Canadian Zinc Company is Focused in Sweden
Zinc is perhaps one of the most undervalued resources when it comes to investment opportunities — being bypassed for more favourable commodities such as precious metals including gold and silver — however, what investors might not realise is that the base metal was one of the best-performing commodities in 2020 and continues to rally well into 2021.
Case in point, the metal started the year at US$2,779.85 per tonne and has surged to $2,951.85 per tonne as of June 2021.
In addition to zinc’s surging price value, the commodity is also the fourth most commonly used metal in the world after iron, aluminum and copper. Although global production of zinc was down 6 per cent last year to 13.7 million metric tonnes, it is estimated that production will only rise to 1.53 million metric tons by 2027, or an increase of only 1.67% per year, potentially falling short of demand growth.
Some of zinc’s primary uses include: galvanizing steel and other alloys used in all kinds of fabrication and construction, die-casting in the automobile industry, pigment in paints and skin protection in sunscreen. New zinc-air flow battery technologies promise to store industrial size energy from wind and solar farms that cost a fraction of lithium-ion batteries in compact more efficient systems.
As zinc prices continue to rally over the coming years, there are companies in the exploration space that will be ramping up their efforts to meet the increasing demand.
One such company is Norden Crown Metals Corp. (TSXV:NOCR, OTCQB:NOCRD, Forum), a Canadian mineral exploration company focused on the discovery of silver, zinc, copper and gold deposits. Hosted in the Scandinavian countries of Norway and Sweden, Norden’s projects include: Gumsberg, with high-grade silver VMS targets and a “Broken Hill” type discovery, and Burfjord, an IOCG exploration project joint-ventured with Boliden AB (Sweden’s largest mining company).
Patricio Varas, executive chairman and CEO with Norden Crown Metals, told Stockhouse Editorial that Norden Crown Metals is an exploration company with Scandinavian projects that have been mined in the past but have not been thoroughly explored using modern exploration methods and technologies.
As an example, this strategy allowed the company to make a significant “Broken Hill” type discovery at the Frederiksson Mine (Gruva) target on their Gumsberg project that had not been mined since the 1970s.
The focus in Sweden
Sweden has a deep history when it comes to mining, dating back thousands of years. Present-day, mining in the country continues to advance thanks to technological mining advancements and low sovereign risk and a strong minerals profile.
Varas explained that Norden’s reasons for exploring in Sweden are because it is well known as a friendly mining jurisdiction with world class prospectivity and ample infrastructure to support exploration and exploitation. For example, Sweden has six ore smelters while there are just two in Canada.
Smelters are industrial installations that buy and process ores from mines and then separate the ore into its metal components, such as zinc, for sale and distribution to multiple industries and metal exchanges.
Varas added that Sweden has excellent road access, railways and water supply. The country also has the cheapest power in Europe thanks to the abundance of hydroelectric power.
All of the above, coupled with a stable political environment, the ability to work year-round and the streamlined process for getting permits make Sweden an excellent country in which to do business.
The Fredriksson Gruva Prospect
As it currently stands, Norden Crown Metals is primarily focusing its efforts on the Fredriksson Gruva prospect, located within the Gumsberg project.
At a broader scale, The Gumsberg project contains five exploration licenses in the Bergslagen Mining District in southern Sweden, which spans over 18,300 hectares where multiple zones of Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide-style (VMS) and “Broken Hill” type mineralization has been found.
VMS mineralization on the Gumsberg project has been mined as far back as the 13th century and all the way through to the early 1900’s with over 30 historic mines present on the property; including the Ostrasilverberg Mine, which was the largest silver mine in Europe between 1300 and 1590.
Although the region has an extensive production history, little modern exploration has taken place on the project.
Varas said the company believes the Fredriksson Gruva is “a very interesting prospect” thanks in part to it being a “Broken-Hill” type deposit. “Broken-Hill” type deposits represent many of the most profitable ore deposits in the world.
As Varas explains, “Broken-Hill” type deposits are rare and were first discovered in Australia at Broken Hill, New South Wales. The original Broken Hill deposit contained the largest accumulation of lead, zinc and silver on earth.
The company has already drilled three holes into the Fredriksson Gruva Prospect, hitting mineralization in every hole averaging 11 metres in thickness with the thickest intercept at 13.6 metres in thickness.
In a press release from March discussing the results, the discovery holes intersected significant mineralized widths ranging from 8.15 to 13.60 metres of precious and base metals, massive and semi-massive sulphide mineralization. Additionally, a geological setting unique to mineralization belonging to the Broken Hill Type clan of silver-rich zinc-lead-ore deposits.
The company’s drilling program, which totaled 569 metres, was part of an 11-hole 2,365.6 metre diamond drill program, which had the objective of demonstrating that mineralization continues beneath historical mine workings that extended to 91 metres below surface.
The program was to also confirm historical silver-zinc-lead grades and thicknesses and testing the continuity of this mineralization. Of note, an important aspect of the mineralization is that the massive-to-semi-massive sulphide intervals are developed with a broader sequence of highly magnetic iron and manganese-rich chemical sediments. As such, the distinctive and thick sequence of chemical sedimentary rocks will lay the foundation for an important marker horizon to be used to track the mineralization along strike and depth.
“This belt of mineralization extends on our property for at least 25 kilometres, and we’re very excited about it,” Varas said, adding that the Fredriksson property has now shifted to the company’s main project focus.
Moving forward, the company anticipates future diamond drilling at Fredriksson Gruva will continue testing the continuity of Broken Hill Type style massive sulphide mineralization following the marker iron formations below the historical mine workings. This is where ongoing 3D geological modeling indicates that silver-zinc-lead mineralization extends to at least 290 metres in depth.
What’s next for Norden Crown Metals
Varas told Stockhouse Editorial that Norden will be busy this summer and fall with the Fredriksson Gruva target and also at the Burfjord project in Norway, its joint venture with Boliden Mineral AB. Varas said Boliden has the potential to earn up to a 51 per cent interest in the property by spending US$6 million on exploration and development of the project over the next four years.
Boliden also has the potential to earn an additional 29 per cent interest in the Burfjord Project by solely funding additional advancement work through completing an NI 43-101 and PERC compliant feasibility study.
Varas told Stockhouse Editorial that Norden Crown Metals will be completing airborne and ground geophysics as well as mapping and sampling at Burfjord before beginning 3,000 to 5,000 metres of drilling.
In addition to summer drilling at Burfjord, the company wants to get a better understanding of the geology of the Fredriksson Gruva area and has crews presently in the field mapping and sampling. At the same time an airborne drone magnetic survey will also be done at the Fredriksson property.
“Once we have that data, then [the company] can do some modeling and make sure that the next drill holes will give us an idea of what we’re chasing,” Varas said, adding that in the mid-term the goal is to build up tonnage.
The Management Team
As the company moves ahead with exploration of its Fredriksson target and Burfjord project, investors in Norden Crown Metals should know that its management team is backed with experience that knows how to get the job done.
J. Patricio Varas, executive chairman and CEO
Mr. Varas has over 30 years of experience as a professional geologist working in exploration, project development and corporate management. He has worked at operating mines, exploration projects — from concept inception to discovery — feasibility studies of world-class deposits and mine development.
In addition, Varas also founded and led Western Potash Corp., as its president and CEO, where the company discovered and developed the world-class Milestone Potash deposit in Saskatchewan.
Varas was also instrumental in discovering the Santo Domingo Sur, deposit in Chile with Far West Mining and was integral in discovering the Diavik Diamond mine as a project manager at Kennecot Canada.
Dan MacNeil, vice president of exploration
Dan MacNeil has over 16 years of experience as a precious and base metals specialist with continental-scale project generation to in-mine resource expansion experience in a wide range of geological settings across the Americas and Eastern Europe. His expertise includes exploration strategy, target and opportunity identification, district entry strategy, business development, strategic evaluation of geological terranes and execution of target testing.
David Thornley-Hall, Vice president of corporate development
David Thornley-Hall is a senior executive with over 25 years of experience in the mineral exploration, mining and finance industries. He previously spent eight years with Western Potash Corp. as executive vice president and corporate secretary. Additionally, Thornley-Hall was a leading member of the Commercial Team at Western Potash where he was responsible for securing over $110 million in strategic equity investments in two different transactions.
Jeannine Web, CFO
Jeannine Webb has over 25 years of experience in the mineral exploration sector having served as a chief financial officer, corporate secretary and director for private, junior and small-cap domestic and international public companies.
Webb has a range of experience and skills in financial management and regulatory reporting and serves as CFO and corporate secretary for private companies and various Canadian venture companies with operations in Canada, the US and South America.
The investment opportunity
At present, Norden Crown Metals sits with a market capitalization of C$10.87 million and has just over 53 million shares issued. The company’s share price is currently $0.21, representing a 13.89 per cent increase year-over-year.
Thanks to its diversified and experienced management team, strong portfolio of projects and its “Broken Hill’ type discovery, Norden Crown Metals presents itself as a strong investment opportunity located in Scandinavia — which is a great, low-risk jurisdiction where year-round exploration programs can be undertaken.
Finally, Norden’s properties are located near active and historical mines allowing for rapid development, putting the company in a solid position to exploit a resource if discovered.
Source: Stock House
Rio Tinto and its subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources-tax avoidance and golden promises
The information on avoided tax is published in a report by SOMO and Oyu Tolgoi Watch and it also shows how an abusive investment agreement covering the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine has resulted in a $230 million tax revenue loss for Mongolia. Rio Tinto-mining giant and its Canadian subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources, avoided nearly $470 million in Canadian taxes by using mailbox companies in two tax havens, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
SOMO researcher Vincent Kiezebrink said: “Instead of providing finance for the Oyu Tolgoi mine from Canada, where its owner is registered, they have chosen to shift the mine’s profits to a subsidiary in Luxembourg called Movele, which manages billion dollar loans but has zero employees, a textbook case of treaty shopping.”
This mailbox subsidiary enjoyed a very low average effective tax rate of 4.19% over the past years, likely due to a beneficial tax ruling with Luxembourg’s tax authorities. As a result of this tax scheme, Rio Tinto’s subsidiary Movele has paid US$89 million in taxes in Luxembourg, which is US$470 million less than what would have been paid in Canada, if no tax avoidance scheme had been employed. The company reports that this arrangement was approved by Canadian authorities. “This is an astonishing subsidy from Canadian taxpayers,” said Jamie Kneen, Communications and Outreach Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada. “The public needs to know how and why this approval was granted.”
In addition, Rio Tinto and the other corporate investors behind Oyu Tolgoi achieved far-reaching concessions from the Mongolian government which severely limit the tax revenues Mongolia can hope to receive from the mine. Under pressure, the government of Mongolia facilitated Rio Tinto’s use of benefits enshrined in tax treaties with Luxembourg and the Netherlands;tax treaties which Mongolia unilaterally rescinded in 2013 due to concerns that they facilitated tax avoidance. Rio Tinto was able to negotiate an even lower tax rate in 2015, after a dispute over the distribution of Oyu Tolgoi’s revenues. As a result, the Mongolian government has missed out on approximately US$230 million in taxes over a five-year period.
Sukhgerel Dugersuren, director of OT Watch states: “By agreeing to this arrangement, the government of Mongolia has failed to protect the interests of its people and given current austerity reforms in Mongolia, this tax revenue is much needed and could have allowed the government to nearly double its spending on education or healthcare in recent years.”
OT Watch, MiningWatch Canada, Inter Pares, Canadians for Tax Fairness and SOMO urge the governments of Mongolia, Luxembourg, Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia, as well as Rio Tinto and other stakeholders involved with Oyu Tolgoi, to work towards reviewing and revising the mine’s investment arrangement and the tax avoidance scheme. Action must be taken to ensure that mining in Mongolia also serves the interests of the Mongolian people, not just corporate profits.
Erin Ventures suspends Piskanja boron project in Serbia due to state of emergency
Due to the nationwide state of emergency caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Erin Ventures, Canada-based mineral exploration and development company has suspended fieldwork on its wholly-owned Piskanja boron project in Serbia. Piskanja is Erin Ventures’ wholly-owned high-grade boron deposit with an indicated mineral resource of 7.8 million tonnes, and an inferred resource of 3.4 million tonnes, calculated in accordance with the Canadian Institute of Mining Definition Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves.
“Serbia is currently under a nationwide state of emergency that has been introduced in an effort to attempt to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak. Towards this end, Serbia has implemented measures that include voluntary isolation for all citizens, except when seeking essential services. As a result, Erin’s staff is currently unable to conduct any field work until such time as the emergency measures have been lifted by the government,” Erin Ventures said in a statement.
However, Serbian-based technical staff continue their efforts towards the generation of documentation required within the Elaborate of Reserves and the filing of its annual government progress report, which is due for submission on September 20, Erin Ventures said.
While a small number of days’ worth of additional field work is required for the completion of the license documentation, Erin does not anticipate any material delay from its original timelines regarding the completion of the work and the requisite documentation, it added.
Canada supports responsible conduct in mining industry
Embassy of Canada hosted seminar on role of responsible business conduct in Serbian mining industry’s future
The Embassy of Canada has organized the seminar “Trilateral dialogue on responsible business conduct in mining – experience from Canada” on January 21st, with the goal of strengthening a responsible approach in the development of mining projects. The seminar gathered representatives of the Ministry of Mining and Energy, City of Bor, Municipality of Raška, Canadian companies, the World Bank, as well as other sector key stakeholders.
The seminar represented an opportunity to introduce guests to the work of the international non-government organization “Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development”, with a Secretariat located in and supported by Canada. The organization which gathers more than 70 countries with active mining interests, was represented by Mr. Matthew Bliss, deputy director.
Presenting the importance of this industry for Canada, Ambassador Kati Csaba emphasized that its size and value also involves responsibility towards all direct and indirect mining stakeholders. “The Government of Canada, civil society and private sector, using domestic and international experience, constantly improve standards and legislation aiming for more responsible, transparent and sustainable mining”. Ambassador Csaba introduced guests to the most important principles and standards of responsible mining developed in or supported by Canada, including the recently established Ombudsman for Responsible Enterprises.
The State Secretary of the Ministry of Mining and Energy, Stevica Dedjanski, introduced participants to the future plans of the Ministry, adding that the number of exploration licenses issued grew significantly, and that investment in exploration projects surpassed EUR100 million in 2018. “The Ministry wants to cooperate with companies in responsible project development, and our doors are always open for communication and cooperation”, added Dedjanski, insisting this topic needs to be communicated in the future.
Canadian companies “Dundee Precious Metals”, “Mundoro Capital”, “Tethyan Resources” and “Medgold” introduced participants to their standards and projects developed in cities and municipalities around Serbia including Bor, Raška and Bosilegrad.
The mining industry in Canada contributes to GDP with CAD97 billion or 5%, directly and indirectly employing 626,000 people. The Toronto Stock Exchange lists 1,136 mining companies, out of which 80% are exploration companies. Since 1932, Toronto hosts the annual PDAC (Prospectors&Developers Association of Canada) Convention, which will take place from March 1-4 this year.
Source: Embassy of Canada in Serbia
Prospective mining license for Connemara refused in Ireland
An application for a prospecting licence for mining activities in Connemara has been refused by the Government.
The Canadian company planned to explore for metal, gold and silver in several townlands including Boolagare, Callow and Dolan. The proposed exploration would have taken place in parts of protected nature and heritage areas including the Connemara Bog Complex and Dogs Bay.
In June, the Department of Environment (DCCAE) announced its intention to grant a prospecting licence to MOAG. However, it has now refused the application as the company failed to provide additional information requested by DCCAE following its consideration of submissions received from the public and expert bodies.
In a submission to the Department, for example, An Taisce expressed concern about MOAG’s application ranging from its public consultation process, the extent of exploration activity as well as the type of minerals that are going to be explored for.
The submission stated that there are “significant legal questions” to be raised about the lack of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the current mineral exploration licencing regime in terms of screening for the suitability of the location of exploration areas.
The refusal was welcomed by Green Party Councillor for Galway City Pauline O’Reilly who had urging the Department to re-evaluate the application together with concerned locals.
A petition objecting to the granting of any licence “on the grounds of threats to the health and wellbeing of the natural environment” gained over 10,000 signatures. In addition, thousands of indivuals sent letters to DCCAE.
Ms O’Reilly said that the licence would have compromised “water quality, wildlife and the local economy” in the area. “This is one of the country’s most outstanding areas of beauty,” she said.
Prospecting licences, Ms O’Reilly said, could place Ireland in a difficult place legally and give mining companies a legitimate expectation of mining if gold and minerals are found.
In a Turkish forest, resistance grows to a Canadian company’s gold-mining project
Thousands of protesters have shown up to speak out against Alamos Gold’s Kirazli mine over deforestation, water and the future of local species
In the heavily forested Ida Mountains of northwestern Turkey, a bus carrying protesters snakes along the winding roads to its next stop in the fight against the planned construction of a gold mine by a Canadian company.
They were among some 5,000 people protesting earlier this month against Alamos Gold’s nearby mining site and now, a couple of days later, they are heading toward a small campsite where a few dozen activists have stayed behind to keep a vigil. A lively 61-year-old from the nearby city of Canakkale is too riled up to take a seat being offered by the younger passengers.
“We went out to protest because we are against gold mines using cyanide. We went to protect our forest, water and animals living in these mountains. We want to live, we don’t want to get cancer,” the retiree said.
Alamos Gold acquired the Kirazli mining project, located in an ecologically rich region of Turkey, in 2010. The construction of the mine has infuriated locals and activists, after the recent release of drone footage showing massive deforestation and revelations that cyanide will be used in the processing of the gold. There has been outrage on Turkish social media and thousands of people from all over the country have come to protest.
“I was born and raised here. My kids will grow up here. I want this nature to be protected, I don’t want it to be destroyed like this,” a 38-year-old English teacher said. “I don’t want a foreign country to come to my country, make a deal and trick the villagers with a bit of money,” she added, referring to local villagers who have been employed by the company. The Globe and Mail granted confidentiality to the protesters, who fear of repercussions for speaking out against a project supported by the Turkish government.
Environmental activists from the Istanbul-based TEMA Foundation, analyzing high-resolution satellite imagery from Google Earth, say that 195,000 trees near the town of Kirazli in the Ida Mountain range have been cut down, instead of the 45,000 stipulated in the original permit.
John McCluskey, chief executive officer of Alamos Gold, said in an interview earlier this month that he doesn’t know the exact number of trees that have been cut down; since the mine is being built in a forest, it is Turkey’s forestry service, and not Alamos, that is responsible for clearing the area.
Mr. McCluskey added that the Turkish forestry service is actively replanting in what he says is a heavily logged region of the country, similar to parts of British Columbia. “Under their management, the forests in [the province of] Canakkale have actually grown. They’ve planted far more trees than they’ve actually harvested,” he said. “They’ve planted something like three million saplings just in the past year.”
Alamos Gold’s local subsidiary, Dogu Biga Mining, says only 13,400 trees have been cut down, although ecologists, such as Doganay Tolunay from Istanbul University, say this figure is lower because it doesn’t include saplings and ignores the destruction of other plants and wildlife habitat in the 500 acres of forest that’s been clear-cut.
In addition to the mine in Kirazli, Alamos has two more gold and silver mining projects under development in nearby Agi Dagi and Camyurt. The Toronto-based company, with a market capitalization of $3.65-billion, also operates two mines in northern Ontario, as well as ones in Mexico and the United States.
Pinar Bilir, chairperson of the city council’s environment assembly in nearby Canakkale and one of the organizers of the campaign against the mine, doesn’t believe the project will bring any benefits to the region. “Our basic demand is to stop the cutting of the trees, stop the project and open a legal case against whoever approved the environmental impact assessment [EIA] reports,” she said.
The deal was signed with Turkey’s powerful central government, which argues domestic mines are important for reducing the trade deficit and dependency on foreign products. But some locals say they were not adequately consulted.
According to Alamos’s own reports, the corporate tax rate of 20 per cent has been reduced to 2 per cent for the company because of government investment incentives; the company expects to pay 2 per cent in royalties. Alamos says its projects will directly or indirectly result in 2,000 jobs in Turkey, and the country’s economy will earn US$500-million from royalties, taxes and other fees over the course of 15 years.
Ali Furkan Oguz, the former head of the Canakkale Bar Environmental and Urban Law Commission who specializes in environmental cases, says Turkey’s system of EIA reports, required before starting projects that will affect the environment, isn’t up to global standards.
“Companies give money to [EIA] consultancy agencies and ask them to prepare a report, and afterwards the government approves it,” he said, adding that the government almost never rejects them.
Deniz Bayram, a lawyer from Greenpeace Turkey, backs Mr. Oguz’s claims. “In Turkey, it’s difficult to say that EIAs are conducted through independent, reliable organizations. Instead, the EIA companies are paid by the project owner, and the reports are generally prepared with [missing pieces] and false assessments,” Ms. Bayram said.
Activists say the clear-cutting threatens the region’s hundreds of plant and animal species, some of which are only found in Turkey.
They have also objected to Alamos Gold’s planned use of cyanide in the processing of gold at the site, saying the toxic chemical could leak into a water basin shared with the Atikhisar Dam, which is 14 kilometres from the mine and is the sole water supply for 180,000 people.
Alamos plans to use a processing method called heap leaching to extract the gold.
In such a system, crushed ore is mixed with a cyanide solution in a giant enclosed pad. Over a period of months, the mixture slowly dissolves the gold from the ore. Mr. McCluskey, who has 40 years of experience working with heap-leach technology, defended it as a “very safe,” processing method.
“We’re talking about double-lined ponds with a leak-detection system built into it, engineered to the nth degree. Your whole objective is a zero-discharge process,” he said.
Heap leaching is widely used by Canada’s biggest gold companies for processing low-grade ore. Eldorado Gold Corp. uses heap leaching at its Kisladag mine, also located in Turkey. While generally considered a safe and economical processing method, it isn’t foolproof.
In 2017, Barrick Gold Corp. experienced a pipe rupture at its heap-leach facility at its Veladero mine in Argentina’s San Juan province, resulting in its third cyanide spill in 18 months. The Argentine government subsequently restricted Barrick’s use of cyanide on-site for three months after the leak.
Jamie Kneen, of Ottawa-based non-governmental organization MiningWatch Canada, says the method in which cyanide will be used in Alamos Gold’s Kirazli project is risky. U.S. officials allege rubber-lining pads failed at a Colorado gold mine in Summitville operated by Vancouver-based Galactic Resources. The resulting environmental disaster cost the U.S. government US$130-million. It also led to a voluntary settlement in 2000 with Canadian mining executive Robert Friedland, who was the company’s president at the time it went bankrupt in 1992. The Czech Republic and states in the U.S. (Montana and certain Colorado counties) and Argentina (Chubut) have banned heap leaching.
“Alamos has insisted that there will be no leaks or spills because they will have a double-layer plastic liner. It is simply impossible – and irresponsible – to assert that there will be no leaks; it is a question of when and how much,” Mr. Kneen said, referring to a Reuters interview in which Mr. McCluskey said the company had taken steps to make sure a leak and watershed impact was “impossible.”
Mr. McCluskey said that in the highly unlikely event of a leak, because the site is downstream of the water reservoir in question, it would be physically impossible for any discharge to flow “uphill.”
Sylvain Leclerc, a spokesperson from Global Affairs Canada, says the government is monitoring the situation in Turkey.
“Regardless of where they work, we expect Canadian companies to respect the law and human rights, to operate transparently in consultation with local governments and communities, and in a socially and environmentally responsible way,” Mr. Leclerc wrote in an e-mail.
Countries such as Turkey with weak rule of law can be attractive to Canadian companies because of their flexible regulations, Mr. Kneen said.
“When [mining companies] are investing internationally, they’re looking for low cost and profitable operations, and part of low cost is low compliance cost, low regulatory cost. Not having to spend a lot of time doing environmental-impact studies, not having to spend a lot of extra money on environmental safety and so on. I think that’s the attraction of international operations for these guys,” Mr. Kneen said.
Earlier this year, the Canadian government appointed Sheri Meyerhoffer as Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, intended as a watchdog for Canadian companies’ activities abroad. Ottawa says it is the world’s first such office. But Mr. Kneen says the position lacks teeth – it can’t compel witnesses or conduct its own investigations – and has ended up merely as an advisory role.
“They failed to give it the powers of investigation that would be required to make it actually work,” he said. “The bottom line is this industry works best when it’s really strictly regulated.”
In July, all 14 civil-society and labour-union representatives on a federal government advisory panel focusing on Canadian companies operating overseas resigned in protest over the failure to give the new ombudsperson significant powers.
Alamos says despite the protests, the mine construction remains on schedule. Kirazli is projected to start up late next year and will produce an average of 100,000 ounces of gold over a six-year period. Kirazli is Alamos Gold’s first foray into Turkey and Mr. McCluskey says he’s eager to make it a “showpiece.”
“If I didn’t think I could build a very safe, sound project that would bring a lot of value to Turkey, I just wouldn’t be here,” he said.
FireFox Gold acquires property in Finland
Vancouver-based FireFox Gold has acquired property covering 984 sq. km in the Kierinki Schist belt in northern Finland’s Lapland region. The company says the two blocks, collectively known as the Kierinki project, have the geologic potential to host orogenic gold deposits.
Kierinki is located 30 km from Firefox’s other gold projects, which cover more than 500 sq. km in the Central Lapland Greentstone Belt. The two new blocks cover the majority of the Kierinki Schist Belt, which consists primarily of quartzites and sandstones, along with minor mafic volcanic rocks.
According to a statement from the company on Aug. 19, the Kierinki area has not been explored in detail and has only seen reconnaissance studies by the Geological Survey of Finland. The area was first highlighted by the government-sponsored Nordkalott project, which studied the geology of the Nordkalott area in northern Fennoscandia, which is the geographical peninsula comprising the Scandinavian Peninsula, Finland, Karelia and the Kola Peninsula.
Firefox CEO Carl Löfberg says the region hosts several prominent gold anomalies, and the Kierinki Schist Belt shares similarities to other schist belts hosting high-grade gold occurrences. Löfberg says prospecting will start later this field season.
Elsewhere in Lapland, the company will initiate the second-phase drill campaign consisting of five to seven holes probing 200 to 300 metres deep at its Mustajarvi gold project this September. Drilling will target the high-grade zone that was discovered during the first phase of the drill campaign in 2018, which intersected a two-metre-thick, massive pyrite zone from 126 metres down-hole that assayed 45.1 grams per tonne gold, including 0.5 metre grading 73.7 grams gold per tonne.
The second phase of the drill campaign will also focus on four new gold targets that a 2018 induced-polarization survey identified at Mustajarvi.
FireFox, which focuses solely on gold exploration in Finland, has four other projects: Jeesio; Seuru; Ylojarvi; and Riikonkoski. The portfolio covers more than 1500 square kilometres.
Canadian gold mine in Turkey sparks environmental protests
Thousands of people are protesting against the installation of a gold mine in the province of Çanakkale in northwestern Turkey, after images of deforestation carried out for the project were shared online. We spoke to a protester who said residents feared the Canadian-owned mine would contaminate their water.
The mining company Alamos Gold Inc. acquired the site near the town of Kirazlı in 2010, and since then has been carrying out environmental and feasibility assessments for the project. But the plan has met with fierce opposition from people living in the area and across the whole country.
Opposition surged after Alamos Gold Inc. allegedly cut down 197,000 trees for the site, although Turkish authorities dispute this figure.
Activists formed what they call a ‘Vigil for Water and Conscience’, and have been camping for more than 10 days near the mine outside Kirazlı. They say that heap leaching, the process used by the mining company to separate gold from ore, could damage the surrounding environment and the nearby Mount Ida, or the Kaz Mountains, as the area is known locally.
Heap leaching is a process that uses a cyanide solution to dissolve the gold and extract it from its ore. Locals worry that cyanide could leak into and pollute the local dam, which provides water to over 180,000 people and irrigates over 5,000 hectares of land.
A Turkish government spokesperson denied that Alamos Gold Inc. would be using cyanide in its extraction process – despite the company’s website clearly detailing it employs a “dilute cyanide solution”. The government also said that the company had only cut down around 13,000 trees, and that the Canadian firm will replant trees in the area when the mining project is shut down after six years.
Doğu Biga, a Turkish subsidiary of Alamos Gold Inc., said that all of the work carried out so far had been done “within the framework of forestry and environment permits”.
“The dead can’t wear gold”
Protests at the beginning of the week saw some 5,000 people demonstrate on the vast patch of bare earth where trees had been cut down for the project, according to Reuters. The FRANCE 24 Observers spoke to an activist from the city of Çanakkale, who joined the demonstrations on Monday.
The protests were just like the Gezi protests [large-scale demonstrations to oppose governmental plans to raze Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park in 2013]. People were angry because they could see all of the land that had been emptied of trees. Protesters came from all over Turkey. People of all ages: from children around three or four years old to 80 year olds. And the protests are not just in this area, but all over the country too.
I first heard that there was going to be a gold mine in the area about a month ago. In Turkey, the government wants to get money from just about anywhere.
‘People are afraid of being poisoned’
The mining company cut down almost 200,000 trees. There is a drinking water dam near the mine. The cyanide they use could poison the drinking water and the agricultural areas around. Everybody is afraid of being poisoned.
They say they’re going to plant more trees, but when? Where? After using cyanide? You can’t plant trees when you’ve poisoned the earth. The government denies all this. We call the area the ‘lungs of Turkey’. Would a human sell his own lung for money? The dead can’t wear gold.
Cyanide leakage “impossible”
Alamos CEO John McCluskey told Reuters that fears about cyanide leaks were unfounded. “Not only do we make that impossible [with a system of impervious layers and a leak detection system]; if we didn’t make that impossible we shouldn’t even start because by the time you’ve added the cyanide to the process it’s because there is gold there. And if you lose the cyanide, you lose the gold,” he said. McCluskey also said that it would be impossible for mining solutions to reach the dam because to do so, it would have to flow uphill.
The controversy is expanding into a domestic political issue. Istanbul’s mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, who was elected in a contentious re-run of the mayoral race after voters rejected the ruling AKP party candidate, waded into the fray. He posted a clip on Twitter in which he said he had spoken to the Canadian Ambassador Chris Cooter, and said, ‘Damage to nature is damage to the world’.
Protesters are planning another large demonstration on Sunday, August 18, when award-winning Turkish pianist Fazıl Say will perform.
Source: observers. france24. com