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.

Max Resource up 33% on sponsorship news

The Max Resource 30-person exploration camp and bulk testing facilities in Colombia. Source: Max Resource Corp.

[MXR-TSXV; MAXROF-OTC; M1D1-FSE] rallied strongly in active trading Monday February 4 after the company said it has signed a sponsorship deal with Star Finance GmbH, a privately-owned communications services provider based in Steinhausen, Switzerland and Cologne, Germany.

Max shares jumped 33% or $0.06 to 24 cents on volume of almost 6.13 million. The 52-week range is 12 cents and 31.5 cents.

Star Finance is owned and operated by Michael Adams, an experienced communications professional with more than 15 years of experience assisting Canadian public companies to investors, primarily in Germany and German-speaking Europe.

Among other services, Star Finance owns and operates two established investment-focused financial websites and provides information about investment opportunities to its audience through an e-mail newsletter, websites and various social media channels in the form of written articles and video content.

The sponsorship agreement provides for the introduction of MAX to Star Finance’s audience and subscribers was well as the distribution of company news releases through Star Finance channels and/or the creation and launch of web-based interviews.

The arrangement will have a 12-month term and a cost of 5,000 EUR per month.

Max is a Canadian exploration company with a focus on exploration of mineral assets in Colombia. Its portfolio includes 100%-ownership of 82 and 50% ownership of seven mineral license applications covering 1,757 km2 in the Choco Department, approximately 110 km southwest of Medellin.

Former operator Choco Pacifico produced 1.5 million ounces of gold and 1.0 million ounces of platinum from the Choco District between 1906 and 1990. This historic production was largely limited to an average depth of 8 metres or less.

Max says its Choco Precious Metals project covers, or is adjacent to much of Choco Pacifico’s historic exploration and production areas.

Max said the emphasis of the company’s exploration program is to both substantiate historic reports of free gold within the hard rock conglomerates underlying the surface gold-bearing mineralization and to determine thicknesses and ultimate lateral extent.

Its exploration program involves bulk sampling the conglomerate (hard rock) mineralization to access scale and continuity of gold grades. Max said it is working to develop a system to analyze the gold contained within the 2,500 kilograms of hard rock collected from five trial pits. The pits are typically 2 metres by 2 metres deep.

Meanwhile, Max said it has identified copper/cobalt occurrences over significant areas on its 100%-owned Gachala Copper Project which covers 13,677 hectares and is located 60 km east of Bogota. It said exploration results are pending.

Star Finance does not hold any direct or indirect interest in Max Resource, the company said in a press release.

The company said these four license applications are contiguous to an area where historic sampling has identified a 25-km strike length of copper enrichment with grades ranging from 0.6% to 13% copper.

Max Resource up 33% on sponsorship news

The Max Resource 30-person exploration camp and bulk testing facilities in Colombia. Source: Max Resource Corp.

[MXR-TSXV; MAXROF-OTC; M1D1-FSE] rallied strongly in active trading Monday February 4 after the company said it has signed a sponsorship deal with Star Finance GmbH, a privately-owned communications services provider based in Steinhausen, Switzerland and Cologne, Germany.

Max shares jumped 33% or $0.06 to 24 cents on volume of almost 6.13 million. The 52-week range is 12 cents and 31.5 cents.

Star Finance is owned and operated by Michael Adams, an experienced communications professional with more than 15 years of experience assisting Canadian public companies to investors, primarily in Germany and German-speaking Europe.

Among other services, Star Finance owns and operates two established investment-focused financial websites and provides information about investment opportunities to its audience through an e-mail newsletter, websites and various social media channels in the form of written articles and video content.

The sponsorship agreement provides for the introduction of MAX to Star Finance’s audience and subscribers was well as the distribution of company news releases through Star Finance channels and/or the creation and launch of web-based interviews.

The arrangement will have a 12-month term and a cost of 5,000 EUR per month.

Max is a Canadian exploration company with a focus on exploration of mineral assets in Colombia. Its portfolio includes 100%-ownership of 82 and 50% ownership of seven mineral license applications covering 1,757 km2 in the Choco Department, approximately 110 km southwest of Medellin.

Former operator Choco Pacifico produced 1.5 million ounces of gold and 1.0 million ounces of platinum from the Choco District between 1906 and 1990. This historic production was largely limited to an average depth of 8 metres or less.

Max says its Choco Precious Metals project covers, or is adjacent to much of Choco Pacifico’s historic exploration and production areas.

Max said the emphasis of the company’s exploration program is to both substantiate historic reports of free gold within the hard rock conglomerates underlying the surface gold-bearing mineralization and to determine thicknesses and ultimate lateral extent.

Its exploration program involves bulk sampling the conglomerate (hard rock) mineralization to access scale and continuity of gold grades. Max said it is working to develop a system to analyze the gold contained within the 2,500 kilograms of hard rock collected from five trial pits. The pits are typically 2 metres by 2 metres deep.

Meanwhile, Max said it has identified copper/cobalt occurrences over significant areas on its 100%-owned Gachala Copper Project which covers 13,677 hectares and is located 60 km east of Bogota. It said exploration results are pending.

Star Finance does not hold any direct or indirect interest in Max Resource, the company said in a press release.

The company said these four license applications are contiguous to an area where historic sampling has identified a 25-km strike length of copper enrichment with grades ranging from 0.6% to 13% copper.

Teck Resources issues Q4 profit warning

Teck’s Fort Hills oil sands project in Alberta. Source: Teck Resources Ltd.

Teck Resources Ltd. [TECK.B-TSX; TECK-NYSE] issued a profit warning Friday saying it expects to report fourth quarter earnings and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) to be well below consensus estimates.

Analyst said many of the issues raised appear to be associated with isolated incidents and market conditions during the fourth quarter of 2018.

For example, at the Fort Hills oil sands project in Alberta, Teck expects to report an after-tax loss of $0.15 per share due to the dramatic widening in heavy oil differentials in addition to higher fourth quarter diluent costs.

It is worth noting that the Canadian Crude Index (CCI), often referred to as Western Canadian Select (WCS) has increased significantly since the announcement of oil production curtailments by the Alberta government in early December, 2018.

From US$29.80 per barrel at the beginning of October 2018, the WCS price dropped to a low of US$6.42 per barrel in late November before recovering to end the year at US$24.66, with the index averaging only US$19.35 per barrel during the quarter.

At Teck’s Trail operations in British Columbia, the company expects to report an after tax loss of $0.05 due to some interruptions from third party suppliers, in addition to a small fire in the silver refinery plus ongoing maintenance at one of its lead smelter furnaces.

As well, additional base metals inventory write-downs (none of which are met coal related) resulted in the remaining after-tax adjusted loss of $0.10 per share.

These factors together reduce earnings by $0.30 per share and EBITDA by $195 million.

Teck is a diversified mining company with interests in such key metals as copper, zinc coal.

With an expected mine life in excess of 50 years, The Fort Hills oil sands project in the Athabasca region of Alberta is considered one of Western Canada’s best undeveloped oil sands assets. It is located 90 km north of Fort McMurray.

Teck holds a 21.3% interest in the Fort Hills Energy Ltd. Partnership, which owns Fort Hills.  Total E&P Canada Ltd. holds a 24.6% stake, while the balance of 54.1% is held by Suncor Energy Inc. [SU-TSX], the project operator.

In addition to Fort Hills, the company’s energy division also includes a 100% interest in the Frontier oil sands project, as well as other interests in the Athabasca region. The Frontier Project, which is located 110 km south of Fort Chipewyan in northeastern Alberta, is currently moving through the joint provincial-federal regulatory review process.

On Friday, Teck’s Class B common shares eased 3.16% or $1.01 to $30.99 on volume of 1.34 million. The 52-week range is $23.90 and $39.08.

Teck said it will release its fourth quarter 2018 earnings on February 13, 2019, before markets open.