Troilus defines new zone

The most recent exploration release from Troilus Gold includes continuous mineralized intervals from the Southwest zone, at its flagship project in the Val-d’Or district of Quebec, 3.5 km south of the past-producing Z87 pit, where drilling tested an area of 500 metres by 250 metres.

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Drill highlights from the seven holes released include:

24 metres of 2.26 g/t gold-equivalent;31.7 metres of 1.02 g/t gold-equivalent; and38 metres of 0.97 g/t gold-equivalent.

The Southwest zone appears to feature similar geology and mineralization as the Z87 pit. All of the seven holes reported have intersected gold-copper mineralization.

The company is planning on 4,000 metres to 5,000 metres of follow-up drilling for the Southwest zone

“In light of these results, we plan to immediately expand upon this initial work with more focused drilling in the area,” Justin Reid, CEO, said in a release. “It is our view that the Southwest zone may have the potential to add to Troilus’ already compelling estimated mineral resources.”

Blake Hylands, SVP of exploration, added “The Southwest zone was our opportunity to take what we have learned over the last two years and attempt to answer questions in an area that had been known, but misunderstood since the discovery of the Troilus mine complex.”

The company is planning on 4,000 metres to 5,000 metres of follow-up drilling for the Southwest zone to infill and step-out the mineralization.

Only 2 km of a 20-km long trend at the 160-sq.-km Troilus project has been drilled to date. In the past, the Z87 pit produced almost 2 million oz. of gold.

Current indicated resources at the project stand at 159.1 million tonnes grading 0.92 g/t gold-equivalent for a total of 4.71 million gold-equivalent oz. with additional inferred resources of 52.7 million tonnes at 1.04 g/t gold-equivalent for a total of 1.76 million oz. These resources include both an open pit and underground component. A pre-feasibility study for the project is expected later this year.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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Allegiant increases Eastside resource

Allegiant Gold has released an updated resource estimate for the Original zone at its flagship 67-sq.-km Eastside project. The update features 57.1 million inferred tonnes grading 0.6 g/t gold-equivalent for a total of 1.1 million oz. and is based on an additional 22 holes drilled at the Original zone.

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This updated resource represents a 52% increase in ounces over the inferred resource of 35.8 million tonnes grading 0.63 g/t gold-equivalent totaling 720,650 oz. published previously.

The resource remains open for expansion with work planned for this year aimed at expanding the Original zone.

This updated resource represents a 52% increase in ounces over the inferred resource

“We are very pleased with the continued results at Eastside. We have merely scratched the surface at Eastside, having only explored less than 5% of the property and believe that Eastside will deliver significantly more upside in the coming years,” Peter Gianulis, the company’s president and CEO said in a release.

Exploration work at Eastside has generated new targets within a continuous, 5.5 km-long zone of hydrothermal alteration. The Original zone is contained in this area.

In December, the board approved an expansion of the operating permit to 15 sq. km which would allow exploration of these additional targets to grow the resource inventory.

In addition, the Castle claim block at the property features a historical gold resource of 273,173 oz. Allegiant plans to work towards an updated resource estimate for this area.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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First Mining brings in Aussie partner at Pickle Crow

Perth, Australia-based junior Auteco Minerals has signed a deal with First Mining Gold to earn up to an 80% interest in the Pickle Crow gold project in northwestern Ontario.

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Under the agreement, Auteco will spend C$10 million over five years on exploration, and issue cash payments totalling C$4.1 million as well as 125 million Auteco shares to First Mining.

Pickle Crow is a historic, high-grade gold mine that produced nearly 1.5 million oz. of gold at grades of 16.14 g/t gold between 1935 and 1966. The Auteco team was involved in making new discoveries at the Bellevue Gold mine, a similar historic high-grade gold mine in Australia.

“We are excited to be partnering with such an accomplished group to advance Pickle Crow,” said Dan Wilton, CEO of First Mining. “Auteco has a strong technical team with a track record of generating value through exploration success. Their team is backed by the same key individuals involved with Bellevue who had recent success in revitalizing a past-producing district, and the project similarities are why we believe Auteco is one of the best positioned teams to advance and unlock the potential at Pickle Crow.”

Wilton said the agreement will allow First Mining to focus on advancing its Springpole and Goldlund gold projects (also in Ontario) while Auteco works on discovering and developing project-scale, high-grade, near-surface gold resources at Pickle Crow, which has seen limited exploration since the mine’s closure.

First Mining will retain a 2% net smelter return royalty, 1% of which can be bought back for $2.5 million. The company acquired Pickle Crow through the acquisition of PC Gold in 2015.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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Pure Gold intersects high grades at Red Lake mine

Pure Gold has released the results of drilling completed close to existing mine development at its Madsen mine in Red Lake, Ontario, with high grade gold intersected in both infill and step-out holes. The company is now referring to the project as the Pure Gold Red Lake mine.

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Drill highlights from the 14 holes reported include:

2.2 metres of 34.1g/t gold;3.4 metres of 33.1 g/t gold; and6.3 metres of 13.2 g/t gold.

The results suggest continuity of mineralization at the mine, indicate potential for expansion of the planned stopes and have also identified new zones that may be incorporated into future mine plans. The drilling targeted the ore zones which will make up the initial feed for the processing plant.

“The Pure Gold Red Lake mine continues to produce significant, high-grade gold drill intercepts and today’s results from areas planned for mining this year highlight local opportunities for mine expansion,” Darin Labrenz, the company’s president and CEO said in a release. “These drill holes have identified both potential extensions to mine stopes and opportunities to test and develop new stopes.”

The results suggest continuity of mineralization at the mine, indicate potential for expansion

Mine development has resumed at the Pure Gold Red Lake mine; the mine is under construction with underground development ahead of the feasibility schedule. The first gold pour is expected in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Pure Gold has installed infrastructure at the site with de-watering of the underground mine proceeding on schedule. The company has determined that purchasing an underground mining fleet could deliver significant costs savings over the equipment leasing scenario outlined in the feasibility study. To date, C$6.1 million worth of equipment has been purchased and delivered.

A feasibility study for the mine released last year outlined an operation producing up to 125,000 oz. of payable gold annually at a pre-production capital cost of C$95.1 million.

Probable reserves for the project stand at 3.5 million tonnes grading 9 g/t gold for a total of 1 million oz.

The mine has produced 2.6 million oz. of gold.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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Commitment to critical minerals positions Canada’s mining sector for success — MAC

In his annual address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade last week, Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada, spoke of the state of Canada’s mining industry and how the recent commitments to mining, particularly the new Canada-US Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration and the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (CMMP), show great promise for the nation’s mining sector.

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Mining Association of Canada president and CEO Pierre Gratton addressed the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) on Wednesday, January 23 – Image courtesy of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

“The United States is looking to Canada to be a supplier of critical minerals, essential to new, advanced technologies in major sectors of the North American economy, and the Government of Canada, as expressed in Prime Minister Trudeau’s most recent Mandate Letters to his Cabinet, is committed to meet US demands,” Gratton stated.

“Critical minerals are more than rare earth elements, and include several minerals and metals already mined in Canada, including cobalt, copper, precious metals, nickel and uranium, which are critical to low carbon electrification and new battery technologies in the automotive, space, defense and high-tech sectors,” continued Gratton.

“It’s time to be ambitious. We have an opportunity to lay the foundation for a new era in investment and middle class job creation, not just in mining but in new, emerging downstream industrial and manufacturing sectors.”

Canada currently ranks among the top five countries in the global production of 15 minerals and metals. The new Joint Action Plan — according the MAC — will improve collaboration to ensure the responsible sourcing of the critical minerals that are essential to many different sectors, including clean technology and defense.

In addition to the Canada-US Joint Action Plan, Gratton also spoke on the CMMP, a federal-provincial initiative that includes measures to enhance the sector’s competitiveness, stimulate innovation, advance the participation of indigenous communities and promote Canada’s role as a global leader in mining. He believes the CMMP will provide a vision that will position the industry for success in the years to come.

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Scorpio signs toll milling contract at Goldwedge

Scorpio Gold has announced that it has signed a toll milling agreement with Lode-Star Mining for the processing of ore at its 363 tonne-per-day Goldwedge mill.

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Lode-Star will advance the funds required to add a flotation circuit to the mill which is currently configured with a gravity circuit. The Lode-Star ore requires both gravity concentration and flotation; the expenses incurred for the mill upgrades will be recouped through reduced toll milling rates.

Once the flotation circuit is added, the Goldwedge mill will be able to process both carbonaceous and sulphidic ores, with a greater toll milling availability and improved recoveries for any future processing the Goldwedge deposit.

Scorpio Gold wholly owns both the Goldwedge and Mineral Ridge projects in Nevada. Goldwedge features a past-producing, permitted underground mine with the 363 tpd mill on site. Mineral Ridge is the site of an open pit and heap leach. Mining there was suspended in 2017 but a 2018 feasibility study evaluated processing residual heap leach material and mining of higher-grade open pit ores with an associated net present value estimate of $35.1 million, at a 5% discount rate.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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Eastmain step-outs Caradoc at Clearwater

Eastmain Resources has reported the results of 13 drill holes completed at its Clearwater property which were drilled around the Caradoc showing and tested a total strike length of 4.5 km, within the 14-km long Knight-Serendipity (KS) banded iron formation.

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Drill highlights include 0.9 metres of 3.76 g/t gold and 1.5 metres of 1.11 g/t gold; both of these intercepts are east of the Caradoc target area.

“With the final results from the 2019 field program released, we remain positive on the mineral potential of the KS horizon and will be assessing various targets for inclusion in our 2020 field program,” Blair Schultz, the company’s president and CEO said in a release. “The company is currently reinterpreting several high priority targets at our flagship Eau Claire deposit and expects to announce these targets for drilling in the coming weeks.”

In addition to the exploration efforts, Eastmain will continue with engineering studies to facilitate future development of the Eau Claire deposit at Clearwater.

The Eau Claire deposit, which lies 14 km away from the banded iron formation, hosts both open-pit and underground resources. A preliminary economic assessment completed for the project in 2018 outlined an operation extracting 1.6 million tonnes at 3.78 g/t gold from the open-pit and 4.8 million tonnes at 5.24 g/t gold from the underground portion. The resulting mine, with a 12-year life, would produce an average of 86,100 oz. annually in the first 10 years of operations at all-in sustaining costs of $574 per oz. The associated net present value estimate for the project, at a 5% discount rate, came in at C$260 million.

Eastmain is currently working on a revised PEA for Eau Claire, which will be followed by the extraction of a bulk sample and additional drilling.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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Five battery raw materials themes to watch in 2020

Many in the battery raw materials market were likely happy to see the back of 2019, as it was a year characterized largely by falling prices and disappointing performances from both the EV and consumer electronics sectors, research firm Wood Mackenzie said in a research note Monday.

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But interest around
electrification shows no signs of slowing. The value chain of a new ‘green’
automotive industry is being built, from mines and refineries through to cell
and pack manufacturing, Wood Mackenzie said.

While it’s still early days,
investments and deals made in the coming months will be critical to EV adoption
potential over the next decade.

Five things to watch in 2020,
according to Wood Mackenzie:

1. Key EV markets to start growing again

In 2019, the world’s largest EV market contracted. According to the Chinese Automotive Manufacturers Association, NEV sales reached 1.206 million last year, around 4% lower than in 2018 and 20% lower than China’s target for the year. In the US, the reduction was equally noteworthy at around 10% y-o-y. A sluggish global automotive sector and changing subsidies were certainly contributing factors nevertheless its clear that EVs are not yet ready to stand on their own feet.

This year, several major automakers are launching ‘mass-market’ EVs on dedicated platforms, aimed at breaking down range and cost barriers. While Wood Mackenzie expects substantial quantities of these to trickle into the market in the second half of the year, annual passenger EV sales are likely to remain below 3 million. China’s move to postpone the complete removal of NEV subsidies this year will support EV sales but also highlights just how sensitive the EV market still is to subsidies and incentives.

2. Bigger and better batteries

Cobalt prices soared in 2018 and the push towards high-nickel, low-cobalt batteries was accelerated. Last year, China commenced the first large-scale production of NMC 811 cells to be used in the automotive sector. This year, Wood Mackenzie expects only a handful of EV models outside of China to opt for the high energy density technology until the safety challenges are fully resolved. Within China, 2020 could be the year that LFP chemistries get a comeback as significant energy density improvements make LFP a much more viable option.

Range anxiety continues to deter many consumers from purchasing EVs, with long ranges the preserve of high-end, luxury cars. Automakers are not unaware of this and nearly every new model boasts a bigger battery offering more miles per charge. Wood Mackenzie expects this trend to continue through the short term. As with most EVs, the first configurations to be sold are the highest specification models, typically using the largest battery pack. The average pack size over the next few years could be boosted as these specifications are front-loaded into the market.

3. Lithium – another poor year

Not even lithium producers are anticipating a rebound in the lithium market this year. Compared to many bullish demand expectations, 2019 was particularly weak, and excess in the market pushed prices downwards. Nearly every lithium reference price fell by at least 30% and reported …read more

An Exploration Company Where the Geologist Is the Largest Shareholder and Banking on His Own Success

Megastar map

Source: Streetwise Reports 01/27/2020

The chief geologist believes the deposits are part of a large, emerging trend.

Megastar Development Corp. (MDV:TSX.V; MSTXF:OTC; M5QN:FSE), a small-cap exploration company focused on the emerging Oaxaca Gold-Silver Belt in Mexico, has conducted fieldwork over two months that has revealed multiple targets for further exploration.

The fieldwork is being overseen by David Jones, chief geologist and a director of Megastar, who over his 40-year career has had a number of high-profile discoveries and expansions under his belt. Those in Mexico include the 1995 discovery of the Los Filos deposit in what is now known as the Guerrero Gold Belt (GGB), leading the successful Teck bid for the Morelos Reserve in the GGB (now Torex Gold), principal geological consultant in the fundraising and start-up of Torex Gold, the targeting of Gold Resource Corporation’s recent Switchback mine discovery, and participation as a director in the successful sale of Cayden Resources to Agnico Eagle. Jones was one of the early geologists to recognize the larger potential of the Guerrero Gold Belt, which over the past 25 years of his involvement has grown from less than 2 million ounces of gold to more than 30 million ounces.

“The reason I tend to have more success than failure is that I focus on thinking about why mineralization is where it is and where I might find more, especially if there are no obvious indicators in the area. Los Filos was a blind discovery; there was nothing at the surface, and it was based on a geologic idea that paid off,” Jones told Streetwise Reports. He says that similar thinking may be applied to the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Jones has become interested in the regional structures that cross through southern Mexico. “In Oaxaca, there are super volcanoes—calderas—and every mineralized district that I know of along the central volcanic belt in the state, including Fortuna Silver’s San Jose Mine and Gold Resource Corp.’s Arista-Switchback and Alta Gracia mines, is associated with Tertiary calderas and their related structures. The liquid magma that comes up fills the cracks and associated hydrothermal fluids make the ore body,” Jones explained.

Epithermal gold-silver deposits are known for their bonanza grades, “fabulous high grades, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, with gold upwards of 5 grams per tonne, silver in the kilo range and base metals in the multi-percentage range, all in the same vein,” Jones said.

Jones views the emerging Oaxaca Gold-Silver Belt as an “opportunity parallel to that of the early Guerrero Gold Belt” with the potential for significant discoveries. Fortuna Silver’s San Jose Mine has produced 767,000 gold-equivalent ounces (gold and silver) since 2013; Gold Resource’s Arista-Switchback and Alta Gracia mines have produced 465,000 ounces of gold since 2011.

Acting on his working theory is what allowed him to target what became the Switchback mine discovery. Applying his knowledge on a more regional scale led Jones to secure …read more

Malevolent Microbes

Source: Michael Ballanger for Streetwise Reports 01/27/2020

Sector expert Michael Ballanger examines the possible effects the emergence of the coronavirus in China may have on markets, and offers his observations on January’s market performances.

There is a local casino just “up the road” from where we reside that we visit (once in a blue moon), small sums of pocketed cash in hand, to play a few favored slot machines to see if we can defy the house odds and come home winners. Called The Great Blue Heron Casino, we have nicknamed it “The Blue Goose,” in reference to how one usually feels upon departure.

On occasion, we drive back “down the road” with smiling faces because we spat in faces of the Gambling Gods and actually came out ahead. However, the majority of the time, we limp home dejectedly, vowing never ever to return. Then, a month later, back “up the road” we go with yet another modest wad of the ultimate in “risk capital” to fire into the vice machines, forgetting all vows of abstinence and reformation.

Now, being that it is the closest casino to the large Asian populations of the Greater Toronto Area, the Goose is frequented by busload after busload of (predominantly) gamblers of Chinese descent or origin, cash literally falling out of pockets, who dash immediately in the direction of the exclusive “high-roller” sections. I have observed from afar elderly Chinese women sitting at a slot machine for hours, reaching into well-guarded handbags for $100 bills, which they deposit with orderly precision and astonishing calm. The robotic nature in which they perform these functions are almost religious in nature but alas, this is not the point of the story.

Last evening, I was about to sneak into the “Goose” for a fast $500 “cleansing” when I looked up to see one of those packed tour buses unloading passengers. What struck me as “odd” was that all of these (predominantly Chinese) people were wearing surgical masks. The last time I saw people wearing surgical masks outside of an operating theater was during the SARS epidemic, circa 2002, and in the category of “How Quickly We Forget,” global markets were roiled by that frightening pandemic. So, with the arrival of a new strain of microbe known as the “coronavirus” now dominating the news cycles, it was as if a large bucket of ice water was dumped down my (and the market’s) back.

I recall reading John Naisbitt’s 1982 bestseller Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives, in which one of the major new directions was the “mutation of the microbe.” The explosion of world travel, with emphasis on the mass immigration of Asians to every other continent on the planet, has made the transportation and incubation of harmful, if not deadly, strains of bacteria a definite problem. It was identified by Naisbitt forty years ago in his book, as was the ascension of …read more

More Details on Private Placements

Source: Maurice Jackson for Streetwise Reports 01/27/2020

In part three of the series, “All About Private Placements,” Maurice Jackson of Proven and Probable talks with Tekoa Da Silva, a financial adviser with Sprott USA, about details of private placements, including removing restrictive legends, exercising warrants, timing of private placement tranches, and understanding corporate share structures.

Maurice Jackson: Thank you for joining us for the third part of a special four-part series entitled All About Private Placements. Joining us for conversation is Tekoa Da Silva. He’s an accomplished licensed financial adviser for Sprott USA, the premier name in the natural resource space. Full disclosure, the following is not a Sprott USA endorsed product and it is for educational purposes only.

Tekoa, we concluded the second part of this series with the question regarding legend removals. Now what if I have an online discount broker? Can I go to them and have my legend removed?

Tekoa Da Silva: Looking at it from a North American context, a person may have a brokerage account with Charles Schwab, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade. The best place to get the answer that question is by calling them and asking the adviser that the person works with. And the answer that they get will probably result in you having to speak to three or four people at that firm to get a precise answer and it may be an imprecise answer at that. My impression is that many of the broker dealers, certainly in the U.S., are continuing to cut out the services that they used to offer because they’re no longer considered core products and services, and the cost of offering those services is going through the roof in terms of compliance and legal.

So why deal with it? From their standpoint, I think it makes much better sense to just simply let those services and those people go. But a person can always ask and they can always try. My observation and my discussions with a few people that have tried some of those discount online brokerage firms in the past was that it was a real run around, sort of like spending a week at the DMV.

So if someone has some time to kill and they want to pursue that process, by all means. But my advice would be to vet out a couple firms that claim to be specialist, natural resource and private placement capable firms, and test them out and see how they go. But be careful with trying to do private placement activities with discount brokers.

Maurice Jackson: I’ve gotten the legend removed and I now have the ability to sell my shares, but also the price has increased. Let’s use this scenario that we discussed earlier with Novo Resources Corp. (NVO:TSX.V; NSRPF:OTCQX). I bought it at 66 cents. The warrant, I can exercise it for one year at 90 cents, and the stock price is now …read more

Novel mine reclamation techniques prove effective

Novel mine reclamation techniques can improve ecosystem diversity, new research has found.

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According to a study by the University of Wyoming, reclaiming lands disturbed by surface mining using geomorphic reclamation is having positive results, including restoration of foundation species.

The research was carried out at former uranium and coal mine sites in central and southwest Wyoming reclaimed under the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s Abandoned Mine Land program. It found that areas reclaimed using geomorphic reclamation had greater species diversity and improved plant community structure when compared with areas reclaimed using traditional practices.

The issue has particular relevance for Wyoming, where nearly 90,000 acres have been disturbed by surface mining and many more have been permitted for future mining

“There is strong evidence that geomorphic reclamation may be a better candidate than traditional reclamation to restore foundation species such as sagebrush in Wyoming,” Kristina Hufford, one of the study’s authors, said in a media statement.

In Hufford’s view, traditional reclamation techniques normally create landscapes with uniform topography and linear slopes, sometimes resulting in problems with erosion, as well as less-than-desired revegetation. 

Geomorphic reclamation, however, is a relatively novel approach intended to mimic the topography of nearby undisturbed lands, with a wide variety of seeds and terrain that is stable and less susceptible to erosion.

At the test mine sites, both new and traditional methods were used and even though geomorphic reclamation didn’t result in landscapes exactly matching undisturbed rangeland, the researchers found that this technique was more successful because there was more plant diversity and species richness, including larger numbers of shrubs such as sagebrush and rabbitbrush. 

“The results of geomorphic reclamation for shrub recovery may have benefits for species that depend upon sagebrush,” Hufford said.

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