Nigeria sets ambitious target for mining sector growth

Nigeria expects its mining sector to grow to 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) within the next five years from just 0.3% currently as the government seeks to diversify the economy away from oil, the minister for mines and steel development said on Wednesday. Nigeria has been trying to boost the sector as part of efforts to diversify its economy. Gold, lead, zinc, limestone and coal are among seven strategic minerals Nigeria has identified for investment.

Government promises to cut red tape for investors

The South African government has promised investors that it is fully committed to making it easier and cheaper to do business through streamlining processes and licence applications. Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa, who heads up South Africa’s new Investment Infrastructure Office, said he was advocating for policy reforms to make the investment environment less rigid. The office was also working on simplifying processes for investors.

Decision looms on Teck’s Frontier oil sands project

By Peter Kennedy

The Federal Government is just weeks away from having to make a decision on another major Canadian resource project. This time it involves an Alberta oil sands operation known as the Frontier Project, which is owned by Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd. [TECK.B-TSX; TECK.A-TSX; TECK-NYSE]

Located between Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan in northeastern Alberta, Frontier is truly large. The $20 billion truck and shovel oil sands mine is expected to produce 260,000 barrels per day of bitumen, while delivering $55 billion in provincial royalties and taxes over a projected lifespan of 41 years. The project is also expected to generate $12 billion in federal income and capital taxes.

However, in deciding whether or not to approve Frontier, Ottawa will need to weigh the impact of such a large project on both the environment and its greenhouse gas commitments. It is expected the project will cover an area about half the size of Edmonton, potentially adding 4.1 mega-tonnes annually to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions – this at a time when Canada is trying to reduce its carbon impact.

With a decision expected before the end of February, Ottawa will also need to be mindful of the economic impact on Alberta where the population is still feeling the impact of the drop in oil prices and the lack of progress on key pipeline projects.

Frontier is expected to employ up to 7,000 people during peak construction and 2,500 workers while it is in operation. Therefore, any decision to proceed will be applauded in places like Edmonton, which currently has the largest unemployment rate of any major city in the country.

Teck has said it is committed to developing the Frontier Project responsibly, by incorporating best practises for environmental protection, tailings management, water use, reclamation and management of greenhouse gases.

In its Frontier Project literature, Teck said oil is expected to remain an important source of energy into the foreseeable future, along with growth in renewable energy options such as solar and wind. Global energy demand is expected to grow by 32% by 2040. In that context, Teck has said responsible development of Canadian oil sands projects such as Frontier will play a key role in meeting this growing demand.

The Frontier Project has undergone extensive review by federal and provincial regulators, stakeholders and Indigenous communities. It won regulatory approval from a joint Alberta-federal review in 2019. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said the project must be approved by Ottawa as soon as possible.

Teck Resources is a diversified resource company with business units focused on steelmaking coal, copper, zinc and energy. The company currently has interests in 13 operating mines, a large metallurgical complex and several major development projects in the Americas.

On Wednesday, the company’s Class B common shares advanced 0.338% or $0.06 to $17.81. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $17.47 and $34.24.

China National Coal Association to deliver keynote address at 6th Mining Investment Asia in Singapore for first time

Mining Investment Asia (https://www.mininginvestmentasia.com/), South East Asia’s largest mining conference and exhibition, is deeply honoured to welcome Ms Su Chuanrong, Executive Director General of China National Coal Association (CNCA), as the keynote speaker on 17 March. This is the first time that CNCA is sending a delegation to a mining event in Singapore.

17 March will feature two conference streams – Coal in Asia and Women in Mining. Given her achievements as a female leader in China’s coal mining industry and the importance of China as the world’s largest coal producer, it is most fitting for Ms Su Chuanrong to deliver the opening keynote address where she will be speaking on the prospect of China’s coal industry.

Ms Su Chuanrong’s work in the Chinese and global coal sector

Ms Su graduated with a Ph.D from China University of Mining and Technology and has been holding various leadership positions at the China National Coal Association since 2008. Besides being the Executive Director General and overseeing international cooperation at CNCA, she is also the Secretary General of the Coal Committee of the World Mining Congress and the Technical Committee of the World Coal Association (WCA).

Other confirmed new speakers

New mining and finance stakeholders from Singapore and beyond have also confirmed their participation at Mining Investment Asia 2020 to share their expertise and insights. They include :

  • Junji Morinaga, Project Director, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation
  • Didier Rault, Chairman and CEO, World Mining Investment Limited, Hong Kong SAR
  • Manessa Mungroo, Managing Director, Singapore Mining Club
  • Constance Tan, Principal Consultant, Alvito Capital Holdings, Singapore

New post conference 1 day VALMIN Code training workshop on 20 March

VALMIN Code is increasingly used by corporate finance and legal professionals involved in listing documents, mineral asset valuation and legal disputes. Key learning points to be achieved through this one day training include:

  • Overview of mineral valuation – international standards and regulatory context
  • Relevance of project valuation
  • What is VALMIN Code – requirement and reporting
  • Case studies and learning from well written VALMIN reports
  • Implementation of valuation techniques in exploration and development project

This workshop will be conducted by two highly experienced trainers as follows:

  • Deborah Lord, Director Principal, VRM, VALMIN Committee, Australia
  • Keith Whitchurch, President Director, SMG Consultants, Indonesia

Spaces are still available for sponsors, exhibitors and delegates who wish to be a part of Mining Investment Asia. Enquiries can be sent to Jarred via email at jarred.lau@spire-events.com or phone at +65 6717 6017. More information can be found at the event website:

https://www.mininginvestmentasia.com/

Background on Spire Events

Spire Events is a Singapore based events company specialising in mining & energy conferences and expos. Mining Investment Asia is part of the global Mining Investment Conference Series that spans across various locations in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin and North America and the Middle East.

Spire Events also organises the MiningTech Conference Series which focuses on technology in mining and they are held in Chile, South Africa and Brazil. Besides conferences, Spire Events also organises large scale mining and energy expos in Africa, namely Mauritania, DRC, Sierra Leone and Botswana. The full calendar of events can be found at www.spire-events.com

ISSUED BY: SPIRE EVENTS SINGAPORE

For media enquiries, please contact:

Mr Ng Chin Chye
Director (Marketing & Public Relations)
Tel: +65 6717 6014
Email: chinchye.ng@spire-events.com

Lord Conrad Black says Canada should do more to develop its resources

By Peter Kennedy

Former media baron Conrad Black warned a Vancouver mining conference about the need to prevent the “victimization” of energy producing provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In a speech to the Cambridge House International Vancouver Resource Investment Conference (VRIC) on Sunday, Black touched on a number of other topics, including the political situation in the United States, the impact of climate change on public policy and the virtues of capitalism.

“The only economic system that works is capitalism because it is the only one that is aligned with the universal human desire to have more,” he said.

Black is a controversial figure to be sure. A founder of the National Post daily newspaper, he was once at the helm of a media empire that included English Daily Telegraph, the Post in Jerusalem and the Chicago Sun-Times. He was convicted of felony fraud and obstruction of justice by a U.S. district court in 2007. The charges were later upheld by the country’s Supreme Court. In 2018, he wrote a biography of Donald Trump and was granted a full pardon by the U.S. President in May, 2019

However, the decision to name him as keynote speaker as this year’s VRIC conference was clearly a popular one. Many investors showed up an hour early to hear him give a 35-minute speech without the aid of notes. He later participated in a panel discussion with former Canaccord Financial Chairman Peter Brown and Fraser Institute President Niels Veldhuis.

As Black was asked to speak about the current state of Canada in a natural resources context, it was no surprise to hear him discuss public policy and the impact on the oil and gas sector.

“On the issue of equitable treatment of resource [producing provinces] I think we get a stark F,” he said. “The oppression of Saskatchewan and Alberta in particular is a disgraceful and outrageous thing.”

This was clearly a reference to Canada’s failure to complete major pipeline projects which are required to get domestic oil and gas production to international markets outside of the United States.

Resource industry officials have complained that Federal legislation such as Bill C-69, which aims to overhaul the way that major energy projects are approved in Canada, is actually driving away investment by making it more difficult to get projects like pipelines approved.

He also expressed his view that the collapse of the former Soviet Union has prompted people on the left of the political spectrum to use the environmental movement as a powerful battering ram to attack capitalism.

Black said the current level of alarm surrounding the threat of climate change was unjustified.

“There is no scientific unanimity about climate change, no unanimity at all that it is bad or that it is influenced by what people do,” he said.

Meanwhile, as Trump prepared to face an impeachment trial in Washington, Black reiterated his support for the U.S. President, saying he has had the best first term of any President in history, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon.

“I think his tax cuts have worked, his regulation has worked. I think his reduction of illegal immigration has worked,” he said. Trump should be praised for standing up to China, Black said.

“He has a good chance of getting re-elected because the Democratic Party contenders are so unimpressive.”

Black also praised publisher Rupert Murdoch. “He has made the Wall Street Journal a great newspaper.”

Meanwhile, with the copper price trading near an eight-month high, investors could be in for a good couple of years, Peter Brown said during the panel discussion. Copper is the metal that will face the most shortages, he said. The forecast came amid speculation that renewed global growth concerns could support safe havens like gold.

What’s on the horizon for investment in mining exploration in 2020?

There is good news on the horizon for junior miners seeking investment in 2020, despite majors having underinvested in exploration for years, there are signs that this is changing.

Sprott US Holdings Chief Executive Officer, Rick Rule stated at the recent Mines and Money London event that many majors had recognised that they need to change and now have a renewed focus on exploration.

In 2019, the second-largest gold mining company in the world, Barrick Gold, allocated US$205 million for exploration, up 5% from US$195 million in 2018.

In Australia, exploration budgets increased by nearly US$200 million in 2019. Explorers allocated just over US$1.5 billion to Australia in 2019, a seven-year high. These increases were driven by higher allocations for copper and gold by producers. Also reaching a seven-year high are the recent gold prices which indicate that 2020 will see a rise in gold exploration and investment.

*Click to enlarge.

For junior exploration companies the situation is tougher, as investors increasingly shy away from ‘riskier’ early stage exploration companies, preferring the ‘safe havens’ of investing in majors, royalty and streaming companies or ETFs.

Rick Rule has suggested that most of the funding for juniors will therefore have to come from the majors, believing that “the exploration cycle is returning”.

However, this increased focus on exploration investment by the industry doesn’t necessarily mean that getting a mining project through the exploration stage is becoming any easier as mining companies must dig deeper and move into less explored geographies.

Conversion rates between discovery and discoveries that become mines are still low due to difficulties with permitting issues, adding to jurisdictional risk, as well as Preliminary Economic Assessments (PEA) and Pre-Feasibility Studies (PFS) still notoriously inaccurate. Even after the discovery has been made, securing financing during the mine development and construction phase is fraught with pitfalls.

Getting a mining project through the exploration stage will be a focus for discussion at the upcoming Mines and Money Asia event in Hong Kong at the end of March.

Resource Capital Funds’ Managing Director Peter Nicholson, Lowell Resources Funds Management Director John Forwood and IRC’s Chief Financial Officer Danila Kotlyarov will discuss how miners and financiers can lessen their risk for projects transitioning from exploration to production in a panel discussion.

Exploration projects from around the world will be showcased to more than 400 potential resource investors throughout the two-day conference and exhibition. Senior mining executives will be sharing their latest project developments through spotlight presentations within the conference program and will be available to meet with potential investors on the exhibition floor. Enabling investors to be the first to hear major announcements and to get in first to beat the competition.

Canadian projects participating this year include Agnico Eagle Mines’ joint venture with Barsele Minerals, alongside Iso Energy drilling newly discovered high-grade uranium at the Hurricane zone in the eastern Athabasca Basin as well as Amex Exploration who have made a recent significant discovery in Quebec at its 100% Perron project.

There will also be several Australian exploration projects with participation from Southern Gold, Cape Lambert Resources and White Rock Minerals; and amongst the less explored geographies include Royal Road Minerals Nicaragua gold and copper project, Ceylon Graphite’s project in Sri Lanka as well as Goviex Uranium’s advanced stage property in Niger.

A further 100 mining projects from around the world and across the commodity spectrum will be at the region’s largest mining investment forum, seeking funding from more than 400 institutional and private investors.

For more information please visit asia.minesandmoney.com

Mines and Money Asia is the region’s largest mining investment forum, bringing together investors and miners to Hong Kong from 31 March – 1 April 2020, for two days of networking, learning, and deal-making. Showcasing more than 100 mining projects from around the globe and across the commodity spectrum; there’ll be conversations and new opportunities waiting at every turn. It’s the only place to gain access to more than 400 leading investors, and with networking from breakfast right through to evening drinks, delegates will leave with new connections, deals and business opportunities. https://asia.minesandmoney.com/

Media Contact

Samantha Morgan
Head of Marketing – Asia Pacific
P: +61 3 9021 2031
E: Samantha.morgan@minesandmoney.com

South32 in Alaska joint venture with Trilogy Metals

Trilogy Metals Inc. [TMQ-TSX, NYSE] and South32 Australia Ltd. [S32-ASX, JSE, LSE, SOUHY-ADR] have agreed to form a joint venture to develop the Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects in northwest Alaska.

The moves comes after South32 exercised an option to acquire a 50% interest in the joint venture company that will own the Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects (UKMP). Trilogy will contribute all of the assets associated with UKMP and South32 will provide US$145 million to the joint venture.

Establishment of the joint venture is expected to occur in February 2020 and follows an initial exploration partnership between South32 and Trilogy over three field seasons to advance both parties’ geological understanding of the UKMP.

Once the joint venture is established, it will retain US$87.5 million of the US$145 million subscription payment to fund its activities. The balance of US$57.5 million will be loaned back to South32.

Trilogy shares advanced on the news, rising 9.6% or 27 cents to $3.09. The shares are trading in a 52-week range of $2 and $4.10.

“Having the support and partnership from a senior mining company like South32 – both in terms of their financial support and technical expertise – is tremendous for Trilogy Metals,’’ said Trilogy President and CEO James Gowans.

Trilogy Metals, which was previously known as NovaCopper Inc., is a diversified exploration company with a focus on the Ambler mining district in northwestern Alaska.  Ambler ranks as one of the richest and most prospective known districts for the discovery of world class polymetallic volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits that contain copper, zinc, lead, gold and silver as well as carbonate replacement deposits with high grade copper mineralization.

The UKMP is located within the Ambler Mining District and includes the high grade, polymetallic Arctic deposit, the Bornite copper deposit and a highly prospective regional exploration portfolio. Arctic is located is located 20 miles north of the Bornite carbonate replacement deposit.  Both are located on Trilogy’s land package, which covers 143,000 hectares.

Trilogy has an agreement with NANA Regional Corp. a regional Alaska Native Corp. and owner of the giant Red Dog zinc-lead silver mine which is operated by Teck Resources Ltd. [TECK.B-TSX, TECK.A-TSX, TECK-NYSE], and which has been in operation for 26 years.

The mining lease agreement provides a framework for the exploration and potential development of Amber district in co-operation with local communities. Trilogy’s goal has been to develop the Ambler district into a premier North American copper producer.

South32 is a diversified mining and metals company, producing bauxite, alumina, aluminum, energy and metallurgical coal, manganese, nickel, silver, lead and zinc at operations in Australia, Southern Africa, and South America.

“Forming the UKMP joint venture will be another important milestone as we reshape and improve our portfolio, by adding high-quality copper and base metals development options,’’ said South32 CEO Graham Kerr. “The decision to exercise the option follows a successful exploration partnership with Trilogy Metals and is an exciting step forward,” he said.

Upswing in interest for South East Asian mining

Mining Investment Asia (https://www.mininginvestmentasia.com/), South East Asia’s largest mining conference and exhibition showcasing South East Asia’s mining sector to an international audience of investors and various mining stakeholders, has received strong interest from global companies to sponsor and exhibit for the 2020 edition.

Compared to the same time period last year, there has been a 20% jump in number of confirmed sponsors and exhibitors, with a third of the available exhibition spaces for 2020 already snapped up. With 3 months remaining to the event, at least another 10 companies are expected to confirm their presence at Mining Investment Asia.

Why the spike in interest for South East Asia and in particular, Singapore?

South East Asia mining industry has dominated global mining news headlines over the last 2 months. The most significant development was the export ban announced by Indonesia, the world’s largest nickel producer, which propelled global nickel prices to a 4 year high.

Beyond mining, the global finance community has also been looking towards Singapore as a more secure and stable Asian financial hub. Amidst the protracted and at times violent confrontations in Hong Kong, global investors are turning to other Asian financial hubs such as Singapore. This presents a perfect opportunity for South East Asian miners to reach out to new sources of financing options via Mining Investment Asia Conference in Singapore.

Confirmed regional and global sponsors and exhibitors

Sponsors & exhibitors who have come onboard for Mining Investment Asia 2020 thus far include:

  • SMG Consultants (SMGC), Indonesia (Sponsors since the event’s inaugural edition)

SMGC is a leader in the fields of geological and mine planning consulting and in provides advisory services to the global minerals industry. SMGC works in coal, gold, manganese, nickel, bauxite, iron ore and many other minerals.

  • Central Asia Capital Investment Company, Kyrgyzstan

Central Asia Capital Investment Company seeks to promote development of the economy of the Kyrgyz Republic by increasing financial literacy and supporting entrepreneurship & mining.

  • Nomad Mining, Kyrgyzstan

Nomad Mining is a gold mining company listed on the Kyrgyz Stock Exchange.

  • Chengdu Alpha Intelligence, China

Chengdu Alpha Industrial Intelligence Co., Ltd is in charge of R&D, core sensors OEM, and international project coordination. ALPHA mining solutions seek to enhance the productivity of mining sites and mineral preparation plants.

  • Ranger Fire Systems, Singapore

Ranger Fire Systems is the authorized distributor and installer of protecfire systems in Singapore and Malaysia which have been installed on mining and defence-industry vehicles, as well as buses, wind turbines and commercial kitchens.

  • Korean Metals Exploration, Australia/South Korea

Korean Metals Exploration Pty Ltd (“KME”), a privately-owned Australian company with a 100% owned Korean subsidiary Shin Han Mine Inc, has established a portfolio of polymetallic mineral projects in South Korea.

New speakers joining Mining Investment Asia

Besides the core group of experienced investors and regional mining industry stakeholders who have helmed the speakers line-up, we have confirmed the following new speakers for 2020:

  • Ms Meidy Katrin Lengkey, Secretary General, Indonesia Nickel Miners’ Association (APNI)
  • Mr Chingiz Makeshov, CEO, Central Asia Capital Investment Company, Kyrgyzstan
  • Mr Suryo Eko Hadianto, Director, PT Bukit Asam TBK, Indonesia
  • Mr Hedley Widdup, Director, Lion Selection Group, Singapore
  • Mr Richard Stanger, President, Cambodian Association for Mining and Exploration Companies (CAMEC)
  • Mr Raymond Liu, Founding Partner, Havelock Mining Investment, China
  • Mr Robin Lee, CEO and Founder, HelloGold, Malaysia

Spaces are still available for sponsors, exhibitors and delegates who wish to be a part of Mining Investment Asia. Enquiries can be sent to Jarred via email at jarred.lau@spire-events.com or phone at +65 6717 6017. More information can be found at the event website: https://www.mininginvestmentasia.com/

Background on Spire Events

Spire Events is a Singapore based events company specialising in mining & energy conferences and expos. Mining Investment Asia is part of the global Mining Investment Conference Series that spans across various locations in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin and North America and the Middle East.

Spire Events also organises the MiningTech Conference Series which focuses on technology in mining and they are held in Chile, South Africa and Brazil. Besides conferences, Spire Events also organises large scale mining and energy expos in Africa, namely Mauritania, DRC, Sierra Leone and Botswana. The full calendar of events can be found at www.spire-events.com

For media enquiries, please contact:

Mr Ng Chin Chye
Director (Marketing & Public Relations)
Tel: +65 6717 6014
Email: chinchye.ng@spire-events.com

Platinum Group upsizes financing to US$4 million

Platinum Group Metals Ltd. [PTM-TSX, PLG-NYSE American] said Thursday it is upsizing a previously announced non-brokered private placement financing, with the intention of raising US$4 million for its Waterberg Project in South Africa.

The move comes on the heels of definitive feasibility study (DFS), published in September 2019, which concluded that that the Waterberg Project will be a fully mechanized, shallow, decline-accessed mine and will be one of the largest and potentially lowest cash cost underground platinum group metals mines in the world.

The project is being advanced by shareholders of Waterberg JV Resources (Pty) Ltd., including Platinum Group Metals, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. (Implats), Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC), Hanwa Co. Ltd. and Mnombo Wethu Consultants (Pty) Ltd.

Implats owns 15% of the project, JOGMEC owns 12.95%, Hanwa acquired 9.75% of JOGMEC’s interest in the metal and marketing rights. Hosken Consolidated Investment (HCI), a South African black empowered holding company, listed on the JSE, owns 30.20% of Platinum Group Metals, which in turn owns 37.05% of the project. Mnombo has 26%. However due to Platinum Group’s 49.9% stake in Mnombo, Platinum Group’s effective interest in the Waterberg joint venture is 50.02%.

On Thursday, the company said it intends, subject to regulatory approval, to increase the size of the previously announced non-brokered private placement to 3.22 million common shares of the company at US$1.24 each, generating gross proceeds of US$4.0 million.

Platinum Group shares advanced on the news, rising 1.6% or $0.03 to $1.88. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $1.37 and $2.92.

Platinum Group Metals made the initial discovery in November 2011. It is located in a new section of the Bushveld Complex, which is located in the central Transvaal and contains some of the world’s largest reserves of platinum-group metals. The Bushveld Complex is divided into an eastern and western lobe, with a further northern extension.

The definitive feasibility study forsees an annual production rate of 420,000 4E (platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold). The estimated project capital required is also estimated at US$874 million, including US$87 million in contingencies.

That is based on an updated measured and indicated mineral resource of 242 million tonnes at 3.38 g/t 4E or 26.4 million 4E ounces (using a 2.5 g/t 4E cut-off).  Proven and probable reserves stand at 187 million tonnes at 3.24 g/t 4E or 19.5 million 4E ounces.

Platinum Group CEO Michael Jones said the definitive feasibility study (DFS) provides a clear outline of the world class nature of the Waterburg Palladium Deposit. “A large global team of approximately 100 independent professionals and specialists as well as excellent participation from our partner Implats, have contributed to an optimized plan that reduced capital from the earlier plan and significantly increased the mineral reserves for a 45-year life, 420,000 4E ounces per year (in concentrate) of steady state mine plan.”

The Waterberg Project is expected to create approximately 1,100 highly-skilled jobs and a significant investment in local training and business opportunities.

The project timeline includes a formal construction decision to be taken following the granting of a mining right, expected in the first quarter of 2020, with initial production expected 3.5 years later in late 2023, with ramp up to steady state by 2027. The deposit remains open and depth and on strike.