Red Lake gold discoverer inks exploration agreement with First Nations – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – May 26, 2020)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Great Bear Resources establishes working relationship with Lac Seul, Wabauskang

Vancouver gold exploration player working in the Red Lake camp signed an exploration agreement with two area First Nation communities.

The agreement involving Great Bear Resources, Wabauskang First Nation and Lac Seul First Nation establishes a formal protocol of how the communities can communicate and engage with the junior mining company on the exploration activities taking place on the communities’ traditional territories.

Great Bear is running a major exploration program on one of the most coveted properties in the Red Lake mining district. Its Dixie Project, 25 kilometres south of town, covers more than 9,100 hectares of claims extending for more than 22 kilometres. In the last two years, numerous high-grade gold discoveries have been made. Continue Reading →

Nornickel, Murmansk Region present Pechengsky District’s development program (Tass.com – May 2020)

https://tass.com/

MURMANSK, May 26. /TASS/. The Murmansk Region’s government and the Norilsk Nickel Company (Nornickel) on May 20 presented a concept for development of the Pechengsky District. Nornickel’s Director of the Social Policies Department Svetlana Ivchenko told reporters the parties would also implement in the region a program to develop sustainable economy after Kola MMC closed down its melting shop.

The Kola MMC’s melting shop is the key business in the Nickel town, where about 11,000 live. Along with supporting divisions, the shop employs about 600 people. Their jobs will be cut gradually, and the shop will be closed by 2021. Nornickel and the regional authorities have been working on a program to settle the employment issue in the town.

“Our next step is to develop a program for the district’s social and economic development, which will be a part of the Murmansk region’s program,” she said. “The program will outline the initiatives, projects and actions. <…> We have been working on the program’s all directions.” Continue Reading →

The Space Business Is About to Get Really Serious – by Michael R. Strain (Bloomberg News – May 26, 2020)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Wednesday is looking like a watershed moment in history. The scheduled afternoon launch of a SpaceX Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 4:33 p.m. would mark the first time a privately owned vehicle takes astronauts into orbit.

Elon Musk, the billionaire space entrepreneur and chief executive of Tesla Inc., founded SpaceX in 2002. If the launch succeeds — bad weather could push it to Saturday — it would be the company’s crowning achievement to date.

Musk’s hope is to enable the colonization of Mars. Delivering two astronauts to the International Space Station suggests that his grand ambition might be more than a pipe dream. Continue Reading →

COLUMN- U.S. aluminium’s negative price puzzle as premium crashes – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – May 27, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, May 27 (Reuters) – Aluminium has been one of the industrial metals hit hardest by the coronavirus. The London Metal Exchange (LME) price hit a four-year low of $1,455 per tonne in April and is struggling to recover, last trading at $1,525.

Inventory has surged, with 663,475 tonnes of metal placed on LME warrant since the middle of March, lifting headline exchange stocks to a three-year high of 1,493,775 tonnes.

COVID-19 has crushed both demand and price with a collective producer supply response lacking. Poor global market dynamics look even worse in North America, where the physical premium has imploded since March. Continue Reading →

Junior miner dives into Thunder Bay-area platinum, palladium project: Clean Air Metals kicks off two years of exploration drilling near Lac des Iles Mine – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – May 25, 2020)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

A rechristened junior mining company is taking its first stab at exploring for platinum and palladium on a property halfway between Thunder Bay and the Lac des Iles Mine.

Clean Air Metals began its first round of drilling last week on its Thunder Bay North Project, roughly the same time the Thunder Bay company began trading for the first time on the TSX Venture Exchange.

The Thunder Bay North Project is located 60 kilometres southeast of Impala’s Lac Des Iles Mine and 40 kilometres northeast of the city. Highway 527 cuts through the western portion of the project area. Continue Reading →

How Lab Grown CVD Diamonds Can Be India’s Ace Card In Global Gems & Jewellery Industry (Diamond World – May 26, 2020)

https://www.diamondworld.net/

In times when the global diamond industry had been challenged with declining natural diamond prices driven by decreased global consumption, geopolitical tensions, reduced financial aid from banking institutions, demonetisation struggles in India and a collective scale-back of production by the miners worldwide, lab grown diamonds have seem to emerge slowly as a ray of hope and establish a growing footprint in the gems and jewellery industry.

2019, particularly, was the year for lab-grown diamonds. India, alone, witnessed a sharp rise in LGD exports worth $443 million which were up by 102% y/y. Even at the start of 2020, lab-grown diamond exports in India were up by 60% y/y, while natural diamond exports were down by 41% y/y.

Whilst the lab-grown diamond industry had seen a significant price correction in recent years with the technology evolving and the cost of technology coming down, lab-grown diamond prices, particularly CVD diamonds, have now stabilized. In fact, CVD diamonds above 1ct saw a 29% price rise in the last quarter of 2019 driven by significant demand and limited supply. Continue Reading →

Lithium producers must wait as pandemic slows electric vehicle revolution – by Helen Reid and Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.K. – May 26, 2020)

https://uk.reuters.com/

JOHANNESBURG/HOUSTON (Reuters) – The coronavirus pandemic has paused the electric vehicle revolution, forcing producers of battery metal lithium into survival mode with output cuts, expansion delays and sales of major assets.

Lithium industry shares have dropped sharply since January as the economic downturn from the pandemic slammed the brakes yet again on the electrification revolution that for years has seemed just around the corner. Investors are giving the cold shoulder to mine developers seeking funding for lithium projects.

“This pandemic further kicks the EV can down the road,” said Seth Goldstein, a lithium industry analyst with Morningstar. Continue Reading →

Kirkland Lake Gold invests in Melkior Resources – by Carl A. Williams (Northern Miner – May 21, 2020) https://www.northernminer.com/

Global mining news

Kirkland Lake Gold (TSX: KL; NYSE: KL) has struck a strategic partnership with Melkior Resources (TSXV: MKR), which is advancing its flagship Carscallen gold project in the Timmins gold camp of Ontario.

The Toronto-based gold miner, whose high-grade mines in Canada and Australia produced 974,615 oz. of the precious metal last year, is investing $1 million in a non-brokered private placement for up to 1.25 million units of Melkior at 80¢ per unit, giving it a 9.9% stake in the junior on a fully-dilutive basis.

“We are extremely proud to announce this landmark equity investment and potential joint-venture agreement with one of the world’s most respected gold mining companies,” Jonathon Deluce, CEO of Melkior Resources, said in a May 20 press release. Continue Reading →

U.S. Falters in Bid to Replace Chinese Rare Earths – by Keith Johnson and Robbie Gramer (Foreign Policy – May 25, 2020)

https://foreignpolicy.com/

“Each F-35 fighter, for instance, needs 920 pounds of rare earths;
each Virginia-class nuclear submarine requires 9,200 pounds. Tomahawk missiles, guidance  systems, and jet engines all need different combinations of alloys and specialized products using some of the 17 different rare-earth elements.”

Rising tensions with China and the race to repatriate supply chains in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have given fresh impetus to U.S. efforts to launch a renaissance in rare earths, the critical minerals at the heart of high technology, clean energy, and especially high-end U.S. defense platforms.

But it’s not going well, despite a slew of new bills and government initiatives aimed at rebuilding a soup-to-nuts rare-earth supply chain in the United States that would, after decades of growing reliance on China and other foreign suppliers, restore U.S. self-reliance in a vital sector.

“I think the light bulb has gone on, but we are still in a muddle about exactly what to do about it,” said David Hammond, an expert on rare earths at Hammond International Group, a consultancy. Continue Reading →

Gold Giant Australia Is Firing Back Up a Record Exploration Boom – by Sybilla Gross and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – May 25, 2020)

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Gold miners in Australia — set to leapfrog China next year to become the top producer — are resuming a pandemic-disrupted exploration spree as prices surge amid a dearth of major discoveries.

“Gold does really well in volatile times, so my sense of this is we’re on the cusp of a fairly major boom,” said Rob Bills, chief executive officer of Emmerson Resources Ltd., which plans to restart exploration drilling this week as the nation continues to ease Covid-19-related curbs. “Those companies that have got cash will turn the tap on fairly quickly.”

Spending on gold exploration in Australia rose to a new record in the final quarter of 2019, while the annual total of more than A$1 billion ($656 million) was about 20% higher than the previous year, according to government estimates. Continue Reading →

New Century in talks with Brazil’s Vale over nickel-cobalt mine sale – by Nick Toscano (Sydney Morning Herald – May 26, 2020)

https://www.smh.com.au/

Australia’s New Century Resources is in exclusive talks with Brazilian mining giant Vale to take over its troubled nickel and cobalt mine in New Caledonia under a proposed deal that contains a financial contribution from Vale and possible support from the French government.

New Century chief executive Patrick Walta said the company had entered into a 60-day exclusivity period to negotiate the acquisition of a 95 per cent ownership stake in Vale’s Goro mine in the south-west Pacific nation, which has been plagued by problems, delays and cost blow-outs for Vale since mining operations began there in 2011.

Under the proposed deal, Melbourne-based New Century would be effectively paid to take ownership of the Goro mine, with the value of financial contributions from Vale and the potential forgiveness of debts from the French state estimated to be in the vicinity of $1 billion. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Iron ore defies coronavirus gloom with bullish supply, demand narrative – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – May 26, 2020)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, May 26 (Reuters) – Iron ore is continuing to defy the global economic gloom, with both futures in China and the spot price surging to the highest this year, showing how the steel-making ingredient is benefiting from a cocktail of supply concerns and demand hopes.

The Dalian Commodity Exchange’s most-active contract , for September delivery, ended at 723 yuan ($101.40) a tonne on May 22, up 25.2% since the start of the year in local currency terms.

The spot price for benchmark 62% iron ore delivered to China MT-IO-QIN62=ARG, as assessed by commodity price reporting agency Argus, ended at $97.30 a tonne on May 22, down slightly from the previous day’s close of $97.85, which was the highest price in eight months. Continue Reading →

2020 was supposed to be copper’s year to shine. Now everything is uncertain – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – May 23, 2020)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Earlier this month, Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. injected US$115 million in cash to its balance sheet, shoring up the company’s finances just as a veil of uncertainty settles over the copper market.

The cash came from an agreement by Hudbay to pre-sell 80,000 ounces of gold from its Manitoba operations at an average of US$1,682 per ounce over the course of 2022 and 2023. As chief executive Peter Kukielski told shareholders, “it looks like gold is flying.”

By pre-selling gold, which has risen 15 per cent since January to US$1,737 as of Friday, Hudbay was able to preserve its access to a revolving line of credit, as clouds build over its copper business — which along with other base metals accounted for 80 per cent of its revenue in 2019. Continue Reading →

Bill Gates and Richard Branson have their sights on the mining sector — and investment opportunities for startups abound – by Holly Bridgwater (Smart Company.com – May 25, 2020)

SmartCompany

Tech giants are on the hunt for investment opportunities in the mining sector, in a push that is destined to change the landscape of the resources industry.

Among those leading the charge are tech billionaires Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson — all backers of technology fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV). Last year, BEV joined forces with hedge fund a16z to invest in mineral exploration company KoBold Metals and its search for ‘ethical’ cobalt.

The billion-dollar fund was also instrumental in raising $20 million in Series A funding for Lilac Solutions, a mining technology company focused on transforming lithium production. Continue Reading →

AngloGold Ashanti shuts South African mine after 164 workers test positive for COVID-19 – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – May 25, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. has reported 164 cases of the novel coronavirus among its workers at a gold mine in South Africa, raising new questions about how to prevent the virus from spreading in deep underground mines.

The cases were discovered at Mponeng, the world’s deepest mine, where operations extend as far as four kilometres beneath the Earth’s surface.

In response, the company has temporarily closed the mine and begun tracing the contacts of those who tested positive, using an electronic tracking system. It says the “vast majority” of those who tested positive are showing no symptoms of illness. Continue Reading →