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Canadian mining groups welcome Trans-Pacific Partnership

October 5th, 2015

by Greg Klein | October 5, 2015

In a deal supported by associations representing the country’s mining and exploration sector, Canada will become a founder of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. Ottawa announced the agreement on October 5 as a federal election loomed two weeks in the future.

The Canadian government says the TPP will cut tariffs and other barriers, broadening markets for a range of Canadian industries that include metals and mining. The deal also offers Canadian investors in mining and other areas “transparent and predictable access to TPP markets,” the feds added.

Canada’s mining industry has been a strong advocate for liberalized trade and investment flows for many years…. TPP, representing such a massive trade bloc, including critical emerging markets, is a trading partnership Canada must not risk being left out of.—Pierre Gratton, president/CEO of the Mining Association of Canada

In a declaration of support six days previously, the Mining Association of Canada said the country’s metals and minerals exports to TPP members averaged $158.6 billion per year from 2012 to 2014. The group noted, however, pre-TPP tariffs of up to 5% in Australia, up to 7.9% in Japan, up to 10% in New Zealand, up to 20% in Brunei, up to 40% in Vietnam and up to 50% in Malaysia.

TPP negotiations also addressed “numerous challenges that companies currently face in getting products, people and services across borders on a day-to-day basis,” MAC added. “As one of Canada’s largest outward investing sectors—accounting for 10% ($81.5 billion) of the 2013 total—benefiting from the greater certainty, transparency and foreign investment protection that the TPP will enable is important for the mining industry to remain competitive on the global stage.”

The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada stated its “8,000 members invest significant financial assets across the Asia-Pacific region to explore for and develop mineral deposits. PDAC is particularly supportive of aspects of the TPP that will facilitate two-way investment, including protection for investors that provides greater clarity, certainty and transparency.”

The world’s largest trading bloc, the TPP partners Canada with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. Conspicuous for its absence is China, the world’s second-largest economy.

Even so, TPP membership represents nearly 800 million people and a combined GDP of $28.5 trillion, the Canadian government stated. The 12 include some of the world’s fastest-growing economies “and this is expected to continue to be the case” as the bloc’s expected to comprise two-thirds of the world’s middle class by 2030 and half of global GDP by 2050. Some 81% of Canada’s total exports already go to TPP countries.

Canada now has free trade agreements with 51 nations which “will give Canadian businesses preferential access to over 60% of the world’s economy and more than 1.3 billion consumers,” according to Ottawa.

Towards Canadian REE R&D

June 27th, 2014

Industry calls on government to support a Canadian rare earths supply chain

by Greg Klein

Free markets supposedly work free of government meddling. But what capitalist would refer to free money, even from government, as “meddling”? Anyway, as a number of industry and academic spokespeople told a Canadian parliamentary committee, other governments do it. Canada lags far behind not only China, but also the U.S. and Australia, in funding research and development for a national rare earths industry.

Industry calls on government to support a Canadian rare earths supply chain

That was among the salient points of a 30-page summary of evidence that the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources released earlier this month. The challenge, of course, is to develop Canadian expertise that can diminish some of China’s near-monopoly on supply, demand and the various stages of processing commonly considered inscrutable to non-Chinese.

With light and heavy rare earths considered critical minerals for their economic importance and supply risk, the urgency becomes greater. All the more so because China’s “costs of producing ‘cheap’ rare earths are becoming increasingly unsustainable in terms of the environment, the availability of reserves, the health of its communities and the political ramifications,” according to a Secutor Capital Management report about Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram deposit in Quebec.

Other governments are putting up money. The U.S. has invested nearly $120 million to REE R&D over five years, the inquiry heard. Australia has committed $80 million over three years. But during a three-year period ending in March, Canada doled out a mere $1 million.

Canadian industry, on the other hand, matched every federal dollar given to Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetMINING research agency with $5 of its own. Most of it went to R&D.

“Canada is in a race with Australia, the U.S. and others to develop an industry,” Avalon Rare Metals TSX:AVL VP of sales and marketing Pierre Neatby told the committee. “Canada’s opportunity is now.”

There are other contenders too. Urging the feds on, Matamec Explorations TSXV:MAT president/CEO Andre Gauthier said, “Other countries, such as Brazil and Vietnam, are planning the development of their own rare earths industry and they are making it a priority.”

The inquiry also heard that Korea, Japan, the UK, Belgium, Germany and the EU “have created institutions and research programs that aim at diversifying the existing rare earth supply sources, recycling existing products and developing substitute materials to minimize the use of rare earth metals.”

According to Pele Mountain Resources TSXV:GEM president Al Shefsky, Canada “can lead and win, but [it] must act decisively…. If Canada does not adopt a national strategy, it will lose an extraordinary opportunity for economic growth and employment to foreign competitors who are investing heavily to seize this opportunity.”

A national rare earth supply chain “is essential to Canada’s strategic and economic security,” he added. “With world-class deposits of its own, Canada is in a unique position not only to produce rare earths, but to create its own rare earth supply chain, thereby creating billions of dollars of economic activity along with thousands of high-paying jobs.”

That potential comes from Canada’s deposits, roughly 40% to 50% of the world’s known rare earths resources, witnesses told the inquiry. Another advantage lies in Canada’s stability compared to countries like South Africa and Kyrgyzstan.

[The Canadian Rare Earth Elements Research Network wants to] establish a Canadian-based rare earths production and secure 20% of critical REE global supply by 2018.

But “no two REE deposits are the same,” pointed out representatives of the Canadian Rare Earth Elements Research Network. “Each deposit requires unique, costly and innovative engineering on front-end processing.”

Yet CREEN’s ambition expresses considerable optimism. The organization wants to “establish a Canadian-based rare earths production and secure 20% of critical REE global supply by 2018,” the committee stated. “CREEN is comprised of mining companies, academia, government, research centres, consulting firms and other organizations that are working together to develop innovative solutions to the various challenges faced by this sector.” By press time CREEN chairperson Ian London had not responded to a interview request. (Update: Read an interview with Ian London here.)

What becomes of the committee’s work isn’t clear. A House of Commons committees directorate clerk tells, “There’s no recommendations to the government in the summary evidence and no request to the government to answer back.”

Download the committee’s 30-page summary.

Read more about China’s control of the rare earths supply chain.

Disclaimer: Commerce Resources Corp is a client of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in Commerce Resources.

Athabasca Basin and beyond

September 22nd, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 14 to 20, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Fission and Alpha sign acquisition agreement, Denison challenges Mega for Rockgate

Another burst of merger and acquisition activity hit the markets last week. Joint September 18 statements from Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU and Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW announced a definitive agreement for the former’s acquisition of the latter. The proposed Mega Uranium TSX:MGA/Rockgate Capital TSX:RGT merger, however, took a surprising turn with Denison Mines’ TSX:DML unsolicited pitch for Rockgate. Denison’s September 17 announcement claimed a 38% premium over Mega’s offer, based on the previous day’s closing prices.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 14 to 20, 2013

In addition to taking a run at Rockgate, Denison filed a revised
43-101 report for six deposits on its Mutanga property in Zambia.

The Fission/Alpha rationale is to put their 50/50 joint venture under a single owner, creating a company solely focused on Patterson Lake South and presumably a more attractive takeover target. Their other properties would go to two newly created spincos. Should Denison’s offer succeed, the company would spin out its African assets along with Rockgate’s advanced-stage Mali project. That would leave Denison focused on the Athabasca Basin.

Read more about these proposals and other uranium M&A news.

(Update: On September 24 Rockgate terminated its proposed merger with Mega. Read more.)

PLS assay backlog grows as Fission/Alpha release more scintillometer results

Step-out drilling confirmed strong mineralization in Patterson Lake South’s newest zone, Alpha and Fission stated on September 16. The JV partners released scintillometer readings for two new holes on zone R945E, the fourth of four zones along a 1.02-kilometre southwest-northeast trend.

The hand-held device measures drill core gamma rays in counts per second, up to an off-scale reading above 9,999 cps. The results are no substitute for assays, which are pending.

Hole PLS13-092 was collared roughly 10 metres north of existing holes. It reached a total downhole depth of 377 metres, striking the basement unconformity at 59 metres without encountering sandstone. Some highlights include:

  • <300 to 1,400 cps over 3 metres, starting at 157.5 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 16 metres, starting at 163 metres

  • <300 to 1,800 cps over 11 metres, starting at 192.5 metres

  • 460 to 2,500 cps over 2.5 metres, starting at 238 metres

PLS13-096 was collared about 15 metres grid west of PLS-084, replacing it as the zone’s most southwesterly hole. It found no sandstone, hit the basement unconformity at 56.5 metres and stopped at 365 metres. Highlights include:

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 42.5 metres, starting at 135.5 metres in downhole depth

  • 310 to >9,999 cps over 11.5 metres, starting at 185.5 metres

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 10.5 metres, starting at 235.5 metres

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 14.5 metres, starting at 249 metres

True widths weren’t available. The two holes were drilled at -88 and -89 degree angles respectively, making downhole depths close to vertical.

The $6.95-million program calls for 44 holes totalling 11,000 metres, along with geophysics. These results bring the summer’s drilling to 27 holes totalling 8,488 metres. So far just one of the holes has had lab assays released. Scintillometer readings have been reported for 18 holes this summer.

Denison files combined resources for Mutanga property in Zambia

Denison has filed a new NI 43-101 report to replace two previous reports for its Mutanga property in Zambia, the company announced on September 16. The New Mutanga Report follows an Ontario Securities Commission review of a resource filed in March 2012 for the property’s Dibwe East deposit. The OSC declared that report non-compliant because it didn’t include all resource estimates and material information for the property as a whole. Denison’s new report incorporates information covered in a 2009 report on the Mutanga and Dibwe deposits, as well as the 2012 info for Dibwe East.

Of the project’s six deposits, only Mutanga shows measured, indicated and inferred categories. Mutanga Extension, Mutanga East, Mutanga West, Dibwe and Dibwe East have inferred pounds only. Combined, the estimate shows:

  • a measured resource of 1.88 million tonnes averaging 0.048% for 2 million pounds uranium oxide (U3O8)

  • an indicated resource of 8.4 million tonnes averaging 0.031% for 5.8 million pounds

  • inferred resources totalling 65.2 million tonnes averaging 0.029% for 41.4 million pounds

The 457.3-square-kilometre property is about 200 kilometres south of the capital city of Lusaka, near the Zimbabwean border.

The previous week, Denison updated two Athabasca Basin projects with a new resource for Waterbury Lake and more high-grade assays from Wheeler River.

Lakeland Resources options gold project to focus on Athabasca uranium

Now a pure play uranium explorer, Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK optioned a north-central Ontario gold property to New Dimension Resources TSXV:NDR, the companies announced September 16. New Dimension may earn a 70% interest in the Midas project by paying $100,000, spending $1.2 million and issuing 1.5 million shares. New Dimension must spend $300,000 on exploration by December 31.

We’re maintaining our focus on uranium, yet we’re not giving away what could turn out to be a valuable asset in the end. In our view there’s no downside to our shareholders, only a potential upside.—Roger Leschuk, corporate communications manager for Lakeland Resources

The 2,112-hectare road-accessible property has already seen ground magnetics, induced polarization and 16 drill holes that partially defined two gold-bearing zones, with 14 holes showing gold mineralization. Among the assays was 5.92 grams per tonne gold over 4.7 metres, starting at 45.7 metres in depth and including 8.88 g/t over 2.6 metres.

“We get to maintain an interest in a property that looks very encouraging to say the least,” Lakeland corporate communications manager Roger Leschuk tells “The people who are picking it up are a very good group and they see this as potentially becoming their flagship property. The great part about it for Lakeland is we retain a 30% interest all the way potentially to a new discovery. We’re maintaining our focus on uranium, yet we’re not giving away what could turn out to be a valuable asset in the end. In our view there’s no downside to our shareholders, only a potential upside.”

A fall drill program is expected to begin shortly, the companies stated.

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

Forum announces fall/winter plans for its PLS-adjacent Clearwater project

In a September 17 report, Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC updated its Clearwater project, which underwent ground radiometric prospecting, lake sediment geochemical surveys and soil radon surveys in late August and early September. The radon survey found anomalous zones immediately southwest of the adjacent PLS property, the company stated. Forum now plans further prospecting of radiometric anomalies, as well as an expanded radon survey to cover areas with electromagnetic conductors on strike with the PLS conductive trend. Autumn is scheduled for ground EM surveys and early winter for ground gravity work to identify drill targets for the 9,910-hectare property in late January.

One week earlier Forum said its private placement raised $2.59 million.

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China growing uneasy over Greenland’s rare earth ambitions

August 9th, 2013

by Ana Komnenic | August 9, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of

China has long enjoyed its supremacy in the rare earths field but lately this position has been challenged by an often overlooked, massive island nation: Greenland.

The Asian giant produces 95% of the world’s Rare Earth Elements (REE) supply—a fact that has caused much unease among U.S. lawmakers—and has never had to face any real contenders, until now. Late last year the industry was buzzing with rumours that Greenland could hold enough of these metals to satisfy one-quarter of global demand over the next 50 years.

A recent visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to Denmark—Greenland’s official hegemon—caused some analysts to speculate that the People’s Republic may be getting a little antsy over the country’s valuable deposits, Ice News reports.

According to European Commission data, Greenland has “especially strong potential in six of the 14 elements on the EU critical raw materials list.”

In fact, one company is well on its way to becoming a real threat: Greenland’s Tanbreez Mining—of Australian parentage—has been eyeing the island’s southern region since 2010. According to a company news release, they planned to file a final application for an exploration licence by July 2013.

But the People’s Republic may find some solace in the fact that Greenland is overwhelmingly concerned about the environmental and safety implications of mining rare earths, which may cause some roadblocks. However, Tanbreez asserts that these concerns do not apply to the areas it plans on mining.

Meanwhile, China’s domestic REE industry is hitting a rough patch. According to Ice News, “excessive mining” has made extraction difficult for the country’s miners. Illegal mining has also plagued the sector.

Aside from Greenland, China’s rare earths industry has other challengers to consider. According to Greenland’s Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, Brazil has 37% of the world’s rare earth potential—12% more than China—and Vietnam 10%.

The U.S. is also ramping up exploration and recently tasked the U.S. Geological Survey with uncovering domestic supplies in old mine site tailings.

Chinese officials and REE producers addressed these concerns at the country’s Baotou Rare Earth Industry Forum on Thursday.

“The output of each rare earth mine in the United States, Australia and Russia is often less than 25,000 tonnes,” Zhang Zhong, president of China’s top rare earth producer told Xinhuanet. “Although Vietnam, India, Canada and South Africa have launched some rare earth projects, they need plenty of time to put them into operation and realize the capacity.”

Rating the risks

February 28th, 2013

A Fraser Institute survey shows how miners and explorers see the world they work in

by Greg Klein

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“Great mineral assets, highly corrupt government….” That’s sometimes the conundrum under which exploration and mining companies operate. And that was just one comment published by the Fraser Institute as it evaluated a world of challenges and opportunities in its annual Survey of Mining Companies released on February 28.

Between October 2012 and January 2013, 742 companies rated 96 jurisdictions which included countries and, in the case of Canada, Australia, the U.S. and Argentina, provinces, states and territories. Respondents considered 15 policy factors affecting investment decisions in those jurisdictions, for a possible maximum score of 100. Some factors included regulations, corruption, taxation, aboriginal land claims, infrastructure, the local workforce, political stability and physical security.

While the full report provides breakdowns by category, here are the top 10 jurisdictions for overall scores. The 2011-to-2012 rankings are in parentheses.

A Fraser Institute survey shows how miners and explorers see the world they work in

The Fraser Institute’s annual survey rates jurisdictional risk
for a number of factors concerning mining and exploration.

1. Finland (New Brunswick)
2. Sweden (Finland)
3. Alberta (Alberta)
4. New Brunswick (Wyoming)
5. Wyoming (Quebec)
6. Ireland (Saskatchewan)
7. Nevada (Sweden)
8. Yukon (Nevada)
9. Utah (Ireland)
10. Norway (Yukon)

Last but least, here are the bottom 10:

87. Greece (Vietnam)
88. Philippines (Indonesia)
89. Guatemala (Ecuador)
90. Bolivia (Kyrgyzstan)
91. Zimbabwe (Philippines)
92. Kyrgyzstan (India)
93. Democratic Republic of the Congo (Venezuela)
94. Venezuela (Bolivia)
95. Vietnam (Guatemala)
96. Indonesia (Honduras)

Utah and Norway knocked Saskatchewan and Quebec out of the top 10. Greece was added to the survey for the first time, only to join Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo for their bottom 10 debut. Another first-timer, French Guiana placed 27th overall, a fairly impressive ranking for a newcomer and non-First-World country.

Crisis-torn South Africa dropped to 64th place overall compared to 54th last year, retaining its fourth-from-last spot for “labour regulations, employment agreements and labour militancy or work disruptions.”

Of Canadian jurisdictions, Nunavut ranked worst at number 37.

Some anonymous concerns listed under “horror stories” ranged from uncertainty about native rights in Ontario to potential corruption in Quebec. One response stated that “endless ‘community consultation’” in the Northwest Territories costs the company more than exploration. Others noted confiscation of mining rights in Indonesia and expropriation in Bolivia.

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Spotlight on the juniors

January 21st, 2013

Companies, investors and pundits converge on the 2013 Vancouver Resource Investment Conference

by Greg Klein

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A marketplace of ideas about the market itself—that partly describes the 2013 Vancouver Resource Investment Conference. This year the Cambridge House event brings several hundred companies together with prospective investors. But the conference also features about 50 speakers with maybe 50 divergent (although often overlapping) perspectives on the state of the juniors.

Cambridge House calls this Vancouver event the world's largest investor-focused resource exploration conference

Cambridge House calls this Vancouver event “the world’s
largest investor-focused resource exploration conference.”

Among those on hand January 20 were Michael Berry speaking on Obamanomics, Rick Rule on his love for bear markets and Chris Berry on specific critical and strategic commodities for 2013.

Canadian-born Michael Berry, co-founder of Discovery Investing, fell just short of doom and gloom in his cautionary tale about the transformation of United States economics, culture and governance. More than ever before, he said, taxation, deficit spending and redistribution of wealth are firmly entrenched as government polices. The purpose, he stated, was to remake America. The program has disturbing implications for Canada and the rest of the world, he added.

“We have now turned the corner with the second administration of Barack Obama. Politics, not economics, is now the driving force—period, end of story.”

When it comes to boosting its power, U.S. government methods are myriad: Executive orders, challenges to the constitution, the appointment of czars who aren’t checked by the constitution, redistribution of wealth, repression of investment and market manipulation of gold, silver and currency. Outright confiscation, Berry warned, has happened historically and could happen again.

Helping rationalize government policies is a government belief that “anyone in government is smarter than anyone else.” Society, meanwhile, becomes ever more polarized. “It’s not violent yet but it could be violent at some point in the future,” he warned. “It’s happened before.”

The market of course went off the cliff in 1997, so there was the ’97-to-2002 bear market, a truly dismal bear market—when my net worth skyrocketed.—Rick Rule, chairman of Sprott Global Resource Investments

But just from an economic viewpoint, the future looks bleak indeed. “Sometime around 2030, which is not all that far in the future, we will have amassed 200% federal debt relative to GDP…. That’s exactly what the Obama administration wants to do…. When that happens, the current structure will not be sustainable and the government will have to step in and reorganize the economy.”

Massive, growing government debt “is the tool the government is using to socialize the economy,” Berry stated. “It’s not a legacy we want to leave to our children. But it is a legacy with great implications for gold and silver.”

To protect themselves, Berry suggested investors “must eschew the dollar and every fiat currency you can think of,” own precious metals and consider other investments including water and infrastructure.

“I think you need to be looking at risk, thinking about risk, and those ten-baggers that will help you tread water as the U.S. moves towards an ultimate socialist state,” he concluded.

Following with good-natured overstatement was Rick Rule, chairman of Sprott Global Resource Investments. “There’s basically nothing I could say that would depress you more,” he quipped. But ever the contrarian, Rule added, “It defines me well that when everyone else seems to be depressed, I’m on my way to being elated.”

He predicted the junior bear market—the “nice, ugly bear market,” as he called it—has another 18 to 24 months to go. And for anyone who wants to make money, “it’s an extremely good thing.” It’s time to do some bargain-hunting, he maintained.

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The Golden East

October 19th, 2011

Olympus Pacific Expands in SE Asia

By Greg Klein

Update: Olympus Pacific changed its name to Besra Gold Inc. On November 23, 2012, Besra began trading under a new symbol, TSX:BEZ.

It was 1996. While struggling to revive an inactive Vancouver Stock Exchange-listed company, David Seton encountered two formidable forces—legendary mining promoter Robert Friedland and the Vietnamese government. Now Friedland is the billionaire CEO of Ivanhoe TSX:IVN, Vietnam has two additional gold mines, and the once-inactive company, Olympus Pacific Minerals Inc TSX:OYM, runs those mines as it advances another Southeast Asian project to feasibility.

“We bought the first property in central Vietnam from Robert Friedland when he was Indochina Goldfields,” says James Hamilton, VP of Investor Relations for Olympus Pacific. “When we took over, we didn’t realize what he’d been telling the Vietnamese. We walked in there and only had a small resource. But they expected a full gold factory to be built right away. We said, ‘You can’t do that, you have to do all this drilling and go into feasibility.’ They said, ‘We don’t care, Friedland told us we’re going to get a gold-processing plant.’ We were kind of coerced into building a plant. It was very premature to what we’d planned to do. But it did pay off because we got access to a second property where we’ve just commissioned a state-of-the-art facility. It’s a fairly high-grade deposit and it’s a real cracker of a plant. It’s been in commission since July and we’re already over 90% recoveries.”

Olympus Pacific Expands in SE Asia

With initial production of 500 tonnes a day, the Phuoc Son Gold Plant can be expanded to 1,000 tpd to accommodate ore from both the Phuoc Son and nearby Bong Mieu gold mines. The latter, an open pit/underground operation currently using the “kind of coerced” plant, has measured and indicated resources of 175,876 ounces and an inferred resource of 212,930 ounces.

The Phuoc Son underground mine has measured and indicated resources of 179,719 ounces and an inferred resource of 478,744 ounces. Exploration continues on both properties.

Olympus holds an 80% interest in Bong Mieu while the national and local governments each hold 10%. The company holds 85% of Phuoc Son, with a local partner holding the rest. Together, the two mines are forecast to produce 40,000 to 45,000 gold ounces this year, a 45% increase over 2010.

“We’ll move that up to 70,000 ounces next year and 100,000 in 2013,” says Hamilton. “Vietnam produces operating cash that we can re-invest in our other areas. Bau in Malaysia, we feel, is much bigger and much more attractive.”

The Bau Gold Field currently shows a resource of 563,900 gold ounces indicated and 1.89 million gold ounces inferred. Olympus holds 80.53% of the project with an option to increase that to 93.55% by 2012.

Bau drill results released October 4 include

  • 4.53 grams per tonne gold over 47.4 metres
    (including 21.5 g/t over 3 metres)
  • 4.79 g/t over 40 metres
    (including 16.51 g/t over 2.2 metres)
  • 24.07 g/t over 8.6 metres
    (including 48.47 g/t over 3.9 metres)
  • 7.35 g/t over 15.9 metres
    (including 18.16 g/t over 5 metres)
  • 8.56 g/t over 6 metres
    (including 21.69 g/t over 2.3 metres)

“We expect to have a five-million-ounce-plus resource in the next year-and-a-half to two years,” Hamilton adds. “There was large, historic mining but it was very shallow, less than 100 metres. In every historic pit we’ve identified fairly large anomalies at 300 to 700 metres depth. Cameco TSX:CCO [the last project operator] probably couldn’t see this with the software that was available in the 1980s. The property is unique in that we’ve identified six different types of mineralization. We’re about 30 kilometres from Kuching, which is the capital of Sarawak, and we have all the infrastructure in place—roads, an English-speaking population, 0% royalties on gold, low corporate income tax for the first five years of production. We’re pretty excited about this property, and we think that’s where our future is.”

We expect to have a five-million-ounce-plus resource in the next year-and-a-half to two years —James Hamilton

Bau’s timeline projects an updated resource estimate late this year or early next, feasibility completed by late 2012 and an annual 100,000 ounces of gold production in the Jugan sector alone by 2014.

But enthusiasm for Malaysia didn’t preclude expansion to the Philippines. The Capcapo Discovery is the object of a four-part JV signed last September, in which Olympus may earn a 60% interest. Olympus conducted due-diligence drilling in June 2007 and plans a new drill campaign once work has completed with a government agency that represents indigenous peoples.

“The geology on this property is fabulous,” Hamilton says. “It’s large copper-gold-type porphyry and epithermal systems. It’s about 100 kilometres north of the Baguio-Mankayan Gold Fields, which have production, historic and current resources totalling over 60 million ounces. We’re pretty excited about this one as well, but it’s early stage.”

At press time the company had 380.67 million shares trading at $0.30 for a $114.2 million market cap.

“We’re probably in the best shape we’ve ever been in our corporate history,” Hamilton says. “We’ve diversified out of Vietnam; we’ve got about 20 million cash and gold [as of October 5]; we’re expanding production; we’re in feasibility in Bau. If the market ever wakes up, I think we’re going to be re-rated.”