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.

Turkey: Sandstorm will receive a $200m gold stream on the Hod Maden project

In exchange, Sandstorm will receive a $200m gold stream on the Hod Maden project and a 34% interest in Royalty North Partners.

Canada’s Royalty North Partners (RNP) has signed a letter of intent (LoI) with Sandstorm Gold to purchase non-royalty and non-stream assets.

The deal involves the sale of a 30% stake in the Hod Maden gold-copper project in north-eastern Turkey.

Under the LoI, Sandstorm Gold will also transfer its 25% stake in Entrée Resources to Royalty North Partners and a $10m cash contribution.

Entrée Resources holds a 20% stake in the Hugo North Extension project, a portion of the Hugo Dummett deposit at the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia.

The transaction is structured as a reverse takeover of Royalty North. Upon completion of the deal, RNP will change its name to Horizon Copper.

In exchange for the sale, Sandstorm will receive a $200m gold stream on the Hod Maden project, around 34% interest in Royalty North Partners, and $95m debenture in Horizon Copper.

Sandstorm Gold president and CEO Nolan Watson said: “Streamline is a key theme for Sandstorm this year.

“The transformation of the Company’s interest in Hod Maden into a gold stream is integral to our corporate strategy of unlocking the hidden value in Sandstorm’s portfolio.”

The proposed transaction would allow Sandstorm Gold to position itself as a pure-play precious metals streaming and royalty firm.

Watson added: “The launch of Horizon Copper is an elegant solution that maintains excellent exposure to the upside at Hod Maden while also opening new doors for creating value for both entities

“I am excited as Sandstorm moves forward as a pure-play streaming and royalty company with a partnership that can help us acquire precious metal by-product streams on high-quality copper assets.”

The transaction is slated to complete in the second half of this year.

In 2022, Sandstorm Gold expects its attributable gold equivalent production to range between 65,000oz and 70,000oz.

Upon completion of the deal, the company anticipates its production to reach more than 100,000 gold equivalent ounces in 2025, Mining Technology writes.

Zijin expects huge net profit jump

Chinese mining giant Zijin Mining owns significant mining investment projects in 12 overseas countries and 14 provinces in China. It is one of the Chinese companies owning the largest metal resources volume, controlling the largest reserve volumes of copper and gold resources overseas and having the largest output of mine-produced products with the highest efficiency.

Zijin Mining announced that for the period between January and June 2021 (H1 2021), the company expects a 156%-172% year-on-year increase in net profit attributable to shareholders of the parent company, to reach 6.2 to 6.6 billion yuan (~$957 to $1,019 million), which is more or less equivalent to its net attributable profit in 2020 (6.5 billion yuan or ~$1,004 million). The company said that in H1 2021, copper and zinc prices surged while gold price remains high, and that it seized the opportunity, worked on increasing production, and improved internal management and efficiency. Zijin added that it realized a year-on-year increase in the output of gold, copper and zinc, which boosted the company’s performance.

Meanwhile, the company touted significant progress with Zijin’s key construction projects which has been made during the period.

In the DRC, the company said that the Kamoa-Kakula copper mine’s Phase I Project has commenced production in May ahead of schedule. After reaching its full capacity, the mine will deliver an annual output of around 200,000 tonnes of copper. This year, it will produce copper concentrate containing 80,000 to 95,000 tonnes of copper. To be further expanded in phases, the Kamoa-Kakula copper mine is eventually expected to process 19 million tonnes of ore per annum and become the 2nd largest copper mine on the planet with a peak output of over 800,000 tonnes of copper. The mine is ramping up the capacity its Phase I operation, while pushing to commerce production at Phase II in Q3 2020.

Additionally, Zijin noted that the upper zone of the Čukaru Peki copper and gold mine in Serbia began trial production in June. The operation will transition from mine construction to production in September. On average, it is expected to produce 91,000 tonnes of copper and 2.5 tonnes of gold per annum.




Euro Sun’s Rovina Valley gold-copper project in Romania

In March, Canada’s Euro Sun Mining announced that it estimates a robust gold and copper output and total initial capital expenditures (CAPEX) of $399 million (329 million euro) at Rovina Valley in Romania, following positive results of the definitive feasibility study. The feasibility study uncovered a potential average annual gold equivalent production of 146,000 ounces over the first ten years, consisting of 106,000 ounces of gold and 19 million pounds of copper per annum, Euro Sun said at the time.

Euro Sun said that it has received the approval from relevant Romanian authorities to initiate the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for its Rovina Valley gold and copper project.

The company and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Hunedoara county are now working towards receiving the agreements and opinions from all the administrative authorities required for approval of the urbanism certificate as part of the SEA process, Euro Sun said in a statement.

The company and the EPA are also preparing for public consultations which are expected to occur in the third quarter of 2021.

“This approval is an important milestone in the SEA process. We believe that our frequent public communications and presence in the local community has played an important role,” Euro Sun CEO Scott Moore said.




Anglo Asian gets 5-year extension approval for Gedabek location, Azerbaijan

Anglo Asian Mining developed Azerbaijan’s first operating gold-copper-silver mine at Gedabek and started to produce gold there in 2009.

The company said the government of Azerbaijan has approved the first of two five-year extensions of the production sharing agreement for its Gedabek contract area.

“I am very pleased to announce that the company has obtained the first of the five-year extensions of the production sharing agreement for the Gedabek contract area, especially as we continue with our exploration programme which has already identified a number of new mineral occurrences including Zafer and Avshancli,” said chief executive Reza Vaziri.

The AIM-listed gold, copper and silver producer said it was also in talks with the government to obtain an extension of the territory of its existing contract areas and for new contract areas in Azerbaijan.

“It is expected these negotiations will be concluded shortly,” Vaziri added.

The company’s main operating location is the Gedabek contract area, a 300 square kilometre area in the Lesser Caucasus mountains of western Azerbaijan.  The Gedabek mine produced 69,000 gold equivalent ounces in 2020.




Xanadu to raise money for copper-gold exploration in Mongolia

In order to fund exploration work at the Kharmagtai copper/gold project, in Mongolia, copper explorer Xanadu Mines will raise A$10.2-million in a share placement. The company has received firm commitments for the placement of 163.8-million shares, at a price of 6.2c each to professional and sophisticated investors under its existing placement capacity.

The issue price represents a 15.1% discount to Xanadu’s last closing price, and a 13.2% discount to its five-day volume weighted average share price. The placement is scheduled to settle on April 30.

“We are pleased with the strong support received from both existing shareholders and new institutional investors,” said Xanadu nonexecutive chairperson Colin Moorhead.

“This placement continues to strengthen our share register and fully funds Xanadu to execute its exploration strategy at Kharmagtai. Investors can look forward to a period of strong news flow as we embark on an aggressive drilling programme to define the higher-grade, gold-rich bornite zones at depth and unlock the next stage of development in this globally significant copper/gold project.”

Xanadu said that proceeds from the placement, along with the company’s existing cash resource, would be applied towards the Phase 2 exploration programme at Kharmagtai, targeting higher-grade, bornite-rich zones at depth, as well as for general working capital purposes.




IG Copper and Gold enters Kazakhstan’s mining industry

In order to enter the mineral-rich country of Kazakhstan, IG Global Group (IGG) has established a wholly owned subsidiary, IG Copper and Gold. The firm said it sees huge potential in the country’s mining sector, both in terms of magnitude and scale of projects.

IGG president and CEO Thomas Bowens said: “We are very excited to have established IG Copper and Gold and our first corporate offices in Kazakhstan. IGG will initially be targeting high-value gold and porphyry copper-gold assets for exploration and development.

“This marks our entry into the third country following on from our highly successful operations in both Russia and the United States.”

Upon becoming a member of the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Standards in 2016, Kazakhstan implemented simplified mineral licensing in 2017 to ensure open access to geological data and its digitisation.

The country also simplified the procedure of providing potential companies with subsoil use rights. Some of the country’s mining projects currently under development include the Aktogay open-pit mine in the East Kazakhstan Region, the Bozshakol copper mine in the Pavlodar Region, and the Koksay copper mine in the southeastern part of the country.

In a press statement, IGG said: “IGG’s team and experience in the Russian Far East and Asia is a strategic advantage in its ability to operate in this region.”

Following a modern framework for investment in its mining sector, Kazakhstan is said to hold diverse geological composition such as gold, copper, and chrome iron ore deposits, as well as polymetallic deposits, tungsten, molybdenum and uranium ores.




Zijin estimates 340,000 tons of copper and 12 tons of gold discovered in Serbia

According to geologists’ estimates, there are about 340,000 tons of copper and 12 tons of gold, Zijin company said in a statement. Geological research and investments in this set, but in the long run a profitable job, continue this year as well, so a new drill for exploratory drilling has recently arrived in the Majdanpek mine for that reason.

In the last two years, the Geology Sector has used RC exploratory drilling as part of exploitation research at surface mines, but an external contractor has been hired for that. The dynamics of excavation at surface mines requires constant monitoring and planning of the quantity and quality of the useful component, which can be a problem in less explored parts of the deposit. The new machine will help in such situations, because geologists will get more precise geological information in a fast, relatively cheap and efficient way in the future.

The new drill will also enable better control of the content of useful components, e.g. copper and gold (grade control), which is already a common practice in the world.

The new “epirok” drill, which records the first working hours and meters in the Majdanpek mine, has a simple design, adapted for work on inaccessible terrain, and at the same time it is reliable and easy to service. It can reach up to 250 meters in depth, although the largest in surface mines are 100 to 150 meters. The wells that it makes, if they are not very deep, can also serve as mines in the preparatory drilling and mining works, it was announced.

Last year, the company Zijin Copper invested around 5.55 million US dollars in geological research. The investment paid off, as the company is on track to increase its resources by an additional 57.76 million tons, with a copper content of over 0.3 percent.



Rio Tinto signed financing deal with Turquoise for Mongolia’s Oyu Tolgoi expansion project

Claimed to be the world’s largest new copper-gold mines, the Oyu Tolgoi mine is located in Mongolia’s South Gobi region, approximately 550km south of Ulaanbaatar and 80km north of the Mongolia-China border.

Rio Tinto has signed an agreement with Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ) on an updated financing plan for the $2.3bn underground development of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia. Under the binding heads of agreement (HoA), Rio and Turquoise Hill agreed to restructure up to $1.4bn of debt payments with lenders. It will also look to raise up to $500m of senior supplemental debt (SSD) for the project from selected international financial institutions under existing financing arrangements.

To address potential shortfalls from the re-profiling and additional SSD, Rio Tinto plans to provide up to $750m through a co-lending facility.

Rio Tinto Copper CEO Bold Baatar said: “This agreement and alignment with TRQ represents a major milestone in the continued development of Oyu Tolgoi, which is expected to become one of the world’s largest copper mines and a significant contributor to the Mongolian economy for years to come.

“Commencing the re-profiling whilst concurrently listening, engaging and resolving the concerns of the Government of Mongolia are critical steps to maintaining momentum on the timely delivery of the Oyu Tolgoi underground project.”

Through Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi, the Mongolian Government has a 34% stake in the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine.



Turquoise Hill wins in dispute with Rio Tinto over mine in Mongolia

The temporary relief granted to the Vancouver-based miner Turquoise Hill Resources in the arbitration proceedings against Rio Tinto, prevents the mining giant from restricting Turquoise Hill’s talks on funding and other matters with its fellow stakeholders in Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold-silver mine in Mongolia. Until further notice, Rio Tinto won’t be able to authorize re-profiling negotiations with project lenders in a manner that would render Oyu Tolgoi LLC unable to execute an offering of bonds in 2021, Turquoise Hill noted.

Tensions between the companies have grabbed headlines in recent months. They are at odds over roles and obligations in securing the remaining funding for the underground expansion of the mine. Turquoise Hill, majority owned by Rio Tinto, had expected the underground expansion to cost US$5.3 billion when it was approved in 2015. Last year, however, Turquoise Hill flagged stability risks associated with the original project design, adding that amendments to it could increase costs by as much as an additional US$1.9 billion. Turquoise Hill also warned at the time of further delays of up to two and a half years, with first sustainable production from Oyu Tolgoi’s underground expansion expected between May 2022 and June 2023.

Rio Tinto had said in September it planned to raise up to US$500 million through additional lending to develop the giant copper mine. The move, Rio said, would reduce the remaining funding requirement of the expansion to up to $1.4 billion. By reprofiling, the parties sought more time to repay their debt, knowing that the principal of the extended debt, or in some cases even the interest rate on it, are not reduced. Any remaining funding for the underground mine, Rio Tinto vowed, was to be met through a Turquoise Hill equity offering.

Turquoise Hill continues evaluating financing options for Oyu Tolgoi. Such alternatives include additional debt from banks or international financial institutions, an offering of global medium-term notes and a gold streaming transaction, it said. The company had previously disclosed it was facing a funding shortfall for Oyu Tolgoi’s expansion of up to $4 billion, including balance sheet servicing costs. Once completed, the underground section of Oyu Tolgoi will lift production from 125,000–150,000 tonnes in 2019 to 560,000 tonnes at peak output, which is now expected by 2025 at the earliest. This would make it the biggest new copper mine to come on stream in several years.

Oyu Tolgoi, located in the South Gobi desert near the border with China, produced 35,203 tonnes of copper and 26,154 ounces of gold in the first three months of this year. Rio Tinto owns the mine through its majority stake in Turquoise Hill, which has a 66% interest in Oyu Tolgoi. The Mongolian state has the remaining 34% of the operation. Turquoise Hill’s move comes a week after Rio Tinto’s new chief executive officer, Jakob Stausholm, overhauled the senior leadership team and created two new roles, as he seeks to repair damage to the company’s reputation stemming from last year’s destruction of a 46,000-year-old sacred Aboriginal site in Australia.