Weekly Nugget

Deep Sea Mining Ready to Surface: DeepGreen Releases Ocean Mineral Resource Estimate

DeepGreen Metals, a company exploring the ocean for polymetallic nodules has released a resource from its ocean floor exploration contract. 

Nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese are all contained in these polymetallic nodules that sit unattached on the Pacific seafloor in the Clarion Clipperton Zone “CCZ”, between Hawaii and Mexico. 

According to the technical report, the company estimates four megatons “Mt” measured, 341Mt indicated and 11 Mt inferred mineral resources lie within the NORI-D exploration contract area which indicates nodules across an area of 20 to 50 kilometers.

The resource for NORI-D estimates an indicated resource of 341 Mt (wet) of 1.42% nickel, 1.14% copper, 0.14% cobalt, 31.2% manganese and 5.5% silicon, and a measured resource of 4 Mt of 1.4% nickel, 1.16% copper, 0.13% cobalt, 32.2% manganese and 5.1% silicon.

"Unlike mineral exploration on land, resource confidence in polymetallic nodules is unusually high due to the two-dimensional nature of the resource. You can actually see the nodules lying on the seafloor."  - DeepGreen's Chief Development Officer Anthony O'Sullivan

Free-fall grab samplers are currently the most productive tool available for sampling nodules, but a box-core method is preferred for retrieving polymetallic samples for resource evaluation and environmental studies.  

The company is investing over US$60 million in a collaborative program to address outstanding questions on the potential environmental impacts of collecting polymetallic nodules from the deep seabed in the Pacific Ocean.

The program will include dozens of studies of pelagic and benthic biology, bathymetry and ecosystem function of the CCZ as part of DeepGreen’s environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) for the proposed polymetallic nodule collection project.

The company commissioned a white paper which concluded nodules under exploration contracts in the CCZ contain more than enough battery metals to power one billion EVs with a fraction of the social and environmental impacts when compared to land-based mining.

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Adriatic Metals Receives Exploitation Permit for Balkan Silver-Zinc Mine

Serbia’s Federal Ministry of Energy, Mining and Industry has granted Adriatic Metals (LSE: ADT1, ASX: ADT) an exploitation permit for its Vares project.  

The Vares project comprises a historic open cut zinc/lead/barite and silver mine at Veovaca and the Rupice underground mine, with an additional nearby deposit that exhibits high grades of base and precious metals.

The company plans to finish engineering work for the project’s open-pit mine, flotation plant and tailings storage facility ahead of the planned commencement of construction in September 2021.

An October 2020 pre-feasibility study “PFS” for Vares envisions a mine producing 8,000 tonnes of mineralized material annually with average production of 15.3 million oz. of silver equivalent per year for the first five years of a 14-year mine life at average all-in sustaining costs of US$120 per tonne of milled material.

The PFS forecast an after-tax net present value of US$1.04 billion with an 8% discount rate, and an after-tax internal rate of return of 113%. The PFS assumed metal prices of US$1,900 per oz. of gold, US$24 per oz. of silver, US$2,500 per tonne of zinc, US$2,000 per tonne of lead, US$6,500 per tonne of copper, US$150 per tonne of barium sulphate, and US$6,500 per tonne of antimony.

The Vares project hosts an estimated 12 Mt of 149 g/t Ag, 1.4 g/t Au, 4.1% Zn and 25% Barium Sulphate, according to the company’s September 2020 maiden resource. 

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