GALLERY: Art of Mining global photography submissions

“Northern lights have inspired many legends around the world. For the Inuit, they’ve long carried an air of spiritual significance, representing souls of ancestors. To construct a mine in the arctic you need innovation, resiliency and a lot of teamwork, but most importantly you develop an immense appreciation and respect for the people that have lived in this area for thousands of years. In this picture, the Meadowbank mine is seen under the northern lights, as if the souls of Inuit ancestors were keeping a close watch over the well being of the hundreds of Inuit that work there.”

The mining industry is embracing transformation and reimagining the possible, powered by a dynamic workforce, new technologies and diverse ideas. PWC's 2019 Art of mining participants demonstrated what transformation looks like to them through iconic photography. With over 2,000 votes from around the world, this year’s Art of mining attracted some stunning submissions:

Midland Exploration – Quebec

Midland Exploration, Quebec.

"Exploration in Quebec brings challenges on a daily basis. Midland Exploration’s team has always been creative and innovative as a means to increase productivity, not only in the field with advance geological instruments, but also in the office with inventive software and effective working methods. There are challenges like constant changing temperatures and different soils in remote regions with little infrastructure that require Midland Exploration to be proactive, finding new ideas and technologies to go forward, look beyond the horizon, and stay one of the most active explorers in Quebec."

Raglan Mine, Quebec, Glencore

Raglan Mine, Glencore

"Our windmill is always of great interest to our visitors. When it came into operation in 2014, it was the first time that renewable energy was deployed in the Quebec Arctic. But the innovation doesn't stop there: three wind energy storage technologies (flywheel system, lithium-ion battery and hydrogen loop) are currently being tested in order to constantly improve our practices.Our windmill proved to be a huge success: it is the one that has produced the most energy in Canada in 2015-2016 and allows us to annually reduce our diesel consumption by 2.3 million litres."

OceanaGold – Haile Operation, Kershaw, South Carolina, US

OceanaGold – Haile Operation

"Haile Gold Mine operated from 1827 – 1912 and briefly during the World Wars and the 1990’s. OceanaGold acquired the mine project in 2015 and completed design and construction of an all new, state-of-the-art mine, using the latest technology to build an efficient and low-cost production gold mine. The first gold pour for the new mine was January, 2017. The entire site utilizes Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology for all its lighting. The photograph shows the new SAG mill and Ball mill with LED high bay lights taken under a full moon and Carolina blue sky."

Sherritt International- Ft. Saskatchewan, Alberta

Sherritt International- Ft. Saskatchewan, Alberta.

"Innovation starts with people coming together to put great ideas to work.This spirit of innovation has been at the heart of Sherritt’s operations for 90 years. Over the years, our people have contributed to significant improvements in mining, processing and refining. Most notably, we have developed a hydrometallurgical process that has become the global standard for the refining of nickel and cobalt from laterite deposits. Research and development continues today at our Technologies division based in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, who embody our commitment to doing business better by looking for new opportunities to innovate."

Anaconda Mining – Newfoundland Point Rousse Project

Photo by: Chris Budgell, Mill Superintendent Submitted by: Lynn Hammond, VP Public Relations.

“In 2017 Anaconda Mining established water export access at the Newfoundland Point Rousse Project, ultimately creating an opportunity to turn over 3 million tonnes of waste rock into a competitive product in the seaborne aggregates market.We are now testing product and exploring markets in the agriculture industry to use tailings as a soil enhancement product.
The soon depleted 7 million-tonne Pine Cove Pit has been permitted to become an in-pit tailings storage facility, which has less technical and environmental risks than in conventional, constructed facilities. We use ingenuity, innovation and technology to maximize our potential… From the ground up.”

Lundin Mining

"Drones have provided a dynamic new perspective on large scale industrial mining projects, giving operators a view point that can’t be obtained any other way and opening a new field of technical development that assists all projects areas. We currently utilize drone technology for tasks ranging from 3D mapping & surveying, engineering support, quick visual aid in emergency scenarios, interference evaluation, and status of hard to reach locations. The high-resolution images and video showing project progress and activity tracking enable management to get field data in real time."

Pan American Silver – Dolores Mine- Mexico

Pan American Silver, Mexico.

“Women bring a fresh approach to the business. Together, we are shaping the future of Pan American Silver" (Underground, Dolores Mine – Mexico, 2017).

B2Gold Namibia’s Otjikoto Mine Solar Power Project

 

B2Gold Namibia’s Otjikoto Mine Solar Power Project under construction at sunset

"B2Gold Otjikoto is constructing a 5.8 megawatt AC Solar Powered plant that will be integrated into the existing HFO Power Plant as Phase 1 of a 3 phase solar project. The solar plant will reduce emissions from the HFO power plant and continue to benefit the surrounding communities and environmental projects long after the mine has closed."

 

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OceanaGold walks away from exploration projects in Argentina

Australia’s OceanaGold (ASX, TSX: OGC) has withdrawn from two exploration projects in Argentina in which spent about $4.5 million (C$6m) over the past two years as explorations results have not met the miner’s expectations.

Mirasol Resources (TSX-V:MRZ), the owner of La Curva and Claudia prospects in Argentina’s Santa Cruz province, said that while results to date weren’t what OceanaGold expected, it believed the work completed has identified “compelling targets” that warrant further testing.

The Claudia gold-silver project is located about 20km to the south of AngloGold Ashanti’s majority owned Cerro Vanguardia gold-silver mine.

La Curva gold project, in turn, is part of a newly recognized precious metal district in a region that already has five operating multi-million ounce gold and silver mines.

OceanaGold spent almost $34 million on global exploration last year and it’s been especially successful in New Zealand, where it made a high-grade discovery only 10 km north of its Waihi gold mine.

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Global Exploration Snapshot: The Americas, West Africa and Australasia remain popular

While gold miners have been making substantial profits in recent quarters thanks to rising gold prices and better operational and financial discipline, they continue to seek new ounces via the drill bit to fill their production pipeline. A look at eight majors and juniors exploring for gold worldwide.

BARRICK GOLD

The world’s largest gold miner Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) is also heavily invested in gold exploration, with the company noting that since 1990, it has found 129 million oz. gold at an overall discovery cost of US$29 per oz., or roughly half the average finding cost across the industry.

With its merger with Randgold Resources now completed, Barrick says its investment criteria for greenfield gold projects include a “critical mass of 3 million mineable oz. gold capable of delivering an internal rate of return of 20% at US$1,000 per oz. gold.”

Today, its most prominent greenfield exploration projects are: The 83.3%-owned Massawa gold project in Senegal, where a feasibility study is underway towards a final development decision; the 50%-owned, 39 million oz. gold Donlin Gold project in Alaska, which the company says “represents one of the world’s largest undeveloped gold deposits at an advanced stage of permitting in a stable jurisdiction, underscoring its unique potential”; the Norte Abierto fifty-fifty joint venture in Chile’s Atacama region, where work is advancing an optimized project design, including an updated geological model for the Cerro Casale, Caspiche and Luciano deposits; the Pascua-Lama project at the Chile-Argentina border; and the Alturas project in Chile’s El Indio belt, where the company has completed a scoping-level study for a conventional open-pit, heap-leach operation.

COLUMBUS GOLD

Vancouver-based Columbus Gold (TSX: CGT; US-OTC: CGTFF) is exploring and developing gold assets in French Guiana in South America, which politically is a department of France.

Columbus’ flagship asset is its major interest in the Montagne d’Or gold deposit, which hosts proven and probable reserves of 54.11 million tonnes grading 1.58 grams gold per tonne, or a contained 2.75 million oz. gold.

A 2017 feasibility study envisioned an open-pit mining operation with average annual gold production of 237,000 oz. gold over the first decade of mine life at an average head grade of 1.73 grams gold, and an all-in sustaining cost of US$749 per oz. gold.

Columbus notes there is “considerable expansion potential on strike and at depth,” and that permitting is underway.

In January, Columbus closed a private placement that raised gross proceeds of $2 million, with the funds earmarked for general working capital purposes. Existing shareholder Nordgold of Russia participated in the financing and now holds an undiluted 9.96% interest in Columbus (11.18%, fully diluted).

FIREFOX GOLD

Vancouver-based junior FireFox Gold (TSXV: FFOX) is focused on exploring for gold in Finland, and has a CEO and technical team based in the country.

FireFox notes that “Finland is one of the top mining jurisdictions in the world, as indicated by its number-one ranking in the 2017 Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies. Having a strong mining law and long mining tradition, Finland remains underexplored for gold.”

In January at its wholly owned Mustajarvi gold project in the Central Lapland greenstone belt, FireFox reported that initial drill results for its 1,095-metre, first-phase drilling program include hole 18MJ10, with a 2-metre-thick massive pyrite zone from 126 metres downhole that assayed 45.1 grams gold per tonne.

FireFox has also entered into option agreements with Magnus Minerals, a private, Finnish prospect generator, through which it has options to acquire 100% interests in several projects that encompass 1,040 square kilometres. To complete the combined options, FireFox must spend $4 million exploring the properties and make cash payments to Magnus totalling up to $450,000 over the course of the two separate three-year option periods.

FireFox also controls over 260 sq. km of exploration reservations and exploration permits held directly by its Finnish subsidiary.

GRAN COLOMBIA GOLD

Toronto-based, mid-tier gold miner Gran Colombia Gold (TSX: GCM; US-OTC: TPRFF) has as its primary focus Colombia, where it is the largest underground gold and silver producer with several mines in operation at its Segovia and Marmato Operations.

The company produced 218,000 oz. gold in 2018, up 25% over 2017. It also strengthened its balance sheet in 2018, and brought it down to $83.4 million as of Jan. 31, 2019, with a cash position of $33 million as of Dec. 31, 2018, up from $3 million at the end of 2017.

Gran Colombia says it is “continuing to focus on exploration, expansion and modernization activities at its high-grade Segovia operations,” and that there is “blue sky potential with Marmato, Zancudo and Sandspring in the pipeline.”

Gran Colombia executive co-chairman Serafino Iacono says in a release that his firm “got off to a good start in 2019, with almost 18,000 oz. gold production in January, in line with our expectations. Our drilling programs at Segovia continue to yield encouraging results, with the identification of two new zones at Providencia and the down-plunge extension of the main ore shoots at Sandra K, both of which have the potential for additional resource growth. Our 2019 drilling campaign at Segovia will focus more on step-out drilling at Providencia and Sandra K, deep-zone drilling to extend El Silencio another 200 metres below its currently delineated mineral resource, and brownfield drilling on the Cogote vein system, as we increasingly shift our attention towards the blue-sky potential within our Segovia mining title to add production and mine life.”

IAMGOLD

Toronto-based Iamgold (TSX: IMG; NYSE: IAG) is another international gold major that is heavily invested in exploration and development activities.

During 2018, Iamgold’s attributable gold production was 882,000 equivalent oz. gold, including record gold production of 405,000 oz. at Essakane in Burkina Faso, at all-in sustaining costs of US$1,057 per oz. sold.

The core shack at Iamgold’s Rosebel gold mine in Suriname. Photo by John Cumming.

As for its gold-exploration criteria, Iamgold says it will “focus only on projects with a target threshold potential of at least 1 million oz. of mineral resources, capable of reaching 100,000 oz. in annual production.”

At year-end 2018, Iamgold’s attributable proven and probable gold reserves were 17.9 million oz. — up 23% from the end of 2017 — while attributable measured and indicated resources (including reserves) were 27.9 million oz. gold. Attributable inferred resources were 8.7 million oz., up 13%, and down 1% from the end of 2017.

Iamgold’s most prominent grassroots exploration projects include: the 1.6 million oz. Boto gold project in Senegal; the Pitangui gold project in Brazil’s Iron Quadrilateral; the Siribaya gold project in Mali; and several joint ventures, such as Monster Lake in Quebec with Toma Gold, and Eastern Borosi in Nicaragua with Calibre Mining.

NEXUS GOLD

Vancouver-based Nexus Gold (TSXV: NXS; US-OTC: NXXGF) is developing several gold projects in Burkina Faso, including the 178 sq. km Niangouela gold concession on the Boromo greenstone belt; the 39 sq. km Bouboulou gold concession (previously explored by Riverstone Resources and Roxgold); and the 250 sq. km Rakounga gold concession, which is contiguous to Bouboulou.

In Canada, Nexus has newly acquired the New Pilot gold-copper project in B.C.’s Bridge River Mining Camp and McKenzie gold project in Ontario’s Red Lake camp.

Nexus says it is “concentrating its efforts on establishing a National Instrument 43-101 compliant resource at one or more of its four current Burkina Faso projects, which total over 560 sq. km of land located on active gold belts and proven mineralized trends.”

Comments Nexus: “Burkina Faso is a mining friendly jurisdiction that has a relatively recent history in modern mining. It is one of the reasons we chose to work here. Another significant reason is that it’s a place where a smaller company like Nexus can find and work highly prospective ground that hasn’t already been picked over and ‘drilled out’ by others.

“Another perhaps equally important reason we work in West Africa is that we have the requisite experience there. Our management and geological teams bring significant experience and successful track records in Burkina Faso and neighbouring countries in all aspects of exploration, including discovery, project development, mine operations, and much more.”

OCEANAGOLD

OceanaGold (TSX: OGC; US-OTC: OCANF) has major gold mines on three continents: the Didipio gold-copper mine on Luzon Island in the Philippines; the Macraes Goldfield mine on New Zealand’s South Island; the Waihi gold mine on New Zealand’s North Island of New Zealand; and the Haile gold mine in South Carolina.

It says it also has a “significant pipeline of organic growth, and exploration opportunities in the Australasia and the Americas.”

On the exploration front, OceanaGold announced the tabling in February of a high-grade mineral resource at its greenfield WKP prospect, located 10 km north of its Waihi mine.

Indicated resources at WKP stand at 0.41 million tonnes grading 18.0 grams gold per tonne and 22.7 grams silver per tonnes for a contained 234,000 oz. gold and 296,000 oz. silver on the East Graben vein. Inferred resources tally 1.05 million tonnes grading 11.9 grams gold and 16.8 grams silver for 401,000 oz. gold and 568,000 oz. silver on the East Graben and T-Stream veins.

OceanaGold president and CEO Mick Wilkes says he is “very pleased to announce this major milestone for the company at our newest high-grade discovery at WKP. This quality resource further demonstrates the strong organic growth potential of our business and the prudent investments we’re making in exploration to create value for shareholders. This significant discovery at WKP is also a tremendous outcome for New Zealand, as it has the potential to create additional employment opportunities and generate significant socio-economic benefits for the country and communities.”

YAMANA GOLD

Yamana Gold (TSX: YRI; NYSE: AUY) is another Toronto-based international gold miner that puts an emphasis on exploration.

In 2019, Yamana expects to mine 940,000 oz. gold, 10 million oz. silver and 120 million lb. copper, or 1.06 million oz. gold equivalent.

Yamana says exploration is the “lifeblood of mining through the discovery of new ounces,” and that its exploration programs continue to deliver on the discovery of mineral resources and reserves. It notes that in 2018, its exploration program at the Yamana mines (excluding those assets sold in 2018) replaced gold reserves, while increasing resources in the measured, indicated and inferred categories. The company also boosted its copper resources.

In 2018, Yamana says its exploration program is “focused on finding higher-quality ounces, improving mine grade, infill drilling to replace production by upgrading existing mineral resources, and exploring the Yamana property portfolio for new exploration targets.”

Yamana was exploring in 2018 at the Chapada gold-copper project in Brazil; the El Penon gold-silver project in Chile; the co-owned Canadian Malartic gold mine in Quebec; the Cerro Moro gold project in Argentina; the Jacobina gold mine in Brazil and the Minera Florida gold project in Chile.

(This article originally appeared in The Northern Miner)

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OceanaGold tables resource at WKP prospect in New Zealand

OceanaGold (TSX: OGC; US-OTC: OCANF) has tabled a maiden resource at its WKP gold prospect, 10 km north of its Waihi gold mine in New Zealand.

WKP’s East Graben vein contains 410,000 indicated tonnes grading 18 grams gold and 22.7 grams silver for 234,000 oz. gold and 296,000 oz. silver. Its East Graben vein and T-Stream veins also contain 1.05 million inferred tonnes at 11.9 grams gold and 16.8 grams silver for 401,000 oz. gold and 568,000 oz. silver.

While drilling for a resource at its East Graben Vein, OceanaGold intersected a “much more extensive” zone of mineralization over a 1 km strike length that remains open in both directions, with a 200 metre vertical extent that remains open for another 100-200 metres up dip. The company expects to diamond drill 14,500 metres at WKP in 2019.

Recent highlights from the company’s drilling at WKP’s East Graben vein include 39.6 grams gold and 101.8 grams silver over 2.4 metres from 335 metres downhole and 43.37 grams gold and 59.5 grams silver over 10 metres from 477 metres downhole.

OceanaGold produced 533,000 oz. gold in 2018, down from 574,600 oz. gold the year before. It reported US$363.7 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and a net profit of US$121.7 million, down from US$408.4 million and US$171.8 million the year before.

This story first appeared in The Northern Miner.

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OceanaGold reports 2019 guidance and exploration budget

OceanaGold Corp. (TSX: OGC; ASX: OGC) says its mines in the Philippines, New Zealand and the U.S. will produce a total of between 500,000 and 550,000 ounces of gold and 14,000 to 15,000 tonnes of copper this year at all-in sustaining costs ranging from US$850 and US$900 per oz. gold sold.

In 2018 the company produced 533,300 ounces of gold and 15,000 tonnes of copper at AISCs of US$767 per oz. At Haile in the U.S., the exploration program will concentrate mainly on drill targets within and around the existing deposits.

This year the company plans to increase mining and milling tonnes to more than 200,000 ounces of gold a year at its Haile mine in South Carolina. The mine is an open-pit operation with additional underground resources.

In New Zealand it plans to advance permitting and continue resource drilling and engineering studies for its Martha underground project at its Waihi gold mine on the North Island. Martha could add another ten years to Waihi’s life of mine, the company says. OceanaGold bought Waihi in October 2015 from Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM).

The company has budgeted US$40 million to US$50 million on global exploration this year to increase reserves across all of its operations. About US$8 million to US$10 million of the funds will be spent on drilling Wharekirauponga (WKP), a prospect on the North Island of New Zealand.

At its Macraes mine on New Zealand’s South Island, the company plans to spend between US$7 million and US$10 million on exploration associated with potential mine life extensions along the 32-km Hyde-Macraes Shear Zone including Golden Point. OceanaGold believes Golden Point could become the basis for a potential standalone underground operation. Macraes is an open-pit and underground operation, which has been operating for more than 29 years and is the country’s largest gold producing operation.

In the Philippines, the exploration focus will be primarily on infill and extension drilling at the lower levels of the Didipio underground. Didipio is a high-grade, gold-copper mine on the island of Luzon, about 270 km north of the Manila.

At Haile in the U.S., the exploration program will concentrate mainly on drill targets within and around the existing deposits.

The company has also set aside US$6 million to US$8 million on exploration joint-ventures in the Americas.

At presstime in Toronto OceanaGold was trading at $4.41 per share within a 52-week trading range of $2.97 and $5.01.

Brian Quast of BMO Capital Markets has a market perform rating and a price target of $5.00 per share.

This story first appeared in The Northern Miner.

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Tasman Mining to bring historic New Zealand mine back into production

Tasman Mining announced this week that government agency New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals granted a mining permit for the high-grade Blackwater gold deposit located near Reefton on the West Coast of the South Island.

In a media statement, Tasman explained that with this new permit, the company can put in motion its plans to build an underground operation at the site of the historic Blackwater mine. Gold extraction in the area ceased more than six decades ago.

“There is still much work to be done to establish the Blackwater prospect as a new mine, but this is an important milestone,” said industry group Straterra

The Australian miner also plans to build a tunnel to provide a site for underground drilling to build more geological confidence in the existing gold resource. In the media brief, Tasman said such step is needed before making a decision to mine.

Besides the yellow metal, Tasman wants to extract and commercialize silver and it is allowed to do so for 20 years.

According to local industry group Straterra, Blackwater was once the most prolific mine in the Reefton Goldfield, producing 700,000 ounces of gold between 1908 and 1951.

“Tasman Mining will now work through the final approval process for the Annual Work Plan & Environmental Management Plans with the Buller and West Coast Regional Council. Our aim is to commence the development of a decline at the start of 2020 in conjunction with our technical, environmental and economic studies which will underpin a future decision as to whether a low impact, modern gold mining operation at Blackwater is feasible,” the firm’s Managing Director, Mark Le Messurier, said in the press release.

Tasman obtained an exclusive right to purchase Blackwater from OceanaGold (TSX/ASX: OGC) back in July 2018.

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Bravada and OceanaGold announce JV on Nevada Highland project

Bravada Gold (TSXV: BVA) (OTCQB: BGAVF) today announced an option/joint venture agreement has been fully executed with OceanaGold, giving the company the option to earn up to a 75% interest in Bravada's Highland gold-silver project in Nevada's Walker Lane Gold trend.

The Highland project consists of 102 Federal lode claims for a total of approximately 825 hectares and is located along the Walker Lane Gold trend of western Nevada. Previous drilling by Bravada's subsidiary intersected vein zones with locally high-grade intercepts; the Company's best hole intersected 1.5 meters of 66.9 grams of gold per tonne and 397.7g/t silver within a 12.2m intercept of 9.5g/t gold and 109.4g/t silver, with true thicknesses estimated at 65% of the intervals.

"Highland is an excellent example of Bravada's business model, which is to identify and advance early-stage, potentially high-margin gold/silver deposits in Nevada to a point that joint-venture partners then further advance the property through a combination of providing significant project funding and adding technical expertise,” Bravada president Joe Kizis said in a media release.  

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OceanaGold allowed to resume activities at New Zealand’s Martha pit

Following a series of hearings that took place in November, three independent commissioners in New Zealand have greenlighted OceanaGold’s (TSX/ASX: OGC) Martha pit, which is the first stage of an anticipated 10-year mine life extension for the historic Martha Underground Mine, located in Waihi town, in the North Island’s Hauraki district.

The Martha project comprises two mining areas below the current Martha Pit, including Phase 4 of the Martha Open Pit and the Martha Underground Mine. Back in August, OceanaGold increased the site’s indicated resource by 700% to 0.76Mt @ 5.8 g/t Au for 140,000 ounces of gold and inferred resource by 250% to 2.49Mt @ 4.3 g/t Au for 339,000 ounces of gold.

Following the recent approval, the Melbourne-based company said it plans to start work on the Martha open pit by mid-2019 and will also conduct underground work south of the current pit.

But the beginning of operations is subject to an appeals process that ends in January of next year and that is expected to generate some debate given that citizens and members of environmental organizations have expressed concerns about the potential vibrations from underground drillings. They fear that an episode similar to that of April 2015, when a major slip and a rockfall affected the area and caused the stoppage of mining activities up till now, could happen again.

However, OceanaGold has said that, once final consents are granted, it will begin stabilisation work on the north wall of the Martha pit.

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