Company Updates From Management – Tue 7 Jul, 2020

Skeena Resources – More information on the deal with Barrick and what comes next for Eskay Creek

Yesterday Skeena Resources (TSX-V:SKE & OTCQX:SKREF) announced a deal with Barrick Gold that eliminates Barrick’s back-in right for 51% of the Eskay Creek Property. This is major news for the Company that now can move Eskay forward through drilling and project de-risking.

Walter Coles, President and CEO of Skeena joins me to share some more details on this deal. We also discuss the exploration work that the Company has planned. There are some adjustment to the drill program now that this deal is signed.

If you have any followup questions for Walter please email me at Fleck@kereport.com.

Click here to visit the Skeena website and read over the news outlining the Barrick agreement.

Company Updates From Management – Mon 8 Jun, 2020

Skeena Resources – More information on the upcoming drill program and discussions with Barrick

Walter Coles, President and CEO of Skeena Resources (TSX.V:SKE – OTCQX: SKREF) joins me to provide an update on the upcoming drill season for the Company. With a large program planned and fully funded it will be a busy second half of the year.

Walter and I also discuss the relationship with Barrick and the back in option for the Esaky Property. This is an important year as Skeena will have to exercise its option to acquire the property which then starts the clock for Barrick to exercise its back in option for 51%.

If you have any additional questions for Walter regarding Skeena please email me at Fleck@kereport.com.

Click here to visit the Skeena website for more information on the Company.

David Erfle – Gold Market Commentary – Tue 3 Dec, 2019

Major Developments In The PM Markets – M&A picking up, Silver Stocks Leading, and Major Divesting Projects

Dave Erfle joins me today to outline some of the more encouraging signs for the precious metals sector. We have been talking about silver and silver stocks leading the sector, which is continuing, and now we are seeing M&A pickup in the past 2 weeks, plus the junior stocks are starting to get some attention as well.

Click here to visit Dave’s site and learn more about his newsletter focused on metals stocks.

Argentina rejects Barrick’s challenge to glacier protection

The verdict is in, and it does not look good for miners in Argentina.  

In a unanimous decision on Tuesday, Argentina’s Supreme Court rejected a challenge to an environmental law banning mining in glacial areas that was brought by Barrick Gold. The Canadian miner had attempted to subvert Argentina’s controversial Glacier Protection Law prohibiting mining in glacier and permafrost areas.  

Barrick owns the Veladero gold mine in Argentina and the Pascua-Lama project on the Argentine-Chile border. 

The company did not issue a statement, but a Barrick source with knowledge of the matter said the court's decision would not affect any of the company's current operations in Argentina. The source, who said Barrick would "analyze" the ruling, spoke anonymously, Reuters reported.

Miners have long marked this region for its rich gold, silver and copper deposits, and have been on standby for nearly a decade awaiting a judicial decision from Argentina’s top tribunal as to whether or not they could mine in glacier terrain,” said Jorge Daniel Taillant, executive director, Center for Human Rights and Environment in a media statement.  

McEwen Mining’s Los Azules, Stillwater’s El Altar, and Meryllion Gold’s Cerro Amarillo are a few other mining projects that stalled when Argentina passed the world’s first Glacier Protection Law, prohibiting any industrial activity that could harm glaciers and periglacial areas Miners have long marked this region for its rich gold, silver and copper deposits, and have been on standby for nearly a decade awaiting a judicial decision from Argentina’s top tribunal as to whether or not they could mine in glacier terrain

The Argentine Glacier Law was passed in 2008, unanimously by Congress, when then activist Environment Secretary Romina Picolottibrought the draft law through Congress with no opposition whatsoever,” Taillant said. 

Then President Fernández de Kirchner vetoed the new Glacier Law on the grounds that it was detrimental to the mining sector.  

Environmentalists fought for the return of the Glacier Law, and in 2010 Congress passed a national Glacier Protection Law, prohibiting mining and oil and gas projects in glacier and permafrost areas, making the law retroactive. 

In 2015 Chile's Environmental Court ruled that the Pascua-Lama project had not damaged glaciers within the project's area of influence. 

Argentina’s public officials in the mining sector, and environmental authorities took nearly 10 years to carry out the glacier inventory which the law called for, and failed to crack down on mining operations already in glacier areas, which the law also mandated 

Sure that the court system would take years, or even decades to rule on the case, pro-mining public officials went about their business as if the Glacier Law did not exist, encouraging mining companies to move forward with investments, although the billions of dollars promised by mining companies to extract gold, silver and copper, did not materialize,” Taillant said. 

Argentina's Supreme Court knocked down the miner’s arguments, maintaining that the company failed to show that the Glacier Protection Law affected mining investments.  

“The request of Barrick to declare the unconstitutionality of the national regulations has been a perverse move that fortunately lost. Now, it is necessary to enforce the law and close Veladero. We can not allow more mining on the glaciers of the Argentines, " said Gonzalo Strano, a Greenpeace Argentina spokesperson in a media statement.  

Tuesday’s ruling halts 44 mining projects nearby or on bodies of ice that are being evaluated, according to the National Secretariat of the Environment. 

 

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Barrick meets new PNG leader about Porgera mine lease extension

Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) (NYSE:GOLD) president and CEO Mark Bristow, along with the executive director of JV partner Zijin Mining Group, today met with Papua New Guinea's new prime minister James Marapa about extending the current special mining lease on the Porgera gold mine, which is set to expire on August 16, 2019. This marks the second time that Bristow has visited the country this year to reaffirm its commitment to the Porgera JV.

Bristow also met with the governor of Enga province, the Porgera landowners and other stakeholders to discuss the proposed lease extension.

The Porgera mine, located 130km west of Mt. Hagen and 600km northwest of Port Moresby, first poured gold in 1990, producing over 20Moz of gold over the life of mine. It contributes to about 10% of the nation's exports and employs over 3,300 Papua New Guineans.

Barrick and Zijin each owns 47.5% of the mine, while the landowners and the Enga provincial government hold the remaining 5% interest.

“The proposed extension to its lease will allow the mine to remain productive for at least another 20 years," says Bristow. "To sustain mine operations, however, it will require a significant capital injection, and it is difficult to justify that kind of investment without the security of an extended mine lease."

Shares of Barrick advanced over 5% on Monday morning as the gold market kept its momentum from last week, hitting a 10-week high earlier today. The company's market capitalization now sits at approximately $21.8 billion.

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Barrick Gold mulls $1B expansion of Pueblo Viejo mine

Canada’s Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX)(NYSE:GOLD), the world's second largest producer of the precious metal, said it was considering a $1 billion expansion of its Pueblo Viejo mine, in the Dominican Republic, a 60-40 joint venture with Newmont Goldcorp (NYSE: NEM)(TSX: NGT).

Having recommitted Barrick to its Latin American portfolio earlier this year, president and CEO Mark Bristow said the company expected to complete in 2020 a feasibility study for the expansion of the gold mine, already a “tier one” asset.

$1B project includes an expansion of the Pueblo Viejo's processing plant and tailings capacity and it has the potential to extend the life of the mine into the 2030s.

The gold giant defines as "tier one" a mine with a projected life of more than 10 years and production, as of 2017, of at least 500,000 ounces of gold.

The project includes an expansion of the Pueblo Viejo's processing plant and tailings capacity and it has the potential to extend the life of the mine into the 2030s and beyond.

"We look forward to continue making a significant and growing contribution to our communities and other stakeholders and to unlocking the enormous value of its mineral potential while addressing the historical third-party environmental issues," Bristow said in the statement.

The executive noted that Barrick and its JV partners had already invested $5.2 billion in Pueblo Viejo, which represented about 20% of the total foreign direct investment in the Central American country over the past 10 years.

Pueblo Viejo, located nearly 100km northwest of Dominican Republic’s capital Santo Domingo, began production in 2012. Last year, it churned out 581,000 ounces of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of $623 an ounce in 2018 and is forecast to produce 550,000 to 600,000 ounces this year at an AISC of $610-$650 an ounce.

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Barrick’s bid for Acacia an “appropriate” and “elegant” solution to Tanzania’s woes — CEO

Barrick Gold’s (TSX:ABX)(NYSE:GOLD) chief executive, Mark Bristow, said the company’s bid for its 64%-owned Acacia Mining (LON:ACA) is an “appropriate” and “elegant” solution to the long-running row over outstanding tax claims that has hit the African miner’s bottom-line.

The $285-million offer, considered by some analysts and Acacia’s minority shareholders as a low, would see the world's second largest gold miner buying the remaining 35% of Acacia it does not already own, at a discount.

“We’re not trying to exploit any particular situation,” Bristow told Bloomberg. “At the end of the day we do believe it’s a well-considered, fair and proper proposal that should be taken seriously.”

“We’re not trying to exploit any particular situation,” CEO Mark Bristow said referring to Barrick’s $285-million offer for Acacia Mining.

The proposed takeover, said Barrick last week, was made after realizing that the government of Tanzania was not prepared to deal directly with Acacia to settle their differences.

Acacia, the African country's No.1 gold producer, has been embroiled in a battle with Tanzania since 2017, when the  government banned exports of unprocessed metal and slapped it with a $190 billion tax bill— equal to almost two centuries worth of revenue.

The company was also forced to cut output by a third from two of its three mines in the country — Bulyanhulu and Buzwag.

A "tragedy"

Since then, the relationship between Barrick and Acacia has been strained and progress moving an agreement forward has been “almost impossible,” Bristow acknowledged earlier this month.

“It’s a tragedy," he said. "We’re dealing with a complete breakdown of relationships.”

For about two years, Barrick has been leading negotiations with President John Magufuli’s administration, first under executive chairman John Thornton and, more recently, under Bristow.

The South African geologist, who spent decades finding and building his own mines in Africa, has been considered by many analysts as the only one who could effectively end the never-ending row.

Acacia has sought to resolve some of its issues with Tanzania through international arbitration.

framework deal reached in February proposed that Acacia would pay $300 million to settle the tax claims and agree to split returns from operations with the country going forward. But Acacia has maintained its position that before approving any agreement its board should review it first.

“In our opinion, the bid value reflects the $300 million tax payment that has been negotiated between Barrick and the government of Tanzania, which becomes payable once a resolution is ratified,” Jefferies’ analysts wrote last week.

Acacia, which has said that much of the tax dispute stems from the period when the Canadian mining giant fully owned it, has sought to resolve some of its issues with Tanzania through international arbitration.

According to sources close to the matter, Barrick may choose to postpone any decisions on the proposed takeover until then.

With files from Bloomberg

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Acacia blames Barrick for barring it from Tanzania talks, mulls takeover bid

Barrick Gold’s subsidiary Acacia Mining (LON:ACA) condemned its parent company on Wednesday for keeping it out of the discussions with the government of Tanzania about a long-running row over outstanding tax claims.

The African miner’s comments come on the heels of the Canadian gold giant’s bid to take full control of the company, which is Tanzania’s No. 1 gold miner.

Toronto-based Barrick has proposed to buy the remaining 35% of Acacia it does not already own through an all-stock offer pitched at a discount, arguing that the plan offers a route to end Acacia’s crippling dispute with Tanzania’s government.

Barrick said it made the $285m-takeover bid because it was clear the government of Tanzania was not prepared to deal directly with Acacia and settle their long-running tax row.

The $285 million proposal made to Acacia’s board and management will offer 0.153 of Barrick shares for each of Acacia’s and implies a valuation of $787 million for the whole unit.

“Since the proposal is in Barrick shares, the Acacia minority shareholders will be able to benefit from any future potential upside in both the Acacia assets and Barrick's broader portfolio of assets,” Barrick said in the statement.

The offer, it noted, was made after realizing that the government of Tanzania was not prepared to deal directly with Acacia to settle their differences.

“As a consequence of the negotiations with the government of Tanzania, Barrick has had the opportunity to undertake detailed due diligence on the Acacia assets and on the basis of this work has concluded that the proposal on the terms set out above reflects the fair value of the company,” it said.

Faith in Bristow

For about two years, Barrick has been leading negotiations with President John Magufuli’s administration, first under executive chairman John Thornton and, more recently, under chief executive Mark Bristow.

The South African geologist, who spent decades finding and building his own mines in Africa, has been considered by many analysts as the only one who could effectively end the row over unpaid taxes claims.

Barrick has until June 18 to decide if it will follow through with a firm offer.

A framework deal reached in February proposed that Acacia would pay $300 million to settle the tax claims and agree to split returns from operations with the country going forward. But Acacia has maintained its position that before approving any agreement its board should review it first.

“In our opinion, the bid value reflects the $300m tax payment that has been negotiated between Barrick and the government of Tanzania, which becomes payable once a resolution is ratified,” Jefferies’ analysts wrote in a note on Wednesday.

“Acacia notes that it continues to be excluded from the discussions between Barrick and the government of Tanzania,” it said. “In the meantime, Acacia shareholders are strongly advised to take no further action.”

The company, which owns and operates Tanzania’s three major mines — Bulyanhulu, Buzwagi and North Mara, also said it would seek to clarify the position of Tanzania’s government.

Barrick has until June 18 to decide if it will follow through with a firm offer.

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YMP launches 10 more scholarships totalling $44K, including inaugural Northern Miner scholarship

The Young Mining Professionals (YMP) is bumping up its YMP Scholarship Fund for the 2019-20 academic year for students in mining-related university programs in Canada.

The YMP Scholarship Fund is a a registered charity that donates 100% of its receipts to students via this scholarship program, and is eligible to offer tax receipts to its donors. These latest scholarships are being funded by Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD), Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM), Iamgold (TSX: IMG; NYSE: IAG), Yamana Gold (TSX: YRI; NYSE: AUY), Anaconda Mining(TSX: ANX), The Northern Miner and Orefinders Resources (TSXV: ORX).

The 2019 YMP Scholarship Fund includes:

The Peter Munk Scholarship — A $10,000 scholarship in partnership with Barrick Gold as well as an interview for an internship with Barrick will be awarded to a student who embodies Peter Munk’s entrepreneurial spirit. Well-qualified post-secondary students in mining-related college programs will also be considered

The Agnico Eagle Perseverance/Kajussissimainarniq Scholarship — A $10,000 scholarship in partnership with Agnico Eagle Mines as well as an interview for an internship with Agnico will be awarded to a Nunavut Inuit student pursuing a career in mining.

Orefinders Mining Innovation Scholarship — A $4,000 scholarship in partnership with Orefinders Resources to an exceptional Canadian university student who demonstrates the vision for change in the mining industry via an innovative technical solution.

The Woman in Mining Scholarship sponsored by Iamgold — One $4,000 and one $1,000 scholarship funded by Iamgold will be provided to two exceptional women enrolled in mining-related programs via an innovative one-page creation.

The Student in Mining Scholarship sponsored by Yamana Gold — One $4,000 and one $1,000 scholarship funded by Yamana will be provided to two extraordinary aspiring industry professionals enrolled in mining-related programs via an innovative one-page creation.

The Atlantic Canadian Student in Mining Scholarship sponsored by Anaconda Mining — One $4,000 scholarship funded by Anaconda Mining will be provided to a tech-savvy student of mining who makes an impressive prediction for the future.

The Northern Miner Scholarship $5,000 scholarship — funded by The Northern Miner to an individual with a vision for the future and a passion for putting pen to paper. The best submitted essay will have an opportunity to be published in an issue of The Northern Miner.

Scholarships will be awarded to students who are pursuing a career in the mining industry and are enrolled in mining-related programs (earth sciences, mining engineering, etc.) for the 2019-20 academic year at Canadian universities. Well-qualified post-secondary students in mining-related college programs will also be considered.

The deadline to apply for all scholarships is Aug. 31, 2019, with the winners announced on Sept. 30, 2019.

Each scholarship requires individual applications, and YMP says that “applicants will be considered based on their academic achievement, their extracurricular involvement, and their submissions demonstrating their creativity, perseverance, innovative ideas and commitment to a career in mining.”

The YMP further comments: “A strong entrepreneurial spirit is needed in Canada’s exploration and mining industries, and these scholarships recognize the qualities that are integral to developing mines and building mining and exploration companies.”

For more information on the scholarships, click here. 

Individuals or corporations who would like to support or create a scholarship can contact YMP at toronto@youngminingprofessionals.com.

YMP is a growing association of mostly under-40 mining professionals with chapters in Vancouver, Toronto, Sudbury, Montreal, London, U.K., Perth, Brisbane and Johannesburg.

The YMP’s role, it says, is to assist participants in obtaining the skills, support and knowledge to successfully advance their careers, develop a network of contacts within the industry and identify career and mining-related investment opportunities. YMP facilitates these objectives through networking, social events and guest speaker events.

(This story first appeared in The Northern Miner)

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