Industry NEWS

18 September 2019

Bluejay lodges exploitation licence application for Dundas Ilmenite

Bluejay Mining has formally lodged its exploitation licence application to the Mineral Licence and Safety Authority, Greenland (MLSA) for the Dundas Ilmenite project.

With the exploitation licence, which covers the onshore portion of Dundas, the company will be able to take the next major step toward annualised production of 440,000tpa, upon securing approval.

Bluejay noted that lodgement of the application represents the conclusion of field assessments, measurements and documentation that were performed for more than three years.

The application consists of various modules, such as an environmental impact assessment (EIA), social impact assessment (SIA), mine plan, financial model, JORC-Code compliant ore reserve statement and project study.

Bluejay Mining CEO Roderick McIllree said: “Needless to say, we are thrilled to have lodged our exploitation licence application over the onshore parts of the Dundas project area; this achievement signals the accomplishment of over three years of work and is yet another significant milestone for Bluejay.

“The extensive work carried out over Dundas during the past three years with the submissions of the SIA, EIA and PFS, when paired with exporting our first bulk sample from the project, has driven 2019 into being a transformational year for the company.”

Bluejay prepared the licence application in tandem with the company’s international advisory network and by engaging with the Greenlandic authorities.

After the Ministry of Mines approves the application, the EIA and SIA will be made publicly available, following which a public consultation period will start for the project.

In May, Bluejay signed an agreement with Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium Canada (RTIT) to further analyse Ilmenite from its wholly-owned Dundas Ilmenite project.

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18 September2019

Evolution Mining signs agreement with Musgrave Minerals and Basin Gold

Evolution Mining has signed new earn-in agreements with Musgrave Minerals and Basin Gold over the Cue project and Crush Creek project.

The Cue project, which is located in the Murchison Province of central Western Australia, hosts a gold endowment of more than 30 million ounces.

Situated about 50km south of Evolution’s Murchison joint venture (JV), the project is prospective for Archaean greenstone gold deposits.

Located 10km north-west of Collinsville, Queensland, and about 30km south-east of Evolution’s Mt Carlton operation, Crush Creek hosts low sulphidation epithermal gold mineralisation.

Evolution Mining Discovery and Business Development vice-president Glen Masterman said: “We are excited to be adding two new quality projects to our portfolio which have the ability to generate new drill results that extend previously identified mineralised zones.

“These earn-in agreements are consistent with our strategy of focusing on orogenic and epithermal deposit styles that can create value through future discovery.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Musgrave will retain complete ownership of areas that surround the Lena and Break of Day resources, and the Mainland Option area.

By spending A$18m ($12.36m) for five years, Evolution may earn a 75% interest in the project area.

Furthermore, Musgrave may elect for Evolution to fund its share of development costs, subject to a decision to mine.

As part of the agreement signed with Basin Gold, Evolution is required to make an initial cash payment of A$2m ($1.37m) to the company on receiving the mineral development license.

Evolution will provide A$7m ($4.80m) of exploration expenditure for two years to earn 70% interest in the project.

The company operates Cowal mine in New South Wales, Cracow, Mt Carlton and Mt Rawdon mines in Queensland, and Mungari mine in Western Australia.

Additionally, it holds an economic interest in the Ernest Henry copper-gold mine.

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16 September2019

Vale halts mining operations in Brucutu, Brazil

Brazilian-based company Vale has been ordered to stop operations at its iron ore mine in Brucutu.

The mine is located in the municipality of São Gonçalo do Rio Abaixo in the Minas Gerais province.

The iron ore miner said that the suspension will not hamper production at the Brucutu mine.

The move follows a decision from Brazil’s National Mining Agency (ANM), which claims that Vale has exceeded the mineral reserve limit.

In a statement, the mining company said: “Vale understands that all the agency’s requirements to operate the mining front were fulfilled and reported in the economic utilisation plan submitted to the agency in 2017.

“Vale will take the appropriate measures in this case and reaffirms its 2019 iron ore and pellets sales guidance of 307-332 million tonnes, as per the previous announcement.”

Having been in operation for 13 years and employing more than 1,700 people, the Brucutu mine has an annual production capacity of 30Mtpa of iron ore.

In June, Vale announced that it was set to resume complete operations at the Brucutu mine.

The mining company was forced to halt operations in February this year after a tailings dam burst in late January in Brumadinho.

In a separate development, the company announced the Supreme Federal Court’s (STF) decision to ‘grant the return of Vale’s nickel operations (mine and plant), Onça Puma, in Ourilândia do Norte (state of Pará)’.

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16 September2019

Chaarat completes JV with Çiftay for Kyrgyz Republic projects

Chinese firm Ganfeng Lithium has closed a previously announced transaction to increase its interest in the Caucharí-Olaroz lithium brine project in Jujuy, Argentina from 37.5% to 50%.

Ganfeng Lithium Netherlands subscribed for new shares of Minera Exar, the holding company for the Caucharí-Olaroz project.

Minera Exar will use the $160m raised from the transaction to fund the project’s construction. The remaining 50% interest in the project is owned by Lithium Americas.

In October last year, Ganfeng Lithium completed the acquisition of a 37.5% interest in Minera Exar from Chilean miner SQM.

Lithium Americas president and CEO Jon Evans said: “We are delighted to complete the project investment with our 50/50 joint venture partner, Ganfeng Lithium, building on our long history of working together.

“At Caucharí-Olaroz, construction activities continue to proceed on schedule with over 600 employees and contractors mobilised at site.”

“With the Project Investment complete, we have further strengthened our liquidity and expect to release the results of a feasibility study on an expanded initial production capacity for the project of 40,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of battery-grade lithium carbonate in September 2019.”

The $160m project investment included an advance payment of $57m prior to closing.

In a separate development, Lithium Americas amended an offtake agreement with BCP Innovation (Bangchak).

As per the terms of the revised agreement, if an expansion of the initial production capacity to 40,000tpa is approved, Bangchak will be entitled to buy an additional 3,500tpa of lithium carbonate.

The project is located around 270km east of SQM’s Salar de Atacama brine operation.

With current targeted production of 25,000tpa, the Caucharí-Olaroz project is expected to start production by the end of next year.

In May this year, Ganfeng Lithium agreed to buy a 29.99% equity interest in Bacanora Lithium.

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16 September2019

OreCorp Tanzania secures regulatory approvals to acquire NMCL

OreCorp Tanzania, a wholly owned subsidiary of OreCorp, has received regulatory approval to complete the acquisition of 100% of Nyanzaga Mining Company (NMCL).

Following the approval from the Tanzanian Mining Commission (TMC) and the Fair Competition Commission (FCC), OreCorp Tanzania will now take control of NMCL.

NMCL holds the Nyanzaga Gold Project and has applied for the special mining licence (SML).

The Ministry of Minerals has advised the company that the SML would be granted following the change in ownership of NMCL.

OreCorp expects to complete the acquisition of NMCL in the coming days.

OreCorp said in a statement: “The company considers the TMC and FCC approvals as significant milestones and further demonstrates the constructive working relationship that the company has with all levels of the Government of Tanzania (GoT).

“Successful conclusion of the transaction will ultimately deliver Tanzania and all its stakeholders the first large scale gold mine development in over a decade. Upon the grant of the SML, the company will welcome the GoT as a shareholder in NMCL.”

The Nyanzaga gold development project has considerable drilling and associated mining information, which consists of 20 contiguous prospecting licences and two applications that cover 211km² in north-west Tanzania.

The project, which hosts a JORC 2012 compliant mineral resource estimate of 23.7Mt at 4.0g/t gold, is situated 60km south-west of Mwanza and 35km north-east of Acacia’s Bulyanhulu gold mine.

OreCorp completed a pre-feasibility study and have commenced a project financing definitive feasibility study.

According to the company, the Nyanzaga deposit offers scalability for an open pit, as well as underground gold mining.

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13 September2019

Thiess wins $890m contract extension for Curragh Mine in Queensland

CIMIC Group’s contract mining company Thiess has received a contract extension valued at A$1.3bn ($893m) to provide mining services at Coronado Global Resources’ Curragh mine in Queensland, Australia.

Under the terms of the six-year contract, Thiess will continue to provide overburden removal and haulage, mining and run of mine (RoM) re-handling services, equipment maintenance and pit dewatering services at the mine.

The Curragh mine is located in the metallurgical coal-rich Bowen Basin. Thiess has been offering services at the mine since 2004.

CIMIC Group CEO Michael Wright said: “Thiess has a consistent record of exceeding our client’s expectations at the mine, through a focus on operational excellence and innovation, and an unrelenting commitment to safety culture and outcomes at Curragh.

“This contract extension reflects Thiess’ on-going ability of creating lasting value for its clients.”

Thiess will continue to deliver its existing scope of works, which include the operation and maintenance of the client-owned 1400t electric rope shovel and trucking fleet.

CIMIC Group Mining and Mineral Processing executive and Thiess managing director Douglas Thompson said: “We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Coronado Resources. Thiess has operated at Curragh for more than 15 years.

“Over that time, we’ve developed a deep understanding of the site and its operations, helping to deliver optimal efficiency, productivity and cost performance.”

Sedgman and UGL, which are CIMIC Group business units, provide various operations and maintenance contracts at the Curragh mine site.

In March, Thiess secured a contract valued at A$1.7bn ($1.2bn) for the Debswana Diamond Company’s Jwaneng Mine Cut 9 project located in Botswana.

Last November, the company won a contract to install autonomous haulage system (AHS) technology at Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

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12 September2019

World Gold Council launches framework to address ESG issues

The World Gold Council (WGC) has launched a set of principles for gold miners designed to address key environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

The WGC said its Responsible Gold Mining Principles are a framework that sets out clear expectations for consumers, investors and the downstream gold supply chain as to what constitutes responsible gold mining.

In developing the principles, the gold authority undertook a vigorous consultation and review process, including two phases of external consultation.

The principles are designed to support the efficient operation of the gold market and incorporate feedback from over 200 organisations and individuals.

The framework aims to recognise and consolidate existing standards and instruments under a single framework.

Prior to the framework development, there was no single coherent framework that defined responsible gold mining.

Companies that implement the Responsible Gold Mining Principles should secure external assurance from a third party, independent assurance provider in order to ensure purchasers that the gold they buy is responsibly mined and sourced.

The WGC has developed a framework to support a consistent approach to assurance, which will be undertaken at both site and corporate level, and assesses both processes and performance.

Implementing companies must publicly disclose their conformance with the Responsible Gold Mining Principles.

WGC members include Newmont Goldcorp, Barrick Gold, AngloGold Ashanti, China National Gold Corporation, Detour Gold and Endeavour Mining.

Newmont Goldcorp CEO Gary Goldberg said: “Adherence to strong Environmental, Social and Governance principles should be a key part of any responsible gold mining business and, as such, the Members of the World Gold Council have collaborated, along with key industry stakeholders, to develop the Responsible Gold Mining Principles.

“Given the Members’ sustained focus on improving ESG performance, the formalisation of the Responsible Gold Mining Principles is a natural evolution of our daily working practices. It is my hope that these Principles will be widely adopted, not only by Member companies, but by the industry more broadly.”

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12 September2019

Southern Gold JV receives permit to develop Gubong gold mine

Southern Gold’s joint venture (JV) partner Bluebird Merchant Ventures has received the permit to develop the Gubong Gold Mine in South Korea.

Permission was granted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE).

Bluebird expects to receive formal documentation of approval from MOTIE in the coming weeks.

The latest permit was the first one issued to a foreign operator since Ivanhoe Mines received its approval for the Eunsan gold deposit in the late 1990s.

Southern Gold and Bluebird each hold 50% interest in Singaporean company Gubong Project JV.

Gubong Project JV owns 100% of South Korean company Gubong Project.

Both companies share the JV costs equally, while Bluebird is responsible for the day to day operations.

A similar corporate JV is in place for the Kochang Project, which is still in the approval process for receiving a permit to develop.

Southern Gold managing director Simon Mitchell said: “This is a very important milestone for the joint venture, and I congratulate Bluebird as operators in securing the permit to develop for Gubong, the first in many years for a foreign operator, at least as far as we are aware.

“This approval paves the way for the JV to take the Gubong project forward and target first gold pour in 2020, another very important milestone that is now closer to being achieved.

“Compared to other regulatory systems, such as we see in Australia, this is an extremely rapid approval process, taking less than one year since its initial submission.”

In June, Bluebird signed a JV deal with Southern Gold for the Kochang gold and silver project in South Korea.

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