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Expansion of oxide and sulphide resources the key to Carmacks progress
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Table of Contents 2017 Alaska exploration and 6 mining highlights
2017 Yukon exploration and 12 mining highlights
20 2017 Northwest Territories
46 Expansion of oxide and sulphide resources the key to Carmacks progress
52 Aura Silver reports exploration to continue on the Greyhound project
exploration and mining highlights
following 2017 drill results
24 New mines expected to see new wealth in Nunavut’s future
based development: Project C.U.R.E.
30 New and existing diamond mines
unlocking resource potential in the Northwest Territories
32 Availability, quality and traceability
in battery materials are key for Canadian mining companies
36 Paraminerals Consulting Ltd. stays
focused with 3D geology visualizations
38 Applied diamond services for
improved diamond recovery
40 New report examines the HR
challenges and changes unique to Canada’s exploration sector
42 Loss of critical infrastructure to fire a
much bigger problem in the North
44 Telemedicine: The new frontier in remote medical support systems
54 The effectiveness of community and Newmont partnership
56 Silver lining: Metallic Minerals Corp. and the blueprint for finding highgrade silver in the Yukon territory’s famous Keno Hill Silver District
58 Strikepoint Gold acquires Pluto property in central Yukon
62 New Centre for Mine and Industry Training nears completion at Aurora College’s Thebacha Campus
64 Reducing fuel costs in exploration and mining
66 Alaska and China sign historic joint-development agreement: Developing America’s largest energy export project
is published by DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3L 0G5 www.delcommunications.com President & CEO David Langstaff Publisher Jason Stefanik Managing Editor Bailey Hildebrand-russelL email@example.com Advertising Manager Dayna Oulion Toll Free: 1.866.424.6398
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Index to Advertisers Afd Petroleum Ltd.................................................................................49 Alkan Air........................................................................................................51 Arkbro Industries.....................................................................................10 Association for Mineral Exploration BC.........................................9 Aurora College..........................................................................................63 Aurora Geosciences...............................................................................23 BAG Supplies Canada Ltd...................................................................34 Bureau Veritas Commodities Canada Ltd.................................61 C.F. Mineral Research Ltd....................................................................44 CandDig Mini Excavators....................................................................57 Capital Helicopters (1995) Inc..........................................................28 CasCom Remote Communications & IT Solutions.............62 Copper North Mining Corp...............................................................47 Desgagne Transarctik Inc....................................................................19 Driving Force..............................................................................................20 Duncan's Mechanical Contractors................................................60 Fednav...............................................................................................................7 Finning...........................................................................................................29 Fire Prevention Services Ltd..............................................................43 Fireweed Helicopters............................................................................61 Foremost..............................................................................................3 & 27 Gkm Consultants Inc.............................................................................13
Government of the N.W.T...................................................................15 Gsh/ A Discovery Air Company.....................................................42 Igloo Building Supplies Group Ltd................................................44 J.S. Redpath Limited...............................................................................33 Kbl....................................................................................................................66 Khione Resources Limited.................................................................41 Lynden Incorporated...............................................................................5 Matrix Camps, Logistics and Aviation Management.........17 NAPEG............................................................................................................22 Neas Group..............................................................................................IBC Northwest Territories Power Corporation................................35 Nu-Line Powerline Contractors Ltd..............................................61 Nuna Group of Companies...............................................................39 Paraminerals Consulting Ltd.............................................................37 Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada..............25 Ron's Equipment Rentals & Industrial Supply........................50 Saskatchewan Research Council................................................. IFC Sirius Wilderness Medicine................................................................45 Skky Hotel.....................................................................................................36 Solvest Inc............................................................................................... OBC Terrax Minerals Inc..................................................................................11 Tundra Airborne Surveys Ltd............................................................53
Cover Image – Drilling at Goldstrike Resources Ltd.’s Plateau property (photo supplied by Government of Yukon). Find Yukon exploration and mining highlights on page 12. © Copyright 2018, DEL Communications Inc. All rights reserved.The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in and the reliability of the source, the publisherin no way guarantees nor warrants the information and is not responsible for errors, omissions or statements made by advertisers. Opinions and recommendations made by contributors or advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher, its directors, officers or employees. Publications mail agreement #40934510 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3L 0G5 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mining North of 60 | 2018 PRINTED IN CANADA | 01/2018
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2017 ALASKA EXPLORATION AND MINING HIGHLIGHTS Submitted by the State of Alaska department of commerce, community and economic development Alaska is considered one of the top regions in the world for mineral potential, holding significant coal, zinc, copper, lead, gold and silver reserves, as well as rare earth elements. In 2016, according to the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies1, Alaska ranked 14 out of 104 regions worldwide for investment attractiveness — a measure of both mineral potential and the effect of state and federal policies on investment. More than 190 million acres of federal, state and Nativeowned lands are open for mineral-related activities and mining in Alaska. Mining has long played a prominent role in Alaska’s strong natural resource economy, providing employment and revenue to state and local governments, and facilitating infrastructure and community development. Alaska has five large hardrock mines, one large coal mine, and approximately 236 small placer mines. Alaska’s major mineral deposits currently in production include the Red Dog Mine in the northwest Arctic; Greens Creek and Kensington mines in southeast; and Pogo Mine and Fort Knox Mine, both in the interior. Usibelli Coal Mine is the state’s only active coal mine, providing coal for interior Alaska.
Trends2 • The total reported value3 of Alaska’s mineral industry likely increased in 2016 to $2.83 billion. Mining revenue realized by operators likely increased to $2.5 billion in 2016, since metal production and the theoretical first market value of commodities produced climbed more than nine percent in 2016 (Figure 1). • Exploration and production trends reversed the declines reported in 2015; both exploration expenditures and production values increased in 2016. • As in 2015, zinc was the top metal produced in 2016, accounting for almost 44 per cent of Alaska’s total metal production by value. Gold followed at 39 per cent, along with silver at 8.6 per cent and lead at 8.5 per cent. • Development expenditures in Alaska fell 30 per cent in 2016, to $217.4 million. Development expenditures
Mining North of 60 | 2018
Figure 1: Reported annual exploration and development expenditures of the mineral industry and the theoretical first market value of mineral production in Alaska (in millions of dollars), 1981-2016 (Data source: Alaska’s Mineral Industry 2016 Special Report 72).
at Alaska’s major mines accounted for more than 90 per cent of total development expenditures (Figure 1). • Mineral exploration expenditures rose slightly in 2016 to $58.9 million, up less than one per cent from the 2015 level of $58.3 million (Figure 1). • Mineral industry employment in 2016 was estimated at 3,232 full-time equivalent jobs, an increase of 331 jobs (11 per cent) from 2015.
Value and exploration rise, even as development spending drops While development expenditures in Alaska totaled $217.4 million in 2016, down 30 per cent from the 2015 level, exploration activity, an indicator of industry interest and future production values, showed signs of life in 2016. Exploration expenditures were up slightly (one per cent), after suffering an 84 per cent drop from 2011 levels, and the area of new mining claims and prospecting sites staked statewide increased by 22 per cent, even as worldwide non-ferrous exploration budgets saw
a 21 per cent decline. In 2016, Alaska had the third-largest exploration budget of the U.S. states after Nevada and Arizona4. Alaska’s five operating metal mines conducted almost half of all the exploration in 2016, spending a combined $28.6 million. The sale of commodities mined in Alaska brought more than $2.5 billion in revenue to companies in 20165. Estimated revenue to industry is inferred to have increased over the 2015 figure, since the theoretical first market value for 2016 of $3.01 billion increased more than nine per cent from $2.76 billion in 2015.
Zinc maintains top ranking Zinc maintained its place as the leading mineral product of the state with a value of $1.25 billion in 2016, and accounted for 43 per cent of Alaska’s production value (Figure 2). The annual value of zinc production has exceeded that of gold since 2014. Gold came in second place for metal production by value, although the value of gold production has decreased 28 per cent to $1.12 billion in 2016 since 2013’s
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Figure 2: Estimated 2016 mineral production in Alaska by commodity (source: Alaska’s Mineral Industry 2016 Special Report 72). record value of $1.55 billion. Gold production from lode mines in the eastern interior and southeast regions totaled 909,242 ounces in 2016, of which 75 per cent was produced from the Fort Knox and Pogo gold mines. Kensington and Greens Creek polymetallic mines in southeast Alaska, the third and fourth largest gold producers respectively, accounted for the remainder of lode gold production. Placer gold production in 2016 was estimated to be 51,812 ounces, or six per cent of the total gold produced in the state.
Coal production and exports Coal production declined by approximately 246,000 tons, or 21 per cent, in 2016 (Figure 3), primarily due to a reduction in coal exports. In the past decade, the value of coal exports has decreased 93 per cent from the high of $33 million in 2009 to $2 million in 2016. Usibelli Coal Mine produced 930,987 tons of coal in 2016, down from 1.177 million tons in 2015. In 2016, 75,000 tons were exported to Japan.
Subsequently, exports were halted and the coal-loading facility was put into temporary closure status. Company officials attribute low export demand to a strong U.S. dollar, cheap natural gas and lowerpriced coal from Indonesia and Australia. Most of Usibelli’s coal is used for in-state electrical power generation at seven interior Alaska coal-fired power plants.
Exploration and project update • Sumitomo Metal Mining’s Pogo Mine in the interior region invested $10 million in exploration at the mine in 2016, following $15 million in 2015. At least five high-grade gold zones have been discovered within one mile of the mill; these zones are currently contributing ore to the mill, or are expected to soon. For more information, visit pogominealaska.com. • Graphite One Resources Inc. conducted a pre-development program in 2016 for its Graphite Creek property on the Seward Peninsula. The advanced
state exploration project hosts the U.S.’s largest large-flake graphite deposit. The results demonstrate the potential to produce products that will effectively compete in the highend battery market (for both electric vehicles and power storage), as well as other markets for purified graphite and graphite byproducts. Although Graphite One Resources did not conduct any exploration work during 2016, it continued environmental baseline studies and plans to release Graphite Creek’s inaugural preliminary economic assessment, including a refined resource estimate, in February 2017. For more information, visit graphiteoneresources.com. • Constantine Metal Resources’ Palmer Project is a high-grade copper-zinc deposit in the southeast region. Dowa Metals and Mining Co. decided in 2016 to participate as a joint-venture partner on the project. In 2016, Constantine completed environmental assessment work for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and began construction of an access road, which will connect the resource area to the Haines highway. For more information, visit constantinemetals.com/projects/ palmer. • In 2016, Western Alaska Copper and Gold Co. conducted exploration and drilling at its Round Top property in western Alaska, a combined porphyry, coppermolybdenum skarn and lead-zinc-silver carbonate-replacement deposit. In 2016, Western Alaska Copper and Gold Co. discovered secondary chalcocite in the porphyry system and anticipates copper in the form of chalcocite will facilitate
Figure 3: Alaska coal production and exports, 1915-2016 (source: Alaska’s Mineral Industry 2016 Special Report 72).
Mining North of 60 | 2018
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more cost-effective ore processing should the property be developed. For more information, visit www. westernalaskacopperandgold.com/ round-top.html. • Peak Gold LLC, a joint venture between Contango ORE Inc. and Royal Alaska, LLC (a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Gold, Inc.), continued to explore the Tetlin Gold Project in the interior region. The area contains the Peak and North Peak polymetallic gold-silver-copper skarn deposits, as well as other prospects and prospective targets. Peak Gold conducted Alaska’s largest exploration program for 2016 with $11 million spent primarily on drilling. For more information, visit contangoore.com.
Footnotes https://www.fraserinstitute.org/ studies/annual-survey-of-miningcompanies-2016
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These trends and much of what is contained in this article is a summary of the 2016 “Alaska Mineral Industry, Special Report 72.” Athey J.E., Werdon, M.B., November 2017, Alaska's Mineral Industry 2016: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Special Report 72, 65 p. http://dggs.alaska.gov/ pubs/minerals 3 Total reported value is a composite of the year’s expenditures on exploration and development plus the revenue to operators from the commodities produced. Note: the theoretical first market value was used to estimate the gross production value in previous years; thus, the 2016 total reported value cannot directly be compared to previous years’ figures. 4 “S&P Global Market Intelligence, 2017, Worldwide Mining Exploration Trends 2016: A special report from S&P Global Market Intelligence for the PDAC 2
International Convention.” 16 p. http:// mineralsmakelife.org/wp-content/ uploads/2017/04/Worldwide_Mining_ Exploration_Trends_2017.pdf This year began a new method of tracking the value of Alaska’s mineral production by Alaska’s Mineral Industry Special Report. Starting with calendar year 2016, estimated revenue to industry, as reported by mining companies, along with theoretical first market values will be used in place of the “estimated first market value” tabulated in previous years. The new “estimated revenue to industry” figure accounts for actual sales, and the price at the time of sale, including smelting and refining, whereas the “theoretical first market value” figure simply reflects the total amount of each commodity produced in Alaska multiplied by the average price for that year and is a hypothetical value of the fully refined final product. n
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10 Mining North of 60 | 2018
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2017 Yukon Exploration and Mining Highlights Submitted by the Yukon Geological Survey, department of energy, mines and resources, Government of Yukon The 2017 exploration season saw renewed optimism in investing in Yukon’s mineral resources. Junior explorers could raise money for their exploration programs, and there were significant options and acquisitions. Exploration spending was a healthy $87 million, 60 per cent more than spending in 2016. Almost half of the 119 exploration projects were drilled. Gold continues to be the most sought-after commodity; over 80 per cent of exploration dollars were targeting gold. The remainder of projects involved exploring for lead-zinc, copper, silver or nickel-PGEs. Development dollars topped out at $68 million, primarily for mine development at Victoria Gold Corp.’s Dublin Gulch property and advancement of Goldcorp Inc.’s Coffee project. The Yukon Mineral Exploration Program (YMEP) fund was up slightly to $1.6 million for 2017/2018, and helped 38 hard rock and 21 placer exploration projects offset exploration costs.
Significant exploration projects: precious metals Goldcorp’s acquisition of Kaminak Gold Corp. in the summer of 2016 could be considered the inflection point in the upswing of exploration activity in Yukon. Goldcorp paid $520 million to acquire Kaminak’s flagship Coffee gold property. The high-grade gold project is envisioned as a heap leach open-pit operation. Goldcorp’s 2017 exploration program involved 75,000 metres of drilling. Reported drill highlights include 20.3 metres of 7.24 g/t Au in RC hole CFR1452 at the new AmeriKona zone. Goldcorp also conducted drilling to test the sulphide potential, and is undertaking sulphide metallurgical studies. The Coffee project was submitted to the Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Board (YESAB) in the spring of 2017 for permitting.
Atac Resources Ltd. explored its extensive Rackla Gold project in north-central Yukon, spending $10 million on an exploration program that included 15,000 metres of drilling (diamond and rotary air blast). Within the Carlin-style eastern Nadaleen Trend, diamond drillhole OS-17-249 returned two intersections of highgrade gold — 15.24 metres of 13.52 g/t Au and 10.42 metres of 7.97 g/t Au, extending the Sunrise zone at depth. At the carbonate replacement-style Tiger gold deposit in the western Rau Trend, drilling tested for mineralization outside the proposed pit shell. Diamond drillhole RAU-17-156 intersected 56.77 metres of 4.08 g/t Au. Atac received a positive recommendation from YESAB for an access road to the site, and is awaiting final approval for road construction. In April 2017, Barrick Gold Corp. optioned Atac Resources Ltd.’s Orion claims, in the central part of the Rackla Gold property. Barrick committed to a $4.9 million exploration program at Orion in 2017. Golden Predator Mining Corp. began drilling its 3 Aces orogenic gold project in southeastern Yukon in March 2017, with a target of 40,000 metres of reverse circulation and core drilling. Other work at the property included soil and rock sampling, trenching, geological mapping and road construction. The extensive work uncovered two new gold veins at the Hearts and Clubs zones. Drilling at the Ace of Hearts doubled the known strike length of the vein and increased the length of the Hearts-Clubs corridor by 340 metres to 1.6 km. Drill highlights within the corridor include hole 3A17-203 with a drill intersection of 19.81 metres of 3.32 g/t Au. Goldstrike Resources Ltd. struck a deal with Newmont Mining Corp. in March of 2017 for Goldstrike’s Plateau gold property in central Yukon. The deal involves cash payments and share purchases totaling $53 million over 10 years and a completed feasibility study to earn 75 per cent. The Phase 1 commitment of the deal requires cash payments and exploration expenditures totaling $14 million in the first two years. The exploration program at Plateau included 2,972 metres of diamond drilling in 23 holes,
Building drillpads at Atac Resources Ltd.’s Nadaleen trend of the Rackla project. Cathie Archbould photo, supplied by Yukon
Drilling at Goldstrike Resources Ltd.’s Plateau property. Photo
supplied by Government of Yukon.
12 Mining North of 60 | 2018
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staking, airborne and ground geophysics, remote-sensing acquisition, sampling and mapping. Drill results have yet to be released. White Gold Corp. (WGC) acquired a substantial land package in the White Gold district from Wildwood Exploration Inc. and Shawn Ryan in 2016. In May 2017, WGC expanded its holdings by acquiring five properties from Kinross Gold Corp., including the Golden Saddle, the original white gold district discovery. In December 2016, Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. invested $14.5 million in WGC, for a 19.9 per cent interest in the company. WGC completed extensive soil sampling over many of the properties, IP/resistivity surveys, airborne DIGHEM surveys, geological mapping and drilling. Drilling at the Golden Saddle deposit focused on twinning holes (for quality assurance and testing for footwall mineralization below historic drilling) as well as infill and step-out drilling. Infill hole WTGS17DD-1070 returned 4.57 g/t Au over 34 metres from 155-metre depth. There was renewed activity at the Boulevard gold property of Independence Gold Corp. in west-central Yukon. The company completed 977.5 metres of drilling in nine diamond drillholes along the 2.4 km-long Sunrise-Sunset zone. Results are pending. The company also completed extensive sampling and geoprobe sampling and outlined several new gold-in-soil trends on the property.
Triumph Gold Corp. welcomed a $6.3-million investment by Goldcorp for its Freegold Mountain project, which earned Goldcorp a 19.9 per cent interest in Triumph. Work on the property included 35 diamond drillholes (12,904 metres) at Revenue and Nucleus, and more than 600 metres of trenching and extensive soil sampling at Tinta Hill. Step-out drilling at Revenue demonstrated that the Revenue diatreme is part of a larger porphyry system. East of the Revenue diatreme, at the Blue Sky Zone, 57 metres of 1.08 g/t gold and 0.285 per cent copper were intersected in diamond drillhole RVD17-13. Arcus Development Group Inc. completed a 20-hole reverse circulation drill program at its Dan Man gold property adjacent to the Coffee gold project. Drilling tested gold-in-soil anomalies and structural zones interpreted from a magnetic survey. Results include 7.62 metres of 2.13 g/t Au in hole RC-RB-17-05. K2 Gold Corp. completed infill and step-out diamond drilling (1,232 metres, 11 holes) at its Wels intrusion-related gold property in southwestern Yukon, extending the discovery Saddle zone. Highlights include 2.37 g/t Au over 28.50 metres in DDH1706. The company discovered a new mineralized zone (Southwest Spur) through prospecting 1.2 km southwest of the Saddle zone, which is hosted in highly-altered and fractured mafic rock. Banyan Gold Corp. explored its Hyland Gold project in southeastern Yukon with drilling, trenching and soil sampling. The 2017 diamond drill program (3,847 metres, 25 holes) was designed to expand the defined resource of the Main Zone deposit, and included drilling for metallurgical studies. Drillhole HY17-062 intersected 27.4 metres of 1.26 g/t Au and 4.11 g/t Ag. Banyan also completed a 10-hole diamond drill program at its newly optioned Aurex-McQuesten property, 15 km south of the Dublin Gulch property. Drillhole MQ17-026 intersected 157 metres of 0.6 g/t Au and 1.1 g/t Ag, starting from surface.
Independence Gold Corp. saw renewed activity at its Boulevard gold property. Photo supplied by Government of Yukon. Klondike Gold Corp. (KGC) completed 70 diamond drillholes (8620 metres) at the Lone Star zone of its Klondike project, targeting the Bonanza, Nugget and Eldorado faults. Diamond drillhole LS17-81 intersected 41.1 metres of 2.1 g/t Au. KGC also completed ground magnetics and VLF-EM surveys.
Zonte Metals Inc. diamond drilled its intrusion-related McConnell’s Jest gold project, 15 km east of Victoria Gold Corp.’s Eagle gold deposit. Photo supplied by Government of Yukon.
Klondike Gold Corp. completed 70 diamond drillholes at the Lone Star zone of its Klondike project, targeting the Bonanza, Nugget and Eldorado faults. Photo supplied by Government of Yukon.
14 Mining North of 60 | 2018
Zonte Metals Inc. diamond drilled its intrusion-related McConnell’s Jest gold project, 15 km east of Victoria Gold Corp.’s Eagle gold deposit. This newly-discovered property underwent a modest five-hole drill program. Drill highlights include 29.6 metres of 0.53 g/t Au in hole MJ-04. Rockhaven Resources Ltd. benefitted from a $675,000 investment by Coeur Mining Inc. in March 2017, and continued exploring its flagship Klaza epithermal gold-silver property in western
Yukon. The company’s diamond drill program (15,922 metres, 96 holes) included infill, step-out and drilling for metallurgical studies. Drill highlights include 17.80 g/t Au, 257 g/t Ag, 1.28 per cent Pb and 1.81 per cent Zn over 6.54 metres in Hole 398. The company also undertook trenching and geophysics, and conducted engineering studies.
economic assessment (PEA) was released in spring 2017. It envisions capital costs of $586 million for the mine and a 25-year mine life. Wellgreen also released an updated mineral resource for the project. It estimates a measured and indicated mineral resource of 362 million tonnes hosting 2.08 billion pounds of nickel, six million ounces of PGMs plus gold, 1.1 billion pounds of copper and 121 million pounds of cobalt, as well as a significant inferred resource. The company conducted 3,600 metres of diamond drilling in 2017, focusing on a combination of infill and metallurgical holes.
Rockhaven Resources Ltd. continued exploring its flagship Klaza epithermal gold-silver property in western Yukon. Cathie Archbould photo, supplied by Yukon Mining Alliance.
Alexco Resources Ltd. is advancing three of its deposits in the Keno Hill Silver District. The 2017 exploration program focused on drill-definition of the high-grade Bermingham deposit (37 holes, 13,832 metres); DDH K-17-0658 intersected 5.15 metres of 1547 g/t Ag. A 600-metre decline at Bermingham and a 900-metre decline for the Flame & Moth deposit were both initiated. The company expects production to begin at Bermingham and the Flame & Moth deposits, and to restart at the Bellekeno mine by late 2018.
Wellgreen Platinum Ltd. continues to advance its Wellgreen PGMNi-Cu project in southwestern Yukon. Cathie Archbould photo, supplied by Yukon Mining Alliance.
Significant exploration projects – base metals Western Copper and Gold Corp. announced a delay in its application for the Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Board’s panel review of the Casino porphyry coppergold project. The one-year delay allows the company to work on a redesign of the tailings management facility to address concerns raised during community consultation meetings. In addition, there were concerns about how the access road would impact the Klaza caribou herd. The company continues to carry out environmental baseline work.
Alexco Resources Ltd.’s 2017 exploration program focused on drilldefinition of the high-grade Bermingham deposit in the Keno Hill Silver District. Cathie Archbould photo, supplied by Yukon Mining Alliance.
Metallic Minerals Corp. explored its Keno Silver project in the historic Keno Hill Silver District. The company identified 12 exploration targets over the winter and conducted soil sampling, mapping, trenching and VLF/Magnetic geophysical surveys prior to drilling. Drill results have yet to be announced. Wellgreen Platinum Ltd. continues to advance its Wellgreen PGM-Ni-Cu project in southwestern Yukon. A new preliminary
16 Mining North of 60 | 2018
Western Copper and Gold Corp. announced a one-year delay in its application for the Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Board’s panel review of the Casino porphyry copper-gold project, allowing the company to work on a redesign of the tailings management facility to address community concerns. Cathie Archbould photo, supplied by Yukon Mining Alliance.
Cariboo Rose Resources Ltd. completed reverse-circulation drilling (2,142 metres in 24 holes) on its Canadian Creek copper-gold project, sandwiched between the Coffee and Casino properties. The drill program tested a multi-kilometre soil geochemical anomaly. Many of the holes returned low-grade gold intersections. The most significant intersection returned 4.46 g/t Au over 1.52 metres at the Kana Target in hole CCRC17-23.
which intersected 10.2 per cent Zn, 6.3 per cent Pb and 87.7 g/t Ag over 24.4 metres. An updated 43-101 resource incorporating drill results is expected by the end of 2017.
Mine development Victoria Gold Corp. began mine development at the Eagle intrusion-related gold deposit, within its Dublin Gulch property in central Yukon. Capital expenditures are estimated at $369 million. Once in full production, the company expects to produce 200,000 ounces of gold per year from the open-pit operation. Continued exploration on the property has met with success. Exploratory drilling near the proposed mine (14 drill holes) was completed adjacent to and below the proposed Eagle Mine pit. Highlights include 607.8 metres of 0.56 g/t Au in drillhole DG17-930C. The new drill results offer potential for Eagle pit expansion.
Cariboo Rose Resources Ltd. completed reverse-circulation drilling on its Canadian Creek copper-gold project. Photo supplied by Government of Yukon.
BMC Minerals Ltd., a private company, continued to advance its Kudz Ze Kayah volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) copper-zinclead property in the Finlayson VMS district of east-central Yukon, conducting a geotechnical drill program and continued environmental monitoring. An application to develop the ABM deposit on the property was submitted to YESAB in March 2017 and is in the adequacy review stage. A positive pre-feasibility study on the ABM deposit was released in May 2017. The study envisions an open pit and small underground mine processing two million tonnes per year with a nine-year mine life. Benz Mining Corp. acquired the Mel zinc-lead-barite property in southeastern Yukon in March 2017. The work program for the season included infill diamond drilling (nine drillholes, 2,114 metres) at the Mel Main zone and mapping and excavator trenching. Results are pending. Newly-formed company Fireweed Zinc Ltd. acquired the Tom and Jason sedimentary exhalative lead-zinc deposits comprising the Macmillan Pass project. The program included 2,202 metres of diamond drilling (14 holes), helicopter-borne VTEM, LiDAR and aerial photography. The drill program was designed to verify historic results, step-out from the defined resource and produce samples for metallurgical studies. Highlights include drill hole TS17-03
Fireweed Zinc Ltd. acquired the Tom and Jason sedimentary exhalative lead-zinc deposits. Photo supplied by Government of Yukon.
18 Mining North of 60 | 2018
A sawing drillcore from drilling at Victoria Gold Corp.’s Eagle gold deposit. Cathie Archbould photo, supplied by Yukon Mining Alliance.
Hard-rock mining The territory currently has one operating hard-rock mine. Capstone Mining Corp.’s Minto (copper-gold-silver) mine produced 9,926 tonnes of copper, 16,442 ounces of gold and 84,000 ounces of silver in the first half of 2017. The planned closure in 2016 did not occur as commodity prices rebounded. With the rise in the price of copper, Capstone announced an extension of the mine life to 2020. The company will evaluate other deposits on the site for possible re-inclusion into its reserves, which could extend the life beyond 2020.
Yukon’s commitment The Government of Yukon is committed to providing an attractive investment climate by working with stakeholders to create a responsive, sustainable system for mineral development in the territory. Government support for Yukon’s mineral industry is evidenced by the recent joint announcement from Yukon territorial and Canadian federal governments of a $360-million program for the Yukon resource gateway project which will help upgrade over 650 km of road infrastructure to access mineral-rich areas of Yukon. The Yukon Geological Survey (YGS) supports mineral exploration and mining by conducting regional studies and surveys, and by serving as a central data repository. In 2017, the YGS released the online Yukon Assessment Report Spatial Search, (http://yukon2.maps.arcgis.com) and re-processed Yukon magnetic data (open files 2017-5 to 2017-59, http://www.geology.gov.yk.ca/recent.html). n
2017 Northwest Territories Exploration and Mining Highlights Submitted by the mines and minerals sector, department of industry, tourism and investment, Government of the Northwest Territories
The Northwest Territories accounts for three per cent of the world’s diamond production by value. Based on reported production of 7.5 million carats in the first half of 2017, total diamond production in the N.W.T. should exceed 15 million carats in 2017. photo supplied by Dominion Diamond Corp.
Diamonds continued to sparkle brightly on the northern landscape in 2017 as the world’s largest new diamond mine moved into commercial production in the Northwest Territories (N.W.T.) and the search area expanded for more of the precious stones. The N.W.T. accounts for three per cent of the world’s diamond production by value. Based on reported production of 7.5 million carats in the first half of 2017, total diamond production in the N.W.T. should exceed 15 million carats in 2017. N.W.T. mineral producers continued to advance expansion projects in 2017. Both Diavik and Ekati mines are proceeding with major, longevityexpanding projects at their operating mines, which will increase their longevity. An estimated 10.5 million carats of diamonds worth $1.27 billion were produced in the N.W.T. in 2016. As of Jan. 31, 2017, Dominion Diamond Corp.’s Ekati mine has an indicated mineral resource (including the Jay Pipe) of 129.1 million tonnes con-
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taining 145.9 million carats. The plan is to begin mining Jay in late 2022 and continue mining until 2033. Dominion Diamond Corp. reported at the end of March 2017 that Diavik’s minelife has been extended to 2025. The mine is operated with partner Rio Tinto. Production in 2017 is forecast to be 2.18 million tonnes with a total recovery of 7.6 million carats of diamonds. Diavik reached a production milestone of 100 million carats in 2016. In the first 10 months of 2017, Gahcho Kué produced over five million carats. It is expected to produce 54 million carats of diamonds during its 12-year lifespan. Ekati and Diavik each saw major changes during the year, culminating in the sale of Dominion Diamond Corp. to Northwest Acquisitions ULC, an entity affiliated with The Washington Companies. Earlier in the year, Dominion’s corporate headquarters moved from Yellowknife to Calgary and industry veteran Patrick Evans was named the new CEO for the company.
Outlook improving While diamonds are currently the only commodity mined in the N.W.T., there are signs of better days ahead across the N.W.T. minerals industry. Outlooks for other commodities have improved throughout 2017. Cobalt prices have steadily increased through the summer of 2017 and zinc prices have been steadily increasing. Gold prices have held relatively constant. The territory saw activity at several diamond, gold, base metal and lithium exploration projects. Canadian Zinc published a positive feasibility study for Prairie Creek and is in the final stages of its environmental assessment and regulatory phase for its all-season road. Subject to financing, the company expects to begin production in 2020. Kennady Diamonds received promising new results on its Kennady North diamond property. Nighthawk completed work to expand the resources at Colomac with an extensive drill program. Closer to Yellowknife, TerraX continued drilling gold
As of January 2017, Dominion Diamond Corp.’s Ekati mine has an indicated mineral resource (including the Jay Pipe) of 129.1 million tonnes containing 145.9 million carats. photos supplied by Dominion Diamond Corp. and base metal targets on its enlarged Yellowknife City Gold Project. This improved outlook, along with new geoscience information released by the Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) in the Slave Geological Province, brought an increase in claimstaking activity in the N.W.T. While 85 claims covering 42,000 hectares were staked in 2016, over 199 claims covering 150,000 hectares have been added in the first three quarters of 2017.
Available geoscience surges In September, a facility with a cache of drill core and rock samples from across the Northwest Territories opened its doors in Yellowknife. Operated by the territorial government, the facility consists of 900 square metres of unheated warehouse and an adjacent heated area where explorers can examine samples year-round. By allowing examination of historical drill samples, explorers can find new opportunities at a fraction of
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the cost of conducting new drilling in the field. In June, NTGS released two airborne geophysical surveys providing additional insight for mineral explorers interested in the promising Slave Geological Province. The studies NTGS developed provide detailed airborne magnetic and electromagnetic survey data from the region. NTGS also released the final volume in a series of reports on the Slave Geological Province in 2017. The three reports provide a valuable new 3D till geochemistry and indicator mineral database for public users to advance research and diamond exploration interests. Information about NTGS and its world-class research is available by visiting www.nwtgeoscience.ca, by calling 867-767-9211 ext. 63469 or by e-mailing NTGS@gov.nt.ca.
Growing incentives The Government of the Northwest Territories also increased its support for exploration in 2017-2018 by increasing the budget for its highly popular mining incentive program from $400,000 to $1 million annually. Fourteen projects received funding because of the increase, up from 10 the previous year. The work credits program, which provides a credit of 150 per cent for exploration work completed, has also been extended for two years. This incentive will encourage explorers to keep exploring in a marketplace that continues to be challenged.
In the first 10 months of 2017, Gahcho Kué produced over five million carats. It is expected to produce 54 million carats of diamonds during its 12-year lifespan. photo supplied by De Beers Canada.
Modernizing legislation The Northwest Territories government just wrapped up the public engagement and research phase as it creates the territory’s first-ever Mineral Resources Act. The
legislation will replace the current mining regulations — one-size-fits-all regulations handed down from the federal government — with a modern, leading-edge regime tailored to the realities of doing
business in the North. More information about the N.W.T. mining sector can be found at www.miningnorth.com, by calling 867-767-9209 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. n
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New mines expected to see new wealth in Nunavut’s future Submitted by the Nunavut Chamber of Mines All photos supplied by Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.
With new mines expected to open soon in Nunavut, the future looks bright with potential to generate significant economic benefits. Mining is currently the single largest contributor to Nunavut’s economy, with three operating mines in all three regions of Nunavut: TMAC Resources Inc., Hope Bay (Gold) in the Kitikmeot; Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., Meadowbank (Gold) in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut; and in the Qikiqtani, Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. (Iron Ore). Nunavut’s economy is among the fastest-growing in Canada, and the resource sector is critical to that, contributing 21.58 per cent to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nunavut appears to be well positioned to benefit from increased mining activity, with many new and existing local businesses profiting from the mining industry’s support. What we are seeing for 2017 is an upswing in the territory, including: • 4.1 million tonnes of ore shipped from Mary River. • Commercial production reached at Doris north mine. • Agnico Eagle on track to begin production at Amaruq and Meliadine.
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• Positive NIRB recommendation on Sabina Back River project. • Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures for Nunavut in 2017 were $163.6 million, fifth in Canada (Source: NRCan Mineral Statistics as of February 2017).
Producing Mines in Nunavut TMAC Resources Inc. – TMac Resources holds 100 per cent interest in the Hope Bay Project, located 125 km southwest of Cambridge Bay and covering most of the Hope Bay greenstone belt area in the Kitikmeot region. TMac acquired the property from Newmont in 2013. The acquisition included three significant gold deposits — Doris North, Madrid and Boston. TMac is an emerging gold producer, with the Doris North Mine pouring the first gold bar in February 2017 and achieving commercial production in the second quarter of 2017. The company is poised to produce an estimated 160,000 ounces of gold, with construction expected to start as early as 2019 at Boston and Madrid, employing upwards of 800 people dur-
ing construction. TMac signed the Inuit Impact Benefits Agreement (IIBA) with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association on Inuitowned lands controlled by the Kitikmeot Inuit Association and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. The project could generate $500 million in royalties, taxes and other payments over the life of the Hope Bay Project, benefiting the Government of Nunavut, Kitikmeot Inuit Association and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. The projects will continue to provide significant benefit to the residents and businesses of the Kitikmeot region for years to come. Hiring priorities will be given to local communities. Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (Meadowbank) – Agnico Eagle will start to wind down its Meadowbank Mine operation in 2018 and will ultimately replace it with its new Amaruq satellite property 50 km to the northwest. Meadowbank opened in 2010 with a workforce of around 800 people, 34 per cent of which were Inuit from the Kivalliq region. According to the Conference Board of Canada, Nunavut’s economy is expected to grow by 6.4 per cent in 2017, due largely to resource development. Amaruq is expected to receive
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Baffinland Iron Mines Corp., jointly owned by Nunavut Iron Ore and ArcelorMittal, operates a high-grade iron ore mine on Baffin Island. all the necessary permits in 2018 and be operational by 2019, just after Meadowbank is scheduled to close. Agnico Eagle has stated it is committed to spending $1.2 billion US in Nunavut, bringing Meladine and Whale Tail into production. Whale Tail is expected to produce 3.3 million ounces of gold, which will be processed at the Meadowbank site. Given the mineral quality, Agnico Eagle believes Whale Tail will have similar annual output as Meadowbank during peak production. The Meladine mine, located 25 km north of Rankin Inlet, is expected to have a nineyear life cycle and produce 350,000 ounces of gold each year. According to Agnico Eagle, the Meladine mine camp facility, power plant, and mill operations will be ready this year. Agnico Eagle has signed an IIBA with the Kivalliq Inuit Association that aims to address the protection of Inuit culture and language while providing Inuit training and employment for locals and business opportunities for Inuit companies. Saying the future is bright for Agnico Eagle is an understatement. Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. – Baffinland Iron Mines Corp., jointly owned by Nunavut Iron Ore and ArcelorMittal, operates a high-grade iron ore mine on Baffin Island. The Mary River property is among the most northern mines in the world and is also one of the richest ore deposits ever discovered. It consists of nine high-grade iron ore deposits that can be mined, crushed and screened into marketable products. Recently, Baffinland has applied to the Nunavut Planning Commission to change the north Baffin land-use plan to allow for a 110-km-long railway between Mary River
26 Mining North of 60 | 2018
and Milne Inlet and for winter sealift during the months of December through February. This would allow iron ore production to be increased from 4.1 tonnes per year to 12 million tonnes using a fleet of five locomotives and 176 rail cars. The company says using rail is a better transportation method than using trucks, as shipping is currently done entirely in the open water season from July to mid- October. Baffinland notes that the change in transportation methods and extended shipping season is essential in making the project financially viable. The company needs to ship out a minimum of three million tonnes a year in order to make money, as the price of iron ore has dropped (the current market price of iron ore is around $60 US per tonne). This year, Baffinland shipped 4.1 million tonnes over 75 days, making it the largest shipping program ever executed in the Canadian high arctic. In August 2017, Baffinland committed to ongoing skill development and training within the north Baffin communities, and they are working with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) to find solutions to hiring challenges.
Ongoing exploration operations in Nunavut QIA Exploration leads to development of mineral deposits that may just become future mines and attract significant investment to the territory. Sabina Gold and Silver Corp. – Had an environmental decision been reversed in 2017, the recommended Back River gold deposit would move ahead. The mine is 400 km southwest of Cambridge Bay. Sabina received a positive recommendation
from NIRB and signed a binding term sheet for land tenure and Inuit benefits with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association this year. Sabina can now apply for permits associated with full-scale construction and preliminary work on the mine site. The mine holds an estimated 3.4 million ounces of gold and will cost approximately $400 million to build. When in full production, it will employ around 800 people and is expected to have an 11-year life span. Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. – The diamond sector in Nunavut is beginning a resurgence through Peregrine Diamond’s Chidliak project, which is 120 km northeast of Iqaluit. Peregrine estimates that it will spend $17 million in 2017 developing the Chidluak site and conducting bulk sampling and pre-feasibility studies. The first kimberlite was discovered in 2008, with work progressing ever since. Peregrine has been concentrating thus far on bulk samples from CH-6 and CH-7 kimberlites showing the most promise for development. CH-6 alone may contain 11.39 million tonnes of material with an estimate 1.62 carats per tonne. This is just two of the 74 kimberlites. Peregrine Diamonds’ Chidliak property is comprised of about 577 separate claims covering an area more than 564,000 hectares of land. If Peregrine develops the first diamond mine on Baffin Island, it would mean significant economic development for people in the region, including employment for local businesses and benefits to the government from taxes and royalties. The company is on track to have Phase 1 of the mine operating by 2020. North Arrow Minerals – North Arrow’s 100 per cent company-owned Naujaat (Qilalugaq) Diamond project on the Melville Peninsula, nine km north of Naujaat (Repulse Bay), announced the start of a $3.2 million exploration program in Nunavut. It has obtained drilling permits for the company’s Mel Diamond Project with a 2018 drilling season planned. Crystal Exploration (gold) – Crystal Exploration owns 100 per cent of the Contwoyto Gold Project located south of the lupin Mine. Exploration is in progress, and Crystal has identified six high-priority kimberlite targets, which have the potential to be new diamond discoveries. Auryn Resources Inc. (gold) – In February 2017, Auryn Resources acquired 19 prospecting permits covering 400,000
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Baffinland’s Mary River property is among the most northern mines in the world and is also one of the richest ore deposits ever discovered. hectates of greenstone belt between Meliadine and Meadowbank deposits 125 km from Baker Lake. NX Gold – NX Gold is exploring the Kuuku project (Peter Lake Gold Project) located 40 km northwest of Rankin Inlet. A Type B water license has been issued, and NX received a positive decision from NIRB. NX is currently negotiating with the Kivalliq Inuit Association on securing land-use licences. Kivalliq Energy Corp. – Kivalliq Energy has several high-quality uranium and precious metal exploration projects in Nunavut, including the Till Corridor Gold zones on Baffin Island. The company is actively exploring for uranium on the Angilak property and Baker Basin Uranium property. Nordgold – The Pistol Bay Gold Project is a high-grade exploration project on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay, consisting of
860 square km within the underexplored Rankin Ennadai greenstone belt. An aggressive drilling program is planned for 2017. Aston Bay (copper, zinc) – Aston Bay hosts the Storm Copper project and the Seal Zinc project located on northwest Somerset Island. Drilling has confirmed the presence of sediment hosting copper and zinc mineralization on the property. Cache Exploration – The Kiyuk lake project is located 50 km north of the Manitoba border and 350 km west of Arviat. The property consists of 70 mineral claims aggregating 590 square km. Cache Exploration has a 100 per cent interest in the property. Silver Range Resources Ltd. (gold) – Silver Range Resources hosts eight separate properties in the Kitikmeot and Kivalliq re-
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gions. In 2017, work was done on three of these properties. Dunnedin Ventures Inc. (diamonds, gold) – The company’s focus is the Kahuna project in Nunavut in close proximity to Rankin Inlet. It has a high-grade surface inferred diamond resource and significant gold in tills. Dunnedin is excited to move the Kahuna project forward and grow into a major player in the Canadian mining industry. Drilling is planned for winter 2017/2018. Iso Energy Ltd. (uranium) – Iso Energy acquired the Mountain Lake Uranium deposit in the Hornby Bay Basin. The property consists of five claims totaling 5,625 hectares and was acquired by staking Mountain Lake which is 100 km southwest of Kugluktuk. MMG Ltd. (zinc, copper) – The Izok Corridor project includes the Izok and High Lake deposits located in the Kitikmeot region within the geological formation known as the slave geological province, an extension of the same geology that hosts several diamond mines. Izok is a rich zinc/copper deposit with the mineral resource of 15 million tonnes. Aura Silver Resources Inc. – Agnico Eagle paid for the 2017 drill program and acquired 51 per cent ownership in Aura’s Greyhound property, 40 km northeast of Baker Lake. Forum Uranium (uranium) – There is an estimated recoverable 114 million pounds of U380 (uranium oxide) on Forum Uranium’s 950-square-km property, 50 km west of Baker Lake. According to Forum, this equates to a mine life of 17 years and could create 400 to 600 jobs. Anconia Resources – The Zac and Atlas 1 properties – located 25 km apart and 165 km west of Whale Cove – represent two clusters of volcano-genic massive sulfide deposit, principle sources of zinc, copper, lead, and gold. n The N.W.T. & Nunavut Chamber of Mines is the leading advocate on behalf of the northern minerals industry. Its vision is to achieve a vibrant and sustainable exploration and mining industry in Nunavut, which has the support of the peoples of the North. For more information on the mining and exploration industry in Nunavut, contact Terry Dobbin at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.miningnorth.com.
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New and existing diamond mines unlocking resource potential in the Northwest Territories Submitted by the N.W.T. Chamber of Mines Diamond mining continues to be the main private sector driver of the Northwest Territories’ (N.W.T.) economy. The Ekati, Diavik and Gahcho Kué mines, the territories’ three operating gem producers, produced 10.5 million carats in 2016. Gahcho Kué is the shiniest of the three mines achieving commercial production in early 2017. Costing $1 billion to construct, it’s a joint venture of De Beers Canada (operator and 51 per cent owner) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49 per cent). Through 2016, De Beers successfully transitioned Gahcho Kué from construction to a fully-staffed operating mine. Some 107 workers from De Beers’ recently closed Snap Lake diamond mine were transitioned to Gahcho Kué, assisting with start-up. Located approximately 280 km northeast of Yellowknife, Gahcho Kué is an open-pit mine with an estimated life of 12 years and projected average annual production of 4.5 million carats. In late 2015, De Beers placed its Snap Lake mine on care and maintenance after eight years of production. Even with this loss of production, the N.W.T.’s total carat production was down only five per cent last year. However, 2016 value of diamonds produced fell 25 per cent, down to $1.3 billion from $2.2 billion in the previous year. In the N.W.T., average per-carat value was US$120 in 2016 compared to $158 US in 2015, a drop of 24 per cent (Kimberley Process data). Challenging global diamond prices saw the 2016 average value per carat fall 16 percent to $92 US from the previous year’s $109 US. Even with challenging product prices and loss of production from De Beers Snap Lake mine, placed on care and maintenance at the end of 2015, diamond mining still accounted for 20 per cent of the Northwest Territories’ gross domestic product, according to the Northwest Territories Bureau of Statistics. The sector also welcomed great news from Dominion Diamond Mines that the potential for a significant mine life increase with new mining from the Jay, Misery and Fox deposits. If approved and permitted, this would extend mining life to 2041. This is significant as just a few years ago, Ekati’s mining life was projected to end in 2019. During 2016, Dominion began production from the Lynx deposit project and moved forward with the Sable and Jay deposits. It was announced in November that an affiliate company of privately-held Washington Companies had closed the deal announced in July to acquire all Dominion Diamond’s outstanding common shares.
30 Mining North of 60 | 2018
At Diavik, operated and 60 per cent owned by Rio Tinto (40 per cent Dominion Diamond), work advanced on the A21 rockfill dike allowing open pit mining of the mine’s fourth orebody, the A21 kimberlite. In late 2017, the rockfill structure was enclosed and dewatering commenced. Located near existing mining operations, A21 won’t extend mine life but its 3.3 million tonnes of ore (9.4 million carats) will serve as incremental supply. Previous delineation drilling and evaluation has identified reserves to extend mine life into 2025, from the previous projection of 2023. Diamond mining benefits to the Northwest Territories are significant. The N.W.T. and Nunavut Chamber of Mines’ recently released the report Measuring success 1996-2016: Diamond mines deliver big benefits to the Northwest Territories, which shows that since 1996, the first year of construction of the north’s first diamond mine, the industry has generated 26,441 person years of northern employment. The equates to just over 1,000 local jobs for a quarter century. Of this northern employment, half is northern Indigenous. In all, diamond mining has generated 54,916 person years of employment for Canada. In 2016 alone, the mines’ employment was 3,761 person years with 1,667 being northern. Business benefits are just as stunning. Since 1996, there have been $18.7 billion in total cumulative spend for diamond mine construction and operations; $13.1 billion (70 per cent), in northern business spending, of which $5.6 billion (30 per cent) was with northern Indigenous businesses. With diamond mining well established, there’s additional efforts to build on the success with continued responsible resource development. One key to success will be addressing the territory’s 40-year infrastructure gap. New infrastructure is required to reduce costs and make some projects economic. Recent progress on several developments helps focus on addressing the gap: • The Tlicho All-Season Road, approximately 97 km from N.W.T. Highway 3 to the Tlicho community of Whati, will facilitate construction and operations of Fortune Minerals Ltd.’s NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper mine, mill and concentrator in the N.W.T. • For the N.W.T. portion of the Slave Geological Province Access Corridor and the Mackenzie Valley Highway, the Government of the Northwest Territories has submitted expressions of interest to the Government of Canada, seeking funding for these major transportation projects.
A 30-carat vivid yellow Arctic Sun diamond from the Ekati diamond mine. photo supplied by Dominion Diamond.
Diavik’s third rockfill dike, left, encircles the A21 kimberlite orebody. In 2018, dewatering to access the orebody located under the waters of Lac de Gras will continue and first diamonds are expected in late 2018. Right are the A154 and A418 dikes constructed to open pit mine the A154 North, A154 South and A418 pipes. Open-pit mining of these three pipes is complete and they are currently being underground mined. photo supplied by Diavik.
• For the Prairie Creek mine access road, an environmental assessment of the road proposed by Canadian Zinc Corp. has been recommended for approval to the federal minister of crown-Indigenous relations and northern affairs. The road would be a 180-km all-season road from Prairie Creek Mine to Liard Highway, with half of the proposed road through the Nahanni National Park Reserve. Prairie Creek is looking to begin its 2.5-year construction phase soon with production start up estimated to be in 2020. Mine life is projected to be 15 years with 220 jobs. Pine Point Mining Ltd. (formerly Darnley Bay) acquired the Pine Point lead-zinc site near Hay River, N.W.T., and is actively conducting exploration to advance the project (Pine Point operated from 1964 to 1987). With better prices and technologies, Pine Point Mining has made a preliminary mine life estimate of 13 years. Along with other potential projects, including TerraX Minerals Inc.’s Yellowknife gold project, the Kennady Diamonds project, and Nighthawk Gold’s Indin Lake project amongst others, there is growing optimism.
To recognize those who have played key roles in building the recent success, the Chamber of Mines and the Government of the Northwest Territories hosted their inaugural MAX Awards to recognize excellence in mining and exploration in the Northwest Territories. MAX Award recipients have all played an enormous role in responsible and successful resource development; generating opportunities and demonstrating leadership in their respective categories. Their contributions include finding and developing resources, engaging with the public and governments, ensuring Indigenous participation, creating jobs and business benefits, and training northerners, all of which add to the well-being of the Northwest Territories. With existing diamond mines extending their mine lives, opportunities from potential new projects, growing support from governments, work on a new made-inthe-north Mineral Resources Act and successful efforts to add infrastructure, there is reason for optimism as the Northwest Territories is “unlocking its resource potential” — the tagline of its Mineral Development Strategy. n
| Mining North of 60 31
Availability, quality and traceability in battery materials are key for Canadian mining companies All photos supplied by the National Research Council of Canada.
Lithium-ion batteries are in almost everything we touch â€” cars and buses, smartphones and electronics, power tools and the modern electricity grids that power communities with renewable energy.
32 Mining North of 60 | 2018
The concepts of supply chain and collaboration have been used in most industries and sectors around the world for years. It should not come as a surprise then that the mining industry is embarking on the same path and for good reason. The lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery industry is predicted to grow exponentially in the next 10 years along with the need for minerals to sustain it, such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese and graphite. Canada is perfectly positioned to be a world leader in this fastgrowing market for three main reasons. First, most metals and nonmetals used in materials and components of Li-ion cells, such as anodes and cathodes, can be found in provinces and territories across the nation in large quantities. Second, we have strong technology development and commercialization capabilities that would make Canada the perfect hub. Lastly, our mining expertise and commitment to the environment positions us well since the Li-ion battery industry has one of the highest quality control and consistency requirements, cleanliness concerns, warranty demands and manufacturing restrictions. Purity requirements for raw materials will vary and transformations will use different conversion processes. As a result, determining requirements during development and prioritizing them will be an important factor and the key in forming strong partnerships in order to share the layers of information. Traceability will accelerate and improve development activities in order to have a consistent quality of raw and advanced materials to meet specifications. Being able to trace back where battery materials come from will be an essential piece of the system. The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) launched the Lithium-ion Battery Technology Industrial Research and Development Group (LiBTec) on June 7, 2017. This new initiative is a multiparty industrial pre-competitive research and development (R&D) initiative aimed at developing and supporting the Canadian supply
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Ongoing and planned activities for the next four years are mainly the conversion of precursors to produce new silicon-carbon anodes and the conversion of lithium precursors to produce the next generations of cathodes and third-party evaluation. These activities will be complemented by technology watch, benchmarking and comprehensive characterization to align and accelerate product development and qualification by leading battery manufacturers. This effort will improve the performance and lifecycle of Li-ion anodes and cathodes, and position Canada as a major player in energy storage for transportation and stationary applications. This next generation of silicon-based anodes will be developed using various silicon, graphite and graphene precursors provided by members of the LiBTec group. The objective is to develop several generations of low-silicon Si-carbon composites using different conversion processes and to optimize the performance of Li-ion cells using anode formulations based on new families of binders and additives. As for cathodes, the goal is to optimize the transformation of lithium minerals and precursors, such as lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate, and to convert these precursors into cathode materials with superior capacities to current materials. Collaboration with the Canadian mining industry to optimize lithium hydroxide or carbonate for the manufacture of Li-ion batteries will all be used to monitor and track results. This will be done by, for example, keeping impurities to minimum acceptable levels and using the NRC’s new battery-testing chain and analytical capabilities to demonstrate the performance of LiBTec anodes and cathodes in coin and pouch cells manufactured at the NRC. Improving cathode material through revised structure and composition will be an important activity. “There is certainly opportunity for improvement,” said Dr. Christina Bock, electrochemist and technical leader. “Modification of the cathode composition and structure will lower cost and increase battery performance. The NRC is in a unique position to utilize its multi-location teams and improve the Li-ion battery ma-
The NRC’s new battery testing chain and analytical capabilities to demonstrate the performance of LiBTec anodes and cathodes in coin and pouch cells will keep impurities in Li-ion batteries to minimum acceptable levels. LiBTec is growing every day, and we hope that the momentum does not stop. We want companies to continue to join, so that the Canadian supply chain becomes the strongest in the world.” The NRC modeled LiBTec after many other of its successful industrial R&D groups, giving each person around the table an equal voice and an efficient and economical way to minimize risks and share successes. n 2017 Mining Ad v1.pdf 1 2017-07-26 5:08:30 PM
Most metals and non-metals used in materials and components of Li-ion cells, such as anodes and cathodes, can be found in provinces and territories across the nation in large quantities. terial components simultaneously to increase performance and safety of the system.” Lithium-ion batteries are in almost everything we touch — cars and buses, smartphones and electronics, power tools and the modern electricity grids that power communities with renewable energy. As North American manufacturers look to stabilize and increase local production, they will need to align with Canadian mining companies since Canada has one of the largest reserves of flake graphite in the world. In addition, Canada has more than 15 mining companies looking to develop hard rock and brine resources both in Canada and around the world. Over the past several years, the National Research Council of Canada has synthesized and characterized more than 200 Li-ion battery cathode materials. The materials have been evaluated for performance and lifetime in Li-ion coin cells. “We formed this R&D group based on multiple conversations with various players in the industry” said Dr. Jean Yves Huot, an expert in battery materials currently working on battery-grade graphite and new anode technologies. “Since our launch in June 2017 we have had interactions with a wide spectrum of people, from automotive engineers to mining managers to policy experts.
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| Mining North of 60 35
Paraminerals Consulting Ltd. stays focused
with 3D geology visualizations
For mineral exploration companies, effectively communicating the complex concepts of underground geology, the scope of a drill plan or the results of a geophysical survey can present a challenge. Andrew Jeffrey, proprietor and project manager at Paraminerals Consulting Ltd., agrees. “Mineral exploration is by definition a three-dimensional activity,” he said. “In this industry, we’re looking at large areas of land and then looking underground too it can be a lot to comprehend. With our 3D-visualization products, we are tying together the landscape and the exploration data and making it all immediately relatable to investors, to geologists, to everyone.” Jeffrey earned his B.Sc. in geological sci-
36 Mining North of 60 | 2018
ences from Queen’s University and spent several years working on numerous mineral exploration projects across Canada, although he readily admits to a particular fondness for the Arctic. “My first field position, while I was still at school, took me straight to Ellesmere Island. I was absolutely hooked from minute one. I’d never even imagined how incredible and varied the landscape was, how welcoming and helpful people were, and I’ve since learned just how much we really do rely on the North.” Paraminerals Consulting Ltd. was founded in 2006, with a mission to provide a new standard of geology visualization at a time when such presentation products were at a creative lull.
Andrew Jeffrey. “Expectations for geology maps or 3D videos, for example, weren’t necessarily very high a few years ago,” Jeffrey said. “Now though, the standard is going up again and that’s primarily because software technology has improved and to match it computer rendering speeds have drastically increased”. Jeffrey’s interests are also deeply rooted in supporting a relatively new media format — virtual reality.
“Less than a year ago, almost no one had even heard about virtual reality as a tangible concept — now it seems like it’s everywhere,” he said. Certainly, the mineral exploration industry has also taken notice. “We’re seeing a marked increase in interest for quality VR content. People are quickly understanding that this new technology is perfectly suited for minex. Nothing compares to putting on a headset and seeing the project or the geology at actual size. It’s quite an amazing thing. They don’t expect the experience to be so impressive”. Jeffrey encourages his clients to think out of the box when considering the de-
sign and production of their media products. “I tell them that we have the technology. Let’s step beyond just the usual. Let’s
do something interesting and exciting and even more effective.” The team at Paraminerals provides a full range of services including G.I.S., land and mineral tenure management, maps and presentation products, fly-through video productions and custom virtual reality applications. The company is based on the west coast of British Columbia and proudly supports Canadian and international mineral exploration clients. For more information, contact Paraminerals Consulting Ltd. tollfree at 1-888-610-5534 and online at paraminerals.com. n
Land · Data · GIS · 2D · 3D · VR For a free consultation call
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| Mining North of 60 37
Applied diamond services for improved diamond recovery By Jane Danoczi and Mike McCubbing, Saskatchewan Research Council
The secure kimberlite processing facility is comprised of crushers (including high-pressure grinding roll), a scrubber, a DMS cyclone, a thickener, a clarifier and a recovery section that uses X-rays and grease. The Saskatchewan Research Councilâ€™s (SRC) Geoanalytical Laboratories Diamond Services (GLDS) is internationally recognized for secure and reliable micro- and macro-diamond recovery. The lab has consistently been at the forefront in developing and applying innovative solutions in the diamond exploration industry. Services include diamond typing, breakage assessment and grade predictions. Additional services include luminescence characterization of diamonds and gangue, densiometric analysis of kimberlite (usually for dense medium separation (DMS) audits) and the collection of information as each kimberlite facies is processed. This information helps in the design of new facilities and
38 Mining North of 60 | 2018
determines what technology is required for the efficient recovery of the diamonds.
Processing information for kimberlite The secure DMS facility at SRC processes kimberlite sample sizes between 20 tonnes and 2,000 tonnes. It has a range of crushers and a scrubber on which granulometry information is collected, a DMS cyclone where densiometric analysis can be conducted, a de-grit section where the solids (-1 mm particle) are weighed and removed, a thickener and clarifier for the
removal of clays, and a recovery section that uses X-rays and grease. Metallurgical accounting information is critical for plant design. Every sample that enters the DMS plant is weighed prior to processing and again before it leaves the facility. Metallurgical accounting is carried out on every sample, enabling SRC to monitor the quantities of waste for disposal, the grits (ideal building material for tailings dams), the clays generated by the kimberlites and the facility’s water consumption. The DMS facility also conducts chemical analysis of the process water to ensure all material is disposed of safely. This information is important to the project leader and can help advance the project into the pre-feasibility stage.
Luminescence characterization Diamonds emit visible light when irradiated with X-rays and are recovered from a dense medium concentrate using X-ray sorting techniques. A detector measures the intensity of the light (luminescence) and instructs an ejector to fire if the intensity is greater than a pre-determined threshold. Other minerals in the DMS concentrate (sinks) also fluoresce when irradiated with X-rays. SRC’s process identifies these fluorescent minerals and determines expected X-ray yields. As diamonds are irradiated with X-rays, the luminescence increases in intensity over a set time (rise time). When the irradiation source is removed, the luminescence decreases over a set time (decay time). Unlike diamonds, most fluorescent minerals
are not associated with a rise time and a decay time. When a fluorescent mineral is irradiated with X-rays, it fluoresces at a constant intensity but when the X-ray source is removed, the fluorescence is terminated. This discriminating feature between diamonds and minerals can be used in determining algorithms in X-ray units to improve mineral rejection.
Densiometric analysis In a diamond-processing facility, the DMS section is known as the workhorse of the plant since it can concentrate the ore by 99 per cent. To determine the density cut point set on a DMS cyclone unit, the density profile of the ore must be known. SRC has heavy liquid separation capabilities up to 3.6 specific gravity (SG) and routinely carries out density profiles from 2.7 SG to 3.5 SG. Densiometric analysis is necessary when auditing a DMS process. Floats and sinks from the DMS process are collected and subjected to a density profile. Any material with a density above 3.3 SG in the floats indicates a possible problem in the DMS process. Conducting a density profile of the DMS sinks verifies the correct pressure, spigot size and ferrosilicon (FeSi) medium density. Routine audits verify that the DMS is operating according to correct parameters and that quality standards are met or exceeded. The applied diamond services team is committed to quality and excellence and is ready to apply these new services to improve diamond operations globally. n
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| Mining North of 60 39
New report examines the HR challenges and changes unique to Canada’s exploration sector By Lindsay Coffin, senior research associate, MiHR
new pools of talent in mineral exploraMineral exploration is the first stage of Key observations tion work. the mining process and requires collaboKey observations include a need for inBy developing and deploying a robust ration between multiple stakeholders to creased collaboration between industry research tool — a survey of individuals and be successful. The mineral exploration and educational institutions and better organizations working in exploration — industry consists of a myriad of differcareer awareness and attraction efforts. MiHR and PDAC were able to fill a gap in ent organizations that come together Students reported the most negative calabour market information, allowing for a to discover potential areas for economic reer outlook. Results also illustrated an more refined and accurate reflection of the mineral resource development. The inabsence of a mid-career workforce. labour market realities and challenges facdustry is both highly volatile and poorly One of the positive aspects highlighting mineral exploration in Canada. understood, prompting the Mining Ined in these findings is the mineral exploResponses from the 397 completed surdustry Human Resources Council (MiHR) ration industry’s much higher proportion veys represented six categories of people to partner with the Prospectors & Develof women and immigrants compared to connected with the exploration industry: opers Association of Canada (PDAC) in the mining industry. In an increasingly employers, contractors, workers, educaearly 2017 to investigate the experiences competitive market for talent, diversity in tors, students and affiliates. The key obserand perspectives of the wide variety of the workforce is becoming a prominent vations derived from information provided people working in Canada’s mineral exsolution to address skill shortages. Diverby respondents help foster a better underploration sector. This research offers a sifying the labour force requires an instanding of the exploration industry. Some new look at many topics in exploration crease in participation, recruitment and issues contributing to the unpredictability from a broad and national lens, includretention of underrepresented groups. cannot be mitigated; the exploration ining topics such as women in exploration, These results indicate the exploration industry will always be cyclical as it is closely work-integrated learning and career dustry is making progress in diversifying tied to commodity prices and stock market awareness. These insights will support inits labour force. volatility. However, this surveyrepresentation identified dustry inm creating epresentation is mstakeholders uch higher in ineral estrategies xploration than in mining, and female rate of Looking more closely at the results, key areas for improvement. to increase the sector’s ability to engage 7 per cent reported in employer-‐reported headcounts. although the rate of female representation is lower than the total Canadian Figure1: Rate of female representation in the workforce for different industries gure1: Rate of female representation in the workforce for different industries compared to the survey response rate and workforce, it appears to be much higher compared to the survey response rate and headcount data provided by eadcount data provided by employers. in mineral exploration than other Canaemployers. dian resource sectors (Figure 1). Thirty 50% per cent of survey respondents were female, represented across all categories of 40% respondents (Figure 2). This is supported 30% by employer responses indicating that female representation is much higher in 20% mineral exploration than in mining, and 10% female representation rate of 27 per cent reported in employer-reported head0% counts. Eighty-seven per cent of female respondents indicated they have a bachelor’s degree, and 40 per cent indicated they have a graduate-level degree (master’s or PhD) meeting the high educational and technical demands of Source: Canadian Mineral Exploration: HRCOutlook; Statistics Canada, 2016. ource: Canadian Mineral Exploration: HR Outlook; Statistics anada, 2016. the exploration sector. The increased
gure 2: Number male and female respondents by job category. 40of Mining North of 60 | 2018
Source: Canadian Mineral Exploration: HR Outlook; Statistics Canada, 2016.
Figure 2: Number of male and female y job category. Figure 2: Number ofrespondents male and bfemale respondents by job category.
cent of P.Geo’s registered in Canada are women, but they make up 37 per cent of registered geoscientists in training (G.I.T.) Respondents by job type (Geoscientists Canada, 2017). 100% All mining stakeholders — employers, government, educators, associations, 80% etc. — have a vested interest in optimizing the supply of labour, for today and 60% tomorrow. A number of key observations were made using data collected from this 40% survey that help increase our knowledge of the labour market realities and chal20% lenges facing mineral exploration in Canada. This pilot study on the exploration 0% Overall Contractor Worker Student Educator Aﬃliate industry provides valuable information about the least-understood labour marMale Female ket in the mining industry. This survey was the first step in a larger strategy that Source: Canadian Mineral Exploration: HR OExploration: utlook. Source: Canadian Mineral HR Outlook. incorporates learning from all stakehold ers in our sector — not just mining exEighty-‐seven representation per cent of female respondents indicated master they have bachelor’s and 40 per traction cent — enabling us to better underof women with higher and a39 per cent ofdegree, PhD programs indicated they have a glevels raduate-‐level degree (inmaster’s o(CCCESD, r PhD) meeting he high educational education is also reflected the 2016). tFurthermore, there isand stand and address labour market issues enrolment numbers for earth science an increase in the number of w women technical demands of the exploration sector. The increased representation of women ith higher related to the entire mining cycle. programs in Canada where women make registering to become professional MiHR’s website to read the full reeducation levels is also reflected in the enrolment numbers for Earth Science programs in geoCanada wVisit here up 52 per cent of bachelor, 53 per cent of scientists (P.Geo). Currently only 20 per port (www.mihr.ca). n women make up 52 per cent of bachelor, 53 per cent of master and 39 per cent of PhD programs
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| Mining North of 60 41
LOSS OF CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE TO FIRE A MUCH BIGGER PROBLEM IN THE NORTH Replacing a school in a small northern community or critical process facility at a mine is no small challenge. It is essential that fire protection systems work the first time, every time. Automatic fire suppression systems (AFSS) control and extinguish fires without human intervention. Non-automatic systems require a human response to activate; for example, pulling a wall switch. Examples of suppression systems include wet and/or dry sprinkler systems, dry chemical, foam, gaseous and other specialty chemical suppression systems. AFSSs are accompanied by some form of detection system, such as a fire alarm
42 Mining North of 60 | 2018
system, which provides audible and/or visible signals as the result of activating an automatic device. Audible and/or visible alarm signal devices are commonly known as notification appliances. Manual stations, water flow switches, pressure switches and fire detectors are commonly known as alarm-initiating devices. All fire protection systems are governed by codes, such as the NBC, NFC and CAN/ULC, which generally reference standards established under the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In most jurisdictions, additional requirements are established for the mining industry.
Maintenance frequencies are established in relevant codes and/or standards as minimum requirements. Identified deficiency repairs should be performed as soon as possible and by qualified personnel. Because fire suppression, detection and alarm systems are generally not used on a routine basis, their state of readiness is not immediately apparent. When these systems are called upon to work, an emergency is at hand. There is no time to perform maintenance or repairs. Periodic inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) are essential to ensure successful performance when these systems
are needed. The goal of any ITM operation is to ensure that the system is in full operating condition and is likely to remain in that condition until the next inspection. All ITM must be performed by persons competent through training and experience. Some jurisdictions require that service persons be licensed to perform such work. Basic monthly inspections of fire protection systems may be performed by competent, trained-in-house personnel, but often outside contractors are used for more involved testing and maintenance. Asset owners are responsible for ensuring that the ITM personnel and contractors are qualified. Fire Prevention Services is the only fire inspections services company resident in the Northwest Territories providing services to all types of fire protection systems. We provide thousands of inspections per year to facilities located
Because fire suppression, detection and alarm systems are generally not used on a routine basis, their state of readiness is not immediately apparent. throughout the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Alberta and Yukon. Believing that fully-functioning fire protection systems are critical for when disaster strikes in the north, our primary business is the regular recurring inspection, testing and maintenance of fire protection systems. Due to the isolation and harsh operating conditions of the north, it is also critically essential fire protection systems be designed and installed with those conditions in mind. Experience has shown that fire protection systems designed and/or installed without this consideration experience a high rate of failure. Therefore, we also work with our clients to ensure their
fire protection systems are designed and installed properly. We have designed and installed dozens of fire protection systems of all types across the Canadian north. Located in Yellowknife, N.W.T. and in Leduc, Alta., Fire Prevention Services is ideally situated to respond to all our customersâ€™ requirements on an immediate basis. Our scheduling system ensures your recurrent inspection services are provided on a timely basis as required by code, and our web-accessible report system provides customer access to inspection reports 24-7. We can be the first on site to ensure your fire protection systems work the first time, every time and at lower cost. n
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| Mining North of 60 43
Telemedicine: the new frontier in remote medical support systems
For more than 25 years, Quebec-based Sirius Wilderness Medicine has provided complete medical solutions, advanced care, medical infrastructure and training in some of the most isolated and harsh regions of Canada. Sirius has remained a leader in the field through its development and implementation of an advanced telemedicine system specifically designed for remote mining and exploration sites. “Telemedicine has enabled us to dramatically increase the level of medical care we make available to workers,” said Dr. Marc Gosselin, Sirius' medical director. More than mere videoconferencing, telemedicine integrates a complete medical system with a secure communications system, allowing Sirius to provide specialized medical support in areas where medical care is severely limited, if not outright inaccessible. Gosselin said that most medical problems arising on remote work sites cannot be adequately treated by first responders. Medical evaluation by Sirius physicians and the medical team through the telemedicine system can make all the difference. Minor and non-urgent conditions may be treated on-site reducing patient discomfort, lost time, work disruptions and costly evacuations. Serious and urgent conditions are identified quickly so critical care and rapid evacuation may be mobilized without delay. Projects of virtually any size can have immediate access to a doctor and a secure means of transmitting patient data. Sirius’ telemedicine system integrates several critical elements: • A secure communications system that can transmit comprehensive information, including patient condition and critical data, to the Sirius on-call physician. • A team of physicians and healthcare professionals with vast experience in remote site medicine, emergency medicine and occupational health and safety. • An integrated and secure data management system of worker health information and clinical data. • Installation of operational medical clinics in all environments. • Advanced medical equipment, supplies and pharmaceuticals that have been specifically developed to support the telemedicine system.
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• Specialized training in advanced pre-hospital care for client personnel in the field, who may have to deal with difficult medical emergencies in cases of delayed evacuations. • Follow up and monitoring of patient care through all levels of medical care. In addition to a comprehensive telemedicine system, Sirius also provides an array of specialized services so clients can focus on their own specialization knowing that the health and safety of their workers are getting the priority treatment required, both before and during their time in the field: • Industry-recognized occupational health and safety training for people working in remote regions. • Expertise in risk analysis and OHS compliance. • Simulations and critical event scenarios allowing companies to test their emergency response capacity and ensure worker safety. • Development of emergency response plans and evacuation plans in tandem with local and regional health services. • Worker injury prevention programs and remote fit to work evaluations. For more information, visit www.siriusmed.com or call 877982-0066. n
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Telemedicine is an attractive option for the mineral exploration industry, according to Sirius president Bob Washer, for several reasons: 1) It offers rapid access to an emergency physician who will support on-site personnel in cases of more severe medical conditions. 2) It enables personnel to treat minor medical problems on site, thus reducing the need for costly evacuations and decreasing work time losses. 3) It can be adapted to all levels of on-site care (from first responder to nurse), making it both flexible and scalable.
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44 Mining North of 60 | 2018
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Expansion of oxide and sulphide Resources the key to Carmacks progress Copper North Mining Corp.â€™s flagship project, Carmacks project, is located approximately 30 km off the Klondike Highway at Carmacks, Yukon. The Carmacks copper-gold-silver deposit is in the southern portion of an evolving coppergold district that extends to the northwest to the Dawson gold fields. Copper was discovered in 1970s, and the mineral deposit has been through several exploration and development programs. Carmacks is somewhat unique as it is the only large oxide copper deposit in Canada, a feature resulting from avoidance of glaciation. The deep weathering of the sulphide mineralization has left a residue of copper, gold and silver mineralization that is amenable to leaching to produce copper cathode that can be sent directly to copper fabricators. The relatively high gold and silver grade is also somewhat unique and required Copper North to change the copper leach method to facilitate the recovery of gold and silver. With a change in management in March 2014, the project has been brought back to life with expansion of mineral resource and re-engineering to include recovery of gold and silver. The efforts of a new team have made the project more robust and progression to a new feasibility study that should demonstrate attractive economics.
All photos supplied by Copper North Mining Corp.
Copper North undertook its 2017 drill plan to confirm and expand the oxide resource in Zone 2000s, 12 and 13 (Zone 13 pictured). New drilling is expected to increase the oxide copper-gold-silver mineral resource in the south area, such the undertaking of future mine plan and extension of mine life is provided.
Strategic re-evaluation A review of the project in March 2014 indicated that the project needed to overcome several hurdles: expansion of mineral resources, reduction of capex and opex costs, and recovery of gold and silver to increase revenues. The previous feasibility study, completed in 2012, consisted of mining the oxide copper-goldsilver resources, crushing the ore and placement on a large leach pad. This was followed by sprinkling of sulphuric acid to leach the copper â€” collection of the
46 Mining North of 60 | 2018
Copper Northâ€™s drill core logging area.
copper laden (pregnant solution) liquid to strip out the copper by electrolysis to make cathode copper sheets. The operation of heap leach pads in winter conditions and closure of the leach pads provides engineering challenges.
Re-engineering of Carmacks: evolution of a new leach plan The key to the re-engineering was the recovery of gold and silver, increasing operating revenues and reducing operational risk. To evaluate the economics the company undertook a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) in November 2016 to provide some insight as to the impacts of gold and silver recovery in improving project economics. The results were encouraging as the PEA indicated that a modified heap leach copper and gold-silver plan would provide an approximate 30 per cent increase in gross mine revenues and a reduction in the cost of producing copper from $1.65 US/lb. copper compared to $1.07 US/lb. copper after deducting gold and silver credits.
Malachite, azurite copper minerals
220 KM NORTH OF WHITEHORSE, YUKON - 400 KM FROM YEAR-ROUND PORT AT SKAGWAY, AK
ADVANCING CARMACKS COPPER-GOLD DEPOSIT TO BE THE YUKON’S NEXT COPPER MINE COPPER NORTH
112 0 - 1 0 9 5 W. P E N D E R S T, VA N C O U V E R B C , C A N A D A V 6 E 2 M 6 T E L : 6 0 4 3 9 8 3210 » TO L L F R E E: 1 8 4 4 4 01 26 4 4 » FA X : 6 0 4 3 9 8 3 4 5 6 2018
| Mining North of 60 47
Oxide copper and bornite minerals.
New copper leach plan The common approach to processing oxide copper deposits is heap leaching on engineered leach pads with multiple liners. The usual heap leach technology was the focus of the earlier engineering and presents considerable challenges in preparation and management of construction of liners beneath and within the leach pads. The engineering team considered other forms of leaching the oxide copper that would ensure high recovery for the gold and silver. The metallurgical test work commenced in fall 2014, with the investigation of vat leaching. Although the test results were favourable, with acceptable leach times for copper of approximately 16 days, the team did not stop there. This was a major step forward in addressing the concerns associated with heap leach processing as the vats are enclosed and the risk of leakage during the leach operations is reduced. Copper North tested a fine crush and confirmed that a grind to one millimetre resulted in leach times of less than 24 hours. The motivation of pursuing the finer crush was driven by trying to reduce materials handling in winter conditions and therefore reducing operational risk. The next step was to determine how much of an effect temperature might have on the proposed agitated tank leach â€” the test work identified optimal leach times for copper and recovery in approximately four hours. With these very positive test
48 Mining North of 60 | 2018
Oxide copper. results, test work moved to recover gold and silver using the same agitated tank leach process as copper.
Recovery of gold and silver Evaluation of gold and silver recovery commenced with pumping residues from the copper circuit, rinsing the residues to remove all acid and soluble copper, and pumping the washed materials directly into the cyanide circuit to recover gold and silver. The test work confirmed similar fast leaching time of less than 16 hours and improved gold and silver recoveries. The gold and silver are recovered by the Merrill Crowe leach method to produce gold-silver dore. The final stage of processing is the cyanide destruction of the waste materials and dewatering them for dry stacked tailings disposal. The latter reduces many of the concerns of waste disposal at mining projects.
Mine economics and environmental performance A new Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) confirmed the details of the new leach plan and a basis for re-entering the permitting process and the pursuit of project financing. Some of the key areas for improvements include the fact that we have eliminated heap leach plan, which reduces capex in the July 2014 PEA ($225 million US) by approximately $75 million US. The transition to agitated tank leach
Sulphide copper beneath oxide mineralization.
also reduces required manpower and leads to increased operational efficiency and an expected reduction in operating cost. The adoption of agitated tank leach technology indicates that we should expect improved recovery of copper, gold and silver, and lower reagent costs. The new engineers shared the engineering between JDS Energy and Mining Inc., which built the Minto mine nearby. Additional engineering was done by BGRIMM, Hatch and others. Benchmarking indicates potential for reduction of capex for some equipment and further capital reduction for the Carmacks Project. We are particularly pleased by the much-improved operational efficiency and control. The outcome of these improvements reduces the risk of leakage and spillage that could negatively impact the environment. We are confident that the regulators, First Nations and other interested parties will approve the changes that we are proposing. We look forward to engaging with First Nations and the permitting of the new leach plan.
Project Economics The PEA assumed a base case of copper price of $2.50 US/lb. A revised economic model indicates a pre-tax net present value of $100 million discounted at eight per cent based on metal price of $3.00/lb copper, $1,300 US/oz gold and $17.50 US/ oz silver. IRR is 18.7 and pre-tax. The PEA also identified a series of opportunities for reducing capex and operating costs,
of which work is progressing. The key opportunity in enhancing the value of Carmacks is the increase of resource inventory to extend mine life.
Carmacks is bigger than you think Exploration resumed in 2014 after many years of dormancy. Trenching and drilling commenced in the fall of 2014 in Zone 2. Zone 2 is located approximately 2,500 metres to the north of the planned open pit in Zone 1, 4 and 7, the basis of the July 2014 PEA. The field work in Zone 2 extended the small deposit to a mineralized zone having a length of more than 500 metres and remains open to the south. Although interesting and poten-
tially mineable, it was relatively narrow compared to other targets south of the Zone 1 area. The 2015 exploration program was expanded to better understand controls of mineralization and commence fill-in drilling to expand mineral resources. All drilling was focused on a 2,000-metrelong mineralized zone, interpreted as the south extension of the initial proposed main mine area. Drilling in the south area indicated substantial new resources in the 2000s, 12 and 13 zones. Copper North news, released March 10, 2016, stated measured and indicated oxide resource inventory increased from 12.98 million tonnes grading 1.07 per cent copper, 0.456 g/t gold and 4.578 g/t silver to
a new oxide resource inventory of 15.69 million tonnes grading 0.94 per cent copper, 0.379 g/t gold and 3.97 g/t silver. Copper North undertook its 2017 drill plan to confirm and expand the oxide resource in Zone 2000s, 12 and 13; it is expected that the new drilling will increase the oxide copper-gold-silver mineral resource in the south area such the undertaking of future mine plan and extension of mine life is provided. Additional drilling of the oxide zones is warranted to upgrade inferred mineralization that is currently a total of approximately one million tonnes and expected to grow further in the known mineral zones.
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Sulphide mineralization beneath oxide.
Sulphide resource future Sulphide mineralization occurs in the deeper parts of the sulphide mineral zones that appear to be equally continuous as oxide mineral zones. Current sulphide resource in the main area in earlier drilling defined a measured and indicated tonnage of 4.34 million tonnes grading 0.75 per cent copper, 0.22 g/t gold and 2.40g/t silver and a similar 4.03 million tonnes in the inferred category. Some of this sulphide mineralization may be recoverable from expansion of the oxide copper open pit; however, other areas are likely to be mined from underground mining. Drilling in 2015 in the south area encountered substantial sulphide and copper oxide mineralization; particularly in
the 2000s, 12 and 13 zones. Due to oxide copper at depths in the range of 50 to 70 metres, at which point oxide ores transitions to mixed oxide and then sulphide, mineralization appears. The resource inventory in 2015 determined 4.3 million tonnes of sulphide in the south area likely suitable for open pit recovery in early stages of mining of sulphide mineralization. The addition of sulphide ore resources in 2015 in the south area, increased measure and Indicated sulphide resource to approximately 8 million tonnes grading 0.68 per cent copper, 0.17g/t gold and 2.33 g/t silver. A similar inferred resource of 8.4 million tonnes; the sulphide resource in all resource categories is about the same tonnage as oxide resources in all categories. Drilling began in September 2017 to confirm earlier mineral oxide resource in the south area; in the process, some of the deeper drill intercepts have intersected both transition and sulphide mineralization. Other oxide targets are expected as exploration progresses and the sulphides mineralization is very ex-
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tensive and most drill intercepts are not more than 100 metres deep. Surely, Carmacks mineral resource will continue to grow as exploration continues in the future.
Overcoming difficult markets The original mineral resource and seven-year mine life has been a struggle for the Carmacks project. The completion of the 2017 exploration has advanced a long way in overcoming this concern, and put Copper North in a better position to secure project financing. With the opportunity to extend mineral resource and mine life, management can continue final stages of engineers to address operating to reduce capex and opex and continue permitting requirements. With this progress, we will commence the securing of project financing and metals transactions. Timelines for construction and operating are now largely dependent on project financing; in the interim, Copper North will continue its exploration of the future of Carmacks. n
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Aura Silver Reports Exploration to Continue on the Greyhound Project Following 2017 Drill Results Drilling at Aura Silver Resources Inc.â€™s Greyhound property in Nunavut is now complete. Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. carried out the program to follow up on 2015/2016 drill results. Work included prospecting in new areas and diamond drilling of 10 holes for a total of 2,262 metres. Assays have been recorded for all holes and recent results are being interpreted by Agnico Eagle, were expected to be reported to Aura Silver in November along with future exploration plans. Approximately 70 assays for
52 Mining North of 60 | 2018
samples collected during an August prospecting survey over new areas are not yet received. Two high-priority areas now stand out for further exploration: Aura Lake, where high-grade boulders up to one ounce/ton are located at surface with gold-infused quartz veins intersected in drilling nearby, and Dingo West, where a kilometre-long quartz vein, with noted gold in assay grab samples, outcrops and lies adjacent to an untested copper gossan. Both areas show deformation, hydrothermal activity and
very large alteration halos in the enclosing volcanic rocks. As reported previously the best drill hole in 2015 intersected 6.41 g/t Au over 1.5 metres at the bottom of hole GHD15017. A check assay of this interval confirmed an increase of grade to 7.4 g/t Au. Follow up hole GHD17-021 was drilled in the close proximity to hole GHD15-017 (but much deeper; 384 metres in core length). In this hole eight different traces of visible gold were identified over a core length of three metres (336-339m), how-
ever the best one-metre interval assayed 0.536 g/t Au. Holes GHD17-024 and 25 tested the same target but failed to intersect additional quartz veins so it has been interpreted that the gold at this location is an isolated occurrence. Closer to the south end of Aura Lake where prospecting uncovered surface samples containing gold up to one ounce per ton, hole GHD17-023 targeted a magnetically interpreted structural target and intersected quartz veining assaying 3.3 g/t Au over a core length of three metres (from 94 to 97 metres) which included a shorter interval of 1.8 metres assaying 5.42 g/t Au. Deeper in the hole were several hits of gold mineralization: from 100 to 109.5 metres assaying from 0.2 to 0.45 g/t Au; at 138 metres 1.38 g/t Au over 1.5 metres; and, at 179.3 metres 0.993 g/t Au over 1.7 metres. Shorter holes were drilled on either side of GHD17023 which both intersected similar quartz veins suggesting that the mineralization in GHD17-023 was not isolated but may form part of a quartz vein system within a large siliceous, pyritic, sericite alteration zone. Hole GHD17-026 hit 1.202 g/t Au over 3.6 metres (62.2-65.8m) including 0.8 metres of 4.92 g/t Au at 63.5 metres. Hole GHD17-027 intersected 0.197 g/t Au from 38.2 to 41.3 metres (3.1 metres) and 0.94 g/t Au at 42.1 metres. Although the grades were not spectacular it is the first time in a drill program on the property that continuity of mineralization has been established. Further follow-up will be required to fully evaluate these interesting gold intercepts in quartz veins. In the northeastern portion of the claim group, a long, linear quartz vein was traced over 1.7 km in strike length. Grab samples collected from this vein, referred to as the Dingo Zone, assayed from 1.18 g/t Au up to 126 g/t Au and 96.6 to 356 g/t Ag. West of this vein a gossanous copper rich stringer zone assayed 0.896 g/t Au in one grab sample. The copper gossan zone target has not been drill tested and further I.P. geophysical surveys, prospecting and diamond drilling are recommended. “We are very pleased with the latest round of drill results as, for the first time, drilling has intersected gold mineralization that appears to be continuous over several holes rather than an isolated drill intercept,” said Bob Boaz, CEO. “Both structural and alteration features are present in the area of south Aura Lake as are the high-grade boul-
ders. The company expects that exploration will stay focused on this area in 2018.”
Agnico Eagle completes first phase of option agreement Agnico Eagle has completed Phase 1 of the option agreement to acquire a 51 per cent interest in Aura Silver’s Greyhound. This included completion of the $1,750,000 expenditure requirement at the end of May 2017, as well as option payments to Aura Silver totaling $210,000. Aura Silver is now in discussions with Agnico Eagle to plan the 2018 Greyhound drill program.
About Aura Silver Aura Silver is a TSX Venture-listed company engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of precious metal prospects in Canada (49 per cent-owned Greyhound project) and in Oaxaca, Mexico (100 per cent-owned East Taviche project). Aura Silver has 128,116,558 common shares outstanding. n *FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: This press release may contain forward-looking statements that are made as of the date hereof and are based on current expectations, forecasts and
assumptions which involve risks and uncertainties associated with our business including the uncertainty as to whether further exploration will result in the target(s) being delineated as a mineral resource, capital expenditures, operating costs, mineral resources, recovery rates, grades and prices, estimated goals, expansion and growth of the business and operations, the private placement financing activities of the company, plans and references to the company’s future successes with its business and the economic environment in which the business operates. All such statements are made pursuant to the ‘safe harbour’ provisions of, and are intended to be forward-looking statements under, applicable Canadian securities legislation. Any statements contained herein that are statements of historical facts may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements require us to make assumptions and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties. We caution readers of this news release not to place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements as a number of factors could cause actual results or conditions to differ materially from current expectations. Please refer to the risks set forth in the company’s most recent annual MD&A and the company’s continuous disclosure documents that can be found on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Aura Silver does not intend, and disclaims any obligation, except as required by law, to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
| Mining North of 60 53
The Effectiveness of Community-Based Development
Newmont found a partner in Project C.U.R.E. that shares its purpose: to create value and improve lives through sustainable and responsible mining
The Partner As a leading gold producer with operations in the United States, Australia, Ghana, Peru and Suriname, Newmont Mining depends on positive community relationships.
The Objective Newmont recognizes that its operations require support from the communities that host them and this support can only be earned. To this end, Newmont looks for development partners who provide community-centred services that proactively engage employees and community members alike.
Our Partnership The commitment to positive relationships with host communities is a core value for Newmont. “Our business inDuring the 2015-2017 baseball seasons and as part of a strikeout fundraising initiative with the Colorado Rockies, Newmont Mining generously donated $124,650 to help deliver medical supplies to multiple countries. The donations from this initiative are distributed to projects in need of funding around the world where supplies are scarce and the need is real.
54 Mining North of 60 | 2018
volves much more than exploring for and producing gold. It’s about understanding people’s interests and aspirations for their communities,” says Matt King, senior manager, social responsibility. “Project C.U.R.E. helps make this happen through their extensive needs assessments and approach to gaining agreement from the end users on every piece of medical equipment before it is shipped. They also provide great employee volunteer experiences to pack and deliver medical supplies and equipment to hospitals and clinics in communities close to where we operate.”
The Newmont and Project C.U.R.E. relationship extends far beyond providing employee volunteer opportunities or sponsoring a cargo container of medical equipment and supplies. While these are cornerstones of the partnership, Newmont and Project C.U.R.E. take their responsibilities to local communities seriously: • Newmont employees not only volunteer to sort and pack materials and Kits for Kids at Project C.U.R.E. distribution centres, they also pick up and deliver C.U.R.E. kits when they’re traveling to most of the places where they work. • Newmont partners with Project C.U.R.E. to bring medical teams to Ghana, Peru and Suriname. These medical teams comprise 12 to 20 volunteer medical personnel and have provided primary care clinics, patient education and provider education to more than 7,000 community members. They use the supplies and resources provided by Project C.U.R.E. and a traveling pharmacy to serve the local communities. Newmont’s local staff and volunteers act as stewards, community liaisons, and translators during the clinics.
• For four years, Newmont has sponsored the Helping Babies Survive training program in Ghana. Through this program, they’ve trained more than 200 nurses and midwives in neonatal resuscitation and newborn care. The neonatal mortality rate in the regions of Ghana where Newmont operates has been reported at 0.79 while the national average is 8.7. • During the 2015 to 2017 baseball seasons, and as part of a strikeout fundraising initiative with the Colorado Rockies, Newmont Mining generously donated a total of $124,650 to help deliver medical supplies to multiple countries. The donations from this initiative are distributed to projects in need of funding around the world where supplies are scarce and the need is real.
Our Impact Since 2005, the Newmont-Project C.U.R.E. partnership has engaged Newmont employees, strengthened the infrastructure of Newmont’s host communities and fulfilled Newmont’s objective to serve as a catalyst for economic development in local communities. With Project C.U.R.E., Newmont has delivered more than $8.8 million worth of medical supplies and equipment, which adds up to 19 40-foot shipping containers, benefitting nearly one million people. n
“With a return on investment of 20:1, the work we do through our partnership with Project C.U.R.E. is one of the most impactful investments we make.” – Matt King, senior manager, social responsibility 2018
| Mining North of 60 55
Metallic Minerals Corp. and the blueprint for finding high-grade silver in the Yukon territory’s famous Keno Hill Silver District Photos supplied by Metallic Minerals.
currently host to one of the highest-grade silver operations in the world, in Alexco Resource Corp. It is also host to neighbouring Metallic Minerals (TSX-V: MMG; US OTC: MMNGF), a Vancouver-based exploration company with the second-largest land position in the Keno District at 166 km2. After undertaking a comprehensive review of historic and modern exploration information, the Metallic team developed an exploration program in keeping with the blueprint for success mapped out so expertly by Alexco. The effectiveness of that methodology for Metallic is about to be revealed, as the company expects drilling results before year-end. Metallic Minerals’ flagship Keno Silver project, in the traditional territory of the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun, covers the eastern and southern portions of the Keno District. The company has doubled its land position over the past year and now 10 of the 12 known and identified mineralized structures that originate on Alexco ground traverse across Metallic’s holdings. It is a land package that hosts numerous historic producing operations, five of which had average grades in excess of a staggering 5,000 g/t silver, yet previously fractured claim ownership prevented any significant degree of modern work.
High potential for discovery Metallic Minerals is led by an experienced team with a track record of exploration success, having been involved with the discovery and advancement of several major northern precious and base metal deposits. The Yukon has long been synonymous with mining, and the territory is renowned for its unparalleled mineral endowment, particularly gold. From the original Klondike Gold Rush to its recent renaissance heralded by Goldcorp Inc.’s acquisition of Kaminak Gold Corp. and subsequent entrance by majors including Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., Newmont Mining Corp. and Barrick Gold Corp. and Coeur Mining Inc.,
56 Mining North of 60 | 2018
Yukon has re-emerged as a top gold mining exploration district. Perhaps less famous, but equally as impressive, is the Yukon’s silver history. Hosting one of the world’s richest silver camps, the Keno Hill Silver District was discovered in the early 1900s and has produced more than 200 million ounces over the past century. More wealth was generated from the Keno District than from the Klondike. It is
Metallic is led by an experienced team with a track record of exploration success, having been involved with the discovery and advancement of several major northern precious and base metal deposits. “Even with over 100 years of mining history in the Keno District, it remains greatly underexplored as evidenced by the major new high-grade discoveries by Alexco over recent years,” Greg Johnson, Metallic Minerals’ chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Our strategy is to utilize this same systematic exploration approach on our land holdings and, in particular, focus on
Metallic Minerals is a Vancouver-based exploration company with the second-largest land position in the Keno District at 166 km2. areas associated with the former producing mines where silver is known to occur.” The importance of the Keno Silver project being a brownfields exploration in an historically active district and next to past production cannot be overlooked. This high level of activity means the typical risks and uncertainties can be mitigated. In addition, the process of systematic exploration along these known mineralized trends has been demonstrated to be a successful strategy in the discovery of several new deposits in the district. Metallic wrapped up 2017 exploration at the Keno Silver Project in September, with results expected to begin rolling out in the latter half of Q4. A total of 1,321 meters was drilled in 14 holes split between the Cairbou, Duncan and Homestake veins, while a combination of 18 pits and trenches were dug on five different vein targets. Geophysical investigations, including ground magnetic and VLF surveys, were conducted on four different target areas and 1,993 soil samples were taken from nine separate vein targets. The results of that work and these newly acquired targets will be incorporated into the developing geologic model and will
help direct the 2018 exploration season plans and targeting.
High-grade resources and small footprint are good for economics The deposits at Keno Hill have some of the highest grades in the world and this is extremely important, economically. Metallic’s neighbour, Alexco, recently completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment focusing on mining of four deposits which host 67 million ounces of silver grading 843 grams per tonne. The extremely high-grade ore allowed for the very robust 75.3 per cent IRR with a low capital cost of just $27 million reported in the PEA. Concentrate production is slated to restart in late 2018. Metallic is also targeting high-grade silver at other Yukon locations, including its McKay Hill property, approximately 50 km to the northwest of Keno Hill. Results reported in October showed silver values of nearly 1,000 g/t with associated highgrade gold, lead, zinc and copper. With analysts projecting silver to outperform gold over the next several years, interest in silver projects in top, stable ju-
risdictions like Yukon will be high. Metallic Minerals’ upcoming exploration results from the Keno Silver project, and its portfolio of other earlier-stage Yukon-based silver assets, can be expected to garner the company significant attention and recognition as one of the north’s leading silver explorers. n
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| Mining North of 60 57
Strikepoint Gold acquires Pluto property in central Yukon The past year has been big for the Pluto property in the central Yukon area. The property was part of a large land package acquired by Strikepoint Gold in early 2017, which at the time consisted of 22 projects spread across the Yukon territory. The package has taken a bit of a winding path of ownership via Oban and IDM Mining, but was originally assembled by the infamous Shawn Ryan and spun into Ryan Gold Corp. During the 2011-2012 boom, more than $30 million dollars were spent on exploration on the portfolio, meaning that when Strikepoint took over the portfolio, much of the basic exploration work (soils, geophysics etc.) was complete, advancing the company to a drill-ready stage. Strikepoint also got lucky with staffing for the project; Andy Randell was taken on as vice-president, exploration, and Scott Dorion as the project geologist, both of whom had previously worked with Ryan Gold Corp. on the same properties, overseeing all the early stage exploration. This allowed Strikepoint to hit the ground running, not losing a season to reinterpretation or ground truthing of data. Strikepoint raised $8 million at the start of 2017, with buy-in from renowned investors like Eric Sprott, Frank Holmes and Warren Irwin. Pluto was chosen as a primary target as it was one of the largest and most advanced in the portfolio. Covering an area 35 km by 35 km in size, it had seen nearly 16,000 soil samples collected and a property-wide aerial geophysical program completed in 2012, which gave tantalising results, including 15.43g/t gold in soil in one anomalous area. These grades were linked to areas where limestones were interacting with volcanic dykes forming mineralized skarns, but a lack of outcrop. Then a major crash in the exploration industry prevented any follow up. That was until 2017. Strikepoint was active on the Pluto property in July and August as part of its summer program which also took in the Mahtin, Golden-Oly and PDM properties.
58 Mining North of 60 | 2018
The use of the RAB drill ensured that activities were low cost, low impact and could be undertaken on a Class 1 exploration permit. The primary goal was to collect subsurface data quickly, cheaply and efficiently so a RAB drill campaign was mounted in conjunction with GroundTruth Exploration, along with ground geophysics (IP) to see if the proposed mineralized limestones could be traced at depth. The use of the RAB drill ensured that activities were low cost, low impact and could be undertaken on a Class 1 exploration permit. This tactical decision meant that Strikepoint could assess the area without losing time to a permitting process, and leave no environmental scarring on the property should there be no tangible results. Two areas were chosen as targets, the Charon Zone in the northeast of the property, and the Hydra Zone in the centre. The Charon Zone was the site of the 2012 anomalous soils â€” a 1.5 km band of soils more than 1g/t gold. There was concern these results could have been gossanous and therefore not represented at depth, so drill testing was required. Initially, six holes were drilled perpendicular to the ridgeline anomaly to cross cut the anomalous zone and test a smaller anomaly mapped downslope but running parallel to the main Charon zone, interpreted as a second limestone layer. While results were pending, the drill moved to Hydra Zone some six km to the southwest where evidence of the same limestone units persisted under another soil anomaly. Results from the drilling were very promising, with intersections of 1.05g/t gold over 15.24 metres and 1.67 per cent copper over 6.1 metres at Charon. These grades not only proved the mineralization was not surficial gossans, but that it spread beyond just the limestones and into the schists and that ground geophysics can help identify targets. At Hydra, the 2018
| Mining North of 60 59
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drill intercepted 10.67 metres at 0.4g/t gold, although lower grade it is geochemically like the Charon Zone. These grades prompted a step-out drilling program on Charon, with an additional two holes completed 600 metres to the east of the first drill line. Results here returned 32 metres at 0.14 per cent copper and indicates continuity at depth. These results are exciting for Strikepoint Gold as the Pluto project represents a large land holding in an underexplored area. It is a few hundred kilometers southeast of the White Gold district but is geologically distinct and therefore ripe for a new discovery. Strikepoint is planning its 2018 field
season and trying to tighten up targeting for Pluto by running some off-season mineralogy/metallurgical work on drill chips. This will help to identify the favourable metal-hosting environments and allow a more focused study of the geological and geochemical data in their database. The program must be balanced with the other discoveries made by Strikepoint in 2017, notably the 78 km “Seven Wonders” trend, which passes through their PDM, GoldenOly and Nordic properties in the North Canol area. But with $5 million in the treasury, Strikepoint is not only fully funded until 2019, but has the cash to keep pushing these discoveries forwards. n
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| Mining North of 60 61
New Centre for Mine and Industry Training nears completion at Aurora College’s Thebacha Campus
As part of an ongoing strategy to support the mining industry in the Northwest Territories and to provide quality, trained employees for the territory’s diamond mines, Aurora College has consolidated its minespecific and heavy equipment operator (HEO) training programs at Thebacha Campus in Fort Smith, where the new $10-mil-
lion Centre for Mine and Industry Training (CMIT) is being constructed. Work on the CMIT began in July 2017, and is expected to be substantially complete by Feb. 28, 2018. The CMIT will focus on the development, delivery and maintenance of both mining-related curriculum and the heavy equipment operator pro-
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gram, using state of the art technology and current curriculum. The new, stand-alone structure will contain several vehicle bays, classroom and office space, and areas to house all mining equipment, simulators and other training-related equipment. The facility will offer improved and upgraded areas for both classroom and hands-on learning. The CMIT will have increased and improved facilities for storage and maintenance of heavy equipment used in programs. It will also provide a permanent, suitable home for the mining simulator, which allows students to practice driving equipment and trucks used in mines prior to training in the actual machines. Aurora College, through the Mine Training Society, has received several generous donations of equipment in recent years from the three N.W.T. diamond mines; the new facility will allow this equipment to be properly stored and maintained. As well, the dedicated classroom, office and storage space will improve both the learning environment and safety. Having all HEO and mining programs located at Thebacha Campus will provide improved access to student housing and student services (such as tutoring, counselling, recreation facilities and on-campus activities) that are not available at all Aurora College locations. For faculty, the new facility will allow for improved planning of instructional time, more collaboration between instructors and better facilities to deliver programs.
Surface Miner students from summer 2017 practicing in a haul truck. All campus-based HEO programs and all campus-based mine training programs will use the facility. These include introduction to the mining industry, introduction to underground mining, underground miner training, surface miner training, mineral process operator and heavy equipment operator (full, intro and abridged.) Some introductory programs will still be run in communities as required; additional programs may be offered at the facility in the future. Aurora College works closely with industry representatives to create and update curriculum for mine-specific courses to ensure the students’ learning matches the expectations for the positions they will be entering. Complementing Aurora College’s mining-specific programming, graduates of many Aurora College programs are employed at Diavik, Ekati and Gahcho Kué diamond mines. Apprentices and journeypersons, environmental officers, finance clerks, health care professionals, administrative clerks and managers, and training officers are some of the many roles our graduates occupy. In addition, the dozens of new supervisors and leaders employed at the diamond mines have completed the northern leadership development program. n
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| Mining North of 60 63
Reducing Fuel Costs in Exploration and Mining Kennady Diamonds Kelvin Camp, located approximately 280 km northeast of Yellowknife. Photo courtesy of Kennady Diamonds and Aurora Geosciences.
Fuel usage is one of the greatest operational costs at remote operations north of 60. Exploration and mining companies are constantly looking for ways to maximize site efficiencies and delivery costs, allowing projects to continually advance. From small exploration camps to large operating mines, there are opportunities for renewable energy systems to offset fuel consumption throughout the North. With plummeting renewable costs and increasingly lucrative returns on investment, the mining community has started aggressively deploying these systems worldwide. In 2016, Sandfire in Australia commissioned the largest mine supported photovoltaic system in the world at 10.6 MW. Closer to home, Diavik Diamond Mine (Northwest Territories) has deployed 9.2 MW of wind, with this system operating successfully since 2012. Even solar thermal finds utility scale use at Codelcoâ€™s Chilean operations, where solarpowered boilers support the electro-winning process. The potential to reduce fuel costs has been demonstrated and savings can go toward finding ounces in the ground. In northern Canada however, the uptake of renewable technologies has been slower, particularly in the exploration sector. What are the barriers to deployment and can renewables make an impact at this level?
Knowledge gaps First, we get plenty of sun in the North with average irradiance (the measure of sunlight received), equal or greater to the average irradiance levels in Germany, which has the largest number of solar systems installed globally. It is true, our sun is seasonal, but it is not about replacing the baseload; it is about augmenting the power supply and reducing fuel consumption. Solar is often associated with equatorial climates and assumed to perform poorly in cold climates. However, solar modules are robust, can handle harsh arctic conditions and actually operate more efficiently at lower temperatures. For example, with the same irradiance lev-
64 Mining North of 60 | 2018
els, a solar module operating at minus 25 C would outperform a module at plus 25 C by 15 to 20 per cent. This means when the sun starts to shine in March you can expect great renewable production for your spring drill campaign. In addition to its operational capabilities solar energy production is easily and effectively modelled, even with open source data, enabling effective design. Lastly, solar technology is scalable, which means you can start small and build out as needs and budgets expand.
Technology gaps Advancements in solar technology have effectively closed the gap and can be applied directly to remote solar deployments. PV penetration, the amount of solar energy you can apply against diesel generation, has traditionally been limited to 20 per cent. At an exploration-size operation, the use of batteries and solar can allow for penetration levels of 100 per cent with generator/battery cycling, while a large-scale operation can take advantage of microgrid controllers allowing up to 60 per cent grid penetration without batteries. Batteries themselves are seeing constant improvement in power density and cycle life with dramatic price reductions leading to unprecedented affordability. Solar modules are also reaching increasingly higher wattages. The increase in wattage means more power can be attained with less modules, less electrical components and less construction time, resulting in lower costs. One of the exciting advancements in solar technology for the North has been the creation of bi-facial modules which absorb sunlight from both the front and back. This allows for better summer capture of wide horizon sun and winter capture of snow reflected sun, leading to significant increases in solar system performance without installing solar trackers. Effectively the knowledge and technology gaps are being addressed by northern-based solar EPCs that are driving down pricing, educating clientele and designing systems specific to Canadaâ€™s north. So, what might a renewable deployment look like in a remote exploration camp?
Fly-in exploration camp The following case study uses information gathered from publicly available NI 43-101 reports regarding mid-sized exploration camps operating in northern Canada. Data was modelled using HOMER Energy Modelling and RETScreen software. Diesel consumption is based on specification data for Generac 30 and 50kW generators. In this scenario, the exploration camp has 40 personnel living and working in semi-permanent structures powered from a single 30kW generator. Fuel is flown in and maybe even slung by helicopter. A camp this size will have a dedicated kitchen/mess, an office, ablution and shift-change areas. Drills are spinning 24 hours while the rest of the camp works a 12-hour day shift. A typical electrical profile for the day looks like the figure below.
The peaks in consumption correspond to shift change activity and mealtime. The average daily baseload is drawn by the office and kitchen, increasing during lunch and continuing during dinner preparation. Night time loads drop considerably. The daily totals for this camp are 328.5kWh of electricity consumed and 126.2L of diesel burned to produce it. Realizing the overall consumption is important to modelling the camps needs but special consideration should be paid to the quality of generator use. Night loads drop to 10 per cent of generator capacity and peaks occur when the bulk of personnel are in. This poses a couple of problems. Generators are sized to peak demand, and run optimally at 80 to 90 per cent-rated continuous load. This provides the best burn rate, reduces build up and corrosion, and minimizes maintenance costs. Sized adequately, the generator in this camp is only operating at optimal load for four hours a day. Generators also require a minimum burn rate to turn, equivalent to about 25 per cent load, so even as the load drops the generator still burns a minimum. This is why 11:00 p.m.
through 5:00 a.m. sees the same fuel burn rate despite varying electrical loads. For a fly-in-only operation, especially with a couple of sling loads, $5/L diesel is common. If this camp operates for eight months of the year, energy production accounts for $151,440 of operating costs. Now, let us build a renewable energy system in the same camp. The generator size is increased to 50kW to allow baseload and battery charging to occur simultaneously. A 20kW solar array is installed and solar production is modelled using irradiance data for the town of Mayo in the Yukon Territory, 63.6Â° latitude. A 125kWh battery bank is installed, capable of handling base and peak camp loads from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The generator runs only during the evening peak usage hours, handling the baseload and charging the batteries. The generator is now operating at the optimal 80 to 90 per centrated continuous load and for only five hours a day. This represents a 60 per cent fuel savings. With daily consumption and operating season remaining the same, operating costs drop to $72,000. The table below demonstrates a simple payback of around 20.6 operational months, or early in the third field season. The higher initial cost of the 50kW generator is considered but this scenario does not include the installation, commissioning and maintenance costs of the generator. Also, not considered are associated fuel-containment and environmental-liability costs. Further benefits not considered are write-offs associated with renewable energy investment, write-offs associated with leasing renewable equipment and carbon taxes. Finally, the overall environmental stewardship and improved working environment for the crew are complex but significant additional benefits. The goal of an exploration company is to put money raised into finding reserves. The best way to manage that money against remote operational costs is a delicate balance between exploration demands and multi-year budgets. Given the above scenario and associated benefits, a renewable energy system will have paybacks within a couple of years, and positive effects immediately. Given the ever-expanding timelines of reserve development, if the project has legs, it should have solar. It saves money. n Solvest is a northern Canadian-based solar company specializing in remote energy generation. We work with a wide range of clients designing custom solar solutions to meet individual needs. With over 1.2 Megawatts installed, our experience ensures clients receive solar technology suited to the unique demands of cold climates and remote locations.
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Alaska and China sign historic jointdevelopment agreement
Developing America’s largest energy export project keting, financing, investment model and China content in Alaska LNG, and get a periodic result by 2018. “Today’s agreement brings the potential customer, lender, equity investor and developer together with a common objective of crafting mutually-beneficial agreements leading to increased LNG trade between Alaska and China,” said Keith Meyer, president, AGDC. “Sinopec is interested in the possibility of LNG purchase on a stable basis from Alaska LNG,” stated Sinopec. “This is an agreement that will provide Alaska with an economic boom comparable to the development of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System in the 1970s,” said governor Bill Walker, State of Alaska. “CIC Capital is an experienced financial investor in the energy and infrastructure sectors and has long been interested in investing in American LNG infrastructure. CIC Capital is pleased to work with fellow industry and financial partners on this project,” said CIC Capital in a statement.
Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC), the State of Alaska, China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec), CIC Capital Corporation (CIC Capital) and Bank of China (BOC) announced a joint development agreement Nov. 9, 2017 to advance Alaska LNG, Alaska’s strategic gas infrastructure project. The agreement was signed in the presence of United States president Donald Trump and China president Xi Jinping, and expresses the common interests in the preparatory work of Alaska LNG. Alaska LNG is designed as a 20 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) integrated LNG system comprised of a three-train liquefaction plant in southcentral Alaska at Nikiski — an approximately 800-mile, 1.1-metrediameter gas pipeline; a gas treatment plant on the North Slope of Alaska; and various interconnecting facilities to connect the Prudhoe Bay gas complex to the gas treatment plant. Under the agreement, the parties have agreed to work co-operatively on LNG mar-
“As the most internationalized bank in China, Bank of China is willing to facilitate the China-U.S. energy co-operation and provide financial solutions for this transaction by taking advantage of its vast experiences and expertise in international megaproject financing,” said Bank of China. Sinopec is a huge, state-owned, fullyintegrated energy and chemical company. Based in Beijing, Sinopec is the largest oil and gas company in the world by revenue with annual revenue of $455.49 billion US. CIC Capital is China’s direct investment arm, which is mandated to make direct investments and manage bilateral and multilateral fund investments to pursue long-term financial returns and promote international investment co-operation. CIC Capital is a market-oriented commercial entity with a specialized mandate and global reach. As a long-term financial investor, CIC invests on a commercial basis. Bank of China is a state-owned commercial bank. Bank of China ranks within the top 10 largest banks in the world by market capitalization value and provides a comprehensive range of financial services to clients in 52 countries and regions around the world. The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) is an independent, public corporation of the State of Alaska, empowered to maximize the benefit of Alaska’s Waste Facilities Environmental Services Transportation vast North Slope natural gas resources Waste Facilities Environmental Services Transportation ■ Hazardous waste transfer ■ Emergency response ■ through the development of infrastructure Contaminted soil Hazardous waste transfer Emergency response Contaminted soil ■ ■ Soil treatment ■ Remediation Bulk solids necessary to move the gas into local and Remediation Bulk solids Soil treatment ■ Consulting ■ Bulk fluids ■ Secure landfill international markets. Visit www.agdc.us Secure landfill Consulting Bulk fluids ■ Sludge processing ■ Onsite ■ Containerized Sludge processing Onsiteservices services Containerized waste waste for up to date information. The State of Alaska is responsible for dePhone: 855 354 5263 ■ firstname.lastname@example.org veloping Alaska’s immense natural resourc867 873 5263 Phone: 855 354 email@example.com es for the benefit of all Alaskans. In addition Servicing Northern and Western Canada Servicing Northern and Western Canada to huge, proven natural gas reserves, Alaswww.kblenv.com ka contains some of the world’s largest oil www.kblenv.com and mineral deposits, including gold, coal, zinc, copper and rare earth elements. n ■
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The 2018 issue of North of 60 magazine features stories on a new report which examines HR challenges and changes to Canada's exploration sec...