Healthy pipeline of projects to support lead mine production for the next decade

A healthy pipeline of projects over the next decade will support lead mine production growth, says research firm Fitch Solutions Macro Research, pointing out that the metal is often produced as a by-product of other metals, including zinc, silver and copper. Globally, the top four producers – China, Australia, the US and Peru – will account for about 70% of global lead mine production over this period.

Nyrstar temporarily reopens old lead plant in South Australia

Belgium's Nyrstar has temporarily reopened an old lead processing plant in the state of South Australia after receiving a permit from the state's environmental protection authority (EPA), it said on Monday. Nyrstar, which was taken over by global trading house Trafigura in late July, had shut down its modern lead smelter furnace in Port Pirie, Australia, after an incident in early August in a second disruption at the plant this year.

Canada’s Monarca to acquire San José project in Mexico

Monarca Minerals (TSXV: MMN) entered into an option agreement to acquire a 100% interest in the 5,580-hectare San José project located in Chihuahua, northern Mexico.

To go ahead with the deal, Monarca will pay a total of $150,000 to the mining concession owners and the agreement includes a 2% Net Smelter Return royalty upon reaching commercial production.

In a media statement, the Canadian miner said that the option agreement is an arm's length transaction.

The San José property is considered drill-ready based on recently discovered IP geophysical targets and surface anomalies

"The decision was made to acquire this skarn and potential CRD/porphyry deposit after a surface geophysics program comprised of induced polarization (IP), resistivity, and magnetics survey completed in July and August 2018, discovered very strong IP/magnetic anomalies over a 2.8-kilometre strike length resulting in numerous drill targets," the release reads.

Monarca said that it is planning an 18-hole reverse circulation drilling program to test the strong IP and magnetics anomalies for potential precious and base metals at depth. The decision to run this program was based on the results of the surface geophysics campaign and the fact that previous chip sampling on the property produced significant gold, silver, copper, zinc and lead results.

The San Jose property is comprised of three mining concessions near the US border, approximately 125 kilometres west of El Paso, Texas. The property also sits 52 kilometres northwest of the underground Bismark silver-lead-zinc-copper mine operated by Grupo Peñoles.

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Osisko Metals drills 13 metres of 19% zinc+lead at Pine Point

Osisko Metals of Montreal has released additional assays from 145 drill holes completed in the L-36 and L-35 areas in the East Mill zone at the Pine Point zinc-lead camp. The intersections are within flat, tabular deposits and are located between nine to 51 metres below surface.

Excellent results came from hole EM-18-PP-331 that intersected 10.23% zinc and 9.19% lead over 13.1 metres and hole EM-18-PP-209 intersected 9.60% zinc and 1.53% lead over 13.5 metres.

Notable assays were also received from hole EM-18-PP-211 that cut 20.28% zinc and 5.92% lead over 6.0 metres and hole EM-18-PP-351 WITH11.62% zinc and 2.50% lead over 10.0 metres.

Osisko gave an initial 2018 inferred resource of 38.4 million tonnes grading 4.58% zinc and 1.855 lead. The current drill program will convert unclassified, near surface historical mineralization into the current resources and to locally extend known zones of mineralization.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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Osisko Metals tests pre-concentrating sorters

Montreal-based Osisko Metals reports successful results for pre-concentrating test work using material sorters. Two technologies were tested – x-ray transmission sorting and dense media separation.

Representative samples were prepared of material from Osisko’s Pine Point zinc-lead project 65 km east of Hay River. Pre-concentration of the ore can significantly reduce the cost of haulage and milling.

The x-ray transmission (XRT) sorting returned these results:

  • Zinc recoveries ranged from 76.5% to 98.0% (average of 92.6%);
  • Lead recoveries ranged from 94.9% to 99.7% (average of 97.8%);
  • Mass pull ranged from 34.4% to 73.5% (average of 49.1%); and
  • Average grade of rejected material is 75% zinc and 0.047% lead.

Dense media separation (DMS) provided these results:

  • Zinc recoveries ranged from 76.7% to 96.2% (average of 92.4%);
  • Lead recoveries ranged from 87.4% to 98.7% (average of 95.3%);
  • Mass pull ranged from 12.8% to 61.5% (average of 30.4%); and
  • Average grade of rejected material is 75% zinc and 0.08% lead.

Osisko said that the results were similar, but it will probably near-pit use XRT methods. XRT works with dry samples that are easy to handle when the weather gets cold. The XRT equipment is also more mobile than DMS equipment. That would be a major benefit as mining could move from one deposit to another on the property.

Pine Point was last mined by Cominco from 1975 to 1988. The weighted average zinc recovery of 91.91% for a head grade of 6.54% zinc, producing a concentrate grade of 58% zinc. The lead recovery averaged 88.69% for a head grade of 2.56% lead, producing a concentrate grading 75.68% lead. Osisko expects that its flotation tests of pre-concentrated ore to the historic records will at least match the historic results.

The Pine Point project currently has an inferred mineral resource of 39.4 million tonnes grading 4.58% zinc (containing 3.9 billion lb. of zinc) and 1.85% lead (containing 1.6 billion lb. of lead).

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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Massive base metals mine in Myanmar to start production in 2021

Australia-based Myanmar Metals (ASX: MYL) said Monday that its 51%-owned Bawdwin polymetallic project in Myanmar could kick off production as early as 2021, based on a prefeasibility study into a starter pit.

Bawdwin, which in a first phase of operations would be running for 13 years, will be the world’s No. 3 producing lead mine and the tenth largest silver operation It’s also set to become a significant zinc producer.

Bawdwin will be the world’s No. 3 producing lead mine and the tenth largest silver operation.

Capital costs were put at $267 million, including $33 million contingency with operating costs estimated at $108 per processed tonne. The mine will process about two-million tonnes a year of ore to produce 118,000 tonnes of lead-in-concentrate per year, more than 10-million ounces of silver-in-concentrate and 49,000 t/y of zinc-in-concentrate.

“Bawdwin’s mineral reserve and mineral resources underpin a very long life mining operation. The PFS represents our plan for Phase 1 of mining operations and this phase of life-of-mine infrastructure is built and paid for,” the company’s chairperson and CEO, John Lamb, said in a statement.

“With the infrastructure paid for in Phase 1, it is clear that future mining operations, including the first two underground mines now under scoping study, have potential to be very value accretive.”

Construction is expected to take about 21 month, after which the starter pit will begin operations. Underground mining is slated to start around year six of the starter pit.

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Tower Resources starts exploration program at Nechako gold project in BC

Tower Resources (TSXV: TWR) announced this week that its team of geologists started an exploration program on the Nechako property, located in the western Canadian province of British Columbia.

In a press release, Tower said the campaign will begin with infill reverse circulation or RC drilling at the head of the Nechako dispersal train.

In the current RC drilling program, six to eight infill holes will be drilled along the first 500 m of the trend to pin down the axis of mineralization.

"The Nechako Au-Ag-Zn-Pb-As dispersal train is similar in size and strength to known trains from some of Canada's largest gold deposits including Blackwater, Casa Berardi, Rainy River, Meadowbank, Meliadine, Amaruk and Hope Bay," the company's media brief reads. "It is 1.5 kilometres wide x 3 kilometres long and originates from a 1.5 kilometres long segment of the April Trend adjacent to the historical April showing which contains the same metals."

The new RC drilling program follows two earlier, 38 and 13-hole programs that were completed in 2017 and 2018.

According to Tower, exploration on the Nechako property has historically targeted porphyry copper mineralization. However, the Vancouver-based firm said the RC drilling showed that the real potential is for Au-Ag-Zn-Pb deposits, with As occurring as a key pathfinder element.

Located 80 kilometres south of the town of Vanderhoof, Nechako sits approximately 30 kilometres northeast of New Gold's significant Blackwater development project. Blackwater contains a proven and probable total mineral reserve of 8.2 million ounces of gold with 60.8 million ounces of silver.

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Osisko Metals cut 9.4% Pb+Zn over 12 metres at Pine Point

Montreal-based Osisko Metals has received assay results from 127 drill holes in the M-40 area within the East Mill zone at the Pine Point mining camp 65 km east of Hay River. The results are promising and they will help convert near surface, historical drill results into an upgraded 43-101 resource estimate.

All intersections were within a flat lying, tabular deposit and none were deeper than 60 metres below surface. Here are some highlights:

  • Hole M40-18-PP-072: 12.17 metres at 8.16% zinc and 1.24% lead;
  • Hole M40-18-PP-128: 6.0 metres at 6.12% zinc and 4.31% lead;
  • Hole M40-18-PP-138: 3.83 metres at 10.84% zinc and 6.91% lead;
  • Hole M40-18-PP-140: 5.37 metres at 10.60% zinc and 1.84% lead; and
  • Hole L37-17-PP-001: 3.15 metres at 5.87% zinc and 2.73% lead.

Osisko says the M40 area contains six modeled pits within the current mineral resource and stretches over a strike length of 1,070 metres.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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Interactive map pinpoints lead battery energy storage installations globally

A digital map detailing more than 120 lead battery-powered energy storage projects has been unveiled by the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI).

The map, published online for the Energy Storage Association’s annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday includes case studies demonstrating successful lead battery energy storage installations from the US to Asia and Europe.

Through a range of case studies, the map details how lead battery storage is supporting utility and renewable energy systems. This includes providing back-up for local power grids and supplying off-grid electricity to power remote communities.

“The aim of this initiative is to highlight some of these installations and encourage companies to share other examples we can highlight demonstrating the variety of projects currently in place,” CBI Director Alistair Davidson said in a statement.

“A focus of CBI is to conduct pre-competitive research to support development of the next generation of lead batteries which will significantly extend both battery life and performance, to support diverse energy systems and electrification,” said Davidson.

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Interactive map pinpoints lead battery energy storage installations globally

A digital map detailing more than 120 lead battery-powered energy storage projects has been unveiled by the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI).

The map, published online for the Energy Storage Association’s annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday includes case studies demonstrating successful lead battery energy storage installations from the US to Asia and Europe.

Through a range of case studies, the map details how lead battery storage is supporting utility and renewable energy systems. This includes providing back-up for local power grids and supplying off-grid electricity to power remote communities.

“The aim of this initiative is to highlight some of these installations and encourage companies to share other examples we can highlight demonstrating the variety of projects currently in place,” CBI Director Alistair Davidson said in a statement.

“A focus of CBI is to conduct pre-competitive research to support development of the next generation of lead batteries which will significantly extend both battery life and performance, to support diverse energy systems and electrification,” said Davidson.

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