Sweden, Mandalay Resources drills 783 g/t gold over 0.35 metres at Bjorkdal
Mandalay Resources Corp. provided an update on the Eastern Plunge extension drilling and significant intercepts from the Aurora Upper extension program at its 100%-owned Bjorkdal operation in Sweden.
New Drilling Highlights: At the Eastern Plunge Extension, drill hole MU22-032 returned 783.0 g/t gold over 0.35 metres (Estimated True Width “ETW” 0.25 m) in MU22-032; 104.7 g/t gold over 1.00 metres (ETW 0.87 m) in MU22-031; and 22.7 g/t gold over 3.90 metres (ETW 3.19 m) in MU22-029.
At the Aurora Extension, MU22-027 returned 89.5 g/t gold over 0.30 metres (ETW 0.23 m); 2.9 g/t gold over 3.50 metres (ETW 3.05 m); and 36.0 g/t gold over 0.30 metres (ETW 0.15 m) in ME22-004.
Dominic Duffy, President and CEO of Mandalay, commented: “Bjorkdal is a high tonnage and low-grade gold mine with the potential for significant profit growth at relatively small increases to mined gold grades.
To this end, a major focus of our near mine exploration program was to identify areas of higher grades that can be prioritized within our short to medium term mining schedules.
Excitingly, these consistent drill results from the Eastern Plunge Extension program are exceeding our expectations by producing highly significant grades the likes of which we would consider exceptional at our high-grade Costerfield mine in Australia.
“The impact of this program has flowed through and upgraded Bjorkdal’s recently announced year-end 2022 Mineral Resources and Reserves estimate with an 11% lift to Mineral Reserves’ gold grade from 1.39 g/t to 1.54 g/t for the 11.6 million tonnes in Proven and Probable Reserves.
“As the Eastern Plunge Extension drilling is still in its infancy and currently there is little access to drill further east and down plunge, we do not know how far this significant grade increase will continue.
However, to date the Eastern Plunge drilling is completely open to the East and Down Plunge. We will continue to drill this area over the remainder of 2023 to try and establish the continuation of this area and the impact it will have on the long term operations at Bjorkdal.
The mining permit extension which will allow for mining in this area is currently being processed by the authorities and we expect the permit to be issued in 2023.
“Further to the successes of the Eastern Plunge Extension, the Aurora system has been tested successfully approximately 150 metres up dip and to the east from current and scheduled mining.
Not only is Aurora itself and the surrounding veining continuous, but significant grades comparable to the core of system have been identified within the veining. This extension is encouraging as Aurora has been, and is currently, the main source of bulk ore tonnage at Bjorkdal.
“We look forward to providing further updates on these projects throughout the year as well as the developments from our North Zone Extension drilling and the Aurora Depth Extension drilling, which are both currently ongoing.”
During the second half of 2022 near mine exploration was focused on exploring the eastern plunge extension of the main and central zones, the upwards eastern extension of Aurora, the depth extension of the Aurora system and the further delineation and extension of North Zone.
The latter two programs investigating the depth of Aurora and North Zone are still underway and are not discussed within this release.
Current underground drilling locations do not provide support for further extension of the eastern plunge extension; however, mining is now scheduled for the area and once more appropriate drilling horizons have been developed extension drilling will continue to further explore this potential. As the interpretation stands the veining remains open at depth.
There is no current indication that grades will curtail down the mineral plunge to the east at Bjorkdal.
The expectation that the Aurora system continues up-dip and to the east is something that needs further testing.
Exploration is also currently ongoing on the extension of the veining in North Zone and the depth extension of the Aurora System below the Marble Horizon. An update on this drilling is expected in Q2 2023 once the current extension program is complete, Resource World writes.
Europe’s largest deposit of rare earth metals is located in Sweden
LKAB has identified significant deposits of rare earth elements in the Kiruna area, metals which are essential for, among other applications, the manufacture of electric vehicles and wind turbines. Following successful exploration, the company today reports mineral resources of rare earth metals exceeding one million tonnes of rare earth oxides and the largest known deposit of its kind in Europe.
“This is good news, not only for LKAB, the region and the Swedish people, but also for Europe and the climate. This is the largest known deposit of rare earth elements in our part of the world, and it could become a significant building block for producing the critical raw materials that are absolutely crucial to enable the green transition. We face a supply problem. Without mines, there can be no electric vehicles,” says Jan Moström, President and Group CEO, LKAB.
No rare earth elements are currently mined in Europe, at the same time, demand is expected to increase dramatically as a result of electrification, which will lead to a global undersupply, and this at a time of increasing geopolitical tensions. According to the European Commission’s assessment, the demand for rare earth elements for electric cars and wind turbines, among others, is expected to increase more than fivefold by 2030. Today, Europe is also dependent on imports of these minerals, where China completely dominates the market, a factor which increases the vulnerability of European industry.
“Electrification, the EU’s self-sufficiency and independence from Russia and China will begin in the mine. We need to strengthen industrial value chains in Europe and create real opportunities for the electrification of our societies. Politics must give the industry the conditions to switch to green and fossil-free production. Here, the Swedish mining industry have a lot to offer. The need for minerals to carry out the transition is great, says Minister for Energy, Business and Industry, Ebba Busch.”
A long road to a mine
At the same time, the road to possible mining of the deposit is long, where the first step is an application for an exploitation concession for the Per Geijer deposit in order to be able to investigate it further at depth and investigate the conditions for mining. The plan is to be able to submit an application for an exploitation concession in 2023.
LKAB has already started to prepare a drift, several kilometres long, at a depth of approximately 700 metres in the existing Kiruna mine towards the new deposit in order to be able to investigate it at depth and in detail.
We have not seen the full extent of the deposit.
“We are already investing heavily to move forward, and we expect that it will take several years to investigate the deposit and the conditions for profitably and sustainably mining it. We are humbled by the challenges surrounding land use and impacts that exist to develop this into a mine and that will need to be analysed to see how to avoid, minimize and compensate for it. Only then can we proceed with an environmental review application and apply for a permit,” says Jan Moström.
“If we look at how other permit processes have worked within our industry, it will be at least 10-15 years before we can actually begin mining and deliver raw materials to the market. And then we are talking about Kiruna, where LKAB has been mining ore for more than 130 years. Here, the European Commission’s focus on this issue, to secure access to critical materials, and the Critical Raw Materials Act the Commission is now working on, is decisive. We must change the permit processes to ensure increased mining of this type of raw material in Europe. Access is today a crucial risk factor for both the competitiveness of European industry and the climate transition,” says Jan Moström.
Per Geijer – potential to become Europe’s most important mine for critical raw materials
Promising results from LKAB’s ongoing exploration in Kiruna and Gällivare were presented last spring. The deposit Per Geijer is in close proximity to existing operations in Kiruna. More extensive studies show an increase from 400 million tonnes of mineral resources with high iron content to over 500 million tonnes, and that the Per Geijer deposit contains up to seven times the grade of phosphorus as the orebodies that LKAB mines in Kiruna today. Phosphorus is one of three nutrients in mineral fertilisers necessary for food production and is on the EU’s list of critical minerals.
Today, for the first time, LKAB reports a Mineral Resource and further extensive studies in Per Geijer of assets amounting to more than one million tonnes of rare earth metals in the form of Rare Earth Oxides, which are used to produce Rare Earth Elements (REE). This would be sufficient to meet a large part of the EU’s future demand for manufacturing the permanent magnets that are needed for electric motors in, among other things, electric vehicles and windpower turbines.
The results are presented in accordance with the reporting standard PERC 2021, which is the prevailing international standard for LKAB.
The rare earth elements in Per Geijer occur together with phosphorus in the mineral apatite, in what is mainly an iron ore deposit and which may therefore be produced as by-products. It also creates completely different opportunities for possible competitive mining.
“LKAB is already planning a circular industrial park in Luleå with new technology for the extraction and processing of phosphorus, rare earth elements and fluorine based on today’s existing mining production. There, instead of landfilling the material, it can be used to create new, sustainable products. A production start is planned for 2027,” says Leif Boström, Senior Vice President, Business Area Special Products, LKAB reports.
Talga Group secures environmental permit hearing for Vittangi
- Talga Group (TLG) secures an environmental permit hearing date for its Vittangi graphite project in Sweden
- The hearing has been scheduled by the Swedish Land and Environment Court to take place in Luleå, commencing in the week of January 30, 2023
- The hearing is then expected to conclude in the week of February 20
- A decision regarding the project’s environmental permit will be published after the hearing, along with the exploitation concession decision by the state mining inspectorate
- Talga Group is up 6.12 per cent and trading at $1.30 at 1:11 pm AEDT
Talga Group (TLG) has secured an environmental permit hearing date for its Vittangi graphite project in Sweden.
The company has been working to establish a supply of green graphite anode products for lithium-ion batteries and build Europe’s first large-scale anode production facility, fully integrated with its graphite mining operations.
The initial operation, fed from the Nunasvaara South mine, is planned to produce 19,500 tonnes per annum of Talga’s flagship battery anode product, Talnode-C, over 24 years.
Talga’s environmental permit hearing has been scheduled by the Swedish Land and Environment Court to take place in Luleå, commencing in the week of January 30, 2023.
The hearing is then expected to conclude in the week of February 20.
Talga initially submitted the environmental permit and exploitation concession application for a graphite mine and concentrator at the Nunasvaara South deposit of Talga’s Vittangi graphite project in 2020.
After the two-year wait, a decision regarding the environmental permit will soon be made and published after the hearing, along with the exploitation concession decision by the state mining inspectorate.
Talga Group is up 6.12 per cent and trading at $1.30 at 1:11 pm AEDT, Market Herald reports.
The Grängesberg iron ore project in Dalarna County, Sweden, aims to restart operations
The Grängesberg mine in Dalarna County, Sweden, was closed in December 1989 due to prevailing market conditions after producing more than 150Mt of iron ore. The mineral deposit at Grängesberg is one of northern Europe’s largest homogenous iron ore bodies.
Anglesey Mining, a UK-based mining company, entered an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in the project in May 2014, including a direct 6% interest in Grängesberg Iron AB (GIAB), a Swedish mining company and the owner of the mine. Anglesey plans to restart mining operations at the project.
The company made a small investment in late 2019 and other investments over the years, enabling it to acquire a direct interest of 20% and management rights to the project with a right of first refusal to increase its interest to 70.2%.
A pre-feasibility study (PFS) on the Grängesberg mine was completed in April 2012. A 25-year mining concession was awarded for the project by the Swedish Mining Inspectorate in May 2013.
An updated PFS was announced in July 2022, which proposed a life of mine (LOM) of 16 years and an estimated investment of $559.6m.
Project location of the Grängesberg mine
The project is located within the Bergslagen mining district, 10km to the southwest of Ludvika in Dalarna County, central Sweden. The site is situated approximately 200km north-west from the capital city of Stockholm.
Mineralisation and reserves of the underground iron ore mine
The mineralisation at Grängesberg occurs in apatite-iron oxide ore containing magnetite (Fe₃O₄) ore with approximately 20% haematite (Fe₂O₃) ore and apatite (Ca₅(PO₄)₃(F,Cl,OH)) ore.
The northern end of the deposit hosts richer haematite mineralisation related to the oxidisation of barren pegmatite sills and dykes. The haematite content decreases with depth, transitioning to pure magnetite.
The probable mineral reserves at the Grängesberg iron ore project are estimated at 82.4Mt grading 37.2% iron (Fe) containing total iron content of 30.7Mt as of July 2022.
The continuation of historic sublevel caving was assumed for the 2012 PFS while the 2022 updated PFS recommended sublevel open stoping with backfilling of mined stopes for future designs.
The run of mine (ROM) ore will be transported to the underground crusher station consisting of an 80m³ feed hopper with a bypass channel, a grizzly feeder to separate oversize material at 900mm and a single toggle jaw crusher. A vibrating feeder will transfer the crushed ore to a conveyor connected to the skip hoist, for further transfer to surface stockpiles.
Processing of the Grängesberg mine
The project will include a concentrator with a processing capacity of 5.3Mtpa of ore at a nominal processing rate of 666tph and 333 days (91%) availability per year. The concentrator building is 150m-long and 40m-wide. It contains various units for grinding, separation, flotation and filtration, in addition to a plant control room, utilities, reagent makeup, and electrical switchgear.
The processing units will comprise a primary crusher, primary autogenous grinding (AG), classification and secondary semi-autogenous grinding (SAG). The crushed ore will undergo magnetic separation, froth flotation and solid/liquid separation. The unthickened tailings will be directly stored in the tailings management facility.
Vibrating feeders will discharge the stockpiled ore to a conveyor belt, which will feed the AG primary grinding mill. A trommel screen will capture pebbles from the AG mill for use as grinding media in the secondary SAG mill. The screen oversize will be recycled back to the AG mill while the undersize will be transferred to the primary wet low-intensity magnetic separators (LIMS).
The primary LIMS stage will upgrade the magnetite iron ore prior to secondary grinding. The non-magnetic slurry containing haematite will be thickened and dewatered. The thickener underflow will be transferred to a primary high-gradient magnetic separation comprising SLon Vertical ring and Pulsating High-Gradient Magnetic Separators (SLon VPHGMS) to upgrade the haematite.
The secondary SAG mill operating in a closed circuit with a hydrocyclone cluster will provide fine magnetite and haematite with a p80 size of 40µm. The hydrocyclone overflow will undergo a second stage of LIMS separators and the non-magnetic slurry containing haematite will be thickened and dewatered. The thickener underflow will be processed in a secondary high-gradient magnetic separation utilising SLon VPHGMS.
Sulphur and phosphate content from the magnetic separation concentrates will be lowered in a reverse flotation circuit. The flotation tailings containing iron ore concentrate will be thickened and dewatered. The thickened underflow will be dewatered in pressure filters to produce filter cake, which will be sent for further processing to a pellet plant to produce iron ore pellets.
Infrastructure at Grängesberg iron ore project
The existing surface infrastructure at the project site includes roads, administrative buildings, workshops, and processing buildings.
Regional power lines and switchgear are located near the Grängesberg mine site and the project envisages to utilise municipal power supply sourced from wind power. Water supply is proposed to be sourced predominantly from recycled mine water through the dewatering process.
The site also includes a main line railway that provides direct access to the Oxelösund port located 250km to the south of the mine.
Mining consultant Micon International was engaged to prepare the 2022 PFS for the project.
The PFS completed in April 2012 was undertaken by the independent global engineering firm URS Corporation.
AECOM, an infrastructure consulting firm, was involved in preparing the 2012 PFS and conducting geotechnical assessment to determine the mine’s stability, profitability, and economic and financial appraisals, Mining Technology writes.
Can Finland and Sweden help decarbonize EU economies?
Demand for key metals is booming. Geopolitical realities and pandemic-related supply chain issues are increasing the pressure on EU countries to proceed with mining activities of their own to decarbonize their economies.
The European Union wants to decrease its dependency on Russian fossil fuels while accelerating its decarbonization effort. Metals and critical raw materials will play a pivotal role. Minerals, especially lithium, are most needed for clean-energy technologies. Relevant mining activities are concentrated in Asia, Oceania and South America.
Finland and Sweden, the two European countries currently applying for NATO membership, have a long mining tradition and could help solve the EU’s deficit, but question marks remain.
“We are the most important mining countries in the EU. Sweden alone produces over 90% of all the iron ore produced in the EU, Maria Suner, CEO of the Swedish Association of Mines, Mineral and Metal Producers (Svemin), told DW. However, that’s just a little over a quarter of what the bloc needs, meaning that the EU still has to import 70% of its iron ore, she added.
Finland and Sweden also share the mineral-rich Fennoscandian bedrock. According to Suner, the solid rock beneath the Scandinavian and Kola peninsulas has the potential to provide everything that’s on the EU list of critical raw materials.
The European Commission compiled a list of critical raw materials (CRMs) in 2011. Economic value and supply risk are the two criteria used to determine the importance of the materials. The list is getting longer.
Russia and supply security
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the major reason for Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO membership, and arguably, to step up mining in the medium term.
Svemin’s CEO says the focus on mining increased due to the COVID pandemic and ensuing supply chain disruptions, but more so after Russia invaded Ukraine. It has added to the increase in demand, pushing raw materials prices to a new high.
China is the top producer of graphite and rare earth materials. According to data from the International Energy Agency, it also refines 87% of the rare earths, 65% of cobalt, 58% of lithium, and 35% of nickel. Russia is the second-most-important country in the world for nickel extraction and the third-most-important for cobalt extraction.
“If there’s more support for mining activities in Europe, I don’t see that as a result of Russian hostilities. It’s more a question of whether Europe has woken up to the fact that it lacks metals,” Pekka Suomela, executive director of the Finnish Mining Association (FinnMin), told DW.
Land competition is always an issue in Nordic regions with a focus on forestry. Increased mining is opposed by many environmentalists citing the need to protect biodiversity.
In March, when the Swedish government allowed the exploitation of the Scandinavian country’s largest unexploited iron ore deposit, Swedish climate protection activist Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement said Sweden was “waging a war on nature.”
Finland, Norway, and Sweden are the least densely populated countries in Europe, which might theoretically be a plus for mining activities. Nonetheless, many scarcely populated areas are protected.
“Almost half of the Swedish territory is reindeer herding area for the Sami people, the only Indigenous people in Europe,” said Suner. “But the area needed for mining is very limited and we know how to minimize the impact.”
In the EU, it can take up to 25 years from the exploration phase to the start of commercial mining. Svemin has proposed 27 reforms, including shortening the permission procedures. Worries about the medium-term environmental impact often clash with long-term decarbonization efforts.
While EU member states are responsible for mining legislation, Brussels deals with aspects related to health, water and land usage.
The current geopolitical situation might increase social acceptance, but caution is needed. According to Suomela, the European Union must be careful not to put too much pressure on any single country to avoid local resistance that could easily shift public opinion.
Another possible future obstacle has to do with energy prices. They remain fairly moderate in northern Sweden and Finland, well below the levels reached in central Europe. But an increase in mining activities requires coherent investments in energy assets.
“The mineral and mining sector is planning for a tenfold increase in electricity use by 2050,” Suner commented. “Additionally, we have other projects for battery production and fossil-free steelmaking. Such projects are not covered by the electricity production we have in Sweden today.”
Estonia, another country bordering Russia, is active in the cleantech supply chain, hosting the only commercial rare earth processing facility in Europe. The facility is owned by Toronto-based rare earth materials technology company Neo Performance Materials. The company launched an initiative in 2020 to expand the supply of rare earth feedstock to their Sillamae processing facility near the Gulf of Finland.
Constantine Karayannopoulos, Neo’s president and CEO, told DW that the war in Ukraine caused refining companies to look more closely at their global supply chains. “Neo is no exception,” he explained, recalling that its supplier in Kola, the Russian peninsula, had been a reliable supplier for over 40 years.
“Geopolitical considerations are always a factor, but our primary driver remains customer demand,” said Karayannopoulos.
Right now, it looks like demand will increase. According to the European Association of Metals (Eurometaux), lithium usage in clean technologies could increase by a staggering 2,109% by 2050. Demand for dysprosium, tellurium and scandium is expected to more than double over the next 30 years, DW writes.
Sweden gives green light to controversial iron mine
The concession to mine in Sweden’s far north sparked fury among activists and Indigenous people. Critics say the project would disturb traditional Sami reindeer herding.
The Swedish government has given a concession to the British-owned Jokkmokk mining company on Tuesday to mine iron ore on a large scale in the country’s north.
The remote site is home to the country’s largest untapped quartz-banded iron ore and rare earth materials.
Jokkmokk Iron Mines, owned by Beowulf Mining, first filed their application for the Kallak mine nine years ago. Even with the government’s concession, the company still has to win approval from a Swedish environmental court and is subject to a long list of conditions.
One of the conditions stated that initial construction must be done during particular times of the year to minimize the effect on reindeer herding.
Mining project ‘anti-nature’
Even so, the decision has sparked fury among activists who argue mining in the region will affect the local indigenous Sami people and their traditional reindeer herding practices.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg, who traveled to protest against the mine in Jokkmokk in February, tweeted: “Sweden today confirmed its shortsighted, racist, colonial and nature-hostile approach”, DW reports.
Sweden: UN experts call for scrapping iron ore mine
Two independent UN human rights experts called on Sweden to scrap a planned iron ore mine. They said the mine would create a significant amount of toxic waste on land used by Sweden’s indigenous Sami people.
Two UN human rights experts called on Sweden to scrap plans for an iron ore mine Thursday.
The independent experts, Jose Francisco Cali Tzay, a special rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, and David Boyd, the special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, asked Sweden’s government to withhold a license for the proposed project.
They said the mine would create a significant amount of toxic waste and other contaminants and would cause “irreversible risks” to land used by Sweden’s indigenous Sami people.
The British company Beowulf Mining and Swedish subsidiary Jokkmokk Iron Mines AB are seeking permission from the Swedish state to go forward with plans for the iron ore mine.
The Sami have expressed concerns over the proposed mine and said it would disrupt reindeer herding, as well as hunting and fishing, and destroy the land.
Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg joined a protest organized by the Sami people against the proposed mine over the weekend.
“The future of humanity should be prioritized above the short-term profit of a company,” Thunberg said in a statement.
What concerns do the UN experts have?
The mine, proposed for the Gallok region, has gone forward without the “free, prior and informed consent” of the indigenous Sami people, the UN’s independent experts charged.
The rights experts said the proposed open-pit mine could endanger the lives and livelihoods of Sami people, as well as interrupt the migration of reindeer that the Sami herd for sustenance.
The experts pointed to a law passed by the Swedish authorities on January 27, which has yet to go into effect but states that the government is required to consult with the Sami people over actions that concern them.
In a statement, the experts noted: “There has been insufficient assessment and recognition of the environmental damage the mine will cause.”
UN rapporteurs work on a voluntary basis with a mandate from the UN-backed Human Rights Council. They do not represent the UN in an official capacity.
Who are the Sami people?
The Sami are indigenous to the Sampi region of a part of Sweden historically known as Lapland.
An estimated 20,000 to 40,000 Sami people live in Sweden, of an approximate total of 100,000 Sami residing in Sweden and in the vast Arctic wilderness of northern Finland, Norway and the Kola peninsula in Russia.
Their lifestyle is at risk because of industrial mining and forestry, which encroach on their grazing lands.
For much of the 20th century, the Sami people were targeted by state policies that treated their culture as inferior.
In recent years, the governments of Finland, Norway and Sweden — but not Russia — have moved to atone for a brutal past by returning artifacts stolen from the Sami people and stepping up efforts to examine past policies against them.
The Sami people maintain that their rights go unrecognized and their lands remain vulnerable to exploitation as governments court foreign mining companies, DW reports.
Copper mine in northern Sweden scales up resource estimates
The wind mills could symbolise the main reason why it is economical profitable to reopen the old mine beneath the ground at Viscaria outside Kiruna: A growing demand for copper in a world moving towards an electrified society.
Copperstone Resources this week announced revised and enlarged ambitions for the reopening of the Viscaria copper mine in Kiruna, northern Sweden. The estimate for yearly milled-rate production is now 3 million tons annually, compared to earlier assumptions of 2 million tons. That will be enough to produce 30,000 tons of copper per year.
Increased production, combined with growing demand and higher prices on the world market, gives a boost to the company’s annual net profit, now estimated to be between 3 to 4 billion Swedish kroner (€294 to €393 million) annually.
The underground copper mine, located next to Europe’s largest iron-ore mine, was originally started by LKAB in 1983. Two years later, the mining was sold to Outokumpu who extracted ore until closure in 1996 following a collapse in global copper prices. At the time, the Viscaria mine was Europe’s largest underground copper mine.
Favourable global market
With ambition to restart mining by 2023, Copperstone Resources says the global copper market is favourable, with prospects of long-term imbalance of supply and demand.
Copper is a key metal for a world on path to find sustainable solutions for electricity production in times of climate crisis.
“It is very gratifying that we gradually are making progress in the restart of Viscaria mine and that the team efforts and the promising market conditions have enabled a better and more sizeable project than we previously estimated. Moreover, our growing team of experts constantly finds new solutions that gives a more optimized and sustainable production”, the company’s CEO Anna Tyni said in a statement.
Restarting the mine would bring some 200 new jobs to Kiruna.
Sweden: Talga has started trial mining at its Vittangi graphite project
The trial mine, operating under a three-year permit issued by the Environmental Review Commission within the Norrbotten County Administration Board, covers the extraction of 25 000 t of graphite ore from Talga’s Niska South deposit at Vittangi.
Trial mined ore will be subsequently refined into the Talga’s flagship lithium-ion battery anode product, known as Talnode-C, for large scale production testing in the electric vehicle supply chain, the company said on Wednesday.
Trial mine operations are scheduled to begin in mid-September and in this first phase of the campaign, some 2 500 t of graphite ore will be extracted before the site is rehabilitated for the northern hemisphere winter.
The balance of the permitted 25 000 t graphite ore is planned to be accessed in 2022.
“The trial mining of our Niska South deposit will allow Talga to begin testing Talnode-C samples on a mass production scale”, said Talga MD Mark Thompson.
“The graphite anode products created from the ore will help progress Talga’s battery manufacturing customer qualification trials and market testing towards future expanded commercial production”.
Canadian Zinc Company is Focused in Sweden
Zinc is perhaps one of the most undervalued resources when it comes to investment opportunities — being bypassed for more favourable commodities such as precious metals including gold and silver — however, what investors might not realise is that the base metal was one of the best-performing commodities in 2020 and continues to rally well into 2021.
Case in point, the metal started the year at US$2,779.85 per tonne and has surged to $2,951.85 per tonne as of June 2021.
In addition to zinc’s surging price value, the commodity is also the fourth most commonly used metal in the world after iron, aluminum and copper. Although global production of zinc was down 6 per cent last year to 13.7 million metric tonnes, it is estimated that production will only rise to 1.53 million metric tons by 2027, or an increase of only 1.67% per year, potentially falling short of demand growth.
Some of zinc’s primary uses include: galvanizing steel and other alloys used in all kinds of fabrication and construction, die-casting in the automobile industry, pigment in paints and skin protection in sunscreen. New zinc-air flow battery technologies promise to store industrial size energy from wind and solar farms that cost a fraction of lithium-ion batteries in compact more efficient systems.
As zinc prices continue to rally over the coming years, there are companies in the exploration space that will be ramping up their efforts to meet the increasing demand.
One such company is Norden Crown Metals Corp. (TSXV:NOCR, OTCQB:NOCRD, Forum), a Canadian mineral exploration company focused on the discovery of silver, zinc, copper and gold deposits. Hosted in the Scandinavian countries of Norway and Sweden, Norden’s projects include: Gumsberg, with high-grade silver VMS targets and a “Broken Hill” type discovery, and Burfjord, an IOCG exploration project joint-ventured with Boliden AB (Sweden’s largest mining company).
Patricio Varas, executive chairman and CEO with Norden Crown Metals, told Stockhouse Editorial that Norden Crown Metals is an exploration company with Scandinavian projects that have been mined in the past but have not been thoroughly explored using modern exploration methods and technologies.
As an example, this strategy allowed the company to make a significant “Broken Hill” type discovery at the Frederiksson Mine (Gruva) target on their Gumsberg project that had not been mined since the 1970s.
The focus in Sweden
Sweden has a deep history when it comes to mining, dating back thousands of years. Present-day, mining in the country continues to advance thanks to technological mining advancements and low sovereign risk and a strong minerals profile.
Varas explained that Norden’s reasons for exploring in Sweden are because it is well known as a friendly mining jurisdiction with world class prospectivity and ample infrastructure to support exploration and exploitation. For example, Sweden has six ore smelters while there are just two in Canada.
Smelters are industrial installations that buy and process ores from mines and then separate the ore into its metal components, such as zinc, for sale and distribution to multiple industries and metal exchanges.
Varas added that Sweden has excellent road access, railways and water supply. The country also has the cheapest power in Europe thanks to the abundance of hydroelectric power.
All of the above, coupled with a stable political environment, the ability to work year-round and the streamlined process for getting permits make Sweden an excellent country in which to do business.
The Fredriksson Gruva Prospect
As it currently stands, Norden Crown Metals is primarily focusing its efforts on the Fredriksson Gruva prospect, located within the Gumsberg project.
At a broader scale, The Gumsberg project contains five exploration licenses in the Bergslagen Mining District in southern Sweden, which spans over 18,300 hectares where multiple zones of Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide-style (VMS) and “Broken Hill” type mineralization has been found.
VMS mineralization on the Gumsberg project has been mined as far back as the 13th century and all the way through to the early 1900’s with over 30 historic mines present on the property; including the Ostrasilverberg Mine, which was the largest silver mine in Europe between 1300 and 1590.
Although the region has an extensive production history, little modern exploration has taken place on the project.
Varas said the company believes the Fredriksson Gruva is “a very interesting prospect” thanks in part to it being a “Broken-Hill” type deposit. “Broken-Hill” type deposits represent many of the most profitable ore deposits in the world.
As Varas explains, “Broken-Hill” type deposits are rare and were first discovered in Australia at Broken Hill, New South Wales. The original Broken Hill deposit contained the largest accumulation of lead, zinc and silver on earth.
The company has already drilled three holes into the Fredriksson Gruva Prospect, hitting mineralization in every hole averaging 11 metres in thickness with the thickest intercept at 13.6 metres in thickness.
In a press release from March discussing the results, the discovery holes intersected significant mineralized widths ranging from 8.15 to 13.60 metres of precious and base metals, massive and semi-massive sulphide mineralization. Additionally, a geological setting unique to mineralization belonging to the Broken Hill Type clan of silver-rich zinc-lead-ore deposits.
The company’s drilling program, which totaled 569 metres, was part of an 11-hole 2,365.6 metre diamond drill program, which had the objective of demonstrating that mineralization continues beneath historical mine workings that extended to 91 metres below surface.
The program was to also confirm historical silver-zinc-lead grades and thicknesses and testing the continuity of this mineralization. Of note, an important aspect of the mineralization is that the massive-to-semi-massive sulphide intervals are developed with a broader sequence of highly magnetic iron and manganese-rich chemical sediments. As such, the distinctive and thick sequence of chemical sedimentary rocks will lay the foundation for an important marker horizon to be used to track the mineralization along strike and depth.
“This belt of mineralization extends on our property for at least 25 kilometres, and we’re very excited about it,” Varas said, adding that the Fredriksson property has now shifted to the company’s main project focus.
Moving forward, the company anticipates future diamond drilling at Fredriksson Gruva will continue testing the continuity of Broken Hill Type style massive sulphide mineralization following the marker iron formations below the historical mine workings. This is where ongoing 3D geological modeling indicates that silver-zinc-lead mineralization extends to at least 290 metres in depth.
What’s next for Norden Crown Metals
Varas told Stockhouse Editorial that Norden will be busy this summer and fall with the Fredriksson Gruva target and also at the Burfjord project in Norway, its joint venture with Boliden Mineral AB. Varas said Boliden has the potential to earn up to a 51 per cent interest in the property by spending US$6 million on exploration and development of the project over the next four years.
Boliden also has the potential to earn an additional 29 per cent interest in the Burfjord Project by solely funding additional advancement work through completing an NI 43-101 and PERC compliant feasibility study.
Varas told Stockhouse Editorial that Norden Crown Metals will be completing airborne and ground geophysics as well as mapping and sampling at Burfjord before beginning 3,000 to 5,000 metres of drilling.
In addition to summer drilling at Burfjord, the company wants to get a better understanding of the geology of the Fredriksson Gruva area and has crews presently in the field mapping and sampling. At the same time an airborne drone magnetic survey will also be done at the Fredriksson property.
“Once we have that data, then [the company] can do some modeling and make sure that the next drill holes will give us an idea of what we’re chasing,” Varas said, adding that in the mid-term the goal is to build up tonnage.
The Management Team
As the company moves ahead with exploration of its Fredriksson target and Burfjord project, investors in Norden Crown Metals should know that its management team is backed with experience that knows how to get the job done.
J. Patricio Varas, executive chairman and CEO
Mr. Varas has over 30 years of experience as a professional geologist working in exploration, project development and corporate management. He has worked at operating mines, exploration projects — from concept inception to discovery — feasibility studies of world-class deposits and mine development.
In addition, Varas also founded and led Western Potash Corp., as its president and CEO, where the company discovered and developed the world-class Milestone Potash deposit in Saskatchewan.
Varas was also instrumental in discovering the Santo Domingo Sur, deposit in Chile with Far West Mining and was integral in discovering the Diavik Diamond mine as a project manager at Kennecot Canada.
Dan MacNeil, vice president of exploration
Dan MacNeil has over 16 years of experience as a precious and base metals specialist with continental-scale project generation to in-mine resource expansion experience in a wide range of geological settings across the Americas and Eastern Europe. His expertise includes exploration strategy, target and opportunity identification, district entry strategy, business development, strategic evaluation of geological terranes and execution of target testing.
David Thornley-Hall, Vice president of corporate development
David Thornley-Hall is a senior executive with over 25 years of experience in the mineral exploration, mining and finance industries. He previously spent eight years with Western Potash Corp. as executive vice president and corporate secretary. Additionally, Thornley-Hall was a leading member of the Commercial Team at Western Potash where he was responsible for securing over $110 million in strategic equity investments in two different transactions.
Jeannine Web, CFO
Jeannine Webb has over 25 years of experience in the mineral exploration sector having served as a chief financial officer, corporate secretary and director for private, junior and small-cap domestic and international public companies.
Webb has a range of experience and skills in financial management and regulatory reporting and serves as CFO and corporate secretary for private companies and various Canadian venture companies with operations in Canada, the US and South America.
The investment opportunity
At present, Norden Crown Metals sits with a market capitalization of C$10.87 million and has just over 53 million shares issued. The company’s share price is currently $0.21, representing a 13.89 per cent increase year-over-year.
Thanks to its diversified and experienced management team, strong portfolio of projects and its “Broken Hill’ type discovery, Norden Crown Metals presents itself as a strong investment opportunity located in Scandinavia — which is a great, low-risk jurisdiction where year-round exploration programs can be undertaken.
Finally, Norden’s properties are located near active and historical mines allowing for rapid development, putting the company in a solid position to exploit a resource if discovered.
Source: Stock House