Silvertip’s a go and cash goes missing

A new mine for the North! (well sort of – it’s very close.).   JDS gets a permit to develop Silvertip. []  The old Midway Deposit, just south of Rancheria in northernmost BC hasn’t seen much activity since Cordilleran Engineering discovered it in the 1980’s but JDS saw an asset worth getting.  They are going to use the old Sa Dene Hess mill, bought from Cominco.  Sounds like they’ve got the locals on side too. []

A mill on the move

A mill on the move

Yukon Zinc stashed cash in San Francisco before declaring bankruptcy. [CBC North]

Professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers, a monitor appointed by the court, conducted the investigation that revealed the concealed money, say the $4.4 million was held in a ‘suspense’ account, and comes from a prepaid sale of zinc concentrates that was never completed to Shaanix Zinc, a Chinese company.  PricewaterhouseCoopers say “the company appears to have deliberately concealed from the monitor the existence of the funds, and its efforts to return the money to Shaanix Zinc,” according to submissions make to the court.  Senior management of Yukon Zinc directed corporate staff on April 14 not to advise the monitor, as it would “cause much trouble,” according to the court documents.

Sneaky deal

Things must be slow in the management consulting biz when a big player does a freebie pump piece on managing mineral exploration: Boston Consulting Group on How Mining Companies Can Beat the Exploration Crisis. [Marketwired].   The big findings?

The following are among the observations the report presents:

  • Science (especially computer modeling) has its place, but it is no substitute for field observation and drilling.
  • Risk-averse companies often forgo greenfield exploration in favor of brownfield exploration. But in doing so, they incur more risk than if they had balanced the two types of exploration in a portfolio approach.
  • Exploration should be run as a profit center.
  • Talent makes the critical difference in exploration success. Yet many companies overlook the people management practices that are crucial to exploration success. These include: recruiting ore finders, mentoring young geologists, balancing the mix of staff and contract geologists, and creating employment stability.

No s#$% Sherlock.  “Consultants borrow your watch to tell you the time then they walk off with your watch” – Robert Townsend.


Avalon thinks there’s a future in selling “conflict free tin”. []   Right now there doesn’t look like much future selling any tin. (We’ll spare you the graph – see yesterday).  No happy talk about REE’s so Thor Lake is safe from near term development.

Postscript on the jade miners… Electra Stone closes oversubscribed PP for $1M. [Resource clips]  Score 1 for Zimtu.

Auryn Resources to acquire North Country Gold. for stock of course. [Junior Mining Network]  A significant program appears to be underway at the Committee Bay Project this summer.

Greek tragedy but otherwise quiet

Continued grief in the middle of the diamond supply chain. [Rough & Polished]

Traders in the rough market reported modest trading activity, saying the bankruptcy of a large Indian diamond company had created a great degree of uncertainty about possible liquidity problems among other large players, as manufacturing margins are said to remain under pressure. The bankruptcy appears to have put an end to a short-lived pick up in trading volumes during the De Beers June sight earlier this month. Most traders are expecting activity to remain subdued, as liquidity concerns have once again taken hold of market sentiment.

Tin bulls stirring. [Reuters]  This seems to be an easy bet if you’re a fan of Stein’s Law.   No sign of it yet in the market however where it looks like the world no longer uses tin.


So… how about that gold price.   Greece teeters on default;  global markets shaken; Chinese stocks routed as Shanghai index slides into bear territory….  Surely now gold bugs will be vindicated! [WSJ / Kitco]


Forget Tombstone age stuff – look for Jurassic rocks to find gold in Yukon.  Northern Miner summarizes MDRU’s Klondike area research. 

North to the Klondike.

In the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” department this zinger from Stockhouse this morning.  Nickel price plunges on Greek default concerns!

Base metals are mixed but with a clear downside bias this morning with many hitting multi-week and multi-month lows – nickel hit its cheapest in six years – because of concerns that Greece is courting disaster. 

Really?  Greece?

Touting too much weed lately

Touting too much weed lately?

Too busy to see the interview?   Here is a summary of Brent Cook’s latest BNN Market Call piece. []

  • Still likes Pilot Gold, Mirasol & Reservoir.
  • On Integra Gold (the Goldcorp Challenge 2.0 on the cheap guys)…. “just recently sat down with the Integra team in Vancouver concerned about how well the veins hold together to be mined. The PEA and resource they have “needs to be completely redone it just doesn’t hold up.”
  • Nevada Zinc:  “Nice intercepts but all oxide.  Zinc oxides are very difficult to treat and recover. Needs to do metallurgical studies to determine if recoverable.”

Sabina finds new gold zone outside of iron formation at Back River. [Marketwired].   This is a stretch.   Two holes into an IP anomaly hit ~ 1 to 3.5 g/t Au over several spaced 1 to 2 m intercepts [13.75 m @ 0.82 g/t Au – if you prefer].


Dunnedin announces their plans for Kahuna. [Junior Mining Network]  Has Chuck Fipke look at their data and find new targets.  Plans to mobilize in July.

Speaking of Chuck… Stockwatch on Cantex and it’s projects. [Stockwatch]

Chuck Fipke’s Cantex Mine Development Corp. (CD: $0.05) will need to raise money if it wants to drill in the Yukon this summer. On April 30, it had negative $3.6-million in working capital. Work at the company’s main gold property, Al Hariqah in Yemen, is on hold yet again because of terrorist activity. Cantex did manage some drilling in early 2014, but the results were of little interest to investors. The company has been working on and off in the country since the 1990s. Then, Falconbridge Ltd. optioned one of Cantex’s Yemeni properties, dropping it a few years later after almost-constant vandalism and a drive-by shooting. The whole time, Mr. Fipke had been trying to assure investors that Yemen was a “safe country for business.” He has had few soothing comments lately. This week, Saudi Arabia was busy bombing the country. Chairman Fipke does not take a salary, but last year two of his private companies charged Cantex $944,000 for administrative and “heavy mineral geochemistry” services.

Arctic Star amends their financing…  now looking for $1.875M.  [Canadian Financing Bulletin]  No word on the start of  operations at Stein or elsewhere.

TMAC rumours

Sources say TMAC’s IPO will be boosted from $100M to $135M on strong demand. [Financial Post]  On Howe Street, this is hype.  On Bay Street, it’s “sound market intelligence”.


KDI posts more intercepts at Kelvin and Faraday 2. []  Looks a mini-Kelvin shaping up at Faraday:  50 m wide, 70 m deep and 200 m along strike.


NWT Water Board agrees to raise Snap Lake Mine’s dissolved solids limit. []  Whew!… this could have shut the operation down.  The water will “taste funny” for a few years but return to normal thereafter.

Snap Lake main pump

Keep pumping & keep mining

Just how bad is it?   The rotten state of the TSX-V in two graphs. []   Looks like 1200 companies have come and gone in the past four years but that includes promotions, mergers and changes of listing as well.  These graphs wouldn’t have looked so bad if they went back to 1995 but why ruin a good story.

TSX-V bull runs

UCore moves Bokan ahead. [Petroleum News of Alaska]    They’re courting State and Federal funding; working on their own recovery technology; and engineering a  low impact operation (all tailings going back underground).    However, they are in the “tough to permit” pristine Tongass National Forest.


Rockhaven lines up $2,000,000 in credit from Strategic. [Junior Mining Network]   Proceeds to be used to keep on trucking at Klaza.  Principle is convertible at RK’s discretion to shares.  Shareholders should be happy if the results are good.

Financings and bankruptcies

Looks like Cambridge House has quietly cancelled their annual Toronto show in September.   Gotta be another sign of a market bottom. []

End is near

Molycorp files for bankruptcy. [Mineweb]

High Noon

Meet the new boss….  Bankrupt Veris Gold  sells Jerritt Canyon to Sprott. [Elko Daily]   For the time being, everyone still has a job.   Should be fun watching Sprott mine gold.


The “Rebels With a Roaster” are history.

No word yet who (if anyone) wants  Ketza River Mine (YT).

Wall Street turns on nickel despite rosy forecasts. [Reuters]  JP Morgan says it’s “comfortable” with $4.50 / lb Ni.  Betcha Vale is not….

Let's short nickel.

Let’s short nickel.

Soothing encouragement for gold investors from the sell side….   World Gold Council says gold will rebound if China’s stock market crashes.  And Canacord gives clients a bunch of reasons why you gold will do well despite Fed tightening, etc.  [China Mining / Mineweb]


TerraX finishes its raise: the tally is $5.1M. [Junior Mining News]

Copper North closes $647K financing.  [Canadian Financing Bulletin]

Shumagin and Prairie Creek results.

The big squeeze… uncertain days in the global diamond trade as profits vanish. [Reuters]   Caught between 5 big rough producers and tepid consumer demand, margins are shrinking.  To add to the misery, credit (and they need a lot – $15.4B in 2014) is drying up.

While the $80 billion overall spent on diamond jewelry last year was a record, the manufacturers are expected to share a profit of just $100 million in 2015. That is half last year’s total and down from $900 million in 2010,

Even-Zohar estimated that 300,000 Chinese and Indian workers had been laid off out of nearly 1 million employed in gemcutting in those two countries, where most manufacturing takes place.

Martin Rapaport, whose Rapaport Group is the primary source of diamond price information, said the miners had taken an unsustainable short-term approach by charging high prices.

When polishers and traders can no longer afford to buy rough diamonds, De Beers and Alrosa will suffer. To prevent this, they will have to lower prices, and “no longer make windfall profits,” he said.


Redstar’s in-fill holes at Unga (AK) all hit. [Stockwatch]  1 to 4 m @ 5 to 20 g/t Au.   The next four might move the market.

Nothing yet.

Nothing yet.

Who are you going to believe… me or your lying eyes.   COPPER SUPPLY CRUNCH IS LOOMING! []   Meanwhile no sign of this in the real world where copper prices are dropping and marginal producers are being squeezed. [IKN]   Hmm…


Goldcorp Challenge 2.0:  Integra Gold launches low cost exploration program near Sigma Lamaque. [Financial Post]  We send you 6T of data you can chew through on your own time and nickel; if we like what you come up with (& if we use it and find anything), you win $1,000,000!  Goldcorp did this first in the depths of the last mining depression and several of the successful (or near successful) contestants (eg. Mark O’Dea (PLG / TGM)  went on to much greater things.   As Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

Goldcorp challengers

Line up to pick up the data.

Goldrich Mining raises $1.2M.   Any time soon, they won’t have to scrounge money again in the market as they plan to ramp up production at their placer mine in northern Alaska this summer.  If all goes according to plan, they will be producing about half the placer gold in Alaska in a few years….  [Junior Mining News].

Gold Rush Alaska

Ask any experienced placer miner: If you want to make a small fortune placer mining, start with a big one.

Canadian Zinc finds a new footwall vein system at Prairie Creek. [Junior Mining News]   First hole hits 3 m @ 19% Zn+Pb and 92 g/t Ag.

NovaGold gets into the movie biz.. [Junior Mining Network]

NOVAGOLD is pleased to present the third segment of the Alaska Video Series. Told directly by people who reside along the Kuskokwim River, the stories captured in the four-part series convey both the vibrant and challenging realities of life in the remote communities of the Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) region where the Donlin Gold project is located.

NOVAGOLD strives to create a balanced development plan that enhances economic development and preserves the subsistence lifestyle – both can truly co-exist. Bringing tangible, long-lasting benefits to its community partners as its projects advance through development is highly important to NOVAGOLD.

Call me old fashioned, but I think there’s more upside in mining.

Tin, gold and platinum

NWT continues to lose population as mining, oil & gas slump.  The Territory lost 500 people or 1.1% last year.  Unfortunately, local opinion makers don’t get it yet:  the North is regulating itself out of business. [] [Mining North]

Honey I shrunk the economy

Platinum and rhodium glut drives prices south. [WSJ / Bloomberg]   Rhodium supplies are increasing at the fastest pace in 20 years and platinum prices have hit a 6 year low.  The apparent drivers?  The South African strike is over, everyone is keen to get back to work and the rand is down a lot against the dollar.

Platinum miners

Maybe gold mining is going to pick up? []  Summer doldrums article from Vancouver on how gold miners might be on the rebound…. except that (as the article points out) there is no real evidence for it yet.   Ask a bunch of Howe Street promoters what they think gold is going to do and what else can you expect.

yogic flyers

Earn big bucks – become a …. geologist! [Mining]  Chock full of 2012 data, this graphics-packed article makes the case why mining journalists are overpaid.


Meanwhile in Vancouver…

Northern Empire buys Manson Creek gold project. [Junior Mining Network].   The creek .. not the company.  Wonder who’s the vendor?

He knows

He knows

Strongbow provides an update on their Alaska tin prospects. [Junior Mining Network]  Osisko pays to option their own property….

Could it be the tin price?

Could it be the tin price?

Stockwatch on Goldstrike:

Terry King’s Goldstrike Resources Ltd. (GSR) added one cent to 17 cents on 359,000 shares. The company has begun drilling at its Gold Dome property in the Yukon, where Mr. King is promoting his latest visible-gold sightings with a photo. Mr. King spotted visible gold flecks three years ago, the promotion of which boosted the stock by 50 cents to 80 cents. It dropped back to 30 cents weeks later, when the best assay result was only nine metres of 0.7 gram per tonne gold. A disappointed Mr. King lamented that preliminary drill holes did not explain all the visible gold he was seeing at surface. Neither did the second nor third round of drill holes. Hopefully this drill program will explain today’s sightings. The company has $1-million in working capital. President King, a former securities lawyer, receives a modest $80,000 a year to run the company. He takes no salary from his other company, Petro One Energy Corp. (POP: $0.065).

Golden Predator gets a permit. [Stockwatch]   Plans to continue bulk sampling at Three Aces.

Which is way smarter than a raise right now.

Forget the market … we’ll just mine for a while.

Oreninc Index  of mine financing hangs in there…


Looking better than this time last year.

Drill starts and diamond news

Diamantaires in the dumps.   Caught between De Beers, the banks and a soft retail market, they are not happy.. []

No one seems immune. The quarterly results of the public companies are testimony to that. If they are suffering, reports that small and even mid-size diamond operations in India are quietly closing operations and leaving the diamond industry is also not surprising. However, most companies just can’t liquidate and close. They are so heavily leveraged that liquidating the operation won’t cover what they owe the banks. The owners are practically forced to keep rolling forward. This is part of the explanation why some Sightholders will continue to buy the Sight goods, even if unprofitable; this is not suicidal economy, rather it’s survival economy.

Of course, every business wants to be profitable, so when Sightholders arrive to collect the goods and see the prices, they are worried when they realize that profitability from them is a stretch. One broker said in this context, “They buy and cry – and that is exactly how De Beers wants it to be.” The rationale is that prices are at the max – high, but not at the point that the goods are left behind. If Sightholders are smiling, then there is profit that De Beers did not collect, “and they don’t like that,” he added.

Cry the blues

But in happier news…  KDI announces bulk sample results from Kelvin. []  2.7 tonne bulk sample –  2.74 ct/t  – mostly off-white transparent diamonds with some larger stones broken.

ATAC starts drilling at Rackla. [Marketwired].  $3M (?5000 m?) diamond drilling on Conrad and RAB at Anubis in a Phase I program.

More gold out there...

More gold out there…

Independence Gold starts drilling at Boulevard and Henderson Dome. [Marketwired].    800 m of diamond drilling at Henderson Dome; RAB at Boulevard, west of Kaminak.


and… Goldstrike starts drilling at Plateau.  [Stockwatch]

But wait! There’s more!

“Initial follow-up of new gold targets generated on Goldstrike Resources Ltd.’s flagship Plateau property in the Yukon has already resulted in the discovery of several new areas where rock samples containing visible gold have been taken from mineralized subcrop on Gold Dome…..”

“Within the first two days of the current program, multiple grab samples with visible gold were taken….”

The property was chosen as one of only six projects to be showcased by the Yukon government in its 2014 media tour sponsored by the Yukon government. It was written up in 2014 by the Northern Miner, Mining News North of 60 and Resource World.”  


Here’s a new idea…  a publicly listed jade miner.   Electra Gold becomes Electra Stone and heads to Cassiar to dig up jade. [Resource Clips].   The latest filly in the Zimtu stable, this doesn’t seem like a terrible idea.   Most jade mining operations aren’t very big however…


Stockwatch’s Will Purcell on Canterra’s plans up Gahcho Kue way…

Randy Turner’s Canterra Minerals Corp. (CTM), unchanged at six cents on 15,000 shares, has broken a lengthy silence about its big diamond hunt in the South Slave district of the Northwest Territories. Mr. Turner, one of Canada’s original (and most successful) diamond promoters, says Canterra conducted geophysics over the northern part of its Marlin property, just northwest of promising diamond deposits at Gahcho Kue and Kennady North, and its Hilltop property, 30 kilometres southwest of Snap Lake. The results, Mr. Turner says, “identified several target areas that warrant further detailed exploration, including drilling.”

It is unclear if drilling is actually in the plan for this year, or if the comment was merely an afterthought thrown in because the promotionally savvy Mr. Turner recognizes that the promise of other work, however detailed, is an effective treatment for insomnia. (He already intends to administer a heavy dose of sedatives elsewhere, promising further till sampling and geophysics on several other South Slave properties.) If drilling is in the cards for later this year, Mr. Turner will probably need more cash. Canterra had about $500,000 in working capital at the end of March but Mr. Turner and his field crews are usually big spenders.

TerraX closes $526K  in a second tranche. [Junior Mining Network]  Looks like they will have more than $5M going into this summer’s drill program in Yellowknife.

Radical Rep rakes Resolution and leave the bugs alone.

Done with Pebble; greenies swing their guns towards KSM.   Leading the charge is the former chairman of the Sierra Club []

Resolution is in trouble. [Bloomberg]  Legislation tabled in the house is seeking to repeal a proposal to swap 2,422 acres of federally owned land in Arizona to allow Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd. to construct the huge underground copper mine.    The proponent, Representative Raul Grijalva (Dem AZ) – a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, represents the Tucson / Phoenix area where you think their representative might understand copper mining.  His bio suggests otherwise. [Wikipedia]

Last winter he started a witch hunt in Congress targeting scientists who disagreed with the climate change creed. [Weekly Standard]

In addition, he was an Arizona leader of the Raza Unida Party. According to the standard history of the party by Dr. Armando Navarro, “Grijalva was so militant that he alienated some members of Tucson’s Mexican-American community. After losing in his first bid for elective office, a 1972 run for a seat on the school board, he began to cultivate a less radical image.”

Rep Grijalva

I don’t like mining.

Red Chris gets its permit; environmentalists up in arms. [Huffington Post]   The cross-border issue will doubtless heat up with the very strong Alaska fish lobby already on the march.  Alaska natives have also chimed in. [Juneau Empire].   With the assistance of funding green millionaires, Alaska enviromentalists managed to get the EPA to meddle with Pebble.   BC might be a tougher nut to crack.  In a positive development, the Iskut band is onside after being given a seat on a co-management board.

That was then - all good now.

That was then – all good now.

We’ll follow you to the ends of the earth and beyond…  Mining Watch goes after Nautilus Minerals.

Richard Steiner, Oasis Earth Professor and conservation biologist said, “Extremely little is known about the environmental goods and services of deep sea ecosystems in comparison to terrestrial ecosystems. Additionally, because of their rarity, the mining of hydrothermal vents at the Solwara 1 site would remove a very high proportion of the global total of these ecosystem types – a property not considered by the report.”

Good news Prof – the bugs only live at active vent systems and once mined both the vents and bugs will grow back.



But let’s not let the truth get in the way of a good fund raising story.

Copper and Shanghai

BHP gets Olympic Dam running again 2 months ahead of schedule.   They had an “electrical failure” in January (must have been a doozy).  Bringing another 10,000 t / month of copper back on stream should depress the copper bulls. [Bloomberg]

Brent Cook reminisces about the dark days of 1997 – 2002.  [Mineweb.web]  Cheer up and stay invested.

grandpa's stories

Results from De Beers June sight…  prices are “stable”  with a marginal increase in the price of larger goods in expectation of good Christmas sales. [Rough & Polished]

Rapaport claimed that sightholder sentiment continued to be negative at the sight as manufacturers stated that polishing rough diamonds at current prices was still unprofitable.

Coventry begins work at Caribou Dome (AK). [Marketwired]  High grade Cu massive sulphide lenses / pods in basalts have returned 5-9% Cu over 10-18 m but nobody has been able to make a resource out of it yet.

Busy in the 1960's...

Busy in the 1960’s…

Chinese equity markets having a “Minsky moment”?   The hyperventilators at Zerohedge thinks so:  China’s lost $1T in market cap in a week (10% of Chinese GDP).   Markets are closed now for the weekend and doubtless calm and orderly trading will resume Monday. [ / Zerohedge / Yahoo finance]



Interest in gold juniors and more bad news for Cantung

In the “kick ’em while they’re down” department…   NWT government ups Cantung’s reclamation deposit by $19M.   Pay $16M within 90 days or lose your licence.   This will be welcome news to NAT as it tries to restructure under bankruptcy protection. [ / North American Tungsten]

Talk’s cheap in the new “mining friendly” NWT…

Mining north

Jitter bugs:  While waiting for Grexit or something else to happen, gold aficionados are stirring.

Gwen Preston on why gold has to go up because it’s been so quiet lately. [The Resource Maven].

A commentary on Zerohedge points out that long time gold bulls like Harry Dent have thrown in the towel about higher prices.

 Jordan Roy Bryne does ratio TA on why juniors are actually strengthening in the face of weaker precious metal prices [Mining Feeds]   He might have something here: A glance at yesterday’s top performing US ETF’s is interesting: the leveraged gold junior multiplier funds (a favourite hedge fund snack) seem to think juniors are going to rebound, price be damned. []

Gold bulls & bears

Mickey Fulp’s presentation at the Mining America’s Summit earlier this month ….  how gold miners manage to lose money at (relatively) high prices and some metrics to avoid the worst of them.  [Mercenary Geologist]

Fooled again

Palladium prices drop as supply shortfall diminishes.   In part this is due to better recycling. [Bloomberg]

Palladium recycling

Doubled in 6 years; now 30% of supply

Israeli Diamond Exchange calls on producers to support polished prices by cutting back on supply.  [Pure & Polished]

No more

TerraX completes their financing and NSR option with Osisko.   $3.5M in the kitty with more to come from a tag-along financing.  [Junior Mining Network]