No to gold mining in Manor

Deputy Marc Mac Sharry has has backed the Treasure Leitrim campaign opposing the granting of prospecting licences for gold in North County Leitrim by Environment Minister Eamon Ryan.

The Minister recently published notice of his intention to grant a prospecting licence to Omagh-based company Flintridge Resources for 47 named townlands in two separate areas, close to Manorhamilton.

Deputy MacSharry said: “It defies logic that amidst a housing crisis nationally and indeed locally, families are prohibited from getting planning permission for a modest family home in rural County Leitrim but yet Green Party’s Environment Minister Eamon Ryan is preparing to grant prospecting licences to Flintridge Resources Limited for gold.

“As a nation we declared a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency in 2019, in recent weeks we have issued Carbon budgets and this very week our Taoiseach and Government will participate in the CAP26 Global conference on our global warming crisis.

“It beggars belief that we are contemplating permitting Gold prospecting in a county which with the support of many others succeeded in outlawing fracking in 2017 after a decade long fight to protect ground water and the local environment.

“The people of North County Leitrim must be listened to by Minister Ryan and Government.

“They have a vision for their county, one which is sustainable, promotes environmental best practice in farming and the rural economy and one which is very far removed from the blind profitability of multinational prospecting companies.

“Mining practices employed are among the highest contributors to emissions and can lead to substantial waste including deposits of mercury and cyanide which are used to extract the gold from the rock.

“This can threaten air and ground water quality which will spread far beyond North County Leitrim.

“The BBC broadcast their investigation into this issue on their ‘Spotlight’ show and its impact on the community throughout County Tyrone.

“Everyone needs to look at this documentary to appreciate the experiences of our neighbours.

“There is simply no way given the challenges posed to our health, and the environment and water and air quality that we should contemplate prospecting or mining for gold in our region.

“There should be a moratorium on all such mining in all of Ireland at a minimum until European Proposals on the Circular Economy are debated, agreed and transposed into Irish Law in order to embrace best practice climate change management strategies.

“I would encourage everyone to lodge their own submission in opposition to the proposed gold prospecting and mining in North County Leitrim”

He added: “Minister Ryan must not grant these licences. He must respect the will of the people of County Leitrim in this regard.”

Treasure Leitrim say that, since Minister Ryan made public his intention to issue a prospecting license to the mining industry, the local community has been building opposition to the proposal with an online objection system while many hundreds of other hand written objections are being gathered in local businesses, active age groups, and marts.

The Treasure Leitrim group has also gathered objections at the Manorhamilton Farmers market last Friday and on Saturday at the town’s Samhain parade.

The group has also lobbied councillors ahead of a meeting of Leitrim County Council at the Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon on Monday where they hope that opposition to Minister Eamon Ryan’s proposal will be ratified.

One of the spokespersons for Treasure Leitrim, Jamie Murphy, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response of the community so far but we need to maintain pressure on Minister Ryan and the government as a whole.

“The deadline for lodging objections is November 7 and we are encouraging as many people as possible to make one, whether you are in Leitrim or further afield.

“We also need all of our local and National elected representatives to speak out strongly on the issue and ask Eamon Ryan not to grant this license.

“It was great to see our Manorhamilton councillors oppose the project.

“The best way to ensure that this carbon heavy, energy intensive energy does not get a foothold in the community is not to issue the prospecting license in the first place.

“We have to learn from the experiences of the communities in Tyrone that was powerfully represented in the Spotlight documentary. We need to stop the industry before it starts.”

The public can submit objections to the Geoscience Regulation Office. A prospecting licence permits the holder to explore for mineral deposits but not to mine, and that any permitted activity would be “non-invasive” and have “minimal environmental impact”.


Serbia got another significant mine

Namely, the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure put the working version of the spatial plan of the area of ​​special purpose for the exploitation of gold in the exploration area Potaj čuka-Tisnica on early public inspection.

The plan, prepared by the Institute of Architecture and Urbanism of Serbia, was ordered by the company Avala Resources doo Belgrade, which operates as part of the Canadian company Dundee Precious Metals from Toronto, writes Ekapija.

The gold deposits of the future mine “Potaj chuka-Tisnica” are located in the southeastern part of the municipality of Zagubica, and the exploration area also includes the southwestern part of the municipality of Majdanpek, it is stated in the plan.

Specifically, the spatial plan includes parts of the cadastral municipalities of Žagubica (Laznica selo, Laznica Selište and Žagubica, and in Majdanpek Jasikovo and Leskovo). The total area covered by the plan is about 292 square kilometers.

The operation of the deposit will last for seven years. It is envisaged that the gold ore will be exploited through surface mines, and the processing of oxide ore, in order to obtain gold, will be done by the leaching method.

After the expiration of the seven-year period of exploitation, the mine will be closed for a year and recultivated.

The mine complex will include, in addition to mines and pile leaching plants, crushing and agglomeration plants, ADR plant, mine tailings dumps, internal and public infrastructure and other ancillary facilities.

As it is reminded in the plan, Avala Resources has an approval for geological research in the exploration area Potaj čuka – Tisnica, based on when extensive geological research of this area was performed in the period from 2010 to 2017.

It is estimated that there are 19.2 Mt (megatons) of probable reserves with an average gold content of 1.07 g / t.

Based on the results of the research, the planned production of the Canadian company is processing 2.5 megatons per year, with an average gold content of 1.07 g / t and a total gold yield of 84.9% for oxide and 71.8% for the transition type of ore.

The ore processing will be realized in two phases: 9.9 Mt in phase 1, and 9.3 Mt in phase 2, which makes a total of 19.2 Mt of processed ore during the life of the mine of seven years.

The plan also states that the leaching process involves the formation of a gold-cyanide complex and the use of activated carbon to bind the gold complex.

“According to available sources, the use of cyanide in gold extraction and processing in ore extraction is the most commonly used method in European mines. Gold mine facilities using cyanide leaching methods located near or relatively close to residential areas across Europe are, e.g. Faboliden in Sweden, Pahtavaara in Finland, Omagh in Ireland, then the Balkans and mines in Turkey Globally, the use of cyanide in the precious metals industry is used in 400 processing plants in the world, most of which are high-tech mines and are located “for the most part in advanced countries such as the United States, Sweden, Finland, Australia and Canada”, the plan said.

It is added that modern technology uses cyanide for the production of precious metals exclusively in a closed system, and that the entire extraction process is continuously and completely digitally monitored.

“The EU considers this production process to be the best available technique, with very strict standards for the production circuit and leaching plants,” the document reads.

When it comes to tailings dumps, it was pointed out that current works on testing the acidity of tailings show that for less than 10% of the sampled material there is a probability of acid formation.

“Acid-forming tailings require a coated substrate, and water runoff requires chemical treatment before being released into the environment. The tailings dump on Bigar Hill will be arranged to accommodate up to 7 megatons of acid-forming tailings. The Bigar Hill plant is. may expand to possibly serve a sulphide-type ore processing plant in the future, which is not relevant at this stage of mine development. uncoated plants, ”the draft spatial plan says.

By the way, in May, the Ministry made a decision that a Strategic Environmental Assessment will be done for the spatial plan of the area for special purpose of gold exploitation in the exploration area Potaj Čuka – Tisnica.

It is also stated that the exploitation and processing of ore reserves from the Potaj Chuka-Tisnica deposit is of interest for the overall development of Serbia, and especially for the areas of Zagubica and Majdanpek.

The location of the future mine can be reached by regional asphalt roads between Bor, Žagubica, Krepoljina and Zlot. This area is connected with Bor to Zajecar and Paracin, and via Zagubica with Pozarevac (and with Belgrade).

According to earlier announcements, the initial investment in this mine would amount to 136 million dollars.


Czech Republic rich with gold deposits

“A large part of the city of Prague was built from the proceeds of gold mining, including some of the buildings of Charles University that still stand today,” says Sarka Jurinova, director of the Regional Museum in Jilove u Prahy, which houses a large exhibition on gold mining.

“We’re probably the only museum where your admission ticket entitles you to take home gold you’ve panned yourself,” she quips, pointing to a pool of water in the courtyard. Visitors can prospect in the sand at the bottom, and whatever tiny pieces of gold they find belong to them.

“There are about 7 tons of gold under and around Jilove,” the museum’s geologist, Jan Vana, tells DW. Although mining ended in 1968, Vana says there were times when some of the shafts would yield as much as 4 grams of gold, or about 1/8 ounce, per metric ton of rock. This would make gold mining a profitable operation, despite the drastic drop in gold prices in 2013.

“The problem is that Jilove is in a recreational area,” Vana explains. “Without the use of toxic cyanide, the yield would be low.”

Nonetheless, many locals would like to return to the days when gold was mined in Jilove. “Then we could buy Czech gold instead of importing it from South Africa,” one elderly local woman says.

Nuggets the size of handballs


The mining tradition was kept alive in Jilove decades after the mines themselves had closed. “In 2018, when we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the end of mining, the last few former miners came and gathered here,” says Sarka Jurinova, standing in front of a mining car, one of the exhibits in the museum. An inscription informs us that there is sufficient gold in the lumps of rock in the wagon to produce a wedding ring. In the past, however, gold nuggets weighing several kilograms were found beneath Jilove. One specimen, the size of a handball, is on display in the Jilove Regional Museum. The museum offers tours of several of the former shafts — although no one in Jilove is seeking to revive the mining industry today. “People do still try and prospect gold in the sand along the tributaries of the River Sazava,” Jurinova points out.

Czech Republic’s gold resources


There are recoverable gold deposits in several places of the Czech Republic. A conservative estimate suggests that it would be possible to mine around 400 metric tons of gold there. At current prices, that would yield about 500 billion Czech crowns — the equivalent of €20 billion, or almost $24 million. Since 1990, there have been several attempts to resume gold mining, but all have failed due to lack of interest from the state along with resistance from residents in affected localities.

Last year, the state mining company Diamo launched a survey of closed gold mines in Zlate Hory in the north of the Czech Republic. “The geological survey will last three years, and the results will be used to determine the conditions under which the gold deposit near Zlate Hory can be exploited,” Ludvik Kaspar, the director of Diamo, told the Czech news agency CTK.

Mining yes, cyanide no


“The study should provide the government with up-to-date information on the possibility of exploiting gold reserves and their concomitants,” Stepanka Filipova, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Industry and Trade, told the high-circulation daily MF Dnes. Here, too, several tons of gold are said to lie buried underground.

“I will make the case for the project to resume mining to go ahead,” Czech president Milos Zeman told CTK some years ago.

With the Zlate Hory mine, the assumption is that, if mining is resumed, the gold-bearing rock would be sent abroad for further processing, meaning that no extraction of gold involving highly toxic cyanide would be done in the Czech Republic.

Mining not yet profitable


In the Czech Republic, gold mining would be profitable with the use of cyanide, but without cyanide its profitability is questionable.

But for Richard Brabec, the current environment minister, renouncing cyanide is an essential requirement for the resumption of gold mining in the Czech Republic.

“For us, it is absolutely inconceivable and unacceptable that gold mining should in future be done by leaching — that is, by chemical processing,” Brabec said on Czech television. “The only other option is deep mining,” he continued, referring to mining involving shafts sunk 1.5 kilometers or nearly a mile below ground.

“But I hope that gold will remain hidden underground as the riches of our country for decades to come,” Brabec concluded.

However, Czech economist Lukas Kovanda, a member of the government’s National Economic Council in Prague, believes the lack of haste in the resumption of gold mining reflects mainly economic factors.

“Gold mining is not yet profitable again, so no one is in a hurry to resume it,” Kovanda told DW. “If things were different, they would have started mining gold again in the Czech Republic long ago.”

Czech Republic: lithium superpower?


The example of lithium, often referred to as “white gold,” is illuminating. In recent years, large lithium deposits were discovered near Cinovec in the Ore Mountains, close to the border with Saxony in Germany. It is estimated to be the largest lithium deposit in Europe, with about 60% on the Czech side of the border and about 40% on the German side.

In March, Karel Havlicek, Czech deputy prime minister and minister of industry and trade, announced that with the help of the partly state-owned energy company CEZ, he had succeeded in gaining control over mining in the majority of the Czech Republic’s deposits.

A CEZ spokesperson, Roman Gazdik, told the online portal of the MF Dnes newspaper that mining could start in 2025, after which it would be possible to mine 1.8 million metric tons of lithium ore per year.

An estimated 4% of the world’s lithium reserves are located in the earth beneath the Czech Republic — 140,000 million metric tons near Cinovec alone. Lithium is a strategic raw material with great potential — among other things, it is needed for the manufacture of batteries.

But lithium mining also presents pollution hazards, so environmental considerations could come into play there as well.




Aurion’s gold discoveries in Finland

Canadian-based gold explorer, Aurion Resources, holds a dominant land position—about 950 sq km of claims—in the CLGB and has a world-class discovery at its Aamurusko project.

The company is currently drilling and plans at least 10,000 m at its 100 per cent owned Risti and Launi properties, which total 300 sq km. The drill is turning first at Aamurusko, where Aurion discovered a vast field of boulders containing high-grade gold in 2016. Up to 10 holes are planned in the first phase; the second phase will test targets at Launi East including the Hinge Zone prospect, discovered last year. Aurion is well-financed to expand the program as merited.

“The abundance of recent high-grade gold discoveries by Aurion and our neighbour shows the prospectivity for gold mineralization of significant scale,” says Aurion CEO, Matti Talikka.

“After a limited 2020 program, we’re excited to build on those discoveries with a full year of exploration. We’re positioned in the right place at the right time: at the core of an emerging gold camp.”

First-mover advantage


In junior mining, investors who enter a promising story early—ahead of the herd—greatly increase their odds of making money. In mineral exploration, the same is true for prospectors and companies that establish large land positions in prospective mineral belts. “Location, location, location”—it’s as important for exploration companies as for residential real estate.

The Klondike Gold Rush, for example, saw an estimated 100,000 adventurers surge north to seek fortune after the 1896 gold discovery in modern-day Yukon. The vast majority went home empty-handed.

The big winners were northern prospectors already in the region, who were sleuthing for gold nuggets while living in spartan cabins and hunting for food. These prospectors were positioned to move quickly and staked claims on the most productive creeks in the Klondike gold district. Some became fabulously wealthy.

Aurion’s experience securing much of the CLGB was no less opportunistic, if more civilized. The company began assembling its dominant land position in 2014 during the depths of a bear market.

The lack of interest from other exploration companies ensured Aurion got its pick of prime real estate in a virtually unexplored gold belt. Under the leadership of founder and former CEO, Mike Basha, Aurion secured a total of 950 sq km of ground, locking up 80 km of the 125 km long Sirkka Shear Zone.

The Sirkka Shear Zone is the crustal-scale fault structure that hosts high-grade gold in the CLGB. It closely resembles prolific fault zones in the Abitibi such as the Destor-Porcupine Fault (70 Moz Timmins gold camp) and the Cadillac-Larder Lake Break (40 Moz Kirkland Lake district). Yet the only multi-million-ounce gold deposit within the CLGB is Kittila. High-grade gold discoveries by Aurion and Rupert suggest other economic deposits lurk beneath the surface in these highly prospective rocks.

Boulders and gold. Aurion’s discovery of quartz boulders–1,200 of them averaging 25 g/t gold over a square kilometre—at Aamurusko on its Risti property in late 2016 captivated the market and sent the company’s stock soaring.

Aurion leveraged the discovery to raise exploration money with minimal dilution to the share structure and brought in core investors including Kinross Gold, the world’s fifth largest gold miner.

The discovery sparked a staking rush that put the CLGB on the gold exploration map. Like several northern Canadian gold projects, the belt is on the perimeter of the Arctic Circle. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the CLGB is warmer by approximately 20 degrees Celsius on average, resulting in no permafrost and, making year-round exploration possible.

Aurion has since made the most of its dominant land position through both exploration and joint ventures. Base of till sampling is a key grassroots exploration tool in the CLGB, since most mineralization is under cover (the gold boulders notwithstanding). As the drills turn at Aamurusko, Aurion is taking till samples on areas of its Risti and Launi properties that have never been explored.

On the drilling front, the company has already intersected multiple bonanzas and high-grade gold hits at the Aamurusko discovery and 600 m to the northwest in prior campaigns. Aurion has found gold in different settings including quartz veins and sediments.

Top intercepts include:

-789 g/t gold over 2.9 m (Aamurusko)

-23.41 g/t Au over 11.1 m (Aamurusko)

-13.3 g/t Au over 19.5 m (Aamurusko NW)

-42.3 g/t Au over 4.0 m (Aamurusko)

Other companies interested in exploring the CLGB moved quickly to partner with Aurion. Gold producer, B2Gold, entered the belt in 2015, optioning a 250 sq. km land package to the west of Aurion’s 100 per cent owned properties.

The Aurion-B2Gold joint venture (JV) has yielded several high-grade discoveries, including 11.4 g/t gold over 13.3 m. B2Gold has identified gold mineralization over more than a kilometre of strike length at the Kutuvuoma project, just 8 km west of Rupert’s Ikkari discovery.

Aurion has also optioned a project to Strategic Resources, which is backed by mining tycoon Ross Beaty. The Strategic option is on a vanadium project in the northern CLGB.

Back on track

The outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 prompted a pivot for Aurion. With the virus spreading rapidly, the company pulled its Canadian field crew and diamond drilling team home to Canada, where they remained for the year. That forced the suspension of a helicopter-supported drill program at the flagship Aamurusko project, which is now being drilled by Aurion’s Finnish-based drill crew. Assays are pending.

Aurion’s exploration team refocused on earlier-stage exploration in 2020 including a scout drill program at the Launi East property. That drilling yielded several sniffs of high-grade gold and will be followed up with diamond drilling this year. Aurion geologists also refined drill targets for this year’s program through geological mapping and data evaluation.

Many junior mining companies have an abundance of technical talent but lack capital markets savvy. Aurion stands out for marrying a skilled geological team with capital markets professionals who know their way around a balance sheet.

CEO, Matti Talikka, leads a strong technical team with deep roots and experience in Finland, which helped Aurion move its projects forward during the pandemic. Talikka is a geologist and Finnish national who is well-known in Finnish mining circles and has been exploring the CLGB for much of the past 20 years.

From 2007 to 2015, he was a senior officer with Dragon Mining, the Australian-listed company from whom Aurion purchased the Kutuvuoma and Ahvenjarvi projects (B2Gold JV). Talikka joined Aurion’s board in 2015 and became chief executive last year.

The level of financial expertise on Aurion’s capital markets team is unique for a junior explorer. Aurion chairman, Dave Lotan, is a seasoned Bay Street veteran with deep and broad connections from years in the finance and hedge fund worlds. He worked as a portfolio manager for one of Canada’s largest pension funds prior to joining Aurion’s board in 2017.

Chief financial officer, Mark Serdan, spent a combined 15 years as a resource-focused portfolio manager at BMO Global Asset Management and UBS Global Asset Management. In those roles, he won multiple Lipper Awards, presented annually to the top-performing fund manager among peers in the category.

Between them, Serdan and Lotan have evaluated more than 1,000 junior resource companies. That has helped them identify the ideal path for success and ensure that Aurion remains on it.

Lotan, an accountant, believes Aurion’s sum of parts adds up to much more than the current stock price. He has spent more than $1.85 million purchasing Aurion shares since December 2020 and now owns more than 9.8 per cent of the company.

“It’s really without precedent to find all this gold on surface, to be able to stake 80 kilometres of a major fault, to find high-grade gold in quartz lying all over the surface, and to have it in an area where exploration is extremely economical,” Lotan says.

The majority of Aurion’s land package is governed by the Finnish state forestry company and has been extensively logged. Those logging and road construction activities have greatly aided Aurion’s exploration efforts.

Value of discovery


The greatest value in mineral exploration is created by new discoveries. Aurion proved it in 2017 with the high-grade boulder discovery at Aamurusko, which sent the stock from dimes to dollars. Aurion’s neighbour, Rupert Resources, demonstrated it a year ago with their world-class gold discoveries on the doorstep of Aurion ground.

Importantly, Rupert’s Ikkari and Heina discoveries are in a different geological setting than Aurion’s high-grade finds to date. That gives Aurion’s geologists another valuable exploration tool as they hunt for Ikkari-style mineralization on 100 per cent owned ground. Aurion’s Risti property alone hosts 15 km of the same geological setting where Rupert hit pay dirt.

Rupert’s stock chart also hints at Aurion’s potential. The two companies were trading at a similar valuation in April 2020 before Rupert’s Ikkari discovery. Rupert is now trading at a valuation north of $900 million–more than 9x higher than Aurion’s $100-million market cap. The hits keep on coming—on April 20 Rupert announced its best hole yet at Ikkari—4.4 g/t gold over 188 m starting from 64 m, including 8.9 g/t over 23 m.

Rupert is drilling “ferociously” ahead of a maiden Ikkari resource estimate this summer, which will give the market “a first glance at the potential scale of the discovery,” according to Stefan Ioannou, a mining analyst with Cormark Securities.

He expects Rupert to prove up a multi-million-ounce resource over time that could be open-pittable. Given proximity to Aurion’s JV claims with B2Gold, the odds that gold mineralization continues across Rupert’s property boundaries are high.

“The beautiful thing for Aurion and B2Gold is that as you follow Rupert’s Ikkari discovery along strike to the southwest, it leads right onto Aurion’s JV ground,” says Ioannou, who covers Rupert and has written about Aurion. “Rupert is drilling within a couple hundred metres of the property boundary.”

Last year, Aurion’s JV partner, B2Gold, hit narrow, high-grade gold mineralization on the greater Kutuvuoma property, some 8 km west of Rupert’s Ikkari and Heina discoveries. This year, B2Gold is planning a first-phase 5,000 m drill program on the JV side of the property boundary with Rupert, along strike from Ikkari. “If they hit, watch out,” Ioannou says.

B2Gold currently holds a 51 per cent interest in the JV and can boost that to 70 per cent by spending a further $10 million on exploration over a two-year period. B2Gold can earn an additional 5 per cent interest (for 75 per cent total) by completing a bankable feasibility study.

Given the number of high-grade gold discoveries already on joint venture ground, a further earn-in by B2Gold seems quite likely. If the gold miner takes its ownership level to 75 per cent and the Rupert high-grade gold discovery continues onto JV ground, a 25 per cent stake in the project alone could be worth multiples of Aurion’s current valuation.

Potential path to a ten-bagger


With gold at about USDS$1,800 an ounce in a world awash in debt and money-printing, mergers and acquisitions are starting to pick up. In the latest deal, announced on April 26, Fortuna Silver Mines is paying about $1 billion to acquire Roxgold and its portfolio of West African projects.

Multiples paid in gold takeovers tend to rise along with grade and the number of ounces. Acquirers also pay a premium for deposits in stable jurisdictions. Finland fits the bill—the country is routinely ranked among the best mining jurisdictions in the world by the Fraser Institute, with excellent infrastructure and a skilled labour force.

It’s likely that the CLGB—like other greenstone belts it closely resembles—hosts several multi-million-ounce gold deposits. Aurion’s dominant land position and strong technical approach increases the company’s odds of discovering Ikkari-style gold mineralization on their wholly owned Risti and Launi properties. It has the makings of a brand-new gold camp taking shape in real time.

“Rupert has made a great discovery but it’s also ten times the market cap of Aurion,” says Cormark’s Ioannou. “If you can tolerate the exploration risk, Aurion is well-positioned to move significantly higher on drill bit success.”

He adds, “the company has the right address, it’s just a matter of methodical grassroots exploration over a compelling large-scale multi-target property package in an effort to tie together a meaningful envelope of gold mineralization.”

The junior mining sector is notorious for its volatility and pendulum swings between fear and greed. Aurion’s story was on every speculator’s radar in the fall of 2017 amid the excitement of the golden boulders and a brand-new high-grade discovery. The stock traded to $3 and above.

With the challenges of 2020 in the rearview mirror, Aurion is well-positioned to build on its high-grade gold discoveries and make new ones. The company is fully financed for this year’s drill programs.

Yet, Aurion is firmly under the radar and its stock just recently rose above the dollar level. The action could lay the foundation for further upside moves–especially if the company can make high-grade Ikkari-style gold discoveries in an emerging gold camp still very much in its infancy.

There are no time machines and no shortcuts to identifying major gold discoveries. But in the decades to come, the CLGB seems destined to join the ranks of the world’s most productive gold mining camps. Aurion is poised to play a leading role.




Icelandic gold potential

Björk Sigurbjörnsdóttir, CEO of Iceland Resources ehf., says there is definitely gold in Icelandic ground; “The question is whether a sufficient amount of it will be discovered to make mining possible.”

“We will be doing research drilling for the purpose of gold search in Þormóðsdalur valley this summer,” she notes. “Preparation for further research is under way, and our next projects are fully funded.”

“The search for gold here [in Iceland] has a history of more than a 100 years, and a great deal of data have been collected,” she continues. “Many people have taken part in the search. Iceland Resources has collected and acquired all data relevant to gold search in Iceland. Our specialists are processing those. Our strength lies in our data bank.”

The company has valid research permits in Þormóðsdalur, about 20 km east of Reykjavík, on the Tröllaskagi peninsula, North Iceland, and in Vopnafjörður fjord, Northeast Iceland.

“We are expecting foreign specialists to arrive this summer, who will review the situation with us and figure out what’s interesting,” Þórdís states. Between ten and 15 people will participate in the research this summer. An Icelandic company will be in charge of drilling. No mining permits for gold mining have been issued, and applying for those takes a few years.

Iceland Resources cooperates with Icelandic and foreign specialists in the field of geology and gold mining. Dr. Helen Salmon and Vincent Barbier are the company’s senior geologists, and geologist Hjalti Franzson is one of the advisory board members.

Samples are sent from Iceland to an international laboratory in Ireland, which specializes in this field.

“I see a great opportunity for Icelanders in utilizing this natural resource,” Þórdís states. “Mines [in Iceland] will never be large, and we have a good idea of how we’d like to do things in an environmentally friendly and neat way.”



Dogu Biga Mining aims to achieve 100 t of gold output in Turkey

Dogu Biga Mining’s first project, the Kirazli gold and silver mine located in the northwestern province of Canakkale, has reached the construction stage and is waiting for its license to be extended. The other two projects, the Agi Dagi and Camyurt mines, are also located in the Canakkale province and will be developed after the Kirazli project. After the construction stage, which is expected to last approximately one year, the company said it will start production and looks to contribute to the country’s gold production goal. Dogu Biga Mining aims to achieve some 100 tonnes of gold production through its three project sites that will become operational soon, Istanbul-based media reported. This production volume corresponds to an economic value of some 48.2 billion lira ($6.6 billion/5.4 billion) in total, Daily Sabah quoted the company as saying earlier.

Turkey aims to reach a level where it produces 100 metric tonnes of gold per year in the next five years, Daily Sabah also said. The country produced a record-high 42 tonnes of gold in 2020, up from 38 tonnes in 2019, according to local media reports published last month. According to information published on the website of Alamos Gold, the Kirazli mine will have the capacity to produce close to 3 tonnes of gold per year on average, while the Agi Dagi and Camyurt mines will have an average annual production capacity of over 5 tonnes and some 2.6 tonnes, respectively. The amount to be paid to the country as tax through the Dogu Bida Mining’s projects is estimated to be around $1.72 billion (1.4 billion euro), the company noted. Dogu Biga Mining added that it looks to employ 1,000 people directly, and 2,000 people through service procurements.

The Kirazli property consists of 1,541 hectares of mineral tenure in two contiguous licenses. Mineral rights for all concessions comprising the Turkish assets are controlled by Dogu Biga, according to information published on the website of Alamos Gold.

Alamos Gold maintains an administrative office in Turkey’s capital Ankara as well as exploration offices in the towns of Etili and Sogutalan in the Biga district. These offices support the activities of the Canadian company at Kirazli, as well as the Agi Dagi and Camyurt projects which are located nearby.



Dundee Precious Metals’ gold project Timok in Serbia – positive prefeasibility study

Dundee Precious Metals has announced the results of a prefeasibility study focused on the development of the oxide and transitional portions of its Timok gold project in Serbia, as well as the decision to go ahead with a feasibility study. The PFS is confirms Timok’s potential as an attractive organic growth opportunity within the Company’s portfolio.

The latest engineering study outlines an 8-year, approximately 6,925 tonne-per-day heap leach open pit mine, producing an average of 80,000 gold oz. annually in its first six years of operation. All-in sustaining costs are estimated to average US$693 per oz. over the life of the mine, with US$211 million required in initial capital. Using a gold price assumption of US$1,500 per oz., the after-tax net present value estimate for this development stands at US$135 million, with a 21% internal rate of return. Mining would take place over 7 years, with residual gold production from the heap leach in year eight.

“The Timok project continues to advance as a potential future growth opportunity for DPM,” David Rae, president and CEO of Dundee Precious Metals, said in a release. “With additional optimization opportunities to enhance the project and very encouraging exploration results, we believe Timok represents an attractive opportunity to provide organic growth in a region where we have had a presence for many years.”

The prefeasibility is based on mining of oxide and transitional material from the Bigar Hill, Korkan and Korkan West deposits, and incorporates three-stage crushing and material stacking onto a valley heap leach. Based on a 17-month construction and start-up timeline, Dundee currently expects a production start-up in the first quarter of 2026. The feasibility is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2022. Work is also underway on baseline environmental assessments for deliverables required under the Serbian permitting process. These include a Strategic Environmental Assessment, a site layout design, and a report on reserves. Once the Timok exploration license expires in July, these studies will be required to secure site exploitation rights. Dundee has also started baseline studies for the Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA); the process is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2024. Permits for mine facilities constriction would then follow in the fourth quarter. Optimization opportunities for the feasibility include potential for capital costs reduction, as well as an assessment of mining additional oxide, transitional and sulphide mineralization.

Probable reserves at Timok total 19.2 million tonnes at 1.07 gram gold per tonne, for a total of 662,000 gold ounces. This includes an oxide component of 15.8 million tonnes grading 1.08 gram gold. Additional resources, outside of reserves, feature 32.3 million indicated tonnes at 1.27 gram gold and 900,000 inferred tonnes at 1.5 gram gold. With 14,000 metres of drilling planned for 2021, Dundee will focus exploration efforts on defining shallow oxide resources at the Chocolate and Chocolate South targets around Bigar Hill, with additional work planned for sulphide targets.

Highlights from infill and extension drilling completed at the Chocolate target in the last quarter of 2020 include 37 metres of 0.82 gram gold and 8 metres of 2.96 grams gold. Notable intercepts from Chocolate South include 40.5 metres of 2.83 grams gold and 20 metres of 1.47 gram gold.



PEA of Medgold’s gold project in Serbia

Medgold Resources is a gold exploration company targeting early-stage properties in the Balkan region. Medgold announced the completion of a positive Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for the Barje gold deposit at its Tlamino project, Serbia. According to the company’s statement, based on simple open-pit mining methods and the production of a flotation concentrate via conventional processing techniques, the pre-tax NPV of the project, at a discount rate of 8%, is US$101M, its IRR 49%, and its operating margin 61%. The up-front capital cost of the project is US$74M (inclusive of a 15% contingency margin and further study and engineering costs) with payback achieved in two years.

Life of mine C1 cash costs are US$464/oz Au, and life of mine all-in sustaining costs are US$522/ounce Au. A gold price of US$1500/oz and a silver price of US$16.50/oz was used in the study. The company said that at an approximate spot gold price of US$1,800/oz, the post-tax NPV of the project, at a discount rate of 8%, is US$139M, and its IRR 69%. An updated Inferred Mineral Resource of approximately 7.1 Mt at 2.5 g/t Au and 38 g/t Ag, containing approximately 570,000 oz of Au and 8.8 Moz of Ag, has been used as a basis for this PEA.

President and CEO Jeremy Crozier commented, “The accomplishment of this highly positive PEA – based entirely on conventional opening pit mining and processing techniques – is a critical success for Medgold. Together with the recent option agreement with Fortuna Silver Mines to acquire full ownership and management control of the project, Medgold is now placed to unlock further value in Tlamino via the completion of infill drilling and a pre-feasibility study – with the goals of further demonstrating the robust self-standing economics of the project, and ultimately the achievement of mine permitting.”




Nordgold aiming towards listing in $5 billion London IPO

Possible offering comes amid a monthslong rally in precious-metal prices as gold has fallen 8.5% since highs last August, but the precious metal is up 57% since the summer of 2018. That long rally has been fueled by ultralow interest rates, which make gold more competitive against yield-bearing investments, and as investors looked for havens amid the spread of the coronavirus.

Russian gold miner Nord Gold UK Societas, or Nordgold, is looking to list in London as early as this summer, capitalizing on the precious metal’s long price run to become the largest mining company to float globally in at least five years, according to people familiar with the matter.

Nordgold’s initial public offering could value it at more than $5 billion and would float over 25% of the company, some of these people say. With two Canadian gold miners moving their listing to the U.K., Nordgold’s IPO is a boost for London’s financial district amid concerns that Brexit makes it less attractive.

A spokesman for the U.K.-domiciled company, which has 10 mines in Africa, Russia and Kazakhstan, said it is evaluating various strategic options, which may include an IPO on the London Stock Exchange . He declined to comment further.

The company has already hired banks to lead the IPO, according to a person familiar with the matter. Bacchus Capital is Nordgold’s financial adviser for the possible offering.




Dundee Precious Metals enters investment agreement with Velocity Minerals Bulgaria

Velocity Minerals Ltd. is a gold exploration and development company focused on southeastern Bulgaria. Velocity has a 70% interest in the Tintyava prospecting licence, which includes the Rozino gold project, located approximately 40 kilometres by road from DPM’s Ada Tepe mine.

Dundee Precious Metals Inc.  announced that it has entered into an investment agreement with Velocity to invest up to C$7 million in Velocity on a private placement basis. DPM is expected to purchase up to 14 million common shares of Velocity at a price of C$0.50 per share. Upon closing the transaction, DPM is expected to own approximately 9.99% of Velocity’s issued and outstanding common shares on a non-diluted basis.

Velocity’s 70% interest in Rozino is held through a joint venture arrangement with a local third party. On October 15, 2020, Velocity filed a pre-feasibility technical report on Rozino which contained a probable mineral reserve estimate at a 0.5 g/t gold cut-off grade of 11.8 Mt at 1.22 g/t gold for 465,000 ounces.1 Velocity also has option agreements to earn a 70% interest in the Obichnik and Makedontsi gold projects; and an option agreement to earn a 100% interest in the Iglika project.

“We are pleased to be investing in further gold exploration in southeastern Bulgaria through our equity financing in Velocity,” said David Rae, President and CEO of Dundee Precious Metals. “Given our strong presence and capabilities in the region, we believe that we are uniquely positioned to support Velocity as a strategic shareholder.”

The Agreement contains certain rights and restrictions customary for these types of transactions. Subject to approval of the TSX Venture Exchange and other closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close on or about November 24, 2020. All securities issued in connection with the transaction will be subject to a hold period of four months and one day in Canada.