Inca One to launch online bullion store

Canada’s Inca One Gold (TSXV: IO) announced that it will launch an online bullion store so that collectors and investors can purchase gold directly from the company. 

In a press release, the gold producer said its bullion store will initially offer 1-ounce gold coins and will add additional products, including silver options in the future. The inaugural Peruvian-themed coins will be stamped and minted by Inca One.

Inca One expects the online bullion store to provide increased margins from direct sales

“Upon the onset of the global pandemic, Inca One recognized the immediate need for precious metal investors to purchase gold and silver bullion. As a result, the company views this as an ideal opportunity to begin selling its gold and silver directly to the retail bullion investor,” the media brief states. “We will be offering bullion from Peruvian small-scale miners who have had their ore processed at one of our gold-ore processing facilities.”

Inca One operates two, fully-permitted, gold ore processing facilities in the Arequipa region of southwestern Peru. Chala One is a mineral processing facility with a permitted capacity of 100 tonnes per day, and Kori One is a gold ore processing facility featuring a carbon-in-leach gold circuit, with a maximum permitted capacity of 350 tonnes per day.

Japan Gold allowed to expand Sanru gold project in northern Hokkaido

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry accepted Japan Gold’s (TSXV: JG) new prospecting rights applications covering extensions to its Japan Gold epithermal-gold project.

In a press release, Japan Gold said the 24 new applications total 7,711 hectares and cover prospective tertiary geology along the eastern side of Sanru while Irving Resources’s Omu project is located to the north.

The Sanru project now comprises 31,822 hectares and is one of the projects included in the Barrick Alliance to be covered by regional exploration programs in the next 12 months

With these additions, the Sanru Project now comprises 31,822 hectares and is one of the projects included in the Barrick Alliance to be covered by regional exploration programs in the next 12 months.

“This new acquisition continues our ongoing evaluation of the prospective geology in Japan,” John Proust, Japan Gold’s chairman and CEO, said in the media brief. “The decision to further extend the Sanru project was based upon the favourable structural controls on mineralization, host rock geology and the proximity of the Omui mine close by to the north.”

Sanru is located in the Kitami Region of northern Hokkaido and covers a total of five known mine workings that are inferred to be fault-controlled with potential to host similar mineralization as exploited in the Sanru mine, the second-largest historical gold producer in the area with 225,000 ounces of gold averaging 7.4 g/t and 1.4 million ounces of silver produced between 1925 and 1974.

Operations resume at Antamina mine

Teck Resources (TSX, NYSE: TECK) announced on Wednesday that operations have resumed at the Antamina mine in Peru, in which the company has a 22.5% interest along with BHP (33.75%), Glencore (33.75%) and Mitsubishi (10%).

A reduced operating workforce has been mobilized to the mine site and will start off at roughly 80% of full capacity, with a gradual ramp-up to full production expected in the third quarter.

Comprehensive covid-19 protocols are also in place to safeguard the health of workers and local communities, Teck said.

Mining activities at Antamina were previously suspended on April 13 to combat the spread of covid-19.

The copper-zinc mine is located at an average elevation of 4,200 metres in the Andes mountain range, 270 kilometres north of Lima, Peru.

Sienna to acquire EMX’s Ni-Cu-Co-PGE project in Finland

EMX Royalty (TSXV: EMX) and Sienna Resources (TSXV: SIE) announced that the latter will enter a two-year option period to acquire EMX’s Kuusamo Ni-Cu-Co-PGE project in Finland in exchange for a royalty, satisfying work commitments, and making payments of cash and equity to EMX.

Sienna can earn a 100% interest in Kuusamo by issuing 500,000 shares of SIE to EMX upon execution of the amendment agreement and spending a minimum of C$250,000 on exploration and project advancement over the next two years, among other conditions

The deal is part of an amendment to the option agreement signed between both companies back in December 2017, which referred to the Slättberg Ni-Cu-Co-PGE project in southern Sweden.

“Sienna and EMX have been working together to advance the Slättberg Ni-Cu-Co-PGE project in southern Sweden, a relationship that will now extend to Finland,” the firms said in a media statement.

The Kuusamo battery metals project is comprised of two exploration reservation properties located adjacent to and near EMX’s Kaukua PGE royalty property, which is being advanced by Palladium One Mining.

Kuusamo hosts similar styles of mineralization located within the same mafic intrusive complex and along trend of the mineralization at Kaukua. According to EMX, both properties show Ni-Cu-Co-PGE enriched sulfide horizons near the base of a mafic intrusive complex.

Minerals Council of Australia proposes roadmap for post-covid-19 recovery

The Minerals Council of Australia is calling on the federal government to adopt a series of measures that, in the group’s view, would guarantee the recovery of the mining sector once the covid-19 pandemic comes to an end.

In a document titled Immediate Reform Priorities to Accelerate Economic Recovery, the MCA proposes targeted reforms that include lower taxes, faster project approvals, modern skills and flexible workplaces.

The MCA document states the government also has to focus on skills and training needs, including retraining and reskilling entrants from other industries affected by covid-19

“Our world-leading minerals companies are hampered by regulatory duplication and overlap, while projects take too long to be approved – denying regional communities jobs and investment,” the Council’s report reads. “Expediting environmental assessments and approvals, reforming greenfields agreements and expanding incentives for exploration will also help realise and refresh the potential pipeline of new and expanding mining projects.”

According to the MCA,  Australia’s company tax rate of 30% is too high, not internationally competitive and could put at risk mining investment.

“A potential mining investment pipeline of up to $100 billion of coal, iron ore, base metal, critical minerals and gold projects as well as tens of billions of spending to sustain the Australian mining industry cannot be taken for granted,” the document states. “With other mining nations significantly hampered by the covid-19 pandemic while Australian minerals companies continued to operate, Australia’s competitors will waste no time in attempting to increase their share of the recovery.”

The Council’s paper highlights the fact that growing economies of highly populated nations such as India and Southeast Asia will recover and continue to grow with their expanding housing, infrastructure and manufacturing needs supporting higher demand for industrial metals such as steel, copper and aluminium. In their view, those are markets that the country’s mining sector could be targeting. 

Spearmint Resources acquires PGM project in Ontario

Spearmint Resources (CSE: SPMT) recently announced that it has acquired the Escape Lake North PGM project in Ontario, Canada.

Escape Lake North occupies 2,500 contiguous acres and is prospective for platinum group metals. The property borders Clean Air Metals’ Thunder Bay North project PGM deposit, which hosts 9.8 million tonnes of 2.3g/t PtEq, with 1:1 platinum, palladium in resource.

“We are extremely pleased to have acquired this PGM project that is directly bordering this exciting world-class PGM deposit,” James Nelson, Spearmint’s president, said in a media statement. “The prices of platinum and palladium have been on a steady uptrend and near all-time highs. We are very optimistic about the future of the PGM and look forward to starting up operations on this new project.”

According to Nelson, his company is planning to be active on multiple projects this summer given that the junior mining market is showing robust signs of renewed investor attention.

Aurania to expand from Ecuador to Peru

Aurania Resources (TSXV: ARU) announced that it has identified an opportunity for additional copper and gold exploration as a result of the possible extension of a mineral belt from its Lost Cities – Cutucu project in Ecuador into northern Peru.

Thus, the company registered a subsidiary in Peru and applied for 419 mineral concessions covering 413,200 hectares in the northern part of the country. Mineral concession fees are $3.00 per hectare per year.

Aurania geologists believe the areas they want to explore may have some copper porphyry potential if they prove to be an analogous geological setting to the ground across the border in Ecuador

In a press release, Aurania said that although the concessions may not be granted for several months, management has already started a detailed review of existing data that is available from the Peruvian government.

“We recognized in March 2019 that copper-silver sediment-hosted mineralization of a similar style and grade to that we have discovered ourselves in the Cutucu Cordillera in Ecuador was discovered by a competitor company in Peru, approximately 300 kilometres to the south,” Keith Barron, Aurania’s chairman and CEO, said in the press brief. “The Peruvian occurrences appeared to occur in proximity to salt domes, and within our concessions in Ecuador are two areas that have been utilized by the Shuar community for decades, if not centuries, for salt. Believing that salt is geochemically a significant piece of the puzzle and potentially the reason for the extent and distribution of the copper and silver, it was considered too compelling to ignore the Peruvian opportunity.”

Australian state delays rent, fees collection to support the exploration sector

The Australian state of Victoria announced that it will defer until January 2021, the collection of all rents on exploration, mining, prospecting and retention licences, as well as annual fees for extractive industries’ work.

These fees and rents bring about A$3.5 million in revenue to the southeastern state, however, after consultation with industry experts, regional authorities decided that it was important to support companies struggling due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The Victoria government said it will also expedite processes for quarries where there is a need to maintain a supply of critical materials, with priority given to critical infrastructure and bushfire recovery projects

Besides the rent deferral, the agencies in charge of regulating the resource sector have been instructed to consider the impacts of the current global situation in their decision-making process for licence and work authority approvals, and for applications to vary licence and work authority conditions, such as expenditure requirements.

The announcement was positively received by the Minerals Council of Australia, whose regional executive director, James Sorahan, said that this kind of support is likely to deliver major economic returns in the future while keeping geologists, surveyors and other personnel employed through the recovery phase of the pandemic. 

“Victoria’s explorers and miners with exploration tenements are facing significant disruptions including to people movement and equipment access as a result of covid-19. Difficulties accessing ground have made it challenging for some explorers to meet their licence conditions through no fault of their own,” Sorahan said in a media statement. “A temporary reduction in fees, charges and rents will free up funds for exploration drilling and reinvestment in mining operations. The ability to work with the government on licence conditions means a fair go for explorers.”

Torsus Praetorian wins Red Dot Award

The world’s first heavy duty 4×4 off road bus, the Torsus Praetorian has been awarded the Red Dot Award in the Product Design 2020 category.

Designed to transport personnel and equipment safely across rough ground and in tough conditions, the bus is based on an upgraded heavy-duty MAN chassis and is powered by MAN engines and drivetrain.

Torsus Praetorian at the Hillhead Mining and Construction Expo in Buxton, UK. (Credit: Torsus)
Torsus Praetorian at the Hillhead Mining and Construction Expo in Buxton, UK. (Credit: Torsus)

From the Michelin off-road tyres, to the Line-X™ military grade coating on body parts, Praetorian is engineered to take on any terrain, in any conditions, anywhere in the world.

For over 60 years, the Red Dot Award has provided a platform for designers and companies to assess good design. Each of the 6500 products entered into the competition, from 60 countries worldwide, were tested and judged by an expert jury in search of the very best in design and innovation.

Lasting several days, the jurors test all the entries in order to assess the aesthetic, the materials selected, the level of craftsmanship, the surface structure, ergonomics and functionality.

Torsus Praetorian (Credit: Torsus)

“We are very proud to accept this award and it is testament to the skilled work of the Torsus team and our design partners at Werkemotion who, together, helped produce the world’s toughest and most capable off-road bus.” Vakhtang Dzhukashvili, founder and CEO of Torsus said.

In addition to the award, on 22 June 2020, the Praetorian will be added to the exhibition “Design on Stage” in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen in Germany, where all of the award-winning products will be on show.

InoBat acquires massive factory to make client-customised EV batteries

At a time when Europe is working towards challenging China’s dominance of the global battery market, Slovak company InoBat Auto announced the acquisition of a 290,000-square-foot industrial space near the capital Bratislava where it is planning to build an innovative production facility.

In a press release, InoBat deemed the project “the world’s first 100MWh facility,” which will combine the company’s proprietary High Throughput Process R&D with prototype battery cell-manufacturing capabilities.

The factory is strategically located in close proximity to nine major original equipment manufacturers, including Peugeot, KIA and Jaguar Land Rover

The project is backed by IPM Group and Wildcat Discovery Technologies, and InoBat is planning to use Wildcat’s proprietary R&D to continuously develop customer-specific battery cells through HTP and artificial intelligence. 

“The facility is expected to be the first in the world to produce batteries to specifications of the vehicle manufacturer, rather than selling from a catalogue, and will enable European electric vehicle manufacturers to reduce dependence on imports from Asia,” the media brief states. “InoBat Auto’s production will contribute to a strong European energy production and storage infrastructure now recognised as vital for growth and EU technological independence, particularly after the supply chain disruption demonstrated by recent restrictions following the outbreak of covid-19.”

Production of the first bespoke battery cells is expected in 2021. Following this first phase, fundraising for a second phase will take place with the goal of expanding to a €1 billion InoBat Auto Gigafactory, which should provide an estimated 240,000 EVs with cutting edge batteries by 2024.