Metalla snaps up royalty portfolio from Alamos Gold

Royalty & Streaming is acquiring a royalty on the San Luis property, above, of SSR Mining. Source: Metalla Royalty & Streaming Ltd.

Metalla Royalty & Streaming Ltd. [MTA-CSE; MTAFF-OTCQB; X9CP-FSE] said Monday April 1 that it has struck a deal to acquire a portfolio of 18 royalties from Alamos Gold Inc. [AGI-TSX, NYSE] for $11.5 million, payable in common shares of Metalla.

The acquisition of 16 royalties and two options to acquire additional royalties expands Metalla’s portfolio to 43 royalties and streams.

Metalla also said Monday it has arranged a $12 million convertible loan facility with Beedie Capital to finance acquisitions of new royalties and streams.

The loan will be financed by way of an initial $7 million advance within 90 days of closing. The remaining $5 million will be available for subsequent advances in minimum tranches of $1.25 million.

“This transaction marks a major step in the growth of Metalla,” said the company’s President and CEO Brett Heath.

On Monday, Metalla shares eased 2.24% or $0.03 to $1.31. The 52-week range is 63 cents and $1.43.  Alamos Gold eased 4.13% or 28 cents to $6.50. The shares trade in a 52-week range of $3.88 and $7.97.

The assets being acquired include a 2% NSR royalty on the El Realto property, which is owned operated by Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. [AEM-TSX, NYSE]. El Realto is adjacent to Agnico’s operating La India Mine. The portfolio being acquired also includes:

  • A 1.5% NSR royalty on the Wasamac Mine, which is located west of Rouyn-Noranda, Que., and is being developed by Monarch Gold Corp. [MQR-TSXV; MRQRF-OTC; MR7-FSE].
  • An option to purchase a 1% NSR royalty on the La Fortuna Mine, which is located in Durango, Mexico, and is being developed by Minera Alamos Inc. [MAI-TSXV].
  • A 1% NSR royalty on the producing Beaufor Mine, which is operated by Monarch Gold and located 20 km northeast of Val d’Or, Que.
  • A 1% NSR royalty on the San Luis property in Ancash Department, central Peru. It is owned by SSR Mining Inc.[SSRM-TSX, NASDAQ]

Under the agreement with Beedie, the loan facility carries an interest rate of 8% on advanced funds and 2.5% on standby funds available with the principal payment due 48 months after the date that the financing is complete. The loan can be repaid with no penalty after 18 months and carries no warrant coverage.

The principal amount of the loan will be convertible into common shares of Metalla at a conversion price of $1.39, representing a 25% premium to the 30-day volume weighted average price as of March 15, 2019.

The loan facility will be convertible at any time, at the option of Beedie, and will be secured by certain assets of the company.

In November, 2018, Metalla completed the acquisition from Gogold Resources Inc. [GGD-TSX] of a 2% royalty on the Santa Gertrudis Mine in Sonora, Mexico for US$12 million.

In June 2018, Metalla was given the green light to acquire ValGold Resources Ltd. in a share exchange deal worth $7.2 million that left ValGold shareholders and option-holders with 11.2% of the issues and outstanding common shares of Metalla.

ValGold Resources was a long-established Canadian royalty and mineral exploration company. It held a net smelter royalty on the Garrison Gold Project in the Golden Highway Mining Camp near Timmins, Ontario. It also owned the prospective Tower Mountain Gold Project near Thunder Bay, Ontario. The company’s other assets included exploration properties in Venezuela near the Kilometre 88 District and Brisas Cristinas Project.

Osisko Mining Inc. [OSK-TSX] owns 100% and is the operator of the Garrison Gold Project, which consists of a portfolio of properties spanning a 50 km distance along the Destor-Porcupine Fault Zone, encompassing 16 non-contiguous properties, including the Garrcon and Jonpol properties, 903 Zone, and Buffonta and Golden Pike advanced exploration properties.

ValGold’s primary asset was a 2% net smelter royalty on a significant portion of the project, including all the claims which were the subject of a NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate in 2014.

According to the estimate by ACA Howe International Inc., the Garrcon and Jonpol properties contain a measured and indicated resource of 30.07 million tonnes, grading 1.24 g/t gold or 1.2 million ounces. On top of that is an inferred resource of 7.9 million tonnes, grading 3.19 g/t gold or 808,000 ounce.

Exclusive Interview: Argentina promotes its mineral sector at PDAC

By Ellsworth Dickson

Carolina Sanchez, Secretary of Mining Policy, Ministry of Production and Labor. Photo courtesy Argentina government Mining Policy Secretariat´s Press office.

During the recent PDAC Convention in Toronto, Carolina Sanchez, Secretary of Mining Policy,

Ministry of Production and Labor, Argentina, spoke to Resource World about her country’s efforts to grow their mining industry.

RESOURCE WORLD: Vanadium has been attracting attention lately. Is Argentina is prospective for vanadium deposits?

CAROLINA SANCHEZ: Yes. There are orogenic deposits of vanadium at the northwest and in the central Andean region of Argentina.

RW: Sometimes vanadium deposits also contain uranium. Is that a problem or if it is a problem, can that problem be solved?

CS: There are deposits with and without uranium in Argentina. A company called Blue Sky

Uranium Corp. is currently advancing its Amarillo Grande vanadium-uranium property in Rio Negro province. This is a uranium deposit with vanadium credits – in this case of sedimentary origin. This project has a positive PEA with very good potential. Yes, the two metals can be separated. Blue Sky has other uranium projects in Argentina as well.

RW: Could you talk a little bit about lithium? Is Argentina a good place to explore for lithium?

CS: Yes. In the last three years, exploration budgets for lithium have increased by about 900%.

Most of the investments are for brine resources [salars] but there is also hard rock spodumene exploration as well.

RW: I know there are a few Canadian companies in Argentina. Are you trying to attract other countries to invest in mining projects in Argentina as well?

CS: Yes, we are seeing companies from different countries now arriving in Argentina. These include groups from France, Germany, Korea, China, Australia and Canada.

RW: For all those countries to be interested in Argentina, your government must be making efforts to attract them. Do you have some incentives for explorers to come from all over the world to your country?

CS: Yes, we have a Promotion of Mining Investment Law that establishes benefits at different stages. We also have a reimbursement of the VAT [Value Added Taxes] that is very important for a company at the exploration stage. Then we have tax benefits on tariffs for the import of capital goods and some raw materials for the mining sector and a double discount of expenditures in the exploration stage for income taxes. We know exploration companies consider this important.

RW: Does Argentina have services for mineral explorers like diamond drilling companies?

CS: We have many small and medium suppliers of goods and services for mining sector, who can form joint ventures with other mature suppliers.  There is machinery already in Argentina that could easily provide these services to mining companies.

Also, we have a great deal of experience in the oil and gas industry. The supply chain of the oil industry, which is very large in Argentina, could easily transform itself into being a supplier to the mining industry.

RW: In countries like Canada and the United States, their governments have a great deal of geological information available. Does your government have websites with lots of geological information that can help explorers?

CS: Yes. Much Argentina geological information has been digitalized and has been put online to be available for free. Anyone can access the information. Information on geological projects, mining and, in addition, all the filings that need to be done, all the procedures, permitting – they are all being digitalized and put online. For the time being, it is in Spanish.

RW: Eventually, will be in English?

CS: Yes. The geological maps are interactive so you can easily understand what you’re looking at that needs less translation. The rest – mining project information, stage of permits, etc – is in the process of being translated. (http://cima.minem.gob.ar/)

We are here at the PDAC Convention to show the potential we have in Argentina – that it is a good country trying to promote good investments. We want to help investors to develop their projects. As a country, and with our provinces, we are improving the competitiveness for mining development, improving our infrastructure and working conditions, and lowering energy costs.

Turkey encouraging domestic mineral development

By Ellsworth Dickson

H.E. Mithat Cansız, Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Republic of Turkey. Photo courtesy Government of Turkey.

In an interview with Resource World magazine, H.E. Mithat Cansız, Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Republic of Turkey, provided insight as to how his government is taking steps to encourage mineral exploration and mining.

RESOURCE WORLD: What metals and minerals worth exploring for in Turkey?

MITHAT CANSIZ: Turkey has a very important geological position being located on the Alpine-Himalayan Orogenic Belt. The crustal layer, where our country stands on, has been subjected to orogeny, subsidence, uplift and tectonism in vertical and horizontal directions in various geological periods. As a result of these movements, hundreds of kilometres of faults and thousands of small-scale fault zones related to these faults have been formed. Because of this intense tectonic activity, Turkey has a complex geological structure, thus a diversified mineral potential.

A total of 77 of the 90 minerals that are used in industry throughout the world can be found in our country. Whilst exploration and research activities are being carried out continuously in Turkey, a significant portion of the country’s 783,000 km2 of surface area is still waiting for explorers and investors.

Turkey, which has 73% of the world’s boron resources, also has rich chromium deposits. Primary metallic minerals in our country include gold, copper, silver, molybdenum, lead, zinc, nickel, cobalt and more. Underlining the fact that our country also has a high potential of rare earth elements and natural stones, we can list other minerals such as marble, travertine, feldspar and various industrial salts. Also our lignite potential is substantial.

RW: Is the mining sector in Turkey growing?

MC: Like other sectors, the mining industry keeps developing in Turkey. With an increase of 50% compared to previous years, the share of the mining sector in our GNP is about 1.2%. Our main goal is to increase this rate to 4% within five years.

I would like to answer this question from the development of our country’s gold mining in particular. Whilst there was no gold mining facility in our country in the beginning of 21st century, we have established 15 gold operating facilities in 18 years – actually not a long time for the mining sector. Our gold production in 2018 was 27.1 tons and our country is currently one of the biggest gold producers in Europe. Our target for 2019 is to exceed 30 tons.

Along with the quantitative growth, I must also mention that our country’s mining sector has also met the requirements in terms of technical infrastructure. Many legislative and technical innovations have been implemented in order to ensure the continuity of the development trend in mining.

RW: Is the government of Turkey making efforts to attract mineral explorers?

MC: First of all, I would like to point out that investors operating in our mining industry are providing undeniable contributions to our country. In order to attract more investors to Turkey, we explain the mining potential of Turkey in every international platform. In our mining sector, there are currently 119 foreign investors and we continue our efforts to increase this number.

For this purpose, we established the National Resources and Reserves Reporting Committee (UMREK) in order to meet the financing needs of investors more easily and reliably. We have completed our membership process to CRIRSCO, the international umbrella organization in this field. Turkey is currently the 13th member of CRIRSCO, and the first in Eurasia. In addition, with the new law amendments that came into effect recently, we expanded the scope of the incentives that had been provided for investors.

We continue to work on new incentives and company models to attract domestic and foreign investors’ attention to Turkey’s mining sector. We have prepared the Mining Investment Guide for the promotion of our mining industry. In order to promote the geological structure, mining potential and mining sector in the best way, we joined PDAC 2019 in Toronto for the first time with high level managers and a strong personnel team to represent our Ministry. Our international promotions and investor invitations will continue.

RW: Can foreign mineral explorers have confidence in Turkey’s regulations on proprietary rights?

MC: The proprietary rights on licenses owned by mining investors are guaranteed by the laws and regulations in effect. It is clearly explained in the relevant laws and regulations under what conditions these rights will be terminated without making discrimination between domestic and foreign investors. I would like to underline that the ownership of the licenses cannot be terminated under any conditions except for the cases described in the laws and regulations.

As a result, proprietary rights of the licenses belonging to all domestic and foreign companies investing in Turkey are under state guarantee.

RW: Does Turkey have clear regulations regarding exploration, mine building and mining operations?

MC: The prerequisites and other necessary obligations before and during the execution of all mining activities in Turkey are mentioned in the Mining Law and other relevant legislation step by step and clearly. Again, there is a document entitled Mining Regulations in which the articles in the Mining Law are clearly explained. Thus, there is no uncertainty regarding the obligations, laws and operational side of mining activities.

RW: Does the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources have a geology department where explorers can access information?

MC: The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, which is the sole governmental umbrella body, has separate General Directorates where all investors engaged in mining activities can access all necessary information from mining exploration / research to operation. General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration (MTA), which is the centre of all geological researches and the headquarters where the foundation that form the basic reference of mining in our country, has been prepared.

Data obtained from exploration and research activities related to the geology of our country is shared with public and private sector. MTA has the Turkey Geoscience and Core Data Bank (TUVEK) which has an extremely modern scientific design under its roof. TUVEK is a data bank that contains all geological studies, core and cuttings samples in Turkey which contains the basic data for investors.

RW: Does a foreign mineral explorer need to complete a certain amount of work with a time limit?

MC: Our Mining Law divides minerals into five main groups. Time periods (limits) and windows for exploration and operation are defined clearly according to these groups. The length of exploration licences differs from two to nine years. For example, exploration licences of natural stones are minimum two years and for metallic ores, the exploration period can be extended to nine years. At the end of exploration period, investors are obligated to deliver a resource and deposit report in order to move on with the operation phase. The law also defines the length of operation licenses from 5 to 99 years. Durations of exploration and operation licenses are reasonable, and are defined by considering the needs of investors.

RW: Is there reasonable permitting time for exploration and mining projects?

MC: Mining Law defines the mandatory permits prior to operational activities. These permits contain necessities for environmental and human health and the permits are granted by Ministries related to agriculture, environment, forestry etc. As described under above answer, there are specific and reasonable time windows at every phase of mining activities.

RW: Does Turkey have good environmental regulations?

MC: Environmental regulations are formed and conducted by The Ministry of Environment and Urbanization under the content of related legislations. These legislations are in compliance with the European Union legal acquis. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report is required prior to mining activities. No operation permit is granted without EIA Report. Furthermore, The Ministry of Environment and Urbanization strictly inspects mining operations.

RW: With Turkey sharing a border with Syria and some terrorist incidents having taken place, are the hostilities far removed from areas that are prospective for minerals?

MC: As reported worldwide, there have been certain adverse incidents in our southern neighbour Syria and these are happening inside the borders of Syria. Some exceptional incidents inside our borders resulting from Syrian actions are eliminated with the necessary precautions taken. Turkey has very high standards in terms of justice and homeland security. Therefore, there are no problems for mining investors to be concerned about. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Some Canadian mining companies have projects in the western part of the country such as Alamos Gold that report being comfortable working there.)

RW: Does Turkey have a reasonable amount of infrastructure in place such as roads and electric power?

MC: The Republic of Turkey, which will celebrate its hundredth anniversary in 2023, has a deep-rooted history. It is ranked 17th among the greatest economies in the world with a GDNP of US$852 billion. Our country has reached the infrastructural standards (along with many others) of developed countries. Actually, we even outstripped some of the European Union members. Turkey stands as a natural bridge and a corridor for energy between Asia and Europe due to its geopolitical location. Our country follows and participates in the improvement of the developments in the technology from transportation to communications simultaneously with the world and opens these developments to public use.

Turkey, which ranked in the upper positions among many OECD countries, has 67,333 km of road networks (63,415 km covered with asphalt and surface dressing). In addition, railroad has reached 12,608 km, including 1,213 km of high-speed railway. Turkish Airlines, a world-class operation, flies to 381 different destinations worldwide and ranks at number one in terms of the number of destinations. The installed electrical power of Turkey has reached 88,000 MW. Our country, an applicant for the EU, is also a member of many international organizations like UN, NATO, OECD and Customs Union.

American Manganese advances on testing update

Scrap battery cathode material

American Manganese Inc. [AMY-TSXV; AMYZF-OTCPINK] said Friday March 8 that it continues to process cathode scraps through the company’s lithium-ion battery recycling pilot plant.

Using the company’s patent-approved process, the scraps underwent separation and leach operations, yielding a pregnant leach solution (PLS) containing cathode metals (cobalt, lithium, nickel and manganese) in quantities that meet the company’s high expectations.

More than 500 litres of PLS have now been collected for further testing and prepared for the remaining three stages of the pilot plant project, the company said.

American Manganese shares advanced on the news, rising 7.41% or $0.01 to 14.5 cents. The 52-week range is 13 cents and 26.5 cents.

American Manganese wants to become an industry-leading miner of cathode metals from spent lithium-ion batteries.

The company took a key step along the road to that goal by announcing recently that the United States Patent Office had issued a notice of patent allowance for American Manganese’s battery recycling technology.

“The Notice of Allowance is formal notification indicating that the examination of the invention has been completed by the US Patent and Trademark Office and allowed for issuance of the US patent,” the company said at the time.

“Allowance of this patent is a significant milestone for the company as the invention is now secured as a key asset that can be exclusively capitalized,’’ said American Manganese CEO Larry Reaugh.

Global warming is putting severe pressure on governments everywhere to reduce carbon emissions. That in turn is expected to result in sharply increased production and sale of electric vehicles.

The company said it recognized early on that significant growth in the electric vehicle market will eventually lead to supply strains in materials used to make lithium-ion batteries.

The company hopes to capitalize on the expected electric vehicle revolution through being able to take EV batteries, convert them into cathode materials of high purity that can go directly back into a battery.

The suite of cathode materials includes lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese and aluminum.

“This would avert the release of anything into the environment,” Reaugh has said.

Needing to secure a deal with a cathode scrap provider, American Manganese recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to form a partnership with Battery Safety Solutions B.V. (BSS).

BSS is a private Dutch company that specializes in the collection, discharging and dismantling of lithium-ion batteries.

The Dutch firm has developed a unique process that completely discharges a lithium-ion battery in a fraction of the time needed by conventional methods, and then stores 100% of the discharged energy. Once the battery is discharged, BSS can safely disassemble and sort lithium-ion battery components.

The MOU was signed after bench-scale tests on disassembled battery samples sent to American Manganese by BSS yielded positive results, utilizing the Surrey, B.C. company’s patented process.

Aside from its quick discharging process, BSS is expected to bring to the partnership its expertise in European marketing, access to customers, and experience with safe handling.

During a recent interview with Resource World, Reaugh said the next stage would be to conduct pilot tests to show that the company can scale up to large scale production.

The betting is that if American Manganese can show a quick payback from pilot testing, it will be able to raise the funds required to build larger plants in the future.

“The pilot plant testing procedure is done in a manner that helps collect valuable operational data that will help us optimize the pilot plant for testing at a continuous rate once all the stages are complete,” Reaugh said in a press release on Friday.

“While the pilot plant testing is expected to be complete by the end of May 2019, EV (electric vehicle) and battery manufacturers are already conducting due diligence on our process,” he said.

Mining metals from batteries marks a change of focus for American Manganese, which had previously been engaged in trying to mine manganese from low-grade ore at a deposit in Arizona.

However, when a drop in the price of manganese made the Arizona project uneconomic, the company mothballed the project and contracted Kemetco Research of Richmond, B.C. to develop the battery mining technology into an efficient recycling process.

Pilot tests on cathode scrap provided by a U.S. metal recycler are being conducted at a pilot plant set up at Kemetco’s laboratories

Barrick, Newmont CEOs to discuss joint venture

The Zaldivar copper mine in Chile. Source: Barrick Gold Corp.

After a week of verbal sparring over a proposed merger, the ceos of Barrick Gold Corp. [ABX-TSX, NYSE] and Newmont Mining Corp. [NEM-NYSE]were set to meet in New York late Tuesday.

Newmont CEO Gary Goldberg told Bloomberg News that he won’t be discussing Barrick’s bid for his company, but rather Newmont’s proposal for a joint venture around the companies’ assets in Nevada.

The gold mining head honchos have scheduled a meeting after Newmont rejected an offer to be acquired by Barrick Gold Corp. [ABX-TSX, NYSE] and countered with a proposal that would see both companies embarking on a Nevada joint venture while Newmont proceeds with its acquisition of Goldcorp. [G-TSX, NYSE-GG].

Newmont’s rebuttal comes a week after Barrick launched a US$18 billion hostile bid to acquire its biggest U.S. rival in an all share transaction that would create the world’s largest gold producer.

Barrick has said the combined company would have a market cap of $42 billion. It would produce 10 million ounces of gold annual at an all-in-sustaining cost of under US$900 an ounce and hold reserves of over 140.5 million ounces.

However, Newmont is proposing a joint venture with Barrick that wold see both parties contribute all of their Nevada-related assets and liabilities to the joint venture. Barrick would hold a 55% economic interest with Newmont holding the other 45%. Each company would have an equal number of representatives on the management and technical committees.

Voting rights would be proportionate to economic ownership on several matters, including annual budgets and life of mine plans.

Under the Newmont proposal, the 45%/55% split was based on consensus net asset values of each party’s Nevada-related assets plus a 50%/50% split of Barrick’s estimated Nevada synergies.

Barrick CEO Mark Bristow has subsequently rejected Newmont’s joint venture proposal, saying successful joint ventures are based on the majority owner also being the operator. He also argued that ownership should be divided on a 63%/37% basis in favour of Barrick.

The merger proposal has emerged as Newmont works to complete a friendly merger with that Goldcorp that was announced on January 14, 2019.

If the Newmont bid for Goldcorp succeeds, the combined company, called Newmont Gold would rank as the largest producer globally by some distance with output of between 6.0 million and 7.0 million ounces of gold annually.

In an update on, Newmont said it has identified additional synergies that would stem from the merger with Goldcorp. Newmont said it now expects combined pre-tax synergies of $365 million, an amount that is $100 million higher than a previous estimate and results from work completed by the two companies supply chain teams.

On Tuesday, Newmont shares were up 0.15% or US$0.05 to US$34.50. On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Barrick advanced 0.78% or 13 cents to $16.75.

Chile set to revive its dormant cobalt sector

Chilean Mines Minister Baldo Prokurica

Already a major producer of copper and lithium, Chile is gearing up to join the electromobility revolution by reviving its dormant cobalt sector.

During an interview with Resource World Magazine, Chilean Mines Minister Baldo Prokurica said the ultimate goal is for Chile to become a supplier of lithium ion batteries to the global auto sector

In order to achieve that goal, Chile is hoping to become a producer of cobalt in the near future, a move that would enhance the Latin American country’s ability to supply so-called battery metals, including lithium and copper, which are vital ingredients in the production of mobile consumer devices and electric vehicles.

According to a recent Reuters article global, auto makers are gearing up to invest US$300 billion to develop electric vehicles and procure or manufacture batteries over the next five to 10 years. China will be the driving force in the growth of both electric vehicles and battery manufacturing. China is expected to account for 45% of all spending on electric vehicles, the Reuters report said.

By mining cobalt, Chile also is hoping to capitalize on reports that customers in the battery manufacturing industry are looking for alternatives to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), currently the source of 54% of the world’s cobalt supply.

Amnesty International has warned electric car companies to seek out alternatives to the DRC, which is well known for its mineral wealth, but also civil wars, corruption and use of child labour.

Reports of child labour at small mines in the Congo has prompted some end users to trace the supply chain for cobalt in the batteries they buy.

It is a trend that is presenting opportunities for countries that can offer cobalt mined from operations that are not tainted by an association to corrupt practices in the DRC.

“Chile is a politically stable democracy,’’ said Prokurica. “We take care to respect human rights and our environmental regulations are very strict,” he said. “We don’t have the problems that you are seeing in some African countries.

Prokurica plans to convey that message to the global mining sector during the 2019 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto this week.

He said Chile was a significant producer of cobalt prior to the World War Two. At that time, the cobalt was being mined from small scale operations. Another Chilean government official said geologists are aware of other cobalt deposits in Chile that could be brought into production to support the country’s electromobility plans.

Chilean Cobalt Corp., a subsidiary of U.S. holding company Glenlith Inc., is currently working to develop cobalt resources in the San Juan District (700 kilometres north of Santiago), formerly the largest cobalt producing district in Chile. Chilean Cobalt’s asset portfolio includes the La Cobaltera project, which covers 1,500 hectares and is home to three former cobalt mines.

The San Juan District successfully exploited cobalt for decades, and a common facility (La Cobaltera), processed the ore before it was shut down in 1944.

Chile is already the world’s leading producer of copper. It also ranks as the globe’s second largest producer of lithium.

Chile produced 5.8 million tonnes of copper and 81,378 tonnes of lithium in 2018.

As an electric vehicle can contain more than a mile of copper wiring, Chile expects to be a beneficiary of the expected rise in demand for electric vehicles. Prokurica said the trade war between China and the U.S. has put pressure on the price of copper. But he is confident that a resolution to the trade war will send copper prices up from current levels.

Chile hopes to capitalize by increasing its annual copper production to 6.5 million tonnes within the next three years. During the PDAC conference, Prokurica planned to share that message in presentations to senior officials from Teck Resources Ltd. (TECK.B-TSX, TECK.A-TSX, TECK-NYSE] and Amerigo Resources Ltd. [ARG-TSX].

Prokurica spoke to Resource World on the day after the CEO of iron ore miner Vale SA [VALE-NYSE], and several other senior company executives resigned following a January, 2019, rupture of a tailings dam at Vale’s Corrego de Feijao mine in Brazil.

The rupture released huge amounts of toxic sludge, killing at least 300 people who were caught in its path.

“We see that situation in Brazil as a catastrophe that affects the industry worldwide,’’ Prokurica said. He said the disaster will lead to tighter regulations and stricter tailings dam monitoring procedures in his country.

Vale is currently the world’s largest producer of iron ore.

Flawed Bill C-69 Risks Worsening Plunge in Resource-Sector Investment: C.D. Howe Institute

Bill C-69 threatens to further depress investment in the natural resources sector and delay projects by unnecessarily exposing them to political risk, says a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute.

The planned investment value of major resource sector projects plunged $100 billion between 2017 and 2018, note Grant Bishop and Grant Sprague, authors of “A Crisis of Our Own Making: Prospects for Major Natural Resource Projects in Canada.” This plunge is equivalent to 4.5 percent of Canada’s gross domestic product.

With investment in Canada’s resources sector already depressed, the federal government’s proposed Bill C-69 could further discourage investments by congesting the assessment process with wider public policy concerns and increasing political uncertainty. Proponents of major projects may perceive additional political risks because of a lower threshold to trigger political decision-making and a highly subjective standard for project approval.

“The crowding of policy debates – for example, over Canadian policy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – into project-specific determinations risks significantly prolonging the assessment process and exacerbating uncertainty for project proponents,” say Bishop and Sprague.

The report recommends the federal government:

  • Specify clear criteria for assessing projects that can be applied in a consistent and timely manner.
  • Preserve the role of “lifecycle” regulators (i.e., the National Energy Board/Canadian Energy Regulator and Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) in leading assessments.
  • Require a project’s adverse effects be found “significant” before involving political decision-makers.
  • Ensure review panels can focus on relevant submissions by maintaining an appropriate standard for participation in hearings.
  • Update guidance for federal officials to ensure consistent consultation of Indigenous peoples –that satisfies the past decade of case law on the duty to consult.
  • Compile and annually report on timelines for federal environmental assessments across major projects in Canada compared to other countries.

“Many projects in Canada have faced environmental assessments that take much longer than in comparator jurisdictions,” note Bishop and Sprague. “Canadian timelines for mining projects are substantially longer than in Australia, and Canadian pipeline approvals are protracted relative to those in the United States.”

Women in Mining Canada announces Lundin Mining CEO Marie Inkster as keynote speaker for Mining for Diversity Reception at PDAC

Event celebrates diversity and inclusion in the mining industry at this year’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention.

Keynote Speaker Marie Inkster

Women in Mining Canada (WIMC) is both honoured and delighted to announce Marie Inkster, President, CEO & Director of Lundin Mining as the keynote speaker for The Mining for Diversity Reception on Tuesday March 5, 2019 from 4pm to 6pm, as part of this year’s PDAC Convention.

The event, part networking-cocktail and part award ceremony, has grown to be a major event at PDAC. Awards presented include Trailblazer (women who have “cleared a path for other women”), Trailblazer Indigenous (aimed at Indigenous women helping other Indigenous women), Trailblazer Student (women students who have shown an interest in the mining industry) and Rick Hutson Mentorship (men and women who have guided and supported women in their mining careers). WIMC will also take the opportunity to acknowledge the Women’s Association of the Mining Industry of Canada (WAMIC), which has a rich history woven into the fabric of the mining industry for almost 100 years.

This past October, Ms. Inkster was appointed President, CEO & Director of Lundin, a multinational minerals company, after working her way up from CFO and VP of Finance. While CFO, the company successfully acquired U.S-based Eagle Underground Mine and Chile-based Candelaria Copper Mining Complex, and saw notable growth initiatives through exploration and brownfields expansions. Prior to Lundin, Ms. Inkster held senior positions in several publicly traded companies, culminating in 20 years of experience.

A special thank you to our sponsors for their generous support: Royal Bank of Canada (Gold); Lundin Mining (Silver); 30% Club, Kinross Gold, KPMG, Osisko Gold Royalties and Sherritt International Corp. (all Bronze); and ERM (Trailblazer awards). Thank you also to EY for the video and to Teck, WIMC’s Core Bronze sponsor.

Event Partners:

  • Mining Industry Human Resources (MiHR) Council
  • Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group (Aboriginal Women in Mining Program)
  • The Women’s Association of the Mining Industry of Canada (WAMIC)
  • Women Who Rock
  • All Canadian WIM chapters (BC, Montreal, SK, Toronto, Yukon) and student chapters
  • Canadian Gender and Good Governance Alliance
  • Women Geoscientist in Canada
  • Engineers Canada
  • Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

This reception is coordinated by Women in Mining Canada in collaboration with the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.

About Women in Mining Canada (WIMC)

WIMC is a national not-for-profit organization formed in 2009 focused on advancing the interests of women in the minerals exploration and mining sector.

For more information contact:

Marie Francine Poitras
Women in Mining Canada – Director and Events Committee Chair
Cell: 514-238-5601
wimc.miningfordiversity@gmail.com

This press release was written by Sherryll Sobie Cooke who supports corporate affairs teams in the mining industry with project management, communications strategy, editing and writing. Sherryll works on large projects and retains a roster of freelancers who have experience writing for our industry. You can reach her at sherryll.sobie@sympatico.ca or 416-466-3562.

BHP calls for body to oversee tailings dams

Olympic Dam is a multi-mineral ore body containing uranium oxide, copper, gold and silver. Source BHP

BHP Billiton Ltd. [BHP-NYSE; BHPLF-OTCPK] CEO Andrew Mackenzie is urging the global mining industry to ensure there is no repeat of the recent collapse of a tailings dam at Vale SA’s [VALE-NYSE], Brumadinho iron ore operation in Brazil.

The Brumadinho dam breach, which occurred on Friday, January 25, 2018, killed 169 people.  Another 141 have been declared missing, according to published reports. The incident has prompted Brazil to impose a ban on so-called upstream dams. This type of dam will need to be decommissioned or removed by August 2021, according to a resolution that was published by the National Mining Agency on February 18, 2019.

“The recent tragedy at Vale’s iron ore operation shows we, as an industry, must act with even greater urgency to make sure these incidents do not happen,” Mackenzie said in a statement that contains BHP’s half year financial results.

“At BHP, we welcome a common, international and independent body to oversee the integrity of the construction and operation of all dams,” he said.

“And we support the call for increased transparency in tailings dam disclosure.”

The tailings dam breach near Brumadinho has been declared a Brazilian national disaster. Three years ago, a similar disaster occurred in the same state at a mine operated by Samarco, a joint venture involving Vale and BHP Billiton. It resulted in the death of 19 people and poisoned local drinking water.

In British Columbia, a tailings dam breach at Imperial Metals Corp.’s  [III-TSX] Mount Polley copper-gold mine in August 2014  released over 21 million cubic metres of water and mine tailings in the surrounding environment and water courses.

According to B.C.’s Chief Inspector of Mines, the spill was due to a structural failure of the Mount Polley tailings storage facility perimeter embankment.

Fitch and Moody’s recently downgraded their credit ratings on Vale “on the expectation that the company will incur heavy repatriation costs as a result of the Brumadinho accident and the expectation of decreased production in the near-to-intermediate term and additional capex for remediation and other expenditures needed to ensure safety.

Mackenzie said BHP has significantly increased the rigour of its assessment and management of tailings facilities since the failure of the Fandao dam at Samarco in 2015.

“Dam safety reviews have been performed at all significant active, inactive and closed tailings facilities across BHP, including a thorough evaluation of risk,” he said.

Vale recently presented to Brazilian authorities a plan to decommission all of its dams built by the upstream method. “The plan presented to the Brazilian authorities aims to de-characterize these structures as tailings dams in order to reintegrate them into the environment,” the company said.

Vale said it currently has 10 dams built by the upstream method. All of them are currently inactive.

The company has estimated that it will cost around US$2.5 billion to decommission its upstream dams, a process that is expected to occur over the next three years.

In order to carry out the decommissioning of the upstream dams safely and quickly, Vale said it would temporarily halt the production of units where the structures are located. It said the estimated impact of the production stoppage is about 40 million tons of iron ore per year. Included in this figure is the pellet feed needed for the production of 11 million tons of pellets.

Troilus Gold insiders increase share ownership

By Peter Kennedy

The past-producing Troilus gold mine near Chibougamau, Quebec. Source: Troilus Gold Corp.

Troilus Gold Corp. [TLG-TSXV] on Wednesday February 6 reported a significant increase in share ownership of the company by management and the board.

Within the last three months, members of the Troilus management team and board of directors have acquired over 2.72 million shares, an amount that represents approximately 5.2% of the shares outstanding, the company said in a press release.

Within this period, Troilus CEO Justin Reid personally acquired 1.9 million shares.

“The recent increase in share ownership of Troilus by management and insiders is evidence that we are completely aligned with our shareholders,” said Reid. He went on to add that 2018 was a milestone year for the company.

Troilus Gold shares eased 1.3% or $0.01 to 74 cents on Wednesday. The 52-week range is 86 cents and 40 cents.

Troilus is a Quebec-focused, exploration and development company. It is aiming to restart the former Troilus gold-copper mine, which is located on 16,000 hectares of ground near Chibougamau, Quebec. From 1997 to 2010, Inmet Mining Co. operated the Troilus Project as an open pit mine, producing more than 2.0 million ounces of gold and 70,000 tonnes of copper.

Inmet was acquired by First Quantum Minerals Ltd.  [FM-TSX, FQVLF-OTC, FQM-LON] in March 2013.

After the mine ceased production in 2009, the 20,000 tonnes-per-day mill processed low grade stockpiles until June 29, 2010. The mill was sold and shipped to Mexico and the main camp facilities were dismantled.

Right now, a small number of personnel are based at the site to oversee the on-going site restoration, environmental monitoring, and exploration work. A new 50-person camp, core logging facility and office were built last year.

According to a January 2019 technical report prepared by Roscoe Postle Associates Inc., combined open pit and underground resources at the site are estimated to be 121.7 million tonnes grading 0.87 g/t gold, 0.086% copper or 1.00 g/t gold equivalent, including 3.4 million ounces of gold, 231.8 million pounds of copper and 3.92 million pounds of gold equivalent in the indicated category.

On top of that is an inferred resource of 36.1 million tonnes, grading 0.88 g/t gold, 0.083% copper, or 1.01 g/t gold equivalent, including 1.02 million ounces of gold, 66.2 million pounds of copper and 1.17 million ounces of gold equivalent.

In 2018, Troilus investigated the potential to extend the known gold mineralization in zones J4 and J5 to the north and at depth. As gold mineralization is still present in the northernmost 2018 boreholes, the potential for a continuation of both zones to the north is open, the company has said.

In November, 2018, Troilus tripled its land position in the region by acquiring the Troilus North Project from Emgold Mining Corp. [EMR-TSXV]. “The acquisition of Troilus North adds a significant strategic land position and focuses our 2019 exploration drilling on extending the J Zone to the Northeast,” said Michael Timmins, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Development at Troilus Gold.

The Troilus North Project covers 11,300 hectares and lies to the northeast of the Troilus Mine.

Geophysical work and associated outcrop mapping show a general trend that hosts the Troilus Mine, continues along Parker pluton (granite) to the northeast and through most of the Troilus North property.  Recent mapping and data compilation show that mineralized zones at the J Zone are in line and continue on to Troilus North.

Due to its size and lack of exploration investment, the Troilus North land package remains open for discovery, specifically along a magnetic low trend which can be followed over 4.5 km from the J Zone to the high grade boulders outlined by Inmet in the 1980s, and over 10 km along the Northeast trend.

A portion of the 2019 exploration spending will be directed towards activities at Troilus North. The integration of historical information, plans for surface mapping and sampling, as well as target prioritization for future diamond drilling have already commenced.

In June 2018, Troilus Gold said it has successfully completed a $15.75 million financing that is said would be used to continue exploration efforts to restart the former Troilus Mine.  The financing consisted of a private placement of over 4 million shares (that qualified as flow-through shares) priced at $2.46 each and 3.2 million common shares (that qualified as flow-through shares) priced at $1.82 per share.

By completing the financing, the company was able to expand a planned 30,000-metre drill program last year by another 5,000 metres. The drill program was designed to confirm and expand existing mineral resources from the Troilus Mine, as well as explore down dip and along strike from known mineralization.