturated sediments containing lithium-rich brines.” Geophysical data suggests a second hole might similarly find an aquifer between 274.5 and 305 metres and reduced clays potentially with high lithium content below 305 metres’ depth.

Comparing Kibby Basin with the lithium-producing Clayton Valley 50 kilometres south, Belmont and MGX note similarities in a “closed structural basin, a large conductor at depth, lithium anomalies at surface and depth, evidence of a geothermal system and potential aquifers in porous ash and gravel zones.”

MGX is working on its initial 25% of a possible 50% earn-in for the 2,056-hectare project. Last May the company’s rapid lithium extraction technology won the Base and Specialty Metals Industry Leadership Award at the 2018 S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards in London.

Belmont also holds the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick, where historic, non-43-101 samples suggest potential for zinc, copper and cobalt. In northern Saskatchewan Belmont and International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT each hold a 50/50 share of two uranium properties.

In July Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000.

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

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals reach 580 ppm lithium in season’s first hole

September 12th, 2018

by Greg Klein | September 12, 2018

Sixty-five kilometres north of Nevada’s Clayton Valley, encouraging assays from the first hole of the year averaged 415 parts per million lithium at Kibby Basin, with a high of 580 ppm. Belmont Resources’ (TSXV:BEA) earn-in partner MGX Minerals CSE:XMG collected 125 samples from mud rotary drilling to 387 metres in downhole depth, then continued with small-diameter core drilling to 548 metres.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals average 415 ppm lithium in Nevada

With promising results from the program’s first hole, Belmont
Resources and MGX Minerals have more drilling planned.

The assays came from a section between 338.5 and 369 metres in depth. Results are pending for 25 core samples from the lower section, as well as for water samples. This hole targeted the southern area of a large magnetotelluric conductor, finding four zones of sand and gravel that might represent brine-bearing aquifers, with one zone showing a potential major aquifer.

A second hole is in the planning stages. Last year’s two-hole campaign, prior to the MT geophysics program, brought assays between 70 ppm and 200 ppm Li2O, with 13 of 25 samples surpassing 100 ppm.

MGX is working towards an initial 25% of the project, with the option of increasing its stake to 50%. Similarities between Kibby Basin and Clayton Valley include a “closed structural basin, large conductor at depth, lithium anomalies at surface and depth, evidence of a geothermal system and potential aquifers in porous ash and gravel zones,” the companies stated.

Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000 in July.

In New Brunswick the company holds the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property, where historic, non-43-101 sampling suggests zinc, copper and cobalt potential. Belmont also shares a 50/50 stake in two Saskatchewan uranium properties with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT.

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

Belmont Resources teams up with MGX Minerals to resume Nevada lithium drilling

July 13th, 2018

by Greg Klein | July 13, 2018

With an option agreement now in place, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA gains a new partner and new money for the Kibby Basin lithium property, 65 kilometres north of Nevada’s Clayton Valley. The deal allows MGX Minerals CSE:XMG to earn an initial 25% interest in the 2,760-hectare property by spending up to $300,000. Work would include a deep test hole on a geophysical anomaly found earlier this year. Should that program meet success, MGX may increase its stake to 50% with up to $300,000 in further expenditures and drilling a second deep test hole. The company would then become operator of a 50/50 joint venture.

Belmont Resources teams up with MGX Minerals to resume Nevada lithium drilling

Ready to get boots on the ground soon, the Kibby Basin
crew will test a geophysical anomaly found earlier this year.

An initial drill program last year consisted of two holes totalling 624 metres. Core samples graded between 70 ppm and 200 ppm Li2O, with 13 of 25 samples exceeding 100 ppm. This year’s program of deep-sensing magnetotelluric geophysics identified a conductive zone that starts at about 500 metres in depth.

Should the JV come into fruition, other potential duties for MGX could include additional exploration, operating a test well, and installing and operating a pilot plant. MGX’s wide range of assets includes a proprietary process to recover lithium, magnesium and other minerals from a variety of brines. The JV would gain access to the process and would also market any lithium or other commodities potentially produced.

“This agreement puts Belmont on secure footing with regard to funding the next stage of evaluation of the Kibby property and, at the same time, enables us to get a significant leg-up on lithium production by partnering with one of the leaders in extraction technology,” commented Belmont CEO James Place.

MGX will also invest $200,000 in a Belmont private placement. In April the latter company closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $198,000.

Belmont’s portfolio also includes the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick, where historic, non-43-101 sampling suggests zinc, copper and cobalt potential. Additionally the company shares a 50/50 interest with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT in two Saskatchewan uranium properties.

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

Update: Belmont Resources permitted for July drilling on Nevada lithium property

June 20th, 2018

by Greg Klein | Updated June 20, 2018

With permits now in hand, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA expects to activate a rig on its Kibby Basin lithium project next month. Once completed, the boreholes may be converted to exploration wells to test for lithium brine aquifers.

Located 65 kilometres north of Nevada’s Clayton Valley, the 2,760-hectare property underwent deep-sensing magnetotelluric geophysics earlier this year, finding a conductive zone that starts at about 500 metres in depth. The program followed last year’s initial drill campaign that sunk two holes totalling 624 metres. Core samples graded between 70 ppm and 200 ppm Li2O, with 13 of 25 samples surpassing 100 ppm.

Preparations move Belmont Resources toward Nevada lithium drilling

This year’s magnetotelluric geophysical program helped identify
drill targets for Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin lithium project.

The company has described the upcoming program as “work of a significant scope” that includes water well installation and monitoring.

In May Belmont announced the appointment of Ian Graham to the company’s advisory board. A former principal geologist with De Beers’ South African division, he also spent 15 years with Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO where he took part in evaluation and pre-development projects including the Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories and the Resolution copper deposit in Arizona. He also oversaw permitting for the Eagle nickel mine in Michigan and played a key role in the initial economic assessment for the Bunder diamond project in India. More recently Graham served as CEO of United Energy Corp, which held a Nevada lithium project.

Belmont also holds the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick, where historic, non-43-101 sampling has shown zinc, copper and cobalt potential. In Saskatchewan the company shares a 50/50 interest with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT in the Crackingstone and Orbit Lake uranium properties.

Belmont closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $198,000 in April.

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

Preparations move Belmont Resources toward Nevada lithium drilling

May 23rd, 2018

This story has been updated and moved here.