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RESOURCE Volume 8, Issue 3

GLOBAL NETWORK

Mining, renewable energy and oil & gas worldwide

COUNTING COUNTING ON COPPER: ON COPPER

profiles a selection of exploration and mining firms setoftothe playmining an integral profiles some role in theset supply of copper to companies to deliver much-needed low-carbon industries: copper for the green energy transition

Marimaca Marimaca Copper Copper | Tempest Minerals Midnight Midnight Sun Sun Mining Mining | Sama Resources Sama Resources Tempest MineralsRESOURCEGLOBALNETWORK.COM


EDITORIAL

The past, present and future of humanity all rely on copper

C Jacob Ambrose Willson Editor

Executive Team Editor Jacob Ambrose Willson Content Director (APAC and Americas) David Hunter ICT Director Stuart Clark Managing Director Simon Curran Contributors Jay Roberge (Tehama Capital Corp) RGN is published by Anderson Murray Media: a diverse media and information services company focused on creating and distributing engaging content to business leaders across the globe. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy the publisher and editor cannot be held responsible for any inaccurate information supplied and/or published. Copyright: The copyright for all material published in this magazine is strictly reserved.

Anderson Murray Media

opper. The red metal. Dr Copper. Whatever you want to call it, this age-old element is set to become the single most important natural resource available to humanity, as we seek to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and prevent irreversible global warming.

While total copper output is expected to return to growth this year at a rate of 5.6%, the underlying exploration statistics demonstrate a worrying paucity of new global discoveries, which serves as a stark reminder of the challenges we face in supplying enough copper to satisfy our new fondness of electric vehicles and wind turbines.

Already a vital component in a cornucopia of modern products within the likes of electronics, machinery and construction, copper is facing a staggering increase in demand from the electrification of the global automotive and energy sectors.

These supply concerns are clearly portrayed by prominent natural resources investor Jay Roberge in his article featured in this special copperfocused issue. In it, he considers whether copper really is ‘the new oil’, or perhaps something even more important.

This thematic has been in the works for several years, yet the copper pricing market has remained subdued right up until the start of 2021. Perhaps it took a global pandemic for the penny to drop, but with the copper price reaching record highs this year above the US$10,000 per tonne mark, you could say it’s not a moment too soon.

Marimaca Copper is a rare example of a junior miner that has made a significant copper discovery in recent times, after unearthing a surface oxide copper deposit with significant depth potential in Chile – the world’s top copper producing nation.

Rising economic activity as the world exits the COVID-19 crisis and a growing collective belief in the decarbonisation trend have been posited as the key reasons for the 140% rise in the copper price since the collapse at the height of the first COVID wave last March. However, there is another factor which has been overlooked by far too many analysts over the last decade; and that is the weak supply dynamic. Lower ore grades at aging mines and production disruptions had caused flat growth in annual copper production for several years until 2020, when the impact of the pandemic caused a 2.6% fall in global production.

RGN reveals the full story so far at Marimaca in this issue, along with Midnight Sun Mining and Sama Resources, both of whom are chasing major copper discoveries in Africa another key global centre of copper production. We also promote several gold mining companies in the following pages, including Canada’s Maple Gold Mines. This provides a neat segue to our newest regular feature in RGN, in which we spotlight the careers of inspiring women across the corporate mining sector, starting with Maple’s own Shirley Anthony and Michelle Roth.

Jacob Ambrose Willson

Fulham Green, 69-79 Fulham High Street, Main Reception, Bedford House, London SW6 3JW | Tel. +44 (0)207 148 5630

jacob@resourceglobalnetwork.com

a j r


CONTENTS NEWS 6 Global resources news Our selection of mining, oil & gas and renewable energy stories from the last month MARIMACA COPPER

38

RGN INTERVIEWS WOMEN IN MINING 12 Maple Gold Mines Shirley Anthony and Michelle Roth share their experiences as successful women in the corporate mining sector

COLUMNS

SAMA RESOURCES

52

26 Jay Roberge (Tehama Capital) A stark warning on the widening copper demandsupply disparity as the global electrification thematic intensifies

MINING

38 Marimaca Copper One of the most important copper discoveries in Chile over the last decade 52 Sama Resources Within striking distance of the massive sulphide reservoirs hosting the Yacouba base metals complex in Côte d’Ivoire

MIDNIGHT SUN MINING

68


TEMPEST MINERALS 68 Midnight Sun Mining Bringing Rio Tinto into the discovery story at the Solwezi licences in Zambia’s Copperbelt

84

84 Tempest Minerals The time is now for copper and gold discoveries in the Yalgoo region of Western Australia 98 Maple Gold Mines A JV with Canada’s largest gold producer bodes well for this explorer in the Abitibi 110 Steppe Gold Cash flow + development + exploration = Mongolia’s premier precious metals company 124 Tietto Minerals Entering the final stages in the development of West Africa’s next major gold mine

MAPLE GOLD MINES

98

EVENTS 138 Events Our pick of the top mining, oil & gas and renewable energy events happening around the world in the months to come

STEPPE GOLD

110


NEWS

FORAN MINING ANNOUNCES WORLD-FIRST CARBON NEUTRAL COPPER PROJECT

TSXV-listed Foran Mining Corp has partnered with two sustainability-focused companies in a bid to turn the McIlvenna Bay deposit in Canada into the world’s first carbon neutral copper project. The company’s partnerships with carbon measurement firm Carbonzero and sustainability advisor Synergy Enterprises will help record its emissions while purchasing verified offsets for the carbon emitted from all exploration activities over the past 10 years at the Saskatchewan deposit. Foran said the move is part of its ‘blueprint for responsible mining that causes the least possible harm from day one through the innovative use of technology, renewable energy and fleets of electric vehicles’. The offsets to be purchased by Foran will help fund projects including a wind power facility in Guatemala and a forest protection initiative in Mongolia. “We are exploring all kinds of exciting initiatives in line with our audacious mission; this is just the first. McIlvenna Bay will host a centralised mill to support our other worldclass deposits and we intend to be around for a long time to come,” said Foran’s executive chair Dan Myerson. “Copper and zinc are essential products that are needed for building a sustainable future such as solar and wind technologies and EVs. It is imperative we find a way of producing them in a responsible way.” 6


NEWS

Mining, oil & gas and renewable energy news from around the world COPPER HITS $10,000 PER TONNE AS ANALYSTS POINT TO FURTHER GAINS

The copper price exceeded US$10,000 per tonne on April 29 for the first time since 2011, as recovering economies turn to the ‘bellwether metal’ and mines struggle to keep up with rising demand. Prices rose as much as 1.3% to $10,008 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange – putting copper in sight of its all-time high of $10,190 in February 2011. “The copper price has gone stratospheric and probably has further to go, which is a boon for miners who are currently making at least two dollars for every one they spend getting metal out of the ground,” said Analyst at CRU Group Robert Edwards.

Since the end of the first COVID-19 wave last year, the copper price has more than doubled based on increased demand from postpandemic economic stimulus and a broad longterm belief in the global decarbonisation trend, in which copper will play a crucial role. “This is a remarkable run for copper in terms of magnitude and consistency,” commented Tai Wong, head of metals derivatives trading at BMO Capital Markets. Meanwhile, senior commodities strategist at ING Bank Wenyu Yao said: “The outlook for the US economy keeps getting better. Economic reopening coupled with massive stimulus, faster-than-expected vaccine rollouts and supportive fundamentals all point to even higher prices.” 7


NEWS

MINING DRIVES 45% OF GLOBAL ECONOMIC ACTIVITY, SAYS MARK CUTIFANI

Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani told the audience at this year’s virtual CIM convention that the world cannot survive without the contribution of mining to every aspect of modern life. In a galvanising speech during the opening plenary of the annual Canadian mining event, Cutifani noted that other critical sectors, including energy, food production, construction, transportation, renewables infrastructure and communications all rely on mining. “In fact, 45% of the world’s economic activity is driven by the mining sector,” he said.

Furthermore, mining only takes up 0.04% of the world’s habitable land, compared to agriculture’s footprint of up to 50%. “[Mining’s footprint is] literally the smallest footprint relative to our economic contribution than any other industry,” Cutifani added before discussing the issues of perception facing the mining sector. “Even with all the contributions we make, people tend to see us an industry that takes more than it gives…One of the things we don’t do well as an industry is talk about what we do.” As part of its sustainability goals, Anglo has committed to support the creation of five offsite jobs for every one onsite at its operations around the world. 8


NEWS

Mining, oil & gas and renewable energy news from around the world NEW RENEWABLE ENERGY CAPACITY GROWS BY 45% IN 2020: IEA REPORT

The International Energy Agency’s latest report on the renewable energy market has found that the rate of new renewable electricity capacity added in 2020 rose by 45%, compared to 2019. The 260GW of new renewable power capacity achieved last year resembles the fastest yearon-year rise since 1999, according to the IEA’s ‘Renewable Energy Market Update: Outlook for 2021 and 2022’. In addition, the IEA said it expects expansion rates to reach a much faster pace than in the years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with growth in Europe and the US to be even brisker than previously forecast.

About 270GW of renewable capacity is on course to be added in 2021 and almost 280GW in 2022, despite a slowdown in new additions in China after an exceptional level of additions last year. Global wind power capacity additions almost doubled last year to 114GW, while solar installations will continue to break new records, with annual additions forecast to reach over 160GW by 2022. IEA executive director Fatih Birol said: “Wind and solar power are giving us more reasons to be optimistic about our climate goals as they break record after record. Last year the increase in renewable capacity accounted for 90% of the entire global power sector’s expansion.”

9


RGN INTERVIEWS

MAPLE GO

Shirley Anthony and Miche successful women in

12


RGN INTERVIEWS WOMEN IN MINING: MAPLE GOLD MINES

WOMEN IN MINING:

OLD MINES

elle Roth share their experiences as the corporate mining sector 13


In March 2021, the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) published a report aimed at pushing governments to promote gender equality in the mining sector. While the document, which was published to coincide with International Women’s Day, called for reforms to legislative frameworks to fight gender discrimination in countries around the world, it got RGN thinking about what positive contributions we could make as a media organisation covering the mining space. Following internal discussions on the topic, we have decided to start a regular ‘women in mining’ spotlight, comprised of exclusive interviews with inspiring women who have scaled the corporate ladder in the industry and broken into the historically male-dominated board rooms of publiclylisted mining companies. The inaugural RGN interviews women in mining feature shines the spotlight on investor relations (IR) and corporate communications guru Shirley Anthony, along with successful natural resources entrepreneur Michelle Roth. Anthony forms an integral part of the management team at Canadian exploration firm Maple Gold Mines, while Roth continues to offer her wealth of experience to the company in her role as a director.

14

SHIRLEY ANTHONY, MAPLE GOLD MINES DIRE CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS

Jacob Ambrose Willson:

a job after university was

Shirley, you have over 12

in business journalism at

years’ experience in corporate

Stockwatch, which is a stock

communications across

information portal that I still

several sectors, but how did

use to this day.

you get into natural resources and eventually Maple Gold?

During my time there I got to learn about the stock

Shirley Anthony: Growing

market through the Canadian

up, I was only aware of a few

Securities Course. I went

career paths, such as becoming

through hundreds of press

a classical musician like my

releases and newsletters

parents, or becoming a teacher,

about companies in all sectors

doctor, biologist or chemist.

from telecommunications

But I did soon find myself

to pharmaceuticals and of

interested in journalism, and

course mining. Until that time,

the first place where I landed

the whole idea of the public


RGN INTERVIEWS WOMEN IN MINING: MAPLE GOLD MINES

ECTOR,

MICHELLE ROTH, ROTH INVESTOR RELATIONS FOUNDER AND MAPLE GOLD MINES DIRECTOR

markets and stock trading was

With my background, I landed

What intrigued me about

totally foreign to me. But once

in investor relations and

this company is that it’s in an

I learned about the public

corporate communications,

incredible mining jurisdiction

markets, I found it absolutely

and I’ve loved it so much that

and has significant gold

fascinating; full of exciting

I never looked back. I started

resources that were completely

opportunities, intriguing

in resources back in 2004 and

underappreciated. For me, the

scandals and the amount of

spent most of my time there,

most exciting opportunities

wealth that can be generated

but I did venture out into the

in IR is these types of

and lost could be staggering.

transportation and cannabis

undervalued assets and this

The more I learned, the more

sectors for short periods, but

is where I can add the most

I was intrigued about going

natural resources was what

value in terms of helping them

over to the corporate side, and

I knew the best and where I

gain exposure to a fair market

of course Vancouver is a huge

really excelled, so when the

valuation and where we have

hub for mining juniors, where

opportunity with Maple Gold

the best chances of generating

there is a highly active capital

Mines was brought to my

shareholders value.

markets scene.

attention, I definitely took a closer look.

15


MA P LE G O LD MIN ES AT A G L A N C E

JAW: Michelle, you were the

other women in all of mining

driving force behind Roth

at the time, encompassing not

Investor Relations, which

only mining companies in the

you founded back in 1987.

US, but Wall Street as well. But

What specifically gender-

I used this to my advantage

based barriers did you have

and combined it with my

to overcome as a female

previous experience working

entrepreneur at that time?

at Echo Bay Mines, where I learned the workings of the

Michelle Roth: IR was a STOCK TICKER: TSXV:MGM MARKET CAPITALISATION: US$106.4 million (as of May 27, 2021) aj

16

industry.

relatively new discipline and in 1987 I had a kind of first mover

I also developed a large a

advantage, in terms of being

degree of contacts built on the

solely focused on the mining

buy side and the sell side and

space. I’m based in New York

then combined that with my

and there were only three

training on Wall Street, which


RGN INTERVIEWS WOMEN IN MINING: MAPLE GOLD MINES

is where I started my career. It

So, I used it to my advantage,

had been through referral,

created this unique dynamic,

but I think the main reason

so I guess I’ve been doing

which really helped me to

why I’ve been successful is

something right.

stand out in a crowd. In fact

nobody told me I couldn’t do

I remember an occasion in

it. There were no barriers

JAW: Comparing 1987 with

around 1988 when I went to a

there because I eliminated the

today, what level of progress

conference in New York hosted

glass ceiling on Wall Street,

has been made with respect

by Institutional Investor

and on the agency side of the

to the compositions of board

magazine. There must’ve been

business working with mining

rooms in the mining sector?

400-500 people there; a sea of

companies, I just did my

blue suits, and I walked in in a

thing. Because I was offering

MR: Without having checked

red suit.

a quality product - as it where

the statistics I would venture

- I had companies coming to

to say that back in the late

me. The bulk of my business

80s you didn’t see women in

17


RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews Maple Gold Mines director, corporate communications Shirley Anthony, April 01 2021

“It has been wonderful to see more women in positions of power, including as board members, such as Catherine Gignac on the board of Cameco, and more women as CEOs of mining companies, like Alexandra Woodyer Sherron at Empress Royalty” Shirley Anthony, Maple Gold Mines director of corporate communications

18

board rooms in any significant

We’ve seen an increase in

numbers in any industry. It

women analysts and portfolio

was more the exception to the

managers, but - to my dismay

rule. In fact down at the NYSE,

- less of an increase in the area

there is a dedicated room to

of investment banking, which

Muriel Siebert, who was the

I would still stand to improve

first woman to purchase a seat

in that regard, and I’m very

on the NYSE back in the late

hopeful that it will continue to

60s/early 70s, and that was so

improve.

unheard of. I think that if you don’t have I’m lucky to be part of that

a technical background,

first generational wave of

whether you’re male or female,

professional women coming

companies will often turn

into Wall Street, working

to the financial side of the

in a variety of capacities.

equation and look to recruit


RGN INTERVIEWS WOMEN IN MINING: MAPLE GOLD MINES

RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews Maple Gold Mines director and Roth Investor Relations founder Michelle Roth, April 01 2021 people with finance and

educate young women so as to

accounting skillsets. So, if you

attract them to the industry,

don’t have women in more

and the various avenues of

prominent positions on the

employment it can provide?

finance side of the business, companies aren’t going to

SA: Back when I started in

either know of them or know

2005, I still did not see many

they can tap into them to

women on the executive

join either the C-suite or the

teams or on boards. Now it

boards.

has been wonderful to see that changing over the years

JAW: Shirley, mining has

and today I am seeing more

historically been a male-

women in positions of power,

dominated industry, but there

including as board members,

are signs that this is gradually

such as Catherine Gignac on

changing. How should we

the board of Cameco, and of

“I believe that the best way to make an impact is through mentoring. I was very fortunate to have been mentored throughout my career, but I took that on as an obligation to pay ALTUS S it forward and help other young women in the sector, and just be there as a touchstone” Michelle Roth, founder of Roth Investor Relations and Maple Gold Mines director

19


SPOTLIGHT ON

Shirley Anthony

course our wonderful director Michelle Roth. I’m also seeing more women as CEOs of companies, like Alexandra Woodyer Sherron at Empress Royalty and Bryce Bradley at Thunderstruck Resources. In terms of getting more women to join the mining space, or in any industry, I think opportunities should be made for young people - regardless of gender - but certainly with a focus on young women in secondary school and perhaps in the

Shirley Anthony has 15 years of investor relations and corporate communications experience with publicly listed companies on the NYSE, TSX, TSX Venture Exchange, CSE and OTCQB covering the natural resources, transport and cannabis sectors. In the natural resources sector, Ms. Anthony has developed and implemented high-impact investor relations and strategic marketing programmes for companies involved in the production, development and exploration of gold, silver, base metals and uranium across North and South America as well as the Asia Pacific. Ms. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia. aj

first two years of higher education, for there to be courses available to learn about the public markets. I think there are many careers that are ideal for women in the public market space that really don’t exist elsewhere in private companies, such as compliance, IR and corporate secretarial roles. I generally find that women are strong communicators and when it comes to communicating the merits of a story, particularly when I see women presenting

20


RGN INTERVIEWS WOMEN IN MINING: MAPLE GOLD MINES

(I don’t see many but when I do), they’re absolutely phenomenal at it.

SPOTLIGHT ON

Michelle Roth

I think it’s about exposing them to the public markets at a younger age, because when I was growing up, I didn’t know anything about what public companies did. I had no idea. So to expose them early on would open up a completely new world to them, where the opportunities are truly endless. Having the education system help them grow up a little bit faster would be a great help, because the public markets are such a huge part of the economy. Even someone that we brought on to the Maple Gold team on the marketing/ communications side; she’s a 25-years old, dynamic woman and the same thing. At her age, she had no idea that this world even existed until we brought her on. There’s lots of opportunities out there and I think the education system

Michelle Roth is an entrepreneur and business leader who founded Roth Investor Relations in 1987. She expanded this global consulting business through multiple investment cycles by formulating comprehensive shareholder engagement solutions for a worldwide client base. Mining clients have operated mines or explored in North America, Australia, Africa, Europe and South America for gold, silver, platinum, copper, nickel and diamonds. In the public sector, Ms. Roth served as Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Planning Board Chairperson of Manalapan Township, New Jersey. She has also held appointed positions on other governmental boards. Ms. Roth earned her MBA in Finance from Fordham University. j

could be improved to expose people to this exciting world.

21


JAW: Are either of you

best way to make an impact

It can range from anything

involved with the work

is through mentoring. I

like how offering advice on

of industry associations

was very fortunate to have

how to deal with a specific

supporting gender equality

been mentored by men who

issue to introducing someone

in the sector (for instance

were very forward-thinking,

to someone in your contacts

Women in Mining)? How

including my late father. But

who runs the gamut. I think

important is it that these

I took that on as an obligation

that personalised one-to-one

organisations highlight

to pay it forward and not only

is really impactful and the

inspiring stories and

have I mentored my three

organisations themselves are

contributions made by women

daughters (none of whom who

doing great work, but more

in the industry?

have followed in my footsteps

women need to take on this

by the way), I’ve also made

mentoring role to truly change

MR: I’m a member of Women

sure to help other young

the course, in my opinion.

in Mining in the UK actually,

women in the sector and just

and have attended events in

be there as a touchstone.

the past but I believe that the

22

JAW: Shirley, do you agree with Michelle’s points or have


RGN INTERVIEWS WOMEN IN MINING: MAPLE GOLD MINES

anything further to add with

I am familiar with Women

or going to talk to a gym bowl

regards to mentoring in the

in Mining Canada, it’s a

of high school kids about the

industry?

great association. I haven’t

public markets and the IR

been very active because

field. I’m sure there are many

SA: I was nodding profusely

I started a young family

opportunities for us to spread

at what Michelle was saying!

about five years ago, and

information about this really

Absolutely, because one-on-

with kids and a career, you

exciting space and the careers

one mentoring is critical.

don’t have too much time for

that are available. I’m sure

Michelle, I am right there

anything else! But now that

there are many opportunities

with you and having brought

I’m a little bit older, I would

like that, but mentoring is

someone on that I saw so

love to get involved in these

absolutely critical and if I

much talent and potential in, I

associations, but also look for

could do what I’m doing right

wanted to introduce her to this

other opportunities to provide

now with this young woman

incredible world and I wish

information to young women.

that works with us, I would do

I could do that for so many more women.

it 10 times over. Perhaps it’s going out to speak at a high school graduation,

23


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Is copper the ‘new oil’? O

Jay Roberge presents stark warning on widening de 26


MINING | JAY ROBERGE (TEHAMA CAPITAL CORP)

Or is it more important?

emand-supply disparity in the global copper market 27


There has been a lot of media coverage referring to copper as the ‘new oil’ – and for good reason. Copper has played a key role in human evolution and will do so again as the world evolves to reduce global emissions with the electrification of the transportation industry. Copper demand is on the uptick driving prices to new highs. As of May 7th 2021, copper rose 3.2% to settle at US$10,417 a tonne. Prices are up more than ~30% this year and have more than doubled from lows in March of last year. Copper is benefiting from renewed demand as global economic recovery picks up and as the battery electric vehicle (BEV) market continues to expand rapidly, while the metal is expected to experience a significant supply crunch as stagnated mine supply is not likely to keep with the growing global appetite. Some analysts have estimated copper to be at $15,000 a tonne by year-end. A Bank of America analyst recently called $20,000 a tonne by 2025.

28


MINING | JAY ROBERGE (TEHAMA CAPITAL CORP)

Jay Roberge Jay Roberge is managing director and founder of Tehama Capital Corp, a boutique merchant bank based in Vancouver, Canada. Mr. Roberge has served as executive management, and or director of several public and private companies in natural resources (mining), technology and energy industries. As founding partner in Tehama Capital Corp, Mr. Roberge has focused on transactional business and financing companies concurrently with a go public strategy in the Canadian capital market. Given his experience in technology, Mr. Roberge is recognised for his early participation and identification of rare earth elements and battery metals for their critical geopolitical and economic importance while always including copper as part of that narrative. Mr. Roberge is an avid supporter of international trade and investment between Canada and the rest of the world.

aj

29


Mass global government

infrastructure, and more

Countries around the world

spending to boost economic

specifically ‘green economy’

are looking to combat climate

activity that had dried up

spending that will support

change and a key component

as a result of the COVID-19

efforts to reduce carbon

to this battle is the adoption of

pandemic continues to enter

emissions. The main strategy

BEVs.

the financial system. Most

in nearly every government

governments are focusing

plan is the electrification of

Since opening its first

a considerable amount

the transportation industry.

Gigafactory in 2016, Tesla

of stimulus spending on

30

has led the auto industry


MINING | JAY ROBERGE (TEHAMA CAPITAL CORP)

In 2020, global car sales in 2020 were down to 63.4 million from 74.3 million in 2019. Electric vehicles had a banner year despite the pandemic with sales of BEVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) making up 4.2% of the global car market, up from 2.5% in 2019. With a wide range of new vehicles at affordable prices coming to market, sales are expected to continue to grow. Most projections have electric vehicle sales representing about 10% of all vehicle sales by 2025. A very strong growth trend. While a conventional car contains 18-49 pounds of copper, a BEV contains around 180 pounds of copper. Furthermore, a battery evolution into BEVs; and the

Intelligence, a research and

electric bus contains around

industry has followed suit

analysis company specialising

814 pounds of copper. And

with battery megafactories

in the lithium-ion battery

for those wondering, a hybrid

being built around the world

supply chain, is currently

electric vehicle requires

at an alarming pace. In 2020,

tracking over 200 battery

approximately 90 pounds of

approximately $65 billion

megafactories around the

copper. It’s easy to conclude

in capital was committed to

world.

that the electrification of the

battery cell manufacturing.

auto industry is well underway,

Benchmark Mineral

and it’s going to require

31


32


MINING | JAY ROBERGE (TEHAMA CAPITAL CORP)

increasing amounts of cover as

(approximately 2,362,500

on the application. But for

more and more BEVs are sold

tonnes of copper using 2018

now, the lithium-ion battery

each year.

production numbers). That’s

in its various forms will be the

just for the UK; they are

predominant battery of choice

But while politicians have

likely not going to be able to

for the next decade and copper

all rallied behind the call for

secure half of global copper

will always be a part of that

meeting net zero carbon by

production, especially when

chemistry.

2050, few - if any - ever refer to

China has been investing and

the amount of raw materials

securing raw material sources

In addition to BEVs,

required to build out this

for the last decade while the

investment is focused on

battery electric future. Case in

rest of the world argues over

energy storage and charging

point, UK Prime Minister Boris

the environmental impact of

infrastructure. Outside the

Johnson pronounced in June

mining.

battery itself, no other element

2019 that all new car sales and

is more critical to the overall

existing vehicles in the United

When it comes to the lithium-

electrical grid than copper.

Kingdom will be battery

ion battery, it is easy to see

Copper is a key component

electric by 2050 - an objective

why many would refer to

to every aspect of the electric

supported by many leaders of

copper as the ‘new oil’. But

power grid. So whether you

other leading economies.

equally important are the

are generating electricity

other key elements required to

via a turbine (copper)

About two weeks after this

make a lithium-ion battery –

within a hydro-electric dam,

announcement, UK Natural

namely lithium, nickel, cobalt,

transmitting it across power

History Museum head of Earth

manganese and graphite. Each

lines (copper) to the city, or

Sciences Professor Richard

of these elements can be used

storing it in the lithium-ion

Herrington and fellow expert

in various volumes depending

battery in a Tesla; it requires

members of SoS MinErals

on the application of the

copper. In the case of the UK,

wrote a letter to the UK

battery, and each one has its

Prof Richard Herrington et al

Committee on Climate Change

own supply challenges. In

estimate that a 20% increase

expressing their concerns and

general, all of these elements

in UK-generated electricity

stated that in order to meet

are required. New battery

would be required to charge

these stated objectives the UK

chemistries will evolve and

the current 252.5 billion miles

would require at least half of

require difference amounts of

driven by UK cars.

the world’s copper production

different elements depending

33


While demand is growing,

discoveries coming online

just in copper but in most all

copper supply is a real

will decline substantially and

elements. With copper prices

concern. For years, industry

depletion problems at existing

at 10-year highs we will see

has been warning of the

mines will accelerate. Many

more capital investing in

fragile balance between

analysts have long predicted

exploration and development.

supply and demand. Industry

that the copper mine supply

In a recent interview with

has been voicing concerns

growth will grind to a halt this

the Financial Times, Ivan

over declining grades and

decade.

Glasenberg - the CEO of

insufficient new discoveries

34

Glencore - stated copper prices

to replace current mines that

In general, the world has

would need to rise to $15,000

are nearing the end of their

neglected to invest in

per tonne in order to have

production life cycle. The

exploration and development

enough new supply to meet

number of new world-class

over the last decade. Not

projected demand.


MINING | JAY ROBERGE (TEHAMA CAPITAL CORP)

to President Sebastián Piñera’s move to block a bill that would have allowed workers to make a third round of early withdrawals from their pension funds. On the backdrop of concerning supplies and inflation, copper is facing a significant increase in demand due to the electrification of the car industry. Perhaps more accurately, the electrification of everything. Copper is a primary element to the entire electricity supply chain including green energy generation, energy storage and electrical charging. New supply will start to come

As demand puts added stress

into the market over time,

onto the copper supply chain,

So while many will label

but it may not be enough to

supply disruptions are to be

copper as the ‘new oil’ to

meet the expectation. The

expected and can wreak havoc

convey its importance to the

complexities of mining and

on copper prices. Chile - the

success of the electrification

inconsistent entry of new

world’s largest producer of

of the auto industry, such a

supply means the industry

copper – is often plagued

label actually understates the

will struggle to keep up

with strike action by miners.

critical overall importance

to the steady increase of

The latest supply disruption

being placed on copper in

demand as each of the 200

threat in the copper market

saving the planet. Given the

plus megafactories start to

came on May 3rd 2021, after

serious supply concerns, this

manufacture batteries.

Chilean port workers called

is an ‘all in’ wager we cannot

for a strike action in response

afford to lose.

35


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37


MARIM COP CO

One of the most important copper dis

38


MACA PER RP

MINING | MARIMACA COPPER

scoveries in Chile over the last decade

39


Chile-focused explorer Marimaca Copper holds the distinction of making one of a handful of (or perhaps the only) new copper discoveries around the world since 2015. While this paucity of new discoveries speaks to a growing problem in the balance of supply and demand for the dynamic ‘red metal’, Marimaca’s namesake project was unearthed in 2016 by the TSX-listed company’s VP of exploration, Sergio Rivera, when a one-in-a hundred-year rainfall washed away decades of Atacama dust to reveal a green hue on a mountain side in an area of Chile’s prolific copper mining centre in Antofagasta. Having said that, the Marimaca deposit was not completely unknown prior to the rare weather event; there was outcropping mineralisation at surface that had been walked over and identified by numerous geologists, but generally accepted wisdom for the area dictated that there would be nothing new to uncover of sufficient scale for a mine. “I think it’s been a story of challenging the generally accepted wisdom about what sort of copper project could be in the belt of rocks we have there in Northern Chile,” says Marimaca’s president and CEO Hayden Locke.

40


MINING | MARIMACA COPPER

“Our geologists challenged

fantastic copper environment

that wisdom and decided

for us.

it was worth drilling. What they found was significant

“Marimaca’s discovery of a

extensions North and South

surface oxide copper deposit

along strike and also at depth.

with significant depth

As a result, it is one of the

potential not only contradicts

most significant new oxide

the once-held views of many

discoveries in Chile in the last

experts in the field, it also

decade and certainly one of

creates a low-risk, low-cost

the most exciting development

mine development scenario

stage copper projects in the

for the company.

world today. It also has a very short timeline to get

“It is quite a unique project

into production in what is a

in that there is oxide

41


mineralisation at surface, a low strip ratio for an open pit mine with a very low capex relative to most of the new copper development stories in the world. We’re excited to have this project in our control.”

Location, location, location The location of the deposit is a huge part of Marimaca’s attractive story, according to Locke, who cut his teeth mostly developing projects in African mining jurisdictions,

“Marimaca is one of the most significant new oxide discoveries in Chile in the last decade and certainly one of the most exciting development stage copper projects in the world today” – Hayden Locke, Marimaca Copper president and CEO

where infrastructure has been at times poor, and mine locations often remote. Good locations have existing infrastructure in place and access to a highly skilled workforce; things which have a knock-on impact in terms of execution risk and capital costs. “The location we have at Marimaca is absolutely outstanding,” Locke proclaims. “We’re in the low coastal range of the Chilean mountain range, so fairly low altitude compared

42


MINING | MARIMACA COPPER

to being in the high Andes. We have access to power, roads and communication is incredible. There’s an international airport 45 km away, we have a very large, highly skilled workforce that is generally working in the mining industry or some derivative of it. “All of that adds up to much lower execution risk, but also much lower capital cost for the overall project. It [the location] is a huge benefit for us and one that we are very happy

43


with.” He highlights access to water – a key input in the copper mining process, but a scant resource in one of the most arid parts of the world – as the single biggest locational advantage. Marimaca will use seawater at its operation, which crucially means it won’t have to tap into local freshwater aquifers that are vital for drinking, agriculture and the general

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44


MINING | MARIMACA COPPER

environment. From an ESG standpoint, this is absolutely essential to the project’s successful development in a region where political and social objections have blocked the progress of mining projects in very recent memory.

Publishing the PEA The low upfront and all-in sustaining costs (AISC) nature of the Marimaca project was confirmed by the August 2020 preliminary economic assessment (PEA). The study calculated the upfront capital cost at US$285 million, while the AISC of $1.29 per pound of copper is in the bottom 15% of the curve. Hayden explains that the low-cost nature of the project

ALTUS S

comes down to three key attributes: “First, it’s a very simple open pit mine. As a result, there is virtually no pre-strip, very little up front capital costs to get this project into mining and start taking

45


R Marimaca

46


MINING | MARIMACA COPPER

valuable ore and putting it on

copper produced basis, the

the leach pads.”

capital intensity for an SX-EW plant is much lower than a

The presence of a high-grade

concentrator, notes Locke.

core in the first five years of mining is an added advantage

Locational advantage,

which means the company can

predominantly Marimaca’s

move lower material tonnes

access to a power line 7 km

and hence use a smaller fleet

away, is the third contributor

of equipment during the first

to the low-cost project

stage.

estimates. Roads and the seawater pipeline are already

The second low-cost attribute

in place and there is no need

is the ability to use SX-EW

for a mining camp as there are

leaching as the process

two urban centres (Antofagasta

method. On a per tonne of

and Mejillones) within 45 km

RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews Copper Corp president Hayden Locke, March 30, 2021

of the site. The PEA also calculated a posttax NPV of $524 million for the project (assuming a $3.15 per pound flat long-term copper price) and an IRR of 33.5%, with annual copper production at approximately 40,000 tonnes in the first six years, over a total 12-year life. Marimaca actually went above and beyond with certain elements inside the PEA advanced to an even higher degree of confidence. For

47


instance, the metallurgical recoveries are supported by four phases of testing. “The fifth phase is really about making sure we are completely bankable, but also preparing ourselves for operational readiness and making sure we have a really robust geometallurgical model,” Locke declares. A round of infill drilling will also be required to shift the remaining 30% of the Marimaca resource from inferred to measured and indicated (M&I). The project currently contains nearly 420,000 tonnes of contained copper in M&I, according to a December 2019 mineral resource estimate. “We’ll probably do a bit more extensional drilling to add some more to the overall resource ahead of the feasibility study, which we’ll hopefully start in the second half of this year with the goal to deliver that in the early part of next year.”

48

HAYDEN LOCKE, MARIMACA COPPER PRESIDENT AND CEO


MINING | MARIMACA COPPER

Lifting the lid further

and on-ground mapping

The company has developed a

reconnaissance work,

cluster of five regional targets

Marimaca is also pursuing a

including geochemical

over the last 12 months and is

dual-track exploration strategy

analysis and soil sampling.

beginning to test those as we

after identifying the potential

approach the middle of the

to add resources at depth and

“These days there is much

year. “We should have a fairly

across the coastal copper belt

less outcrop at surface, which

good idea of whether there’s

district. While the company

means there are less obvious

something there by the end of

has reported good visibility

reasons to go out and drill a

first half of 2021.”

on a couple of years of oxide

target, so we’re creating those

resource around Marimaca,

targets using a multitude

To conclude, the significance

it is focusing its near-mine

of methods, including

of the Marimaca project is

exploration on the potential at

magnetism,” Locke explains.

not its potential scale per say,

depth.

“This is an IOCG belt with

but the fact that it is a copper

a strong preponderance of

discovery that has arrived at a

“We know the oxide has to

magnetite and so we believe

time when the supply-demand

have been fed by a sulphide

that a magnetic response

equation is tipping drastically

system at depth somewhere.

is a good way for us to start

in favour of the latter, as the

We’re looking at whether

targeting areas to look for

electrification of the global

or not there is an economic

potential repetitions of

economy begins to gather

extension of that sulphide

Marimaca style deposits.

speed.

deposit. We are currently

“We believe we now have a

“Copper is going to become

on-site drilling deeper drill

good geological exploration

more important and we’re

holes right now and trying to

model to target repetitions of

excited to be part of that

understand what’s going on in

Marimaca-style mineralisation

important demand shift

that all-important feeder zone

and hopefully add significant

with a project that can be

at depth.”

oxide tonnes close to our

brought into production in

current project, but also find

a short timeframe,” Hayden

The second phase of

some larger sulphide deposits

summarises.

exploration will look for

at depth as well with our

repetitions of Marimaca in

ongoing exploration.”

orebody below the Marimaca

the surrounding area, using a mixture of geophysics

49


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SAMA RES

Within striking distance of the massive sulphide reservoirs

(

52


MINING | SAMA RESOURCES

SOURCES

s hosting the Yacouba base metals complex in Côte d’Ivoire

53


After completing 4,000 metres of exploration drilling along 50 km of strike length at the Samapleu, Bounta and Yepleu projects in the first half of 2020, Sama Resources was required to temporarily suspend its campaign due to the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Côte d’Ivoire. The projects are part of a geological intrusion - which Sama discovered back in 2010 - called the Yacouba Complex, which shows potential for hosting high grade nickel, copper, cobalt and platinum group elements (PGE) mineralisation in massive sulphide reservoirs at depth. Over the last decade, Sama has undertaken extensive geophysical and exploration drilling work at the projects, but is yet to detect the host mineralisation at depth that the company is certain exists and is responsible for the veins and lenses of highgrade material near surface at numerous locations across the complex. Sama’s president and CEO Marc-Antoine Audet has been pursuing the exact geological characteristics of a new base metals complex in the Archaean craton of the Birimian Greenstone Belt for over 25 years, since first arriving in Côte d’Ivoire in 1994 as part of a nickel laterite exploration team for former Canadian natural resources firm Falconbridge. Taking a measured view, the experienced geologist is calm about the prospects of a final breakthrough at Sama’s projects.

“We have not yet touched the mother lode that we are looking at, but that’s okay,” Audet says. “We are in a long process of exploring on the property; it’s a new discovery and it takes time and determination, which we have.” Patience is another quality that Sama has adopted during its time exploring Côte d’Ivoire, and it was required once again during the COVIDrelated pause to activities in the second half of last year. However, the company was able to restart in November 2020 with a downhole geophysics campaign in the holes that were drilled in the first part of the year. The downhole geophysics were completed using the Typhoon™ exploration system provided by Sama’s equipment partner and Robert Friedland-affiliated technology firm HPX TechCo. Typhoon™ is a powerful IP and EM tool that provides depth penetration up to five times deeper than other equipment.

54


MINING | SAMA RESOURCES

55


Turning on Typhoon™ Since partnering with HPX in October 2017, the technology has helped Sama identify a number of targets along the project strike length, with the latest downhole EM (DHTEM) survey delivering ‘extremely good results’ at the deep drill hole Yepleu and Bounta target zones, according to Audet. “We defined the highest ever anomaly since we started

SA M A RES O U R C ES AT A G L A N C E

STOCK TICKER: TSXV:SME, OTC.PK:SAMMF MARKET CAPITALISATION: US$30.4 million (as of May 10, 2021) j

MARC-ANTOINE AUDET AND PROFESSOR PICARD FROM UNIVERSITY OF

56


MINING | SAMA RESOURCES

exploring in this part of the world,” he says. “We intersected an extremely high intensity target, with a conductivity thickness [CT] of 20,000 and this is what we are now chasing with a 5,500 metres diamond drilling programme that has just started [in March 2021]. “We are currently drilling with two rigs for the first six months. So far, it’s going well and our partner HPX is also very happy with the programme. We are going to follow all of this up with additional downhole geophysics and further exploration.” In March 2021, Sama also confirmed the execution of the earn-in and joint venture agreement that had been in place with HPX, whereby it would acquire up to 60% of Sama’s Ivorian project portfolio through funding exploration expenses up to C$30 million.

F FRANCHE CONTÉ

57


58


MINING | SAMA RESOURCES

To date HPX has invested $12.2

“One of the particularities of

million as equity in Sama

the deal with HPX is that while

Resources (giving them 23%

they are investing in Sama

of the company), with the

Nickel Corporation [Sama’s

balance of $18 million to be

Ivorian subsidiary], they are

invested on a cash call basis

the only one that can invest in

at the project portfolio in Côte

the company until they reach

d’Ivoire; thus preventing any

the $30 million.

further dilution in the TSXVlisted firm’s shares.

59


“We have not yet touched the mother lode that we are looking at, but that’s okay. We are in a long process of exploring on the property; it’s a new discovery and it takes time and determination, which we have” Marc-Antoine Audet, Sama Resources CEO and president

60

“This is why Sama Resources

Corp, in a deal that entitles

– the top corporation - is also

Sama to 20.8% of the Canadian

looking at other projects in

company’s shares.

Liberia and Canada. We are expanding our activities a

This kind of arrangement

little outside of Côte d’Ivoire,

will allow Sama to plough

although those projects remain

its energies into detecting

our absolute top priority.”

additional mineralisation at depth at the Ivorian projects,

In Liberia, the company

following the recent discovery

acquired three new gold

of high intensity targets at

exploration licences at the

Samapleu and Yepleu in

start of the year that have

particular.

subsequently been farmed out to another exploration outfit called Seahawk Gold


MINING | SAMA RESOURCES

Pausing the PEA In May Last year, Sama published a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the Samapleu project, which outlined the potential to produce 3,900 tonnes of carbonyl nickel powder, 8,400 tonnes of carbonyl iron powder and 14,100 tonnes of copper concentrate on an annual basis over a 20-year mine life. While being able to demonstrate the ability to produce nickel and

61


iron powders plus copper concentrate for direct use in industrial applications was undoubtedly a big positive step on the metallurgical side, Sama has since paused activities on this aspect of the project in order to focus on drilling the high intensity signatures identified by the November 2020 DHTEM survey. “We are really looking for those high-grade massive nickel, copper and PGM sulphides which we know should be there because we have them near surface.

“We intersected an extremely high intensity target, with a conductivity thickness of 20,000 and this is what we are now chasing with a 5,500 metres diamond drilling programme that has just started.”

62

MARC-ANTOINE AUDET, SAMA RESOURCES PRESIDENT AND CEO


MINING | SAMA RESOURCES

accumulation of mineralised

But having said that, Audet is

pods at depth, so we’ve

confident that the long-term

decided that for the next six

fundamentals are in place for

months we’re going to focus on

the likes of copper, nickel and

that and then reassess other

PGEs, which will be required

elements of the project later.”

in large quantities for multiple industries tied to the global

Ever since the COVID-19

energy transition, including

pandemic underscored

electric vehicles, renewable

the urgent need for the

energy and energy storage.

decarbonisation of major world, metals prices have

Communityminded

sharply increased in line

A focus on the close

with increasing demand

management of

projections. In particular,

environmental, social and

copper and nickel – two so-

governance (ESG) issues is

called ‘energy metals’ – prices

something that has been

have each rocketed to near-

entrenched in the genes of

record highs in 2021.

Sama, stretching right back to

industries around the

Audet’s first steps on Ivorian Sama and its partner HPX are

soil back in the mid-90s, when

acutely aware of the current

he was working as a geologist

period of high prices for the

for Falconbridge.

base metals it is searching for in Côte d’Ivoire, and they

“Falconbridge is a great

are doing what they can to

example of how companies

expedite the discovery rate

can work with the

at the projects in order to

communities, listening and

take advantage of the pricing

communicating with every

environment.

stakeholder of a project like the one we have right now. This is something we do

63


RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews Sama Resources president and CEO Marc-Antoine Audet, April 30, 2021 naturally and I have to say we

“Our Ivorian staff have a

Falconbridge’s nickel laterite

enjoy very good relations with

high range of responsibilities

exploration team in the 90s.

everybody; the governments,

within the company, which

So began a 25-year working

local people and all our

is excellent. I think we enjoy

relationship between the pair

employees in Côte d’Ivoire.”

strong relations with our

which has taken Bouaké to

people and they are very

nickel laterite and sulphide

The company does not use any

stimulated by the way we are

exploration hotspots in

expatriates in Côte d’Ivoire, as

operating in Côte d’Ivoire.”

Northern Québec, Dominican

a result of the highly skilled

64

Republic, Brazil and New

and specialised labour force

Take Sama’s in-country

Caledonia.

available in-country, from

exploration manager Bakayoko

geologists to environmentalists

Bouaké. After obtaining his

“This is just one example of

and accounting clerks.

geological degree in Côte

the very highly skilled team

d’Ivoire, Bouaké was employed

we have in Côte d’Ivoire. We

by Audet to work with

also train our geologists and


MINING | SAMA RESOURCES

regularly send them to the

this kind of education because

high-grade material at depth,

University of Franche-Comté,

we strongly believe this is the

in addition to the eventual

where they can conduct field

key for a good integration in

resumption of metallurgical

work in places such as the

the country,” Audet proudly

testing for the next stage of

Pyrenees.

asserts.

the projects.

“We also funded one of our

Patience continues to be the

geologist’s PHD study with

On the brink of major discovery

the University of Franche-

When asked where he would

Resources, but the potential

Comté. That was a two-and-

like the company to be

reward of those high-grade

a-half years study, which

positioned in 12 months’ time,

massive nickel, copper and

issued four papers on the

Sama’s president and CEO

PGE sulphides could well

description of our very own

outlines a two-fold strategy;

be the game-changer it has

Yacouba Complex discovery.

with the main focus on

been waiting for over the last

We put a lot of energy into

accessing new discoveries of

decade.

name of the game for Sama

65


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MIDNIG MIN

Bringing Rio Tinto into the discovery story at

68


MINING | MIDNIGHT SUN MINING

HT SUN ING

t the Solwezi licences in Zambia’s Copperbelt

69


Mid-stage copper and cobalt explorer Midnight Sun Mining has been working diligently on the Solwezi licences in the Zambian Copperbelt for the past eight years. Solwezi consists of two contiguous exploration licences covering over 506 km2 adjacent to the largest copper mining complex in Africa - First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi Mine. During this time, the TSXVlisted outfit has conducted geochemical and geophysical surveys along with air core (AC), reverse circulation (RC) and diamond drilling across the property, but the results from these campaigns have been inconclusive with regards to establishing a continuous mineralised system, due to the geological structures being largely undercover and thus, difficult to detect. “We would get hit after hit and thought we had the structures figured out, then we’d get misses where we thought we’d get hits and vice versa,” says Midnight Sun’s president, CEO and lead director Al Fabbro. “A lot of the structural geology wasn’t evident to us, so we decided to fly a VTEM survey to try and see what was going on. It explained a lot of the reasons why we were getting misses and hits, but by the time we did that we were out of money and the stock was under 10 cents. We then had to make a decision whether to dilute the project or dilute the shareholdings.”

By this point, Midnight Sun

had already received sustained several deals tabled by the interest from a larger player

world’s second largest miner in

that had staked ground

years gone by.

around the Solwezi licences and was keen to unearth the

A deal that Fabbro believed

next Kansanshi, Lumwana or

would be acceptable to

Sentinel-sized deposit to come Midnight Sun’s shareholders out of the Zambian Copperbelt. was hammered out at a final

Enter Rio Tinto

meeting in London in May of that year, after the mining

So, when Fabbro and his

giant revealed its belief that

executive team sat down with

Midnight Sun had ‘three shots

Rio Tinto at the 2019 PDAC

to host a Rio-sized deposit’

event in Toronto, they were

within the Solwezi licences.

ready to listen to substantial

70

offers after knocking back


MINING | MIDNIGHT SUN MINING

The earn-in and joint venture

with the agreement. The

By that time, we’ll know if

deal was announced in April

next three stages of the

we have a Rio-sized deposit

2020, contingent upon Rio

arrangement would see Rio

or not, feasibility work

making sufficient expenditures

committing $16 million, $14

notwithstanding. The early

before earning any interest in

million and $15 million in

money tells you if you’ve got

the project, with a US$700,000

work expenditures, plus cash

something to chase,” Fabbro

upfront fee to be paid to

payments along the way;

reckons.

Midnight Sun upon removal of

bringing the total investment

conditions.

to $51 million, which would

“But so far, we’re really happy

earn the miner 75% of the

with the relationship and think

project.

that they’ve done enough

Rio would then spend $3 million on an initial work

structural geology to figure out

programme and make a

“They have to spend $21

what’s going on underneath

further $300,000 payment

million before earning any

this cover. We are hopeful

before being able to continue

interest at all in the property.

that this programme will bear fruit.”

71


Kickstarting the campaign In the 12 months since striking the deal, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to rage on across the globe, impacting macro-fiscal and political policies in economies from Canada to Zambia. The health crisis also disrupted supply chains across Africa for a while, causing frustration amongst exploration and mining companies on the continent.

MID N I G H T SUN MINING AT A G L A N C E

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72

AL FABBRO, MIDNIGHT SUN MINING PRESIDENT, CEO AND LEAD DIRECTOR


MINING | MIDNIGHT SUN MINING

Midnight Sun and Rio’s Stage 1 exploration programme was further delayed by an extralong rainy season in Zambia, but the $3.2 million campaign finally commenced in April 2021 – exactly one year after the deal was announced. This initial work programme will run to late June with three rigs turning – one RC, one diamond and one AC – at three different prospects across the Solwezi licences. “The results of that work will dictate what transpires for the rest of the year. “First and foremost, we want to see a major-sized copper deposit which would be in excess of 10 billion contained pounds of copper,” Fabbro proclaims. “That would be something that Rio could build as a standalone.” He describes three different styles of mineralisation across the Solwezi concessions. To the North, there was an initial understanding of a Kansanshi-

73


74


MINING | MIDNIGHT SUN MINING

like deposit at the 22 Zone.

million pounds per annum

so they’re going to try that and

In spite of some significant

Lumwana mine 60 km away.

we’ll wait and see.”

geology has proven to be even

“We’re going to commit

Then there is the Mitu target,

more complex than originally

2,000 metres of RC drilling

a 17 km trend on the Western

believed, and will require

at Dumbwa this campaign to

side of the Solwezi dome,

further modelling work before

try and explain that anomaly,

which is where Midnight Sun

more drilling can be done.

because we’re getting over

has had its best success in

0.7% copper in soils along a

terms of drill hits, notably an

The second style of

14km strike, but our best drill

11.6 metres hole grading 4.23%

mineralisation Fabbro refers

holes are getting 0.5-0.6%.

copper equivalent (Cu eq).

to – at the Dumbwa target to

It [the strong soil anomaly]

the Southeast - has also been

has baffled lots of companies

The drilling and other work

difficult to explain, with some

before us and it’s baffled us.

to date at Mitu has focused on

analogies to Barrick Gold’s 276

Rio think they’ve got an idea

the initial M1 discovery area,

high-grade drill results, that

75


76


MINING | MIDNIGHT SUN MINING

which is showing potential for a near surface copper-cobalt deposit somewhere in the region of 15-20 million tonnes at 1-1.5% Cu eq. To put that in perspective, at current metals prices that would be roughly equivalent to a 750,000 ounces to 1.5 million ounces gold deposit. “We could drill that off, but it’s not big enough for a Riosized target and we’re looking for something even more significant. But, Mitu offers five or six different target areas along that 17 km stretch, all of which could host deposits considerably larger than M1. In fact, that 4.23% hit falls outside of M1 and hasn’t been properly followed up. Rio’s got some ideas on a huge geophysical anomaly adjacent to it.”

Copper on a tear In the past 12 months, the copper price has more than doubled on the way to $10,000 per tonne as global economic activity ramps up

77


“The reason we’re chasing copper and big deposits is because, historically speaking, you’re going to get three or four price cycles with a big copper mine, whereas in a gold mine you’d be fortunate to get one good cycle” Al Fabbro, Midnight Sun Mining president, CEO and lead director

again following the COVID-19

commodity price with a brand-

crisis, and as supply/demand

new discovery,” Fabbro says.

fundamentals strengthen,

“If we’re fortunate to make a

based on copper’s prominence

discovery, you get a perfect

in the green economy of the

storm which is when take

future.

outs happen, and that’s why it would be significant to us.

These fundamentals are only serving to sweeten the

“The reason we’re chasing

position of a company like

copper and big deposits is

Midnight Sun, on the cusp

because, historically speaking,

of a meaningful discovery of

you’re going to get three or

copper and also cobalt; metals

four price cycles with a big

which will play a vital role in

copper mine, whereas in a

the transition towards a low carbon global economy.

78


MINING | MIDNIGHT SUN MINING

gold mine you’d be fortunate to get one good cycle.” On the flip side, many observers in the African mining sector are wary of a high commodity price environment due to the temptation amongst governments to take a larger slice of the pie, in terms of royalties and extra taxes on mineral producers.

79


RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews Midnight Sun Mining president and CEO Al Fabbro, April 20, 2021 Zambia is a prime example

attractive mining jurisdictions,

make it work, but it’s a big

of this opportunistic form of

according to Fabbro.

political football.”

government hit the headlines

“I’d like to see them structure

In a country where the mining

in 2019 with a policy that

[any royalty/tax changes] so

sector may contribute as

would raise its sliding scale

it’s not just a percentage of

much as half of total GDP and

for royalties from 4% to 6%,

the price but a percentage of

directly employ over 73,000

while introducing a new 10%

the increase of the price, so

people (according to a 2019

tax when the price of copper

it can be a win-win royalty

EITI report), government

exceeds $7,500 per tonne.

as opposed to just a punitive

policies on copper - Zambia’s

measure to the producers. I

leading mineral export – are

However, the possibility of

think for the most part, the

never too far from the top of

further fiscal alterations might

Zambian government wants

the national agenda.

simply be a small downside

copper to work for everyone

that comes with operating

and are doing their best to

resource nationalism, after the

in one of Africa’s most

80

Having said that, the development over several


MINING | MIDNIGHT SUN MINING

decades of a sophisticated

A Zambian team

Stay close to Midnight Sun

mining sector in Zambia

“Our technical people are

for updates in the second

has provided a wealth of

highly educated, motivated

half of what could prove to

in-country expertise that

and feel very strongly that

be a transformative year for

Midnight Sun has tapped into

we’re sitting on a very large

the mid-stage copper-cobalt

while building its team on the

discovery. It’s also significant

explorer in Zambia.

ground.

that a big company like Rio has committed large amounts of money to make that discovery before earning any interest.”

81


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TEMPEST

The time is now for copper and gold discover

84


MINING | TEMPEST MINERALS

MINERALS

ries in the Yalgoo region of Western Australia

85


ASX-listed Tempest Minerals has been established in the Yalgoo region of Western Australia (WA) for several years, formerly operating as a pure play lithium explorer under the name Lithium Consolidated (Li3). However, due to the saturation of the lithium market in 2019, the company’s board decided that a more risk weighted approach was in order. The subsequent acquisition of Warrigal Mining – an outfit founded by Australian mining engineer Owen Burchell and experienced geologist Don Smith – provided access to a suite of precious and base metals exploration projects in the highly prospective Yalgoo greenstone belt, located approximately 400 km Northeast of Perth. Now with exploration interests in gold, copper and lithium, the combined company’s new leadership felt a name change was required to promote its more diversified approach. They came up with Tempest – loosely translated from Latin as ‘the time is now’ - a good slogan for what the firm is trying to achieve, according to managing director Don Smith.

86


MINING | TEMPEST MINERALS

Data-driven Diving deeper into the culture that has been propagating within Tempest since the end of 2019, Smith describes a data-driven approach that he and the company believe is fundamental for making discoveries in the modern exploration space. “A lot of companies are talking about the ‘digital revolution’ in mining, but we’re trying to live it,” he says. “We have a paperless office, all our work done in the field is done through apps, some of which we’ve developed in-house. “All this data goes straight to our own cloud, which we can then review in our various software packages in real time if necessary. I think in that regard we are many steps ahead of our competitors.” Smith has previously described Yalgoo as ‘unloved’ and ‘underexplored’ in comparison to some of WA’s more established mining hotspots,

87


88


MINING | TEMPEST MINERALS

but during the last 12 months he has noticed a considerable ramp up in prospective activity within close proximity to Tempest’s projects. “There’s been a number of explorers entering the arena in Yalgoo in the last year – coincidentally since COVID-19 made an appearance – and there’s been some very highprofile successes too.” These include Firefly Resources making sustained drilling progress in Yalgoo Town, Venture Minerals

“A lot of companies are talking about the ‘digital revolution’ in mining, but we’re trying to live it. We have a paperless office, all our work done in the field is done through apps, some of which we’ve developed inhouse” Don Smith, Tempest Minerals managing director

89


T E M P EST MIN E RALS

AT A G L A N C E

announcing the re-

retained its lithium assets

discovery of volcanogenic

further South.

massive sulphides (VMS) Grove North Project and Emu

Drilling the Messenger

NL recording consistent gold

One of Tempest’s most

hits at the historic Gnows Nest

promising copper-gold

Gold Mine.

properties is the Messenger

mineralisation at the Golden

Project, which is located in STOCK TICKER: ASX:TEM MARKET CAPITALISATION: US$6.5 million (as of March 18, 2021) aj

“Everyone has rushed into the

an area that is known for the

area, had great initial success

discovery of high-grade gold

and we’re enjoying having

mineralisation in the early

neighbours,” Smith quips.

20th century, when operators

Much of the growing body of

produced between two and 10

exploration work in the region

ounces per tonne through a

focuses on gold and copper

state processing facility.

mineralisation, which is also

90

true of Tempest’s portfolio,

“Since that time, it’s been

although the company has

a very popular place in the


MINING | TEMPEST MINERALS

region for individuals to go

of this existing data with its

The next phase of

and hunt for nuggets and

own mapping work in the field

development at the Messenger

do artisanal mining, but

– a process Smith calls ‘proof-

Project commenced at the start

nobody has really explored

truthing’.

of March 2021 with a 2,500

it commercially. There was

metres RC drilling campaign at

some initial drilling done

After collecting all the existing

the existing Dally lode-hosted

in the 1990s when one of

data and using it to remodel

gold target and the Wally VMS

those holes intercepted some

some existing geophysics for

target. Tempest hopes that

very high grades, but the

the whole region, Tempest

the wide-spaced drilling will

area definitely wasn’t tested

has been able to identify

confirm a large mineralised

comprehensively.”

two clear anomalies at the

system at the project that

Messenger project, with one

could support a standalone

Closely following its data-

of those anomalies matching

mine.

driven approach, Tempest has

the historic mining location

spent time collating a huge

but with a significantly longer

amount of historic data in the

strike than previously had

Multi-project approach

Messenger Project region and

been realised.

While Tempest advances the

cross-referencing the veracity

ALTUS S

Messenger drilling campaign

91


over the coming months, this

tend to focus on one project at

drilled at previous projects. So

will not come at the expense of

a time,” Smith says.

we rotate around our projects

progression at the firm’s other

and improve them one by one

projects in the Yalgoo. “We’re

“We aim to conduct drilling

and reprioritise our targets

a little bit different to some

at one project and while that’s

based on the results.”

exploration companies that

happening, we’re reviewing and remodelling the data we’ve

92


MINING | TEMPEST MINERALS

SPOTLIGHT ON

Don Smith

Don Smith is a geologist and entrepreneur with over 20 years in the mining industry. He has worked roles for junior through to multinational firms on projects spanning six continents and numerous commodities.

In the spirit of this multiproject approach, Tempest is currently prioritising drill targets for Q3 at the 332 km² Meleya Project, which

Don has been involved with a number of private and publicly listed resource companies including as a founding director of Platypus Resources and as a director of Alderan Resources and its highly successful IPO. Don has a Bachelor of Science from Newcastle University and an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business. He is a member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and a member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists.

could yield copper and gold from a vast tract of VMS

93


RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews Tempest Minerals managing director Don Smith, March 10, 2021

“We aim to conduct drilling at one project and while that’s happening, we’re reviewing and remodelling the data we’ve drilled at previous projects. So we rotate around our projects and improve them one by one and reprioritise our targets based on the results”

94

mineralisation in the same

nearby processing facilities

host rocks that hold the world

providing a pathway to

class Golden Grove copper-

production.

zinc mine. And finally in the Yalgoo Tempest is also currently

region, Tempest will look

planning a resource

to build on the great recent

study at the Euro Project

success at the Warriedar West

ahead of a confirmation

Project, which has yielded

drilling programme. This

three gold discoveries in

smaller, predominately

recent times.

gold-mineralised project is strategically located between

“At Warriedar West, we’ve

three operating mines, with

proven a geological theory we’ve had for some time. Not many people in WA are


MINING | TEMPEST MINERALS

“We’re very confident in our

gold systems, and we now have

Breaking new ground

shown unequivocally that it is

Looking back over the last two

and we happen to be in a

precisely that.

to three years, Smith puts on

world class jurisdiction where

record his - and the company’s

we’re not subjected to some

“It’s an intrusion that’s come

- new-found confidence in

of the more unfortunate

up and flowed very close to

the Tempest story having

circumstances that other

the surface and had some

diversified its commodity

jurisdictions are suffering

interesting alteration happen

focus in the increasingly

with at the moment. That has

to it which means that it’s

mineralogically attractive

definitely helped us and we

packed with gold. There’s a

Yalgoo region of WA, where it

look forward to continue doing

number of places where these

has been operating for several

more good work in the Yalgoo,”

high-grade pods exist and we

years.

he concludes.

looking for intrusive related

ability to make discoveries

tapped into one of those in our recent drilling there,” Smith recalls.

95


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MAP GO M

A JV with C

98


MINING | MAPLE GOLD MINES

LE OLD INES

Canada’s largest gold producer bodes well for this explorer in the Abitibi

99


When Osisko Mining started exploration drilling at the site of some past-producing underground gold mines near the Canadian town of Malartic back in 2008, there was very little expectation from the industry that they could succeed in applying an open pit, bulk mining concept to the lower grade material left near surface. But fast forward to 2021 and Canadian Malartic is now the largest gold-producing mine in Canada after Osisko outlined a near-surface, lower grade bulk tonnage deposit; built the project (which involved moving parts of the town of Malartic); and sold it for C$3.9 billion to a joint venture (JV) comprised of Agnico Eagle Mines and Yamana Gold in 2014. This lower grade but exceptionally large tonnage operation has generated huge profits for both parties over the last seven years and fuelled a search for similar scenarios across the Abitibi greenstone belt, which has yielded over 200 million ounces (Moz) of gold and counting. In the case of Agnico Eagle, their search brought them to Maple Gold Mines – a TSXV-listed gold explorer which controlled the Douay project - a 2.77 Moz gold resource in the same broad geological region of Québec as the Canadian Malartic mine. After two years of due diligence and in-depth analysis of an immense library of existing drill cores at Douay, Agnico signed a 50/50 JV with Maple Gold in February 2021. Agnico will fund C$18.25 million in exploration expenditures over the next four years for the JV to jointly explore a 400 km² property package that includes both Maple’s Douay project as well as its own past-producing Joutel project, located directly South of Douay, with the aim of establishing a new gold camp in the Abitibi.

100

Attracting Agnico

ago following a +12-year

management personnel to

“Agnico got involved in our

career at Ivanhoe Mines,

comprise a ‘formidable team’

project because of the existing

where he worked closely with

by Hornor’s estimations.

resource there. But that’s where

legendary mine builder Robert

the story begins, not where

Friedland. Since then, he has

One of the first things Hornor

it ends,” states Maple Gold’s

added technical, strategic

and his team did was to

president and CEO Matthew

and financial expertise from

elevate the quality of previous

Hornor.

major companies such as

technical work to major

First Quantum, Inmet Mining,

mining company standards.

Hornor joined the Maple

Wheaton Precious Metals and

This included the transition

Gold team almost four years

Ivanplats across Maple’s key

from outsourcing technical


MINING | MAPLE GOLD MINES

work to the establishment of an in-house technical team, the build of a new 45-person camp and the delivery of a more conservative updated resource estimate at Douay. It was through this approach that Agnico was drawn to the table, along with the tremendous resource expansion potential that exists at the Douay property package.

101


“The upside potential is massive. We’ve only scraped the surface with the current resource and if you look at the profile of our current resources versus the depth of known mineralisation at other significant producing mines in Québec, we still have more than a kilometre of room beneath our current resource to search for the plumbing of the mineralised system. “The depth potential at Douay is just one part of the

MA P LE G O LD MIN ES AT A G L A N C E

STOCK TICKER: TSXV:MGM MARKET CAPITALISATION: US$106.4 million (as of May 27, 2021) aj

10 2


MINING | MAPLE GOLD MINES

growth profile, we have been

incredible partner supporting

They are the number one

leveraging a new 3D model to

us on this endeavour.”

company on Earth for gold

target lateral extensions and

mining in this jurisdiction.”

link existing zones where there

Growing Douay

is geological support to do so.

Maple’s president and CEO

The project currently has an

makes it explicitly clear

inferred resource of 71.2 Mt at

“We believe there is potential

that the JV’s goal at Douay

1.03 g/t gold for 2.35 million

to define a district-scale gold

is to grow the resource

ounces, with a cut-off grade

resource at Douay and the

into an eventual open pit

of 0.45 g/t for in-pit resources

opportunity to discover new

operation with a subsequent

and 1.0 g/t for underground

high-grade gold deposits

underground expansion

resources.

across our large land package

component, much like the

isn’t lost on us either, so we are

Canadian Malartic. “Agnico

Following the Maple-Agnico

actively building a queue of

understands that type of

JV announcement earlier this

priority discovery drill targets

geology, which has been wildly

year, a resource expansion

and are excited to have an

profitable for them in Québec.

programme commenced in and around the Douay mineral resource area, with a +10,000 metres drill campaign completed in April. The winter campaign sought to add extra resources through step-out drilling around resource zones as well as through discovery drilling outside of the resource area. The campaign also included select infill drilling aimed at upgrading a portion of resources into a higher resource category. Following completion of the programme

103


agree that potential remains

interpretation of assay results,

Rediscovering Joutel

Maple Gold expects to publish

The Joutel project is a 39 km²

beyond the old Telbel mine

an updated resource estimate

property located immediately

workings, but also for

sometime in the second half of

South of the Douay project.

near-surface, higher grade

2021.

The project hosted Agnico’s

mineralisation to be found

high-grade, past-producing

above and around the old

“The JV intends to grow the

Telbel Mining Camp, which

Telbel mine.

resource a bit further from

produced gold between 1974

here before we initiate more

and 1993 – when the gold price

The Joutel property has seen

comprehensive economic

ranged between US$150-$360

very little exploration since

assessment work, but I think

per ounce.

the early 1990s when the

along with receipt and

on a go-forward basis it’s quite

not only for depth extensions

mine was still in production

exciting. And we haven’t even

With gold prices now trading

and historical drill data for

talked much about Joutel yet.”

at roughly US$1,890 per ounce,

thousands of holes was stored

Maple Gold and Agnico both

on paper records which had not been digitised…until now.

1 04


MINING | MAPLE GOLD MINES

105


1 06


MINING | MAPLE GOLD MINES

“As everyone knows, the best

through countless boxes

price. “Undiluted gold grades

place to build a new mine

of analog drill core data to

at the mine when it was in

is in the shadow of an old

complete the digitisation

production were often North

headframe. In short, we think

effort. Hornor stresses the

of 10 g/t, with a diluted

mineralisation remains open

importance of this exercise in

average grade of 6.5 g/t. It was

for us to pursue with improved

terms of getting a consensus

profitable for almost 20 years

knowledge and modern

on what has been defined so

at prices below $360 gold.

exploration approaches. We

that the companies can look

are digitising all that analog

to focus in on target areas that

“So, we love the idea that we

data and will be coming out

might lead to new resource

have not only massive resource

with a Leapfrog 3D model,

definition in the future.

growth potential with Douay,

which is going to show the

but also this past-producing

market why we’re so excited

One of the biggest strengths

project at Joutel which we

about that project.”

of the Joutel project is the fact

think has a lot of untapped

that it was a past producer

higher grade potential.”

Several months have passed

during a time when gold

since the JV began working

was sold at a sixth of today’s

1 07


10 8


MINING | MAPLE GOLD MINES

The next gold story in Canada

Hornor reveals that over the

shareholder value. This is

coming months investors will

the way we behave and the

The ultimate goal at Maple is

start to see significant news

type of ship I like to run here.

to establish a new Abitibi gold

flow coming out from both

Ultimately, our aim is to drive

mining camp underpinned

projects. This will include

the next big gold story in

by the large, lower grade

results from the 10,000 metres

Canada and we’re aptly named

bulk tonnage near-surface

winter 2021 drill programme

as such.”

deposit at Douay along with its

and an updated resource

associated higher grade deeper estimate at Douay, results from feeder zones; the high-grade

digitisation work at Joutel and

gold resource that may exist

details of an upcoming drill

at Telbel; and potential new

campaign.

discoveries of different types of gold-rich mineralisation

“Every day we wake up

across the entire combined

thinking of how we can drive

Douay and Joutel properties.

109


110


MINING | STEPPE GOLD

STEPPE GOLD Cash flow + development + exploration = Mongolia’s premier precious metals company

111


During a Mines and Money Online Connect event earlier this year, Steppe Gold’s director and executive vice president Aneel Waraich revealed how the precious metals explorer and producer considers itself a Mongolian company that is listed on the TSX. Building an in-country company has always been Steppe’s mission from the outset, but the fruits of this endeavour have become crystal clear in the last 12 months, after the company successfully commissioned and brought into production the Phase 1 of its ATO (Altan Tsagaan Ovoo) Gold Mine in Eastern Mongolia during the height of a global pandemic. “I think it’s important in any jurisdiction you do business - not just Mongolia – to be as local as possible,” Waraich tells RGN’s editor. “You need to show both locals and provincially/federally that there’s a benefit to that country or economy. That’s very important because you get the buy in. The more local you are, the more direct and indirect jobs you create, the more tax revenues you generate and crucially, you educate people; converting unskilled labour into a skilled permanent labour force, which we’ve done at Steppe.”

11 2

Country-wide support Of Steppe’s entire workforce, 99% are Mongolian nationals, with 65% coming from Dornod province where the ATO mine is located. This preponderance towards local employment at the project has succeeded in attaining buy-in from the village level all the way to government, according to Waraich.


MINING | STEPPE GOLD

In fact, the level of political

we’re getting in-country, and

the company expands the ATO

support for the project was

second we’re able to operate

resource in the years to come.

encapsulated last year when

having a local staff without

In addition, during the last few

the Mongolian government

depending on expats. That’s

years the company has set up

actually provided capital

allowed us to bring production

scholarship programmes for

to Steppe in order to get

online during the toughest

185 students from the region,

ATO into production via its

times in recent memory,

helping them on the path to

sovereign wealth fund – an

become a producer, generate

higher education.

unprecedented move and

our own cash flow and

one that had never been done

strengthen our balance sheet.”

before in Mongolia’s mining sector.

Steppe has also sponsored promising athletes in-country

And the employment

and set up a meat and dairy

opportunities provided by

procurement scheme to supply

“We’ve seen the benefit two-

Steppe in the province are set

the mine camp with local

fold: first from the support

to increase exponentially as

produce while supporting

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ST E P P E GOLD

AT A G L A N C E

local farmers, as part of its

to considerable efforts to

role as an integral player in the

ensure the highest possible

province.

environmental standards at the ATO Phase 1 heap leach

“We’ve donated masks and

operation – a mining method

educated people in this region

which often holds negative

during the crisis. We’re doing

connotations due to the use of

what we can and that will grow

hazardous chemicals to extract

as we have more cash flow

the gold.

in availability to better lives STOCK TICKER: TSX:STGO MARKET CAPITALISATION: US$113.9 million (as of May 04, 2021) aj

1 14

permanently for those in the

Despite the project already

country,” Waraich pledges.

possessing high quality environmental permits and

On the environmental side of

licencing left by former owner

the now ubiquitously adhered

Centerra Gold, Steppe added to

to corporate principles

that work and completed new

of ‘ESG’, Steppe has gone

environmental approvals to


MINING | STEPPE GOLD

the latest global standards. As

all the way to keeping

pandemic, when Mongolia’s

a result, when a government

everyone safe on site.”

borders were closed last April. “Not many outfits can build

of the mine, Steppe received

Bringing ATO online

a score of 93% - the highest

Looking back a year,

successfully, globally. It

such score recorded across the

Waraich reflects on the

doesn’t matter where you

Mongolian mining sector.

major achievement that was

are, pandemic or not, very

Steppe reaching commercial

rarely do mines get built on

“We’re doing things to Western

production at the 50-60,000

a percentage basis of all the

standards. Sometimes you can

gold equivalent (Au eq) ounces

junior miners out there,”

cut corners in these emerging

per annum Phase 1 ATO mine,

Waraich points out.

markets, but we don’t do

which was constructed in just

that. We always want quality

14 months with a capex of

“Being able to build our first

and safety; our people come

US$20 million. All the more

mine in 14 months and bring

first. That goes with how you

impressive, it opened during

it online at the toughest time

prevent spillages of chemicals,

the height of the COVID-19

possible was a big win for us

agency recently completed an environmental inspection

mines and bring them online

115


and our methods. I feel we’ve

Mongolia. “We’re a tax and

Now, a year after reaching

always had an uphill battle at

royalty payer as well as an

commercial production at

this company given we’re in

employer, and importantly

ATO, Steppe plans to mark

an emerging market. We had

we’re a producer of gold and

the achievement with an

to manage perceptions of risk,

silver that is sold into the

imminent secondary listing

but we’ve built a mine and

domestic bank and other

on the Mongolian Stock

brought it online successfully,

approved banks, so we’re

Exchange, which will allow the

where is that risk people were

actually helping the country

domestic community to trade

worried about?”

increase its gold reserves

shares and own a piece of the

and the currency as and

asset that is located in their

Steppe’s executive VP is proud

when needed [i.e. through

own backyard.

to report that the company is

converting gold to currency

looked at as one of the prime

with FX].”

examples of how to invest, employ and build a mine in

1 16


MINING | STEPPE GOLD

Resource expansion

The 40,000+ metres

eq – a remarkable result given

programme focused on infill

the minimal focus outside the

While Steppe was capital

and extensional drilling at the

currently defined resource

constrained during the two

four deposits which comprise

base.

years prior to the opening of

the ATO project, and the

the mine, the company was

outcome of the exploration

The February 2021 drilling

still able to run an exploration

task was a doubling of the

update included a maiden

drilling programme with the

resource from 1.2 million

resource on the Mungu (the

aim of growing ATO resource.

ounces (Moz) to 2.45 Moz Au

word for silver in Mongolian)

ALTUS S

1 17


“We’ve donated masks and educated people in this region during the crisis. We’re doing what we can and that will grow as we have more cash flow in availability to better lives permanently for those in the country” – Aneel Waraich, Steppe Gold executive vice president and director

discovery, which has measured

“These four deposits are still

and indicated resources of

open at depth and have only

7.57 Mt at 1.74 g/t for 424,000

been drilled down to about 400

ounces Au eq.

metres,” says Waraich. “What the recent resource update

In total, the ATO resource

does is set the stage for a much

includes 41.6 Mt of measured

bigger company with a bigger

and indicated resources with

resource base in the coming

an average grade of 1.67 g/t

years. Actually we think we

Au eq, figures that support the

can increase that again by

Phase two expansion plan for

multiples in the years ahead

which a bankable feasibility

through further exploration.”

study (BFS) is currently in the works.

11 8


MINING | STEPPE GOLD

119


Set to be released by mid-

production on the current

the cashflow from the first

2021, the BFS will assess the

mine plan.

year of production from the

economics of an extended

Phase 1 mine. Execution of

150,000 ounces per annum

All going well, construction

this plan would validate the

Au eq operation with a focus

of the Phase 2 operation

first two stages of Steppe’s CDE

on fresh rock ores, over

should commence in the

(Cashflow + Development +

an additional 10+ years of

second half of the year using

Exploration) value building model, while its ownership of

120


MINING MINING | STEPPE | STEPPE GOLD GOLD

but having never received

licences in the Bayankhongor

Exploring in the West

gold belt will provide the

Steppe owns 14,400 hectares of

prospect that Steppe picked up

opportunity to develop an

prospective ground at the UK

along with ATO back in 2017.

entirely new project.

(Uudam Khundii) project in

one of the largest exploration

drilling itself, UK is an exciting

Western Mongolia. Located in and amongst gold discoveries

121


RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews Steppe Gold executive vice president and director Aneel Waraich, April 27, 2021

“Being able to build our first mine in 14 months and bring it online at the toughest time possible was a big win for us and our methods”

“Erdene Resource [Development Group]

at some of the

has had some great

prospects and

success over the last

now they are

few years, delineating

drill ready.”

over 1 Moz between their two licences that

The next step is

adjoin ours. We’ve done

for the company

trenching and magnetic

ANEEL WARAICH, STEPPE GOLD EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

1 22

IP soil sampling

to


MINING | STEPPE GOLD

get down to drilling at the

Mungu. We have identified

“Obviously with copper

Milky Way prospect in May,

some targets with the resource

hitting new heights and just

which is one of four new gold

and 3D modelling and aim to

getting started, that is quite

discoveries that should yield

get back to drilling by June/

interesting. We will definitely

some very exciting exploration

July, alongside drilling at UK.”

look beyond the precious

results at UK in the near future, according to Wariach.

metals in terms of extracting And with some of the sampling

value. It can be a very

results from UK showing

significant part of our revenue

On the back of any exploration

additional base metals

stream when you bring these

success Steppe would move

mineralisation with the likes

assets online, both for ATO

to mobilise a second drill rig

of copper, lead and zinc, there

and Mungu and down at UK,”

at UK later this year, with a

is an opportunity for Steppe

Waraich concludes.

maximum of 20,000 metres

to diversify its commodity and

planned for the project, fully

revenue bases via this project.

self-funded. “The same goes for exploration at ATO and

123


TIETTO M

Entering the final sta West Africa’s n

124


MINING | TIETTO MINERALS

MINERALS

ages in the development of next major gold mine

125


At the start of April 2021, gold exploration and development firm Tietto Minerals published a highly anticipated pre-feasibility study (PFS) for its flagship Abujar Gold Project in Côte d’Ivoire, to the delight of its legion investors who have been following Tietto’s progress since its listing on the ASX in January 2018. “I think the general market is always quite cautious when your PFS results come out, but our shareholders were extremely happy with the outcomes of the PFS, particularly with the robust economics,” Tietto’s managing director Caigen Wang tells RGN. The study revealed a 3.5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) open pit operation, producing 200,000 ounces of gold in the first year and an average 168,000 ounces over the first six years of the project, based on a maiden probable reserve of 15.7 Mt at 1.7 g/t gold for 860,000 ounces within the life of mine inventory of 1.1Moz in the base case scenario. The economics, which were perceived so favourably by Tietto’s investors, included a post-tax NPV (5%) of US$266 million and an IRR of 42%, based on an average gold price of $1,506 per ounce – significantly lower than the current spot of around $1,900 per ounce. The PFS resembled one of the most significant pieces of news flow released by the company since it first applied for an exploration licence at Abujar back in 2014. The milestone study also begins a ~two-year countdown to first commercial production at what will be West Africa’s next major gold mine.

MANAGING DIRECTOR CAIGEN WANG (RIGHT) AND ABUJAR ON-SITE MANAGEMEN

A key outcome of the PFS

Abujar will be mined via open

was its ability to demonstrate

pit – with 100% of the total

a simple, low-cost mining

ore reserve amenable to open

operation at all-in sustaining

pit mining in the base case

costs (AISC) of $839 per ounce.

scenario.

Crucially, for the first six years of the current 10-year mine life,

126


MINING | TIETTO MINERALS

NT TEAM

The open pit scenario is one

a simple carbon in-leaching

it’s easy to crush and grind

contributing factor to the low

(CIL) method at a course

the ore and average energy

AISC at Abujar; another is

grind particle size of 180µm to

requirements of fresh ore are

the high gold recovery levels

106µm.

lower than the vast majority

on the ore processing side.

of gold projects operating in

Laboratory results have shown

“Our gold is very easy to

recovery rates of 96-98% via

recover. The test results show

West Africa. That shows that

127


the processing side is not only simple, it’s also cheap,” Wang asserts.

World-class gold jurisdiction The low-cost nature of the project ultimately stems from its location in the Ivorian segment of the Birimian greenstone belt snaking across West Africa, where gold operations regularly fall into the lowest global AISC quartile.

T IE T TO MIN E RALS

AT A G L A N C E

STOCK TICKER: ASX:TIE MARKET CAPITALISATION: US$157 million (as of May 26, 2021) aj

1 28


MINING | TIETTO MINERALS

Côte d’Ivoire encompasses the largest section of the Birimian (covering 34% of the total mineralised belt) and produced 32.6 tonnes of gold from five mines in 2019, with the latest addition being Perseus Mining’s 3.8 million ounce (Moz) Yaouré Gold Mine in central Côte d’Ivoire, which was commissioned at the end of 2020 and is similarly sized to the Abujar project.

“Our expectation is that all resources currently in the inferred category, including the expanded case, will be drilled and upgraded to indicated category. Following the DFS, we’re expecting to have a reserve of around 1.4 Moz just like what was indicated in the expanded case, if not more” Caigen Wang, Tietto Minerals managing director and founder

129


Aside from the strong

friendly hydroelectricity,

based generators to provide

geological potential

which is not only cheap but a

energy.”

available to Tietto and fellow

stable source of power for the

exploration miners, the

nation’s industrial operations.

country offers favourable fiscal

13 0

Wang is also quick to point out that Côte d’Ivoire is a nation

terms and strong government

“Every existing modern

of bitumen roads, including in

support, alongside a network

mining operation in-country

the Abujar region. The project

of infrastructure that is

operates on grid power. In

is well served by bitumen

unrivalled in the region.

our location in central-West

roads which run through the

Côte d’Ivoire, electricity costs

middle of Tietto’s 1,114 km2

In terms of energy, a

for domestic use are 12 cents

exploration licence and along

significant chunk of Côte

US per unit. That’s actually

of the edge of its 120.36 km2

d’Ivoire’s grid power is

very cheap compared with

mining licence. The only

supplied by environmentally-

other mines operating in West

infrastructural development

Africa, where they often use

required is the upgrade of an

expensive and polluting diesel-

18 km site access road, which


MINING | TIETTO MINERALS

ECG Engineering – Proudly partnering Tietto Minerals

From our offices in Perth, Brisbane, Manila and Toronto, ECG services the electrical needs of Mining, Utilities and Material Handling clients across the globe. Our electrical engineering expertise covers feasibility and system audits, design, studies, project management, procurement, construction management and site support. We are proud to partner with Tietto Minerals as it develops the exciting Abujar Gold Project in Cote d’Ivoire.

ECG Engineering Pty Ltd A 2-10 Adams Drive, Welshpool, WA, 6106 T +61 (0) 8 6164 3400 E info@ecg-engineering.com.au Electrical & Controls Global W www.ecg-engineering.com.au

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13/5/21 8:35 am

has already commenced and a

“The work in our PFS on the

optimisation of the production

90kV connector to Daloa.

processing plant side has been

profile at Abujar. The mill

done very much to definitive

is slightly larger than the

feasibility study (DFS) level

capacity used in the PFS,

and Mintrex has actually

which means Tietto won’t have

The PFS estimates that a

been working towards the

to do as much pre-production

$230 million capex will be

DFS from the beginning, so

mining.

required to build the mine

the contingency numbers are

– a conservative figure that

going to be reduced when we

“Now we will be able to

includes $35 million in pre-

reach the definitive stage very

maintain a bigger gold

production mining and

soon.”

production profile,” Wang says.

Lowering the capex

contingency which may not be

“The SAG mill is going to save

necessarily used in the Abujar

In addition, the recent

$3.5 million in capex alone

mine construction, according

procurement of a 4 Mtpa

compared to the PFS estimate.

to Tietto’s managing director.

SAG mill will further reduce

These [aforementioned] things

the capex bill through

1 31


are likely to deliver a sizeable reduction in the total capex requirement as well.”

Delivering the DFS The Abujar DFS is scheduled for Q3 of 2021 and will contain upgraded figures on the current 3.02 Moz resource which came out in October last year, based on more than 53,000 metres of mostly infill (and some extensional) drilling across the existing resource on the middle tenement at the project. The infill drilling has focused on adding confidence in the inferred resources that were identified in a scoping study for an expanded project at Abujar. The expansion plan has the potential to deliver increases in NPV, IRR and mine life, with gold production growing to 1.4 Moz of gold recovered over 12 years of operation in the expanded scenario.

132


MINING | TIETTO MINERALS

“Our expectation is that all resources currently in the inferred category, including the expanded case, will be drilled and upgraded to the indicated category, which means we have an opportunity to add this part of the resource to the reserve. Following the DFS, we’re expecting to have a reserve of around 1.4 Moz if not more,” says a confident Wang. After publication of the DFS, Tietto plans to complete a debt facility, mobilise contractors and begin major construction works in the final quarter of the year. While this timeline puts the company soaring towards first gold and commercial production in Q4 2022, the story doesn’t end there at Abujar. As Tietto always reminds its investors, the current Abujar resource comes from a very small portion of the overall 70 km mineralised strike length, with less than 10% of the project tenements explored

1 33


and multiple mineralised

“This puts us in a very

at Abujar: Building and

structures existing in parallel

strong position to continue

operating the gold mine, as

to the strike of the current

expanding our resource base

well as continuous drilling

resources.

while we focus on the mine

to expand the resource base.

development at the same time.

The transition from being

“Most of these targets are yet

With new resources to be

100% exploration-focused to

to be drill tested. That gives us

defined, there is clear upside

a gold producing company is

big potential to increase our

beyond the initial mine life of

evidenced by recent additions

resource base and with our

around 10 years.”

to the executive team, such as

own drilling capacity of six are able to drill around 11,000

Personnel for the transition

metres of diamond holes per

As alluded to by Wang,

Tietto’s new COO brings

month.

Tietto is now preparing

huge experience in building

itself to work on two fronts

modern gold mines, with

sets of diamond drill rigs; we

1 34

COO Matt Wilcox in February 2021.


MINING | TIETTO MINERALS

the latest being the 2.6 Mtpa

mine construction manager,

Yao Nkanza and our geological

Sanbrado mine for West

commercial manager and

team, led by Yaya Ouattara

African Resources in Burkina

health and safety manager.

and Rock Seouvo. They

Faso, which was delivered

are so capable and reliable

under-budget and under-

“I believe that people are

people working at extreme

schedule. Gradually, more

the most critical asset of any

efficiencies. We are really

members of Wilcox’s team will

company. On that note, I would

proud of them and thank them

be joining Tietto, including

like to flag our appreciation

very much,” Wang concludes.

his earthmover manager,

of the in-country team, led by our country manager Fred

1 35


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