Resource Mining Corporation confirms high-grade lithium in Finland

Resource Mining Corporation Ltd has moved swiftly to acquire three highly prospective lithium and base metal projects in Finland after fieldwork returned high-grade results including nickel and copper.

The fieldwork formed part of due diligence to acquire Element92 Pte Ltd, which owns Element92 Suomi Oy, the Finland-incorporated company that holds the exploration reservations for the Ruossakero Nickel Project in northern Finland, Kola Lithium Project in central Finland and Hirvikallio Lithium Project in southern Finland.

A share swap agreement has been executed between RMC and ROPA Investments (Gibraltar) Ltd, the shareholder of Element92, involving the issuance of 40 million RMC shares.

Meantime, mining veteran Andrew Nesbitt will commence his new role as chief executive officer for RMC on January 16.

“Extremely pleased”

Resource Mining Corporation’s executive chairman Asimwe Kabunga said: “We are extremely pleased with the results from this initial fieldwork undertaken as part of our due diligence and now that we have executed the share swap agreement, we look forward to the next phases of exploration.

“We believe the three projects have shown there is the potential to discover economic resources of lithium and base metals, and we are working on the conversion of the reservation permits to exploration licences so we can commence drilling and other exploration activities across the projects.”

Showing potential

Skapto Consulting collected 179 samples from various parts of the projects and forwarded them to ALS Finland Oy for analysis.

Notably, the Kola project returned up to 2.4% Li2O, with glacial movement modelling indicating a large area of potential pegmatite within the central portion of the reservation.

Other highlights included 3.9% Li2O from rock chip samples taken at Hirvikallio, with numerous other pegmatites within the reservation containing anomalous lithium values up to 0.9% Li2O, which is higher than those recorded during previous exploration works.

At the Ruossakero project, a series of anomalous nickel-copper grades were recorded from grab samples taken within a small portion of this reservation, identifying significant areas of similar geology to the known Ruossakero nickel occurrence.

Highly experienced

Incoming CEO Nesbitt is a qualified mining engineer and holds a BSc (Eng) Mining and an MBA, and has more than 25 years of experience in the natural resources sector.

He has held various production and technical roles with De Beers and Goldfields and has carried out a number of feasibility studies across the world with the leading technical consulting group SRK.

Nesbitt is also an experienced investor who previously worked as a partner and portfolio manager for Craton Capital Pty Ltd, a global precious metals fund with in excess of US$400 million of assets under management.

He brings to RMC a rich set of experiences to progress exploration and enhance the value of the company’s project portfolio covering Tanzania and Finland, as well as managing funding programs and overseeing the listed company.

In progress

The Finnish projects are covered by two-year ‘exploration reservations’, valid till May 2024.

These reservations allow completion of initial, non-invasive prospecting work, including mapping, outcrop sampling, soil sampling and geophysics.

RMC has commenced the process to convert the exploration reservations to exploration licences, Pro Active Investors reports.

A Norwegian study has found a “substantial” amount of metals and minerals ranging from copper to rare earth metals

A Norwegian study has found a “substantial” amount of metals and minerals ranging from copper to rare earth metals on the seabed of its extended continental shelf, authorities said on Friday in their first official estimates.

The Nordic country, a major oil and gas exporter, is considering whether to open its offshore areas to deep-sea mining, a process that requires parliament’s approval and has sparked environmental concerns.

“Of the metals found on the seabed in the study area, magnesium, niobium, cobalt and rare earth minerals are found on the European Commission’s list of critical minerals,” the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), which conducted the study, said in a statement.

The resources estimate, covering remote areas in the Norwegian Sea and Greenland Sea, showed there were 38 million tonnes of copper, almost twice the volume mined globally each year, and 45 million tonnes of zinc accumulated in polymetallic sulphides.

The sulphides, or “black smokers”, are found along the mid-ocean ridge, where magma from the Earth’s mantle reaches the sea floor, at depths of around 3,000 metres (9,842 feet).

About 24 million tonnes of magnesium and 3.1 million tonnes of cobalt are estimated to be in manganese crusts grown on bedrock over millions of years, as well as 1.7 million tonnes of cerium, a rare earth metal used in alloys, Reuters reports.

Greenland, Amaroq Minerals says Kobberminebugt’s high-grade nature is ‘unsurprising’

Amaroq Minerals Ltd told investors that results from its 2022 Kobberminebugt project exploration programme in Greenland indicate significant copper mineralization to the western end of the emerging mineral belt which the company is exploring.

Providing details of the 2022 programme, Amaroq CEO Eldur Olafsson said: “The company continues to further its strategic metals projects, building upon the mineral potential of South Greenland.

“Kobberminebugt’s high-grade nature is unsurprising given the historic small-scale mining in the area, and our team is now working closely to identify extensions and additional mineralised bodies to build a large exploration target through our future field programme,” he added in a statement.

The Greenland-focused explorer noted that it acquired the licence covering these occurrences in the summer of 2021, following the conclusion of its mineral system modelling of South Greenland.

Exploration conducted across the licence in 2022 consisted of early-stage geological reconnaissance of the metavolcanic/granite contact zones over the historic Josva copper mine and up to 40 kilometres (km) along strike of the Kobberminebugt shear zone. This work included detailed drone surveying of the outcropping mineralisation at Josva at surface and within the historic adit system.

Amaroq said the programme aimed to confirm the presence and style of the mineralisation, assess its potential to host a mineral resource through extensions of the historical mine and in multiple bodies along strike and review the most suitable way to generate targets across this licence block in 2023.

The company said its fieldwork indicated massive copper sulphide bearing (bornite, chalcopyrite, chalcocite) mineralisation hosted in a sheared vein system that parallels the Kobberminebugt shear. These veins are hosted within a roughly 25-metre (m) wide diopside-hornblende skarn exhibiting a strong cleavage and hosting lower-grade copper mineralisation. This zone is in direct contact with hydrothermally altered Ketilidian granites.

Samples of these vein systems returned up to 4.2% copper over 2.5m including 11.6% copper over 50 centimetres (cm). Minor gold and silver grades were also reported, the company said.

2022 exploration highlights:

Amaroq said its geology team is now confident in the skarn origin of the mineralisation at Kobberminebugt which opens up the potential for multiple mineralised skarns along the granite contact zone which extends around 40 km to the northeast and in a further around 35-km contact zone in the north of the licence.

This highlights the copper potential of this area of the South Greenland copper belt, it added. Further, from assessing the attitude of the surface mineralisation at Josva, Amaroq said the geology team believes there is potential that this narrow mineralisation style could open up at depth or along strike, indicating mine scale tonnages.

2023 exploration programme

Amaroq said it intends to follow this exploration with a detailed assessment in 2023 of the skarn geometry and mineralogy, and plans to generate targets at depth at Josva and along strike of the skarn contact zones and Kobberminebugt shear system through commissioning a detailed airborne geophysical programme utilising a similar system to that successfully employed across its other Greenland assets.

Amaroq’s principal business objectives are the identification, acquisition, exploration, and development of gold and strategic metal properties in Greenland. The company’s principal asset is a 100% interest in the Nalunaq Project, an advanced exploration stage property with an exploitation licence including the previously operating Nalunaq gold mine. It has a portfolio of gold and strategic metal assets covering 7,866.85 square kilometres, the largest mineral portfolio in Southern Greenland covering the two known gold belts in the region, Pro Active Investors writes.

BHP joins hunt for Serbian copper

BHP, the largest Australian miner, has struck a new deal to explore for copper in Serbia as it accelerates efforts to boost its exposure to metals that will be vital to building electric cars and green energy technology.

The Melbourne-based mining giant’s agreement with Canada’s Mundoro Capital gives it the option to take a stake in three exploration areas that Mundoro holds in the Timok region of eastern Serbia. Copper is considered one of the key building blocks of the clean energy revolution, used in electric vehicles, wind turbines and power grids’ transmission lines.

“Mundoro welcomes BHP as an exploration partner that recognises the potential of further exploration in the western Tethyan Belt,” Mundoro chief executive Teo Dechev said.

Top mining companies across the world, including BHP and rival Rio Tinto, have been ramping up efforts to diversify into so-called “future-facing” commodities, those standing to benefit from global trends towards decarbonisation.

BHP, which derives most of its earnings from the steel-making material iron ore, is targeting growth in copper and nickel, two minerals the world needs much more of in coming years as countries race to electrify transport and hit “net-zero” emissions targets. Electric cars consume up to four times as much copper as internal combustion-engine vehicles, BHP says, while nickel is a necessary ingredient in lithium-ion batteries.

Last month, BHP signed a binding $9.6 billion takeover offer to acquire Adelaide-based copper and nickel producer Oz Minerals, which has two copper and gold mines in South Australia, located either side of BHP’s vast Olympic Dam mining hub.

The Oz Minerals deal, if it succeeds, will mark BHP’s biggest acquisition since it paid $US12 billion for US shale gas producer Petrohawk in 2011.

BHP last year sold off its global oil and gas division, partly to free up its ability to spend on more copper and nickel. However, the company remains a significant producer of carbon-intensive fossil fuels with several coal mines across Australia, most of which produce coking coal for the steel-making sector.

Rio Tinto has also looked to Serbia in its quest for “future-facing” minerals copper and lithium. However, its plans to develop the $3 billion Jadar lithium mine in western Serbia, which would have been the largest in Europe, suffered a significant setback last year when the Balkan nation’s government tore up its permits in response to escalating community protests over its potential impact on the environment.

The future of Rio Tinto’s Serbian project remains in limbo, but the company has not given up hope that it may eventually proceed.

Meanwhile, in December, Rio Tinto finalised a multibillion-dollar deal to buy the shares it did not already own in Toronto-listed Turquoise Hill Resources to lift its exposure to the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia. It has also recently acquired the undeveloped Rincon lithium brine project sitting within the so-called “lithium triangle” of South America.

Copper presently accounts for about 20 per cent of BHP’s underlying earnings, while iron ore makes up more than 50 per cent. Based on long-term price forecasts, copper could make up more than 40 per cent of earnings by 2030, according to analysts. “This would support the strategy to have about 50 per cent of the portfolio, longer term, made up from copper, nickel and potash,” investment bank JPMorgan said, SMH writes.

Greece, Fluor will be responsible for infrastructure, non-process facilities, process area and tailings filtration at the Skouries mine

Fluor Corporation has received a contract to provide engineering, procurement and construction management services (EPCM) for the Skouries gold-copper mining project in Greece.

The contract has been awarded by Hellas Gold Single Member, a wholly-owned unit of Eldorado Gold.

Under the contract, Fluor will be responsible for infrastructure, non-process facilities, process area and tailings filtration.

Located within the Halkidiki Peninsula of Greece, the Skouries high-grade gold-copper porphyry deposit is expected to have an average annual production capacity of 140,000oz of gold and 67 million pounds of copper over its initial mine life of 20 years.

Fluor Mining & Metals business president Tony Morgan said: “The execution of this project will build on Fluor’s technical expertise in large-scale gold and copper projects.

“Fluor is excited to be a part of this important project that will drive economic development in the region and provide the essential raw materials to support the transition to a more sustainable future.”

Fluor’s Vancouver office will be the project’s lead office. The work will be supported by the firm’s New Delhi and Calgary offices.

Led by Fluor’s Greece office, the onshore construction management and detailed engineering work will be carried out by a consortium of Greek engineering service companies.

This project is expected to create up to 800 construction jobs and 1,400 long-term jobs once operational.

Construction on the mine is planned to start this year, with first production anticipated in the second half of 2025.

The Skouries project forms part of the overall Kassandra Mines Complex, which also includes the Olympias Mine, the Stratoni Port Facility and the Kokkinolakkas Tailings Management Facility, Mining Technologies reports.

North Macedonia, Central Asia Metals has provided a Q4 and full year 2022 operations update

Central Asia Metals has provided a Q4 and full year 2022 operations update for the Kounrad dump leach, solvent extraction and SX-EW copper recovery plant in Kazakhstan and the Sasa zinc-lead mine in North Macedonia.In 2022 summary there were zero lost time injuries (LTIs) at Kounrad and two LTIs at Sasa. There was record copper production at Kounrad, above guidance range at 14,254 t of copper produced. Zinc and lead production at Sasa was within guidance range with zinc in concentrate production of 21,473 t and lead in concentrate production of 27,354 t. For 2023 production guidance for Kounrad is 13,000 to 14,000 t. At Sasa, zinc in concentrate is expected to be 19,000 to 21,000 t and lead in concentrate, 27,000 to 29,000 t.

Nigel Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “I am delighted to report strong production from both of our operations during 2022. At Kounrad, we had a record year and exceeded our guidance, producing over 14,000 t of copper cathode into a broadly strong pricing environment. At Sasa, I am proud of our team’s hard work and efforts throughout the year to ensure that we met our guidance and began progressing the Cut and Fill Project. Two LTIs at Sasa were disappointing, and we have adapted training to mitigate against further similar incidents.”

He continued: “As part of the Cut and Fill Project, construction of the paste backfill plant has begun with good progress and therefore remains on schedule for H1 2023. Additionally, work on the Central Decline continues to progress towards the Svinja Reka ore body, with 1,051 m being developed during the year bringing the total advanced to 1,554 m. At Kounrad, earthworks undertaken by our own team have begun for the construction of the Solar Power Project, which is on schedule for completion during H2 2023. We enter 2023 in a debt-free position and look forward to delivering another year of strong base metal production and beginning the transition to the cut and fill mining method at Sasa. Our 2022 annual results are scheduled to be released on 29 March 2023, when our final dividend for 2022 will also be announced.”In more detail, Kounrad delivered Q4 2022 copper production of 3,569 t, bringing output for 2022 to 14,254 t, a production record for CAML.Copper sales during Q4 2022 were 3,843 t, bringing the total for 2022 to 14,342 t. Earthworks for the Solar Power Project began in Q4 2022 at a 10 ha site close to the SX-EW plant. Project construction being undertaken by Kounrad’s in-house engineering team is expected to be complete in the latter part of H2 2023.At Sasa in Q4 2022, mined and processed ore were 203,483 t and 202,175 t respectively, bringing the total for 2022 to 806,069 t of ore mined and 806,653 t of ore processed. The average head grades for the quarter were 3.11% zinc and 3.54% lead, and for the year were 3.15% and 3.63% respectively. The average 2022 metallurgical recoveries were 84.6% for zinc and 93.4% for lead. Sasa produces a zinc concentrate and a separate lead concentrate. In Q4 2022, 10,500 t of concentrate containing 50.1% zinc and 9,268 tonnes of concentrate containing 71.5% lead were produced. Total production for 2022 was 42,824 t of zinc concentrate at an average grade of 50.1% and 38,439 t of lead concentrate at an average grade of 71.2%.

Sasa typically receives from smelters approximately 84% of the value of its zinc in concentrate and approximately 95% of the value of its lead in concentrate. Accordingly, Q4 2022 payable production of zinc was 4,423 t and of lead was 6,297 t, bringing total 2022 payable production to 18,048 t of zinc and 25,987 t of lead. Payable base metal in concentrate sales from Sasa in Q4 2022 were 4,323 t of zinc and 6,219 t of lead and for 2022 were 17,862 t of zinc and 25,689 t of lead.

The Sasa Cut and Fill Project, which comprises the construction of a paste backfill plant and associated reticulation, a dry stack tailings plant and associated landform, and development of a new decline, will ensure maximum extraction of Sasa’s resources, in the safest way, with minimal water usage and improved tailings management. At Sasa, 2023 will be a year of transition from the current sub-level caving mining method to cut and fill stoping. Therefore, CAML maintains its ore mined guidance year on year of 790,000 to 810,000 t.

Given that a major component of the backfill material will be tailings generated from the Sasa processing plant, it is estimated that over 40% of Svinja Reka’s life of mine tailings will be stored underground. Approximately 30% of tailings will be stored in the current TSF4, and the remainder are expected to be filter pressed to remove much of the moisture and then stacked on a dry stack tailings landform. This is seen as a more environmentally attractive waste storage approach to a traditional wet tailings storage facility. This, in combination with other site initiatives, has enabled CAML to set a target of a 75% reduction in Sasa’s fresh water abstraction by the end of 2026.Development of the Central Decline continues to progress well, with 1,051 metres developed during 2022, and 1,554 metres in total and is on schedule to complete phase 1 to connect surface with the 910 production level by the end of H1 2023. Construction of the Paste Backfill Plant on surface and the associated underground infrastructure remains on schedule to be completed in H1 2023. Additionally, orders have been placed for key items required for the Dry Stack Tailings plant, which will be constructed during H2 2023.Given the ongoing Sasa Cut and Fill Project, CAML expects group 2023 capital expenditure of between $28 million and $30 million, of which between $11 million and $13 million is expected to be committed to sustaining capex. The project capital expenditure also includes construction of the Kounrad Solar Power Project which is expected to cost between $4 million and $5 million, IM-Mining writes.

Greece, The utilization of the gold and copper deposits at the Skouries mine can now proceed

Hellas Gold on Thursday announced that the utilization of the gold and copper deposits at the Skouries mine in Halkidiki can now proceed, as the board of parent company Eldorado Gold has approved the decision to invest 680 million euros.

The total life of the mine will be some 20 years, with an average annual production of 140,000 ounces of gold and 67 million pounds of copper. Production, the firm said, is expected to begin in the second half of 2025.

The resumption of the project at Skouries and its entry into the production phase is part of the company’s new investment plan that has been agreed, amounting to €3.1 billion, Ekathimerini reports.