Secova acquires cheap vanadium mineral claims in Quebec

Secova Metals (TSXV: SEK) acquired this week 100% interest in 3,809 hectares of vanadium mineral claims located in three land packages in the eastern Canadian province of Quebec.

“CIBC Mellon has estimated that there will be $35 trillion dollars of global infrastructure projects starting over the next 20 years, which will spark big demand for vanadium”

In a press release, the Vancouver-based miner said the acquisition, which is a $75,000 arms-length transaction, is aimed at taking advantage of the “hot vanadium market.”

The media brief states that Secova’s strategy is to buy under-valued long-term viable assets, develop a systematic exploration plan and work the properties.

“Secova could not ignore the high-levels of interest for the vanadium demand due to a globally increased need for the mineral in both Vanadium Redox Flow Battery Technology and as an alloy for strengthening steel in infrastructure, rebar, pipelines, airplanes and car frames,” the communiqué reads.

According to the document, the miner will develop and release an exploration plan based on the historic work performed on the claims.

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Beauce Gold using new technology to identify mineralized zones in St-Simon-les-Mines

Beauce Gold Fields (TSX: BGF) announced this week that it is testing a new Russian technology at Quebec’s Rang St-Gustave Road in St-Simon-les-Mines.

In detail, the miner is conducting a high resolution mobile electromagnetic or TDEM survey that measures electrical chargeability and electrical conductivity at a horizontal resolution of 15cm. In a press release, Beauce Gold explained the system also allows a vertical penetration at depth to the order of 200m.

“The method is optimal for detecting narrow ore bodies (auriferous zones) and for prospecting within conductive geological stratums that are particularly frequent in the Beauceville Formation and throughout the Bellechasse gold belt,” the media brief reads.

The geophysical team consists of people from the Institute National de la Recherche et des Sciences and two geophysicists from Russia’s Aerogeophysica Surveys.

According to the Montreal-based company, the primary objective of the geophysical survey is to identify potentially mineralized zones that could possibly be the hard rock source of the gold contained in the placers of St-Simon-les-Mines.

“Using this new state-of-the-art exploration technology will add to our understanding of the geology and help us reach our goal of finding a hard rock source of the famous Beauce’s placer gold deposits,” Patrick Levasseur, President and CEO of Beauce Gold Fields, said in the media brief.

The Beauce Gold Fields project comprises a block of 152 claims 100% owned by Beauce Gold Fields. The project area hosts a six kilometre long unconsolidated gold-bearing sedimentary unit and numerous historical gold mines that were active from 1860s to the 1960s.

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Chinese electric vehicle makers are gorging on nickel

Battery metals tracker Adamas Intelligence says Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers deployed 253% more nickel in passenger EV batteries in January this year compared to 2018.

The Dutch-Canadian research company which tracks EV registrations and battery chemistries in more than 80 countries says the jump is due to an ongoing shift from lithium iron phosphate (LFP) to nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) cathodes.

The average EV registered in China in January 2019 contained nearly double the mass of battery metals/materials as the year prior

First generation NCM batteries contained around a third cobalt with a chemical composition of 111 – 1 part nickel, 1 part cobalt and 1 part manganese, but NCM batteries with higher nickel content (622 and 523 chemistries) have become standard in China.

According to Adamas is now the the largest market for passenger EV battery nickel, ahead of Japan and the US, which were the two largest markets in January 2018. Nickel used in car batteries jumped 88% in Germany and 54% in the US year on year.

The EV boom is China is only accelerating and Adamas says despite being a seasonally-slow month in January 2019, 3.27 GWh of passenger EV battery capacity was deployed in the world’s largest car market, an increase of 439% over January 2018 levels:

Even more remarkable, from January 2018 through January 2019, the sales-weighted average passenger EV battery capacity in China increased by a staggering 95%, from 14.9 kWh to 29.1 kWh, meaning that the average EV registered in China in January 2019 contained nearly double the mass of battery metals/materials as the year prior.

The price of nickel is up more than 20% in 2019 as stocks held in warehouses around the world registered with the London Metal Exchange fall to multi-year lows.

Continue reading at Adamas Intelligence.

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Wheaton Precious Metals exceeds 2018 production guidance, declares dividend

Wheaton Precious Metals, (TSE: WPM) one of the largest precious metals streaming companies in the world, announced record gold production and sales in 2018 and declared a $0.09 per share first quarter dividend for 2019 on Wednesday.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, Wheaton generated almost $110 million in operating cash flow, bringing total operating cash flow for the year to over $475 million, founded on production of over 370,000 ounces of gold, 24 million ounces of silver and 14 thousand ounces of palladium, all in excess of the company’s guidance.

Wheaton exceeded production guidance for gold, silver and palladium by 5%, 9% and 41%, respectively, and annual gold production and sales in 2018 represented a record for the company, Wheaton said in a media statement.

Wheaton’s estimated attributable production in 2019 is forecast to be 365,000 ounces of gold, 24.5 million ounces of silver and 22,000 ounces of palladium, resulting in gold equivalent production of about 690,000 ounces.

For the five-year period ending in 2023, the company estimates that average, annual gold equivalent production will amount to 750,000 ounces.

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Chalice files new 43-101 for East Cadillac property

Chalice Gold Mines has filed an amended 43-101 report on SEDAR for its East Cadillac gold project. The property is 35 km east of Val d’Or, on the prolific Cadillac-Larder Lake fault. The amended report includes non-material changes requested by the Ontario Securities Commission, and the resource estimated made in the original report dated Feb. 12, 2017, has not changed.

The resources include 225,342 measured and indicated tonnes grading 4.17 g/t gold for 30,212 oz. of contained gold. There are also 1.1 million inferred tonnes at 4.09 g/t for 146,315 contained oz.

The report recommended two phases of exploration. In 2017, phase one – surface sampling, airborne surveying, a LiDAR survey, data compilation, and drilling – would cost $1.1 million. Phase two – drilling additional targets identified in phase one – would cost about $1.2 million. The actual costs may be higher.

Chalice is going forward with exploration at East Cadillac this year.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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Champion Iron hunts high grade zones at Powderhorn

Montreal-based Champion Iron has excellent results from its 9,350-metre drill program last fall on its Powderhorn property located in north-central Newfoundland, 40 km southwest of Springdale. The results come from both a copper-rich and a zinc-rich zone.

Results from the copper zone include:

Hole PH18-16: 0.89% copper, 1.1 g/t gold, 13.9 g/t silver and 0.09% zinc over 3.92 metres. The best intersection in the hole was 2.31% copper and 1.8 g/t gold, 28.6 g/t silver and 0.33% zinc over 0.5 metre.
Hole PH18-17: 1.11% copper, 1.0 g/t gold, 7.7 g/t silver and 0.08% zinc over 3.0 metres. The best intersection in the hole was 1.33% copper, 0.6 g/t gold, 8.3 g/t silver and 0.29% zinc over 0.7 metre.
Hole PH18-42: 1.16% copper 0.3 g/t gold, 8.3 g/t silver and 0.29% zinc, with two higher grade inclusions. The best one was 1.19% copper, 0.3 g/t gold, 7.9 g/t silver and 0.48% zinc over 1.0 metre.

Results from the zinc zone include:

Hole PH18-12: 6.90% zinc, 0.14% copper, 7.7 g/t silver and no gold over 3.22 metres. The hole best 1.0-metre inclusion was 16.10% zinc, 0.16% copper and 1.2 g/t silver.
Hole PH18-34: 14.54% zinc, 0.40% copper and 105.9 g/t silver and less than 0.1 g/t gold over 1.68 metres. The best zinc grade in a 0.9-metre inclusion was 23.60%
Hole PH18-38: 10.21% zinc, 0.42% copper, 10.7 g/t silver and less than 0.1 g/t gold over2.76 metres. There was a 1.0-metre inclusion that tested 12.50% zinc, 0.50% copper and 14.1 g/t silver.
Hole PH18-40: 2.57$ zinc, 0.72% copper, 21.6 g/t silver and less than 0.1% gold over 2.57 metres. The best inclusion was 13.90% zinc, 0.74% copper, 17.5 g/t silver over 0.6 metre.

Champion says the data acquired in 2017 and 2018 demonstrates the presence of a 50-metre thick zinc-bearing unit with several high grade lenses. It has an overall zinc grade of 0.22%. The zinc zone may reach from near surface down to 630 metres. The target remains open in all directions. The geology at Powderhorn is said to be similar to that at the former Buchans mine.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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Iamgold cuts Westwood workforce by 32%

Iamgold Corp. has announced a 32% reduction in the workforce at its Westwood gold mine 40 km east of Rouyn-Noranda and only 2.5 km east of the former Doyon gold mine. The process is to begin this week.

A planned reduction due to the stage of mine development and a realignment due to the 2019 guidance numbers were considered in making the decision, said Iamgold. Westwood production is to be between 100,000 and 120,000 oz. of gold this year. The workforce reduction is also intended to be a cost control measure.

Iamgold is developing a revised life of mine plan for Westwood, and it is due in Q4 2019.

At the end of 2018, Westwood had proven reserves of 1.3 million tonnes grading 7.9 g/t gold and probable reserves of 3.6 million tonnes grading 7.5 g/t gold. There are an estimated 1.2 million oz. of gold contained in the reserves.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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One of Canada’s newest coal mines may risk permit over safety violations

Kameron Coal’s Donkin mine, the first underground coal operation in Canada’s Cape Breton in 15 years, has received four orders and six warnings from provincial authorities since limited production restarted on Jan. 25, after part of the roof collapsed.

Orders from the Nova Scotia government include everything from Kameron Coal being required to have “pullcord and guarding on conveyor system,” to warnings to install a “proper functioning for ventilation,” Cape Breton Post reports.

Proper ventilation is a key issue for an underground operation, Harold Carroll,  head of the NS Department of Labour and Advanced Education, said. He noted that receiving a warning doesn’t necessarily mean inspectors found a serious violation of regulations.

Donkin coal mine, which began operations in late 2017, has been the subject of frequent inspections since an accident that forced its momentary closure in December.

Donkin coal mine, which began operations in late 2017, has been the subject of frequent inspections since the accident that forced its momentary closure in December. It was allowed to reopen a month later, but only for limited production.

Since then, Kameron Coal has submitted a new ground-control plan to the department and is in talks with the province to get approval to restart full production.

The company, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Cline Group, gained full control of Donkin by 2015, after purchasing a 75% majority stake in the operation from Glencore and 25% from Halifax-based Morien Resources (TSX-V: MOX), which has a royalty on coal production from the mine.

With a resource of 481 million tonnes — 227 million tonnes in the indicated category and another 254 million tonnes in the inferred — the deposit has enough low ash, high-energy coking and thermal coal to last for 25 years or more.

Donkin is expected to produce 2.75 million tonnes of coal a year over the next three to four years.

Coal mining in Cape Breton dates back to the early 1700s, when the French needed the fuel for their nearby fortress. The industry has long been considered a way of life on the East Coast island.

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First Vanadium over doubles size of Carlin property

First Vanadium’s (TSXV: FVAN) stock was up over 5% on Tuesday after announcing that it has more than doubled the size of its Carlin vanadium property in Nevada from 1,331 acres to 3,177 acres.

The company has staked and filed with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 1,846 acres of unpatented lode claims over Federal lands adjacent to and proximal to the original core claims. The new claims provide the company with a larger working area around the Carlin Vanadium deposit, First Vanadium said in a media statement.

The Carlin vanadium project contains one of North America’s largest, richest primary vanadium deposits.

Vanadium’s importance to the energy sector is also growing rapidly with more than 5% of vanadium production used in energy storage where its cost and performance benefits make it an alternative choice to lithium ion in several areas.

Vanadium prices more than doubled in 2018, reaching historic peaks. Fastmarkets’ price assessment of ferro-vanadium, basis 78% min, free delivered duty-paid to consumer works in Europe stood at $126-128 per kg on November 23, 2018, the highest it has ever been.

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Almaden's stock jumps after 2019 corporate report released

Almaden Minerals’ (TSX: AMM) stock jumped over 5% on Tuesday, following the release of its 2019 report on corporate social responsibility, which described the community-related activities the company has been engaged for over 15 years at the Ixtaca precious metals project in Puebla State, Mexico.

Since first arriving at Ixtaca in 2001, Almaden has worked transparently to interact in a culturally and socially appropriate manner with all local peoples, regardless of their gender, cultural heritage, beliefs, sexual orientation, or level of education. Over the past several years, Almaden has interacted with over 20,000 people from over 53 communities and 8 different states.

“We have been exploring for mineral deposits in Mexico since 1992. Every time we arrive at a new prospect, we do nothing until we have received permission from local people to enter upon their land. This process of seeking permission is the first seed planted in community consultations,” Duane Poliquin, Chairman of Almaden, said in a press release.

Permitting process

In addition to the report, Almaden has submitted its environmental permit, or Manifestación de Impacto Ambiental (MIA), to Mexican authorities.

“Our aim at Ixtaca is to build a mine which reflects the best available technology and best applicable practice both socially and technically. We believe that this project has the potential to be a showcase for modern mining, and look forward to working with stakeholders to advance the project through the permitting and project financing necessary to commence construction,” said Morgan Poliquin, Almaden’s president and CEO said.

Read the full report here.

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Equinox increases gold resources at Aurizona and Mesquite

Equinox Gold has boosted resources at its Aurizona gold mine in northeastern California and reserves and resources at its Mesquite gold mine in California. Since the end of 2017 the company has increased its reserves 470% to 5.5 million oz. gold.

The company updated Aurizona’s resource with 13,635 metres of infill and step out drilling on the western end of the Piaba deposit completed since July 2017. While the project’s reserves remain unchanged, the company increased its measured and indicated resource 50% to 12.7 million tonnes grading 1.68 grams gold for 691,776 oz. gold and its inferred resource 115% to 16.9 million tonnes at 1.98 grams gold for 1.07 million oz. gold, 50% and 115% increases respectively.

After acquiring Mesquite in October 2018, the company had to complete an updated reserve and resource estimate and National Instrument 43-101 report for the project.

Equinox increased the project’s measured and indicated resources by 61% to 127.9 million lb. grading 0.46 gram gold for 1.89 million oz. gold. At the same time the company decreased the project’s reserves to 54.6 million proven and probable tonnes at 0.57 gram gold for 1 million oz. gold.

Its new report says Mequite will produce 682,800 oz. gold from current reserves over 3.25 years of mining and three more years of residual leach. It assigns the project a $203 million after-tax net present value at a 5% discount rate.

(This article first appeared in The Northern Miner.)

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Kinross takes 9.7% stake in Wolfden Resources

Wolfden Resources’ (CVE: WLF) stock was up nearly 6% on Tuesday, after Kinross Gold (TSE: K) acquired 12.5 million shares at $0.20 a share —a $2.5 million investment — for a 9.7% stake in the junior exploration company.

The two companies will form of a committee to explore Wolfden’s 100%-owned Pickett Mountain volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposit in northeastern Maine.

Wolfden describes Pickett Mountain as one of the highest grade undeveloped VMS deposits in North America, and says it remains open for potential expansion.

Preliminary metallurgical work has yielded recoveries of zinc (88%), lead (77%) and copper (74%)

In January, Wolfden calculated a resource estimate for the deposit of 2.05 million indicated tonnes grading 9.88% zinc, 3.93% lead, 1.38% copper, 101.58 grams silver per tonne and 0.92 gram gold per tonne for a zinc-equivalent grade of 19.32%.

Inferred resources add 2.03 million tonnes of 10.98% zinc, 4.35% lead, 1.20% copper, 111.45 grams silver and 0.92 gram gold for a zinc-equivalent grade of 20.61%.

The junior has been working to update metallurgical studies and expects to resume its expansion and exploration drill program “as soon as logistics permit”. This will include follow-up of the recently discovered footwall zone in a drill hole that intersected 4.1 metres of 38.2% zinc-equivalent.

Preliminary metallurgical work has yielded recoveries of zinc (88%), lead (77%) and copper (74%), which the company says “are excellent for a VMS deposit in the Appalachians.”

The East and West lenses of the massive sulphide deposit are coincident with a well-defined zinc and lead and copper soil anomaly.

In addition, there are two soil anomalies located to the north of the known deposit that have not been drill tested and some soil anomalies on the property are also coincident with geophysical targets.

Pickett Mountain was discovered in 1979 by Getty Mines and is part of the Maine Volcanic Belt, which neighbours the Bathurst Camp in New Brunswick.

It is accessible year-round via State Highway 11 and three miles of forestry road. The project also has access to a power line.

(This article first appeared in The Northern Miner.)

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