Archive | Junior Exploration Sector

COLUMN-Struggling small miners may lead to bigger industry woes – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – March 28, 2019)

SINGAPORE, March 28 (Reuters) – Small miners are finding it increasingly difficult to raise capital to fund new ventures despite the positive demand outlook for several commodities and a world still largely awash with cheap credit.

The problems facing these ‘junior’ mining explorers may also have implications beyond a bunch of seemingly inconsequential companies struggling to progress. How they cope is likely to affect how the mining industry as a whole goes from exploring for new resources to actually producing raw materials.

Under the traditional model, would-be junior miners raised seed capital in order to drill exploration holes to confirm the presence of a resource. These companies then sought listings on miner-friendly stock exchanges, such as those in Sydney and Toronto, and used the money raised from the listing to advance the project. Continue Reading →

Mine development picks up – by Norm Tollinsky (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – March 4, 2019)

The optimism pulsing through the Metro Toronto Convention Centre at last year’s PDAC offered hope for an end to the long and painful mining industry downturn that began in 2013, but the final verdict on 2018 was one of disappointment.

There were signs of recovery early in the year, but “the pendulum swings both ways, and we gave back a lot of the gains as the year progressed and commodity prices retreated,” said PDAC president Glenn Mullan.

Exploration expenditures in Ontario increased only marginally from C$539.7 million to C$567.5 million. The year was especially challenging for junior miners, who depend on public capital markets for financing, as weak commodity prices, investment apathy, cannabis, cryptocurrency and competition from other jurisdictions conspired against them. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Osgoode Hall professor will argue Canada should investigate assassination of Mexican activist – by Jennifer Wells (Toronto Star – March 25, 2019)

The assassination of Mexican activist Mariano Abarca stands little chance of gaining the spotlight in Ottawa given all the tumult in the nation’s capital. But Monday’s judicial review before Federal Court Justice Keith Boswell deserves attention, reminding us of the tragic events of a decade ago and the present day oversight, or lack thereof, of Canadian mining companies operating abroad.

There’s no disputing the fundamental facts. Abarca had assumed a primary role in protesting Blackfire Exploration’s open-pit barite mine in the southern state of Chiapas.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s minerals yearbook for 2008 noted that the Canadian junior mining company planned to extend its operations underground, with the company trumpeting the La Revancha mine as the largest high-grade barite deposit in North America. In other words, Blackfire saw a long, bright mining future in Mexico ahead of it. Continue Reading →

Why Rinehart, Forrest, BHP and Newcrest are sweet on Ecuador – by Brad Thompson (Australian Financial Review – March 25, 2019)

The mining executive who prepared the ground for a tenement tug-of-war between BHP and Newcrest in Ecuador is convinced a lot more copper and gold will be found in the exploration hot spot.

Malcolm Norris, who secured the Cascabel tenement a decade ago while calling the shots at SolGold, said it was no surprise that Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting had also taken a shine to Ecuador.

Mr Norris, now the chief executive of ASX-listed junior explorer Sunstone Metals and chasing the third major copper-gold discovery of his career, said Cascabel might turn out to be big enough for both BHP and Newcrest. “I think it is a very big system and the resource that have been drilled so far, that’s not the end of the story. There’s more to come, I’m sure,” he said. Continue Reading →

Opinions: Don’t buy the alarmism about the Pebble Mine – by Ron Thiessen (Anchorage Daily News – March 24, 2019)

Ron Thiessen is President and CEO of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., owner of the Pebble Limited Partnership and the Pebble Project.

There’s at least one thing I can agree on with the Bristol Bay lodge owners who recently published an op-ed in the Anchorage Daily News. Well, maybe two.

The lodge owners faithfully report in the opening paragraph of their screed: “The most important document on the Pebble Project’s path to a key permit to mine … has been released by the Army Corps of Engineers.” They go on to say, quite rightly, “that document, the draft environmental impact statement, is often considered the linchpin of permitting.”

These things are exactly correct. But from that point forward, the views and opinions of the ardent anti-mining authors don’t only diverge from mine. They diverge sharply, even radically, from the professional judgment of the independent engineers and scientists employed by the US Army Corps of Engineers as expressed in the Pebble draft EIS. Continue Reading →

Gold keeps exploration drills turning in Timmins – by Len Gillis (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – March 4, 2019)

Aggressive mining exploration continues throughout the Timmins mining camp, thanks to the efforts of at least one smaller producer located in nearby Black River-Matheson.

That’s where McEwen Mining set up shop after purchasing the Black Fox complex from Primero Mining in 2017. To say McEwen’s exploration plan is aggressive would be an understatement.

Company president Chris Stewart revealed in January the company has earmarked $20 million for exploration drilling on its properties in 2019, which include the Black Fox Mine, as well as the Froome, Grey Fox and Tamarack deposits. Continue Reading →

SolGold’s Nick Mather our Mining Person of the Year for 2018 – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – February 27, 2019)

Northern Miner

Nicholas Mather, president and CEO of Australian junior SolGold, is The Northern Miner’s Mining Person of the Year for 2018 in recognition of his role as the driving force behind the wildly successful grassroots team that has drilled off the world-class Alpala gold-copper deposit at its Cascabel project in Imbabura province in northern Ecuador, with potentially many more discoveries to come in the region.

The past year was a pivotal one for Toronto- and London-listed SolGold. In November 2018, it tabled an updated resource for Alpala that tallied a staggering 2.1 billion indicated tonnes grading 0.41% copper and 0.29 gram gold per tonne, or 0.60% copper equivalent (at a 0.2% copper-equivalent cut-off), plus another 900 million inferred tonnes grading 0.27% copper and 0.13 gram gold, or 0.35% copper equivalent, at the same cut-off. These numbers are based on 133,600 metres of drilling.

That translates to a contained metal content of 8.4 million tonnes copper and 19.4 million oz. gold in the indicated category, and another 2.5 million tonnes copper and 3.8 million oz. gold in inferred. Continue Reading →

Northern Dynasty raises $10 million to develop Alaska Pebble project – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – March 13, 2019)

Northern Dynasty Minerals (TSX:NDM) has entered into a bought deal financing with Cantor Fitzgerald Canada to raise $10 million that will allow the miner to further advance its Pebble copper-gold-silver project in Alaska.

The deal prices the company’s shares at 64 Canadian cents, a 13.5% discount to the stock’s price before the financing was announced.

The Canadian miner has also granted the underwriters an over-allotment option to acquire up to an additional 2.34 million-plus shares, which could raise another $1.5 million. Continue Reading →

Northern miners exploring for investors at Prospectors and Developers conference – by Eric White (CBC News Sudbury – March 5, 2019)

More dollars available for mining exploration, but cannabis stocks luring away many investors

Pat Dubreuil is working late nights this week in Toronto. The president of Sudbury-based Manitou Gold is courting investors who might want to inject cash into two potential gold mines in the north.

And at the annual conference of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, that usually means late night conversations over drinks. “Quite a few relationships and deals are built over a good craft beer. That’s the nature of the business,” says Dubreuil.

“You can do the math real quick on the back of a napkin and understand what’s going on and what the plan is.” On top of touting the drilling results from Manitou Gold’s properties near Dubreuilville and Dryden, Dubreuil is also talking of his company’s partnership with artificial intelligence exploration pioneer GoldSpot. Continue Reading →

Junior mining sector facing mass exodus, says Kaiser – by Henry Lazenby (Mining Journal – March 5, 2019)

About half the current population of TSXV junior miners don’t have enough cash to keep the lights on for another year, investment guru John Kaiser said at PDAC 2019. While junior resource company funding recovered from 2016 to mid-2018, it had since been weak, putting many in the sector on a “path to extinction”.

Kaiser said the cannabis-crypto bubble that had in the past few years sucked the oxygen out of the juniors’ room had now passed and was no longer an excuse. But what exactly would bring investors with risk capital back to resource juniors remained a very complex issue, he said.

Kaiser believes institutional money will not come back to the sector until a distinct multi-year uptrend has become visible, something which in his view is unlikely to happen for metals other than gold in a current macro environment of trade protectionism. This was potentially bad news for “optionality plays” in the short term, he said. Continue Reading →

Canada lithium mining hopeful takes another big hit – by Frik Els ( – February 18, 2019)

Nemaska Lithium (TSE: NMX) announced on Monday it has terminated a multi-year supply agreement with Livent Corporation that would cost the Quebec company up to $20m to settle.

The deal with Livent, spun out of US lithium major FMC Corp last year, saw Nemaska provide up to 8,000 tonnes per year (28,000 tonnes in total during the term of the contract) of lithium carbonate starting in April this year.

According to a press released late on Monday, Nemaska told Livent it “might have no option but to terminate” the agreement and repay Livent the USD$10 million the it received in April 2017 “plus a similar amount as a termination fee”. Continue Reading →

Quebec lithium developer’s stock craters after cost blowout – by Amanda Stutt ( – February 13, 2019)

Nemaska Lithium’s (TSE: NMX) stock plummeted Wednesday after disclosing it has been forced to revise the budget for the Whabouchi lithium mine and Shawinigan electrochemical plant upward by C$375 million. The company, with a $300 million market cap on the TSX, clawed back some of the early day’s losses, but still closed the day down 35%.

Nemaska, which has also received funding from the Quebec provincial and Canadian federal governments, is building the Whabouchi hard rock lithium mine in the James Bay region and Shawinigan processing plant north of Montreal, aiming to put Canada on the global lithium production map.

Nemaska has already spent over $138 million on the Whabouchi mine and mill, and another $67.3 million for the plant in Shawinigan. The additional funding is largely related to installation and indirect costs, said the company. Direct purchase package costs – mainly equipment – are in line with the original budget. Continue Reading →

Cannabis craze weeds out junior mining field – by Joe Bavier and Barbara Lewis (Reuters Canada – February 7, 2019)

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – A boom in cannabis investment is siphoning capital away from mining and hitting junior miners hardest, forcing them to up their game and potentially improving the quality of projects in a sector long rife with cowboy speculators.

Canada’s relaxation of cannabis laws culminated in legalization for recreational use in October. Other jurisdictions are following suit or liberalizing their laws on medical or health use, creating an industry that has lured a breed of high-risk, high-return investors.

The world’s top three listed cannabis companies – Canopy Growth, Tilray and Aurora Cannabis – have a combined market value of around $30 billion. And consumers are expected to spend over $7 billion on cannabis products in Canada alone this year, according to Deloitte. Continue Reading →

Many Toronto-listed miners don’t disclose environmental and social info — report – by Staff ( – January 23, 2019)

A report issued by the Amsterdam-based Responsible Mining Foundation reveals that many Toronto-listed junior and mid-tier mining companies do not properly disclose environmental, social and governance information related to their mine sites in Australia, Burkina Faso, Canada, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mexico, Kyrgyz Republic, and Suriname.

The study assessed mine-site-level disclosure by 12 companies and their 31 mine sites located across nine countries and covered 15 key environmental, social and governance issues of public interest, known as ESG.

The average score when it comes to the disclosure of such issues was 11%, with only three of the 31 mine sites surpassing that mean with a score of 25%. “Where companies do publish site-level ESG information, the data is often presented in ways that reduce its usefulness to stakeholders. Continue Reading →

Is Global Atomic Stephen Roman’s next big thing? – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – January 21, 2019)

Northern Miner

Serial mine builder and financier Stephen Roman cut his teeth working for Denison Mines Corp. (TSX: DML), the uranium company built by his father. After starting there as a miner at the age of nineteen, he spent the next 25 years at the uranium producer before striking out on his own in 1990-1991.

Roman went on to build several mines in the gold space, the most recent, Harte Gold Corp.’s (TSX: HRT; US-OTC: HRTFF), Sugar mine, in Ontario. Among his other accomplishments: Building the Black Fox mine, now owned by McEwen Mining (TSX: MUX; NYSE: MUX), and selling Gold Eagle to Goldcorp. (TSX: G; NYSE: GG) for $1.5 billion.

But Roman’s interest in uranium never waned. In January 2005 he set up Global Uranium Corp.—now called Global Atomic Corp. (TSXV: GLO; US-OTC: SYIFF)—and decided to focus the company’s exploration dollars on West Africa. Continue Reading →