• KYRGYZ REPUBLIC – Nimrodel to purchase uranium project

    Nimrodel Resources has signed an agreement with UK-based company Pangaea Energy enabling it to purchase 80% of the Kamushanovskoe Uranium Project in the north of the Kyrgyz Republic.
    The option agreement also includes acquisition of the 720sqkm Jetym uranium exploration lease in the east of the Kyrgyz Republic.
    The deal gives Nimrodel the option to purchase Pangaea’s advanced uranium project near the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek following completion of a 90 day due diligence period. This will enable Nimrodel to increase the company’s Kyrgyz asset base which includes uranium and gold projects at various stages of development.
    Pangaea has reported that the Kamushanovskoe Uranium Project has produced positive metallurgical results with the possibility for Nimrodel to begin initial production as early as 2010. The project is expected to bring solid early revenue streams with minimal up-front capital requirements, representing a very early payback period.
    The Kamushan project contains 2.5 million pounds of indicated and inferred at-surface JORC-compliant uranium resources at 370ppm U3O8 with significant expansion potential. Importantly, the uranium is in soft ore and located within 3.4 metres, on average, from the surface. There is also significant expansion potential within the exploration licence, which covers an area of more than 500sqkm.
    In recent modelling, Pangaea has calculated that the project can be built by the second half of 2010 for about US$13 million by utilizing existing uranium processing facilities nearby. With extraction and processing costs of US$10-12/pound, the project has robust economics and for this reason it is expected that the entire resource can be economically extracted. These estimates and the basis for them will be reviewed as part of Nimrodel’s due diligence program.
    Kamushanovskoe is on the doorstep of the town of Kamushan, and has all necessary infrastructure, including rail hub and uranium processing facilities just 60km away on sealed roads.
    Nimrodel’s managing director John Hebenton says, “We are very pleased to have signed this agreement with Pangaea. The project is a good fit for us and can be developed in parallel with our ongoing gold and uranium exploration activities within the region.
    “The deal gives Nimrodel access to an advanced uranium project with near-surface deposits in close proximity to existing uranium processing facilities and infrastructure. It ticks all the boxes in terms of what we were looking for including short-term production and significant expansion potential.”
  • UZBEKISTAN – Amended study boosts Amantaytau feasibility

    An amended bankable feasibility study for Oxus Gold’s Amantaytau underground sulphide project in Uzbekistan will enable the company to construct the first phase of the mine at a substantially reduced cost.
    The revised study envisages an initial 450,000 tonnes/year operation with an initial capital cost of about $74 million.
    It also includes re-treatment of some of the sulphide tailings from a previous trial processing of transitional and sulphide ore through the carbon-in-pulp plant during the open pit oxide ore mining operation.
    The original June 2008 study was revised due to the economic climate which resulted in a delay in raising the capital required to develop the underground sulphide mine.
    The new report indicates that development of the mine and process plant based on mining a portion of the current reserves at the Severny and Centralny ore deposits, supplemented by some sulphide tailings, is technically and commercially feasible.
    The project will exploit a reserve of 911,000 ounces of gold within a measured and indicated mineral resource of 1.872 million ounces of gold over a life of 12 years and, at full production, will produce 100,000 ounces of gold per annum.
    Significant upside potential exists for increased production, extended life and increased reserves.
    Oxus Gold’s chairman Richard Shead says, “It is the company's intention to enter into a mining contract with Shaft Sinkers by November 2009. Commissioning of the plant is expected in quarter one 2011.
    “Significant potential exists to expand the project, given that this amendment to the original study only addresses 45% of the known reserves.”
  • MONGOLIA – New technical report for Ovoot Tolgoi

    A new technical report is expected to be completed by the end of the year on SouthGobi Energy Resources operating Ovoot Tolgoi Coal Project in southern Mongolia.
    The report is being prepared by international engineering firm Norwest incorporating data obtained from drilling completed up to the end of 2008.
    Sales of coal from Ovoot Tolgoi were affected by difficulties expediting the movement of its coal shipments across the Mongolia-China border due to sporadic openings at the Ceke crossing earlier in the year.
    The crossing was operating only five days a week during daylight hours, which greatly limited the volume of coal SouthGobi was able to sell to customers in China.
    As a result, SouthGobi curtailed production to a day shift in January followed by a mine shut down on February 24, although crews continued loading stockpiled coal into customer’s trucks.
    In March the border point began operating eight hours a day, seven days a week, which enabled the shipment of more than 115,000 tonnes of coal during the month.
    SouthGobi is in talks with the Mongolian Government to keep the border open 24 hours a day year round.
  • INDONESIA - New extension to Miwah Gold Zone

    Mapping and sampling of East Asia Minerals’ Miwah Gold Project in Aceh Province, Northern Sumatra, has discovered a new extension to the Miwah Gold Zone with bonanza grades of up to 125.9 grams/tonne gold over 23 metres.
    As well as this result, initial rock chip sampling of the new southwest extension encountered 19.15 grams/tonne gold over 8 metres.
    Infill rock sawn channel sampling in the east area of the Miwah Gold Zone encountered several new high-grade gold sections, including 3.62 grams/tonne gold over 28 metres and 3.76 grams/tonne gold over 8.45 metres.
    Drill pad preparation is now in progress with the drill rig set to begin an initial 10-hole program along the full strike length of the zone. The initial program will comprise 10 holes for a total of 2000 metres to provide a 3D validation along the currently defined 1200 metre strike of the Miwah gold-bearing silica zone, exposed along the impressive Miwah ridge.
    Geological teams are also continuing with sampling of the main Miwah Gold
    Zone, regionally in areas such as the highly prospective Sipopok Gold Zone 1.5km to the NNE, and in areas where mapping and sampling are defining direct extensions to the Miwah Gold Zone.
    The new gold mineralized structures suggest very good starting potential for future mining activities to generate faster returns on investment and aid in cash flow for ramping up production from the larger outflow zones.
    In addition to drilling of the main Miwah Gold Zone, ongoing exploration efforts will define drill targets within the new discovery for testing immediately following the current program.
  • INDONESIA – Socialization process completed at Bird’s Head

    Hillgrove Resources and its Indonesian partner PT Akram Resources have completed the initial phase of community consultation at the Bird’s Head Project in West Papua.
    The initial, or socialization, phase involves the companies outlining their credentials and exploration intentions to local communities and other major stakeholders who live within the 1815sqkm exploration licence area.
    The Bird’s Head Project represents an excellent opportunity to explore for large scale epithermal and porphyry-style copper-gold mineralization within a geological setting that has been proven to host world class deposits.
    Using a long boat sourced out of Sorong and travelling along the northern coast of Kepala
    Burung, company representatives have visited the districts and villages of Sausapor, Werur, Werur Besar, Hopmare, Abun, Waiben, Wau and Warmandi.
    Representatives from the communities included heads of local tribes, religious leaders, district and village heads, young people’s associations including schools, police and security forces.
    The socialization program is a necessary preliminary step prior to the start of on-ground activities in the area. A 12 month exploration program is being defined with a view to launching a major exploration initiative shortly.
  • INDONESIA – Funds to advance Desa Mirah

    Lincoln Minerals aims to use part of the proceeds of an Aus$2 million rights issue to accelerate mining and exploration at the Desah Mirah iron ore project in Indonesia.
    Lincoln has an agreement with Indonesian company, Samusa Corp of Jakarta, to explore and exploit Samusa’s Desa Mirah Mine and surrounding exploration concession in the south-central area of Kalimantan.
    While proceeds from ore sales can be offset against Lincoln’s contribution obligations, the company is funding initial exploration and development costs.
    A small parcel of about 7000 tonnes of high grade iron ore was stockpiled during trial mining and randomly selected samples range from 63.9% to 68.7% iron.
    Regional field reconnaissance has identified high grade iron ore outcrops within and outside the exploitation area extending over an area with a strike length of at least 3.5km.
    The iron ore is of lateritic style and forms a relatively flat-lying sheet beneath thin alluvium but cropping out along gullies and hill slopes.
    A detailed ground magnetic survey has been completed to more accurately define the boundaries of the iron ore. The ore is weakly to moderately magnetic and the survey has outlined a significant iron ore exploration target.
    That part of the exploration target within the existing mining concession, based on a thickness of 1-2 metres, comprises at least 0.9-2.6 million tonnes at an average grade of 60-68% iron.
    It is planned to start a drilling program as soon as possible to define the extent, depth, thickness, grade and reserves within the mining concession.
    In the meantime, mining will begin on a small scale of 10,000-20,000 tonnes a month immediately adjacent to the existing trial mining site where in excess of 50,000 tonnes of high grade ore has been defined by trenching.
    Funds from the rights issue will also be used to advance the Gum Flat iron ore project in South Australia.
  • INDONESIA - BHP Billiton shelves trial coal mine

    BHP Billiton will not proceed with the Haju trial mine at its Maruwai Coal Project in Central Kalimantan.
    The company has assessed the progress of the trial mine and decided that it does not fit with its long-term investment strategy.
    The Maruwai coal deposit was first discovered by BHP Billiton Minerals Exploration in the late 1990s and the company announced plans in mid-2008 to spend US$100 million in the area with the Haju trial mine the first stage of the overall development plan.
    It was expected to annually produce 1 million tonnes of metallurgical coal and first production was scheduled for mid-2009.
    The company is now evaluating its interests in the Maruwai project to determine the best future commercial options.
  • PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Ramu construction on track

    Construction is progressing well at Highlands Pacific’s Ramu Nickel-Cobalt Project in Papua New Guinea with commissioning on track for late 2009.
    The US$1.37 billion project is on time and on budget with about US$1 billion spent to date and about 90% of procurement committed.
    Two power generators are being commissioned - one at the Kurumbakari mine site and other at the refinery site at the port area in Basamuk Bay. The units supplied by Finnish company Wartsila Corporation will provide a minimum of 90 megawatts equivalent in total.
    The second and third autoclaves, manufactured in China by Japanese company Morimatsu, and made from the highest grade titanium, have also been delivered to site and are being plumbed into position. Each of the autoclaves weighs more than 750 tonnes and is about 40 metres in length.
    Highlands Pacific’s managing director John Gooding says, “The continued commitment by development partners MCC Ramu NiCo during the global financial crisis will enable Ramu to realize its full potential now that markets are improving.
    “The project continues to meet its major construction milestones and the arrival of the power generators will assist greatly with commissioning.”
    The 135km slurry pipeline is 75% complete with all major river crossings finished while the Madang offices are complete with staff moving in.
    The first sustainability report for the project has also been prepared and released by MCC Ramu NiCo. This summarizes work completed and planned in the important areas of environment and community development.
    The Ramu project is 75km west of the provincial capital of Madang and will produce an annual output of 31,500 tonnes of nickel and 3300 tonnes of cobalt contained in high grade concentrate over a 20 year mine life. The mineral resources at Ramu have the potential to increase the mine life by a further 15-20 years.
  • CHINA – New manganese production strategy

    The identification of new market segment opportunities for manganese products in the Chinese market and a new US$18 million sinter ore plant being built at the Qinzhou Smelter in Guangxi form part of OM Holdings’ new production strategy.
    The new production strategy incorporating the company’s Bootu Creek mine in Australia is based on a new mineral resource and operating mine plan, and achieving production of 35-40% manganese grade unique high value-in-use products in response to prevailing market conditions, combined with the ability to achieve greater operational flexibility and drive lower operating costs.
    OM Holdings’ CEO Peter Toth says the Chinese components are important factors in the overall plan.
    “The plan is in response to new market opportunities we have identified in the Chinese market as a result of drastically changing market dynamics in the current environment.
    “This changing environment is the result of the interaction of a complex set of factors in the manganese market, including changing ore consumption and blending dynamics and the fact that many higher cost, low grade Chinese domestic and marginal seaborne ore producers are not economic and are ceasing production at current prices.
    “While our traditional production strategy has focused on the delivery of 42% manganese product, the new market opportunities in China we have identified are in the 35-38% and 38-40% manganese product segments, for products with unique high value-in-use characteristics.
    “Our own and customer product trials for these new products have been undertaken with excellent results and we have shipped in May the first trial cargo of 35-38% manganese grade product which was sold at a premium to the existing benchmark price.”
    The Aus$13 million rejects re-treatment plant at Bootu Creek and the new US$18 million sinter ore plant under construction at the company’s Qinzhou Smelter in Guangxi, China, represent key components of the new production strategy.
    The 300,000 tonnes/year sinter ore plant, which is scheduled to be commissioned in the December 2009 quarter, will provide value added services to fines ore from Bootu Creek, supply much needed sinter product to the company’s own smelter and make sinter product available for sale into the Chinese market.
  • CHINA - Ningxia plans to prove up coal reserves

    Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwest China plans to prove up a number of large and medium coal production areas, with the aim of finding 10 billion tonnes of new coal reserves over the next six years, according to sources with the Land and Resources Bureau of Ningxia.
    A circular issued by the government of Ningxia autonomous region says that Ningxia will work to prove up 6-8 large and medium coal production areas before the end of 2015.
    Ningxia is one of the main coal-producing provinces in China. Proven coal reserves in the region amount to 31 billion tonnes and future reserves up to 202.7 billion tonnes.
    The Ningdong area in eastern Ningxia is one of the nation's main coal bases, focusing on coal chemical, coal production and thermal power generation for the West-to-East power transmission project.
    - Story courtesy of China Coal Monthly – China Coal Resourrce en.sxcoal.com
  • PHILIPPINES – Alpha technical report completed

    The NI 43-101 technical report for MBMI Resources’ Alpha Nickel Project, Palawan, Philippines has been completed.
    The report shows measured resources of 1.782 million dry metric tonnes (DMT) @ 1.34% nickel, 0.031% cobalt and 13.7% iron, indicated resources of 646,000 DMT @ 1.22% nickel, 0.039% cobalt and 17.8% iron, and inferred resources of 293,000 DMT @ 1.29% nickel, 0.044% cobalt and 19.1% iron.
    The resource estimate is based only on nickel material contained in the 60 hectare Small-Scale Mining (SSMO) permitted section of the 3200 hectare Alpha property.
    It was derived from exploration drilling activities with 207 drill holes including 12 offset holes and 6 test pits used to define the extent of laterization and mineralization within the three SSMO areas. All drill holes were diamond core of BQ gauge.

    The report was completed by international mining consulting company Lower Quartile Solutions.
    Subsequent to estimation of the resources about 154,000 DMT of nickel material with an average grade of 1.86% nickel and 18.5% iron has been shipped and about 81,000 DMT at 1.51% nickel and 14.5% iron has been excavated and stockpiled in preparation for shipping.
    The Alpha Project is in the central region of the island Province of Palawan, about 660km southwest of the Philippine capital of Manila.
    MBMI's Philippine partners were originally granted SSMO permits for the property in 2006 which allowed for the evaluation, extraction, testing, and sales of nickel raw materials. Drilling within the SSMO permitted areas has been focused on facilitating a clear understanding of the geology for excavation purposes. To take advantage of elevated commodity prices and nickel demand, MBMI's partners constructed the necessary infrastructure that enabled excavation and shipping of raw nickel materials.
    Full-scale mining permits related to the Alpha property are advancing through a regulatory approval process.

  • IRON ORE - New DSO discovery at Mt Webber

    Initial results from a reverse circulation drilling program at Atlas Iron’s Mt Webber iron ore project in Western Australia have confirmed the presence of Direct Shipping Ore (DSO).
    The results are part of an RC drilling program on the first prospect at Mt Webber, which is 150km southeast of Port Hedland in the Pilbara region.
    To date Atlas has drilled about 65 holes into the prospect on an 80 metre line spacing.
    Highlights from the first 25 holes include 66 metres @ 58.5% iron from surface; 44 metres @ 60.1% iron from surface, including 26 metres @ 61.6%; 30 metres @ 60.1% iron from surface, 32 metres @ 59.9% iron from 16 metres, including 8 metres @ 61.1%; 26 metres @ 60.8% iron from surface, including 20 metres @ 62.1%; 42 meetres @ 58.8% iron from 10 metres, including 10 metres @ 61.4%; and 49 metres @ 58.7% iron from surface, including 14 metres @ 60.8%.
    Exploration work is continuing with the goal of having sufficient coverage to estimate an inferred resource on all the main prospects prior to the end of 2009.
    Atlas’ managing director David Flanagan says: “This is a very good discovery and we look forward to completing the rest of the drilling program and reporting resources later in the year.
    “Our initial reconnaissance and mapping indicated that this project had potential to be the next major pillar of Atlas’ expansion plans, and these drill results certainly back that up.”
    Atlas is mining at its Pardoo Iron Ore Project, 75km by road from Port Hedland, and completed its first shipment of Pardoo DSO in early December 2008.
    Atlas plans to export 1 million tonnes in its first 12 months of operations at the Pardoo Project, growing to 3 million each year following commissioning of the Utah Point port facility.
    When combined with additional export tonnages from its Abydos and Wodgina DSO projects, the company is targeting exports at an annual rate of 6 million tonnes in 2010, growing to 12 million by 2012.
  • EXPLORATION – Industry faces rising costs

    Calculations by the Metals Economic Group (MEG) indicate that far more has been invested in exploration in each of the past few years than during the last exploration peak of the late 1990s.
    Although MEG does not adjust its historical exploration figures for inflation to attempt constant dollar comparisons, in the 19th annual edition of the Corporate Exploration Series (CES), it says that it can be certain that in most parts of the world, today’s exploration dollar does not go as far as it did a decade ago.
    Increased demand for services such as drilling and assaying, and rising input costs on everything from fuel to geoscientists, have significantly increased the costs of exploration. As a consequence, the substantial increase in exploration budgets over the past few years has not resulted in a proportionate rise in actual activity on the ground.
    While beyond the scope of the CES to quantify, the cost of these services continued to rise in 2008.
    When interviewing companies for their 2008 exploration budgets, MEG asked about the year-on-year inflation each company expected to experience in 2008. The response rate was relatively low (less than 20% of surveyed companies) and was undoubtedly influenced by the geographic diversity of the companies’ programs - the increased cost of drilling a metre in Ontario may be very different from the increased cost of drilling a metre in central Africa.
    Nevertheless, the companies that responded expected an average year-on-year inflationary increase of 15% in 2008, with most companies predicting an increase of 10%-30%. While the survey results are far from definitive, they do show the contrast in inflationary pressures on the mining industry when compared with a typical and often-used indicator such as a CPI.
    On a year-on-year basis, mine site budgets increased the most (up by 37%), followed by late stage (up by 29%) to account for 22% and 42% of the worldwide budget respectively, while grass roots budgets rose by a more modest 18% over 2007, lowering their share of the global total to just over 36%.
    This represents the fourth consecutive year that late-stage spending outweighed grassroots spending and continued the steady decline in the proportion of budgets allocated to early-stage work, from a peak of 53% in 1996 to its current nadir.
    While junior companies accounted for more than half of worldwide grassroots total budgets and more than 60% of the late-stage total in each of the last three years, intermediate and major companies accounted for about 80% of the mine site total over this period.
    The rise in mine site’s share of worldwide allocations reflects the increased number of producers (and hence intermediates and majors), as well as the brownfields efforts of these companies, both to replace and increase reserves depleted by mining and to capitalize on high commodity prices by bringing new reserves into production more quickly and economically by using existing infrastructure.
    With the juniors now facing financial troubles, the relative emphasis on brownfields work will continue and likely intensify in the next year or so.

    的最后一个勘查峰值。 尽管如此,我们仍然可以肯定,在世界大部分地区,现在的勘查投入力度不会比10年前大。 对如钻探和化验等服务需求的增加以及从燃料到地质科学家等一切投入成本的上升,这些都明显增加了勘查的成本;结果,过去几年里勘查预算的大幅度增长并未导致实际地面活动预算的成比例增加。
    相比的通货膨胀问题。响应率相对较低(还不到被调查公司的20%),无疑受各公司计划的地理差异影响—在安大略省钻进一米所增加的成本可能与在中非钻进一米所增加的成本完全不同。 尽管如此,做出响应的公司预计2008年通货膨胀会比上年同比增加15%,大多数公司则预测会增加10%-30%。 然而,我们的调查结果远非最终结果,在与典型的及常用的诸如CPI这样的指标相比较时,它们确实能体现出对矿业通货膨胀压力的对比情况。
    下页的图7说明了2008年CES研究中各公司按开发阶段的勘查分配126亿美元的分布情况,按每年全球勘查总预算额的百分比形式显示了每个阶段分配的五年对比情况。 (MEG的开发阶段定义列于本报告封二里。) 矿场预算同比增长率最高(上升37%),其次是后期(上升29%),分别占全球总预算的42%和22%,而基础阶段的预算仅比2007年同比增长18%,使其在全球总预算中的比例降至仅为36%多一点。
    而在近三年的每一年,小公司的预算占全球总预算的过半以及后期总预算的60%以上,大、中型公司的预算在这期间则占矿场总预算的约80%。 (MEG的公司类别定义列于本报告封二里。)
    矿场在全球预算分配中比例的上升反映了开采公司数量的上升(因此也反映了大、中型公司数量的上升),以及这些公司在废弃地改建方面所做的努力,无论是通过采矿更换和增加枯竭的储备,还是通过利用现有的基础设施更快和更经济地将新储备投入开采利用高物价。 由于目前小公司面临金融困难,所以,相对而言仍需重视废弃土地的改建工作,并且可能还将在明年前后加强这一方面的工作。


  • MOVERS & SHAKERS – Corporate development director for Cadan

    Cadan Resources Corporation has appointed John Anderson, as director, corporate development.
    In this role John Anderson will be responsible for presenting and promoting the company, including ongoing investment relations strategies, programs and activities.
    John Anderson is the co-founder of Aquastone Capital Advisors, a US-based gold investment fund. With more than 15 years experience in the capital markets, his specialty is identifying undervalued opportunities in the resource industry and investing capital into these situations.
    He is a director of US publicly-listed Wescorp Energy and was president and CEO from 2003-2004. He is also a board member of J-Pacific Gold and Eternal Energy.
    John Anderson has assisted in a number of successful turn-around situations, providing financing, investor relations and corporate development services for a number of small-cap companies.
    This appointment continues the progress of Cadan as it advances its Batoto-Tarale gold deposit and Comval porphyry copper-gold projects and implements the progressive development and production of its T’Boli gold-silver project.
  • INDONESIA – East Kutai resource doubled

    The global resource at Churchill Mining’s East Kutai Coal Project has more than doubled to 3.18 billion tonnes of thermal coal.
    The new resource exceeds the company’s initial 500 million tonnes target by more than 600%.
    The estimate includes the previous JORC compliant resource of 1.4 billion tonnes with the balance expected to be upgraded into JORC compliant categories in the next few weeks after final digital survey data has been processed.
    East Kutai is one of the largest, development stage coal resources in Indonesia and Churchill has recently obtained approvals and mining licences for the project from the Indonesian Government.
    Churchill has so far defined a coal system 18km long and about 3km wide. Only 30% of the East Kutai area has been drilled and the existing resource remains open along strike.
    The resource update has been derived from a total cumulative drilling of 40,900 metres, including 14,200 metres of open hole and 26,700 metres coring in 287 drill hole locations. The drilling focused in the north-eastern areas of the Investama Resources block and the northwestern areas of the Ridlatama Tambang Mineral block.
    Coal quality in the latest round of drilling is similar to previous drill samples with the coal defined as medium calorific, with low sulphur and low ash content.
    Churchill believes, given the potential world-class size of the resource, that the project now has the scale to be of strategic value to major Asian power groups – particularly those in Indonesia, India and China.
    Due to the large size of the deposit, Churchill has focused its mine and infrastructure planning to create a bulk mining operation annually producing up to 20 million tonnes of coal.
    The company has set a new JORC reserve target of 500 million tonnes to support this production level, up from the original target of 150 million tonnes.
    It intends to continue the technical build-up at East Kutai for the reminder of 2009 so that East Kutai is ready for project development financing and/or joint venture partnership next year.
    Churchill’s managing director Paul Mazak says, “The new global resource catapults Churchill Mining to a new level in the coal mining industry in Indonesia. This result confirms our first impression since we started drilling in Kalimantan, that Churchill has discovered a huge new coal system which ultimately will have a significant strategic value to power providers who require big volumes of coal supply.”






  • INDONESIA – Trial Mamahak coal shipments to begin

    SouthGobi Energy Resources is preparing to begin trial shipments to Asian customers of an initial 30,000 tonnes of high-quality metallurgical coal from the Mamahak Project in east Kalimantan.
    The coal has been stockpiled at the Mamahak site in the last few months after the company received a location permit in January this year enabling it to begin surface coal extraction.
    SouthGobi has received a series of results from coal-sampling programs that indicate the coal is of a premium quality and has some unique characteristics, including high fluidity, that make it suitable for coking processes.
    The results prompted SouthGobi to continue development at the site.
    The coal-extraction infrastructure, including a 34km haul road to the Mahakam River, and barge load-out are being completed.
    SouthGobi has an 85% working interest in Mamahak, with provisions to increase its interest to 100%. It has engaged two mining contractors that have significant experience in operations similar to Mamahak.
    The company has received an initial independent NI43-101 compliant resource estimate of 17.4 million tonnes for the project. The SW and E resource blocks on the concession contain measured plus indicated coal resources of 12.2 million tonnes, with an additional inferred coal resource of 5.2 million tonnes.
  • INDONESIA – New Mining Law clarified

    This summary is contributed by Christian Teo & Associates Law Offices of Jakarta, Indonesia, which specializes in handling the legal aspects of local mining projects for foreign investors.
    1. The First Draft Implementing Regulations have clarified a number of important issues regarding the New Mining Law.
    2. The administrative, technical and financial requirements for participants in tenders for Exploration IUP/IUPKs have not been made clear at least in part.
    3. The holder of an Exploration IUP/IUPK is guaranteed the right to obtain a Production Operation IUP/IUPK without going through a tender process.
    4. For the purpose of meeting domestic needs for minerals and coal only, the Government has the right to determine the domestic selling price of the minerals and coal as well as control other aspects of the production, supply and sale of minerals and coal.
    5. It has become somewhat clearer what will be sufficient to satisfy the local ‘processing and refining’ requirement in certain instances.
    6. In the case of coal only, crushing, washing and blending (among other things) will constitute ‘processing and refining’.
    7. MOEMR will set a monthly benchmark price for minerals and coal having regard to international market conditions.
    8. The benchmark price for coal only will be set on the basis of FOB delivery.
    9. IUP/IUPK holders will be prohibited from selling minerals and coal at a price below the specified benchmark price.
    10. If the actual selling price of minerals and coal is less than the specified benchmark price (i) the selling price will be subject to adjustment in order to bring the same into line with the benchmark price, (ii) the shortfall in selling price must be paid to the Government and (iii) the seller will be liable to a fine.
    11. In the case of long term or fixed period supply arrangements for coal only, the selling price must be reset at least once every 12 months and in accordance with the benchmark price prevailing at the time of reset.
    12. Starting in the 6th year of production, foreign owned IUP/IUPK holders must divest shares to local parties such that, by the end of the ninth year of production, local parties hold a minimum of 20% of the issued capital of the IUP/IUPK holder.
    13. The ‘value’ to the shares to be divested (‘Divestiture Shares’) must be ‘assessed’ by an ‘independent valuer’.
    14. Existing KPs are to be converted into IUPs not later than the first anniversary of the Implementing Regulations.
    15. Already producing Contracts of Work/PKP2Bs are to be extendable, for up to a further 10 years, by conversion to a Production Operation IUP.
    16. Existing Contracts of Work and PKP2Bs will continue to be valid until they expire and, thereafter, will be extendable.
    17. Although not free from doubt, it seems that the Government may have decided not to push for the financial terms of Contracts of Work and PKP2Bs to be brought into line with the New Mining Law and/or within a specified period of time as there is nothing about this in the First Draft Implementing Regulations.
    18. Notwithstanding 1 to 17 above, there remain many areas of uncertainty in the New Mining Law which have not been fully resolved by the First Draft Implementing Regulations. Also, the First Draft Implementing Regulations give rise to their own uncertainties. Accordingly, further clarification is still required in respect of a number of issues which are likely to be very important to foreign investors and their professional advisers. These outstanding and unresolved issues include the following:
    (a) Local Processing & Refining: In the case of metal minerals that are capable of being processed and refined into successive and more highly value added products, what is the level of processing and refining which the IUP/IUPK holder must carry out in Indonesia? The reference in Article 46(2) of the First Draft Implementing Regulations to ‘processing’ and ‘refining’ leaves this entirely unclear.
    (b) Divestiture: Who determines and how is it determined which local Indonesian party may acquire the Divestiture Shares of a foreign owned IUP/IUPK holder which becomes subject to the divestiture requirement in Article 112 of the New Mining Law?
    (c) Although Article 63(2) the First Draft Implementing Regulations refers to the ‘offered share price’ for the Divestiture Shares being ‘assessed by an independent value’, on what basis is the ‘offered share price’ to be assessed/determined? Is the ‘offered share price’ the same as ‘fair market value’?
    (d) Is the ‘offered share price’ of the Divestiture Shares, once assessed/determined by an independent valuer, the end of all discussions and negotiations as to the purchase price for the Divestiture Shares or is it merely the beginning of those discussions and negotiations?
    (e) Must a local Indonesian party, which wishes to acquire the Divestiture Shares, be able to establish that it can pay, in full, the purchase price for the Divestiture Shares on completion?
    (f) Foreign Mining Services Providers: Are foreign owned mining services providers, established as Indonesian, limited liability, foreign investment (ie, PMA) companies to be treated as ‘local mining services providers’ for the purposes of Articles 124 to 127 of the New Mining Law which oblige IUP/IUPK holders to only ‘co-operate with’ (ie, use) ‘local and/or Indonesian national mining services companies’ (‘LMSP Requirement’)?
    (g) In the case of the only exception to the LMSP Requirement, who determines and how is it determined that there is no local or Indonesian national company providing the required mining services?
    (h) Benchmark Prices: Do the MoEMR determined Benchmark Prices for minerals and coal only apply to export sales or do they also apply to domestic sales?
    (i) What happens to existing long term or fixed period supply arrangements which do not comply with the Benchmark Price requirements?
    (j) Conversion of KPs: How will the conversion of KPs to IUPs be carried out? The mechanics of the conversion process remain unspecified.
    19. It is hoped and expected that the remaining areas of uncertainty concerning the New Mining Law and the First Draft Implementing Regulations (some only of which are highlighted in 18 above) will be resolved in a further redraft of the Implementing Regulations.
    - Any questions about the draft Implementing Regulations
     for the New Mining law should be directed, in the first instance, to
    CTA’s Bill Sullivan - [email protected]




  • PHILIPPINES – Drilling will test promising Roque gold samples

    Underground sampling in the northern part of Mindoro Resources’ American Tunnels prospect has assayed 1.94 grams/tonne gold over an aggregate of 26 metres and a drilling program will now be undertaken to test the mineralization.
    The samples were obtained from active small-scale artisanal gold workings known as Roque Mine, which consists of a shaft extending to a depth of 16 metres, with drifts and stopes extending outward in several directions.
    Continuous rock chip samples were taken from all accessible drifts and stopes, and the aggregate result included 2.41 grams/tonne over two metres, 3.15 grams/tonne over two metres and 3.11 grams/tonne over 1.5 metres. Mineralization is open in all directions.
    The American Tunnels prospect forms part of the company’s Agata Project in northern Mindanao.
    Results from Roque Mine are a further indication of the widespread gold mineralization within the American Tunnels trend and its likely extension under surrounding ultra-mafic cover rocks.
    An initial test of 6 to 8 drill holes totaling 1200 to 1500 metres, which is expected to begin shortly, is designed to test both gold mineralization and a porphyry copper-gold target to shallow depths.
    Work at American Tunnels is continuing to evaluate and prioritize additional drill targets. While drilling will initially focus on American Tunnels, the prospect is just part of the highly prospective 6km mineralization trend at Agata.
    The American Tunnels area has a long and continuing history of small-scale, artisanal gold mining. Gold is mined from a honeycombing of shallow underground workings within an area of about 200 metres by 225 metres. Free gold is also present in streams draining ultramafic cap rocks up to 1200 metres north of American Tunnels, possibly reflecting an extension of the gold mineralization trend.
    There are also dozens of artisanal gold workings within several other localized erosional windows south of American Tunnels. The miners follow narrow high-grade veins, vein stock-works, shear zones and fracture-filled zones near the top of an intrusive complex.


  • MONGOLIA: Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement review continues

    Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto are still waiting on Mongolian parliamentary approval of an Investment Agreement into the Oyu Tolgoi Copper-Gold Project.
    In January this year the two companies re-started negotiations with a newly formed government working group for a competitive agreement that would recognize the realities of the current international investment environment and the economic benefits inherent in development of the Oyu Tolgoi Project.
    Mongolian law provides for completion of Investment Agreements to establish long-term stability of taxation and other fiscal policies and assurances regarding the operational environment necessary for new mine developments. An Investment Agreement for Oyu Tolgoi requires approval of Mongolia’s national parliament, the State Great Khural.
    In late February negotiators reached agreement on an acceptable draft agreement and a companion Shareholders’ Agreement. The draft agreements were reviewed and approved in principle by the Cabinet and the National Security Council. Following the completion of negotiations, each page of the draft Investment Agreement was initialled by representatives of both the Mongolian Cabinet and Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia before the document was presented to Parliament in March as part of the final approval process. The parliamentary review process is continuing.
    Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto remain prepared to complete an Investment Agreement with the government that is equitable and fair for both sides.
    The companies are also continuing to assess the implications for the project and its development schedule as a result of the delays in approval of the Investment Agreement and Shareholders’ Agreement, the sharp declines in certain commodity prices and continuing uncertainty in international financial markets.
    At the Oyu Tolgoi site the engineering and development team remains focused on maintaining the project in a position to begin construction once an Investment Agreement is finalized.
    The main activity has been preparation for the first ventilation raise, a vertical connection from underground to surface, to supply fresh air from surface to the underground workings.
  • UZBEKISTAN – Fast track to Sarybatyr open pit production

    A delay in bringing Oxus Gold’s Amantaytau Goldfields’ underground sulphide mine in Uzbekistan into production has necessitated fast-tracking development of the Sarybatyr open pit oxide deposit.
    The delay has been caused by the global economic downturn leading to insufficient capital to develop the underground project.
    This has led to the company seeking alternative sources of financing and revising the underground sulphide project feasibility study to enable Oxus to construct the first phase of the mine at a substantially reduced capital cost.
    The company is in discussions with a number of potential funding sources, including a major Chinese contracting and financing group.
    Oxus is confident that it will be successful in securing finance and is now targeting first production in mid-2011, assuming that the finance will be available by November this year.
    In the meantime it is aiming to maintain gold production and cashflow by development of the Sarybatyr open pit through the carbon-in-pulp plant. Its Uzbekistan subsidiary Amantaytau Goldfields has applied for the appropriate mining permit and estimates that 110,000 ounces of gold will be recovered from the deposit over the next two years.
    Meanwhile mining at the Vysokovoltnoye heap leach operation is scheduled to resume shortly after refining 18 tonnes of silver and gold doré stockpiled at the mine. Subject to obtaining the permit to export unrefined metal, the company plans to export this stockpile for refining in Switzerland.
    The relevant permit is being finalized and the company is optimistic that approval from the Uzbek Government will be forthcoming in the near future. It expects this heap leach will produce 340,000 gold equivalent ounces over the remainder of its economic life, estimated to be a further 11 years.
    The company is continuing to mine the Asaukak open pit with ore being processed through the carbon-in-pulp plant.
    Orsu’s executive chairman Richard Shead says, “In order to stimulate the investment of foreign capital, the Government of Uzbekistan has instituted various initiatives which we believe will positively assist our in-country operations.
    “One example of this is the recently announced Uzbekneftegas, Petronas (Malaysia) and Sasol (South Africa) transaction to construct a Gas-to-Liquids plant in Uzbekistan at a cost of US$2.5 billion, which is a vote of confidence by foreign investors in Uzbekistan.”


  • PALAU - New oil drilling program in potential world-class reserve

    Palau Pacific Exploration has secured an option to farm into a 1 million acre oil drilling concession in the Republic of Palau and is about to begin a drilling program.
    The concession is on the North Block in the State of Kayangel and was defined by about 230km of high-resolution seismic in 1997 that was reprocessed late in 2007 using cutting edge frequency dependent processing that resulted in the identification of multiple reefs and overlapping anomalies to drill.
    The prospect is situated in about 40 metres of water and drilling is expected to attain a total depth of about 1400 metres.
    The company is now inviting investors to participate in a limited portion of the drilling program in an attempt to prove the existence of hydrocarbons in quantities that could potentially equal those of world-class giant oil fields.
    The Republic of Palau is 800km east of the southern Philippine islands, 800km north of New Guinea, and 1280km southwest of Guam.  The islands form a 480km-long archipelago made up of more than 200 islands, only nine of which are inhabited.
    HJ Gruy and Associates in a specific, independent August 2008 report on the prospect, identifies two potential oil reservoir zones. Reserve estimates indicate that the prospect could have world-class giant oil field reserve potential.
    Potential reservoirs, determined from seismic sequence stratigraphy, are thick Miocene age carbonate reef systems. Geochemical analysis confirms the presence of thermogenic hydrocarbons.
    Gruy estimates that there are shallow gas reserves that can likely be viewed as a bail-out option to attempt to recover costs should the discovery of oil not be successful, since there is a market to utilize the gas for power generation in Palau to replace costly imported diesel. Frequency-Dependent AVO indicates deeper hydrocarbons may be present.



  • PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Review enhances Solwara 1 project

    Cost reduction and optimization work on Nautilus Minerals’ Solwara 1 Project in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea has markedly enhanced the project.
    The work is part of a commercial review of the project aimed at identifying potential capital and operating cost savings presented as a result of the global financial downturn.
    The company is progressing, in parallel with engineering design and vessel sourcing, an optimization program to identify technical improvements to the system which could realize further cost benefits. Significant advances have been made on vessel sourcing and system optimization.
    Nautilus has also been in discussions with several prospective partners regarding the development of the Bismarck Sea, which includes Solwara 1.
    Shipping market enquiries have outlined a number of Mining Support Vessel (MSV) options that offer significant savings and technical benefits to the project. Vessel evaluations and discussions are progressing with the aim of identifying a short list.
    In parallel with these enquiries, a more detailed mooring analysis is examining the viability of utilizing a single pre-set deepwater mooring spread to maintain the MSV on station. Now that the traverse requirements of the Seafloor Mining Tool (SMT) and the behaviours of the riser system are better understood, a moored vessel may offer benefits over a dynamically positioned vessel.
    Technip Inc has been commissioned to undertake riser optimization and cost saving analysis. This work will examine riser sizing and equipment sourcing to take advantage of the significant drop in global steel prices. This study is expected to report in the third quarter with savings already identified in the work completed to date.
    A trial and testing program is in place with Soil Machine Dynamics to proceed with planned quarry and submerged trials of key cutting and gathering components of the SMT, providing valuable operational input to the final design. Discussions are also in progress with GE Hydril to finalize a wear testing program on the Subsea Slurry Lift Pump to better plan maintenance and sparing regimes.
    Overall subsea system engineering is about 80% complete while permitting is progressing with the Mining Lease Wardens Hearing completed. An independent review of the Environmental Impact Statement commissioned by the PNG Government is nearing completion.
    Market engagement with copper concentrate offtake parties has confirmed a strong interest in Solwara 1 copper concentrate as determined by the metallurgical test program.
    Nautilus' CEO Stephen Rogers says, “Significant progress has been made as we seek to maximize the opportunities in the current market. We are excited about the vessel options that are available. The project has been markedly enhanced as a result of the cost reduction and optimization work completed and this work continues.”




  • MONGOLIA – Shenhua Energy seeks coal mine

    Chinese company Shenhua Energy is in talks with the Mongolian government to buy a coal mine in Mongolia.
    Shenhua’s vice president Wang Jinli says there will be some progress this year on its bid for the Tavan Tolgoi mine in southern Mongolia, one of the largest coal mines in Asia.
    He says the transaction, however, will still be subject to the Mongolian government's offer.
    The Tavan Tolgoi mine, with proven reserves of 6.4 billion tonnes, will be developed jointly by the Mongolian government and one or more foreign firms.
    The Mongolian government will hold more than 50% in the exploration project and has hired Morgan Stanley and Deustche Bank as the financial advisors.
    Besides Shenhua, the deal attracted many other companies from more than 20 countries, including Russia-based Engroup, BHP Billiton and Peabody Energy.
    Shenhua’s board secretary Huang Qing said in early May that the company planned to invest 100 billion
    yuan in two large-scale coal mining projects in Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia during the next 5 years.
    He said that China Shenhua was undertaking preparatory work for the two projects.
    - Story courtesy of China Coal Monthly – China Coal Resource en.sxcoal.com
  • KAZAKHSTAN – Varvarinskoye offtake agreement amended

    Orsu Metals Corporation has signed an amended offtake agreement with Trafigura Beheer BV, Netherlands for the purchase of copper concentrate product from the company’s Varvarinskoye operations.
    Shipment of Varvarinskoye's existing copper concentrate stockpile of 12,750 tonnes began in mid-May.
    During the period of re-negotiations, Orsu stockpiled Varvarinskoye's produced copper concentrate.
    Although this period of reduced concentrate sales will reduce first quarter revenue figures, it is not expected to have an effect on the company's full year cash flow as, with the re-commencement of sales, the revenue will be recouped in full during subsequent quarters.
    Orsu’s executive chairman Dr Sergey V Kurzin says, “We are pleased to have amended this agreement which rectifies imbalances within the pre-Orsu contract with Trafigura.
    “Amongst other changes in the agreement, the amendment provides Orsu with more favourable settlement terms and overall costs, as well as improved repayment terms under the earlier offtake agreement for monies owed to Trafigura for the settlement of shipments from June 2008 to October 2008.”
    The company's offtake agreement for its gold doré sales with Metalor Technologies SA remains unchanged.


  • CONFERENCES – Asia’s first geostatistics congress

    THE first Asian Geostatistics Congress will be held in India during August, providing a forum for industry professionals and stakeholders to examine efficient and effective ways of unlocking the Earth’s hidden resources.
    The congress on August 10 and 11 is being organized by the Federation of Indian Minerals Industry’s Mining and Petroleum Geostatistics India (FIMI-MPGI) and will be held at the Skyline Institute of Engineering and Technology in New Delhi. It will be followed by a series of technical workshops until August 20.
    The congress will enable speakers and delegates to exchange views on new discoveries, innovative technological development, case studies, emerging methodologies and practical implementation of software tools. The technical workshops will provide a value-adding opportunity in a more practical manner.
    FIMI-MPGI’s Australian CEO Suresh Tripathi says, “We have been fortunate in securing speakers of the highest calibre, including several key executives and supported by Indian government and mining ministries to make presentations.
    “We aim to have at least 120 professionals from all over the world and specifically from India and surrounding regions in attendance. We expect to have a minimum of 20 excellent speakers from different interest areas, including mining and petroleum industry.
    Innovative contributions have been sought from those engaged in the evaluation of natural resources and hazards risk, mining and petroleum engineering, environmental and exploration, investment community, software developers, suppliers, government and policy makers.
    FIMI-MPGI is engaged in identification and application of geostatistical techniques and geological understanding to identify, quantify and communicate geological resource risk from the conceptual level through to the production environment. This requires a detailed understanding of the full process including the operational, mine planning and metallurgical components, and how overall value can be optimized through that understanding.
    For registration and information about the congress and workshops please visit www.fimi-mpgi.com/congress or email Suresh Tripathi on [email protected].
    Suresh Tripathi is a professional geostatistician and founder of FIMI-MPGI based in New Delhi, India. For more information about his consulting services please visit www.fimi-mpgi.com.


  • CONFERENCES – Focus on investment in South Australian resources

    A conference in South Australia during July aims to place Chinese investment focus on the state’s abundant supply of resources.
    The South Australia Resources – Chinese Investment 2009 conference will be held at the Adelaide Hilton Hotel on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 14 and 15.
    With China needing to secure supplies of resources in order to continue moving forward and South Australia hosting many of these resources, the conference will provide a forum to bring supplier and user together in order to gain a better understanding of each other’s values and cultures.
    There are a number of new mineral projects in South Australia that have attracted Chinese investment but there are other projects awaiting exploration and development across many mineral commodities, including uranium and iron ore.
    The conference is being organized by Apollo Global Events in partnership with the Australia China Business Council and will be conducted as a presentation and interactive panel discussion forum. Organizers are working on bringing together an outstanding line-up of speakers and attendees.
    Among the expected speakers are South Australian Minister for Mineral Resources Paul Holloway, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of Australia Zhang Junsai, and chairman of the ASF group, China, Min Yang.
    Confirmed speakers include ACBC president Sean Keenihan, PIRSA’s Paul Hiethersay, Gryphon Partners’ Creagh O’Connor, Core Energy’s Paul Taliangis, CRU Group’s Australasia director Dr Allan Trench, Westpac’s head of Asian Business Alice Wong, Yunnan Copper’s managing director Jason Beckton, Patterson Securities’ James Li and Norman Waterhouse’s Greg English.
    Every session will have simultaneous translation enabling Chinese and Australian attendees to fully understand each of the speakers in either Mandarin or English. There will also be the opportunity to book one on one meetings for more in-depth discussion.
    For more information or to register visit www.apolloglobal.com.au/events


  • M&A - Unique solutions needed to get results

    M&A - Unique solutions needed to get results
    By Anthony Desir
    Partner, SAMINOVA Funds

    During our presentation at the 2009 Ferro Alloy Summit in Hainan, China, in April we predicted that the Chinalco–Rio Tinto deal would fail. How did we know the deal would fall apart and why do we still think there are ways for China SOEs to achieve the same goals?
    We publicly outlined the five main reasons why the deal could not proceed a month before the same issues were finally recognized in the news wire post mortem of that transaction.
    The key point is that even when we saw the impending failure of the Rio Tinto deal, we also identified a way for Chinalco to save its deal. Our solution is still available to other SOEs who have the vision and management skill to take advantage of opportunities in this unusual market, because unusual circumstances require unusual solutions to get results.
    Chinese companies that continue to engage in conventional M&A banking solutions are unlikely to win the best deals until markets normalize. Those that are in a position to implement creative business solutions now will succeed, with less risk and at less cost than their competitors.
    The current fall in prices remains a unique entry market opportunity for long term resource buyers. The real problem is that simple common sense solutions have given way to short term market hysteria on all sides.
    Fear of falling prices is leading to poor judgment about values. This fear by clients and uncreative solutions promoted by advisers are leading to weak deal propositions.
    We are particularly frustrated with deal makers who react like traders. Instead of focusing on long term fundamentals, they appear to be engineering deals without balancing short term pricing to offset political and social issues, and long term fundamentals.
    In this situation even when China SOEs can make successful acquisitions, they are still likely to face political and social backlash when markets eventually recover in future. In other words, short-term deal engineering means that Chinese buyers can eventually lose out even when they do buy into equity deals at today’s values.
    Our basic conclusion is that this market collapse is still the best opportunity for Chinese companies to leapfrog their western counterparts and take over the resource sector. But, market conditions are unique and the best way forward is for all buyers to promote unique solutions that are good for all sides. Win–win solutions should be suited to long term market capital needs because mining is a long term business.
    Trading-based valuations and conventional M&A equity solutions have failed to help non-domestic buyers dominate and capture deals in the current market. There is also clear evidence that the solutions have not worked for China SOEs even when the markets were stable. For China SOEs to succeed they need to consider a different approach and different solutions.


  • EXPLORATION – Base metals eclipse gold in 2008

    For the first time since the Metals Economics Group (MEG) initiated the Corporate Exploration series of studies (CES) in 1989, companies budgeted more on exploration for base metals in 2008 than for gold.
    MEG’s 19th annual edition of CES indicates that exploration budgets for base metals (copper, nickel, and zinc) accounted for more than 40% of the 2008 total, up from a low of 26% in 2004 and surpassing the previous peak of 39% in 2001.
    Copper allocations accounted for at least half of the base metals total for more than a decade and averaged almost 60% for the past five years, while nickel and zinc allocations averaged roughly 25% and 15% of total base metals budgets respectively in the past five years.
    In the last six years, aggregate gold exploration allocations increased substantially and prior to 2008 gold consistently attracted more exploration expenditure than any other metal covered by the CES.
    Nevertheless, the actual percentage of overall spending attributable to gold maintained an inverse relationship with that of base metals for more than a decade. As the proportion of budgets allocated to base metals rose for four straight years, gold’s share of the overall budget total slid to 39% in 2008, its lowest percentage since MEG began the CES.
    Of commodities covered by the CES, diamond exploration budgets experienced the only decline in dollar terms from 2007 to 2008, the first decrease since the 2001 low of about $200 million. As a result, the percentage of total 2008 exploration allocations devoted to diamonds decreased from 10% to less than 8%. Africa and Canada continued to be the dominant destinations for diamond exploration, as they have been for more than a decade, together accounting for 80% of 2008’s worldwide diamond budget total, although allocations to both regions declined in dollar terms.
    Allocations for platinum group metals rose by 12% year-on-year in 2008. As a percentage of overall budgets, PGM exploration remained at 3% for the third consecutive year. More than half of 2008’s PGM budget was destined for South Africa, Canada and Russia received 21% and 11% of total allocations respectively.
    Budgets for targets other than gold, base metals, diamonds and PGM were up by 30% in 2008. More than half of 2008’s ‘other targets’ total was attributable to silver, however, most silver exploration occurs in conjunction with the search for gold or base metals polymetallic deposits.
    Molybdenum was by far the most popular target among the remaining commodities. A variety of other targets, mostly mineral sands, potash, tungsten, cobalt, manganese, tin, vanadium, and tantalum, by a relatively small group of companies account for the rest.
    Due to the precipitous fall in prices for every metal but gold, exploration allocations for all commodities will decline in dollar terms in 2009.
    With gold forecast to continue to fare better than the other metals in the near term, we expect that the percentage of exploration budgets allocated to gold will increase in 2009 and that gold will regain its position as the top exploration target - primarily at the expense of base metals.
    The CES began covering uranium budgets in 2007. The 2008 study included 383 companies (173 exploring solely for uranium) collectively allocating $1.15 billion for uranium exploration, up by 23% from 2007, representing more than 8% of the $13.75 billion in worldwide exploration budgets, when including uranium.
    Although data prior to 2007 were from sources other than MEG, the figures clearly illustrate that planned annual uranium exploration spending followed a similar path in recent years to those of the other commodities covered, rising 12-fold since the uranium exploration boom began in 2003.

    自MEG于1989年启动了CES系列研究依赖,各公司第一次在贱金属上的投入多于黄金。 贱金属(铜、镍和锌)勘查预算占2008年总预算的40%以上,从2004年的最低点26%上升至超过2001年的上一次高峰39%。
    在过去的6年里,黄金勘查总预算的分配大幅增加。2008年以前,黄金的勘察投入一直多于CES中所包括的其它金属。 尽管如此,十多年以来,对黄金总投入的百分比与贱金属总投入的百分比始终保持着一种相反的关系;随着贱金属预算分配比例连续四年上升,黄金在全球总预算中的份额于2008年下降至39%,达到自MEG开始CES研究以来的最低百分比。
    在CES所包括的矿产品中,金钢石的预算(按美元计算)经历了从2007年到2008 年以来唯一的一次下跌。 结果,2008年对金钢石勘查总预算的百分比由10%下降至不足8%。 由于非洲和加拿大十多年以来一直共同占据2008年全球金钢石总预算的80%,虽然以美元计算对二者的预算分配有所下降,但他们仍然是金钢石勘查的主要目标地区。
    2008年,铂族金属(PGM)的预算分配同比增长了12%;按总预算的百分比计算,PGM勘查预算连续第三年保持在3%。 2008年PGM预算的一半以上被指定给南非;加拿大和俄罗斯分别得到PGM总预算分配的21%和11%。
    正如早些时候所讨论的,CES于2007年开始将铀预算包括进来(尽管铀预算未包含在本报告其它部分讨论的数据当中)。 2008年的研究包含了383家公司(其中173家只勘查铀),共同分配了11.5亿美元铀勘查预算,比2007年上升了23%,占全球勘查预算137.5亿美元的8%以上(包括铀)。 尽管2007年以前的数据来源于MEG以外的其它渠道,但这一数字仍然清晰地说明了近年来计划每年铀勘查投入与所包含的其它矿产品类似,自2003年铀勘查繁荣期以来上升了12倍。

  • PAPUA NEW GUINEA – New high grade zone at Solwara 1

    Nautilus Minerals has discovered a new high-grade base and precious metal zone on its Solwara 1 prospect in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea.
    A review of recently completed assay work from a scout drilling program completed in late 2008 has revealed this new zone with significant base and precious metal grades.
    The newly discovered North Zone is about 250 metres north of the Solwara 1 resource and has returned top assay values in respect of each mineral of 30.1% copper, 22.0% zinc, 26.2 grams/tonne gold and 580 grams/tonne silver.
    The scout drilling program also intersected high-grade mineralization at Solwara 5 with top values of 24.3% copper, 10.35% zinc, 19.3 grams/tonne gold and 299 grams/tonne silver.
    Drilling was undertaken from MV Nor Sky vessel using a Perry Slingsby built T200 Remote Operated Vehicle mounted drill rig that was used in 2007 to successfully define the world's first NI43-101 compliant resource estimate for a seafloor massive sulphide deposit at Solwara 1.
    Nautilus is evaluating tenders for further drilling in these new areas and those parts of the deposit which remain open at depth. It is intended, subject to the availability of equipment with a minimum 40 metre depth capability, to carry out further drilling in 2010.
    Nautilus' CEO Stephen Rogers says: “The discovery of new high-grade mineralization near the existing NI43-101 compliant resource at Solwara 1, is an important result. It further demonstrates the exploration potential on our large tenement package in the Bismarck Sea.
    “The company continues to progress towards production and we look forward to testing the depth potential of these newly discovered mineralised zones once we award a drilling contract at the conclusion of the current tender process.”



  • PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Drilling under way at Banessa

    Drilling is under way at the Banessa prospect of Allied Gold’s Big Tabar tenement in Papua New Guinea while a recent program at the nearby Tupinda prospect revealed gold, copper and molybdenum mineralization.
    The Banessa drilling, part of the Tabar-Tatau joint venture exploration program with Barrick Gold on Big Tabar and Tatau islands, is targeting the potassic alteration zone at the northern end of the prospect, the magnetite vein zone and the combined gold and copper geochemistry.
    One of the holes drilled to date has intersected 22 metres of oxidized copper-gold porphyry-style mineralization.
    At Tupinda Barrick’s drilling has tested an alteration footprint within the Tupinda Intrusion Complex, interpreted as the best based upon magnetic signature, IP geophysics, alteration zonation and combined copper and molybdenum geochemistry.
    The best intercept to was 68 metres @ 0.05 grams/tonne gold, 0.15% copper and 0.022% molybdenum from 209 metres, containing a better grade section grading 0.42% copper over 7 metres.
    At the Tatau Island tenement alteration, lithological and structural mapping was undertaken in conjunction with rock chip sampling. Mapping covered parts of the Kupo and Daramba prospects, and the logging road network in the vicinity of Kupo.
    The objective of the mapping is to identify potential porphyry copper-gold centres through evaluation of historic mineralized centres and island-scale alteration mapping, prospecting and sampling.
    To date, the mapping has confirmed the dominance of monzodioritic to diorite stocks over the Daramba and Kupo areas.
    A helicopter EM survey has also been completed on the Tabar Islands.


  • PAKISTAN – Study under way for Block VI coal deposit

    Drilling by Oracle Coalfields at the Block VI coal deposit in southern Pakistan has defined a JORC compliant measured resource of 1.4 billion tonnes and a proven reserve of 371 million tonnes.
    The coal at Block VI, which is in the Thar Coalfield, Sindh Province, is of lignite quality and suitable for combustion in power generation stations. It has an average calorific value of 3537 kcal/kg, a moisture content of 40% which can be reduced to 14% by drying, a sulphur level of 1.2% and an ash content of 7.5%, which is low when compared with typical lignite coals.
    Oracle expects to begin a work program for a bankable feasibility study (BFS) on the Block VI licence during this quarter. Additional funds for this study were raised by a placement.
    The Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) is under way with Wardell Armstrong International carrying out the work.
    Oracle Coalfields’ chairman Shahrukh Khan says, “In coming months we anticipate a strong flow of news being generated as the BFS and ESIA progresses, and will also be looking to progress the planned power station component of the project.
    “The project is a very important component in the development of Pakistan’s economy and therefore has full support from both the provincial and central Governments.”
    The company’s 80%-owned Pakistan subsidiary, Sindh Carbon Energy Limited, was granted the 66.1sqkm by the Mines and Mineral Development, Government of Sindh, in November 2007 for an initial period of three years.
    The mine plan concludes that the southern part of Block VI is the most suitable for open pit mining to be carried out in two phases. There is sufficient coal resource to support a 1100 MWe power plant in the concentrated mine area but the company intends to initially develop a 300 MWe mine-mouth power plant.
    Block VI can support a 2.5 million tonnes/year open pit capable of supplying 1.75 million tonnes of lignite coal to a 300 MWe mine-mouth power plant and a further 0.75 million tonnes to local industry.


  • KYRGYZ REPUBLIC – Positive Savoyardy pre-feasibility study

    A positive pre-feasibility study has encouraged Kentor Gold to proceed with pre-development work at the Savoyardy Gold Project in the Kyrgyz Republic.
    The pre-development program includes further metallurgical test work, further drilling designed to increase the resource, negotiating firm contracts for mining and finalizing arrangements for the transport, processing and sale of the gold.
    The work is expected to cost about US$500,000 and is expected to be completed by October. The company then expects to be in a position to make a decision to proceed with development of the mine with a view to beginning gold production in 2010.
    Initial production is likely to be at the rate of about 10,000 ounces a year for three years with ongoing work designed to extend the resource base and mine life.
    Kentor has also signed an option agreement with Manas Resources to acquire 100% of Savoyardy, having previously agreed to earn a 70% interest by 2012.
    The pre-feasibility study has confirmed Savoyardy as a promising gold project with low capital and operating costs, existing underground access to ore bodies, early start to production, high grade ore with good potential to expand the resource through exploration, and good metallurgy for high gold recoveries and concentrate grades.
    The study examined a number of scenarios for mining and processing of the ore. The optimum scenario involves underground mining, taking advantage of extensive drives developed in the 1970s for exploration and trucking high grade ore to an existing processing facility at Haidarkan for processing to a gold concentrate. The gold concentrate will then be railed to China or Kazakhstan for sale to a third party BIOX plant or roasting facility.
    The Haidarkan mercury mining and processing complex is 370km from Savoyardy. It has been in operation since 1942 and is owned by the Kyrgyz state property trust. Currently at Haidarkan, ore is fed directly to the roasters without concentration and hence the concentrator facilities are not in use. These processing facilities include crushers, ball mills, flotation cells, thickeners, filters and a tailings dam with sufficient capacity to process the Savoyardy ore.



  • KYRGYZ REPUBLIC – Taldybulak drilling confirms mineralization

    Ongoing drilling at Orsu Metals’ Taldybulak-Talas tenement in the Kyrgyz Republic has confirmed that the prospect contains broad and coherent copper-gold porphyry mineralization at above-average gold grades for this style of mineralization.
    The drilling program is aimed at better delineating the extent and geometry at Taldybulak Central and assessing the additional tonnage potential through the testing of peripheral targets of the central high grade core.
    The Talas exploration licence in north-west Kyrgyz Republic comprises the Taldybulak-Talas, Barkol, Kentash and Korgontash areas.
    More than 12,291 metres has been drilled at Taldybulak-Talas, representing 72% of the initially planned 17,000 metres drill program.
    At the Tokhtazan exploration licence area, which comprises the Akdjol and Tokhtazan prospects, Orsu intends to carry out further investigative drilling during the 2009/2010 exploration season.
    Recent work undertaken within the area includes 1540 cubic metres of trenching and road cutting with 640 samples collected. In addition, a 642.5 metre reverse circulation and diamond drilling program was completed.
    Results from the drilling confirm the presence of the previously interpreted mineralized structure.
    At the Akdjol project the company has carried out 3140 cubic metres of trenching and road cut sampling, with 2532 samples collected.
    This work was focused on the Bulderek occurrence, 3.5km south-southwest from the Tokhtazan licence, and identified a previously unknown copper-gold anomalous zone.


  • INDONESIA – Funds for further Miwah exploration

    East Asia Minerals will use the proceeds of a private placement for further exploration of the Miwah Gold Project in Aceh province of North Sumatra.
    It hopes to raise up to $4.64 million in the non-brokered placement, which has been proposed by third parties.
    As well as further exploration at Miwah, including the initial diamond drill program which began in late May, funds will also be used to help advance the company’s Indonesian gold and copper portfolio, and unallocated working capital.
    The Miwah prospect was partially defined by about 3000 metres of drilling in 11 holes by a previous explorer in 1997.  All holes drilled during this program intersected significant alteration and mineralization with intercepts including 71 metres of 1.4 grams/tonne gold and 58 metres of 1.1 grams/tonne gold.
    The previous explorer suggested potential for 100 million tonnes @ 1.1 to 1.2 grams/tonne gold, however, a review of the historical data indicates that early drilling was clearly parallel to higher grade (greater than 5 grams/tonne) structures at surface.  Hence, in addition to greater mineralized tonnage, significantly higher overall grades are anticipated from better geological understanding, results of the company's detailed sampling and properly oriented drill holes.
    The initial drill program will comprise 10 scissor holes from five collars for a total of 2000 metres to provide a 3D validation along the full 1200 metre strike of the Miwah gold-bearing silica zone, exposed along the impressive Miwah ridge.
    Rock saw channel sampling in 2008 within a well defined, 1sqkm zone of high sulphidation alteration averaged 1.2 grams/tonne gold and +3 grams/tonne silver from more than 2000 metres of samples.
    The Miwah property is in a very similar volcanic setting to the Martabe gold-silver deposit, also located in North Sumatra and the alteration system is of a comparable size.
    East Asia Minerals’ president and CEO Michael Hawkins says, “This investment into East Asia Minerals provides further testament to the exciting growth potential of the company, in the near-term with drilling of the large Miwah Gold Project and into the future with its prolific portfolio of epithermal and porphyry projects.”



  • INDONESIA – Funds for further coal exploration

    Kalimantan Gold will use the proceeds of a private placement to fund ongoing coal exploration in Indonesia.
    The Can$852,213 raised from the non-brokered private placement will also be used for general working capital purposes.
    Kalimantan Gold is a junior exploration company listed on the TSX Venture Exchange in Canada and on AIM in London.
    It is active on gold, coal and copper prospects in Indonesia and has exploration rights in three areas - the Jelai epithermal gold prospect in East Kalimantan, an option over the IBP coal prospect, also in East Kalimantan, and a Contract of Work in Central Kalimantan with multiple porphyry copper and gold prospects.


  • CHINA - China Shen Zhou to supply fluorite powder

    China Shen Zhou Mining & Resources’ subsidiary Xiangzhen Mining has signed an agreement with CNMC NingXia Orient Group to supply 60,000-100,000 tonnes of fluorite powder each year.
    CNMC NingXia Orient operates a plant to produce aluminum fluorite by using fluorite powder as raw material.
    China Sen Zhou’s chairwoman and CEO Jessica Yu says, "The agreement establishes the foundation of a long term and stable relationship between both companies during the current economic crisis.
    "Fluorite powder produced by Xiangzhen Mining will be sold directly to CNMC NingXia Orient based on market price."
    China Shen Zhou Mining & Resources, through its subsidiary, American Federal Mining Group, is engaged in the exploration, development, mining and processing of fluorite and nonferrous metals such as zinc, lead and copper in China.
    The company undertakes fluorite exploration and extraction in the Sumochaganaobao region of Inner Mongolia, zinc/copper/lead exploration, mining and processing in Wulatehouqi of Inner Mongolia and zinc/copper exploration, mining and processing in Xinjiang. In addition, it owns Kichi-Chaarat Closed Joint Stock Company, whose major assets include a copper-gold mine in the Kuru-Tegerek region of western Kyrgyzstan.


  • CHINA – Puda acquires 18% of coal mine

    Puda Coal has acquired an18% interest in a coal mine not far from the company’s coal washing plant in Shanxi province.
    Puda’s subsidiary Shanxi Puda Coal Group acquired the 18% equity in Shanxi Jianhe Coal Industry for RMB100 million ($14.6 million)
    Jianhe Coal owns the mining rights to a coal mine in Huozhou County, Lingfen City, which is about 200km south of Taiyuan City, the capital city of Shanxi province, and 50km from Puda Coal's Lingshi coal washing plant.
    The mine is approved to exploit two coal seams, one of fat coal and the other of high quality coking coal. The fat coal can be used as raw coal for cleaned coal making or as high quality thermal coal for power plants. Coking coal is primary raw coal which can be used for cleaned coal making.
    The total coal resources of the two seams are about 30 million tonnes with economic mineable reserve of about 18 million tonnes. The current designed capacity of the mine is about 450,000 tonnes and will be 600,000 tonnes after completion of reconstruction work.
    Shanxi Coal will not take part in the operational management of the mine but will be paid dividends based on its 18% ownership in Jianhe Coal.
    Puda’s president and CEO Liping Zhu says, “Our participation in Jianhe Coal further solidifies our strategic plan to acquire coal mines opportunistically and position Puda Coal for strong growth, and we are gaining ground in our strategy to enter into the coal mining industry.
    “Given the mine's close proximity to our Lingshi facility, we anticipate the Jianhe coal mine will provide us with higher margins and increase our operational efficiency.”


  • INVESTMENT – Ansteel placement with Gindalbie approved

    Gindalbie Metals has taken a key step towards development of its Karara Iron Ore Project in Western Australia with Australian Government approval of a $162.06 million share placement to Chinese joint venture partner Ansteel.
    The approval follows the release by the Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia of its reports for Karara recommending approval for the development.
    The project is being developed through a 50:50 joint venture between Gindalbie and Ansteel.
    As part of the placement approval, Gindalbie and AnSteel have undertaken to support development of Oakajee Port and use the new deepwater port when it becomes available to export Karara production. The partners have also undertaken that the proposed 50:50 ownership structure of the planned joint venture pellet plant to be built in China cannot be altered without Australian Government approval.
    The final stage before the placement is complete is approval from the Chinese Government authorities, which is expected to take about six weeks.
    The expected start of construction for Karara is during the December quarter of 2009.
    Gindalbie’s chairman George Jones welcomed the decision by the Australian Government and also acknowledged the support of the WA Government and Premier Colin Barnett.
    “This approval is absolutely fundamental to the overall development of the Karara Project, which I believe is going to have a substantial impact for Western Australia, and particularly in the Mid West region.
    “The Karara project is a textbook example of how Chinese investment can help maximize the value of Australia’s resources and, in this instance help generate a new value-added commodity product for Western Australia in the form of high-grade magnetite concentrate.
    “The Chinese are a valuable source of funding and can play a vital role in the growth of Australia’s resources industry. It should also be remembered that as part of the joint venture, Gindalbie will be the half-owner of a pellet plant to be built in China, highlighting the mutually beneficial nature of the relationship.”
    Gindalbie managing director Garret Dixon says, “Already we have placed orders for all the long-lead items and we are finalizing various agreements and contracts. Engineering and design work across all aspects of the project and its related infrastructure is under way, and in some cases even finished. This means that once we get on site, shareholders should be able to see some very rapid progress.”


  • TUNGSTEN – Funds to complete Big Hill study

    Funds raised from a placement in Hazelwood Resources will enable the company to complete a pre-feasibility study for its Big Hill Tungsten Project at Cookes Creek.
    The company has raised $3 million from the placement for the project in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia.
    Hazelwood’s executive chairman Mark McAuliffe says, “We are delighted to have secured significant funds to complete the pre-feasibility study.
    “Completion of the study is scheduled for September 2009 and will culminate in an economic evaluation of our proposal to produce 220,000 million tonnes of tungsten trioxide commencing in late 2010.
    “We expect the Big Hill Tungsten Project to produce around 3% of the world’s supply of tungsten.”


  • EXPLORATION – Budgets increase again during 2008

    The exploration budgets of most mining companies increased during 2008, the sixth consecutive year of increases.
    Metals Economics Group’s (MEG) 19th annual edition of Corporate Exploration Strategies (CES) shows that $12.6 billion was allocated in commercially-oriented nonferrous exploration allocations by the 1912 companies included in the study.
    Since 2002 exploration allocations have increased each year in all regions of the world. While the geographical distribution in 2008 is similar to recent years, the rate of year-on-year growth in each region varied considerably, from a low of about 10% for the rest-of-world region to 60% for the Pacific/South East Asia.
    Latin America has been the most popular exploration destination since 1994 and its allocations rose by almost a third in 2008, increasing its lead over Canada and giving it a quarter of the 2008 worldwide exploration budget totals. About 83% of 2008’s allocation to Latin America was directed to the traditional five countries - Mexico, Peru, Chile, Brazil and Argentina.
    Canada has held second place since overtaking Australia in 2002, and represents about 19% of worldwide budgets in 2008.
    Budgets for MEG’s rest-of-world region, which includes Russia, China, Mongolia and 37 other countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, grew by less than 10% in 2008, allowing Africa to climb into third place. Each region holds 15% of the worldwide budget with Africa claiming only $4 million more in planned expenditures.
    Although in fifth place by region for the fifth consecutive year, Australia recorded the second-largest year-on-year increase in 2008, up by 44%, increasing its share of worldwide budgets from 12% to 14%. The United States continued in sixth place, with the same 7%-8% of worldwide budgets it has held for the past eight years.
    In the Pacific/South East Asia region, 2008 exploration allocations were up by 60% over 2007 with Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Indonesia each attracting more than $100 million and collectively contributing almost three-quarters of the total. Nevertheless, the region’s 5% of the worldwide total ranked it last among all regions.
    Although the relative positions of individual countries have shifted, the top 10 countries are the same as in 2007. The traditional big three - Canada, Australia, and the United States - head the list, although Australia closed the gap with Canada compared with 2007. Mexico and Peru moved ahead of Russia, where allocations decreased in 2008, to take the fourth and fifth spots respectively. Chile retained seventh place while Brazil jumped ahead of South Africa and China.
    After several years of strong growth in higher-risk countries, the growth rate in some of these locations decreased markedly in 2008, especially in a number of countries in Africa and the rest-of-world region.
    While this easing of growth may be attributable to increased resource nationalism, both real and perceived, in some countries, it is also likely that some companies anticipated a downturn in the industry and elected to focus more on traditionally stable and mining-friendly regions like Canada, Australia, and some countries in Latin America.
    Given the ongoing economic crisis and sharp decline in equity financing available to junior companies, which tend to focus on riskier areas, MEG anticipates that exploration spending allocated to higher-risk countries in 2009 will decline more steeply than in the more stable countries.

    从2002年起,其它地区的勘查预算分配每年都有所增加;而2008年的地理分布与近几年类似,每个地区的同比增长率变化很大,从世界其它地区的最低约10%到太平洋/东南亚地区的60%不等。 拉丁美洲自1994年以来一直是进行勘察最多的地区,其预算分配在2008年增加了近三分之一,从而加大了加拿大的领先优势,使其预算占2008年全球勘查总预算的四分之一。
    2008年拉丁美洲预算的约83%被直接分配给五个传统国家—墨西哥、秘鲁、智利、巴西和阿根廷。 加拿大自2002年超过澳大利亚以后已经位居第二,占2008年全球预算的19%。2008年,其它地区(包括俄罗斯、中国、蒙古以及欧洲、亚洲和中东的37个其它国家)的预算增长不到10%,使非洲一跃攀升至第三位;各地区占全球预算的15%,非洲的计划投入仅要求再增加400万美元。 尽管澳大利亚连续第五年在地区排名中占第五位,但其2008年同比增长率仍创造了历史记录,达到第二位(上升44%),在全球预算中的比例由12%增加到14%。 美国继续保持第6位的排名,与过去八年一样,占全球预算的7%-8%。 在太平洋/东南亚地区, 2008年的勘查分配比2007年上升了60%,其中巴布亚新几内亚、菲律宾和印度尼西亚各分得超过1亿美元,共同占据该地区总值的近四分之三。尽管如此,该地区的预算只占全球总预算的5%,在所有地区中排名垫底。
    墨西哥和秘鲁上升至俄罗斯(2008年的分配下降了)的前面,分别位于第四和第五位。 智利保持第七位不变,而巴西则攀升至南非和中国之前。
    在高风险国家几年强势增长之后,其中有些国家2008年的增长率显著下降,尤其是在许多非洲国家和其它地区。这种增长率的减缓可以归结于某些国家不断增加的资源国有化(实际的和觉察到的),也可能由于有些公司预料到本行业会有一个低迷期,从而选择将更多的投入集中在传统上较稳定且采矿环境良好的地区,如加拿大、澳大利亚以及拉丁美洲的一些国家。 倘若眼下的经济危机持续存在,且小型公司可用的增股筹资急剧下降(主要集中在较高风险的地区),我们预计,2009年对高风险国家的投入分配与较稳定国家相比降幅更大。


  • CONFERENCES - South Australia focus for Chinese investment

    China needs to ensure a secure supply of resources to continue moving forward and South Australia offers many opportunities with an abundance of resources and a positive approach to exploration, development and mining.
    Sounds easy, and there are signs that business between China and Australia is growing! However, there are many hurdles to overcome and a great need for more dialogue between the two nations to gain a better understanding of each other’s values and cultures.
    A conference in Adelaide, South Australia’s capital, next month aims to do just this with the hope of bringing Chinese investors to look at South Australia’s rich mineral endowments.
    There are a number of new mineral projects in South Australia that have already attracted Chinese investment but there are other projects awaiting development across many mineral commodities, including uranium and iron ore.
    The South Australia Resources – Chinese Investment 2009 conference will be held at the Adelaide Hilton Hotel on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 14 and 15.
    Mining, oil, gas, geothermal, wind, solar and tidal projects and issues in these sectors will all be showcased at the event, which is being held for the first time and being organized by Apollo Global Events.
    The conference will be conducted as a presentation and interactive panel discussion forum and organizers are working on bringing together an outstanding line-up of speakers and attendees.
    It will bring together a first class faculty of Australian and international experts willing to share their knowledge and experience about doing business in China as well as case studies from companies who have successfully done business with the Chinese. There will also be expert speakers from China to give their views on doing business with Australia.
    Apollo Global has partnered with the Australia China Business Council to host this event and encourage Chinese delegations to attend.
    The conference seeks to ensure that all those attending leave with a better understanding of not only how to do business but also how to communicate better for mutual benefits.
    Every session will have simultaneous translation enabling Chinese and Australian attendees to fully understand each of the speakers in either Mandarin or English.
    There will also be the opportunity to book one on one meetings for more in-depth discussion.
    For more information or to register to speak, sponsor, exhibit or attend visit www.apolloglobal.com.au/events


  • CHINA – New sinter ore plant for Qinzhou Smelter

    Approvals have been received for a new manganese sinter ore plant at OM Holdings’ Qinzhou Smelter inGuangxi,China, which will have a planned annual production capacity of 300,000 tonnes.

    The US$18 million sinter ore project is an internally funded organic growth project for OM Holdings and will be the largest manganese sinter plant in operation inChina.

    The new plant is expected to be commissioned in the December quarter of 2009.Meanwhile, OM Holdings’ CEO Peter Toth says the Qinzhou Smelter continues to produce and sell well despite the prevailing challenging market.

    It produced 10,173 tonnes of high carbon ferro manganese during the March quarter, exceeding its production budget by 17%.Peter Toth says the market environment for manganese ore and alloys continues to be complex and challenging.

    “The return of market confidence in the manganese ore and alloy markets during 2009 will be driven by the interaction of a number of factors.

    “These include the strength of Chinese domestic steel demand and the positive impact of the financial stimulus packages on Chinese steel consuming industries, the market impact of recently announced ore and alloy production cuts, as well as the impact of current prices on the production economics of high-grade, low cost Chinese domestic and marginal seaborne production.

    “The current manganese ore prices make a large percentage of current manganese ore production short-term cash negative and long-term uneconomic, particularly in the low grade domestic and high-cost marginal seaborne segments.

    “While demand conditions remain somewhat lacklustre, strategically or economically driven changes on the supply side will have a major impact on the overall global manganese unit supply demand balance.

    In this context there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel.”

     The company made high-grade manganese ore shipments fromAustralia totalling 172,306 wet tonnes during the first quarter of 2009.

    Ore shipments were suspended during the December 2008 quarter, when the manganese ore market, like most commodity sectors, was severely impacted by the short-term effects of the global financial crisis.

    The company’s Bootu Creek Manganese Mine in theNorthern Territory posted production for the first quarter of 94,492 tonnes at an average grade of 40.4% manganese.

     This represented 94% of budgeted production for what is a seasonally a lower production quarter due to the wet season in northernAustralia.Construction has started on the new Aus$12.6 million rejects re-treatment plant at Bootu Creek, which is being internally funded from operating cash flows.

    The additional production capability from commissioning of this facility, scheduled for the December 2009 quarter, will enable production to reach an annual rate of 900,000 tonnes heading into 2010.


  • CHINA - Improved leach recoveries for Gold Mountain

    Column leach tests for ore samples from Tianshan Goldfields’ Gold Mountain Project in northwestChina have improved leach recoveriesColumn leach test work completed by the Chang Chun Gold Research Institute (CCGRI) have returned results of 63.22% gold recovery after 120 days leaching, at 0.1% cyanide concentration.

    The tests were conducted on global resource composite ore samples made up of a blend of each of the Yelmand, Jinxi and Mayituobi deposits.This is a marked improvement in leach recovery over the weighted average recovery of 57% reported as part of the pre-feasibility study test work results, which were conducted on individual resource composites.

    Selection of the bulk composite samples used for the KCA column leach tests were based on representative, lithological, ore types for each deposit.Subsequent to this selection, re-logging of the mineralized sequence for all deposits identified a greater proportion of oxidized ore within each resource, than were represented within the KCA column test samples.

    Column leach tests completed by the CCGRI, therefore contained a higher proportion of the oxidized mineralization, resulting in improved leach recoveries.

    In August 2008 the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources (MOLAR) announced a new regulation in relation to resource estimation and the exclusive use of MOLAR approved testing laboratories.

    The policy aim was to assure MOLAR that all resource estimation is true and correct but particularly based on Chinese developed standards.

    The new regulation contained a ‘grandfathering’ clause for reserves/resources having completed test work prior toAugust 1, 2008.As a result of the new regulation Tianshan Goldfields selected the MOLAR approved CCGRI inJilin province to complete column leach test work and other mineralogy tests.


  • PHILIPPINES - Gold Fields’ farm-in to Mindoro projects

    Mindoro Resources has signed an agreement with a member of the Gold Fields Group of Companies enabling Gold Fields to earn up to a 75% interest in each of theEl Paso, Lobo and Talahib porphyry copper-gold projects inBatangasProvince of southernLuzon, thePhilippines.

    Gold Fields may earn the interest by sole funding exploration and a feasibility study on each project.

    Gold Fields will manage each project whilst it is farming in.

    Gold Fields has advised a forecast budget of about Aus$2 million for the first stage of exploration which is scheduled over the next 12 months.

    The proposed budget will be used to drill test several advanced targets on theEl Paso and Lobo Projects and also fund ongoing target definition work on the Talahib Project and the remainder of the tenements.

    Mindoro’s program for Lobo andEl Paso includes infill and extension of soil geochemistry; ground geophysical surveys; and detailed mapping within the area covering the Pica porphyry copper-gold prospect, Old Lobo copper mine and SW Breccia epithermal gold resource on Lobo, and covering the Calantas and Mulawin targets onEl Paso.

    It has also planned about 2000 metres of diamond drilling on highest ranked targets on both projects with Gold Fields at present selecting the drill contractor.

    The Talahib prospect area is characterized by a series of phyllic and sericite-chlorite-clay altered diorite and microdiorite intrusions in association with an area of encouraging stream sediment geochemical sampling with anomalous gold and copper in both stream sediment and grab samples.

    Continued surface reconnaissance mapping and sampling is being considered in order to define priority targets for follow-up grid soil sampling and supporting IP and ground magnetic surveys later in the year.

    Gold Fields may earn a 51% interest inEl Paso and Lobo by spending Aus$4 million on the relevant project within 60 months of the farm-in period formally commencing.

    In relation to the Talahib project Gold Fields may attain a 51% interest by spending Aus$2 million.

    To maintain the 51% Gold Fields must have a minimum annual expenditure commitment of Aus$350,000 per project.

    After completing the first phase, Gold Fields may elect to continue sole funding expenditure in relation to the relevant project. In doing so it may earn a further 24% interest in the relevant project by completing a feasibility study or contributing a milestone amount of expenditure.

    The milestone amount for theEl Paso and Lobo projects is Aus$16 million and for Talahib it is Aus$12 million. These milestone amounts are in addition to the expenditure contributed in the first phase.


  • PHILIPPINES – Emphasis on Pao/Yabbe gold tenement

    Royalco Resources is placing its exploration emphasis in thePhilippines on the Pao/Yabbe gold tenements.

    The main prospect on the Pao tenement is Manidyo, a high-sulphidation epithermal vein comprising several sub-parallel veins and enargite-cemented vein breccias.

    A sample from this vein assayed 49 grams/tonne gold, 348 grams/tonne silver and 3.94% copper.

    Subject to suitable access arrangements, drilling of this prospect is scheduled early in the second half of this year.

    Various community support programs have been initiated in the meantime.

    The Yabbe tenement application is being progressed and adjoins Pao on the south side.

    A few stream sediment samples with anomalous assays up to 30 grams/tonne gold have been recorded from this region during exploration in the 1980s.

    At the Gambang copper project a detailed soil sampling program has been completed on the first phase of this tenement approval following encouraging drill results at the Tokla Prospect last quarter.

    Approvals to proceed with the second phase, including the Manga Prospect, and the third phase, which includes the highly prospective Cableway target, are still awaiting Indigenous People’s Consent and processing by the NCIP Central Office.

    At the Malangza copper/gold prospect a review of drilling data obtained in the last quarter of 2008 suggested a lack of mineralization to justify further exploration and the tenement has been relinquished.


  • PHILIPPINES – Drilling to start at American Tunnels

    A drilling campaign is expected to start shortly at Mindoro Resources’ American Tunnels gold and copper project in thePhilippines.

    Targets for the drilling were refined following detailed mapping of the area, including the abundant small scale gold and copper workings.

    Three drill companies were invited to tender bids for the initial program with IndoDrill selected based on their exemplary performance to date at the company’s Kay Tanda joint venture project.

    Mindoro has received reports from the local miners at American Tunnels of some interesting new small scale workings.

    The locals are reportedly recovering about 4-6 grams/tonne gold from an area of intense quartz-calcite stockworking with abundant pyrite.

    The company has initiated a sampling program and is awaiting assay and petrography results.

    AtMindoro’s Agata North nickel laterite project a letter has been prepared setting out summary parameters of the substantial nickel-cobalt-iron resource and soliciting expressions of interest to finance development in return for equity in the project and a secure long-term source of supply.

    The letter is part of a major marketing campaign to Chinese steel companies.

    At the Kay Tanda joint venture Avocet is about halfway through their minimum 1500 metre drill program.

    Mindoro has granted Avocet an extension to August 31 to complete their due diligence, aimed at completing a fast-tracked, but comprehensive evaluation of the Kay Tanda Project, with a view to making a decision to enter pre-feasibility and progress to feasibility.

    At the Batangas joint venture with Gold Fields a Memorandum of Agreement has been signed and Gold Fields is at present selecting the drill contractor for a 2000 metre diamond drilling program.


  • PNG - Additional Pigiput sulphides mineralization

    Drilling at Pigiput targeting the extensions of sulphides continues to define additional mineralization.

    Three diamond cored holes for 920 metres that targeted down dip mineralization at Pigiput Deeps were completed during the quarter.

    These holes intersected broad down hole zones of gold mineralization with best results being 113.5 metres from 86.5 metres @ 0.99 grams/tonne gold, 105 metres from 201 metres @ 1.06 grams/tonne gold, and 91.7 metres from 209 metres @ 0.97 grams/tonne gold.

    In addition, two of five planned diamond cored metallurgical holes, for a total 407 metres, were also completed.A 9 hole, 3000 metre core drilling program is testing the down dip extension of the Pigiput Prospect gold mineralization at Pigipit Deeps.

    A second core drilling rig is being commissioned, to assist with this program and the metallurgical sampling required for the Pigiput Sulphide Scoping Study.

    The Pigiput Deeps program will test a 200 metre wide area up to 350 metres down plunge of a conceptual pit-shell presently being used in the scoping study.

    Earlier wide-spaced drilling in the area intersected broad zones of mineralization, including 95.7 metres @ 1.79 grams/tonne from 83.3 metres.

    Exploration drilling is also under way on the adjacent Pigibo Prospect, targeting gold mineralization in oxide.

    Wide-spaced earlier drilling was used to estimate a previously published inferred resource, of 2.1 million tonnes @ 1.1 grams/tonne for 74,000 ounces, largely in oxide.

    The Pigibo Oxide drilling program is continuing as part of the overall Allied Gold exploration strategy. 

    The objective is to acquire sufficient data to allow for a new resource estimate be made during the September 2009 quarter to form part of the sulphide development program.

    A new oxide mineral resource estimate has been prepared for the Pigiput oxides using 5733 metres of sampling from 33 RC and 8 diamond cored holes.

    This new estimate has actually resulted in a reduction in the resource estimate by 27,000 ounces resulting in a net total indicated and inferred resource of 266,000 ounces. 

    Although additional drill data was added the reduction in metal was due to an anomaly in the mineral resource model where some mineralized blocks had incorrect bulk densities assigned.

    A correction of the densities has resulted in a decrease in tonnage which has translated into a reduction in the resources gold ounces.


  • IRON ORE – New mineralization at Iron Valley

    A drilling program at Iron Ore Holdings’IronValley deposit inWestern Australia has intersected new zones of mineralization.

    The in-fill and extensional RC drilling results support the potential for an increase in the JORC compliant resource base forIronValley.

    The present estimate is 88.2 million tonnes @ 58.5% iron and includes a near-surface high-grade JORC compliant inferred mineral resource of 56.4 million tonnes @ 60.4% iron.

    The latest drilling has intersected significant new mineralization outside the current resource envelope and in some places, the newly-discovered mineralization is over 40 metres thick with low contaminant levels.

    The current phase of drilling, which began in mid-March, has also confirmed the presence of two separate zones of high-grade Brockman-style mineralization atIronValley, reinforcing the quality and potential of the discovery as a near-term development opportunity.

    The company has committed to fast-track the evaluation and development ofIronValley, which is near the iconic Yandicoogina Deposit in theCentral Pilbara region.

    This current second round of drilling is designed to better define the broader extent and down-dip continuity of the current resource as well to upgrade the JORC confidence levels.

    The company expects to begin an updated resource estimate for the Iron Valley Deposit encompassing the new results during this quarter.

    Down-hole geophysical logging of all completed drill holes is under way on site. The collected data will be utilized in the ongoing geological interpretative process.

    Once all data has been collected, processed and interpreted, an updated geological model will be developed.

    The current 6000 metre RC drilling program will be followed by a 1000 metre diamond drilling program for geological and metallurgical test work purposes.

    In parallel with the Phase II drilling program, Iron Ore Holdings has commenced an options study to investigate order of magnitude development options forIronValley.

    This will examine the potential scope of a standalone mining development to ensure that the company can move seamlessly and effectively towards the development stage once the current exploration stage is completed.


  • INVESTMENT – China nickel major increases Metallica stake to 19.95%

    China’s second largest nickel producer, Jilin HOROC Nonferrous Metal Group, has increased its holding in diversified Australian resource company Metallica Minerals from 15.1% to 19.95%.

    The increased stake is a result of Jien Mining, an Australian-based subsidiary ofJilin, acquiring all of the Metallica shares held previously by Kagara Ltd.Metallica has extended an invitation for a representative of Jien/Jilin to join the Metallica Board.

    Metallica andJilin have had respective site visits to each company’s nickel-cobalt projects and operations and have been involved in discussions for mutual cooperation over the past year or so.

    Both companies look forward to progressing their mutual business interests and investigating new nickel-cobalt processing technologies and general business strategy.

    Jilin controls Jilin Jien Nickel Industry Co, a large-scale nonferrous metals enterprise integrated with mining, smelting and chemicals.

    Jilin Jien Nickel is one of the world’s largest enterprises producing nickel sulphate.

    Its main products include nickel sulphate, nickel matte, electrolytic nickel, nickel hydroxide, nickel chloride, copper sulphate, copper concentrate, sulphuric acid and a range of established high-quality JIEN brand products.

    Jilin Jien Nickel also has major interests in nickel-cobalt mining, project development, nickel and cobalt processing technologies and nickel cobalt products – a portfolio of assets and expertise which is complimentary to Metallica’s minerals focus inQueensland.

    Metallica is an emergingQueensland multi-commodity resource company with major interests in nickel cobalt through its NORNICO project, coal through its 84% holding in MetroCoal and bauxite through its 32% holding inCapeAlumina.


  • EXPLORATION – Budgets for nonferrous exploration peak in 2008

    According to Metals Economics Group’s 19th annual edition of Corporate Exploration Strategies (CES), commercially-oriented explorers planned to spend $13.2 billion on nonferrous exploration in 2008

    Worldwide nonferrous exploration budgets steadily increased through the early 1990s to crest at $5.2 billion in 1997, before falling for five straight years to a 12-year low of $1.9 billion in 2002. Since 2002, our estimated total, excluding uranium, rose for six straight years to reach the highest total since the CES series began in 1989.

    In Metals Economics Group’s 2008 analysis, planned nonferrous exploration budgets of the 1912 companies included in the CES reached $12.6 billion for the year.

    We estimate that the company budgets included in the 2008 study, using a $100,000 cut-off, account for more than 95% of worldwide commercially-oriented nonferrous expenditures.

    Including the remaining 5%, planned expenditures for 2008 reached $13.2 billion, a 26% increase over 2007’s estimated total and 2.5 times the estimated $5.2 billion at the height of the last exploration cycle in 1997.

    In addition, the CES began including uranium budgets in 2007.

    MEG’s 2008 analysis includes aggregate uranium budgets totalling $1.15 billion. Including uranium budgets, the total number of companies covered rises to 2085, and the aggregate exploration budget, including the $12.6 billion nonferrous total, increases to more than $13.75 billion.Including estimates for budgets MEG could not obtain, worldwide planned exploration expenditures including uranium allocations total more than $14.4 billion.

    While the industry’s aggregate planned exploration budget reached an all-time high in 2008, companies seldom spend exactly the amount budgeted on exploration in a given year, tending to spend more than budgeted during the good times and less during the bad.

    The chaos in the financial economy and precipitous drop in commodity prices will certainly suppress the actual aggregate amount spent on exploration in 2008 relative to the total amount budgeted, but the overall decrease will likely be tempered by the fact that many companies had spent the bulk of their 2008 budget in the summer field season, before the industry meltdown.

    Although cuts to residual exploration plans in the fourth quarter of 2008 were likely quite severe for many companies, particularly the junior explorers, MEG still expects the total amount actually spent on nonferrous exploration during the year to have reached an all-time high, although it will be lower than the planned budget figures discussed above.

    While the absolute amount spent on exploration in a particular country, on a given target, or on projects at a certain stage of development is bound to be lower than the planned aggregate expenditures originally reported in MEG’s analysis, the relative proportion spent on each location, target, and stage will likely not differ significantly from what was budgeted by the industry.

    As a result, we believe the relative percentages discussed here will stand, regardless of the actual total amount spent in 2008, providing an overview of the overall exploration trends. 


    商业性勘探公司2008年计划在有色金属勘查上投入132亿美元 全球有色金属勘查预算从20世纪90年代初开始稳步增加,


















  • COMPANY & PRODUCT NEWS – Drill bit and pipe change process now automated

    Bucyrus International has introduced a new Rotary Bit Change Carousel and Forked Pipe Wrench for its 49 Series Rotary Blasthole Drills.

    By fully automating the drill bit and pipe change process, Bucyrus has eliminated the safety risks and lost production time associated with these operations.

    The Auto Bit Change Carousel allows up to 4 drill bit changes to be conducted remotely from the operator’s cab, reducing the typical change-out time of 60 minutes to a mere 10 minutes.

    In addition, the Auto Bit Change Carousel eliminates 7 safety lifting hazards and avoids the need for drill operators to work under a suspended load. 

    The Forked Pipe Wrench simplifies pipe unthreading during the drill bit change-out process.  

    First, the forked wrench engages the drill pipe flats.

    The wrench then rotates, impacting the stop block, causing a break in the pipe thread joint.

    This new feature reduces the change-out time and the safety risks associated with Drill Pipe assembly and disassembly.

    These Bucyrus 49 Series Drill improvements are available for new drills and as a retrofit on existing drills.

    Bucyrus is a leader in the design and manufacture of high productivity mining equipment for the surface and underground mining industries.

    Bucyrus’ surface mining equipment is used for mining coal, copper, iron ore, oil sands and other minerals and Bucyrus’ underground mining equipment is used primarily for mining coal.

    In addition to machine manufacturing, Bucyrus manufactures high quality OE parts and provides world-class support services for their machines.



  • COMPANY & PRODUCT NEWS - Minova Minetek commissions second resin capsule machine

    Minova International has expanded operations at the Minova Minetek plant atHyderabad inIndia with the commissioning of a second machine for automatic production of resin capsules.

    The new machine demonstrates Minova’s continuing commitment to investment in capacity and technology to support the drive by the Indian coal mining industry to increase output without compromising safety.

    Minova Minetek is the only resin capsule manufacturer inIndia to make resin capsules using international-standard machinery.

    This ensures the high performance and consistent quality demanded by high-production mining methods, especially the continuous miners which are starting to make an impact in Indian coal mines.

    Demand for Minova Minetek’s resin capsules was expanding rapidly so the decision was taken to install a second capsule-making production line.

    The first line has been operating since 2003.

    The second machine was part of a wider plant upgrade which included installation of mechanized blending equipment and raising safety and environmental standards to the levels of Orica Group, Minova’s parent company.

    Further expansion plans for Minova Minetek include building on the position held by Minova International in injection resins for strata consolidation and water and gas sealing.


  • MOVERS & SHAKERS – New IronPlanet managing director in Australia

    Online auction company for used construction and agricultural equipment, IronPlanet, has recently appointed Chad Groves as managing director of IronPlanetAustralia.

    He will be responsible for the continued growth of IronPlanet’s business in the Australian marketplace.

    IronPlanet’s senior vice president for international and new business Jeff Jeter says, “We are excited to haveChad lead ourAustralia business initiatives and to work closely with our existing team in broadening our business with our customers inAustralia,New Zealand andSouth East Asia.

    “Customers connect withChad and his passion for IronPlanet and our ability to deliver more profitable sales through lower transaction costs and better price realizations.

    “The Australian market along with our European and North American operations gives IronPlanet a true global internet marketplace to sell used equipment.

    ”Prior to the new appointment Chad Groves was in territory sales and managed IronPlanet’s business inMaryland,Delaware,District of Columbia, andNorthern Virginia.

    Earlier in his career he worked for Komatsu Financial as well as Ring Power Corporation.Chad Groves says, “IronPlanet’s business model and online marketplace for buying and selling used equipment has tremendous benefits for our sellers and buyers in the Australian market.

    “I have been encouraged to date with our customers’ recognition of the value IronPlanet delivers and their participation in ourAustralia auctions.

    ”Chad Groves replaces Graeme McPherson who resigned to pursue other interests but remains a director on IronPlanet’s Australian Board of Directors.

    IronPlanet’s chairman and CEO Gregory J Owens says, “We would like to thank Graeme for his diligence and efforts in starting IronPlanet’s operation inAustralia.

    Through Graeme’s efforts we have been able to extend the IronPlanet brand on a worldwide basis.”


  • CHINA – Fuwan Silver Project granted permit

    Minco Silver Corporation has received a mining area permit for the Fuwan Silver Project in Guangdong province, China.
    The application was approved by the Ministry of Land and Resources (MOLAR) in Beijing and will be held for up to 3 years while preparations for the mining licence application are made.
    The permit covers about 0.79sqkm, defines the mining limits for the Fuwan deposit and restricts the use of this land to mining activities only.
    Minco Silver continues to make significant progress on additional reports required for the mining licence application, recently concluding the environmental baseline studies enabling completion of the Chinese Regulatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
    The EIA was generated by Guangdong Nuclear Design Institute and will be submitted to the Guangdong Provincial Environmental Protection Administration.
    China Nerin Engineering is progressing well on the mineral resources development and utilization plan, which outlines the mining and processing methods and is based on the already approved exploration report and Chinese preliminary feasibility study.
    Minco Silver has advanced the bankable feasibility study to the point where all planned surface infrastructure sites have been finalized, including milling facilities, access roads, waste rock storage and tailings impoundment.
    The company has used this data to prepare and submit the land usage application which will re-zone the area from agricultural and forestry lands to industrial usage and allow the company to secure the required surface rights to the proposed mine site.It is also well advanced on the geological hazard assessment which identifies potential geographic and physical hazards that may pose safety issues to operations including local and regional seismic activity and any significant geo-technical aspects of the proposed mining operation.
  • PHILIPPINES – Second shipment from Canatuan

    TVI Pacific has completed an additional shipment of 3251 dry metric tonnes of copper concentrates from the Canatuan Mine in thePhilippines.I
    n accordance with an offtake arrangement between TVI’s Philippine affiliate, TVI Resource Development (Phils) (TVIRD), and MRI Trading AG, a second shipment left the TVIRD warehouse facility at
    Santa MariaPort in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, destined for a major Chinese smelter.
    Funds generated from the concentrate shipments are intended to be allocated towards working capital and operating costs in continuing mine operations.
    The offtake agreement provides that MRI will purchase all of the copper concentrates produced at Canatuan over the anticipated life of the sulphide operation.
    To date, the Canatuan Mine has produced about 10,560 dmt of copper concentrate and 8602 dmt of this has been shipped through the offtake agreement with MRI with the remainder stored at the TVIRD facilities, waiting for subsequent shipment arrangements.
    It is anticipated that the next shipment may be made near the end of May, while future shipments averaging about 5000 dmt each, are expected to occur about every four to six weeks thereafter, depending on specific shipping and marketing arrangements.
    TVI Pacific is a Canadian mining company focused on exploring for and producing precious and base metals within district scale systems in the Philippines.www.tvipacific.com 
  • KAZAKHSTAN – China invests in uranium

    Chinese investment inKazakhstan’s uranium reserves is bearing fruit with the opening of new uranium mine and the imminent opening of others.
    The Irkol ISL uranium mine in southernKazakhstan was formally opened recently with high-level Chinese and Kazakh officials attending the ceremony.
    It is the first uranium mine to be put into commercial operation within the framework of the October 2008 Kazakhstan-China nuclear power agreement.
    Irkol is 49% owned by a subsidiary of China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPC) and managed by the Semizbai-U joint venture.
    All the 750 tonnes of uranium produced each year will be claimed by or sold to CGNPC.
    The 500 tonnes/year Semizbai mine in thenorthern province is due to start production under the same ownership later this year.
    An agreement has also been signed with CGNPC for establishment of a specialized company for the construction of nuclear power plants, presumably inKazakhstan, since Kazakh plans to work withRussia's Atomstroyexport in developing and marketing innovative small and medium-sized reactors have been out on hold.Not to be outdone, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is investing in the Zhalpak mine, which is due to start production in 2012 at 1000 tonnes/year, albeit with less uranium resources.- Information courtesy of Australian Nuclear News  
  • LAOS – Lak Sao agreement pending

    The application for a mineral reconnaissance and exploration agreement for Hill End Gold’s Lak Sao Project is pending and the company is in discussion with parties having mineral interests adjacent to the application area and other parties with advanced projects.
    The 2000sqkm project area is inBolikhamxayProvince inCentral Laos, between theMekongRiver and theVietnam
    The area is about 100km north of the Sepon copper-gold project which is in the Truongson Belt and is operated by OZ Minerals.
    Previous prospecting at Lak Sao has identified numerous precious and base metal occurrences in outcrop and in stream sediment dispersion haloes.
    Controlled artisanal gold mining of a moderate scale is under way on a small tenement excised from the tenement application.Hill End Gold has a 51% interest in the Lak Sao Project with Mekong Resources.www.hillendgold.com.au

  • IRON ORE – Chinese group to fund Hawks Nest study

    Western Plains Resources has signed a joint venture agreement with Wuhan Iron & Steel (Group) Co (WISCO) covering the Hawks Nest magnetite deposits inSouth Australia.
    The agreement will see WISCO, which isChina’s third largest steel group, earn a 50% interest in the deposits south of Coober Pedy by providing minimum funding of $25 million.
    The funds will be spent on a bankable feasibility study (BFS) for development of one ore more of the magnetite deposits at Hawks Nest.
    If after the minimum commitment has been spent the parties agree that further exploration or BFS work is required, or alternatively if the parties agree to commit to project development without further exploration or BFS work, WISCO will sole fund the next $20 million without increasing its 50% participating interest.
    WISCO will be granted a right to purchase 50% of Western Plains’ share of magnetite concentrate production on arms-length terms and both companies will co-operate in relation to early development of the proposed new iron ore export facility at Port Bonython.Western Plains’ participating interest in the joint venture cannot be diluted to less than 50% while WISCO can dilute its interest to less than 50%.Providing WISCO does not withdraw from the joint venture, which it cannot do before it funds its minimum commitment of $25 million, Western Plains will not be required to contribute to joint venture funding before WISCO has spent $45 million.
    The farm-in and joint venture agreement relates to the Hawks Nest licence area and the MC 3809 area, which covers the Kestrel magnetite deposit.
    The Peculiar Knob and Buzzard DSO hematite deposits do not form part of this new joint venture.www.westernplainsresources.com
  • IRON ORE – Chinese investors eye-off Wilcherry Hill

    Chinese investors are among those interested in financing Ironclad Mining’s Wilcherry Hill iron ore project on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.
    Ironclad’s general manager Andrew Bennett says the company is considering financing options for development of its 80% owned Wilcherry Hill magnetite ore body.
    The remaining stake is held by Trafford Resources.
    “While we are having discussions with many potential financiers, the Chinese particularly head the groups with which we are engaging.
    It would be our preference that in any financing agreement, however, that we link it to some product offtake option as well.
    “We are actively looking for a development and offtake partner as Wilcherry Hill has a premium magnetite product, low development cost and is very close to export infrastructure at Port Bonython.
    ”Andrew Bennett says the style of the mineralization means the mine could use a mobile processing plant, negating the need for a ball mill and related higher energy costs.
    “This delivers a much lower capital cost profile for Wilcherry Hill, enhancing its appeal to our potential financiers.
    “We are also considering eventual dry magnetic separation and that will keep production costs lower as we expand production.
    ”Ironclad is proposing an initial 2 million tonnes/year throughput from a multiple open-pit operation at the resource, with some of the mineralization presenting as Direct Ship Ore potential.www.ironcladmining.com 
  • NICKEL – Dwyka gains 100% ownership of Muremera

    Dwyka Resources will proceed with a planned exploration program at the Muremera Nickel Project inBurundi after securing 100% ownership.
    The ownership arrangement was finalized by Dwyka’s subsidiary Danyland Limited when BHP Billiton elected not to continue with its 10% interest despite having satisfied its earn-in requirements through investing more than US$7.3 million into Muremera.
    The BHP Billiton decision means Dwyka will retain all the benefit of the exploration program, camp infrastructure, vehicle fleet and other fixed assets at Muremera.
    It also gives the company the flexibility to proceed with the exploration program alone or identify appropriate partners to assist in its further development.
    Dwyka has identified the three highest priority targets in its exploration program for drilling.
    The targets are about 10km from the Barrick/Xstrata Kabanga Project, which is the world's largest undeveloped nickel sulphide project.
    The targets have been identified from intensive VTEM surveys undertaken.
    They have been generated from VTEM signatures consistent with massive sulphide bodies that may have a nickel signature.
    There are a number of other identified drilling targets, however the three located near Kabanga will be the immediate focus of the Muremera exploration program which is expected to begin shortly.www.dwykadiamonds.com  
  • INVESTMENT – Due diligence urged on foreign lenders

    Cash starved Australian exploration and mining companies have been urged to undertake proper due diligence before rushing in to sign a ‘survive at any cost’ farm-in and joint venture agreement with resource hungry powerhouses such as China.
    During a recent Australian conference Finlaysons’ partner – resources and native title Julia Dnistrianski warned that changes to how the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) assesses agreements where an overseas government entity is involved now warrant a far greater level of legal scrutiny.
    “Any Australian explorer, in the current equities and commodities climate and in the wake of changes to FIRB guidelines, must determine the level of any foreign government ownership or control of any foreign entity they propose to enter into a farm-in or joint venture agreement with.
    “If explorers enter into a farm-in or joint venture agreement which will see a foreign government owned entity have charge over an Australian mining tenement or lease, then the Federal Treasurer has to be notified.
    “Failure to notify means the parties concerned face the very damaging prospect of having to reverse the farm-in or joint venture transaction.
    This can create numerous problems, not the least of them potential impacts on share price and continuous disclosure obligations.
    ”Julia Dnistrianski advised that if there was any uncertainty as to whether notification to the Treasurer was required where a foreign government entity was involved, then a ‘risk averse approach’ should be adopted.
    “Under this strategy, Australian resources companies need to include a foreign investment approval condition precedent in the agreement.
    “This clause should clearly state that if notification is required under the Australian Government’s foreign acquisition and takeovers legislation, provisions relating to the acquisition do not become ‘binding’ until the relevant notification requirements have been fulfilled.
    ”She also says that Australian resources entities wishing to deal with major financiers such as China need to ensure full clarity in their notification application to the Treasurer.
    “Submissions need to clearly state the maximum interest to be acquired by the foreign investor and the scale of the operation – taking in all commitments from exploration through to production.
    “They also need to be fully transparent on the reason for the investment such as the fact the overseas entity is securing an energy resource or minerals for manufacturing industry.
    ”She said that while the primary legal obligation to make the application to the Treasurer rested with the foreign investor, both parties, including the Australian partner, should have input.
    “Particularly helpful is the inclusion of a Letter of Support to the Treasurer from the Australian entity on behalf of their overseas project partner.” 
  • COMPANY & PRODUCT NEWS – WGM joins Global Compact

    Geological and mining consultants Watts, Griffis and McOuat (WGM) has joined the United Nations Global Compact, a strategic initiative for businesses committed to aligning operations with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
    Created in 2000, the Global Compact is a voluntary initiative comprising UN agencies, private corporations, non-governmental organizations, labour and academic institutions committed to upholding a shared set of principles on good corporate citizenship.
    By choosing to join, WGM is demonstrating its commitment to integrate the principles into its corporate culture, strategic planning, and day-to-day operations.
    WGM is Canada’s 60th participant in this initiative, and joins other industry participants such as Barrick Gold, Inmet Mining and Teck Resources.
    WGM’s president Joe Hinzer says, “WGM is proud to be a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact.
    “Since its founding in 1962, WGM has been committed to fulfilling its obligation to act as a responsible corporate citizen.
    “By joining the Global Compact, WGM is sending a message to our valued clients that the work our firm does will abide by these globally acceptable business and social principles.
    ”For more information on the United Nations Global Compact and to view WGM’s Letter of Commitment, visit
    www.unglobalcompact.org http://www.wgm.ca  
  • AWARDS OPEN – Recognition to be given for sustainable development

    The Victorian Government of Australia is calling for entries to the 2009 Strzelecki Awards.
    Applications close at
    5pm onMonday 15 June 2009.
    Established in 2005, the Strzelecki Awards recognise outstanding achievements in the area of sustainable development within the Victorian earth resource industries. 
    The Strzelecki Awards are jointly administered by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the Banksia Environmental Foundation.
    Banksia will be conducting the entry and judging processes on behalf of DPI and will provide entrants with advice and information during the entry period.
    In addition, DPI officers are available to provide further support and expert advice with the application process.
    Award winners will be announced at the 2009 Resources Victoria Conference being held from August 17-19 inMelbourne,Australia - offering a great opportunity to network with other Victorian industry stakeholders and investors. 
    Interested applicants should visit the Banksia Environmental Foundation website to download the Strzelecki Awards entry kit and application writing tips: www.banksiafdn.com 
    For more information contact:Sarah HillDepartment of Primary IndustriesTele: +61 3 9658 4432orWayne SlatteryBanksia Environmental FoundationTele: +61 3 9684 4667

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