Fireweed files a PEA with a pre-tax IRR of 32%

By Michael Allan McCrae

Yukon-based junior Fireweed Zinc (TSXV: FWZ) filed a preliminary economic assessment today showing a pre-tax net present value at 8% of Can$779M and an internal rate of return at 32%.

Company stock was largely unchanged at $2.01 a share. The 52-week high is $2.12 and the low is 67 cents.

The pre-production capital expenditure is $404M, which includes $105 million of capital cost required to upgrade the government-owned North Canol Road.

Study highlights were the following:

  • 18-year mine life with 32.7Mt of mineralization mined at 4,900 tonne-per-day average processing rate.
  • 1.54Mt of Zinc, 0.88Mt of Lead, and 37Moz of Silver in concentrate shipped.
  • Average yearly contained-metal production of 85kt Zinc, 48kt Lead and 2Moz Silver.

Metal prices used for the study were $1.21/lb Zn, $0.98/lb Pb, and $16.80/oz Ag

“This first NI43-101-compliant PEA on the Macmillan Pass Project represents a significant step for the Company as we progress the Project towards production. Project economics in the PEA demonstrate that Macmillan Pass is not just viable at the zinc, lead and silver prices levels contemplated in the study, but highly robust,” commented Brandon Macdonald, Chief Executive Officer, in a news release.

“With consideration of the exploration upside not just at the known zones, but also within the broader land package, the Project is steadily shaping up to be a premiere district-scale zinc mining camp in the mining-friendly Yukon Territory.”

The post Fireweed files a PEA with a pre-tax IRR of 32% appeared first on MINING.com.

…read more

From:: Infomine

Nemaska closes $280M to develop Whabouchi lithium mine

By Michael Allan McCrae

Quebec-based Nemaska Lithium (TSX:NMX) announced on Tuesday it had raised Can$280M to help bring its lithium mine to production.

Nemaska sold off on the news, declining 15% today to 98 cents a share. The 52-week high for Nemaska was $2.44 a share.

“Today marks a big day in the life of Nemaska Lithium, as we are announcing the last piece of financing required to start the commercial development of the Whabouchi lithium mine project,” said Guy Bourassa, President and CEO of Nemaska Lithium, in a news release.

The Whabouchi property is located about 300 km from Chibougamau. The company’s feasibility study outlines a combined open pit and underground mine. During the first 20 years, production will be derived from an open-pit developed to a maximum depth of 190 meters and with an average strip ratio of 2.2 to 1. The open pit will be mined using a standard fleet of off-road mining trucks and hydraulic excavators at a rate of 2,740 tonnes of ore per day. Mine life is 33 years.

“This project financing package, which covers capital expenditures of both the Whabouchi mine and Shawinigan electrochemical plant, project contingencies, working capital requirements and financing costs will ensure the future of Nemaska Lithium,” says Bourassa.

“This will also allow the Corporation to stay on target to initiate the commissioning of the Whabouchi mine by second half of calendar year 2019 and start commissioning the Shawinigan electrochemical plant during the first half of calendar year 2020”.

Co-lead underwriters of the financing were National Bank Financial, BMO Capital Markets and Cantor Fitzgerald Canada.

Written with material from Nemaska Lithium website.

The post Nemaska closes $280M to develop Whabouchi lithium mine appeared first on MINING.com.

…read more

From:: Infomine

Nickel prices expected to settle after Russia sanctions fade

By Felicia Chan

Nickel was last traded at $14,735 per tonne, up 20.2% on a year-to-date basis emerging as the strongest performing base metal so far this year. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists predict nickel prices to ease off over the short term after a buildup of tension surrounding US sanctions against Russian aluminum giant Rusal led to a surge in prices. It reached an over three-year high in April at $15,275 per tonne.

According to FocusEconomics, markets were wary of the US also targeting Nornickel tycoon Vladimir Potanin – to further intensify supply fears, the London Metal Exchange (LME) delisted two Norilsk-branded products on April 18, driving up demand for the metal.

The LME later clarified that the delisting was determined by Norilsk decommissioning the plant that produced the nickel, and unrelated to the sanctions. Nickel prices started to wind down in the weeks following the US Treasury Department announcing an extended deadline for the execution of sanctions on April 23. This slow decline is expected to be the trend as the increased usage of nickel in the automotive sector will be a gradual implementation and FocusEconomics panelists believe it will have little influence on nickel prices in the future.

FocusEconomics provides economic forecasts for energy, base metals, precious metals, and agricultural commodities. Its monthly Consensus Forecast is compiled by polling leading economists from banks and consultancies, and results are then analyzed by FocusEconomics’ own team of economic experts.

The post Nickel prices expected to settle after Russia sanctions fade appeared first on MINING.com.

…read more

From:: Infomine

Gem Diamonds finds ninth big diamond from Letšeng

By Cecilia Jamasmie

Africa-focused Gem Diamonds’ (LON:GEMD) has recovered a 115-carat diamond from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho.

The top white colour Type IIa gem was the ninth diamond of over 100 carats the company has found so far this year, exceeding the total number of precious stones over 100 carats dug up in 2017. Those recoveries include a massive 910-carat rock found in januaryu, the world’s fifth biggest gem-quality diamond ever found.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, Gem Diamonds has found now five of the 20 largest white gem quality diamonds ever recovered.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, Gem Diamonds has found now five of the 20 largest white gem quality diamonds ever recovered, which makes the mine the world’s highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond operation.

At an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, Letšeng is also one of the world’s highest diamond mines.

The biggest diamond ever found was the 3,106-carat Cullinan, dug near Pretoria, South Africa, in 1905. It was later cut into several stones, including the First Star of Africa and the Second Star of Africa, which are part of Britain’s Crown Jewels held in the Tower of London. Lucara’s 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona was the second-biggest in record, while the 995-carat Excelsior and 969-carat Star of Sierra Leone were the third- and fourth-largest.

The post Gem Diamonds finds ninth big diamond from Letšeng appeared first on MINING.com.

…read more

From:: Infomine

Lucapa on a roll, finds 25-carat yellow diamond in Lesotho mine

By Cecilia Jamasmie

Australia’s Lucapa Diamond (ASX:LOM) has found a 25-carat yellow gem diamond at its 70%-owned Mothae mine in Lesotho, adding that the stone was recovered during the first two days of trial processing at the project.

The yellow diamond was unearthed from the Neck zone of the Mothae kimberlite, which is not part of the current 1 million carat Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant (JORC) resource, the company said.

Trial processing kicked-off after efficiency and security modifications, with 50,000 tonnes of bulk samples from the Neck, North and South East zones of the project stockpiled in readiness for processing.

Together with the coloured stone, trial processing has also unearthed numerous other diamonds in excess of 5 carats from the Neck zone, Lucapa said.

It’s been a good year for Lucapa so far, with the company fetching $1.7 million in March from selling findings from its prolific Lulo mine in Angola, which recently yielded a 46-carat pink stone, the largest coloured gem-quality rock ever recovered in Angola.

The Mothae project is located within 5 km of Gem Diamonds’ (LON:GEMD) Letšeng mine, the world’s highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond operation, which in February yielded a 910-carat rock. It was the fifth biggest gem-quality diamond ever found.

The post Lucapa on a roll, finds 25-carat yellow diamond in Lesotho mine appeared first on MINING.com.

…read more

From:: Infomine

Shares of Colorado mining junior rockets on US critical minerals list

By Frik Els

US critical minerals list lights fire under Colorado mining junior

Up and away

Investors continued to pile into NioCorp Developments (OTCMKTS:NIOBF, TSX: NB) on Monday after the US Department of Commerce included all the metals the Colorado-based company plans to mine at its Elk Creek project on the US government’s register of critical minerals.

Over the counter units of NioCorp trading in New York were last trading up 7.5% bringing the stock’s gains since the publication on Friday to 32% for a market value of $107 million.

In a release the company said the designation establishes the Elk Creek Project in southeastern Nebraska as one of only a handful of greenfield mining projects in the US that “proposes to produce multiple critical minerals – niobium, scandium, and titanium, in this case – that all have key uses in national defense and civilian technologies and upon which the US is currently 100% dependent on foreign nations such as China and Russia.”

NioCorp has completed a positive feasibility study for the minerals used in super-alloys and said it obtained key US federal permits to build the $1 billion mine with a mine life of 32 years. The company also said 75% of Elk Creek’s primary product – ferroniobium – is already under contract over the first 10 years of production.

German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp is one of its early customers and NioCorp said the project is eligible for German Government loan guarantees.

Uranium, platinum, lithium and cobalt are also on the final list of 35 critical minerals that the United States deems essential to its economic and national security and wants to produce more of domestically.

The full list of minerals is here.

The post Shares of Colorado mining junior rockets on US critical minerals list appeared first on MINING.com.

…read more

From:: Infomine

Cobalt price: Congo ebola outbreak compounds acute supply fears

By Frik Els

Cobalt price: Congo ebola outbreak compounds acute supply fears

The price of cobalt has been drifting after hitting near 10-year peaks in March to exchange hands for $91,000 a tonne on Friday.

Cobalt is still up nearly fourfold since hitting multi-year lows at the beginning of 2016 as worries about supply of the metal, a crucial element in batteries, combine with expectations of booming demand from the electric vehicle sector.

The city of Mbandaka [population 1.2m] is in proximity to the Congo river, which has significant regional traffic across porous borders

Supply risks for cobalt are centred on the Democratic Republic of the Congo which is responsible for nearly two-thirds of world output. And the country’s share will only increase over the next five years (see chart).

Fears of disruption from the conflict ridden central African country has intensified after an outbreak of the deadly ebola disease and the possibility of a return to civil war in the run up to long-postponed national election now set for December.

On Friday, the world health organization raised the the DRC’s ebola health assessment risk to “very high.”

“The risk of international spread is particularly high since the city of Mbandaka [population 1.2m] is in proximity to the Congo river, which has significant regional traffic across porous borders,” the WHO said in a statement noted.

Cobalt price: Congo ebola outbreak compounds acute supply fears

Source: Reuters

On Sunday, the DRC recorded its 26th death in the northwest Equateur province. The disease is named after the Ebola river in the country.

Glencore quandary

Troubles are also mounting for top cobalt producer Glencore.

The Swiss commodities giant is in a bitter fight with its former partner in the DRC, Dan Gertler, who is seeking up to $3 billion in unpaid and future royalties.

The Israeli businessman, under sanctions from the US Treasury dept over allegations of bribery, is a close confidant of DRC president Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001.

The bank believes any disruption from these mines would see cobalt hit six figures sooner than than expected

It was also reported on Friday that Britain’s Serious Fraud Office is planning to open a formal bribery investigation into the company’s dealing with Gertler.

In turn, state-owned Gecamines which is a shareholder in Glencore’s Katanga operations in the country, is accusing the company of “draining” money from the joint venture. Gecamines, which has powerful political backing, has threatened unspecified action to ensure a greater share of profits from the venture.

With some of the frothiness gone from the spot market, a new report argues that anything below $100,000 per tonne is a buy.

Citi, a US investment bank, says prices for the raw material (now mainly produced in chemical compounds) are set to rise by a further 20% over the next two years hitting $100,000 a tonne by the fourth quarter this year, and average $110,000 by 2020.

Citi calculates that Katanga together with Glencore’s Mutanda mine in the DRC are expected to contribute 35,500t or 27% of global supply during 2018. Those figures are set to rise to 59,300t and 39% next year.

The bank believes any disruption from these mines would see cobalt hit six figures sooner than than expected.

Cobalt price: Congo ebola outbreak compounds acute supply fears

Source: Reuters

The China-Congo-Cobalt nexus

The DRC today has six of the top 10 cobalt mines globally.

By 2022, due primarily to Chinese investment starting with the 2017 takeover of US-based Freeport McMoRan’s Tenke Fungurume mine by China Moly, the DRC will host the nine largest cobalt producers.

Congo also holds half the world’s reserves of cobalt which is almost always mined as a by-product of copper and nickel.

If cobalt falls into the hands of the Chinese, yeah you won’t see EVs being produced in Europe etc

Not only is primary production highly concentrated, but the downstream industry is beginning to resemble a monopsony.

China, despite having no cobalt resources of its own, is responsible for 80% of the world’s cobalt chemical production, which overtook metal production around four years ago.

Beijing has made electric vehicles a centrepiece of its war on pollution. It also wants the sector to spearhead the country’s Made in China 2025 innovation drive.

The China-Congo-Cobalt-nexus poses particular problems for tech companies like Apple and automakers in the US and Europe which has been scrambling to secure supply.

Not only in terms of securing supply but also the growing consumer awareness of ethical sourcing of materials. This could lead to premium pricing for cobalt produced outside Congo. Chinese processors have admitted that they cannot say unequivocally that some of the cobalt in the supply chain is not from child or forced labour.

Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg, told a conference in Lausanne in March that the auto industry is “waking up too late” to the fact that China will hold most of the world’s supply of cobalt:

“If cobalt falls into the hands of the Chinese, yeah you won’t see EVs being produced in Europe etc. They are waking up too late … I think it’s because the car industry has never had a supply chain problem before.”

The post Cobalt price: Congo ebola outbreak compounds acute supply fears appeared first on MINING.com.

…read more

From:: Infomine

Tía María copper project gaining legitimacy: exec

By Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

Southern Copper’s Manager of Technical Services, Carlos Aranda, said this week that the $1.4 billion Tía María copper project, located in the southern Peruvian region of Arequipa, is gaining legitimacy amongst the population.

In a conference held before Peru’s Mining Engineers Institute, Aranda said that the company, a subsidiary of Grupo México, has been able to knock down previous resistance from local communities.

The executive said that people living in villages adjacent to the mine have seen how the province of Islay can benefit from the miner’s social responsibility projects and, therefore, are now in favour of the plan. The Arizona-based firm financed pre-investment and investment studies for the construction of two hospitals and a clean water plant in the area.

The Tía María plan, however, has been halted and readjusted twice since it first came up, around 2010, due to fierce opposition by locals who were worried about its environmental impacts and the possibility of an open-pit mine damaging crops.

Even though Aranda said that people are more willing to support Tía María now, according to La República newspaper, activists argue that his words have no base in reality. They say that the Tambo Valley “is not for sale.”

But the representative for the world’s fifth largest producer of the red metal in terms of output said that, when it comes to moving forward the project, the company does not want to engage with activists but with the residents themselves to avoid miscommunication problems.

Carlos Aranda added that Southern Copper (NYSE:SCCO) expects Tía María to receive its construction permit this year so that it can be up and running by 2020. The mine is forecast to produce 120,000 tonnes of copper a year for an estimated 20-year lifespan.

The post Tía María copper project gaining legitimacy: exec appeared first on MINING.com.

…read more

From:: Infomine

Glencore drops as British regulators looming probe adds to Congo issues

By Cecilia Jamasmie

Glencore’s (LON:GLEN) copper operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo will soon be the target of British regulators, which are planning to open a formal bribery investigation into the company and its deals Dan Gertler, an Israeli mining tycoon implicated in the payment of bribes to the country’s leader Joseph Kabila.

An investigation by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office “would represent a real breakthrough in the fight to keep London-listed corporations accountable for the business they do overseas,” Peter Jones from advocacy group Global Witness told Bloomberg, which broke the news. “If an investigation is launched, Glencore’s management is going to have to explain the opaque deals it struck with Gertler which cost the Congolese people over half a billion dollars in potential revenues.”

Gertler, a close friend of DRC President Joseph Kabila, has denied wrongdoing, and even told the Financial Times last year that his efforts to bring billions of dollars in investment to the DRC deserved a Nobel Prize.

Instead of a trophy, he received sanctions from US regulators, who said the billionaire had used friendship with Kabila to corruptly build his fortune, which included Gertler previously owned stakes in Glencore’s two key projects in the resource-rich country, before the miner and commodities trader bought him out for $960 million in 2017.

The mining and oil magnate has also been the target of a previous British bribery probe as well as an investigation by Canada’s OSC regarding more than $100 million in payments Katanga Mining made to a company owned by Gertler, instead of to Congo’s state-run mining company, Gecamines. Glencore later acknowledged the shift in payments, claiming it was done at the request of Gecamines.

Shares in the company dropped about 7% to 370p, their steepest fall in almost two years, following Bloomberg’s report.

More to come…

The post Glencore drops as British regulators looming probe adds to Congo issues appeared first on MINING.com.

…read more

From:: Infomine

China’s Chilean entry raises doubts about lithium price outlook

By Frik Els

Believers in the lithium sector’s brilliant future had their faith questioned on Thursday after China’s top miner of the battery raw material bought a stake in Chile’s SQM at a price below market expectations.

SQM (NYSE:SQM) trading in New York in the form of ADRs lost as much as 7% of its value dropping the market worth of the company below $15 billion.

Tianqi Lithium Corp is buying a 24% stake in SQM from Canada’s Nutrien (TSX:NTR) for $4.07bn in a long anticipated deal that was seen as a litmus test for the burgeoning battery market. Investors, which had hoped the company could acquire the full 32% interest Nutrien is disposing, pushed Tianqi shares listed in Shenzen (SHE:002466) down 2%.

World number two miner Rio Tinto was also said to be in the running to buy an interest in SQM, but the Anglo-Australian diversified miner is likely to focus on its 100%-owned lithium and borates mineral project in Jadar, Serbia, which is still in the early stages of development.

The deal was against the wishes of the South American nation’s development agency Corfo which contends the two companies will be too dominant in an industry that’s already controlled by a handful of big players. SQM supplies around a fifth of the world’s lithium carbonate and Tianqi 17%.

The deal was against the wishes of Chile development agency Corfo which contends the two companies will be too dominant in an industry that’s already controlled by a handful of big players

Today’s transaction may weigh on FMC Corp’s planned IPO in the fourth quarter of this year. The US company is spinning off its lithium operations centred in Argentina which constitutes less than a tenth of its overall business and plans to offer as much as 20% to the public.

China’s Ganfeng, which is also a dominant player in battery production and recycling of lithium, has filed for an IPO in Hong Kong hoping to raise not less than $1 billion.

Lithium carbonate prices have been drifting lower from highs in December but remain around the $20,000 level a tonne from $6,450 per tonne at the beginning of 2015.

The direction of lithium prices has attracted widely diverging views. While analysts agree that the booming electric vehicle market will dramatically boost demand, bears contend that a massive supply response could swamp the market.

Unlike cobalt, another crucial battery ingredient, lithium is abundant and existing brine producers in South America have the capacity to quickly increase output. Combined with many hard-rock projects coming on stream in Australia, last year’s roughly 220kt of production could more than triple within less than a decade.

NOW READ: World’s largest ever tech fund enters lithium race

The post China’s Chilean entry raises doubts about lithium price outlook appeared first on MINING.com.

…read more

From:: Infomine