Friday 28th February 2020

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Posts tagged ‘zinc’

Paved with promises

October 7th, 2019

The North’s infrastructure needs get some attention from campaigning politicians

by Greg Klein

This is the first of a two-part series. See Part 2.

Could this be the time when decision-makers finally get serious about Northern infrastructure? With one territorial election just concluded and a deficit-budget-friendly incumbent federal party campaigning for re-election, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut might have reason to expect definitive action demonstrated by men, women and machinery at work. But while some projects show real progress, much of Canada’s Northern potential remains bogged down in talk and studies.

The North’s infrastructure deficit gets some attention from campaigning politicians

That’s despite some $700 million allocated to the North in Ottawa’s pre-election budget and months of Liberal spending promises since then. Not all that money was intended for infrastructure, however, and even some of the projects labelled that way turn out to be social or cultural programs. Not necessarily new money either, much of it comes out of Ottawa’s $2-billion National Trade Corridors Fund, now two years into an 11-year program that promised up to $400 million for transportation infrastructure in the three territories by 2028.

Yukon, once again home to active mining, has $157 million planned to upgrade the North Klondike Highway from Carmacks up to the mineral-rich White Gold region, where the Dempster Highway branches off towards Inuvik.

The Klondike section slated for upgrades has connections to a new mine and a soon-to-be revived operation. Highway #11 turns east from the Klondike, meeting with a 90-kilometre year-round service road to Victoria Gold’s (TSXV:VIT) recently opened Eagle operation.

The Minto copper-silver-gold mine that Pembridge Resources plans to restart in Q4 has a 20-kilometre access road with seasonal barge service or ice bridge crossing the Yukon River to the Klondike Highway at Minto Landing. From there, the company will ship concentrate to the Alaska Panhandle deep water port of Skagway.

The North’s infrastructure deficit gets some attention from campaigning politicians

With no deep water facilities of its own, Yukon connects
with the Alaskan port of Skagway and, pictured above,
the B.C. port of Stewart. (Photo: Stewart Bulk Terminals)

Intended to increase safety and capacity while addressing permafrost thaw, the North Klondike Highway project gets $118 million from Ottawa and $29 million from the territory. The money will be spent over seven years beginning in 2020.

A July feasibility report for BMC Minerals’ Kudz Ze Kayah polymetallic copper mine foresees concentrate shipment along a 24-kilometre access road to southern Yukon’s Highway #4, part of a 905-kilometre journey to Stewart, British Columbia, the continent’s most northerly ice-free port.

Another project approaching development but more distant from highways, Newmont Goldcorp’s (TSX:NGT) proposed Coffee gold mine calls for a 214-kilometre all-season road north to Dawson City. But with upgrades to an existing service road, the route would require only 37 kilometres of new construction.

In the NWT, work began last month on the Tlicho all-season road to connect the hamlet of Whati with Yellowknife, 97 kilometres southeast. Expected to finish by fall 2022, the $200-million P3 project would replace an existing ice road, giving communities year-round access to the highway system and encouraging resource exploration and development.

[The Tlicho road], which includes Indigenous participation from the Tlicho Government, is great news for our industry and a positive step forward in addressing the infrastructure deficit in the Northwest Territories.—Gary Vivian, NWT and Nunavut
Chamber of Mines president

About 50 kilometres north of Whati, Fortune Minerals’ (TSX:FT) NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper project undergoes studies for a scaled-down feasibility update in light of lower cobalt and bismuth prices. Fortune has already received environmental approval for a spur road to Whati, part of a plan to truck NICO material to Hay River where the territories’ only rail line (other than short tourist excursions in southern Yukon) connects with southern Canada.

A much more ambitious priority of the NWT’s last legislative assembly was supposed to have been the Mackenzie Valley Highway, a Diefenbaker-era dream that would link the territory’s south with the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean. The subject of numerous studies, proposals and piecemeal construction for about 60 years, the proposal has received more than $145 million in taxpayers’ money since 2000.

A 149-kilometre stretch from Inuvik to Tuk opened in 2017, linking the ocean with the Dempster route to the Yukon. Now underway are studies for a 321-kilometre route between Wrigley and Norman Wells, where further driving would depend on an ice road. Assuming receipt of environmental approvals, native agreements and an estimated $700 million, the NWT’s last assembly hoped construction on the Wrigley-to-Wells portion would begin in September 2024.

Far more ambitious proposals for the NWT and Nunavut took initial steps forward with funding announcements made just prior to the federal election campaign’s official start. Part 2 of this series discusses the Slave Geological Province Corridor and Grays Bay Road and Port projects.

Mining returns to the Yukon

September 20th, 2019

Advanced projects prepare to follow Victoria Gold into production

by Greg Klein

Advanced projects prepare to follow Victoria Gold into production

Rich geology trumps challenging geography in Yukon’s appeal to miners.
(Photo: Victoria Gold)

 

If John McConnell seemed a tad tipsy it might have been due to giddiness, not the super-sized wine goblet he brandished. Either way, celebration was in order as the president/CEO of Victoria Gold TSXV:VIT took the podium at the Denver Gold Show this week to preside over a ceremonial first doré bar at Yukon’s new Eagle operation. The event marked not only the resumption of mining in one of the world’s most fabled mining regions, but the beginning of Yukon’s largest-ever gold mine. Meanwhile other companies vie to expand the industry’s territorial presence.

The festivities took place one month ahead of schedule and within a revised budget intended to address a capex miscalculation that marked one of the low points during what McConnell called a decade of ups and downs. Expected to produce an average 200,000 gold ounces annually for 10 years, Eagle currently employs about 230 people, half of them Yukoners.

Advanced projects prepare to follow Victoria Gold into production

Minto’s suspension left Yukon without a mine for
nearly a year, but a new owner plans a Q4 restart.
(Photo: Pembridge Resources)

The territory lost its last mining operation in October, but a new owner plans to bring that one back to production by Q4 this year. Capstone Mining TSX:CS put Minto on care and maintenance as acquisition negotiations faltered, but LSE-listed Pembridge Resources closed the purchase in June. Proven and probable reserves totalling 40,000 tonnes copper, 420,000 ounces silver and 45,000 ounces gold give Minto an estimated four more years of production.

Pembridge hopes to extend that, however, noting that “Minto had successfully replaced and grown reserves by 103%, adding new discoveries each year up until 2013.” That’s when Capstone suspended Minto exploration, after buying the much larger Pinto Valley copper mine in Arizona from BHP Billiton NYSE:BHP.

The central Yukon combined open pit/underground mine began operation in 2007. Pembridge wants its new cornerstone asset to achieve annual production of about 40 million pounds copper in concentrate, along with silver-gold byproducts.

Waiting in the wings with a project comparable to Eagle, Newmont Goldcorp’s (TSX:NGT) Coffee now has a territorial environmental/socio-economic review underway. Like Eagle, this would be an open pit, heap leach operation. The 2016 feasibility study by previous operator Kaminak Gold projected 10 years of mining, averaging 202,000 gold ounces annually based on a probable reserve of 2.16 million ounces. But last year, following Goldcorp’s 2016 acquisition of Kaminak, the new owner slashed that number to 1.67 million ounces.

Goldcorp cited different standards for drill spacing, geological modelling and other criteria but expected to rebuild the reserve with an 80,000-metre infill drill program scheduled for this year. More recently, however, the merged Newmont Goldcorp has talked about divesting some assets, casting uncertainty over Coffee’s near-term agenda.

But by far the territory’s biggest proposed mine would be Western Copper and Gold’s (TSX:WRN) Casino, in west-central Yukon. A 2013 feasibility report foresaw a combined heap leach and milling operation with 22 years of annual output averaging 171 million pounds copper, 266,000 ounces gold, 1.43 million ounces silver and 15.5 million pounds molybdenum.

Advanced projects prepare to follow Victoria Gold into production

Even with a recent feasibility in hand, BMC Minerals
wants to build its Kudz Ze Kayah polymetallic reserve.
(Photo: BMC Minerals)

Although the report boldly envisioned construction beginning in 2016 and commercial production in 2020, the company currently has environmental and engineering studies underway prior to submitting an application for an environmental/socio-economic review. Capex was estimated at $2.456 billion.

Meanwhile Western has two rigs drilling a $3.3-million, 10,000-metre program, with a resource update planned for this year and, coming later, a revised feasibility that the company hopes will extend the mine life.

Operating under the stock market’s radar, privately held BMC Minerals brought its Kudz Ze Kayah polymetallic project in south-central Yukon to full feasibility last July. The report sees a $587-million capex and 20-month construction period for a combined open pit and underground operation producing an annual average of 235 million pounds zinc, 32 million pounds copper, 56 million pounds lead, 7.8 million ounces silver and 56,500 ounces gold.

BMC hopes to lengthen the nine-year mine life by adding reserves and exploring new targets beyond the two zones considered in the feasibility study.

Sharing with Coffee a White Gold district address and a progenitor in legendary prospector Shawn Ryan, White Gold TSXV:WGO holds 35 properties covering some 439,000 hectares. Last June the company released resource updates for its two most advanced deposits. Golden Saddle hosts an open pit resource of 1.01 million gold ounces indicated and 259,600 ounces inferred, along with an underground resource of 12,200 ounces indicated and 54,700 ounces inferred. The Arc deposit adds an open pit resource of 17,700 ounces indicated and 194,500 ounces inferred.

With money from Agnico Eagle Mines TSX:AEM and Kinross Gold TSX:K, each holding 19% of White Gold, the company has a $13-million drilling, trenching and sampling campaign now targeting Golden Saddle and the new Vertigo discovery, along with other areas. Among noteworthy intercepts was 3.59 g/t gold over 68 metres starting from 73 metres at Golden Saddle. Using a method integral to Ryan’s successes, soil sampling surpassed 100,000 ppb gold at the new Titan discovery, the highest value on the company’s database of over 400,000 soil samples.

Taking advantage of a past producer with all permits in place, Golden Predator Mining TSXV:GPY last month stated it began site re-development work and “provided formal notice to the Yukon government to move the Brewery Creek mine into the production phase.” The company has also stated it plans a feasibility study before making a production decision. Located about 55 kilometres east of Dawson City, the open pit and heap leach operation produced about 279,000 gold ounces between 1996 and 2002. The company plans at least 6,000 metres of drilling this year to build on a 2014 PEA.

The Red Lake resurgence

September 16th, 2019

Miners and explorers seek ever more gold from this busy Ontario district

by Greg Klein

Miners and explorers seek ever more gold from this busy Ontario district

Benefiting from reinterpretation of past work, Great Bear now
has three rigs drilling Dixie Lake. (Photo: Great Bear Resources)

 

A new gold producer on the way, attention-grabbing assays from a well-financed junior and high hopes for the price of gold—could that in any way explain the current excitement at Red Lake? A region that’s produced 30 million ounces since its first rush in 1926 still has more gold to mine and, explorers believe, more mines to find.

Just as Newmont Goldcorp TSX:NGT was considering the sale of its Red Lake operations, Pure Gold Mining TSXV:PGM began building Madsen Red Lake, billed as Canada’s highest-grade gold development project. But, as far as juniors are concerned, the district’s biggest newsmaker has been Great Bear Resources’ (TSXV:GBR) Dixie Lake property.

While focused on British Columbia’s Golden Triangle in 2017, Great Bear optioned Dixie from Newmont, also getting decades of data from over 160 historic holes. Given the succession of companies that drilled and departed, the data might have seemed more encumbrance than encouragement. Undeterred, Great Bear geologists began relogging core to “resolve geological differences between generations of work dating back to the 1980s and provide a coherent framework for the company’s own drilling.”

The prepping paid off. That summer’s Phase I program found success with its first hole and reached up to 16.84 g/t gold over 10.4 metres in hole #5 at the Dixie Limb zone. As the campaign progressed, the company tripled its turf to cover a potential gold-bearing structure of regional significance.

Miners and explorers seek ever more gold from this busy Ontario district

Pure Gold conducts underground test mining at Madsen Red Lake.
(Photo: Pure Gold Mining)

More expansions followed, with assays reaching up to 26.91 g/t over 16.35 metres at the newly discovered and near-surface Hinge zone. Financings came through too, most notably with an $11.1-million infusion that included a total of $5.7 million from McEwen Mining TSX:MUX and Rob McEwen himself, progenitor of Red Lake’s last renaissance. The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame credits him with transforming the Goldcorp mine “from a 50,000-ounce producer in 1997 to a 500,000-ounce producer in 2001, while cash costs fell from $360 per ounce to $60 per ounce over this period.”

The stock soared past $2 from about $0.58 pre-McEwen. The grades, discoveries and financings continued, even with what president/CEO Chris Taylor called “the cheapest discovery hole we’ve ever had.” That happened after a keen-eyed geo spotted high-grade visible gold on unassayed core that had been neglected for 12 years. Clearly, the company was on to something when its management decided past operators had overlooked Dixie’s promise.

Great Bear now has three rigs at work.

But this is no spectator sport, as the inevitable influx demonstrated. For Pistol Bay Mining TSXV:PST, however, the attraction is base metals more than the yellow stuff. The company’s Garnet deposit features a 2017 inferred resource showing 2.1 million tonnes averaging 5.78% zinc, 0.72% copper, 19.5 g/t silver and 0.6 g/t gold, using a 3% zinc-equivalent cutoff. 

Miners and explorers seek ever more gold from this busy Ontario district

Visible gold attests to Great Bear’s confidence in Dixie Lake.
(Photo: Great Bear Resources)

An historic, non-43-101 resource for Pistol Bay’s Fredart zone estimated 385,000 tonnes averaging 1.56% copper and 33.6 g/t silver. Historic drilling on the company’s Joy-Caravelle area shows non-43-101 results including 21.6% zinc and 0.13% copper over 0.25 metres.

Up to recently, Pistol Bay’s portfolio had been about 25 kilometres northeast of Dixie Lake. But the company moved closer in July, with an option on 2,130 hectares southeast of Great Bear. Part of the former Goldpines claims, the property’s past work consisted mainly of geochemical sampling.

An NSR held by Perry English on Fredart hints at the prospector’s impact on the district. English sold the Dixie and Packwash properties to Great Bear and, under an LOI signed earlier this month, will vend Red Lake’s Camping Lake and Bruce Lake projects to Prime Meridian Resources TSXV:PMR.

Spurred on by recent grab samples as high as 19 g/t, 23.3 g/t and 126.5 g/t gold, Pacton Gold TSXV:PAC plans 10,000 metres of drilling to begin next month at its Red Lake project. Historic work included sampling, trenching and drilling.

A more advanced project towards the district’s eastern reaches, First Mining Gold’s (TSX:FF) Springpole reached PEA in 2017 with an indicated 4.67 million gold ounces and 24.19 million silver ounces, along with an inferred 230,000 gold ounces and 1.12 million silver ounces.

Proximal to both Newmont Goldcorp and Pure Gold, Nexus Gold’s (TSXV:NXS) McKenzie project underwent a spring field program that scored a sample result of 135.4 g/t gold. In August the company signed an LOI with privately held Hawkmoon Resources that could have the latter company acquire or JV on Nexus’ Canadian projects.

With a Phase I drill program of at least 2,500 metres well underway, BTU Metals TSXV:BTU hopes to find evidence that Great Bear’s high-grade LP fault structure crosses BTU’s Dixie Halo property.

Under an LOI signed last week, Maxtech Ventures CSE:MVT would acquire the Panama Lake project from Benton Resources TSXV:BEX. The latter company assembled the property by staking, last year adding the former Goldcorp Ben Lake project. This year’s drilling produced assays up to 1.23 g/t gold over 6.5 metres.

Some other companies in the district include Confederation Minerals TSXV:CFM, which last May added the Leo property to its Red Lake portfolio with the company’s 70%-held Newman Todd property.

This month GoldON Resources TSXV:GLD completed prospecting and soil sampling on its West Madsen project optioned from Great Bear last May. GoldON sees rare earths as well as gold potential in the property.

Meanwhile Madsen begins construction, with commercial production expected by the end of 2020. The project came together quickly after Pure Gold, then called Laurentian Goldfields, assembled claims including the former Madsen mine in late 2013 and early 2014. Within five years Pure Gold built a resource of 2.06 million ounces indicated and 467,000 ounces inferred. That includes a probable reserve of 3.51 million tonnes averaging 8.97% for 1.01 million ounces that’s expected to keep the mine busy for 12 years.

Deep-pocketed support comes from AngloGold Ashanti NYSE:AU, Eric Sprott, Rob McEwen and Newmont Goldcorp, who collectively hold over 30% of Pure Gold.

Although the district’s success stories encourage enthusiasm, Red Lake also spawned a cautionary tale. Rubicon Minerals TSX:RMX notoriously skipped feasibility to take its Phoenix project directly from PEA to production in 2015. Six months later the mine shut down. The explanation: Unexpectedly complex geology. The resource shrank dramatically, from 1.13 million gold ounces measured and indicated in 2013 to just 106,000 ounces in 2016. Inferred fell from 2.22 million ounces to 307,000 ounces.

Later that year the company sought creditor protection.

But last month Rubicon bravely unveiled a new PEA with “a lower margin of error and risk.” Still a far cry from the 2013 estimate, however, are the current numbers of 589,000 ounces measured and indicated, along with 540,000 ounces inferred. Chastened, the company plans to begin feasibility studies in Q1 2020.

Belmont Resources moves into Ontario’s Red Lake camp with zinc-polymetallic acquisition

September 4th, 2019

by Greg Klein | September 4, 2019

A newly signed option opens a substantial land package with historic deposits for further exploration. Under the agreement, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA takes a substantial interest in part of Pistol Bay Mining’s (TSXV:PST) Confederation Lake greenstone belt portfolio.

The Fredart/Gerry Lake and adjoining claim groups sit about 25 kilometres northeast of Great Bear Resources’ (TSXV:GBR) Dixie property and adjacent to Pistol Bay’s Garnet Lake claims in an increasingly busy camp where Great Bear’s drill results have attracted other explorers.

Belmont Resources moves into Ontario’s Red Lake camp with zinc-polymetallic acquisition

The Arrow zone on Pistol Bay’s Garnet Lake hosts a 2017 43-101 inferred resource using a 3% zinc-equivalent cutoff to show 2.1 million tonnes averaging 5.78% zinc, 0.72% copper, 19.5 g/t silver and 0.6 g/t gold. “The geological setting of the Fredart and associated claims is similar to the Garnet Lake claims area,” Belmont and Pistol Bay stated.

Belmont’s acquisition comprises about 6,700 hectares over a 17-kilometre stretch of the greenstone belt. A 2017 VTEM-Plus survey found granitic intrusions in the northeast part of the Fredart area and two or possibly three parallel conductive responses over parts of the Fredart-Gerry Lake trend.

Extensive past work includes 124 drill holes totaling 22,500 metres between 1956 and 2003 on the Fredart zone. Data has yet to be compiled for additional drilling on the Fredart trend’s western extension and the Joy-Caravelle area.

The Fredart zone, also known as Copperlode A, has an historic, non-43-101 estimate showing 385,000 tonnes averaging 1.56% copper and 33.6 g/t silver. The companies describe the property’s mineralization as volcanogenic massive sulphide dominated by zinc, copper and silver, with occasional associated gold values.

The acquisition’s Joy-Caravelle area has historic, non-43-101 drill results that include 21.6% zinc and 0.13% copper over 0.25 metres, 17.17% zinc and 0.28% copper over 0.6 metres, as well as 4.01% copper over 3.55 metres.

Infrastructure includes all-weather roads, a transmission line crossing the property, water and nearby natural gas.

Belmont may earn an initial 65% of the claims for $40,000 and 1.5 million shares on TSXV approval, another $50,000 and 1.5 million shares within one year and an additional $50,000 and one million shares in the second year.

An additional 10% interest would cost $200,000, after which the two companies would form a JV. Two third parties each hold a 2% NSR on separate parts of the claims, with one NSR also including a $10,000 annual advance royalty payment.

Looking at another recent acquisition in another busy mining camp, last month Belmont announced an upcoming field program for its Pathfinder project in southern British Columbia’s Greenwood district. Surface sampling results released in July showed assays up to 29.2 g/t gold, 16.4 g/t silver, 365 ppm copper and 4 ppm lead.

Belmont’s portfolio also includes a 75% stake in Nevada’s Kibby Basin lithium project, where drilling has found 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres.

Additionally, Belmont shares 50/50 ownership with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT on two northern Saskatchewan uranium properties.

Belmont closed a private placement of $252,000 in June and arranged two loans totalling $50,000 in August.

MGX Renewables advances cathode production for its proprietary energy storage system

September 3rd, 2019

by Greg Klein | September 3, 2019

A company that began trading in July now has cathode production underway for its own zinc-air fuel cell battery. MGX Renewables CSE:MGXR has so far manufactured 300 cathodes for its energy storage system, which uses proprietary and patented technology.

MGX Renewables advances cathode production for its proprietary energy storage system

MGX Renewables says its zinc-air fuel cell battery
offers a scalable alternative to lithium-ion batteries.

With 50 cathodes used for each five kW fuel cell stack, MGX Renewables plans an initial 36 MW of annual equivalent capacity with a minimum storage of eight hours or 288 MWh of storage.

Similar scale fabrication machinery will be added as necessary. The company describes its strategy as hybrid manufacturing, using other suppliers for standardized components such as injection molded pieces while using in-house production for the more technically advanced and proprietary components, such as fuel cell cathodes.

Taking advantage of modular design, the zinc-air fuel cell battery is designed to provide between 20 kW and 50 MW of power, and 120 kWh to one GWh of storage. As an alternative to the fixed power-energy ratio of lithium-ion batteries, the energy storage system offers greater stability to solar- and wind-generated electricity, commercial and industrial backup to replace diesel, and industrial-scale, on-demand power for peak shaving or standby, the company states.

In late August MGX Renewables offered a private placement of up to $500,000.

Emerita Resources confirms high-grade zinc in historic Spanish camp

August 8th, 2019

by Greg Klein | August 8, 2019

Working a region steeped in zinc mining history, the first hole of a drill campaign adds optimism to high-grade historic assays. The initial result grades 4.57% zinc over 9.5 metres starting at 591 metres in downhole depth, and includes a higher-grade sub-interval of 9.02% over 4 metres (true widths). Joint venture partners Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO and the Aldesa Group plan further confirmation drilling to prove up a 43-101 resource on their Plaza Norte project.

Aldesa is a specialized infrastructure company with over 40 years of experience in major projects. Emerita acts as operator for the 50/50 Cantabria del Zinc JV that holds the 3,600-hectare project. The property covers most of the Santillana-San Román syncline on the Reocin Basin known for high-grade Mississippi Valley-type zinc-lead. One of Europe’s biggest zinc producers was the former Reocin mine, which extracted around 62 million tonnes averaging 11% zinc and 1.4% lead up to 2003.

Emerita Resources confirms high-grade zinc in historic Spanish camp

Plaza Norte’s former Mercadal mine operated from 1850 to 1836 and 1955 to 1978, with reported averages of 10% zinc and 1.5% lead.

Plaza Norte’s new result follows drill reports from the 1980s and ’90s on four areas of the property: Yuso, Queveda, San Miguel and Mercadal, the latter a past-producing mine. The first phase of confirmation drilling targets Queveda, where historic, non-43-101 assays showed:

  • 9.72% zinc over 18.95 metres, starting at 557.8 metres

  • 9.82% over 3.22 metres, starting at 560 metres

  • 5.7% over 6.1 metres, starting at 588.9 metres

  • 7.74% over 5.3 metres, starting at 557.3 metres

As confirmation drilling continues, Emerita focuses on an area covering about 1,500 metres by 600 metres. With tighter spacing than previously used, the results should provide data on the structural controls of mineralization as well as build a 43-101 resource.

Regarding a southern Spain property, Emerita expresses confidence that a court will uphold its acquisition of the Aznalcóllar claims. Pending a successful outcome, the company would move the zinc-lead-silver-copper deposit to feasibility studies for an underground mine.

In another possible southern Spain acquisition, Emerita hopes a review board will award the company the Paymogo property with its two zinc deposits.

Last month Emerita closed the second and final tranche of a private placement that totalled $2.22 million.

Site visits for sightseers

July 19th, 2019

Mining history offers additional destinations for summer road trips

by Greg Klein

Mining history offers additional destinations for summer road trips

A fun but informative underground tour brings B.C.’s former
Britannia copper mine to life. (Photo: Britannia Mine Museum)

 

Follow this industry closely enough and you’ll likely want to visit one or more mines yourself. One way to do that would be to get a job as a miner, although that’s an occupation requiring competence, a capacity for hard work and at least rudimentary English or French. People lacking those qualifications, however, need not despair. They might still find employment writing up sponsored site visits for investor newsletters and mining publications. Still a third approach involves touring historic sites.

Of course they emphasize mining’s past, but that puts perspective on the present. These endeavours helped build our country economically and socially, while inspiring lots of romantic lore and providing stuff that we consider essential. But they also brought about dangerous, sometimes disastrous working conditions, bitter labour conflicts and some primitive environmental standards.

That said, family visits can be entertainingly informative without abjuring history’s serious side.

In this first installment, we provide a list of historic Yukon and British Columbia mines and mining museums open this summer. Also included are a few operating mines that offer public tours. Generally not included, however, are museums of mineralogy and museums not entirely dedicated to mining. The latter category, omitted for space reasons, includes some excellent exhibits and should be considered by mining enthusiasts when visiting any current or former mining region.

Use the links to confirm opening times and other info. Also check tour requirements for footwear and other clothing.

See Part 2 about the prairie provinces, Part 3 about Ontario and Quebec, and Part 4 about the Atlantic provinces.

 

Yukon

Mining history offers additional destinations for summer road trips

For some Dawson visitors, gold’s allure overpowers
that of the theme park. (Photo: Parks Canada)

Putting aside the fact that the lack of a gold rush would have meant far fewer tourists, tourism has far outshone the gold rush’s economic importance to Dawson City. The town and its environs abound in Klondike references, real and imagined, from the goldfields themselves to the Dawson City Museum, Dredge #4, a gaudy streetscape (arguably authentic in spirit if not accuracy) and the bard of the Yukon’s log home. (Overheard from an American in Dawson’s visitor info centre: “We’ve heard about your Robert Service. Is he any relation to Robert Frost?”)

A variety of sites and activities can be previewed here, here and even here. And if a can-can dancer hauls you onto the stage at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s, just consider it an act of revisionist history.

 

Only a few kilometres outside Whitehorse, the MacBride Copperbelt Mining Museum focuses on a base metal play overshadowed by Klondike mania. Attractions include an interpretive train ride along 2.5 kilometres of narrow-gauge track. Back in town, look for the MacBride Museum’s other location, right by Sam McGee’s cabin.

Mile 919.28 Alaska Highway. Open Friday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., until August 31. More info.

 

About 290 kilometres east of Dawson City, in a former boom town now down to maybe 20 people, the Keno City Mining Museum displays tools, equipment and memorabilia about local gold-silver mining from the early 1900s.

Located at the end of the Silver Trail, Main Street. Open daily 10:00 to 6:00 until mid-September and “by chance/appointment” during the off-season. More info.

 

British Columbia

Mining history offers additional destinations for summer road trips

Britannia’s multi-storey mill strikes an industrial presence
amid spectacular natural beauty. (Photo: Greg Klein)

Amid stunning scenery halfway between Vancouver and Whistler, the Britannia Mine Museum comprises B.C.’s top such attraction. In operation from 1904 to 1974, this was for a while the British Commonwealth’s biggest copper producer. Now a National Historic Site, its features include 45-minute tours with a short underground train ride, entertaining and knowledgeable guides, gold panning, interactive exhibits and, in a multi-storey mill along the mountainside, a light, sound and special effects show “unlike anything else in North America.” Just outside the museum, early- and mid-20th century buildings remain from what was once an isolated company town.

Located on the Sea-to-Sky (#99) Highway, 45 minutes north of Vancouver and the same distance south of Whistler. Open seven days 9:00 to 5:30. More info.

 

South of Nanaimo, the four-hectare Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park hosts the only substantial remnants of a coal industry that predominated on Vancouver Island starting in the 1850s. This mine operated between 1913 and 1921, and features a 22.5-metre concrete reinforced headframe and a coal-tipping structure that’s one of just two of its kind left in North America. While in town, stop by the Nanaimo Museum for a small but excellent coal mining exhibit.

Directions: On Highway 1 about nine kilometres south of Nanaimo, turn east on Morden Road and follow it for one or two minutes. Long-overdue restoration work might cause temporary closures. Try BC Parks’ website for more info.

 

In the upper altitudes of southern B.C.’s east Kootenay district, an open-air train escapes downtown Kimberley’s “Bavarian” kitsch to take visitors through a scenic valley and into Sullivan, a 1909-to-2001 operation that once boasted itself the world’s largest lead-zinc mine. Guides from the Kimberley Heritage Museum and Kimberley Underground Mining Railway present demonstrations at the underground interpretive centre and the powerhouse. Other displays include a core shack.

Buy tickets at the train station 200 metres west of Kimberley’s pedestrian mall. Mining tours leave daily at 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00. Sightseeing train trips that bypass the mine leave at 10:00 on Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays. More info.

 

Mining history offers additional destinations for summer road trips

Barkerville crowds notwithstanding, there’s history
in them thar theme parks. (Photo: Barkerville Heritage Trust)

More social history than mining history and with a focus on family fun, Barkerville Historic Town and Park offers entertaining interpretations of the gold rush boom town founded in 1862. Costumed actors lead tours along streets lined with reconstructed period buildings and displays of 19th century mining infrastructure. Plays, concerts and variety shows at the Theatre Royal continue the theme park ambience, while the “immersive experience” offers activities ranging from gold panning to heritage cooking lessons and a blacksmithing workshop. Accommodation in and around the park includes a small hotel, B&Bs, cottages and campgrounds.

Located at the end of Highway 26, 204 kilometres northeast of Williams Lake and 86 kilometres east of Quesnel, all towns on B.C.’s Gold Rush Trail driving route. Open 8:00 to 8:00 until September 2. Museum exhibits close during the off season but the town’s main street remains open for parts of the year. Check the schedule for dates and times. More info.

 

Another historic theme park, although not directly related to mining despite being borne of a gold rush, Fort Steele Heritage Town got its name from Sam Steele, a Mountie whose exploits would have made him a frontier legend in the U.S. or Australia. The reconstructed town’s extensive attractions focus on town life and offer insights into a number of skills including gold panning. About six kilometres away and part of the provincial heritage site sit a few remains of Fisherville, where an 1864 discovery sparked the Wildhorse Creek rush. Self-guided brochures are available.

Located off Highway 93 (for some reason aka Highway 95), 16 kilometres northeast of Cranbrook. Open 10:00 to 5:00 until September 1, with some attractions open during the off season. More info.

 

Mining history offers additional destinations for summer road trips

Teck Resources digs deep while a tour group looks on.
(Photo: Kootenay Rockies Tourism)

Step back into the present with tours of actual working mines in B.C.’s east Kootenays operated by Teck Resources TSX:TECK.A/TECK.B. Three of the company’s open pit metallurgical coal operations welcome the public this summer. Saturday bus tours leave the town of Elkford during July for two-hour trips to Greenhills and during August for two-and-a-half-hour trips to Fording River. Bus tours from the town of Sparwood leave Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for two-hour trips to the Elkview mine.

Elkford and Sparwood are about 34 kilometres apart on opposite ends of Highway 43. For further info and reservations, call the Elkford Visitor Centre at 1-855-877-9453, and the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce at 1-877-485-8185. Last trips leave Elkford August 31 and Sparwood August 29. Sparwood’s CoC also hosts a Mining History Walking Tour that points out mining machinery and other memorabilia around town.

See Part 2 about the prairie provinces, Part 3 about Ontario and Quebec, and Part 4 about the Atlantic provinces.

MGX Renewables introduces new fuel cell, anticipates July trading

June 28th, 2019

by Greg Klein | June 28, 2019

Having completed its spin-out from a parent company, gained conditional listing approval and closed a financing, a new company prepares to bring new technology to the green energy market. MGX Renewables expects to begin CSE trading on or before July 11.

MGX Renewables introduces new fuel cell, anticipates July trading

Over 20 patents went into the creation of the company’s first product, an energy storage system using rechargeable zinc-air fuel cell technology. Offering greater stability to solar- and wind-generated electricity, the system provides backup power that can range from 5 kW to 100 kW by enlarging the fuel tank. Modular design allows the addition of greater capacity.

MGX Renewables says the system overcomes limitations of lithium-ion batteries that are constrained by “a fixed power-to-energy ratio severely limiting flexibility and significantly increasing cost of energy storage when limited output power is required.”

The company says much lower storage costs reflect “a paradigm shift essentially eliminating the traditional fixed power-energy ratio and allowing for scaleable power with highly flexible energy storage.”

Parent company MGX Minerals CSE:XMG spun out approximately 40% of MGX Renewables, retaining about 18 million shares. Gross proceeds of $2,005,000 from a previous subscription have been released to the new company. MGX Renewables received conditional CSE trading approval in April.

Ximen Mining gold acquisition continues southern B.C. expansion

June 4th, 2019

by Greg Klein | June 4, 2019

Adding to its portfolio of southern British Columbia past-producers, Ximen Mining TSXV:XIM announced the 100% acquisition of the former Amelia gold operation. Amelia’s 199.46 hectares cover the Cariboo-Amelia mine, which underwent intermittent operation from 1894 to 1962. During that time it produced 124,452 tonnes for 81,602 ounces of gold, 32,439 ounces of silver and, since 1940, 113,302 pounds of lead and 198,140 pounds of zinc, according to B.C. government data cited by Ximen. Gold grades averaged 24.68 g/t.

Ximen Mining gold acquisition continues southern B.C. expansion

On TSXV approval, Ximen gets the Kootenay-region property for 212,888 shares.

The company’s southern B.C. holdings include a 100% stake in the Brett property about 29 kilometres west of Vernon. The 20,025-hectare epithermal gold project features historic grades as high as 168 g/t gold over 1.3 metres, as well as surface trench samples of 291 tonnes averaging 28 g/t gold and 64 g/t silver. Epithermal deposits provide some of the world’s largest and highest-grade gold mines, Ximen states.

In B.C.’s historic Greenwood camp, Ximen has optioned its Gold Drop project to GGX Gold TSXV:GGX, which began spring drilling in April. (Update: On June 6 Ximen and GGX announced the program had finished, with assays pending for 20 holes totalling 1,217 metres. Further drilling is planned.) An extensive campaign last year found high-grade, near-surface gold-silver intercepts, along with tellurium.

Also in April Ximen staked the Providence claim, another 12,900 hectares surrounding Gold Drop and bordering other active projects in this busy camp dotted with former workings. The company has rock and soil sampling, along with trenching planned for Providence.

A few days after that acquisition, Ximen optioned a numbered company whose chief asset is an option on another Greenwood property, the Kenville project.

Last month a program of sampling, trenching and drilling began on Ximen’s Treasure Mountain silver property by option partner New Destiny Mining TSXV:NED. Located about four hours northeast of Vancouver, the 10,700-hectare property is proximal to Nicola Mining’s (TSXV:NIM) Treasure Mountain silver project, where underground mining most recently took place in 2008 and 2013.

On April 16 Ximen closed a private placement of $405,000.

Ever unconventional

May 24th, 2019

Rick Rule might be even more contrarian than you thought

by Greg Klein

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

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

Rick Rule might be even more contrarian than you thought

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

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

What other metals interest him?

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

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

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

Rick Rule might be even more contrarian than you thought

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Instead, NAFTA was 3,600 pages.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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