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K92 shares up on high-grade drill results at Kora

K92 Mining’s (TSXV: KNT) shares were up Monday morning as the company released results from the ongoing diamond drilling of the Kora deposit at the Kainantu gold mine in Papua New Guinea.

The drilling results are highlighted by hole KMDD0261, which recorded multiple high-grade intersections including 9.80 m at 83.27 g/t Au, 10 g/t Ag and 1.03% Cu (84.92 g/t AuEq, 6.63 m true width) at the K1 Vein.

Drilling to the south continued to intersect significant mineralization, highlighted by KMDD0229 recording multiple intersections including 1.67 m at 29.76 g/t Au, 8 g/t Ag and 0.87% Cu (31.15 g/t AuEq, 1.11 m true width) at the K1 Vein, the company said in a press release.

The Kainantu property covers a total area of ~725 km2 

“All twenty-eight holes intersected mineralization, with 18 intersections exceeding +10 g/t AuEq and 29 intersections exceeding +5g/t AuEq,” said K92 CEO John Lewins in a media release.

“We are pleased to announce the arrival of our tenth drill rig on site. Over the last twelve months, our drill rig fleet has doubled. We intend to continue to add drill rigs through 2021, with our eleventh drill rig scheduled to arrive in Q1. Drilling is underway at Kora, Karempe and Judd epithermal vein systems and the Blue Lake porphyry.”

The Kora Deposit comprises two parallel, steeply west dipping, north-south striking quartz-sulphide vein systems, K1 and K2, within an encompassing dilatant structural zone hosted by phyllite. An additional structure, the Kora Link, has also been defined between K1 and K2.

The current resource estimate area covers an area of approximately 1,250 metres along strike by 1,050 to 1,150 metres vertically, representing ~75% of the drill target area.

The Kainantu property covers a total area of ~725 km2 and was previously mined by Highlands Pacific and Barrick Gold from 2006-2009.

Midday Monday, K92’s stock was up 3% on the TSXV. The company has a C$1.64 billion market capitalization.

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First Quantum expands copper reserve base with Argentina project

First Quantum Minerals (TSX: FM) has expanded its copper reserve base following results of an updated NI 43-101 technical report for its Taca Taca copper-gold-molybdenum project in the Puna (Altiplano) region of Salta province, Argentina.

The report outlined a maiden mineral reserve estimate of 7.7 million tonnes of contained copper at the development project. It also showed over 5 million ounces of contained gold and 210,000 tonnes of molybdenum.

This would increase First Quantum’s total mineral reserves by 36% to over 29 million tonnes of contained copper, representing the fifth-largest copper reserve base globally.

This would increase First Quantum’s total mineral reserves to over 29 million tonnes of contained copper, representing the fifth-largest copper reserve base globally

The estimate was derived from an open-pit mine design with a planned processing throughput of up to 60 million tonnes per annum through a conventional flotation circuit with a mine life of approximately 32 years.

The recovered copper reaches a peak of approximately 275,000 tonnes within the first 10 years of operations. The design is based on the process plants that First Quantum has successfully constructed and operated at its Sentinel and Cobre Panama operations.

A decision to proceed with the construction of Taca Taca is not expected until sometime in 2023 or 2024, the company said, as it remains focused on deleveraging its balance sheet over this period.

Work will continue to advance the project and to further refine and optimize the plan while obtaining the required approvals and permits and suitable assurances with respect to the Argentinian fiscal regime in advance of a formal construction decision.

First Quantum also intends to evaluate which energy sources for the project are more environmentally friendly — including potentially 100% renewables or a combination of renewables and natural gas — and to optimize the energy intensity of the project.

The impact of the current carbon tax regime in Argentina is currently not material to the project economics, the company added.

The Taca Taca project was previously acquired through First Quantum’s takeover of Lumina Copper in 2014.

Shares of First Quantum Minerals rose 1.8% by 1 p.m. in Toronto. The Vancouver-based copper miner has a market capitalization of approximately C$12.7 billion.

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Copper Mountain updates mine plan with 65,000 t/d mill expansion

Copper Mountain Mining has announced an updated life-of-mine plan, completed at a pre-feasibility study level, for its 75%-owned Copper Mountain mine in southern B.C. The latest report incorporates a mill expansion to 65,000 t/d, up from 40,000 t/d currently and, according to the release, “increases Copper Mountain’s after-tax net present value (NPV) by over 60% to $1 billion, on higher production and lower costs,” when compared with last year’s technical report.

The latest study builds on a 45,000 t/d mill expansion that is now underway and expected to start up in the third quarter of next year.

The new mill expansion scenario features a 21-year mine, producing an average of 106 million lb. of copper and 60,000 oz. of gold annually, at cash costs of $1.21 per lb. over its life. The initial capital cost for the 65,000 t/d expansion is estimated at $123 million, plus a 25% contingency, for a total of $148 million. Assuming $3.15 per lb. copper, $1,700 per oz. gold and $22 per oz. silver, the net present value estimate for the expanded operation stands at $1.01 billion, at an 8% discount rate.

Midday Monday, Copper Mountain’s stock was up 7% on the TSE

“The 65,000 t/d expansion, which moves the Copper Mountain mine to about a billion dollars of asset value, clearly underscores the mine’s quality, and our team’s ability to potentially grow reserves and value further,” Gil Clausen, Copper Mountain’s president and CEO, said in a release. “This mill expansion study builds upon the growth projects that are already underway and illustrates the immense potential that the Copper Mountain Mine provides.”

Clausen added that Copper Mountain will now refine the capital cost estimates for the project as it prepares for a development decision.

The current flowsheet at Copper Mountain includes two-stage crushing, semi-autogenous grinding, a pebble crusher, two ball mills and a sulphide flotation circuit. To complete the expansion to 45,000 t/d, the miner is working to add a third ball mill. The 65,000 t/d option would include the installation of a high pressure grinding roll (HPGR) circuit, the addition of a fourth ball mill, as well as a regrind verti-mill and require additional rougher and cleaner flotation capacity and electrical system upgrades.

The technical report sees the circuit additions starting up in early 2024.

According to the release, the expansion to 65,000 t/d represents a plant-wide improvement, which would also yield lower operating costs, reduce energy consumption, improve flotation performance and de-bottleneck concentrate dewatering for greater operational flexibility. This project would not require any additions to the mining fleet as “the existing fleet already produces sufficient ore supply to feed the concentrator at the planned milling rates.”

Clausen also highlighted that all of the deposits at the site remain open. The company is working to fund the latest growth option with internal cash flows.

This year, the mine is expected to generate 70 to 75 million lb. of copper, at all-in costs of $1.85 to $2 per lb. copper.

Copper Mountain Mining has a 75% stake in the Copper Mountain mine (Mitsubishi Materials holds a 25% interest).

Midday Monday, Copper Mountain’s stock was up 7% on the TSE. The company has a C$337 million market capitalization.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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Peru new mining minister vows to streamline permitting

Peru will streamline the consultation period prior to granting mining licenses as part of a set of planned reforms to the country’s mining rules, the new head of the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM), Jaime Galvez has said.

The potential changes to the regulatory framework seek to speed up current projects, guarantee existing operations and promote exploration and investment, Servindi reported.

Governments in Peru are mandated by law to hold talks with local communities before they apply for a mining licence.

Governments in Peru are mandated by law to hold talks with local communities before they apply for a mining licence.

The new mining minister said his office will publish a proposal in January outlining steps to replace prior consultation in the exploration phase of projects with what he calls “prior agreement” between companies and communities to be affected by developments.

The change aims to reduce the current consultation period during the exploration phase to six months, down from about 12 months it currently takes.

BMO analysts said the announcement was positive. “Such a move would improve Peru’s competitiveness vis-à-vis other key mining countries which do not require such lengthy consultation periods (if at all) prior to the granting of mining licenses,” they wrote on Monday.

Peru’s political stability remains a key risk for mining investors. New interim president, Francisco Sagasti, assumed the role just two weeks ago, following the removal of Martin Vizcarra and the resignation of his successor Martin Merino in early November.

There currently are 48 mining projects at different stages of development, which represent almost $58 billion in investments. Another 54 exploration projects, totalling roughly $500 million are being executed.

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SME to hold critical minerals supply chain symposium

More than 30 leading critical mineral supply chain experts will discuss strengthening critical minerals supply chains in North America
in eight roundtable discussions during SME’s critical minerals supply chain symposium on December 8.

Leading mining and minerals processing executives, economic and business analysts and bankers, investors and advisors will outline issues and trends impacting the supply of critical minerals during the online event.

This event is of special interest to those wanting to learn about best efforts to manage the risks of sourcing and supplying critical, battery, energy, rare earth metals and minerals.

Registration is here.

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South Flank is 84% complete, BHP says

Construction of BHP’s South Flank iron mine, in Western Australia, is some 84% complete, project manager Simon Thomas said at the Global Iron and Steel Forecast conference.

According to the executive, first production from the operation was still targeted for mid-2021.

The world’s no.1 miner announced in June that would place on hold part of its $3.4 billion expansion plans for South Flank, which would have destroyed dozens of sacred aboriginal sites.

The project is expected to create 2,500 construction jobs

The move followed a national backlash over Rio Tinto’s blasting of a 46,000-year-old indigenous site.

BHP’s expansion covers an area containing at least 40 aboriginal sites and rock shelters estimated to be up to 15,000 years old.

Thomas said that BHP would work to bring the South Flank operation to nameplate capacity over the course of several years.

South Flank is BHP’s preferred option to replace the 80-million-tonne-a-year Yandi mine, which is reaching the end of its mine life.

The project is expected to create 2,500 construction jobs, more than 600 operational roles and generate opportunities for Western Australian suppliers. The mine is expected to produce iron ore for more than 25 years.

Read More »
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