Colombia’s artisanal gold miners now part of a traceable global supply chain

A group of international organizations, led by Switzerland’s Better Gold Initiative (BGI), has extended their responsible mining initiative to hundreds of artisanal gold miners from El Chocó, Colombia, which are now part of a fully traceable and accountable international supply chain.

About 500 local gold panners or “barequeros” have benefitted from the initiative, with aims at improving their working practices in one of the South American country’s poorest regions, still affected by internal conflict.

The program also eliminates child labour and ensures proper environmental practices are in place.

Other than BGI, a public partnership between the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the program involves key gold sector actors, such as Colombian International Gold Trader Anexpo, Colombian NGO Atabaque, precious metals refiner Valcambi and luxury watch and jewellery Maison Chopard.

Program seeks to improve gold panners’ working practices and prevent child labour in one of Colombia’s poorest regions, still affected by internal conflict.

The process begins with artisanal miners being subject to strict due diligence before they can sell their gold to Anexpo. The metal is then shipped to Switzerland, where Valcambi refines it and Chopard uses it in the making of its luxury products.

The system ensures that the barequeros receive not only a competitive price of 70 cents per gram for them to reinvest into improving their living and working conditions, a Valcambi spokesperson told MINING.com. It also allows them to know the exact destination of their gold.

In El Chocó, Colombia’s second-largest gold producing region, artisanal gold mining has been one of the main sources of income for the population of predominantly Afro-Colombians. The Barequeros, of with 46% are women, use local traditional alluvial mining techniques with hand equipment such as sluices and panning. No mercury is applied, protecting the region’s biodiversity, which is among the most unique in the world.

To be legally registered, artisanal gold miners need to obtain a special permit that allows them to produce manually and sell up 420 grams of the precious metal a year.

“Artisanal ancestral alluvial miners in El Chocó lack access to effective mechanisms and resources to improve their working conditions, creating barriers to their ability to comply with formal and international market requirements,” Nils Krauer, BGI Regional Advisor, said in a ceremony held on Friday, marking the first delivery of the incentive.

Colombia’s artisanal gold miners now part of fully traceable global supply chain
Almost half of the artisanal miners active at El Chocó are women. (Image provided.)

“We are all here to witness that artisanal gold panners, producing only a few grams of gold per year and fulfilling the SBGA criteria, can reach the Swiss market and become an SBGA eligible gold supplier,” Secretary General, Diana Culillas, said.

Pressure on companies to ensure the metals they buy are not fuelling conflict or involving child labour have stepped up in recent years, particularly after abusive mining practices in Congo came to light in 2015.

Pressure on companies to ensure the metals they buy are not fuelling conflict or involving child labour have stepped up in recent years.

According to Amnesty International, children as young as seven have been found scavenging for rocks containing cobalt in the DRC. The group also claims to have evidence that the cobalt those miners dig has been entering the supply chains of some of the world’s biggest brands.

Those and other allegations have put pressure on companies and on traders. The London Metal Exchange (LME), the world’s biggest market for industrial metals, has plans to ban metal tainted by human rights abuses. The initiative to ensure responsible sourcing originally had 2022 as the deadline, but LME will now wait until 2025.

The European Union in May 2017 passed a regulation to stop mine workers being abused and conflict minerals being exported to the EU. The requirement to ensure mineral imports are responsibly sourced will become effective on Jan. 1, 2021.

The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), in October, called refiners to work on developing and accepting output from “informal” mining projects in frontier and emerging markets.

To be accepted by vault managers in London — storage hub for the world’s physical bullion trade —gold bars must now come from one of the refineries accredited by the LBMA as meeting its “good delivery” standards.

BCIT to launch EV maintenance training program in 2020

Image result for bcit ev training program
Image source: BCIT

The BC Institute of Technology (BCIT) plans to launch a new electric vehicle maintenance training program for mechanics in the New Year, following the completion of a training pilot program conducted with the City of Vancouver.

There are currently about 30,000 EVs on the road in B.C. The City of Vancouver has its own fleet of 120 electric vehicles, and plans to add 90 more electric passenger cars, and 12 medium and heavy duty trucks.

With $325,000 in funding from the B.C. government, BCIT worked with the city to develop a new EV maintenance training curriculum and pilot training program to train city mechanics in EV maintenance. Twelve city mechanics have graduated with Red Seal certification in the EV maintenance program.

Michelle Mungall, minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, said EV sales in B.C. are exceeding expectations. Under the CleanBC program, the target was to have electric or hydrogen fuel cell cars making up 10% of all new sales by 2025.

But new sales already hit 9% this year, thanks in no small part to a new federal subsidy, which can be stacked on top of the one offered by the province.

“We’re 9% in 2019,” Mungall said. “We’re projecting to be five years ahead of schedule.

“This program that has been piloted by the City of Vancouver and BCIT is coming right in time, because British Columbians are buying zero emission vehicles more than ever. They’re going to need help in maintaining those vehicles.”

EVs don’t actually need a lot of maintenance. They don’t require oil changes, belts or air filters. But when they do need maintenance, mechanics may need some special new high-tech skills.

The new program developed by BCIT will give mechanics the certification they need to work on EVs with 30 hours of class training. BCIT plans to offer the new EV maintenance training program in the New Year. Its curriculum will be available to other post secondary institutes throughout the province.

BCIT is also planning to develop an EV maintenance curriculum for electric buses and heavy duty trucks.

Newmont ranked top miner in Newsweek’s list of America’s most responsible companies

Newmont (NYSE: NEM, TSX: NGT) has been ranked the top mining company in Newsweek’s first-ever list of America’s Most Responsible Companies for 2020. Of the 300 businesses selected for inclusion in Newsweek’s index, Newmont placed 39th overall with a score of 79.6 out of 100. 

Newsweek partnered with global data research firm Statista Inc. to publish the ranking. Statista evaluated 2,000 public companies to identify America’s Most Responsible Companies based on publicly available key performance indicators (KPIs) derived from CSR Reports, Sustainability Reports, and Corporate Citizenship Reports as well as an independent survey.  

The KPIs focused on company performance in environmental, social, and corporate governance areas

The KPIs focused on company performance in environmental, social, and corporate governance areas. The independent survey also asked 6,500 US Citizens about their perception of companies’ activities related to corporate social responsibility. 

  “Although we are honored by this recognition, we understand there is always opportunity for improvement, and we will continue driving our sustainability performance to higher levels. In September, Newmont was ranked as the top global gold mining company on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) for the fifth consecutive year and in January was included in Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index,” said President and CEO in a media release. 

PhD student wins competition for environmental work on Commerce Resources’ Ashram deposit

Commerce Resources  (TSXv: CCE) announced Thursday that Sophie Costis, a PhD student with the Université du Québec, has won the “défi de la recherche en géosciences” (Geoscience Research Challenge) for her work related to the characterization of flotation tailings generated using the flowsheet for the Ashram Rare Earth and Fluorspar Deposit in Quebec. 

The competition was organized by “l’Association Québécoise des Sciences de la Terre” (AQUEST) and consisted of candidates presenting their research projects in the field of geosciences at the Quebec Mines + Energy conference held in Quebec City last month.  Costis won first prize for her oral presentation on Ashram and received a certificate of excellence as well as a $2,000 scholarship for her efforts. 

The PhD work is being jointly funded through a grant, totaling C$300,000, from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologie (FRQNT) and the Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles (MERN). This work is being completed in partnership with the Centre Eau Terre Environnement of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), a research-oriented branch of the Université du Québec. The PhD project is expected to conclude in late 2020 and will provide a sound basis for continued work on the tailings management of the flotation process plant. 

PhD student wins competition for environmental work on Commerce Resources’ Ashram deposit

Commerce Resources  (TSXv: CCE) announced Thursday that Sophie Costis, a PhD student with the Université du Québec, has won the “défi de la recherche en géosciences” (Geoscience Research Challenge) for her work related to the characterization of flotation tailings generated using the flowsheet for the Ashram Rare Earth and Fluorspar Deposit in Quebec. 

The competition was organized by “l’Association Québécoise des Sciences de la Terre” (AQUEST) and consisted of candidates presenting their research projects in the field of geosciences at the Quebec Mines + Energy conference held in Quebec City last month.  Costis won first prize for her oral presentation on Ashram and received a certificate of excellence as well as a $2,000 scholarship for her efforts. 

The PhD work is being jointly funded through a grant, totaling C$300,000, from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologie (FRQNT) and the Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles (MERN). This work is being completed in partnership with the Centre Eau Terre Environnement of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), a research-oriented branch of the Université du Québec. The PhD project is expected to conclude in late 2020 and will provide a sound basis for continued work on the tailings management of the flotation process plant. 

Coal power generation continues to drop in the US

Coal power generation in the US continues to decline, according to a study by engineers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

By comparing 2018 and 2019 energy production data for the entire country, the researchers found that coal generation in 2019 Q2 was down 19% when compared to the same period of the previous year. 

In 2019 Q2, power generation from coal provided 21% of the US’ electricity, while natural gas provided 36%.

Compared to 2005, a year commonly used to benchmark progress in reducing emissions, the carbon intensity of the US power sector was down more than 38% in 2019 Q2

The result shows that the trend that started in 2016, when natural gas replaced coal as the main source of energy production, has continued.

“We’re in the middle of an energy transition right now, and the biggest part of that story in the US is how swiftly coal has been declining over the past decade,” Costa Samaras, an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon, said in a media statement. “The decline of coal can be attributed to the rise of natural gas, the continued improvement of renewables, and energy efficiency efforts.”

This means that emissions from electricity production have also dropped because burning natural gas generates about half of the direct CO2 emissions per unit of energy roduced than coal does. 

According to the Carnegie Mellon scientists, the carbon intensity of the sector, measured in pounds of CO2 emissions per megawatt-hour, dropped by 9% from last year. 

The decrease in emissions -the experts found- is also a result of the continued growth of the renewable sector. Compared to 2018 Q2, generation from solar increased 10% and generation from wind increased by 7%. 

Together, wind and solar accounted for 11% of US power generation in 2019 Q2. Hydropower was responsible for 8% of the electricity.

Nuclear power, on the other hand, remained the largest zero-carbon source of electricity in America, accounting for 20% of total generation.

The study by Samara and his team is part of the Pittsburgh-based university’s Power Sector Carbon Index, which compiles information from disparate datasets and standardizes the calculation of carbon intensity so that it is possible to track the performance of the sector.

Global Snapshot: Gold and silver exploration projects to watch

With the rise in the price of gold over the past year, precious metals exploration has picked up steam worldwide. Below we feature eight companies across the exploration, development and production spectrum that maintain a focus on discovery. 

Compass Gold

Compass Gold (TSXV: CVB; US-OTC: COGDF) is focused on the Farabakoura gold discovery in southern Mali. The company wholly owns the 850-sq.-km Sikasso project consisting of nine permits within the Birimian gold belt.

Farabakoura is a 15 km long target area that traverses the company’s Faraba-Coura, Ouassada and Sankarani permits.

In September, Compass released results of drilling completed at the Ouassada permit, along a 200-metre high-grade section of the Farabrakoura trend, known as the Creek zone. Reported intercepts include 6 metres of 65.6 grams gold per tonne starting at 20 metres and 13 metres of 9.25 grams gold starting at 21.1 metres.

The Creek zone is estimated to extend for 750 metres. Most of the drilling to date has been completed on the southern part of the Farabakoura target area.

Gold mineralization at Farabakoura has been traced over a strike of over 830 metres with additional parallel mineralized trends identified. Compass has outlined three potential resource target areas at Farabrakoura.

In August, the company identified three gold zones, up to 1 km long, over a 4.8 km distance at the Faraba-Coura permit, north of the Ouassada permit. Follow-up drilling is planned with a total of over 20 drill targets identified over the 15 km Farabrakoura trend.

A total of over 40 targets have been identified across the company’s holdings in Mali.

Compass plans to drill test additional targets at Farabrakoura and drill on other priority areas. Work is expected to start in January 2020.

In November, Compass announced a private placement with proceeds of about $5.5 million, with SEMAFO (TSX: SMF) subscribing for $2 million. SEMAFO is expected to own roughly 10% of the outstanding shares of Compass upon completion. Proceeds are expected to fund the exploration efforts in Mali through to the end of 2020.

Compass Gold has a market capitalization of $16.3 million.

Continental Gold

Leach tanks under construction at the Buritica gold project. Photo by David Perri.

Continental Gold (TSX: CNL) is building its high-grade Buritica gold mine in Colombia. The Buritica project covers 754 sq. km and is 65 km from the city of Medellin.

Mill facilities are expected to be mechanically complete in the first quarter of 2020. Ramp-up to commercial production is expected six to nine months later. The company has started pre-commissioning in a number of areas.

A 2016 feasibility study for the project outlines an underground operation with multiple ramp access starting at a 2,100 tonnes per day throughput and ramping up to 3,000 tonnes per day by the third year. Two high-grade zones were scheduled for initial mining.

Continental expects all-in sustaining costs (AISCs) at Buritica of about $600 per ounce. The company anticipates producing up to 300,000 oz. per year at the mine, with an updated mine plan for the first three years expected before commercial production starts.

Mineralization at Buritica is most extensive within the Yaragua and Veta Sur areas, with each system traced over about 1,300 metres of strike and over 1,800 vertical metres.

Resources at the project stand at 16.02 million tonnes in the measured and indicated categories at a grade of 10.32 grams gold and 40.8 grams silver for a total of 5.32 million oz. gold and 21 million oz. silver, with additional inferred resources of 21.87 million tonnes grading 8.56 grams gold and 37.3 grams silver for a total of 6.02 million oz. gold and 26.2 million oz. silver. Proven and probable reserves total 3.71 million oz. gold and 10.7 million oz. silver.

Buritica remains open for expansion on strike and at depth. In November, Continental announced that it has been granted an exploration license for the Electra South and Orion targets, within 5 km of the Buritica mine. At Electra South, high-grade veins have been traced over an area of 2,000 metres by 500 metres, whereas at Orion, high-grade mineralization has been identified over an area of 1,500 metres by 500 metres.

Between May 2017 and July 2019, Newmont-Goldcorp (TSX: NGT; NYSE: NEM) invested a total of US$109 million in Continental; it currently holds 19.9% of the company.Continental Gold has a $855-million market capitalization.

Endeavour Mining

A pit at Endeavour Mining’s Ity gold mine in Côte d’Ivoire. Credit: Endeavour Mining.

Endeavour Mining (TSX: EDV) is a West African focused gold producer with operations in Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire. The company expects to produce 650,000 oz. to 695,000 oz. gold in 2019 at AISCs of US$795 to US$845 per ounce.

The Houndé mine in Burkina Faso was commissioned in 2017 and production guidance for 2019 is 230,000 oz. to 250,000 ounces. In November, Endeavour announced a 1 million oz. increase in indicated resources at Houndé.

At the Ity mine in Côte d’Ivoire, more than 1.2 million oz. gold has been produced over the past 20 years through heap leaching. Earlier this year, Endeavour built a carbon-in-leach plant at the site. In 2019, the operation is expected to produce 160,000 oz. to 200,000 oz. gold. The company expects to start a plant expansion to 5 million tonnes per year (from 4 million tonnes  per year) at Ity in the fourth quarter of 2019. A resource and reserve release for Ity is also expected in the first quarter of 2020.

The company expects an additional 120,000 oz. to 130,000 oz. this year from its Agbaou project in Côte d’Ivoire, and 105,000 oz. to 115,000 oz. from its Karma mine in Burkina Faso.

Beyond its operations, Endeavour has a pipeline of development and exploration projects. The company has 10,090 sq. km of exploration holdings in West Africa that are host to over 200 exploration targets. Between 2016 and 2018, Endeavour added 4.2 million oz. to its resource inventory with over half of the mineralization hosted in oxide material.

Looking ahead, a feasibility study on its Kalana project in Mali is expected by year-end. La Mancha, a private investment company, currently holds 30% of Endeavour’s common shares outstanding.

Endeavour Mining has a $2.65-billion market capitalization.

Great Bear Resources

A drill rig in the Bear-Rimini zone at Great Bear Resources’ Dixie gold property in Red Lake, Ontario. Credit: Great Bear Resources Ltd.

Great Bear Resources (TSXV: GBR) wholly owns the Dixie project in Ontario’s Red Lake district. The company has traced a high-grade gold system over a 23 km stretch of the project, with eight gold zones identified in the last two years.

Seven of these discoveries are located within a 4 km stretch of the LP fault, an 18.5 km target at Dixie. An additional zone was recently intercepted across the parallel North fault. Additional drilling is planned for this target with mineralized quartz vein intercepts similar to those encountered at the Hinge zone along the LP fault.

The Yauro discovery was announced in October. Two holes drilled 125 metres apart returned intercepts of 37 metres of 5.14 grams gold and 66 metres of 2.01 grams gold starting within the first 56 metres and 86 metres downhole, respectively. According to the company, coarse visible gold was intercepted at Yauro.

Intercepts from drilling completed on the Bear-Rimini-Yuma area this year include 149 metres of 0.95 gram gold and 56 metres of 1.26 grams gold.

In November, Great Bear closed a flow through bought deal private placement for gross proceeds of $16.7 million.

The company plans to conduct additional drilling to step out the LP fault to the east. It is currently working on completing the last 18,000 metres of a 90,000-metre drill program, with three rigs currently active at Dixie.

Great Bear has a $269.5-million market capitalization.

Integra Resources

A drill site at Integra Resources’ DeLamar gold project in southwestern Idaho. Credit: Integra Resources.

Integra Resources’ (TSXV: ITR, OTCQX: IRRZF) focus is on its DeLamar project in southwestern Idaho, 160 km from Boise.

In September, the company announced the results of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on the project, which outlined an open pit with average annual gold production of 124,000 oz. gold at AISCs of US$619 per oz. net of by-product credits. Initial capital was estimated at US$161 million. The study outlines a project starting as a 27,000 tonne per day heap leach operation, with the addition of a 2,000 tonne per day mill in the third year of operations.

In November, Integra announced a $6.6 million placement with Coeur Mining (NYSE: CDE) alongside a $22 million bought deal.

Integra’s president and CEO George Salamis was most recently the executive chairman of Integra Gold, which sold to Eldorado Gold (TSX: ELD, NYSE: EGO) for $590 million in July 2017.

Resources at the project stand at 172.4 million tonnes measured and indicated grading 0.43 gram gold and 21 grams silver for a total of 2.38 million oz. gold and 116.5 million oz. silver, with an additional 28.3 million inferred tonnes grading 0.38 gram gold and 13.5 grams silver for 343,000 oz. gold and 12.2 million oz. silver.

The company is drilling areas outside of current resources at the DeLamar and Florida Mountain deposits.

The historic DeLamar mine was previously owned by Kinross Gold (TSX: K, NYSE: KGC), which closed the site in 1998. The site produced a total of 1.6 million oz. gold and 100 million oz. silver between 1863 and 1998.

Integra plans to start work on a pre-feasibility study in the next few months with expected completion in the second half of 2021. Permitting work has commenced.

Integra Resources has a $88.9-million market capitalization.

Pan American Silver

Processing equipment at Pan American Silver’s La Colorada silver mine in Mexico’s Zacatecas state. Source: Pan American Silver.

Pan American Silver (TSX: PAAS; NASDAQ: PAAS) is a silver miner with assets in the Americas. The company expects to produce 25.3 million oz. to 26.3 million oz. silver in 2019 at AISCs of US$6.00 to US$7.50 per oz. net of by product credits with gold production expected at 550,000 oz. to 600,000 ounces.

In October, Pan American announced exploration results from the La Colorada Skarn, adjacent to and below the vein system at its La Colorada mine in Mexico. Drill intercepts include 379 metres of 54 grams silver per tonne, 0.5% copper, 1.96% lead and 3.73% zinc, as well as 253 metres of 67 grams silver, 0.19% copper, 3.84% lead and 6.56% zinc. An initial resource estimate is expected by the end of the year.

In November 2018, Pan American announced a US$1.07 billion acquisition of Tahoe Resources, adding the Escobal silver mine in Guatemala to its portfolio, as well as the La Arena and Shahuindo gold mines in Peru and the Bell Creek mine in Ontario.

At Escobal, operations are suspended pending completion of a consultation process, court approval and community engagement efforts. Project reserves are at 264 million oz. of silver; commercial production started in 2014 but was suspended in July 2017.

Pan American holds approximately 26% of Maverix Metals (TSX: MMX; NYSE: MMX), a precious metals royalty and streaming company in addition to a 16.9% interest in New Pacific Metals (TSXV: NUAG).

The company also holds a free carried 25% interest in Nexa Resources’ (TSX: NEXA; NYSE: NEXA) Shalipayco zinc project in Peru and has a joint venture agreement with Radius Gold (TSXV: RDU; US-OTC: RDUFF ) on the Amalia gold-silver project in Mexico.

Pan American has a $5.11-billion market capitalization.

Probe Metals

An outcrop at Probe Metals’ Val-d’Or East gold project in Quebec. Credit: Probe Metals.

Probe Metals (TSXV: PRB) is focused on exploration in the Val-d’Or East district in Quebec. The company wholly owns the 119 sq. km Val-d’Or East project, host to four past-producing mines. The company has identified two parallel gold-bearing trends at the property, with resources distributed among deposits along the trends. New Beliveau is the largest defined deposit.

The company envisions a number of satellite open pits eventually feeding a central mill at the property.

Resources, based on an update released in September, stand at 14.6 million tonnes in the measured and indicated categories grading 1.85 grams gold for a total of 866,300 oz., and additional inferred resources of 28.7 million tonnes at 1.87 grams gold for 1.73 million oz. gold. Within these resources, a total of approximately 1.78 million oz. is pit constrained.

Probe has a 45,000-metre drill program underway aimed at growing the resource inventory and identifying new deposits. Geophysical surveys are also ongoing to locate additional trends.

In addition, Probe holds a 60% interest in the nearby Cadillac Break East property (40% Alexandria Minerals acquired by O3 Mining [TSXV: OIII] in August 2019) and a 46.3% interest in the Dubuisson holding (53.7% Agnico-Eagle Mines [TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM]).

In January 2017, Probe signed an option agreement with Richmont Mines (now Monarch Gold [TSX: MQR]) to acquire a 60% interest in the Monique property adjoining the Val-d’Or East project.

The Sleepy deposit at Cadillac Break East is host to an inferred resource of 167,900 oz. gold with an additional 396,800 oz. inferred at Monique, based on a 100% Probe ownership.

Probe is completing baseline environmental and engineering studies on the Val-d’Or East project, with additional mining and metallurgical studies upcoming as the company looks to find the optimal development scenario.

Probe’s CEO, David Palmer, was the President and CEO of Probe Mines, which grew the Borden gold project in Ontario and was acquired in January 2015 by Goldcorp for $526 million.

In November, Probe announced a $17 million bought deal private placement.

Newmont-Goldcorp (TSX: NGT; NYSE: NEM) holds 14% of Probe shares outstanding.

Probe Metals has a $116-million market capitalization.

Teranga Gold

Ore processing facilities at Teranga Gold’s Wahgnion gold mine in Burkina Faso. Credit: Teranga Gold.

Teranga Gold’s (TSX: TGZ) primary producing asset is the Sabodala gold mine in Senegal, West Africa, with its Wahgnion mine in Burkina Faso ramping up production.

The company announced that the Wahgnion mine achieved commercial production on Nov. 1. This year, the operation is expected to reach the upper end of its guidance range of 30,000 oz. to 40,000 oz. of gold. Over the next five years, this mine is expected to produce an average of 132,000 oz. annually at AISCs of US$761 per ounce.

Next year, Teranga plans to start a drill program focused on 12 targets at the Wahgnion holdings, which are located within trucking distance of the mill.

In 2019, Sabodala is expected to produce 215,000 oz. to 230,000 oz. at AISCs of US$1,000 to US$1,100 per ounce. Over the next five years, AISCs at the operation are expected to average US$885 per ounce.

In February 2019, Teranga released an initial resource estimate for its Golden Hill project in Burkina Faso outlining indicated resources of 6.4 million tonnes grading 6.4 million tonnes at 2.02 grams gold for a total of 415,000 oz., with additional inferred resources of 11.95 million tonnes at 1.68 grams gold for 644,000 ounces. Drilling identified a number of near-surface zones of oxide mineralization. Engineering and metallurgical work has been started with additional exploration underway.

In Côte d’Ivoire, Teranga is currently earning a 100% interest in three permits and earning a 70% interest in an additional four permit areas.

In June 2016, Teranga announced an all-share US$63 million acquisition of Gryphon Minerals, adding the Banfora project in Burkina Faso to its portfolio. In September 2017, it released the results of a feasibility study on the project, which outlines an operation producing an average of 131,000 oz. over the first five years of mine life at AISCs of US$807 per ounce.

Tablo Corporation, a private company, holds a 22% stake in Teranga.

Teranga Gold has a $587-million market capitalization.

(This article first appeared in The Northern Miner)

Seequent’s Target for ArcGIS Pro integrates mining, exploration data for first time

Target for ArcGIS Pro is now available from Seequent to bring advanced understanding of mining and exploration data to the next generation Esri ArcGIS Pro environment. The industry first, intuitive Esri-integrated solution simplifies the importing, viewing and analysis of drill hole and subsurface geological data within ArcGIS Pro to allow geoscientists, geologists and GIS analysts to make timely decisions on project viability and enable faster discoveries.

Seequent’s general manager of mining and minerals Nick Fogarty says, “We’ve worked very closely with Esri to create essential workflows for geoscientists in mining and exploration who want to use their data in  ArcGIS Pro. Our partnership ensures we can deliver interoperability that allows our customers to get the full benefit from both Target and ArcGIS geoscience workflows, creating a world-leading end to end solution.”

Esri’s director of industry solutions, natural resources sectorGeoff Wade says, “the new Target for ArcGIS Pro provides users with additional capability and flexibility, in seamlessly integrating with tools from the Esri platform that many are already familiar with. We are confident this will further improve the efficiency of many geoscience workflows and empower new levels of understanding and insights.”

Target for ArcGIS Pro allows users to:

  • Import, visualize and interpret drilling data from standard industry data sources or generic formats.
  • View drill hole data by numeric or categorical attributes in 2D maps and 3D scenes.
  • Create cross-sections to view and interpret geology in 3D.
  • Incorporate subsurface datasets to any project for increased understanding and geological context.
  • Navigate the subsurface quickly and easily using 3D navigation shortcuts.
  • Share and collaborate using Esri’s online workflows.

Target for ArcGIS Pro is available as a free and licensed version.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

Canadian town of Asbestos, in Quebec, seeks new name

A Canadian town owning its name to asbestos, a mineral that supported the local economy for decades, but which is now associated with cancer, is finally changing its tainted moniker to a new one to be announced next year.

The community of about 7,000 people in southeastern Quebec is asking citizens to contribute ideas ahead of an official change.

Decision follows a failed attempt at a new name in 2006, pre-dating the 2012 shutdown of Jeffrey mine.

The word ‘asbestos’ unfortunately doesn’t have a good connotation, especially for Anglophones, and it’s hindering the city’s plans to develop external economic relations,” the city said in a Facebook post.

Asbestos is home to the Jeffrey mine, which was once the world’s largest producer of the commodity and the town’s largest employer. It closed in 2012.

Due to its fire-resistance and insulation properties, asbestos was a common material used in construction since the late 1800s, but evidence of the health hazards associated to it began to emerge only in the early 1900s.

Countries started banning its use as early as 1970, but Canada held on to it for longer, with a full ban on the toxic material only coming in effect in December last year.

Canadian town of Asbestos, in Quebec, seeks new name
Open pit of the now closed Jeffrey mine. (Image courtesy of Bryn Pinzgauer | Flickr.)

The name-change process, expected to cost the town about $100,000, has drawn the ire of many locals, who consider the idea “absurd” and “an insult” to the town’s history.

Because the mineral is a known as amiante in French, the town’s name isn’t really a problem for locals, who so far have put forward suggestions including Ville des Trois-Lacs, Nobestos, Amianteville, Asbestos 2.0, The Hole, Mine Craft and Poumontousse (a play on the French words for lung and cough).

The decision follows a failed attempt at a new name in 2006, pre-dating the shutdown of Jeffrey mine.

Canada is currently looking into processes and technologies to extract magnesium from the tailings left behind.

Rio and Centre of Excellence to grow Indigenous participation in minerals development

The Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Minerals Development announced Wednesday that Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) will be a founding partner, supporting its work for Indigenous communities that want to engage with and participate in minerals development.  

The Centre is being established by Waubetek, an Indigenous development corporation in Ontario, Canada, as a hub of learning and research for First Nations and Indigenous owned businesses in North America. It will work to share knowledge on opportunities, risks and best practices in minerals development.   

The Centre was founded through a partnership between Waubetek Business Development Corporation, Laurentian University, and the Government of Canada.  

Waubetek works with 27 First Nation communities, as well as Aboriginal entrepreneurs off-reserve in a large area of North Eastern Ontario. The Centre of Excellence will extend beyond this to supporting Indigenous Mineral Development throughout Ontario and across North America.

$1.8 million in funding for the Centre of Excellence has been committed from the Government of Canada through FedNor and NRCAN.

Rio Tinto is the first resources company to join the partnership with a contribution of A$1 million over 5 years, as well as technical expertise to help the Centre provide insight and expertise to Indigenous communities that are considering developing their own resources.  

Rio’s support will enable the Centre of Excellence to expand its focus from Ontario to work across North America, by developing networks in British Columbia, Quebec and Arizona.