Weekly Nugget

“Golden Age of Discovery”: BHP to Open Exploration Office in Toronto, Canada

At the 2021 PDAC conference, keynote speaker Laura Tyler, Chief Technical Officer for BHP, noted that she sees the mineral exploration industry entering a new golden age of discovery.

“The majority of the exploration industry thinks the golden age of discovery is long behind us. That industry was based on using technologies geared to at or near surface discovery. However, it is my belief, the golden age of discovery is still ahead of us. Why do I think that? By harnessing technology we can make the Earth 400 metres depth as transparent as the Earth’s surface today.”

The mineral industry is a period of transition to discovery undercover. BHP partnered with Ideon Technologies Inc. This Canadian technology company is pioneering the application of muon (high energy cosmic rays) tomography to identify and image mineral and metal deposits. BHP is now using muon detectors to image underground sulphide ore bodies at its nickel mines in Western Australia.

In addition, Tyler announced that BHP would be opening an exploration office in Toronto.

US to Lean on Canada for EV Minerals

On Thursday, March 18, the U.S. Department of Commerce held a virtual meeting with miners and battery manufacturers to debate ways to boost Canadian production of EV materials. 

Washington is increasingly viewing Canada as a “51st State” for mineral supplies and plans to deepen financial and logistical partnerships with the country’s mining sector over time, according to a U.S. government source.

The U.S. government hopes to help American miners and battery makers expand into Canada, part of a strategy to boost regional production of minerals used to make electric vehicles and counter Chinese competitors.

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Newmont to Buy GT Gold for $311 Million, British Columbia, Canada

Newmont (NYSE: NEM) (TSX: NGT), the world’s largest gold miner by production, is acquiring the remaining outstanding shares in Canadian explorer GT Gold (TSX-V: GTT) in a cash deal valued at USD $311 million.

GT Gold’s primary asset is the wholly-owned, 47.5K hectare Saddle North Copper-Gold Project on the Tatogga property, located in the traditional territory of the Tahltan Nation, about 14 kilometres west of the Red Chris copper-gold mine in northwest British Columbia, Canada.

The acquisition of the Saddle North project adds to Newmont’s existing interest in the prolific golden triangle through the company’s 50% ownership in the Galore Creek project.

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Former Xstrata Boss Lists $300-Million Battery Metals SPAC

Former Xstrata boss Mick Davis’ newly founded battery metals investment firm Vision Blue Resources “VBR” has an ambitious goal of becoming a battery metals giant with a $300 million special-purpose acquisition company "SPAC".

ESM Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: ESM), co-sponsored by VBR and  private equity mining investor The Energy and Minerals Group, listed last week. The new SPAC plans to explore for and invest in mining projects focused on producing minerals needed for electric vehicles and other green energy technologies.

The plan is to use Vision Blue as an investment vehicle to fund small mining projects, while ESM will could seek bigger investment opportunities.

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Evolution Mining Acquires Battle North Gold for $343M, Red Lake, Ontario, Canada

Australia's Evolution Mining (ASX: EVN) announced on Mar. 15 that it is acquiring all Battle North Gold’s issued and outstanding shares for $2.65 per share. With this deal, Evolution now owns Battle North's Bateman gold project, expanding its claim at its Red Lake complex in northwestern Ontario.

In 2019, Australia-based Evolution entered into a deal with Newmont Goldcorp to acquire the Red Lake complex, which included the Red Lake, Campbell and Cochenour mines, for US$375 million.

The company said it was committed to investing US$100 million more on existing operations and an additional US$50 million in exploration by 2023.

Battle North, formerly known as Rubicon Minerals, had trouble developing its Bateman, previously known as Phoenix underground gold project. Rubicon rushed the mine into production in 2015, without completing a feasibility study or having a sufficient geological understanding of the deposit.

The revamped company, Battle North Gold, published an updated technical report in January, 2021, outlining:

  • Measured & Indicated Mineral Resource estimate (excluding Mineral Reserves) of 1.71Mt grading 7.09g/t for 390koz Au
  • Inferred Mineral Resource of 1.56Mt grading 6.83g/t for 343koz Au

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