Weekly Nugget

Mining News Roundup, Feb 10 2021

Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) plans to conduct a $16-million exploration program on its Western Foreland exploration licenses.

Friedland’s Ivanhoe Hopes for Continued Copper Exploration Success in DRC

Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) plans to conduct a $16-million exploration program on its Western Foreland exploration licenses.

This exploration program is in close proximity to its Kamoa-Kakula copper project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In a press release, the company states that it is looking for high-grade Kamoa-Kakula-style copper mineralization through a regional exploration and drilling program on the Western Foreland exploration ground, which shares the same geological setting as Kamoa-Kakula.

According to Ivanhoe, the initial 2021 exploration program will be launched around April and will include 40,000 meters of combined air-core and diamond drilling, airborne and ground-based geophysics, soil sampling, and road construction. 

This exploration program is following up on the Makoko copper discovery on the exploration licenses back in 2019. Western Foreland Exploration Project comprises 17 licenses to the north, south and west of the Kamoa mining licenses. The 17 licenses cover a combined area of approximately 2,550 square kilometres.

The Makoko Discovery is Ivanhoe's third major copper discovery in the DRC and shows similar geological characteristics to Ivanhoe's tier-one Kamoa and Kakula discoveries.

The Kamoa and Kakula resource estimate outlines 1.4 billion indicated tonnes grading 2.74% copper for 83.7 billion pounds of copper and another 339 million inferred tonnes grading 1.68% copper for 12.5 billion pounds of copper at a 1% cut-off grade.

The Kamoa-Kakula Copper Project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), Zijin Mining Group (39.6%), Crystal River Global Limited (0.8%) and the DRC government (20%).

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Miners Adopting Local Procurement to Improve ESG Standards and Supply Chains to Deliver Local Economic Benefits

Mining Shared Value (MSV), a non-profit initiative of Engineers Without Borders has announced that four mining companies have now adopted the Mining Local Procurement Reporting Mechanism (LPRM), with two more planning to do so shortly.

Companies such as Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN), Lundin Gold (TSX: LUG), Golden Star Resources (NYSE: GSS), and Teranga Gold (TSX: TGZ) have adopted the LPRM.

The LPRM is a publicly available information sharing framework that was created by MSV in partnership with the German development agency GIZ, to increase and standardize information on mine site level local procurement. 

Procurement of goods and services is the single largest payment made in-country by most mine sites, despite the emphasis largely placed on taxes and royalties. 

“With hundreds of millions spent each year by a typical mine site, local procurement of goods and services has huge potential to not only create economic and social benefits for host communities and countries, it is also an incredibly effective way of strengthening a mine’s social license to operate,” said Mining Shared Value MD Jeff Geipel.

Losing social support, or social license to operate, is seen as the main risk mining and metals firms are facing, a study published by Ernst & Young shows. 

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Newcrest Begins $135M Transition to Block Cave Mining at Red Chris, British Columbia

Newcrest (ASX, PNGX, TSX: NCM) has started construction for a block cave operation at the Red Chris copper mine in British Columbia. The existing Red Chris mine was built and is currently being operated as an open pit. 

The Australian miner acquired a 70-per-cent interest and became the operator of Red Chris joint venture in August 2019. The remaining 30% interest is held by Imperial Metals Corp. (TSX: III).

The partnership aims to leverage the Australian company’s technical experience in block caving operations and use that to mine the deeper resources beneath the current open pits. 

Red Chris produced 88.3 million pounds of copper and 73,787 ounces of gold in 2020. Copper and gold production increased 22.9% and 102.9% respectively, compared to 71.9 million lbs. of copper and 36,371 oz. of gold in 2019.

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Indigenous Communities Take Mining into their own Hands, Australia

Peter Ker of the Australian Financial Review reports that indigenous communities in Western Australia plan to develop their own operations and resources. The Eastern Guruma people have established their own mining company and applied for nine exploration permits within their lands. 

Six Rio Tinto iron ore mines and Fortescue Metals’ Solomon mining hub reside within Eastern Guruma territory. A spokesman for the Guruma people said the group was motivated by a desire to have greater control over the future mines built on its lands and address a legacy of unsustainable compensation for land agreements. 

The group intends to bring in partners with mining experience if a prospective discovery was made on their three permits, and that process would give the Eastern Guruma more say in how their lands were developed.

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