Taseko takes first step on Yellowhead assessment road with First Nation pact

Toronto-listed Taseko Mines has entered into an agreement with an indigenous nation regarding the miner’s intentions to start the regulatory approval process for the Yellowhead copper project, in the Thompson‐Nicola area of British Columbia. Located about 150 km north‐east of Kamloops near Vavenby, the 90 000 t/d openpit mine project could be one of the largest in North America. “Our communication with the leadership over this past year have been good, frank and insightful. We have gained significantly in our understanding of their role as caretakers of the lands and their approach to stewardship and economic opportunity, and we thank them for taking this first important step with us,” said Taseko CEO Russell Hallbauer.

Seabridge locks in 3 Aces project

TSX- and NYSE-listed Seabridge Gold has completed the acquisition of the high-grade 3 Aces gold project – a “first rate” exploration play in Yukon – from Golden Predator Mining. 3 Aces is a district scale, orogenic-gold project consisting of 1 536 claims covering about 350 km² located in a readily accessible part of south-eastern Yukon.

Sierra Metals seeks consent to reopen Peru mine

TSX-listed Sierra Metals is seeking consent to reopen its Yauricocha mine, given its remote location and implementation of strict health protocols. Peru has extended its state of emergency and a nationwide lockdown to fight the Covid-19 pandemic until June 30, but President Martin Vizcarra has said the latest extension will come with the reopening of certain economic activities. Large openpit mines and a select number of underground mines in the country have already received permission to restart operations in phase one and phase two will see the second group of mining companies restart mining activities.

CRU warns most commodities have further to fall

As the economic fallout of governments’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic is starting to be counted, commodity market analyst CRU has warned that the repercussions will be significant and that most commodities prices have not yet reached the bottom. The coronavirus crisis has affected all markets and has made double-digit year-on-year commodity price falls the new reality, CRU analysts say in a ‘multi-commodity outlook’ insight, dated May 22. It notes that the virus came at a time when there was cautious optimism that the trough of the commodity prices cycle had been reached. However, market optimism evaporated at the start of 2020 when the new coronavirus emerged in China – the world’s top commodities consumer. The government-imposed lockdowns in major economies around the world that followed, further dragged down prices.

Northern Dynasty welcomes road transport plan for Pebble

The US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) has confirmed that an all land-based transport plan to connect the proposed Pebble mine, in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, to a port site is the preferred development scenario for the project. The USACE selected the land-based transport plan as the “least environmentally damaging practicable alternative” for the mine. It includes an 85-mile road north of Lake Iliamna and avoids the need for ferry transport across the lake, project developer Northern Dynasty Minerals explained on Monday. Northern Dynasty president and CEO Ron Thiessen said that it was not a new plan and that its US-based subsidiary Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) had studied the option as an alternative in its environmental impact statement (EIS).

Gran Colombia walks away from Guyana Goldfields, terminates Gold X deal

Canadian miners Gran Colombia and Gold X Mining’s plans for a new Latin American gold champion fell through on Monday, as Gran Colombia announced that it had walked away from the acquisition of Guyana Goldfields. Guyana Goldfields has rejected Gran Colombia’s acquisition proposal and instead entered into an amended agreement with Silvercorp Metals after that company upped its offer to C$1.30 a share. Gran Colombia had offered to buy Guyana Goldfields, which owns the Aurora mine, at an exchange ratio of 0.142 of its shares for each Guyana share held, implying a value of C$0.90 a share.

Australia’s Fortescue ups stake in Candente Copper

Australian iron-ore major Fortescue Metals has made another C$1.38-million investment in TSX-listed Candente Copper, upping its interest to 19.92%. Through wholly owned subsidiary Nascent Exploration, Fortescue has subscribed for 27.5-million at C$0.05 apiece in Candente, which owns a large-scale openpit copper project, in Peru. In addition to Fortescue’s extensive iron-ore deposits in Western Australia, the major’s recent Australian exploration activity has focused on early stage target generation for copper/gold. The company is simultaneously targeting exploration in prospective areas of South America, including Peru.

Alto receives potential competing offer

Takeover target Alto Metals has a new suitor – privately owned investor Habrok Mining. The Western Australia-based gold explorer said on Friday that it had received a proposal from Habrok to make an offmarket takeover offer of 6.6c a share. The intended offer beats the 6.5c-a-share offer that Alto recommended shareholders accept from Goldsea Australia Mining.

Basto to run BHP’s Australian mines

Edgar Basto has been promoted to president of mining major BHP’s entire suite of Australian operations, including iron-ore, coal, nickel and copper, with effect from July 1. The Colombia-born executive previously headed BHP’s Western Australia iron-ore business and is filling the position left vacant when Mike Henry became group CEO last year. Basto, who has acted as Minerals Australia president since November, will be responsible for BHP’s iron-ore and nickel operations in Western Australia, metallurgical and energy coal in Queensland and New South Wales, and copper in South Australia.

RenGold says AngloGold to complete Nevada gold project option

Gold major AngloGold Ashanti has elected to complete the purchase of an option on the Silicon gold project, in Nevada, US. AngloGold would make the final payment of $2.4-million out of a total $3-million to purchase the option, TSX-V-listed Renaissance Gold said on Thursday. "We are very pleased that AngloGold has received enough encouragement from their drilling to date to elect to complete the option and make the final payment to RenGold.