WPC Resources rebrands as Blue Star Gold

Vancouver-based WPC Resources Inc. (TSXV: WPQ) announced on Wednesday that effective January 18, 2019, the company will change its name to Blue Star Gold Corp.

Blue Star will be a Vancouver-based gold and silver exploration company focused on mineral exploration and development in Nunavut, Canada. Through its subsidiary, Inukshuk Exploration Inc., the company will own the 8,015 hectare Hood River gold property located contiguous to the Ulu mining lease. Blue Star will have a definitive agreement to acquire the Ulu, an advanced gold and silver project.

The new name better represents the company’s dedication and focus on Canada’s north with its potential for significant, world-class gold and silver deposits. The new name of the Company was taken from the official flag of Nunavut. Through its subsidiary, Inukshuk Exploration Inc., the company will own the 8,015 hectare Hood River gold property located contiguous to the Ulu mining lease

The company is undertaking its name change to reflect its other announced major changes to its management team and to the board of directors. In October 2018, Zara Kanji, CPA, CGA, joined the company as its new Chief Financial Officer and Mike C. Stewart, P.Eng has joined as corporate secretary.

Blue Star will be listed on the TSX Venture Exchange with the trading symbol: BAU. There will be no change to the number of shares issued and outstanding.

“Our board and Management team are fully committed to expansion of the measured and indicated resources of the Ulu property. At the same time, we plan to explore and drill the several high-grade gold occurrences within both the Ulu property and the Hood River Concessions.” Stephen Wilkinson, president and CEO said in the press release.

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NorZinc signs land use agreement with Dene

Vancouver-based NorZinc has signed a traditional land use agreement with the Nah?a Dehé Dene Band in Nahanni Butte. The agreement covers the construction and operation of an all season road connecting the Prairie Creek zinc-lead-silver mine and the Liard Highway. The mine is located 200  km west of Fort Simpson.

The agreement codifies the Band’s support for an all season road. It  is supplemental to the original impact benefits agreement of 2011 that was drawn up when access was anticipated via a winter road.

NorZinc and the Nah?a Dehé Dene Band will establish a committee to oversee both the land use and impact benefit agreements.

A signing ceremony was held on Jan. 15 in Nahanni Butte. A formal ceremony is planned in Vancouver during the AME Roundup 2019 conference at the end of January.

This article originally appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal. 

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New software uses machine learning to refine loading and haulage processes

Tech company Micromine announced the launching of a new underground mining precision performance software that uses machine learning to refine loading and haulage processes. The program is part of the company’s fleet management and mine control solution, Pitram, as was initially designed by a master’s student at the University of Western Australia.

In a press release, Micromine explained that by using the processes of computer vision and deep machine learning, onboard cameras are placed on loaders to track variables such as loading time, hauling time, dumping time and travelling empty time. The video feed generated is then processed on the Pitram vehicle computer edge device and the information is transferred to Pitram servers for processing and analyses.

“By capturing images and information via video cameras and analysing that information via comprehensive data models, mine managers can make adjustments to optimise performance and efficiency,” the Australian firm’s Chief Technology Officer Ivan Zelina said in the media statement. “It also provides underground mine managers with increased business knowledge, so they have more control over loading and hauling processes and can make more informed decisions which, in turn, improves safety in underground mining environments.”

According to Zelina, the technology was already tested through pilot programs in Australia, Mongolia, and Russia and the results showed enhancements in mining companies knowledge of their loading processes through automated data collection and analysis.

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Precipitate Gold purchases gold-copper project in the Dominican Republic

Precipitate Gold (TSXV: PRG) and Everton Resources signed the final papers through which the former acquired ownership of all of Everton’s Dominican Republic exploration concessions, consisting of Pueblo Grande project, adjoining Barrick and Goldcorp’s Pueblo Viejo gold-silver mine, and the Ponton project, located 30 kilometres east of Pueblo Grande.

“We are pleased to have completed our due diligence, satisfied all requirements, and attained the necessary government and regulatory approvals to close this transaction and acquire a 100% interest in this exciting new landholding adjacent to one of the largest gold-silver mining operations in the world,” Precipitate’s President and CEO, Jeffrey Wilson, said in a media statement.

According to Wilson, while the transaction was being finalized, his company’s technical team has been designing proposed first phases of work within certain priority target areas. They expect work activities on the ground to commence soon.

The Vancouver miner’s CEO also said that the immediate exploration priority will be the area directly west of Barrick’s mining pits, where a notable geophysical magnetic high coincides with an equally substantial area of advanced argillic lithocap alteration.

“This highly prospective lithocap target area measuring approximately 2.5 km by 3.0 km has seen little systematic exploration and will be the focus of initial phases of work,” Wilson stated.

The Pueblo Grande concessions cover an area of about 9,863 hectares and are located in the central Sanchez Ramirez province, some 50 kilometres north of the capital city of Santo Domingo.

To complete the transaction, Precipitate has to deliver to Everton C$25,000 cash and issue seven million common shares subject to sale legend restrictions for up to 3 years.

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B2Gold hits record gold output in 2018 thanks to new Mali mine

Mid-tier Canadian miner B2Gold (TSX:BTO)(NYSE: BTG) reported Wednesday record gold production in 2018 of 953,504 ounces, a figure the company says was near the top end of the revised guidance of between 920,000 and 960,000 ounces.

This is the 10th consecutive year the Vancouver-based miner achieves record annual production, with output this time climbing 51% thanks to the contribution of its 80%-owned Fekola mine in southwestern Mali.

This is the 10th consecutive year the Vancouver-based miner achieves record annual production, with output this time climbing 51%.

Full-year consolidated gold revenue totalled $1.2 billion ore 92% more than in 2017, marking a new company record.

In its first full year of commercial production, Fekola exceeded expectations, as it produced 439,068 ounces, while B2Gold  expected a maximum of 430,000 ounces.

The company’s Masbate mine in the Philippines also topped guidance, achieving record yearly gold production of 216,498 ounces.

B2Gold’s other African asset, the Otjikoto in Namibia, produced 167,346 ounces, reaching the mid-point of its production guidance range.

For 2019, the miner forecasts gold production of between 935,000 and 975,000 ounces at all-in sustaining costs estimated at between $835 and $875 per ounce.

The company noted it planned a year of aggressive exploration,  with a budget of approximately $43 million, from which almost half will be spent in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana.

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Ford to lead blockchain pilot that traces cobalt mined in Congo

Ford to lead blockchain pilot that traces cobalt mined in Congo

Automaker Ford has partnered up with IBM, South Korean battery maker LG Chem and China’s largest cobalt producer Huayou Cobalt to test the first blockchain project to trace supplies of the metal from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The pilot, overseen by multinational responsible-sourcing group RCS Global, seeks to help manufacturers ensure the cobalt they use is not linked to human rights abuses.

On the simulated sourcing scenario, cobalt produced at Huayou’s mine in the DRC will be traced through the supply chain as it travels from mine and smelter to LG Chem’s cathode plant and battery plant in South Korea, and finally into a Ford plant in the United States.

An audit trail will be created on the blockchain, which will include corresponding data to provide evidence of the cobalt production from mine to end user.

Pilot is the latest effort to use blockchain to improve the transparency of global supply chains, especially in the mining industry.

“With the growing demand for cobalt, this group has come together with clear objectives to illustrate how blockchain can be used for greater assurance around social responsibility in the mining supply chain,” Manish Chawla, GM, Global Industrial Products Industry at IBM, said in the statement.

The move is the latest effort to use blockchain to improve the transparency of global supply chains, especially in commodities.

Blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrency bitcoin, provides a shared record of data held by a network of individual computers rather than a single party.

There already are some examples of the use of blockchain in the mining industry, with world’s No. 1 diamond producer by value De Beers testing its Tracr platform, which allows tracing gemstones throughout the entire value chain — from mine to buyer.

Eyes on the DRC

The DRC generates more than 60% of the world’s cobalt, but much of it is sent to China to be processed by multiple companies before it is used in batteries. In addition, up to 20 per cent of the DRC’s cobalt is mined by hand, often by children with picks and shovels.

Congo generates about two-thirds of the world’s cobalt, but much of it is sent to China to be processed by multiple companies before it is used in batteries.

Cobalt, a by-product of copper or nickel, is in high demand for its use in lithium-ion batteries, which power a wide range of products such as laptops, mobile devices, and electric vehicles (EVS). Currently, about two-thirds of it comes out the DRC. However, due to the region’s intense poverty and the mineral’s soaring price, thousands of impoverished Congolese have flocked to the cobalt rich areas to secure an income.

Traditionally, artisanal miners have sold their ore to local co-operatives, which then sell it to local merchants and traders. They, in turn, sell to international traders or operating mines with established transport links and the artisanal mined cobalt ends up being exported to China as concentrate.

In 2014, UNICEF estimated that around 40,000 children were involved in artisanal mining in …read more

IAMGOLD announces $170m gold prepay arrangement

IAMGOLD Corporation (TSX: IMG) today announced that it has entered into a forward gold sale arrangement with financial institutions whereby the company will receive a prepayment amount of $170 million in exchange for delivering 150,000 ounces in 2022, with a gold floor price of $1,300 per ounce and a cap price of $1,500 per ounce.

The prepaid gold arrangement is supported by a syndicate of banks including Citibank N.A. and National Bank of Canada. According to the press release, terms of the prepay are:

Funding of $170 million is provided to IAMGOLD in December 2019 in exchange for physical delivery of 150,000 ounces of gold over the period of January 2022 to December 2022.
Delivery can be made from the production of gold from any of IAMGOLD’s operating mines.
The cost of the Prepay arrangement is 5.38% per annum, which is based on the date the prepayment is advanced, quantity of ounces settled and timing of delivery.
The collar on the prepay at the time of delivery of ounces occurs as follows:

If the prevailing gold price equal to or less than $1,300 per ounce, there is no incremental payment to IAMGOLD or from IAMGOLD;
If the prevailing gold price is greater than $1,300 per ounce but less than $1,500 per ounce, the syndicate pays IAMGOLD the difference between the prevailing gold price and $1,300;
If the prevailing gold price is greater than $1,500 per ounce, the syndicate pays IAMGOLD the incremental difference between $1,300 and $1,500, or $200 per ounce.

The funding is expected to be accounted for under IFRS as deferred revenue.

“Entering into the gold prepay provides additional liquidity to IAMGOLD at attractive terms to support the execution of the company’s growth strategy, while also mitigating any downside price risk below $1,300 an ounce on 150,000 ounces of production,” said Carol Banducci, EVP and CFO in a media statement.

On Tuesday, gold was trading at $1,292 per ounce, not far off a six-month high.

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Skeena hits long (15m) and strong (31 g/t) at Eskay Creek

Skeena Resources of Vancouver recently completed a surface drilling program on its Eskay Creek property  in the province’s Golden Triangle.

Phase one drilling at the 21A zone returned these highlights:
Hole SK-18-033: 4.93 g/t gold, 134.59 g/t silver over 33.57 metres;
Hole SK-18-034: 7.11 g/t gold, 54.21 g/t silver over 28.88 metres;
Hole SK-18-036: 22.36 g/t gold, 646.92 g/t silver over 14.72 metres;
Hole SK-18-037: 6.68 g/t gold, 14.56 g/t silver over 5.50 metres; and
Hole SK-18-040: 12.73 g/t gold, 1.71 g/t silver over 4.50 metres.

Skeena says the 21A zone contains a significant portion of the 2018 pit constrained resource including 1.1 million indicated tonnes at 4.9 g/t gold and 72 g/t silver and 2.8 million inferred tonnes at 3.8 g/t gold and 63 g/t silver. The project also has an  underground resources of 2.5 million indicated tonnes at 7.2 g/t gold and 215 g/t silver plus 812,000 inferred tonnes at 7.2 g/t gold and 214 g/t silver.

Eskay Creek was first explored in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until 1995 that the gold mine was officially opened. The mine closed in 2008 having produced about 3.3 million oz. of gold and 160 million oz. of silver.

This article originally appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal. 

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Wallbridge discovers VG zone at depth at Fenelon

Underground and surface drilling yields results for Toronto-based Wallbridge Mining Co. at its Fenelon gold project 75 km northwest of Matagami, Quebec. The results are high grade – up to 144.77 g/t gold over 6.1 metres – but the program also resulted in the discovery of a new visible gold zone at depth. Surface drilling has so far returned 4.70 g/t gold over 3.0 metres

The foregoing intersection was drilled underground into the Habanero zone. Here are some more underground results: 9.12 g/t gold over 7.0 metres including 24.63 g/t gold over 2.5 metres in the Naga Viper zone; 25.24 g/t gold over 9.3 metres including 125.44 g/t gold over 1.8 metres in the Habanero zone; 10.39 g/t gold over 4.5 metres in the Chipotle zone; 39.28 g/t gold over 1.7 metres in the Naga Viper zone; and 49.21 g/t gold over 2.2 metres in the Paprika zone.

Surface drilling has so far returned these assays: 4.70 g/t gold over 3.0 metres in the Habanero zone; and 29.90 g/t gold over 1.0 metre confirming the high grade nature of this deep intersection of what is most likely the depth extension of the Tabasco zone.

Wallbridge says it was hole FA-018-051 that returned visible gold in a potentially new zone at a vertical depth of 380 metres. Assays from 12 underground and 15 surface holes are pending.

Bulk sampling (35,000 tonnes) is currently underway at Fenelon, and the company plans to start gold production later this year.

The 2019 drill program – 50,000 to 75,000 metres – will commence in early February with mobilization of at least one underground and one surface drill rig.

This article originally appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal. 

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TMAC completes permitting for Madrid and Boston projects

With the receipt of Type A water licences, Toronto-based TMAC Resources has completed the permitting of its Madrid (both north and south) and Boston gold deposits. The Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs approved the licences, as recommended by the Nunavut Water Board.

The company spent last year ramping up production at its first mine on the Hope Bay property – Doris. This year will see the company balance optimization of established operations with development activities. Madrid North will be the next gold mine, and the Doris mine will begin to move underground.

The Doris water licence was amended to allow expansion of the Doris tailings management facility to 18 million tonnes from 2.5 million tonnes to accommodate Madrid tails.

Permits have also been obtained for alternative wind power generation, expansion of TMAC’s port facility, and surface mining of the Madrid and Boston crown pillars.

This article originally appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal.

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Lion One buys drill assets in Fiji

Lion One Metals (TSXV: LIO) announced has just bought the drilling assets of drilling company Geodrill, which is located in Fiji’s main island.

The purchase would allow Lion One to prepare for drilling at its 100%-owned Tuvatu gold project, which on the island of Viti Levu also in the Fiji Islands.

In a press release, the North Vancouver miner explained that the Geodrill asset package includes one surface diamond drill rig capable of drilling up to 800 meters in HQ sized drill core, and one underground diamond drill rig capable of drilling in excess of 100 meters in NQ sized drill core. Drilling rods, down-hole survey cameras, down-hole temperature monitors, a spare parts inventory, transport vehicles, and support trucks were also included.

Photo by Lion One Metals,

The equipment is not new to the Canadian firm as its team has already used the surface drill rig for the majority of the 28,000 meters of exploration and resource definition diamond drilling undertaken over the past five years at Tuvatu, as well as for the majority of the PQ sized geotechnical drill holes completed for the tailings storage facility, new portal location for the underground development, and the process plant and surface infrastructure areas.

“With the purchase of these drilling assets Lion One has also hired an experienced local drilling team that will ensure the company has readily available, cost-effective drilling capabilities well into the future,” said Lion One’s Managing Director Stephen Mann in the media brief. “We can now plan future exploration drilling and have access to essential equipment at a significantly reduced cost to undertake that work. Such further work will be scheduled following the end of the current wet season in Fiji.”

The high-grade Tuvatu project is the largest undeveloped gold project in the island country. According to Lion One, it is expected to produce 100,000 ounces of the yellow metal per year over a 10-year mine life. Such production target is based on a 600 tpd CIL operation yielding recoveries of 86% with up to 40% of gold recoverable through the gravity circuit.

Resource is reported at a 3 g/t Au cutoff representing a resource amenable to underground production. The June 2014 Tuvatu resource estimate reported an indicated resource of 1,101,000 tonnes at 8.46 g/t Au for 299,500 ounces of gold and an inferred resource of 1,506,000 tonnes at 9.70 g/t Au for 468,000 ounces of gold.

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Toronto miner one step closer to start drilling at Peruvian project

Toronto-based Palamina Corp. (TSXV: PA) took one step forward regarding its 100%-owned Coasa gold project by submitting, this week, an Environmental Impact Declaration (DIA in Spanish) to the Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines. Such declaration is the primary environmental permit required prior to drilling.

The 17,200-hectare Coasa project is located in the Puno region of southeastern Peru and covers the town of Usicayos. It lies midway between the Ollachea and La Rinconada deposits, which are focused along a structurally deformed east-west trending jog-zone, part of a larger regional shear-zone.

In a press release, Palamina said that it has outlined an initial 3,000-metre drill program to test a couple of zones within the project, that is, the Veta and Phusca Zones.

“Once approved the DIA will enable Palamina to excavate trenches and complete up to 40 drilling platforms,” the company’s President, Andrew Thomson, said in the media brief.

The firm expects the environmental permit to be issued by late May and to cover 15 platforms and an initial 2,500 metres of drilling planned at Veta and 5 platforms and 500 metres of drilling planned at Phusca.

“DIA permits allow for 40 drill platforms leaving Palamina 20 for future use. Final drill target selection will be made following the conclusion of further geological mapping, trenching and prospecting expected to recommence by the end of April,” Thompson said.

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