Vast Resources got positive test results at Baita Play polymetallic project in Romania
In July, UK-based Vast Resources said it expects to start production of copper concentrate at Baita Plai in Romania in August, in preparation for sale to energy and commodity trading company Mercuria. Vast Resources recently announced that metallurgical tests at its Baita Plai polymetallic project have delivered positive results.
“The metallurgical results have provided excellent results with scope to further improve the copper and lead recoveries through a regrind process to improve the liberation of the chalcocite and galena and expose them to flotation,” Vast Resources said in a press release.
Thus, copper recoveries ranged between 88.2% and 93.8%, gold recoveries ranged between 72.7% – 78.2%, silver recoveries ranged between 69.3% – 83.0%, while zinc recoveries amounted to 51.1%. Tests also revealed a recovered molybedenum concentration of 65.3%, which will be included in the processing plant for an additional revenue stream.
Tests were carried out by Grinding Solutions, an UK-based company specializing in mineral liberation and separation
“The opportunity to further develop the mine and continue exploration at Baita Plai in order to increase the Resource and extend the life of mine is a continuing priority for the Company. These test results underpin both the near term and the future profitability of the company,” Vast CEO Andrew Prelea said.
Vast Resources Romanian portfolio includes an 80% interest in the Baita Plai polymetallic mine and the Manaila polymetallic mine, which was commissioned in 2015, currently on care and maintenance.
Zijin Bor Copper, enlarged copper concentrate production in Serbia
China’s Zijin Mining Group, produced 26.9 million tonnes of tailings and 9.4 million tonnes of ore in the first half of 2020, in its Serbian unit – Zijin Bor Copper, lead mining engineer Jiao Jianming said.
The Chinese group injected $350 million (414.5 million euro) in the capital of Serbian copper mining and smelting company RTB Bor in December 2018, acquiring majority ownership, and renamed the company to Zijin Bor Copper.
Zijin Bor Copper, produced 27,700 tonnes of copper concentrate in the first half of 2020, up 10.5% on the year, Jiao Jianming said.
“Instead of the projected average content of 0.304% ore with 0.338% of copper was mined, and the utilisation of metals in flotation was 103% of plan. Therefore, instead of the planned 24,000 tons of copper in concentrate, 10.5% more was produced in the period,” Jianming said in the latest edition of corporate newsletter Kolektiv.
“We expect a better price of copper in the coming period, so we are optimistic about the full implementation of the plan for 2020,” he added.
Zijin Bor Copper aims to produce 55,000 tonnes of copper concentrate and 90,000 of copper cathode in 2020.
Greenfields Exploration and growing interest in Greenland
Greenfields Exploration Executive Director Lindsay Dick confirmed to S&P Global Market Intelligence on July 7 that the joint venture with Australian miner IGO Ltd. is ongoing, though the licenses have been reduced to focus on the most prospective areas.
Unlisted Greenfields Exploration Ltd. has identified a “shopping list of high-quality acquisitions” in Greenland. Further copper exploration applications could give the company about 28% of all areas under license. Greenland is still very much unknown as a mineral province while attracting a growing list of large miners. The company abandoned its initial plans to list on the ASX in 2018 after forming a joint venture with Australian midtier miner IGO Ltd. on its Frontier copper-nickel-tungsten project, which has geological features similar to PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co.’s Talnakh project in Russia. IGO cites Frontier as one of the “belt-scale greenfield opportunities” in its discovery portfolio.
While Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen dismissed U.S. President Donald Trump’s offer to buy Greenland in 2019, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the U.S. Geological Survey collected airborne and land-based data along with Greenland’s own authorities that year, while several juniors continue to develop potentially lucrative assets.
Anglo American PLC was granted five-year exploration and prospecting licenses in western Greenland targeting nickel, copper and platinum group metals in mid-2019. Bluejay Mining PLC raised £11.5 million in November 2019 from Denmark and Greenland government investment funds and other investors for its Dundas ilmenite project. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market.
Major Chinese rare earths company Shenghe Resources Holding Co. Ltd. is a substantial holder in ASX-listed Greenland Minerals Ltd., which believes it can put its huge Kvanefjeld rare earths deposit into production for US$505 million. Meanwhile, ASX peer Ironbark Zinc Ltd. has been revamping its decade-old mine plan for Citronen, one of the world’s largest undeveloped zinc deposits. Shenghe CEO and Chairman Hu Zesong told the Greenland Conference in December 2019 that his company assessed over 60 projects globally before deciding on Kvanefjeld, and is now eyeing European construction, processing and materials fabrication partners for the development.
Noting that many of Greenland’s discoveries are world-class despite limited exploration, Dick said multiple locations within the country host “well-preserved ancient rocks” which are analogous to many of the world’s great copper systems.
Targeting large-scale copper deposits, Greenfields Exploration announced July 7 that a special exploration license for the Arctic Rift copper, or ARC, project, is in the public consultation phase after initial approvals. Dick said it has “all of the necessary attributes to be an analogue” of the Michigan Upper Peninsula copper belt, where copper occurs as native lumps, as well as being hosted in basalt and sediments.
Historical exploration results from the license area include 0.39% copper and 14.2 g/t silver across 16 meters at the Discovery prospect, which included a peak assay of 12.5% copper and 385 g/t silver in a zone up to 3 meters thick with a minimum grade of 0.62% copper and 27 g/t silver. The Discovery mineralization has been mapped along 2 kilometers of strike and remains open in all directions.
The ARC project is 130 kilometers south of Citronen, which may have formed through the same processes based on geochemistry and structural analysis. Ironbark said that Citronen sits in a continental-scale sedimentary basin which extends about 2,500 kilometers west through northern Greenland and into Canada’s Arctic Islands.
Copper pipeline woes
In targeting copper, Dick cited Market Intelligence’s recent analysis suggesting the rate of discovery has been trending down for some time, and conditions have been worsening. Dick surmised from the analysis that it has been a “dismal decade for discovery … furthermore, while some new major discoveries have been found at late-stage projects and existing mining camps, the probability of finding new major discoveries at such projects is lower than at riskier, early-stage prospects.”
“Ironically, the addition of the new ARC project reinforces that our company is the only one, aside from small departments in global miners, in the world tackling this challenge head on,” executive director said.
Most grassroots copper exploration is occurring in more mature mining jurisdictions like Chile, Australia and the U.S. where geology is better understood and infrastructure is generally superior, according to Market Intelligence’s principal metals and mining research analyst Kevin Murphy. Murphy said in an interview that significant new discoveries, while “hard to find,” are “not impossible by any means,” as shown by Rio Tinto with its West Australian Winu discovery in February 2019.
While underexplored places like Argentina and Ecuador have an even higher risk-reward potential, Greenland is “more immature when it comes to exploration, so much so that there are only about a dozen projects with reported resources,” Murphy said.
The uncertain nature of the prospectivity of Greenland creates high risk, according to Murphy. “There could be practically nothing or another Kamoa-Kakula waiting to be found,” he said.
The Kamoa deposit in the Democratic Republic of Congo was discovered in 2008 by Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., which also discovered the Kakula deposit in 2014.
Anglo Asian Mining PLC’s success in Azerbaijan
Anglo Asian Mining PLC is Azerbailan-focused copper, gold and silver miner and has well established and successful track record of exploration and production in Azerbaijan.
For the year ended December 31, 2019, the Azerbaijan-focused miner reported a pre-tax profit of US$30.1mln, up 19% on the prior year, while revenues increased 2% to a record level of US$92.1mln. The production forecast for 2020 was “unchanged” at between 75,000 to 80,000 gold equivalent, it said alongside the numbers.
In May, it added that it would focus on five new exploration discoveries at the company’s projects in Azerbaijan that have the potential to “significantly increase the production and mine life” of the company.
Gold and copper mineralisation existed on or near the surface for each discovery giving “good potential for mine development”, with production anticipated from 2022 onwards, the miner said.
Reza Vaziri, chief executive says: “We have developed extensive work programmes for each of these [five discovery] projects and this work will be a key focus for the company in the near to medium term”. “This current plan demonstrates our confidence in the abundant resource base of the company, which we believe will continue to generate significant shareholder value.”
Mundoro Capital’s strategic mining project locations in Serbia and Bulgaria, disciplined capital
Mundoro Capital Inc. is a Canadian-based junior mining company that is utilizing the proven partner model to boost mining exploration in Serbia and Bulgaria’s Tethyan belt and is focused on investing in base metal and precious metal projects in the western portion of the Tethyan belt in Bulgaria and Serbia. The company focuses on copper and gold discoveries and is well equipped with an experienced team, a strategic investment portfolio and fiscal discipline.
The company has projects in world-class districts paired with an experienced team and proven partner model and has a clear and achievable vision to create long-term shareholder value. By utilizing the company’s chosen business model, they are able to offer their shareholders a decreased investment risk as well as major benefits.
head of TSX Company Services at TMX Group, Arne Gulstene, spoke with Teo Dechev, CEO and president of Mundoro Capital, about the company’s focus on making more copper and gold discoveries, and ways that they are leveraging their expertise in the mining industry to fund future projects.
Dechev believes that copper, in the long run, will continue to have strong demand due to the electrification of cities and the growing popularity of electric vehicles. While there has been a decrease in the short-term demand of copper due to COVID-19, Dechev sees copper recovering as a strong long-term and stable investment.
Budgets across the mining industry have been constrained and there has been a decrease in exploration due to a lack of capital. In response, Mundoro Capital has been driven to find new creative ways to continue financing vital mining exploration.
With the capital markets having changed their view on what risks they are willing to take, Mundoro Capital is establishing itself with the partner model to continue to finance their programs. This means that the company is partnering with major mining companies that will ultimately develop and mine the assets that are discovered. Mundoro Capital is also exploring streaming and royalties as an alternative to the traditional capital markets.
Dechev emphasizes the importance of mining in every society. She highlights Mundoro’s approach to responsible mineral development and the company’s three pillars of sustainable development: environmental, social and governance. The company is proud to work with local communities to build relationships and create new opportunities.
Mundoro Capital’s business model includes targeting strategic locations, identifying potential exploration areas, and partnering with major mining companies for asset development. This process decreases risks and presents major benefits for the shareholders.
So, how does Dechev sum up Mundoro Capital’s investment proposition? She believes that the company offers stable cash flow, an experienced management team, and an excellent roster of partnering companies. The company is using its international expertise in mineral finance, project evaluation, exploration and project development to create long-term shareholder value. It will be great to see how they progress with their goals.
Rare Metal Mining Mongolia huge gold and copper ore bodies discovered near Oyu Tolgoi
According to a recent statement issued by the company Rare Metal Mining, they discovered large gold and copper ore bodies near Oyu Tolgoi, in Mongolia.
The company recently signed a joint venture with MarketPeak and Rare Metal Mining after discovering large gold and copper ore body which covers a majority of the 2,398 hectares. The mining exploration license is located in South Mongolia within the same metallic belt as Oyu Tolgoi. Precisely the land is approximately 240 km from Oyu Tolgoi, which happens to hold the largest copper deposits in Asia.
Prime Mongolian Resources group of companies focuses on flipping and developing mines and exploration licenses, now co-owns over 1% of all the mining exploration licenses in the territory of Mongolia.
With drillings expected to commence in 2021, agreements have been signed to support the local community needs. Also, its an effort to build the company’s brand reputation within the mining industry. Prime Mongolian Resources hopes to make its first Copper and gold extractions by 2023.
Mongolia lies among the top 30 resource-rich developing nations, according to a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The nation is also rated number 47 in the world based on political stability index, which puts it above countries such as Germany ranked 62, the USA at 69, and France at 88, according to a survey conducted by the World Bank in 2018.
Incredibly, the mining statistics are also in favor of Mongolia as it has one of the highest mining success ratios. From a total of 2,796 mines and exploration licenses between 2016 and 2019, only 617 failed either through being surrendered, canceled, or by expiring, according to the Petroleum Authority of Mongolia Statistics.
The current mines and explorations licenses cover a total area of 4.8% of Mongolia’s territory. And with the nation being one of the richest in natural resources, this leaves vast unexplored potential. According to government sources, the country’s untapped mineral wealth is worth around $1.3 trillion, consisting of Gold, Copper, Nickel, cobalt, oil, and other resources, which makes Mongolia an exciting market.
Interestingly, Mongolia’s mining fortune heavily depends on Chinese demand for copper, coal, and other resources, which account for over 90% of all its exports. For now, the outlook for commodity exporters looks promising in the near future as new mining projects begin to open up in the Asian nation.
According to UN Comtrade, in 2018, Copper was among the top two export commodities for Mongolia at an estimated $2 billion. And it’s the booming mining activities that are fueling the economic development of the nation with the Asian Development Bank expecting Mongolia’s GDP to grow at 6.1% in 2020, the highest in Asia.
Copper, gold, and other resource mining have also had a positive impact on the Mongolian economy as the nation has seen substantial labor shifts where citizens have moved from the agricultural sector to the mining, manufacturing, and construction sectors. Those that have moved to the capital have shifted from pastoral occupations to construction jobs and the service sectors. Others have seasonally worked in mines around the booming southern Gobi or in the capital.
Zijin Bor Copper plans to produce 3.3 mln t of ore at Cukaru Peki Upper Zone mine in Serbia
Zijin Bor Copper intends to open an underground mine at Cukaru Peki, along with processing and tailings disposal facilities, CPM Consulting said. In January, Zijin Mining Group said it expects the Cukaru Peki Upper Zone mine in Serbia to reach production target in 2023. Zijin Bor Copper, the Serbian unit of China’s Zijin Mining Group, plans to produce 3.3 million tonnes of ore at the future Cukaru Peki Upper Zone mine of the Timok copper-gold project, the supervisor of the project, Serbian company CPM Consulting, said.
The planned ore production and processing capacity of the mine is 10,000 tonnes per day, or 3.3 million tonnes per year, CPM Consulting said in a notice posted on its corporate website.
The Timok copper and gold project located in eastern Serbia consists of the Cukaru Peki Upper Zone and Lower Zone. Zijin owns 100% of the Cukaru Peki Upper Zone plus a 60.4% stake in the Cukaru Peki Lower Zone, while US-based Freeport McMoran owns the remainder. In November, Zijin signed an agreement to acquire Freeport McMoran’s copper and gold assets in Serbia for up to $390 million (359 million euro).
Zijin also holds majority ownership in Serbian copper mining and smelting company RTB Bor. The Chinese group injected $350 million in the capital of RTB Bor in December 2018 and intends to invest a total of $1.26 billion to improve its production operations, open new mines and increase efficiency.
Zijin Bor Copper in Serbia plans to invest $800 mln in expansion of its production capacity
The Chinese group injected $350 million in the capital of Serbian copper mining and smelting company RTB Bor in December 2018, acquiring majority ownership, and renamed it to Zijin Bor Copper. Serbian energy minister Aleksandar Antic has said that the Serbian unit of China’s Zijin Mining Group – Zijin Bor Copper plans to invest $800 million (731 million euro) in expansion of its production capacity this year and next.
The company intends to invest the sum in reconstruction of existing and opening of new mines, increasing the capacity of the copper smelter in Bor, and in environment protection activities, the energy ministry quoted Antic as saying in a press release.
Copper production at the Bor mining and smelting complex is progressing according to schedule despite the coronavirus outbreak in Serbia, Antic said during a meeting with the general manager of Zijin Bor Copper, Jian Ximing, in Belgrade.
In January, Zijin Bor Copper said it targets a profit of $8.5 million this year. The company plans to process 437,000 tonnes of copper concentrate and produce 122,000 tonnes of anodes, 90,000 tonnes of cathodes, 370,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid, 1,833 kg of gold and 11.9 tonnes of silver in 2020.
Lundin Mining temporarily suspended activities at the Zinc Expansion Project in Portugal
Lundin Mining Corp. attributed the decision to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic. The company announced that it has temporarily suspended construction and commissioning activities at the Zinc Expansion Project (ZEP) at its Neves-Corvo copper-zinc mine in Portugal. Previously, the zinc expansion project was on track for a phased start-up beginning in the second quarter of 2020, with $155 million earmarked by Lundin to spend in 2020 to complete the project.
Lundin is a diversified Canadian base metals mining company with operations in Chile, the United States, Portugal, Sweden and Finland, primarily producing copper, nickel and zinc. Lundin shares eased 12.2% or 71 cents to $5.11 on volume of 1.87 million. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $8.08 and $4.91.
Despite the softer fourth quarter operational results, total 2019 consolidated copper, zinc and nickel production of 235,000 tonnes, 152,000 tonnes and 13,500 tonnes respectively all met or slightly exceeded the most recent annual guidance ranges of 227,000-245,000 tonnes, 149,000-157,000 tonnes and 12,000-15,000 tonnes respectively.
Lundin has recently said it anticipates strong growth in its metal production. The company said copper production is expected to rise by over 20% in 2020 compare to 2019, with full year contributions from the Chapada copper-gold mine and Candelaria mining complex. It said zinc production is forecast to increase by over 15% in the same period while nickel production will jump by over 25%.
Neves-Corvo is mainly a copper and zinc mine, producing copper, zinc and lead concentrates. The operation is owned and operated by Lundin Mining’s Portuguese subsidiary Sominor. Neves-Corvo mines underground from five major orebodies. The processing facility consists of two plants. The copper plant processes copper ores and has a capacity of 2.6 million tonnes annually. The zinc plant, which can process zinc or copper ores, has a capacity of approximately 1.1 million tonnes per annum. The capacity is currently being expanded to 2.5 million tonnes.
ZEP was approved in 2017. Its aim was to increase the zinc mining and processing capacity at Neves-Corvo to approximately 2.5 million tonnes annually, generating an average of 150,000 tonnes annually of zinc concentrate over 10 years.
New mine infrastructure for the ZEP includes a new crusher station, a conveyor system connecting this to the 700 shaft hoisting facilities, an upgrade to the main hoisting shaft, together with extensions to the mines’ ventilation, pumping and electrical distribution systems. Much of the zinc ore for the ZEP will be mined in deep areas of the Lombador orebody using primarily bench and fill mining methods, with limited amounts of drift and fill. In 2020, the Neves-Corvo is expected to produce between 38,000-43,000 tonnes of copper and 95,000 to 105,000 tonnes of zinc.
Central Asia Metal demonstrate ‘fundamental strength’ with the results at its lead zinc mine in North Macedonia
Central Asia Metals’ copper, zinc and lead production and exploration company demonstrate the “fundamental strength” of the business with the results for the year ended. The company owns two low-cost base metals operations, one in Kazakhstan and the other in North Macedonia.
CEO Nigel Robinson says this is demonstrated by CAML having ended the financial year in a strong position with $32.6-million in cash in the bank and gross debt that has been reduced to $108.8-million, almost half the level that it was two years ago when CAML acquired its Sasa zinc and lead mine, in North Macedonia.
Despite this, the company remains conscious that it is announcing its results in “very uncertain times”, when the short-term outlook for the world’s health, the commodity markets and the global economy is in doubt owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Taking this into the account, Robinson indicates that both Sasa and Kounrad, a copper operation in Kazakhstan, remain fully operational at present, with no disruptions experienced to either production or the sales of metal products so far.
However, both North Macedonia and Kazakhstan have now closed their borders to neighbouring countries for the movement of people, although not trade, owing to the escalating number of Covid-19 cases.
Currently, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Kazakhstan stands at over 340, while in North Macedonia, this number is more than 240, Robinson told Mining Weekly.
CAML has, as expected, implemented the respective government guidance plus additional stringent procedures to protect the welfare of its staff at both operations, as well as the company’s London-based headquarters, where the CAML team now works remotely.
While both North Macedonia and Kazakhstan currently have, so far, relatively few cases of the Covid-19 virus, compared with the rest of the world, the numbers are, unfortunately, rising daily. This has translated into seeing subsequent escalations of government measures, and CAML indicates that “the potential for increased restrictions” can therefore, not be ruled out.
Given the current period of uncertainty, CAML has decided not to recommend a final dividend for 2019 and is now reviewing its 2020 capital expenditure budgets with the aim of identifying near-term savings.
CAML did, however, declare an interim dividend of 6.5p for the 2019 full-year, compared with 14.5p in the prior comparable period.
“Despite the underlying strength of our business with a strong balance sheet and lowest quartile industry costs, we feel these measures are necessary to conserve cash given the unpredictable nature of the current situation, the potential impact on our operations and the volatility of the underlying commodity prices to which we are exposed,” Robinson says, adding that CAML “remains confident for the medium and long-term future” of the business.
The decision will be reviewed as the year progresses and the world gains more clarity on the Covid-19 situation and its impact on mining operations and metal prices.
Looking ahead, CAML says it remains focused on maintaining a strong cash position for 2020, which it intends to achieve through starting the year with $32-million in the bank, and cutting back on non-essential capital expenditure during the year.
Additionally, considering that it is currently unknown whether CAML will need to put its mines on care and maintenance, like the mining industry in South Africa, Robinson notes that CAML is “well placed” to continue with operations for a while, should Kazakhstan and North Macedonia decide to follow suit and declare a lockdown.
While the company may not survive with this approach indefinitely, Robinson is confident that the global market will have more clarity on the Covid-19 situation in the coming months.
The group’s gross revenue for the 2019 financial year was $108.8-million, with net revenue slightly lower at $171.8-million.
The group’s profit before tax was $67.8-million, and group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation $108.6-million with a 60% margin.
Earnings a share from continuing operations were $29.36.
CAML produced 23 369 t of zinc in concentrate, up from the prior year’s 22 532 t.
Lead-in-concentrate production was 29 201 t, down from the previous comparable period’s production of 29 388 t.
Copper production for the year reached 13 771 t, down from 14 049 t the year before.
Looking ahead, CAML has set its production guidance for this year at between 12 500 t and 13 000 t of copper, between 30 000 t and 32 000 t of lead, and between 23 000 t and 25 000 t of zinc.
However, Robinson notes that these guidance figures should be considered as a caveat, as these numbers could change depending on the direction that the Covid-19 virus forces CAML, and the global market, to take.