Weekly Nugget

Mining News Roundup, Dec. 2 2020

According to Goldman Sach analyst Nicholas Snowdon, the current price strength is not an “irrational aberration” but rather the first leg of a bull market.


Copper, Copper, Copper! Copper Reaches Highest Price Since 2013

According to Goldman Sach analyst Nicholas Snowdon, the current price strength is not an “irrational aberration” but rather the first leg of a bull market in the red metal.

Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange reached a high of US$7,719 a tonne on Dec. 1, the highest level since March 2013, after reports of manufacturing activity in China and South Korea surprised the market.

Mr Snowdon said the 23-million-tonne-a-year refined copper market is facing a once in a decade squeeze, with demand projected to exceed supply by 327,000 tonnes in 2021, followed by 153,000 tonnes in 2022. 

On average, an electric car contains more than three times as much copper as an internal combustion vehicle. Copper is also used in wind turbines and to connect renewable sources of generation in an electrical grid. 

Where will the next generation of copper supply come from?

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Mine Tailings a Green Solution? FPX Nickel’s Baptiste Deposit Shows Potential for Carbon Sequestration

Geoscience BC has published new research outlining the potential for carbon sequestration in tailings and other host rocks. At the heart of the paper was FPX Nickel’s (TSX-V: FPX) Baptiste project in the Decar Nickel District of British Columbia. 

The report outlines the carbon mineralization potential of ultramafic rock assemblages in British Columbia, including the host rocks of the Decar Nickel District. Sample materials from the Baptiste’s tailings can sequester significant amounts of carbon dioxide when exposed to air through a natural process of carbon mineralization. 

University of British Columbia researchers are currently conducting a field test of the carbon-capture potential of the tailings and rocks at the Baptiste deposit, and the company will report the preliminary findings in the first quarter of 2021.

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Yamana Gold Building Exploration Pipeline for Next Generation of Mines

Yamana Gold (TSX:YRI, NYSE:AUY, LSE: AUY) has outlined its exploration strategy to steadily increase its mineral resource base and hopefully deliver long term production.

The company has outlined the criteria for its strategy into three tiers of priority. 

  • Tier One: Projects with defined gold resources and opportunities to grow economically  in the next three years.
  • Tier Two: Projects that have significant drill intercepts and whose geology along with other factors support rapid mineral resource growth. 
  • Tier Three: Highly prospective projects with known mineralization defined with rock and soil geochemistry that deserve future drill testing.

Its first tier aims to develop standalone projects with inferred mineral resources of at least 1.5 million ounces of gold equivalent within three years that, on a longer-term basis, can support the development of a new cash flow generating mine with production of 150,000 ounces per year for at least eight years.

The company currently has two projects that it plans to upgrade to meet its first-tier criteria: Lavra Velha oxide gold project in Bahia State, Brazil and Monument Bay in Manitoba, Canada.

Exploration at Lavra Velha has identified inferred mineral resources at Lavra Velha of 3.93 million tonnes at 4.29 g/t Au for 543,000 oz. Au, which is one-third of the 1.5 million ounces of its exploration strategy. 

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First Quantum's Taca Taca Maiden Mineral Reserve of +7.7 Million Tonnes of Copper

First Quantum (TSX: FM) has published the maiden mineral resource for the Taca Taca copper, molybdenum and gold project is located in the Puna region of Salta Province, in northwest Argentina.

The technical report outlines a measured and indicated mineral resource of 2,203.3 million tonnes (Mt) grading 0.43% copper for 9,450.7 kilotonnes (kt) of contained copper, 264.5 kt of molybdenum and 6,052.1 kilo ounces (koz) of gold. The proven and probable mineral reserve has been estimated at 1,758.5 Mt of ore at 0.44% copper for 7,734.7 kt of contained copper, 213.5 kt of Mo and 5,086.7 koz of Au.

The technical report imagines an open-pit mine design and plan which contemplates processing up to 60 million tonnes per annum through a flotation circuit with a mine life of approximately 32 years.  

The company expects to recover 275,000 tonnes of copper within the first ten years of operations. The design is based on the process plants constructed and operated at its Sentinel and Cobre Panama operations.

This resource report increases the company’s total mineral reserves to over 29 million tonnes of contained copper which is the fifth-largest copper reserve base globally. The company expects to make a construction decision in 2023 or 2024.

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Osisko drills 13,634 g/t Au over 2 metres including 90,700 g/t Au over 0.3 metres

Osisko Mining Inc. (TSX: OSK) has released “very good” results from its current expansion and definition and drilling program at its Windfall gold project in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt of Québec. 

Infill drilling at the Lynx zone of the Windfall property has returned the highest-grade result to date with 13,634 g/t Au over 2.0 metres including 90,700 g/t Au over 0.3 metres in hole WST-20-0543. 

Since the release of its latest mineral resource estimate (Feb. 2020), ~250,000 metres of a 1,200,000-metre drill program has been completed. This program is focusing on infill and expansion drilling of the known mineralized zones at Windfall.

The 2020 resource estimate outlines 1.21 million ounces gold at 9.1 g/t Au in 4.13 Mt in the indicated category with 3.94 million ounces at 8.4 g/t Au in 13.54 Mt in the inferred category. 

With a further ~950,000 metres of drilling to come, expect more results. 

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