Strong tailwinds giving juniors, project developers room to run – research note – by Henry Lazenby (Mining – May 26, 2016)

TORONTO ( – About halfway through the first quarter, analysts at Dundee Capital Markets noticed that exploration companies that had weeks earlier appeared to be dead in the water, as investors abandoned all but a handful of names, were steadily starting to leave the laggards behind as a combination of the gold price rally and improved investor sentiment blew wind in their sails.

On the back of a 17% rise in the price of gold during the first three months of 2016, the coverage universe of 47 resource stocks that Dundee tracked on an enterprise value per ounce (EV/oz) metric, based on a total mineral inventory (TMI) had risen steadily, helping analysts to differentiate those companies that had the benefit of wind in their sails from the idlers and providing a good measure of the potential upside that the market was willing to pay for quality gold opportunities.

In a research note published on Thursday, research analysts and co-authors Ron Stewart and Erik Bermel noted that the average EV/oz had so far this year improved from $13/oz to $32/oz, reflecting improved investor sentiment toward exploration-focused companies which, in turn, reflected the 15% year-to-date improvement in the gold price to about $1 220/oz. Continue Reading →

Educate Aborigines in STEM skills to help them and the nation – by Andrew MacKenzie (The Australian – May 27, 2016)

Andrew Mackenzie is the chief executive of BHP Billiton.

The benefit that Australia stands to gain from making Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people part of the nation’s economic growth is an opportunity we can’t afford to miss.

On this day 49 years ago, Australians voted overwhelmingly to allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be included in the census. It was Australia’s most successful referendum and the message of inclusion was made crystal-clear.

This time last year our company was one of a growing number of businesses that publicly stood up to support formal recognition of the first Australians in the Constitution. As we celebrate Reconciliation Week this year, I’m convinced there is more we can do to support a reconciled Australia.

One powerful way that businesses like ours can contribute is to make sure all Australians have the opportunity to share in our country’s growth and prosperity. Continue Reading →

A tale of two minerals: Overproduction, low demand, weak prices dog potash, uranium mining – by Bruce Johnstone (Regina Leader-Post – May 27, 2016)

With apologies to Charles Dickens, it was the best of times and worst of times for Saskatchewan’s mining industry in 2015.

Both production volume and value of Saskatchewan’s most important mineral resources — potash and uranium — were up in 2015 over 2014. And, for the first time ever, Saskatchewan was ranked second in terms of the value of mineral production among Canada’s mining provinces last year.

But by the fourth quarter of 2015 and first quarter of 2016, overproduction and low prices resulted in potash and uranium mine shutdowns and layoffs.According to Natural Resources Canada, the value of Saskatchewan’s mineral production was $8.5 billion in 2015, with a nearly 20 per cent share of Canadian mineral production. Continue Reading →

Miner Sees Silver Price Surging Ninefold as Global Gadgets Boom – by Natalie Obiko Pearson (Bloomberg News – May 26, 2016)

A major Japanese electronics maker approached First Majestic Silver Corp. for the first time last month seeking to lock in future stock, a sign of supply concerns that could boost the metal’s price ninefold, according to the best-performing producer of the metal.

“For an electronics manufacturer to come directly to us — that tells me something is changing in the market,” said Keith Neumeyer, chief executive officer of First Majestic, the top stock in Canada and among its global peers this year. “I think we’ll see three-digit silver,” he said, predicting the metal could surge to $140 an ounce by as early as 2019.

That’s a bold forecast. While silver has rallied 19 percent this year to leapfrog gold as the best-performing precious metal, it settled lower Wednesday at $16.26 an ounce on the Comex in New York and reached a record of just under $50 in 2011. The highest projection among analysts surveyed by Bloomberg is $57 an ounce in 2019. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-Anglo American’s De Beers picks insider Cleaver as CEO (Reuters U.S. – May 27, 2016)

BENGALURU/BRUSSELS, May 27 Anglo American Plc’s De Beers named insider Bruce Cleaver as chief executive of the diamond group, which the global mining company is counting on to help revive its fortunes.

Cleaver takes on the new role at a difficult time for De Beers as Diamond sales stagnated in 2015, hit by a weaker Chinese economy. However, producers are seeing scope for recovery, especially in the United States, which accounts for some 45 percent of demand.

Anglo American, which has an 85 percent stake in De Beers — the world’s largest diamond producer by value — is focusing on the diamond business after a restructuring. Cleaver, 51, was previously group director of strategy and business development at De Beers. He will take over the role on July 1, the company said on Friday. Continue Reading →

A 7,000-kilometre northern corridor in search of shared vision – by Claude Montmarquette and Andrei Sulzenko (Globe and Mail – May 27, 2016)

Canada’s history is full of examples of large-scale transportation infrastructure projects that have motivated growth and helped define a shared vision for the country. The Canadian Pacific Railway, the Trans-Canada Highway and the St. Lawrence Seaway are prime examples.

But the Canada of 2016 does not have such grand plans for infrastructure that may be vital to supporting economic and social development in this country. Aside from some private-sector proposals (mainly pipelines), there are precious few examples of transportation infrastructure developments outside our major urban centres.

The best way to address this lack of vision may well be through a bold approach being examined by researchers at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and CIRANO, a Quebec-based economic research organization. We have just released a study on the potential for a major transportation right-of-way through Canada’s North and near North, connecting resource-rich areas with tidewater access on all three coasts. Continue Reading →

Proposed 7,000-kilometre resource corridor would improve life in Canada’s North, researchers say – by Eric Atkins (Globe and Mail – May 27, 2016)

An ambitious proposal to build a 7,000-kilometre trade and infrastructure corridor in Canada’s North has taken a key step forward.

The Northern Corridor would link Canada’s people, goods and natural resources with overseas and southern markets, and boost sovereignty and development in vast swaths of the country that are economically isolated, concludes the first feasibility study of the concept. The idea was launched a year ago by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy and Montreal’s Centre for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations.

Pipelines, railways, roads, electricity and transmission lines would share the right of way that extends from the Pacific to Atlantic oceans, the Beaufort Sea to the north, as well as Hudson Bay and the St. Lawrence Seaway, connecting to existing rails, roads, pipes and ports in the southern part of Canada. Continue Reading →

Kathleen Wynne Ridiculed By Wildrose Party During Visit To Alberta Legislature – by Dean Bennett (Huffington Post – May 27, 2016)

“Currently Ontario has the largest subnational sovereign debt
on the planet,” Fildebrandt told the house. “They’re now even
receiving equalization payments. It’s an example of what happens
when a government fails to get its spending under control.”

The Canadian Press – EDMONTON — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne came to Alberta to talk environment but instead found herself publicly ridiculed on the floor of the legislature as the leader of a failed, debt-ridden enterprise.

As Wynne looked on from the Speaker’s gallery during question period Thursday, the opposition Wildrose party demanded to know why Wynne, a Liberal, was invited while right-centrist and next-door-neighbour Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall was not.

“Invite Premier Wall here! Invite Premier Wall,” Wildrose finance critic Derek Fildebrandt shouted at Premier Rachel Notley as she tried to answer a question. Continue Reading →

BHP Billiton Digs In at Vast Australian Copper Mine – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – May 26, 2016)

Australian miner working on plan to boost output in shift of focus to copper, petroleum amid growth of Asia’s middle class

OLYMPIC DAM, Australia— BHP Billiton Ltd. executives aim to devise a way over the next year to boost copper output from Australia’s biggest underground mine by up to 40%, even before a proposed and long-awaited mega-expansion of its operations here.

Meantime, a plan to halve costs within two years is on course and should strengthen the case for the ultimate buildout of the mine, said Olympic Dam Asset President Jacqui McGill.

Olympic Dam, the world’s biggest deposit of uranium and one of the biggest known sources of copper and gold, is at the heart of BHP’s strategy to grow its output of copper and petroleum, tacking away from commodities such as iron ore where it expanded heavily in recent years but which now face an oversupply in world markets. Continue Reading →

Donald Trump says he would approve Keystone XL, but with new deal and piece of the profits – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – May 27, 2016)

CALGARY — The U.S. environmental movement’s biggest win yet, the defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline, could be history if Donald Trump takes the White House in November.

The Republican presidential candidate confirmed Thursday he would approve TransCanada Corp.’s proposed oil pipeline to link Alberta’s oilsands to refineries in the U.S. Gulf, but on different terms.

“I would absolutely approve it, 100 percent, but I would want a better deal,” Trump told reporters at a press conference in Bismarck, N.D., where he was scheduled to give a speech to an oil conference on the energy policies he would pursue. “I want it built, but I want a piece of the profits,” Trump said. “That’s how we’re going to make our country rich again.” Continue Reading →

B.C. mines minister ‘surprised’ by cleanup fund shortfall – by Justine Hunter (Globe and Mail – May 25, 2016)

VICTORIA — B.C. mines minister Bill Bennett says he was caught off guard when he learned that the province’s mining companies are on the hook for less than half the amount that should be set aside to pay for potential cleanup costs.

More than 50 mining operations – the majority of them either permanently shut down or temporarily shuttered – have been allowed by Mr. Bennett’s ministry to provide security for only a portion of the anticipated liability for site reclamation, with a total funding gap of $1.2-billion.

The gap was highlighted by Auditor-General Carol Bellringer in a report early in May, but the ministry took several weeks to provide details on the individual companies that have not provided bonds large enough to cover environmental restoration. The breakdown shows one resource company – Teck Resources Ltd. – was responsible for $743-million of the deficit. Barrick Gold Corp. had the second-largest unpaid amount, at $212-million. Continue Reading →

U.N. Security Council ends more than a decade of sanctions, arms embargo on Liberia – by Louis Charbonneau (Reuters U.S. – May 25, 2016)

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations Security Council voted on Wednesday to end sanctions and an arms embargo on Liberia, citing the West African country’s successful stabilization more than a decade after a 14-year civil war that killed nearly 250,000 people.

The unanimously adopted resolution by the 15-nation council welcomed “the sustained progress made by the government of Liberia in rebuilding Liberia for the benefit of all Liberians.”

U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations David Pressman welcomed the move, saying the targeted sanctions on key individuals, the arms embargo and a ban on the export of Liberian timber and rough diamonds had contributed to Liberia’s stability. Continue Reading →

Opinion: B.C. mines threaten Alaska fisheries – by Cynthia Wallesz (Vancouver Sun – May 25, 2016)

Cynthia Wallesz is executive director of the United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters.

For two years, I’ve been learning about B.C.’s mining industry and how it is threatening water, ecosystems, salmon and jobs downstream in Southeast Alaska.

It’s been shocking to realize the significant inadequacies of B.C.’s mining regulatory processes. For example, mining companies are not required to use best available technologies or practices to reduce risks, nor do they provide compensation to those affected by pollution from large-scale open-pit projects at the headwaters of world-class river systems.

These inadequacies were confirmed recently in an email I received from B.C. Mines Minister Bill Bennett in response to my question, “How would our fishing fleet be financially compensated if we suffered financial losses from real or perceived water quality contamination from B.C.’s projects?” Continue Reading →

‘Real Spark’ for Copper Demand Is Renewable Energy, BHP Says – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – May 26, 2016)

Renewable energy and China’s economic shift toward consumer-led growth will be major catalysts for a new wave of copper demand that’ll accelerate a shortage forecast to develop from 2019, according to BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company.

“The real spark, though, is the demand for renewables,” said Jacqui McGill, asset president for BHP’s Olympic Dam copper mine, the world’s fifth-largest deposit of the metal. “Regardless of where the energy’s coming from, it needs copper.”

Mining companies, including rival Rio Tinto Group, are racing to meet the forecast global deficit as output is constrained at existing mines on lower grades. By 2040, the share of global electricity generated from renewable energy sources, including solar and wind, will double to 46 percent, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates. Continue Reading →

Battery-powered mining – by Noel Dyson (Mining Monthly – May 25, 2016)

A 100% Australian-made battery-powered car is leading the charge to remove diesel engines from underground operations.

After all, the emissions from diesel engines underground are a major challenge so removing them makes a lot of sense. The more diesel burnt underground the stronger the mine ventilation system has to be.

A bit of experimental work was done with fuel cells to get around the problem, however, the recent huge advances in battery technology has brought them to the forefront. Tomcar, the guys that set out to make a car ideally suited to the underground mining environment, have come up with an electric model.

The initial Tomcar prototype was a diesel driven vehicle that looked more like a souped up golf buggy with a serious roll cage. Continue Reading →