|Monday, 10 August 2015Jack McGinn
ALTONA Mining has added two years to the potential life of the Little Eva mine at its Cloncurry project in Queensland after undertaking a pit optimisation study on a recently discovered deposit.
The project’s Turkey Creek deposit has a sulphide and oxide resource of 17.3 million tonnes at 0.51% copper for 87,000t copper within the optimum pit.
When only sulphide ore was considered the deposit had a mineable resource of 10.6Mt at 0.47% for 50,000t contained copper.
Currently metallurgical testing has only been carried out on sulphide mineralisation.
The integration of the Turkey Creek deposit to the envisaged 7Mt per annum processing facility at the Little Eva project has the potential to add up to two and a half years to the project’s 11-year mine life.
But Altona managing director Alistair Cowden said the study showed Turkey Creek had the potential to add to the proposed operations at Little Eva through both its sulphide and oxide components.“This study demonstrates that mine life at Little Eva will easily exceed 11 years and that the mining and treatment of the copper oxide mineralisation through the proposed Little Eva plant, even at low recoveries, could add significant value to the project,” he said.
Cowden said the oxide mineralisation at the wider project would likely be of interest to the potential joint venture announced in June with Sichuan Railway Investment Group, through which SRIC will contribute $US214 million ($A288.8 million) cash for a 60% share of Cloncurry.
Altona will contribute $38 million to the incorporated JV for the remaining 40% share.
“Numerous deposits in the wider Cloncurry project have oxide caps and Altona will report on all oxide resources in the coming months,” Cowden said.
“We expect that the proposed $A345 million joint venture envisaged in the recently announced framework agreement with Sichuan Railway Investment Group will consider developing a significant inventory of oxide across the project further enhancing the attractiveness of this major copper development project.”
The Turkey Creek deposit sits 1.5km east of the planned Little Eva open pit and processing plant within the mining lease, and mineralisation remains open to the east and down dip.
It has a full mineral resource of 21Mt at 0.59% copper for 123,300t contained copper.
The company will now work towards defining ore reserves at Turkey Creek, with metallurgical drilling, definitive testwork, geotechnical and mine design studies to be undertaken in the coming months.
Shares in Altona were steady on Friday and opened this morning at 11c.
Andrew DuffyThursday, 30 July 2015
METAL Bank shares surged 88% this afternoon after the company posted broad copper intersections from the surface of its Mason Valley project in Nevada.
|The Bluestone project.|
Results from the first two holes of an eight hole program at the Bluestone prospect returned a number of significant hits, including 42m at 1.51% copper from surface.
That intersection included 5m at 2.34% from 8m, 4m at 3.52% from 20m and 7m at 2.69% from 35m.Other results included 34m at 0.61% from surface including 1m at 1.65% from 19m.Metal Bank said the drilling proved the area had been overlooked by modern explorers.“These results represent significant steps towards achieving our goal of building a copper resource around four historical high grade copper mines on the Mason Valley copper project,” chairman Ines Scotland said.“Bluestone is the first of the historical mines to be tested and we look forward to further drilling results on the project in the coming weeks.”A total of eight reverse circulation holes for 570m were completed at Bluestone, with the program targeting outcropping mineralisation to the west and south of the mine.The work is looking to open a new chapter in the Mason Valley area, with previous exploration limited due to fragmented ownership.It forms part of a deal announced with GRG International in February, with Metal Bank set to sole fund exploration to the end of March 2016 with a minimum spend of $US1 million ($A1.4 million).It then has the right to earn up to 80% over six years subject to a $14 million spend, completion of a bankable feasibility study, and other payments.Metal Bank shares were up 88.9% to A1.7c.
Marion Lopez, 17 June 2015
THE Queensland government will spend more than $A1 million on four promising geoscience projects that are hoped to help explorers better target areas of opportunities.
Speaking at a Queensland Exploration Council breakfast in Brisbane today, Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham described the investment climate for explorers as “constrained” and said the funding was the government’s support to industry’s continuing their efforts to find the mines of tomorrow.
“They [the projects] will focus on developing new exploration techniques and geoscientific information to help mineral and energy-related explorers attract investment and better target exploration opportunities,” he said.
“This will help attract exploration investment back to Queensland, and support ongoing resource sector growth, jobs, royalties and other significant economic benefits the resource sector delivers for Queensland.”
Three projects are near Cloncurry in Queensland’s prime northwest metals zone and the fourth project focusses on gas in the Surat basin in the southwest.
Near Cloncurry, $400,000 will to go towards a program to help develop a new suite of geophysical tools, maps and datasets that can be used to lower risk and increase exploration success for copper and gold in the Mount Isa Eastern Succession.
A further $345,000 will go in a program to use advanced computer simulation to predict structural sites of new mineralisation in north-west Queensland, which will then be validated by ground surveys.
Finally a $90,000 program will develop advanced geochemical detection methods to help explorers better target and discover deep ore bodies.
In the Surat Basin the government will spend $200,000 in a program of subsurface geological data modelling and surface mapping to better understand Surat Basin geology, manage aquifer contamination risks and ensure environmentally sustainable gas extraction.
Lynham said the Queensland Exploration Council and the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies nominated the funded projects.
The ActivEX Limited portfolio is extensive, with interests in 1 granted Mining Lease, 33 granted Exploration Permits for Minerals and 1 Prospecting Licence application, covering over 2,881 km2 in Queensland and Western Australia.
These licence areas cover highly prospective terrain for copper and gold mineralisation in north and southeast Queensland and in the Cloncurry district of northwest Queensland. The Company also has an advanced potash project in Western Australia where it is investigating optimal leaching methods for extraction and production of potash and by-products.
ActivEX Limited’s vision is to be a sustainable minerals exploration company that provides value to its shareholders via discovery, development and mining opportunities.
Jack McGinn, 15 April 2015
GOLDEN Cross Resources shares jumped almost 10% today after the company released the details of a scoping study for its Copper Hill copper-gold project in New South Wales.
The scoping study outlined the economics of Copper Hill developments at both a 2Mt and 3Mt per annum project level.
Under a 2Mtpa schedule, the mine has an initial life of 13 years, while 3Mtpa returns a shorter, nine year mine life based on a recently updated indicated and inferred resource of 28Mt at 0.56% copper and 0.53 grams per tonne gold for 160,000t copper and 320 ounces gold at a 0.4% copper cut off.
A 2Mtpa operation would have a capital cost of $A130.5 million accounting for a $73.9 million process plant, $44.7 million in other and owner costs and $11.9 million in contingency.
The 3Mtpa option would have a higher development cost of $163.5 million comprising $94.2 million for the process plant, $54.4 million in owner and other costs and $14.9 million in contingency.
Operating costs would come to $30.80 per tonne of mill feed under the 2Mtpa scenario, and $28/t under a 3Mtpa project.
Under both strategic schedules, recovery rates would peak in the first year of production at around 0.65% copper and 0.85gpt gold before dropping away to slightly above 0.4% copper and 0.5gpt gold in the final year of both.
Mill recovery is anticipated to sit above 80% for copper for the project’s life under both scenarios, while gold recoveries would fluctuate, peaking at just under 80% in the second year of the 2Mtpa operation and at a similar level in the first year of a 3Mtpa project.
The project’s power needs would be serviced by a 132Kv sub-station 4.5km to the southeast, while road access in the form of the Mitchell Highway runs through the project area.
Golden Cross is said the results of the scoping study were positive and was now working to fund and commence a prefeasibility study covering both project options as soon as possible.
Shares in Golden Cross were up 9.3% today to 5.9c.
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
ACTIVEX has released a maiden, all-inferred copper resource for its Coalstoun deposit in Queensland, just eight months after formally taking ownership of the tenement.
The deposit has a total inferred resource of 26.9 million tonnes at 0.38% copper for 102,700 tonnes of contained copper, including a supergene copper resource of 7Mt at 0.47% copper for 32,700t in a partially oxidised zone.
The resource was based solely on 48 historical drill holes totalling 12,701m for 5316 copper assays of sample lengths between 50cm and 6m.
The company intends to begin a new drilling program through the June quarter targeting high-grade extensions to the supergene copper area with the intention of expanding and upgrading the initial resource.
ActivEX managing director Grant Thomas said the resource gave the company a good idea of where to target future exploration campaigns.
“ActivEX took the opportunity to establish initial resource estimates after rigorously compiling historical information such as drilling and assay data,” he said.
“These resource estimates are the first to be completed since the early 1970s.
“The 3D resource modelling has clearly outlined drill targets for both near surface supergene and primary mineralisation, although ActivEX remains focused on high grade supergene copper mineralisation at present.
“Drill testing of supergene targets has been planned for May-June.”
The tenement was acquired from Newcrest for $A200,000 in November 2013, but its formal transfer was not completed until July 2014.
ActivEX said it believed the deposit had open pit heap leach potential and possessed synergies with its nearby White Horse prospect — part of the Esk copper-gold project.
The company will explore the potential of combining the development of the projects after bringing them both to resource stage.
White Horse is scheduled to be drilled following the upcoming campaign at Coalstoun.
Shares in ActivEX were steady at 3c today.
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
A REVIEW from the Western Australian government has recommended boosting gold royalties from 2.5% to 3.75%, but mines minister Bill Marmion says there won’t be any changes in this year’s budget.
Marmion’s comments have been welcomed by the gold sector, which has spent months lobbying against a possible royalty hike.
In a statement this afternoon Marmion noted the review’s recommendations but said there was no plan to make an immediate change to the state’s royalty system.
“I can assure WA industries and communities that, should there be any future discussion of mineral royalties, the Liberal National Government remains totally committed to consultation over the issue,” he said.
Gold Royalties Response Group spokesperson and Doray Minerals Managing Director Allan Kelly praised the minister’s comments.
“We are delighted that Minister Marmion has taken this issue off the table,” he said.
“On behalf of the 20,000 men and women who work in the gold industry we say thank you.”
Kelly said the royalty rate analysis had taken three years to finish, and its completion coincided with particularly tough times for the industry.
He said the government’s commitment not to change royalties would be a much-needed confidence and certainty boost for the local gold sector.
“We pay our fair share of taxes and royalties and our industry already contributes more than $A8 billion to the state’s economy each and every year,” he said.
The suggestions for changes to the gold sector were part of a wider suite of recommendations for the state’s mining industry.
Other recommendations included cutting the 7.5% rate for diamonds to 5% and reducing the 5% rate for uranium to 3.75%.
The report also made recommendations covering coal, lithium, alumina, salt, silicon and vanadium products and made broader comments on the royalty system.
Friday, 20 March 2015
DESPITE a slump in prices, the weak Australian dollar has led to earnings upgrades for Australia’s copper and nickel producers.
Nickel is down 8.8% so far this week and hit a 14-month low this week, while copper has lost 7.7% ad dropped to a 5.5-year low in January.
Earlier this week, Macquarie cut its 2015 Australian dollar outlook by 4% to US80.7c and by 13% to 77.3c for 2016, prompting positive revisions to price targets and earnings forecasts for Australian miners.
Macquarie took the opportunity to mark-to-market metals for the current quarter, which in most cases offset the reduction in the Australian dollar.
In copper, it offset earnings upside for Sandfire Resources and US dollar producers PanAust, Tiger Resources and MMG this financial year, but doubled the forecast for OZ Minerals.
Earnings forecasts for copper producers OZ, Sandfire and Aditya Birla for FY16 were upgraded by 82%, 35% and 69% respectively, and in nickel, earnings estimates for Western Areas, Panoramic Resources and Mincor Resources were upgraded by 22%, 57% and 84% respectively.
OZ was upgraded to outperform from neutral and its price target was lifted by 23% to $A5.30, while Aditya’s was boosted by 45% to16c and Sandfire’s by 10% to $6.70.
“However, should the spot price persist, then there is material downside to all our valuations,” Macquarie said.
In nickel, Macquarie believes nickel stocks are already factoring in a price recovery, with Panoramic and Mincor factoring in a $US9 per pound price and Western Areas factoring in a price closer to $8/lb, against the current price of around $6.20/lb.
As a result, price targets for Western Areas, Panoramic, Mincor and Sirius Resources were upgraded by only 7-9%, though Mincor’s rating was lifted to outperform.
“We concede there is now a material divergence between our price targets and the implied valuations using spot prices,” Macquarie said.
Macquarie expects copper to rebound to more than $3.50/lb by the end of 2017 and nickel to rise to more than $10/lb next year.
Sandfire is Macquarie’s preferred copper pick due to cashflow, earnings and growth potential at the DeGrussa mine, while Western Areas is the favoured nickel pick due to its solid free cashflow, even at current prices.
“Sirius’ Nova nickel project is world class and both it and Western Areas remain potential takeover targets,” Macquarie said.
“Panoramic and Mincor have the potential to add material value through the drill bit however we note that both companies are loss-making at spot nickel prices.”
Meanwhile, GMP Securities also noted that Panoramic and Mincor would struggle to make a profit when it downgraded its base metal estimates this week.
Its copper forecast for 2015 was lowered by 18% to $2.71/lb and its nickel outlook dropped 13% to $7/lb.
GMP said current spot prices were not sustainable.
“Even with strong headwinds, we continue to believe the spot prices across the board in the base metal space are unsustainably low and must move higher in order to incentivise new production; that being said, the current prices are likely to persist for the first half of 2015,” GMP said.
GMP said Sirius’ Nova project looked to be timed perfectly to take advantage of the expected price rise.
Shares in Sandfire, OZ and Sirius were all slightly higher this morning, while Aditya, Mincor and Western Areas were lower and Panoramic unchanged.
On the London Metal Exchange overnight, copper jumped 3.3% to $5879.25 per tonne, while nickel rose 2% to $13,734.50/t.
Wednesday, 18 March 2015
ALTONA Mining has posted the first mineral resource for the Turkey Creek deposit at its Cloncurry copper project near Mt Isa.
The resource came in at 21 million tonnes at 0.59% copper for 123,300 tonnes contained copper at a 0.3% cut-off.
The global resource for the Cloncurry project now stands at 286.8Mt at 0.57% copper and 0.4 grams per tonne gold for 1.65Mt copper and 400,000 ounces gold.
Turkey Creek is about 1.5km east of Altona’s planned Little Eva open pit operation and processing plant, and lies within granted mining leases.
The company said the deposit would be included in the mining inventory for Little Eva, and its addition would increase the mine life about 1-2 years from the current 11 year estimate.
A limited diamond drill campaign is planned to collect samples for definitive metallurgical test work to help establish a reserve.
Mapping out the geology of Turkey Creek, Altona said the majority of the resource was sulphide ore from 25m to 160m below the surface.
An oxide cap ranging from surface to 25m-45m is included in the estimate.
Moving forward, Altona said Turkey Creek was located at the site of the proposed tailings storage facility, which would now be re-located.
Test work is underway to assess the suitability of the deposit’s ore for the Little Eva flotation circuit.
Altona shares were down 1% to A9.9c this morning.
Andrew Duffy (MiningNews.net)
New laws to establish the Exploration Development Incentive have passed the senate and are set to provide a well-needed boost to junior explorers.
Under the EDI eligible explorers can convert a portion of their tax loss to exploration credits, which can then be provided to shareholders.
Shareholders can use those credits to claim a tax benefit.
The scheme starts from July 1, and will be capped at $A100 million over a three-year period before being reviewed.
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia welcomed the new laws, and said it had worked closely with the government to establish the legislation.
“CME has long sought a form of incentive that recognises the long lead times between investment, exploration and production over a number of years and the risks faced by investors in these early start up stages,” CME CEO Reg Howard-Smith said.
“Notwithstanding the transition underway in many major projects from construction to the operational phase, particularly in bulk commodities, the future pipeline of projects relies upon increasing the current level of exploration activity.
“Exploration is the lifeblood of future industry.”
The incentive was presented as part of a wider Bill including amendments to tax and superannuation laws.
It passed the House of Representatives earlier this year, and a final version was agreed on in the senate yesterday.
The CME said it would be seeking to include oil and gas exploration in the new laws as soon as possible.
“It is pleasing that the government have honoured an election commitment which could boost exploration activity, future investment and jobs growth,” Howard-Smith said.