KL Gold cuts new high-grade zone near Macassa South mine

Kirkland Lake Gold of Toronto is having no problem finding high grade gold intersections as it drills east and west of the Macassa South mine complex and along the Amalgamated Break.

The latest results come from 71 holes drilled from the east and west exploration drifts on the 5300 level and from the 5600 level ramp development. More than 29,000 metres have been drilled so far.

Drilling east of the South mine complex (SMC) cut high grades 200 metres northeast of the existing limits of the mineral resource. Key intercepts included 111.8 g/t gold over 2.1 metres true width, 53.0 g/t over 2.1 metres true width, and 49.2 g/t over 2.0 metres core length in the Footwall zone.

Drilling west of the existing resource found high grades at a distance of 275 metres. Key intercepts included 24.4 g/t over 2.0 metres core length, 46.5 g/t over 2.0 metres core length, and 17.7 g/t over 2.2 metres core length.

Drilling that targeted the Amalgamated break and associated hanging wall found high grades up to 175 metres west of the existing resources. Key intercepts were 108.2 g/t gold over 3.3 metres core length, 51.3 g/t over 2.0 metres core length, and 20.1 g/t over 5.4 metres core length.

Macassa management is confident that there is significant potential to increase the mineral resources at Macassa. The results from the Amalgamated Break support the view that that area offers a new opportunity because the break is parallel to the main and 04 breaks throughout the Kirkland Lake gold camp.

Meanwhile, development on the 5300 level continues. It is scheduled to advance 350 more metres to the east and 429 more metres to the west. This is a tracked level with several diamond drill bays. Six underground drills are now active.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

KL Gold cuts new high-grade zone near Macassa South mine

Kirkland Lake Gold of Toronto is having no problem finding high grade gold intersections as it drills east and west of the Macassa South mine complex and along the Amalgamated Break.

The latest results come from 71 holes drilled from the east and west exploration drifts on the 5300 level and from the 5600 level ramp development. More than 29,000 metres have been drilled so far.

Drilling east of the South mine complex (SMC) cut high grades 200 metres northeast of the existing limits of the mineral resource. Key intercepts included 111.8 g/t gold over 2.1 metres true width, 53.0 g/t over 2.1 metres true width, and 49.2 g/t over 2.0 metres core length in the Footwall zone.

Drilling west of the existing resource found high grades at a distance of 275 metres. Key intercepts included 24.4 g/t over 2.0 metres core length, 46.5 g/t over 2.0 metres core length, and 17.7 g/t over 2.2 metres core length.

Drilling that targeted the Amalgamated break and associated hanging wall found high grades up to 175 metres west of the existing resources. Key intercepts were 108.2 g/t gold over 3.3 metres core length, 51.3 g/t over 2.0 metres core length, and 20.1 g/t over 5.4 metres core length.

Macassa management is confident that there is significant potential to increase the mineral resources at Macassa. The results from the Amalgamated Break support the view that that area offers a new opportunity because the break is parallel to the main and 04 breaks throughout the Kirkland Lake gold camp.

Meanwhile, development on the 5300 level continues. It is scheduled to advance 350 more metres to the east and 429 more metres to the west. This is a tracked level with several diamond drill bays. Six underground drills are now active.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

Chinese factory shocker gives copper price bulls another jolt

The price of copper dropped on Monday amid intensifying worries about China’s economic slowdown, particularly in manufacturing, vital to overall demand for the bellwether metal.

In afternoon trading in New York, copper for delivery in July was trading just off its low for the day of $2.638 a pound ($5,815 a tonne), down more than 2% on the day and wiping out any gains for 2019 in the process.

“Everything indicates that the price of copper will not improve next year.”

Octavio Araneda, CEO CODELCO

Trade worries have dogged copper price bulls for the better part of a year, but more recently weak data from China (and the US and Germany, the world’s top three consumers of industrial metals), has intensified the sell off.

Chinese manufacturing data for August released Monday was nothing short of dismal with the National Bureau of Statistics outlining a 4.4% rise in factory output which was well below forecasts and the lowest reading since February 2002.

The CEO of the world’s number one producer of copper, Chile’s Codelco, did not provide any solace to copper bulls, telling local media that prices will remain depressed through 2020, Reuters reports.

Recently installed chief executive Octavio Araneda, said: “Everything indicates that the price of copper will not improve next year. The trade war is difficult to predict,” adding that the state-owned company would instead seek to immediately boost production.

Newmont ranked as top gold miner on Dow Jones sustainability index

Newmont Goldcorp (NYSE: NEM, TSX: NGT) announced Monday was ranked as the top global gold mining company on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) for its leading environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.

This marks the 12th consecutive year the company has been named to the list. Newmont was the first gold miner named to the index in 2007, and has been included on the DJSI North America Index every year since 2006.

The DJSI evaluates companies based on a comprehensive corporate sustainability assessment (CSA) conducted by Swiss-based RobecoSAM, a sustainability asset management, analysis and investment firm. The CSA evaluates 20 financially material sustainability criteria across economic, environmental and social dimensions.

Newmont ranked in the 100th percentile for leading performance in the following areas:

  • Economic: corporate governance, risk and crisis management, and materiality;
  • Environmental: management of water-related risks;
  • Social: labor practices, corporate citizenship, and talent attraction and retention.

“Leading environmental, social and governance performance not only helps us manage risk and create value for our stakeholders, it is also an indicator that our business is well-managed and positioned for long-term success,” commented president and incoming CEO Tom Palmer.

Gran Colombia to spin off Marmato gold project

Canada’s Gran Colombia Gold (TSX:GCM) has decided to spin off its Marmato project, in the country’s department of Caldas, into a separate listed company to generate the funding required for ongoing exploration, development of an underground mine and the expansion of operations.

The Toronto-based miner, which will retain a major stake in the new company, said expected work at the asset included the construction of a new processing plant and additional tailings storage facilities to support an increased level of production.

The Canadian miner will retain a major stake in the new company while leveraging the capital markets to provide further funding.

Gran Colombia is nearing completion of an underground mine expansion study at Marmato, first announced in 2017 and expects to file a preliminary economic assessment before the end of the year.

“Immediately thereafter, we will proceed with the prefeasibility study,” executive chairman Serafino Iacono said in the statement. “We are excited to be in a position to see a path forward to develop this world class deposit and to begin to get a return on investment for our shareholders.”

As part of the proposed mine plan, the company will look to optimize mining activities in the upper existing mine, which produces 24,000-to-26,000 ounces a year of gold. It will also aim at increasing production and reducing cash costs.

Gran Colombia plans to concurrently begin development of the Deeps mineralization underneath the current mine for a modern, mechanized mining operation. 

The company acquired Marmato, in the heart of the Middle Cauca gold district, in 2011, through a merger with Medoro Resources.

The underground gold mine is expected to have a minimum 12-year productive life, generating over 1.5 million ounces of the precious metal during that time.

In the last decade, the project has been plagued by controversy. Residents of the 500 year-old Marmato town, mostly opposed the miner’s intention of flattening a mountain to create an open pit. That is no longer an issue, as Gran Colombia has opted for underground mining at Marmato.

The property has also been unlawfully occupied. The first group of illegal miners took over the area in 2016, blocking roads and costing Gran Colombia $2 million in daily losses.

In 2017, the miner filed a $700 million lawsuit against Colombia, under the Colombian-Canadian free trade agreement, after the government ordered the company to cease operations at the El Burro site in Marmato, requesting further consultation with locals.

The asset is located in a region that has been exploited since pre-Colonial times by the Quimbaya people. The Spanish colonists assumed control of the zone’s mines in 1527 and the area has been in almost continuous production ever since.

Marmato’s known riches were key to support the cause of Simon Bolivar, a revolutionary leader who liberated much of South America from Spanish rule. According to historians, Bolivar used the mines as collateral with British banks to secure funding for a war of independence against Spain.

UrbanGold, Argonaut combine gold projects in Quebec

UrbanGold Minerals (TSXV: UGM) and Argonaut Gold (TSX: AR) signed an option agreement according to which UrbanGold can earn to earn a 50% interest in Argonaut’s claims and vice versa, and the miners commit to combining their properties to form the Bullseye project.

The 6,000-hectare project is located approximately 17 kilometres south of the former Troilus gold-copper mine in the James Bay region of Quebec. It sits on the central portion of the Troilus greenstone belt over prospective geology where numerous gold and copper occurrences have been detected but never drilled.

“Historic and recently acquired data indicates a strong geological correlation between the two adjacent properties, with drill targets being located near the common boundary,” the companies said in a media statement.  

According to UrbanGold and Argonaut, mineralization on Bullseye is widespread with indications of gold mineralization often associated with copper mineralization as is the case at the pastproducing Troilus mine, which had a total output of over 2 million ounces of gold and 70,000 tonnes of copper.

“The type of mineralization, alteration patterns, the presence of a deformation corridor and the lithologies encountered in our view all indicate a very prospective setting for gold, silver and copper mineralization,” Mathieu Stephens, UrbanGold’s president and CEO, said in the press brief.

The firms said they are planning to advance a 3,000-metre drill program over several gold and copper occurrences.

MIT engineers ‘hide’ $2m-diamond under world’s blackest black material

MIT engineers created a material that is 10 times blacker than anything that has previously been reported.

To showcase how dark the material is, they have coated a $2-million,16.78-carat natural yellow diamond with the substance. The result is that the gem, which is normally very brilliant, appears as a flat, black void.

The researchers didn’t intend to engineer an ultrablack material. Instead, they were experimenting with ways to grow carbon nanotubes on electrically conducting materials such as aluminum, to boost their electrical and thermal properties

The experiment has been turned into an art installation titled “The Redemption of Vanity,” a collaboration between Brian Wardle, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, and his group, MIT Center for Art, Science, and Technology artist-in-residence Diemut Strebe, and LJ West Diamonds.

The ultra-black material is made from vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, or CNTs — microscopic filaments of carbon, like a fuzzy forest of tiny trees, that the team grew on a surface of chlorine-etched aluminum foil. The foil captures at least 99.995% of any incoming light, which means that it reflects 10 times less light than all other superblack materials, including Vantablack. 

According to Wardle, the CNT material, aside from making an artistic statement, may also be of practical use, for instance in optical blinders that reduce unwanted glare, to help space telescopes spot orbiting exoplanets.

In fact, astrophysicist and Nobel laureate John Mather, who was not involved in the research, is exploring the possibility of using the superblack material as the basis for a star-shade — a massive black shade that would shield a space telescope from stray light.

“Optical instruments like cameras and telescopes have to get rid of unwanted glare, so you can see what you want to see,” he said in a media statement. “Would you like to see Earth orbiting another star? We need something very black. … And this black has to be tough to withstand a rocket launch. Old versions were fragile forests of fur, but these are more like pot scrubbers — built to take abuse.”

Waterton’s Gemfield Resources kicks off construction of gold mine in Nevada

Precious metals miner Gemfield Resources announced Monday it has received the final Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) and all other major federal and state permits required to go ahead with its namesake gold mine south of Tonopah, Nevada.

The miner, part of private-equity firm Waterton’s portfolio, now owns one of a few open-pit, heap leach gold mines in the US to be fully permitted and shovel-ready, the company said.

Waterton says it expects a feasibility study for the mine to be ready in the fourth quarter of the year. In the meantime, it has started developing key infrastructure to support the mine, which is expected to have a 12-year operating life.

Groundwork includes relocating nearly 2.5 miles (4km) of US Highway 95 and constructing certain water systems required to bring drinking water to the project.

The Gemfield project is one of a few open-pit, heap leach gold mines in the US to be fully permitted and shovel-ready.

Waterton Global Resource Management

All key infrastructure developments are expected to be completed by no later than Spring of 2020, the company says.

Waterton’s umbrella gold project is located near the town of Goldfield, one of the most prolific gold mining districts in Nevada.

The Goldfield district’s land package covers more than 15,000 acres and about 1,150 mining claims, which have been subject to extensive optimization and project development efforts. These include drill campaigns, metallurgical test work, geotechnical engineering and hydrological studies, the company said.

Total production at the Goldfield asset is expected to be over 125,000 ounces of gold a year.

Waterton made headlines last year for pushing to replace Hudbay Minerals’ (TSX, NYSE: HBM) chief executive officer and overhaul the Canadian miner’s board.

Much of Waterton’s discontent was triggered by Hudbay’s alleged intention to buy Chile’s Mantos Copper for about C$1 billion ($780 million) last year.

Both companies settled their differences in May.

Petra Diamonds shares hit all-time low as loss widens

Shares in African diamond miner Petra Diamonds (LON: PDL) hit an all-time low on Monday after reporting a net loss of $258.1 million for the year ending in June, compared to a $203.1 million-loss in 2018, amid challenging market conditions.

The company, which has mines in South Africa and Tanzania, said the loss reflected an impairment charge of $246.6 million triggered by lower diamond price assumptions. 

Richard Duffy, who has been at Petra’s helm since April, said the diamond market was in its worst state since the financial crisis in 2008, but expects it to stabilize in the next 12 to 18 months.

Petra believes the diamond market is in its worst state since the financial crisis of 2008.

The miner’s share price fell to a record low of 7.178 pence, recovering slightly to trade down 8% by 08:30 London time at 7.45 pence. The stock is down about 80% this year, which gives the company a current market value of £65.64 million (about $82m a today’s rates).

Petra has been trying to turn around its fortunes after piling up debt to expand its flagship Cullinan mine in South Africa, where the world’s largest-ever diamond was found in 1905.

The miner was able to generate positive cash flow for the first time since embarking on the mine’s major upgrade in 2011.

Despite vowing in March to keep the company’s founder as chairman, Petra said Adonis Pouroulis would leave the board by the end of the third quarter 2020, once a successor had been appointed.

Struggling market

Diamond miners are struggling across the board, especially those producing cheaper and smaller stones, where there is an over-supply. 

The US-China trade row and protests in Hong Kong dented demand in Asian markets.

Increasing demand for synthetic diamonds has also weighed on prices. Diamond prices

Man-made diamonds require less investment than mining natural stones and can offer more attractive margins.

Synthetic producers spend around $300-500 per carat produced, according to a 2018 report by Bain & Company.

Lab-grown diamonds produced by De Beers, the world’s top diamond miner by value, sell for $800 per carat.

Petra, by contrast, has to shift 20,000 tonnes of earth at Cullinan to yield just one cup of diamonds. Average average cost in the 2019 financial year was $110 per carat, 12% less than in 2018.

Buyers, those that polish and cut diamonds for retailers, have been hit this year by lower prices and tighter credit, prompting them to delay purchases. Tiffany’s reported in August a 3% decline in like-for-like sales, while shares in Signet, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewellery, have lost more than 60% of their value this year.

De Beers has responded by axing production — with a target of 31 million carats this year compared with 35.3 million in 2018. It has also announced it would spend more on marketing.

In March, Africa-focused Firestone Diamonds (LON:FDI) put plans to extend the life of its 75%-owned Liqhobong mine in Lesotho on the back burner, saying that current market conditions didn’t support such project.

B2Gold ups stake in Colombian JV with AngloGold Ashanti

Canada’s B2Gold (TSX, NYSE: BTO) has signed a deal with partner AngloGold Ashanti (JSE:ANG) (ASX:AGG) (NYSE:AU) that will allow the mid-tier miner to increase its stake in the Gramalote project in Colombia to 50% and become its manager.

As part of the deal, B2Gold will fund investment and exploration at Gramalote next year to the value of $13.9 million and will assume management of the project in January 2020.

B2Gold currently owns a 48.3% of Gramalote and AngloGold holds the remaining 51.7%.

The companies have also agreed on a feasibility study budget of about $40 million to fund 42,500 metres of infill drilling and 7,645 metres of geotechnical drilling for site infrastructure. 

B2Gold said it expected to complete those activities by the end of May 2020.

The budget will also fund feasibility work, including an updated mineral resource, detailed mine planning, additional environmental studies, metallurgical test work, engineering and detailed economic analysis, the Vancouver-based company said.

“We believe the Gramalote project has the potential to become a low-cost open pit gold mine,” B2Gold chief executive, Clive Johnson, said. “The project has several key infrastructure advantages including reliable water supply, close proximity to key infrastructure and a technically capable workforce in country.”

AngloGold, which also has operations in South Africa, wholly-owns another project in Colombia. That venture, the Quebradona copper and gold project is currently undergoing a feasibility study, the company said in a separate statement.

The joint venture partners believe that Gramalote project, located 230 km. northwest of Bogotá, has the potential to become a large, low-cost open pit gold mine.