Tuesday 25th July 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘yukon’

‘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.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba first and second globally as mining jurisdictions

March 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 1, 2017

Saskatchewan edged one notch upwards to take first place worldwide while Manitoba soared from 19th to second in this year’s Fraser Institute survey of mining and exploration jurisdictions. Those two provinces pushed last year’s top performer, Western Australia, down to third place. Canada’s other top 10 spot went to Quebec, rising to sixth from eighth the year before. All continents but Antarctica came under scrutiny but Canadian, American, Australian and European locales monopolized the top 10.

Farther down the list, the strongest Canadian improvements were Newfoundland and Labrador, climbing to 16th from 25th, and the Northwest Territories, now 21st, previously 35th. Most disappointing were British Columbia (falling to 27th from 18th), Nunavut (31st from 23rd) and Alberta (47th from 34th).

Those findings come from the survey’s Investment Attractiveness Index, which combines two other indices—Policy Perception, a “report card” on government attitudes, and Best Practices Mineral Potential, concerning geological appeal. Representatives of 104 companies responded with their 2016 experiences in mind, giving a numerical rating to questions in several categories regarding their likelihood of investing in a particular jurisdiction. The previous year 109 companies responded.

Here’s the top 10 globally for overall investment attractiveness, with last year’s standings in parentheses:

1 Saskatchewan (2)

2 Manitoba (19)

3 Western Australia (1)

4 Nevada (3)

5 Finland (5)

6 Quebec (8)

7 Arizona (17)

8 Sweden (13)

9 Ireland (4)

10 Queensland (16)

Here are the Canadian runners-up:

15 Yukon (12)

16 Newfoundland and Labrador (25)

18 Ontario (15)

21 Northwest Territories (35)

27 British Columbia (18)

31 Nunavut (23)

40 New Brunswick (45)

47 Alberta (34)

52 Nova Scotia (59)

At least those provinces and territories steered far clear of the bottom 10, where Argentina figures prominently:

95 Mozambique (84)

96 Zimbabwe (98)

97 India (73)

98 Mendoza province, Argentina (101)

99 La Rioja province, Argentina (109)

100 Afghanistan (not available)

101 Chubut province, Argentina (104)

102 Venezuela (108)

103 Neuquen province, Argentina (93)

104 Jujuy province, Argentina (86)

“We believe that the survey captures, at least in broad strokes, the perceptions of those involved in both mining and the regulation of mining in the jurisdictions included in the survey,” stated authors Taylor Jackson and Kenneth P. Green.

Download the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2016.

Bravura Ventures files 43-101 for Idaho gold project

February 15th, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 15, 2017

A fresh 43-101 technical report sets the stage for further advancement at Bravura Ventures’ (CSE:BVQ) Musgrove Creek gold property in Idaho. The report’s author recommends a 2017 program that would include confirmation drilling to update an historic resource.

Bravura Ventures files 43-101 for Idaho gold project

Bravura closed a 100% option on the road-accessible property in October. The company describes it as one of many deposits along the Trans-Challis fault system including the Beartrack mine and other past-producers to the northeast, and the Grouse Creek mine and other past-producers to the southwest.

Originally calculated in 2004 but considered historic and non-43-101 by Bravura, an estimate for the Musgrove Creek Johny’s Point deposit used a 0.8 g/t gold cutoff to show:

  • inferred: 8 million tonnes averaging 1.22 g/t for 313,822 ounces gold

Bravura’s report recommends a two-phase 2017 program including digital data compilation, verification of chip sampling, permitting for road and drill site construction and confirmation drilling for a 43-101 Johny’s Point resource. The suggested budget comes to US$500,000.

In October the company also took on a 90% option on the Grew Creek gold project from Golden Predator Mining TSXV:GPY. Located in southeastern Yukon’s Tintina gold belt, the project has already undergone 290 holes totalling over 57,000 metres, with near-surface intervals up to 5.96 g/t gold and 24.1 g/t silver over 68 metres.

Yukon Liberals break Yukon Party’s 14-year grip on Yukon power

November 8th, 2016

by Greg Klein | November 7, 2016

Press time results:

  • Yukon Liberals 11 seats, 39% of popular vote
  • Yukon Party 6, 33%
  • New Democratic Party 2, 26%

The territory’s riding names evoke mining history but repeated enticements to the sector failed to keep the Yukon Party in power. On November 7 the YP’s 14 years of majority rule came to an end as the Yukon Liberals moved from third to first place, returning to government for the first time since 2002. The red surge claimed YP leader Darrell Pasloski’s Mountainview constituency.

Liberals end Yukon Party’s 14-year grip on power

Yukon’s legislative chamber gets a new seating arrangement
as the Liberals return to power. (Photo: Yukon Legislative Assembly)

The first MLA declared elected was Klondike incumbent and Liberal leader Sandy Silver. NDP leader Liz Hanson also won re-election in Whitehorse Centre.

On mining-related issues, the month-long campaign saw the YP supporting regulatory streamlining, an exploration tax credit, funding for industry groups and support for road and power infrastructure. The party also called for “Yukon-specific curriculum for geology and earth sciences, and an experiential trades program.”

The YP castigated opposition support for the federal carbon tax, “the most significant commitment that the Liberals made with respect to the mining sector.” The incumbents said it would boost residents’ costs overall, hitting the average placer mine with more than $230,000 in additional expenses.

Liberals countered that the territory fell significantly in Fraser Institute rankings of mining jurisdictions. The most recent FI Investment Attractiveness Index places Yukon 12th of 109 jurisdictions worldwide, but last in Canada. The previous year Yukon ranked sixth worldwide. In 2012 to 2013, and 2011 to 2012, the territory scored #1 globally.

Liberals end Yukon Party’s 14-year grip on power

Former teacher and placer miner
Sandy Silver becomes Yukon’s new premier. (Photo: Yukon Liberals)

Additionally, the Liberals said the YP “botched” the S-6 amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act and created regulatory uncertainty while “legal battles with First Nation governments have resulted in huge tracts of land being off limits to mining.”

Silver argued his was the only party with “a plan to work with First Nation governments to rejuvenate the mining sector.”

A former teacher who’s worked on a placer mine, Silver joined the Yukon legislature in 2011 and became Liberal leader in 2014.

The territory hosts development, exploration, prospecting and placer mining activity, not to mention reality TV shows. But commodity prices have reduced major mines to just one operation, Capstone Mining’s (TSX:CS) Minto copper-gold-silver open pit in central Yukon.

Among the more celebrated development projects is Coffee, nabbed by Goldcorp TSX:G last May in its $520-million takeout of Kaminak Gold. Goldcorp plans to revise the project’s feasibility study, conduct further community consultations and begin initial permitting studies. The company foresees initial gold production by the end of 2020.

Victoria Gold TSXV:VIT says its Eagle gold project at the Dublin Gulch property is “expected to be Yukon’s next operating gold mine.” The two-open pit proposal reached feasibility in September and has all major permits in place, the company says.

Western Copper and Gold’s (TSX:WRN) Casino project has been sent for review to the highest level of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board. The company intends to optimize the project design to address concerns including the height of the proposed tailings dam.

Yukon’s home to about 37,500 residents.

Bravura Ventures options Golden Predator project in Yukon’s Tintina Gold Belt

October 24th, 2016

by Greg Klein | October 24, 2016

High gold grades and wide, near-surface intercepts attracted Bravura Ventures CSE:BVQ to Golden Predator Mining’s (TSXV:GPY) Grew Creek project in southeastern Yukon. A 90% option announced October 24 would give Bravura the benefit of 290 holes totalling over 57,000 metres, including 70 holes and 19,000 metres sunk by Golden Predator since 2010.

A few highlights include:

Hole GCRC11-328

  • 5.96 g/t gold and 24.1 g/t silver over 68 metres, starting at 32 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 63.15 g/t gold and 344 g/t silver over 4 metres)

Hole GC10-001

  • 1.72 g/t gold over 146.3 metres, starting at 40 metres
  • (including 2.8 g/t gold over 32.2 metres)
  • (including 2.9 g/t gold over 15.7 metres)
  • (including 17.93 g/t gold over 3.1 metres)
Bravura Ventures options Golden Predator project in Yukon’s Tintina Gold Belt

True widths were unavailable.

The 110,000-hectare property’s Carlos zone measures about 300 metres along strike, 100 metres wide and remains open at depth below 400 metres. Bravura also sees potential at the underexplored Knoll zone, 2.5 kilometres southeast of Carlos. Located less than a kilometre from a highway, Grew Creek has powerlines passing nearby and year-round access.

“The company is very excited in its latest option and welcomes the opportunity to align itself with a progressive company such as Golden Predator,” remarked Bravura CEO Greg Burns. “We look forward to defining the next steps on this exceptional project.”

The 90% stake would cost Bravura $35,000 and 500,000 shares on closing, part of a total $950,000, two million shares and additional shares comprising 6% of the company within six years. Should Bravura define a resource estimate during that period, the company would pay Golden Predator an additional $50,000 and 500,000 shares. A second resource doubling the first would have Bravura issue 2% of its shares to the vendor. A 4% NSR applies.

Copper North Mining drills porphyry copper-gold in northern B.C.

October 20th, 2016

by Greg Klein | October 20, 2016

Having released a PEA for its Carmacks copper-gold-silver project in the Yukon the previous week, Copper North Mining TSXV:COL reported drill results from the northern British Columbia Thor project on October 20. After two previous holes on the 20,000-hectare property’s Thor West area came up dry, a Thor East hole did better:

Hole TH16-01

  • 0.14% copper and 0.045 g/t gold over 107.6 metres, starting at 11.65 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.23% copper and 0.069 g/t gold over 37.13 metres)
  • (which includes 0.28% copper and 0.087 g/t gold over 23.85 metres)

True widths were unavailable.

Copper North Mining drills porphyry copper-gold in northern BC

Samples from the property’s Thor East area
show oxide-weathered granodiorite.

Traces of copper continue beyond that intercept to the end of the hole at 169.16 metres, the company stated. “The transition from stronger mineralization and quartz-veining at the top of the hole to weaker copper mineralization and phyllic alteration at depth suggests that drill hole TH16-01 may flank a mineralized porphyry centre.”

Next steps would include ground surveys at Thor East and evaluating multiple geochemical targets and alteration zones, the company added. Field work has already identified multiple targets over a four-by-six-kilometre area southeast of TH16-01.

“The large area of porphyry alteration and gossan zones remain an attractive exploration target,” commented president/CEO Harlan Meade. “The Thor project provides Copper North with an opportunity to explore for porphyry copper-gold type mineralization in the slopes and valleys 20 kilometres to the south of the Kemess South mine and mill complex.”

The former mine now lies within AuRico Metals’ (TSX:AMI) Kemess Underground gold-copper-silver property.

Copper North holds a 100% option on Thor, which has a road and power line passing through the property.

The company closed private placements totalling $279,050 this month.

University of British Columbia research associate Murray Allan discusses the Yukon-Alaska Metallogeny project

September 23rd, 2016

…Read more

Casino, Selwyn Chihong sign MOU to power Yukon/NWT projects with B.C. LNG

September 21st, 2016

by Greg Klein | September 21, 2016

Liquefied natural gas would be the fuel of choice to electrify two potential northern mines, according to a memorandum of understanding announced September 21. Casino Mining and Selwyn Chihong Mining said the proposed deal with Ferus Natural Gas Fuels would cut costs as well as CO2 emissions.

Casino, Selwyn Chihong sign MOU to power Yukon projects with B.C. LNG

LNG could overcome diesel dependency
in grid-less regions of the North.

Through its subsidiary, Western Copper and Gold TSX:WRN has the Casino gold-copper-molybdenum project undergoing environmental assessment. Selwyn Chihong’s Selwyn zinc-lead project currently moves towards pre-feasibility.

The plan would have Ferus build an LNG plant at Fort Nelson, in northeastern British Columbia’s Peace River oil and gas region. Ferus built and operates Canada’s first merchant LNG plant in northwestern Alberta. A related company, Eagle LNG Partners, has an LNG plant under construction in Florida. Ferus stated it provides LNG and compressed natural gas fuelling services including liquefaction, compression, storage and delivery to the oil and gas, mining, marine, rail and power generation sectors.

The plan “may also benefit neighbouring mines, industries and communities currently powered by diesel, by making the LNG more broadly available,” commented Ferus president/CEO Dick Brown.

“Neighbouring” might cover a lot of ground. Casino’s located in west-central Yukon. Selwyn straddles the Yukon/Northwest Territories border.

But for the time being the Coffee gold project, Yukon’s likeliest new mine and located only about 30 kilometres northwest of Casino, sticks to a diesel-fuelled plan. Low diesel costs ruled out “the additional $1.5-million capital expense associated with LNG storage and vaporization,” according to last January’s feasibility study. “If in the future diesel fuel costs increase, significant power generation cost savings may be realized by substituting LNG for diesel.”

Goldcorp TSX:G subsidiary Kaminak Gold hopes to begin Coffee construction in mid-2018.

Backers of the Fort Nelson proposal anticipate two phases of development to be commissioned in 2020 and 2022.

Wolf attacks bring Jack London redux to Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin

September 14th, 2016

by Greg Klein | September 14, 2016

Nature has inflicted many challenges on Cigar Lake, but most of them have been geological. Now local wildlife has turned against the project.

In what’s reported as strange behaviour for the species, wolves are stalking and even attacking the uranium mine’s employees. On September 14 the National Post reported one such canine wrapped its jaws around the neck of a kitchen worker. A security guard’s vehicle scared the attacker away. Considered unusual, the wolf “had apparently lain in wait for the young mining camp worker,” the NP stated.

Wolf attacks bring Jack London redux to Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin

Cigar Lake staff have cited several instances of being watched or followed by wolves, the paper added. “They are absolutely huge … they have no fear of man and come into the job sites often at night,” a former employee informed the NP.

Cameco Corp’s (TSX:CCO) majority-held operation lies roughly halfway between two 2005 wolf attacks, one of them fatal. As a result, the company fenced off Cigar Lake, cautioned employees and implemented deterrence devices such as “scare cannons,” according to the NP. Nevertheless, wolves and also bears continue to breach the barricades, Cameco acknowledges.

The newspaper characterizes the canine actions as a startling new phenomenon. But Jack London portrayed much more disturbing events in his 1906 novel White Fang.

It’s 50 below as two Yukon prospectors and their dog team find themselves tracked by an increasingly aggressive wolf pack. With gleaming eyes, the predators circle the men’s camps night after night, encroaching closer and closer and closer.

At times like that, “it’s a blame misfortune to be out of ammunition,” one guy observes.

Simply food for the predators, the dog team dwindles one by one. The two men dwindle to one.

The surviving prospector realizes his “living flesh was no more than so much meat, a quest of ravenous animals, to be torn and slashed by their hungry fangs, to be sustenance to them as the moose and the rabbit had often been sustenance to him.”

Evidently the quest for metals has always called for fortitude. And the world’s highest-grade uranium mine continues to face challenges.

Drilling to begin at Copper North Mining’s Thor project in B.C.

September 9th, 2016

by Greg Klein | September 9, 2016

In a program announced early last month, Copper North Mining TSXV:COL has a rig in place at its Thor project in northwestern British Columbia. The first hole will target Thor East Area 3, which hosts “numerous small veins with copper and gold, and extensive alteration zones,” the company stated.

Drilling to begin at Copper North Mining’s Thor project in B.C.

Copper-stained granodiorite crops up
on Copper North’s Thor project.

Another hole will test the Thor West Area, defined by an induced polarization anomaly covering two kilometres by 2.5 kilometres, flanking a road to the former Kemess mine. Another Thor West hole has been planned 1.5 kilometres away, on the anomaly’s northern section.

Further drilling depends on results for these initial holes.

The campaign’s goal is porphyry copper-gold mineralization near the past-producing Kemess South open pit and mill complex, now within AuRico Metals’ (TSX:AMI) Kemess Underground gold-copper-silver property.

“The drill holes are very widely separated and may confirm the interpreted widespread mineral zones,” Copper North added. The company holds a 100% option on the approximately 20,000-hectare property.

In the Yukon, meanwhile, the flagship Carmacks copper project advances through the final stages of a PEA study. The company plans to improve on a 2014 PEA by factoring in gold and silver recovery.

Read more about Copper North Mining.