• INDONESIA – Trafford seeks larger Robust stake

    Trafford Resources is seeking to raise funds to increase its interest in Robust Resources, which has had some promising exploration results at the Romang Island gold, silver and base metals prospect in Indonesia.
    Trafford wishes to raise up to $2 million by a placement so that it can exercise 3.6 million share options in Robust.
    Trafford currently owns 17.4% of the 48.67 million shares in Robust and is entitled to exercise its options for an additional 3.6 million shares by November 2.
    If the company was to exercise the options, and, subject to Robust shareholders approval of its recently announced placement, Trafford will have a 22.19% direct interest in Robust.
    A six month diamond drilling program on Romang Island has identified significant gold, silver, lead, and zinc mineralization in all 18 holes from which assay reports have been received, together with some copper and barium mineralization.
    The exploration program on Romang Island is now being accelerated and extended to more rapidly determine the full potential of this highly prospective property.
    Robust recently announced exceptional gold recovery results from metallurgical leach test work on oxide material showing high gold and silver recoveries.
    The test work on 11 composite oxide samples showed average gold recovery of 95% and average silver recovery of 95%.
    These exceptionally high extraction rates for gold and silver in the near-surface mineralized zone affirm that the Romang ores will likely be highly amenable to standard processing techniques such as Carbon in Pulp (CIP) and Carbon in Leach (CIL) or heap leaching.

  • PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Simberi production milestone

    Allied Gold has produced the 100,000th ounce of gold at its flagship Simberi Island Oxide Gold Project in Papua New Guinea.
    This milestone achievement comes just 16 months after the first gold was produced at the Simberi project in February 2008.
    The company is on track to achieve production of more than 70,000 ounces of gold in the 2009-10 financial year while still in the ramp-up phase and it has retired a US$25 million project debt facility 21 months ahead of schedule.
    Since production began the company has also had a 45% increase in total measured, indicated and inferred resources to 4.7 million ounces of gold and 10 million ounces of silver, comprising oxide gold resources of 1.4 million ounces and sulphide resources of 3.3 million.
    There has been an extension to the ore reserve of 437,000 contained ounces and the remaining mine life has been extended to more than 10 years.
    Allied’s executive chairman Mark Caruso says, “An enormous amount of hard work and effort has gone into developing the Simberi Gold Project, and it is a matter of great pride that we have successfully established such a robust, long life operation despite enormous external challenges. There is still work to be done to fully optimize the operations but I believe we are on the right track to achieve these objectives.”
    With commissioning and ramp-up of the initial oxide operation effectively complete, and ongoing exploration success, Allied continues to assess the viability of an expansion to its existing oxide plant. Significant potential productivity benefits are possible with a re-scaling of the plant and these are being scoped.
    The company is also advancing pre-feasibility studies to exploit Simberi's extensive sulphide gold resources. The sulphide expansion project is intended to increase Simberi’s total annual production to about 200,000 ounces by around December 2011.
    Allied is also confident of continuing to grow its gold inventory in the Simberi region as its exploration licences cover the entire Tabar Island Group.
    The potential of these holdings has been recognized by Barrick Gold, which may earn up to a 70% interest in the Tabar Islands licenses, excluding Simberi, by funding up to $20 million of exploration over 8 years.

  • TONGA – 20 new water column anomalies identified

    Preliminary interpretation of water column survey data from phase two of Nautilus Minerals’  target generation program carried out on its seafloor prospecting licences in Tonga has defined 20 new water column anomalies.
    This brings the total number of anomalies generated from phases one and two to 32.
    All water column anomalies defined during the Tongan 2009 exploration program have signatures considered analogous with hydrothermal vent systems.
    Limited camera tow and small dredge sampling on four of the anomalies recovered sediment and volcanics. Further test work and sampling on all the anomalies is now required.
    The phase two target generation program is now completed. It focused on Nautilus' granted Tongan tenements in the Southern and Central Lau basins. Some of the anomalies discovered in phase 2 were identified following interpretation of data from previous marine scientific research surveys.
    Nautilus' CEO Stephen Rogers says, “We are extremely pleased with the results of our 2009 Tongan exploration program. In a matter of some 50 days of effective exploration, we have been able to define 32 new anomalies.
    “When combined with the results of our 2008 exploration programs, we now have an impressive inventory of targets in Tonga ready for follow-up work.
    “The remainder of our 2009 exploration program will be focused in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.”
    Nautilus' 2009 Tongan exploration program was undertaken in collaboration with Australian National University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation onboard the Marine National Facility research vessel ‘Southern Surveyor’.

  • PHILIPPINES – New T’Boli and Comval statements

    Cadan Resources will commission an independent qualified person to prepare a new National Instrument 43-101 compliant resource statement for its T’Boli epithermal gold-silver and Comval porphyry copper-gold projects in the Philippines.
    This move follows the completion of an internal resources analysis for the company’s Board.
    The company is also constructing a production-exploration decline to access mineralized material from the T’Boli deposit, which in December 2008 had an NI 43-101 inferred resource of 420,000 ounces of gold and 1.6 million ounces of silver.
    This development decline, which is on a mineralized zone highlighted by some 40 metres @ 23 grams/tonne gold, is part of a lateral development program designed to test actual widths and gold-silver grades in the mineralized system.
    Simultaneous with the decline work, a ventilation and alternative egress shaft is being advanced some 100 metres ahead of the decline face. This shaft is being sunk on a gold lode, with two working faces developed and up to four more planned to provide early trial production when the advancing decline is connected.
    The first trial mining from T’Boli consisted of 13.5 tonnes of vein style material from the western zone of the North Vein B system at an elevation of 635 metres. The head grade was 14.60 grams/tonne gold and 38 grams/tonne silver. Using an old style coarse grind processing plant, the recovered grade was 9.06 grams/tonne gold and 26 grams/tonne silver.
    Further upgrading of the crushing and grinding circuits is expected to improve recovery to up to 90% with a concurrent improvement in input and processing costs.
    These results provide further support of a technical review of the geological database that indicated the possibility that actual grade and size of the target may be higher and larger than previously determined.

  • PHILIPPINES – Permit granted for Taurus-Suhi

    An exploration permit has been granted to Philippine Metals Corporation for the Taurus-Suhi massive sulphide project in the Philippines’ province of Leyte.
    The Taurus property covers 9895 contiguous hectares and features an ophiolite-hosted massive sulphide belt and a consolidated historic mining belt under one tenement.
    It is one of the mineral exploration company’s three projects in the Philippines with the others being the Malitao copper-gold massive sulphide prospect in northern Luzon and the Dilong copper-gold porphyry prospect, also in northern Luzon.
    Based on its geological environment, the company's management believes that the Philippines have the geological potential to host large world-class deposits of gold and base metals.
    The company is finalizing exploration permit applications for Malitao and Dilong.
    Malitao is in Calanasan municipality, Kalinga-Apayao province, and consists of 971 hectares. Dilong is in Barrio Dilong, 285km north of Manila, and is also known as the Hale Mayabo claim. Historical work on the project includes 27 inclined and vertical drill holes totaling about 6000 metres.
    Meanwhile the New Meridian Mining Corporation has entered into a binding letter of intent to purchase Philippine Metals.
    Both parties have agreed to negotiate a definitive agreement by August 31, 2009, pursuant to which New Meridian will acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Philippine Metals.

  • PHILIPPINES – Fourth shipment from Canatuan

    TVI Pacific’s Philippine operating affiliate, TVI Resource Development (Phils) (TVIRD), has completed its fourth shipment of copper concentrates from the Canatuan Mine.
    In accordance with the offtake arrangement between TVIRD and MRI Trading AG, a shipment of 5282 dry metric tonnes (dmt) of copper concentrates was shipped from the TVIRD warehouse facility at Santa Maria Port in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte.
    The shipment is expected to generate an initial payment of US$4.48 million and brings the total expected grow revenue from the sales to US$21 million.
    Funds generated from the concentrate shipments are intended to be allocated by TVIRD towards working capital and debt service.
    The offtake agreement provides that MRI will purchase all copper concentrates produced at Canatuan over the anticipated life of the sulphide operation.
    To date Canatuan has produced about 20,200 dmt of copper concentrate and 19,124 dmt have been shipped through the offtake agreement with MRI.
    It is anticipated that future shipments of about 5000 dmt to MRI will occur every four to six weeks depending on specific shipping and marketing arrangements.
    TVI Pacific is a publicly-traded Canadian mining company focused on exploring for, developing and producing precious and base metals within district-scale systems in the Philippines.

  • CHINA - Two more nuclear plants under way

    Construction has started at the Fuqing unit 2 nuclear plant in Fujian Province and at the Hongyanhe unit 3 in Liaoning.
    First concrete pours have taken place at both plants, which are 1080 MWe CPR-1000 units. The units are largely indigenous Chinese design.
    About 10 more large reactors are due to start construction in China by the end of the year.
    - Information courtesy World Nuclear News, www.world-nuclear.org

  • IRON ORE – Drilling under way at Hawson’s

    Drilling has started on Carpentaria Exploration’s Hawson’s Iron Prospect near Broken Hill in far western New South Wales after test results returned excellent magnetic concentrate chemistry.
    The drilling program is aimed at assessing the quality and size of the iron formations in an untested core magnetic anomaly.
    There are two licence areas at Hawson’s, one held by Carpentaria and another by the company in a joint venture with Perilya Limited. The prospect is 6km south-west of Broken Hill and close to existing infrastructure, including the Broken Hill-Port Pirie railway line.
    Orientation Davis Tube Recovery (DTR) analysis of iron formation samples have returned excellent magnetic concentrate chemistry with exceptionally high iron and low deleterious element composition.
    DTR is a standard analytical test that reports the concentration, expressed as weight per cent, of the minerals in a rock able to be separated by a magnetic field. The DTR magnetic concentrate is chemically analysed to determine iron content and the extent of deleterious elements.
    The results demonstrate that the magnetic-fraction concentrate is high grade, in excess of 70% iron while the chemical analysis in these samples is exceptionally low in silica and other deleterious elements.
    Additional rock assays at Hawson’s have confirmed high grade iron results.
    Microscope analyses of samples contain clean, acceptable grain-size magnetite which is potentially suited for standard recovery by magnetic separation.
    Modelling of ground and airborne magnetic data by the company has also revealed the potential for a 16km strike length of near-surface magnetite.
    Carpentaria’s executive chairman Nick Sheard says, “Overall these limited results and observations indicate that the iron formation at Hawson’s Prospect contains sufficient magnetite with favourable grain-size, texture and chemistry to be a candidate for commercial magnetite iron ore if present in large tonnages. It is positive that the airborne magnetic anomalies also suggest a considerable strike length to the iron formation.”

  • INVESTMENT – Wah Nam gains stake in Brockman

    Hong Kong-based investment group Wah Nam International Holdings has acquired an 11.3% interest in Australian iron ore junior Brockman Resources.
    Brockman has meet with representatives of Wah Nam during marketing visits to China over the past year and understands that its investment is based on its positive view of the potential of Brockman and the Marillana Iron Ore Project.
    Brockman’s managing director Wayne Richards says Wah Nam’s interest is reflective of growing investor support and interest in the emerging Marillana Project as the foundation for a robust, long-term iron ore business.
    Brockman is in a unique position in the Australian junior iron ore sector with a world-class JORC compliant resource of 1.4 billion tonnes, incorporating 605 million tonnes of indicated resources and 787 million tonnes of inferred resources), uncommitted cash reserves of $100 million and close proximity to existing rail, road and port infrastructure.
    The company is currently completing its pre-feasibility study for the Marillana Project, comprising an annual 15-25 million tonnes mining operation with a forecast mine life of greater than 25 years. The development will provide for production of two high-grade iron ore products, with both channel iron deposit (CID) and beneficiated hematite ores being mined and exported.

  • INVESTMENT – Funds increase Endeavor production

    Funds provided by Japan’s Toho Zinc will enable CBH Resources to increase production and pursue development of two properties in western New South Wales.
    The company’s largest shareholder has provided a $40 million standby loan facility which underpins cash on hand of about $30 million, a share purchase plan and subsequent share top-up facility.
    CBH expects to be able to substantially increase metal production at its flagship Endeavor Zinc/Lead/Silver Mine near the town of Cobar and to aggressively pursue development of its Rasp Project in the city of Broken Hill.
    The three year loan facility has been secured over the Rasp Project and the company’s Newcastle Shiploader facility.
    The Endeavor Mine currently produces at an annual rate of 420,000 tonnes of ore and employs about 120 people. The company is keen to undertake further development at the mine and lift production as metal prices start to improve.
    The Rasp Project is in an advanced exploration stage in the city of Broken Hill where silver, lead and zinc mining has been carried out for more than 100 years.
    CBH also owns the Panorama Copper/Zinc Project in Western Australia and operates a mineral concentrates ship-loading facility at the east coast port of Newcastle.

  • MOVERS & SHAKERS – Cattron technician for China

    Cattron Group International has appointed Jason Chen as a service technician for Cattron Controls Asia Pacific located in Shanghai, China.
    He will report directly to Cattron Controls Asia Pacific’s marketing and sales manager Martin Chen.
    Cattron is a leading manufacturer of industrial remote controls, related products and professional services for the industrial, mining, commercial mobile and railway markets.
    Jason Chen earned a degree in electrical engineering and has worked with an engineering company analyzing and servicing printed circuit boards that used surface-mount technology and brings to Cattron two years of experience in the remote control industry.
    Martin Chen says, “Jason adds valuable remote control servicing and technical project experience as well as customer service and problem solving skills to Cattron’s China operation.  “His responsibilities include installation supervision and after market service of the company’s industrial products throughout China. In addition to providing technical service support, he will provide technical training for OEMs, dealers, distributors and end users in China.
    “Jason’s addition to Cattron Controls Asia Pacific demonstrates Cattron’s commitment to China’s growing industrial remote control market.”
    Celebrating nearly 65 years of radio frequency (RF) and industrial remote control experience, Cattron companies have a total installed base of more than 150,000 remote control systems for more than 7000 customers throughout the world.
    Cattron’s remote control products are suitable for all industries including but not limited to railway, construction, shipyards, mining, aerospace, steel, military, agriculture, shipping, utility vehicles, material handling including Electric Overhead Travelling Bridge Cranes and many more.
    Cattron Group International subsidiary companies have operations in the USA, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, South Africa, and the UK and are supported by an extensive sales and distribution network throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

  • COMPANY & PRODUCT NEWS – IFC secures Global Information and Mapping Package

    The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is part of the World Bank, has signed an agreement to receive Intierra's Global Information and Mapping Package.
    The package gives the IFC access to a database on mining globally that covers countries, properties, companies, people, infrastructure, production and geology.
    The service, which can be personalized to individual user needs, aggregates information from more than 50 verified sources and spatially applies information to maps. In this respect, the service is the only one of its kind in the world.
    IFC is a significant provider of finance to private sector companies in the developing world and an active participant in the mining sector.
    IFC's global head of mining William Bulmer says, “We are growing our business in the mining sector and are always looking for options to improve our ability to gather useful mining intelligence in a timely way.
    “The Intierra service should be of great help in our business development work. It provides levels of detail, functionality and accuracy that we hope will improve our knowledge and effectiveness in the sector.”
    Intierra is a Perth-based company with offices in North America and the United Kingdom. The existing company is a result of the merger of Minmet, Intierra and Mineral Information Maps in 2003. It employs 40 people and is privately owned by management and investors.
    The company has four business units – information, publishing, mining real estate and consulting.

  • aaa

  • PNG – Simberi gold reserves increase

    Ore reserves at Allied Gold’s Simberi Gold Project in Papua New Guinea have increased to more than 1 million ounces and the mine life has been extended to 10 years.
    The reserves have been boosted by 437,000 contained ounces of gold, which will contribute about two additional years of production, resulting in a total remaining mine life of 10 years.
    An updated ore reserve estimate for the Sorowar deposit has resulted in additional proven and probable ore reserves of 76,000 contained ounces of gold. Additionally, in-pit inferred resources were estimated to be about 18,000 ounces of contained gold from 610,000 tonnes at a grade of 0.92 grams/tonne.
    Although the new ore reserves represent a modest increase, the expansion of the pit footprint will allow easier access for future near-pit exploration. Previous exploration drilling has been restricted by very steep terrain and this has resulted in some areas being untested by drilling, including the north-west and south-east areas.
    The remainder of the extra resource is from the Pigiput deposit where resource drilling has been targeting oxide and sulphide mineralization. This drill program is expected to be completed in the third quarter.
    This program has been accelerated by utilizing a fleet of five drill rigs with about 11,500 metres of drilling planned. It will provide sufficient sample density to convert a proportion of the mineral resources into ore reserves, with particular focus on the sulphides.
    The company has had Golder Associates complete an ore reserve estimate for Pigiput which included sulphide material. Additionally, in-pit inferred resources were estimated to be 37,000 ounces of contained gold from 690,000 tonnes at a grade of 1.69 grams/tonne.
    It is the first time sulphide ore reserves have been reported for Pigiput.
    These additional oxide and transitional ore reserves and in-pit mineral resources have underpinned future expansion of the oxide process facility from the current annual capacity of 2 million tonnes to 3 million tonnes.
    Perth-based engineering firm GR Engineering Services and metallurgical consultants Battery Limits, have been appointed to carry out a plant debottlenecking and expansion study to achieve extra throughput to ensure average annual gold production exceeds 100,000 ounces.
  • PNG – Chrome Corporation buys gold explorer

    Papua New Guinea gold explorer Pacific Nuigini Minerals (PNM) is being purchased by Perth-based mining company Chrome Corporation.
    The deal, which is subject to due diligence and the approval of Chrome shareholders, will transform Chrome into a substantial gold company with almost 4000sqkm of highly prospective acreage in the Morobe, Western Highlands and Madang provinces of PNG.
    The PNM portfolio boasts several significant exploration projects, including the Bulolo alluvial gold project, which is the historical birthplace of Placer Dome, producing more than 2 million ounces of gold from dredging up to the mid-1990s.
    PNM is owned and managed by technical people based in PNG with substantial on-ground presence. Its owners also include the founders of gold miner Abelle Limited, which in recent years was responsible for the success enjoyed at the Wafi, Golpu and Hidden Valley projects, leading to a takeover by Harmony Gold.
    Chrome believes that these quality assets in such a prospective location as PNG give it a significant opportunity to make an advanced investment in the gold industry.
    Chrome’s managing director Brian Thomas says: “The geological prospectivity of these tenements is second to none. They include ground close to PNG’s latest mega gold mine, Hidden Valley.
    “Exploration work completed by PNM to date has yielded very encouraging results and we look forward to advancing these projects with the PNM team.”
    Chrome has sufficient funds to meet about Aus$4 million in exploration expenditure planned by PNM.
  • CHINA – Funds help advance CSH expansion

    Jinshan Gold Mines has secured an RMB210 million credit facility to help fund ongoing construction of the crusher system and expansion of the processing capacity at the Chang Shan Hao (CSH) Gold Mine in China.
    The credit facility, worth the equivalent of US$31 million, was secured by Jinshan’s subsidiary Inner Mongolia Pacific Mining (IMP), from China National Gold Group, Jinshan’s major shareholder.
    Jinshan’s vice president production and IMP’s general manager XD Jiang says, “With this funding we are on schedule to complete the construction of the crusher system and are looking forward to bring the crushers on line in the third quarter of this year. We have also started construction on the Phase II leach pad extension.”
    Infrastructure for the crusher system is now 90% complete and installation of the crushers and related equipment has started.
    “As we continue with the expansion, we are encouraged to see our gold production improving with 5400 ounces poured in April and 6200 ounces poured in May.”
  • PHILIPPINES – Acoje heap leach trial to start

    Despite suspending DSO operations at the Acoje Nickel Project in the Philippines owing to low nickel prices, Rusina Mining has almost completed construction of a trial heap leach pad and pilot plant at the site.
    Prevailing nickel prices have had no impact upon the company’s nickel heap leach project which it is implementing in partnership with European Nickel.
    Unlike the short term, opportune nature of the DSO market, the long term production of nickel through heap leach operations has a low operating cost that remains very profitable at current and forecast nickel prices.
    The trial heap leach pad and pilot plant, part of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) currently under way, is now substantially complete. In the coming months 3000 tonnes of crushed and agglomerated nickel laterite ore will be stacked on the pad and acid leaching will begin.
    The trial heap will be constructed at the same height as the full commercial operation and is designed to prove the heap percolation and leach rates on a full scale basis. In addition the trial facility will showcase the clean, safe and environmentally friendly nature of the process to the government and local stakeholders. It also provides an opportunity to demonstrate our rain control methodology over the heap and ponds.
    The re-costing of the pre-feasibility study by China Tianchen Engineering Corporation, the construction engineers involved with European Nickel’s Caldag, Turkey, nickel heap leach project, is expected to show a meaningful cost reduction on the capital cost published in the study in November 2008. In addition, by undertaking some further drilling the DFS will seek to move additional JORC inferred resources to indicated status which will lengthen the proposed mine life.
    A full scale laboratory has now been in operation at Acoje for many months and is continuing to make significant inroads into further enhancing the economics of the project. Downstream processing is a key factor to the successful economic processing of nickel laterites and the Acoje Test Centre has been working on a number of new technologies designed to lower the current forecast cash cost of US$1.60/pound (before refining charges) and increase the end payable product.
  • PHILIPPINES – Regional mapping at Kalamatan

    Cadan Resources is carrying out regional mapping at the Kalamatan porphyry copper-gold deposit in Mindanao, the Philippines.
    It forms part of an exploration program at the company’s East Mindanao tenements, which include the Tagpura, Mangoob and Cadan prospects. These prospects have a similar structural setting to the world-class Tampakan copper-gold project, also on Mindanao.
    The Tagpura, Kalamatan and Mangoob areas were mined and explored in the 1970s and early 1980s and, during that period, had defined ore grade porphyry copper-gold and associated higher grade skarn copper-gold mineralization.
    The Kalamatan prospect has an indicated ‘conceptual or order of magnitude’ potential tonnage range of 100 million
    to 525 million tonnes with a potential grade range from 0.31% copper equivalent (0.27% copper and 0.11 grams/tonne gold) to 0.72% copper equivalent (0.55% copper and 0.46 grams/tonne gold).
    The company considers that the quality and quantity of the resource definition data is sufficient to allow the calculation of a NI 43-101 compliant resource, and an independent qualified person will be appointed to undertake this NI 43-101 Technical Report.
    Rehabilitation of about 1130 metres of adit tunnels at Kalamatan, which were constructed in the 1970s, has allowed surveying, sampling and assaying of some of the mineralized areas showing induced polarization anomalism.
    Combined with the results of 15 RC drill holes for 1589 metres, the 1130 metres of Kalamatan adits will be of great benefit for resource estimation and will provide easy access for bulk samples, metallurgical test work and rock characteristics.
    Kalamatan lies some 3km north of Tagpura. In 1974, geophysics was undertaken which highlighted an induced polarization anomaly of some 1500 metres by 1000 metres, with a smaller anomaly to the southeast of 300 metres by 700 metres. The recent geophysical work and the new mapping of chalcopyrite in creeks, has doubled the strike length of known mineralization.
  • INDIA – Niyamgiri bauxite production starts

    Vedanta Resources expects to start bauxite mining from the Niyamgiri mines in the Kalahandi district of Orissa, India, by August.
    The mining project has already received environment and stage I forest clearances.
    Vedanta has set up a 1 million tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in the Kalahandi district through its group company Vedanta Aluminium and has also set up a 0.25 million tonne aluminium smelter along with a 675mw captive generating plant at Jharsuguda. Vedanta has formed a joint venture company with Orissa government-owned Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) through its group company Sterlite Industries (India) for mining bauxite from the Niyamgiri mines.
    OMC has bauxite leaseholds over an area of 721 hectares in the Niyamgiri forest. Of this, 672 hectares are forest land and 49 hectares wasteland.
    The Niyamgiri mines contain an estimated 76 million tonnes of bauxite and the mining facility will have a capacity to annually raise 3 million tonnes.
    Vedanta Aluminium vice-president (mines) Prasanna Panda says, “Everything is ready.
    Once we get the stage II forest clearance, we will start the mining operation immediately.”
    The stage I forest clearance was provided in December 2008 with 32 conditions besides 16 general stipulations and the company has already complied with the directives and environmental clearance was granted at the end of April.
    Vedanta plans to augment the capacity of its alumina refinery to 5 million tonnes/year from the present 1.4 million tonnes and the aluminium smelter to 1.75 million tonnes from 0.7 million tonnes.
  • INDIA – Sesa Goa acquires Dempo assets

    Sesa Goa has agreed to acquire the assets of Dempo Group, including mining leases, rights and related infrastructure in Goa, India.
    Sesa Goa, which is part of the Vedanta Group of companies, signed an agreement to acquire VS Dempo and Co, which owns 100% of Dempo Mining Corporation and 50% of Goa Maritime.
    Vedanta Group chairman Anil Agarwal says the integration of Sesa and Dempo’s operations will achieve greater synergy and it is an opportunity to consolidate the company’s iron ore business.
    Dempo, one of the largest exporters of iron ore from Goa, owns the rights to mineable reserves and resources estimated at 70 million tonnes of iron ore. Its assets include processing plants, barges, jetties, trans-shippers and loading capacities at Marmugao port. It produced 3.94 million tonnes of iron ore and sold 4.36 million tonnes in the latest financial year.
    Dempo has been involved in iron ore mining, beneficiation and exports for nearly 60 years.
    Sesa Goa, a large iron ore exporter, has also diversified into the manufacture of pig iron and metallurgical coke. The company has mining operations in Karnataka and Orissa, and operates a 280,000 tonnes/year metallurgical coke plant and a 250,000 tonnes/year pig iron plant in Goa. It exported about 8 million tonnes to China in 2008-09.
    Mines in the Goa area have lower costs as they are near the port, and avoid road and rail charges.
    India produces more than 200 million tonnes of iron ore annually and exports about half the production. There are about 500 mines held by about 80 companies, however, only 250 mines are operational.
  • MALAYSIA – Raub plant ramp-up continues

    Peninsular Gold’s new carbon-in-leach plant at its Raub Gold Project in Malaysia continues to perform ahead of expectations as it is ramped up towards anticipated production levels.
    The first gold pour from the CIL plant was made in February and by the end of May the plant has produced 4140 troy ounces of gold.
    Plant performance is expected to improve further via both an increase in tonnage throughput and further optimization of the CIL process.
    Following start up, the performance of the plant and mining operations have also been monitored with respect to their impact on the environment and operational safety. All relevant measurements and reports are within the levels set by the relevant authorities and the company will remain vigilant in its approach to environmental and safety factors.
    Peninsular Gold’s chairman and chief executive officer Dato' Sri Andrew Kam says, “We are pleased to be able to report that the plant is progressing steadily up to its planned levels of throughput and production.”
  • ZIRCON – Chinese offtake interest in Coburn

    Two respected Chinese groups have expressed an interest in offtake investment in Gunson Resources’ Coburn Zircon Project in Western Australia.
    The offtake interest is supported by a recent observation by Chinese zircon market analyst China CCM last week that the zircon price in China was at an all time high.
    A Middle East investor has also expressed an interest in the zircon project.
    Gunson has chosen Sedgman Metals’ Intermet Engineering as preferred engineering contractor for the project.
    Gunson was impressed with the ability of the Perth-based subsidiary of Sedgman to improve the existing design work completed on the project since 2003.
    Sedgman has been commissioned to carry out a Design Definition Study in the next 4 months, the objectives of which are to reduce the capital and operating costs, and risk associated with the execution of the project.
    Particular focus will be on parts of the project where identified opportunities or uncertainties exist, one example being the dry mineral separation plant, the location of which was changed from China to the Coburn mine site during the tendering process.
    Subject to the successful conclusion of the study in October and completion of funding arrangements shortly afterwards, construction of the project could begin in the final quarter of 2009, with commissioning commencing towards the end of 2010.
  • CONFERENCES – Creating business in Indonesia

    Austrade is inviting Australian companies involved in the mining industry to exhibit in the Australian Pavilion at Mining Indonesia 2009 in Jakarta, Indonesia, during October.
    The pavilion will be an important part of the 14th annual international mining and minerals recovery exhibition and conference which will be held from October 14-17 and is being organized by PT Pamerindo Indonesia.
    Austrade, which co-ordinates the Australian Pavilion and supports the conference, says the benefits for Australian companies which participate are:
    • Capturing business in Indonesia by showcasing capabilities in specialist mining sub-sectors.
    • Meeting mining professionals and developing an understanding of the market first hand.
    • Developing business relationships by attending Austrade's networking reception.
    • Receiving on-the-ground assistance from Austrade including advice on how to operate successfully in this market.
    • Optional coal mine site visits to Kalimantan, Indonesia.
    Participation is suitable for Australian companies involved in mineral production and processing; software and other related mining technology; mining consulting services; mining engineering services; mining consumables; mine planning and development; maintenance and repair services for mining equipment; and mining education and training.
    Austrade is also seeking participants in Australia’s largest overseas mining forum, OZmine Indonesia 2010, which will be held on March 30 and 31, 2010, in Jakarta.
  • CONFERENCES – The technology age of mining

    Mining is entering an age when technology will play a central role in controlling costs and a conference in South Australia in November will provide unique insights into the technologies and technology providers starting to transform the mining landscape.
    Austmine 2009, on November 10 and 11 in Adelaide, will provide a preview of mining’s technology age.
    Austmine chairman Alan Broome says mining booms characterized by rapidly escalating costs and the growing realization that resources needed to feed production growth – people, skills, materials and energy – are finite, are over.
    “Technology will be the major difference in the next boom.
    “The technology age of mining brings a new focus on predictable cost, safety and quality outcomes.
    “What the members of Austmine have seen from our travels over the past 2-3 years is that the world’s big miners recognize Australia as being at the heart of the technological revolution that will make the next mining boom very different to what we’ve seen in the past 30 years.”
    Originally scheduled for March this year but postponed due to the fallout of the global financial crisis, the biennial conference is an international networking event for mining technology and service providers, and the world’s mining and contract mining companies.
    As with the two previous Austmine conferences in Queensland and Western Australia, Austmine 2009 in South Australia will draw delegations from mining corporations around the globe. It will feature a thought provoking two-day conference program and an exhibition, and more than 300 delegates are expected to attend.
    Alan Broome says companies such as Rio Tinto, Vale, Codelco and Xstrata are all pursuing innovative ways to better position themselves for future commodity cycles.
    “The technology age of mining is going to be all about doing it a lot smarter – maximizing productivity and safety using technology, not toolbox talks; maximizing the way in which you use technology to, if you like, make sure that you’ve got the most efficient, the least resource-intensive operation, that you can.
    “We are very optimistic about the timing of Austmine 2009 and see that with economic conditions and financial markets stabilizing, our timing will be quite good.”
  • COMPANY NEWS – Industrea wins new Chinese contract

    Australian-based global mining products and services provider Industrea Limited has secured a $2.5 million contract with Shanxi Jincheng Anthracite Mining Group’s Sihe Coal Mine in Shanxi Province, China.
    Industrea will supply an AMT directional drilling and methane gas drainage system, associated training and equipment to the mine, which already runs four gas drainage systems supplied by Industrea. The state-of-the-art directional drilling system will be built in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales.
    The new contract follows recent Chinese contracts secured by Industrea, including China Shenhua Energy ($20 million), Inner Mongolia Yitai Coal (US$6.2 million) and Shanxi Asian American Daning Energy ($2 million).
    Industrea managing director and CEO Robin Levison says the company has now won around $110 million of new contracts in the 2009/10 financial year, predominantly to the Chinese underground coal mining industry.
    “Our directional drilling technology allows clients to safely remove gas at high volumes from a coal seam.
    “We are now moving into the next phase of our Chinese growth strategy with the development of recurring revenue streams from not only new equipment sales, but also from training, maintenance, spare parts and support services, which are an increasingly important aspect of winning and maintaining customer loyalty.
    “To facilitate this revenue growth, Industrea has established a new product support centre in China capable of supplying a range of equipment spares across our key product ranges, alongside offering the required technical expertise in meeting the servicing and maintenance needs of our customers in the region.”
    Industrea has recently achieved registration of subsidiary Industrea Wadam (Beijing) Technical Services as a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise in China, with new office premises leased in Beijing.
  • KAZAKHSTAN – Alyntas gold resource doubles

    A drilling program at Central Asia Resources’ Alyntas gold prospect in Kazakhstan has increased the gold resource by about 300,000 ounces, or 100% on the previous estimate.
    The revised resource for Alyntas is 5.22 million tonnes of indicated resources @ 0.89 grams/tonne gold for 149,026 contained ounces and 11.313 million tonnes of inferred resources @ 1.26 grams/tonne gold for 459,206 contained ounces.
    Central Asia’s managing director Jason Stirbinskis says, “This result substantially increases the likelihood of a viable production opportunity at Alyntas.
    “The result is also a very significant contribution to the company’s total gold inventory in Central Asia as it takes the total across the prospects to 1.22 million ounces of which this company owns 1.14 million ounces based on company ownership structures.”
    The previous inferred resource of 5.41 million tonnes grading 1.65 grams/tonne for 287,000 ounces of contained gold at a 0.4 grams/tonne cut-off was announced in April 2008.
    The 10km of drilling carried out since the previous resource has increased the total resources by about 300,000 ounces and produced the first resource of indicated status for the prospect.
    Jason Stirbinskis says, “The new resource will form the basis of some preliminary financial modelling leading into feasibility studies in 2010.”
    The company has previously announced its intention to make Alyntas its second production site and activity will continue to move in that direction. The first production site is Dalabai which presents a relatively quick path to production at relatively low capex.
  • TONGA – Seafloor samples return high grades

    Samples taken during the first phase of the 2009 target generation program at Nautilus Minerals’ seafloor prospects in Tonga have returned high grade copper, gold, zinc and silver assays.
    The highest assay results in respect of each element across all the samples tested were 12.6% copper, 34 grams/tonne gold, 60.9% zinc and 185 grams/tonne silver.
    Twenty samples of seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) material were collected from the Tahi Moana 7 and FRSC02 prospects and the results confirm the two systems contain significant precious metals (gold and silver), as well as high grade copper and/or zinc mineralization.
    Nautilus' CEO Stephen Rogers says, “We are excited about the high grades of these assay results. In particular, the very high gold and silver grades are impressive. The delineation of more ‘precious metal’ rich, high grade SMS systems further highlights the prospectivity of our large tenement package in Tonga.
    “We have concluded the second phase of our 2009 Tongan exploration program and look forward to receiving the results of this program.”
    Phase two comprised about 27 days of water column sampling, bathymetric surveying, and rock sampling.
    The program, like phase one, is being undertaken in collaboration with the Australian National University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, on board the Marine National Facility research vessel ‘Southern Surveyor’.
  • PHILIPPINES –Tagpura potential confirmed

    Drilling at Cadan Resources’ Tagpura copper-gold prospect in the Philippines has indicated a potential tonnage of 10-15 million tonnes with potential grades from 0.5-0.7% copper and 0.20-0.31 grams/tonne gold.
    The company is reviewing a possible bacterial heap leach operation for the prospect with an annual start up capacity of 2 million tonnes. A metallurgical test work study is under way to determine heap leach amenability.
    Cadan says it is pleased with the results at Tagpura as they demonstrate an additional style of mineralization that may be particularly suitable for bacterial heap leaching and early positive cash flow.
    A mine life of 5-7 or more years is envisaged although additional exploration is required to delineate a resource.
    The porphyry skarn target remains strictly an exploration target in accordance with guidelines set out in NI 43-101, and the potential quantity and grade is strictly conceptual in nature. There has been insufficient exploration to date to define a mineral resource and it is uncertain if future exploration will result in the discovery of a mineral resource.
    The high grade target is located within an existing open pit. This enables the ‘box cut’ mining method to be considered the most appropriate approach, particularly as there is no overburden to remove, and thus, mining costs are optimized.


  • PHILIPPINES –Kamarangan mineralization defined

    Scout drilling at Medusa Mining’s Kamarangan Copper Project in the Philippines has defined a diorite intrusive containing primary copper and molybdenum mineralization.
    Medusa’s Philippines operating company Philsaga Mining has drilled 10 scout holes totaling 5423 metres over part of the Kamarangan aeromagnetic anomaly, which is about 10km in diameter.
    This has located the western edge of the buried ‘fertile’ diorite which is open to the east. The diorite is on the eastern side of the prospect.
    Near the centre of the prospect, an elliptical deep seated magnetic anomaly has been tentatively interpreted as a possible ‘pencil’ porphyry-style target which may be responsible for some of the skarn hosted mineralization in this area.
    The area is underlain by a steeply dipping, well-banded calcareous sequence that appears to be at least 1600 metres wide. The calcareous sequence has been intruded by a complex of fine to coarser-grained diorites and some andesite bodies. The intrusives have changed the calcareous rocks to skarn rocks over an approximate area of 1600 metres by 1400 metres. The skarn area is open to the east under the younger overlying limestone.
    The surface geology outcrops are limited mainly to magnetite-rich horizons with secondary hematite. Some of the skarn rocks may contain variable amounts of garnet, diopside, epidote and pyrite. Areas of siliceous hornfels and unaltered massive limestone were also intersected in the drilling.



  • MONGOLIA – CTL markets targeted in new study

    Xanadu Mines is targeting the rapidly developing coal to liquids (CTL) market in Mongolia and China with the commissioning of a technology scoping study by US-China group Nexant Inc based on its JORC-compliant Khar Tarvaga coal resource.
    To help fund the study and its other exploration interests in Mongolia, Xanadu is undertaking a capital raising of Aus$12 million.
    It also plans to begin drilling on a highly prospective sediment-hosted gold system, Elgen-Zos, in the South East Gobi where Xanadu can earn 80% for an outlay of $US1.3 million. This prospect already has defined drill targets.
    Drilling is also planned on two promising IP anomalies on the company’s Hust Uul gold project in North East Mongolia.
    The company has also signed an agreement with a major company to review its Hutag Uul porphyry copper project in the South East Gobi for a potential farm-in and is in advanced discussions with a China State Owned Enterprise, listed in Hong Kong, seeking energy based projects in Mongolia.
    Xanadu may also use the proceeds from the capital raising to acquire additional coal licences to treble its resource base, for further drilling of its porphyry copper licences in the South East Gobi and to evaluate a number of new copper and gold joint venture opportunities.
  • CHINA – Changes to Sino Gold exploration alliance

    The alliance agreement between Sino Gold and Gold Fields relating to exploration for gold deposits in China has been altered following the sale of Gold Fields’ 19.8% Sino Gold shareholding to Eldorado Gold.
    The alliance partners have agreed not to extend their existing agreement but will continue to joint venture with each other in connection with designated projects identified under the alliance. These projects will be pursued in 50/50 joint ventures.
    Sino Gold considers China very prospective for large-scale gold deposits and will continue exploring China for the large tonnage, bulk-mineable styles of gold mineralization that were targeted by the alliance.
    Its Jinfeng Gold Mine in southern China’s Guizhou Province has ore reserves of 3.2 million ounces at an average grade of 5.2 grams/tonne gold.
    Jinfeng is the second largest gold mine in China with 2008 gold production of 151,000 ounces. Its gold production is planned to increase as the processing plant is de-bottlenecked and as higher-grade ore from the underground mine supplements ore from the open pit.
    The 95%-owned White Mountain Gold Mine in northeast China’s Jilin Province has ore reserves of 0.8 million ounces at an average grade of 3.7 grams/tonne gold. Commercial gold production began in January 2009 and upon reaching design production rates, it will produce an average of 65,000 ounces of gold annually.
    The high-grade Eastern Dragon Project in northern China’s Heilongjiang Province has excellent potential to produce very low-cost gold and is being rapidly progressed towards becoming Sino Gold’s third mine.
    Sino Gold continues to assess the potential of the Beyinhar Project in Inner Mongolia to be developed into an open-pit, heap-leach gold operation.
    Sino Gold’s chairman Jim Askew says: “Gold Fields has been a supportive Sino Gold shareholder for seven years and the strong relationship has been greatly appreciated. We look forward to our continuing work with Gold Fields as a joint venture partner and we welcome Eldorado to our share register.”
  • CHINA – Move to adopt ‘safe-refuge’ regulations

    The China Coal Research Institute (CCRI) is investigating the adoption of ‘safe-refuge’ regulations into the Chinese underground coal mining industry, an industry which claims thousands of lives each year.
    The institute, which is a research division of the Chinese Central Government’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, has been engaged in talks with MineARC Systems, a provider of safe refuge solutions to the underground mining and tunneling industries.
    Using MineARC’s patented CoalSAFE Refuge Chamber model and the United States MSHA 2009 Final Rule Regulation as a platform for ‘industry best practice’, a CCRI led consortium is close to introducing a sweeping set of Chinese regulations outlining the compulsory provision of refuge chambers in all licensed underground coal mines. The regulations are expected to begin a phased roll-out in late 2009. 
    The Chinese mining sector is notoriously dangerous. Official estimates indicate more than 91,000 mine-related deaths in 2008 alone. Unofficial estimates point towards even higher figures with the discrepancy arising from the vast number of unlicensed, hence less accountable, operations. 
    The industry’s plight was underlined in February, when an underground explosion ripped through a coal mine in the northern province of Shanxi - claiming 74 lives and injuring hundreds. The initial explosion resulted in fires, smoke and toxic gas inhalation, fall of ground and prolonged entrapment of workers. Although not uncommon, it was the single worst incident of its kind in China for more than a decade.
    International and domestic pressure has been mounting on the Chinese Government to stem the seemingly ongoing spate of incidents through the adoption of ‘world’s best practice’ mine safety regulations and subsequent measures/procedures.
    One such measure is the provision of high-tech refuge chambers designed to provide a network of secure, life-sustaining underground ‘safe-havens’ for workers to turn to in the event of a Shanxi-type emergency. 
    MineARC’s general manager Mike Lincoln says: “When an emergency situation occurs you can never be 100% certain of what might occur.  In hindsight however, it’s clear that the human cost of tragedies like Shanxi would likely be far lower if those miners trapped underground had access to adequate safe refuge - with prolonged breathable atmospheres and artificial cooling, as is provided in MineARC chambers.”   
    MineARC’s managing director Geoff Whittaker says, “The Chinese Central Government is now demonstrating a clear commitment to bringing industry safety standards up to the level of ‘developed producers’. MineARC was invited into the consultation process because we were recognized as leaders in our particular field of mine safety.
    “Working with CCRI has presented a chance to make a significant contribution towards resolving a major industrial and humanitarian issue. We’ve been advocating improved underground safety standards around the world for the past 15 years, but to finally make headway in China is very positive and something we can be proud of.
    “Despite the current safety record, in terms of refuge regulations in place, China will soon be ahead of arguably more developed producers, such as South Africa, Latin America and even Australia.”
    MineARC Systems is finalizing its involvement in the regulatory process, having already signed an exclusive China-wide distributor agreement with CCRI with the aim of establishing a full joint venture agreement in 2010. 



  • IRON ORE – Joint venture deal for Nullagine

    BC Iron has signed an agreement with Fortescue Metals Group that is likely to see a joint venture develop the Nullagine Iron Ore Project in Western Australia.
    The agreement means that upon completion of a satisfactory feasibility study, BC Iron and Fortescue will jointly develop the Nullagine project in the East Pilbara region.
    The two companies have reached agreement under which Fortescue subsidiary The Pilbara Infrastructure (TPI) will provide rail haulage, port handling and ship loading facilities for the Nullagine project.
    The Nullagine Joint Venture is expected to unlock the substantial value contained in the high quality but remote project.
    BC Iron and Chichester Metals, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortescue, will each contribute equity up to Aus$10 million to the project, with remaining development costs expected to be funded through project finance.
    BC Iron will manage the joint venture, including responsibility for all operations, road haulage, marketing and ore sales. TPI will manage all rail and port operations, taking product from the project stockpile at Fortescue’s Chichester operation to ships in Port Hedland.
    The agreement ensures that, subject to completion of the feasibility study and securing all relevant statutory approvals, BC Iron could begin production at Nullagine in early 2010.
    The feasibility study is due to be completed shortly and is based on an initial annual production rate of 1.5 million tonnes. Annual output is expected to rise to a minimum of 3 million tonnes once the dedicated heavy haul road between the Nullagine mine site and the Chichester Operations is built and commissioned. When TPI’s rail is extended to Christmas Creek and port capacity is increased, Nullagine’s annual production could be increased to 5 million tonnes.
    The Nullagine project’s resource comprises a high-quality, Direct Shipping Ore of 51 million tonnes grading 57% iron (65% calcined iron) with ultra-low phosphorous.
  • BAUXITE - Funds to fast track Darling Range

    Proceeds from an Aus$9.85 million placement by the Shandong Provincial Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (SDGM) are being used by Bauxite Resources to fast track development of the Darling Range Bauxite Project in Western Australia.
    The placement has given Chinese-based SDGM a 13% stake in the Perth-based bauxite explorer and developer.
    As well as enabling the fast tracking of the company’s stage 1 DSO operation, which is expected to begin with a trial spot shipment from the North Darling Range project during the third quarter, the funds will allow Bauxite Resources to aggressively pursue its bauxite exploration program.
    The two companies have formed a strategic relationship to facilitate the export of bauxite from Australia to alumina refineries in China’s Shandong Province.
    Bauxite Resources has completed a successful trial quarrying and bauxite extraction costean program of 300 tonnes of bauxite for bulk sample for overseas customers.
    It is initially targeting production of about 200,000 tonnes of North Darling Range bauxite, which is being transported to the port at Kwinana for direct loading onto the ship loading conveyor and subsequent loading onto Handimax-class ships.
  • ALUMINIUM - China dominates

    CHINA dominates the global aluminium industry, accounting for one third of both world production and world consumption of primary aluminium, according to a report from Roskill Information Services.
    The ninth edition of ‘The Economics of Aluminium’, which analyses worldwide aluminium supply and demand, says that while China is self sufficient in aluminium metal and approaching self sufficiency in alumina, dependence on imported bauxite remains high despite rising output.
    However, it also states that power supply issues and high costs of production could result in declining production in the longer term and the possibility that China will become a net importer of primary aluminium.
    Russia, Canada, USA, Australia, Brazil, Norway and India are the principal producing countries after China, and together account for about 75% of world output of primary aluminium.
    Although some 200 smelters, half of which are in China, produce primary aluminium, 14 companies operating about 100 plants controlled more than 60% of output in 2007.  Consolidation of Russian companies Rusal and Sual with Glencore in 2006 into UC Rusal, and the acquisition of Alcan by Rio Tinto in 2007 resulted in two aluminium producers comparable in size to Alcoa.
    World aluminium output rose by between 0.15% and 12.2% each year between 1994 and 2008, averaging 5%. Annual growth averaged around 7% after 2001 mainly due to explosive expansion in production in China. Output began to contract in the second half of 2008 and this has accelerated in 2009, meaning world aluminium production is likely to decline for the first time in 15 years and by as much as 5%.
    In 2009 almost 50 aluminium smelter projects with total annual capacity of 20 million tonnes are at various stages of development, but only 10, with a total annual capacity of 2.8 million tonnes, are already under construction. For most of these projects, no decision with regard to timing has been finalized and the timetables of the others are under review.


  • CONFERENCES – Coal challenge strategies

    Prevailing economic conditions have created a number of operational and cost management challenges for coal producers – challenges that will be addressed during a conference in Indonesia during October.
    Coaltrans’ third Coal Mining Operations and Economics at the Grand Hyatt in Jakarta on October 12 and 13 will identify strategies that can contribute to the maximization of operational efficiency, cost management and the achievement of optimal mine economics.
    Coking and thermal coal prices have suffered globally during the past year although thermal coal prices have held up better than coking coal owing to demand in China and other parts of Asia.
    Faced with tighter margins coal producers and contractors must look at the most effective methods to cut costs without forfeiting their variable responses to demand fluctuations. This makes conferences like this very important for all those involved in the coal industry.
    The Coal Mining Operations and Economics conference will also provide delegates with expert forecasts of Indonesian and global market trends and scenarios as well as outline how Indonesia’s new Mining Law is likely to impact coal mining operations in that country.
    Other critical issues that will be focused on are project evaluation and feasibility, financing exploration, risk management and mitigation, cost containment, efficiency, and the creation of long-term added value for mine sites and investors.
    The conference will provide a hands-on, strategy-driven examination of the operational challenges facing the coal industry and will include a host of speakers with expertise in operational efficiency to help operators benchmark their business against best practices from coal mining operations around the world.
    For more information and to register online visit www.coaltrans.com/MOPS

    Kopex SA will be the first company in global mining to implement a complete and integrated monitoring system for a longwall complex when the system is installed at the Carborough Downs mine in Queensland.
    The system is part of an Aus$131.3 million contract between Inbye Mining Services, a company belonging to the Kopex Capital Group, and Vale Australia Holdings for the supply of a longwall system. It is the biggest contract Kopex has signed in recent years and the biggest one ever signed by a Polish company.
    The integrated longwall operation monitoring system comprises three basic elements. The first is longwall face alignment, where the positions of the powered roof support units along the AFC are analysed. The second is controlling the cutting horizon of the longwall shearer - ie ensuring the shearer follows the deposit, irrespective of changes due to folding. Thirdly it monitors the Shearer position along the face in a 3D manner, as described by Kopex marketing and markets development director Marek Mika.
    Because it will be the first solution of this kind in the coal industry with three sub-systems installed together, the mining sector is focused on the Carborough Downs mine. There has been global interest during compatibility tests of the longwall system elements that have been executed in Australia in recent weeks and the participation of high-level Vale management representatives from Brazil and Australia shows that the project is of major importance to that company.
    Australia is the first country where Vale will extract coal in underground mining. At the beginning the company invested in open-pit mining but now plans to operate at least two underground longwall mines.
    The compatibility test has attracted tremendous interest for technological reasons. For example, an optical gyroscope system has been installed on the shearer to define its 3D position. This technology derives from the American military and the consent of the US Ministry of Defence is required each time this equipment is used.
    The longwall system, designed to operate almost without a longwall crew, includes 149 Tagor roof support units, an Eickhoff longwall shearer and Inbye Mining Services heavy duty AFC (1100 mm wide pan). During compatibility testing the total length of all longwall complex elements was 100 metres, but in the mine the longwall face is as long as 350 metres and its operating height is 5 metres.
    Development work is well under way and first mining from the longwall face with integrated monitoring system is expected to start in August.
  • Story of the month - Seeking investors for Philippine manganese deposits

    A Philippines-based company is seeking investors to help develop mining claims that are rich in manganese and located on the Philippines’ island of Negros.
    San Dominico Minerals and Industrial Corporation was created in 2005 to engage in the development of mineral properties and marketing of mineral commodities for export, particularly to mainland China.
    The company’s managing director Shakespeare T Ang says it has two mining claims near Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental province which are ready for development.
    “We are seeking investors who may be willing to negotiate an operating agreement or even a full transfer of rights or ownership.
    “We have submitted a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement application covering one claim of more than 842 hectares and an Exploration Permit Application for another claim of more than 5717 hectares.”
    All pertinent documents for both applications required by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Regional Office were submitted to the MGB Central Office in February 2008 for evaluation.
    The mining claims are at Barangays Salong, Tampalon, Linao, Kamansi and Tapi in Kabankalan City and Municipality of Ilog, Negros Occidental. Kabankalan City is 96km south of Bacolod City, the provincial capital, and the nearest port is in Pulupandan, 75km north of the mine site.
    The major mineral present in these two sites is manganese ore. Pilot production samples have been sent to China and passed quality and grade standards. The average manganese grade analyzed is between 45% and 55%.
    A partial geological study conducted in the area revealed a large quantity of manganese. Other minerals found during the inspection were gold, copper, silver, silica and limestone.
    Certification has been issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) that both mining claims and the surrounding impact areas are not within ancestral domains nor populated by cultural communities/indigenous peoples. This was based upon the findings of a field-based investigation conducted by the NCIP Office.
    For more information contact:

    John Miller
    Editor in chief
    The ASIA Miner
    Phone: +61 3 9816 8048
    Mobile: +61 417 651 844
    Email: [email protected]

  • PNG – Simberi resources increase 45%

    Ongoing exploration at Allied Gold’s Simberi Gold Project in Papua New Guinea has resulted in a 45% increase in gold resources to 4.7 million ounces.
    A mineral resource upgrade of the Pigiput area at Simberi has resulted in new total measured, indicated and inferred resources for all material types greater than 0.5 grams/tonne gold of 2.208 million ounces, which is an increase of 1.451 million ounces. Mineralization remains open to the north, west and east.
    Since acquiring the property in 2005 Allied Gold has so far increased resources by 3.2 million ounces and reserves by 372,000 ounces.
    The company’s current exploration focus is in the Pigiput area as part of a sulphide development program initiated in February. Down dip deeper drilling has intersected wide zones of mineralization including 95.7 metres @ 1.79 grams/tonne gold from 83.3 metres, 130.2 metres @ 0.97 grams/tonne gold from 228.8 metres, 113.5 metres @ 0.99 grams/tonne gold from 86.5 metres, 105.0 metres @ 1.06 grams/tonne gold from 201 metres and 91.7 metres @ 0.97 grams/tonne gold from 209 metres.
    This drilling also contains elevated silver and this, combined with silver resources from the Sorowar deposit, results in total measured, indicated and inferred resources of about 10 million ounces of silver.
    The new total gold resource estimate for Simberi is now about 4.7 million ounces of which about 1.4 million ounces occurs as oxide and transitional material, and 3.3 million ounces as sulphide material.
    Allied Gold is accelerating exploration at Simberi by mobilizing an additional drill rig and support equipment. This brings the total rigs on site to five and will see further adjustments to the resource and reserve position in the December quarter.
  • PHILIPPINES –Batoto-Tarale gold target tested

    A drill program designed to test the Batoto-Tarale system is being implemented by Cadan Resources at its Comval Gold Project in the Philippines.
    A review of historic and current exploration information and data continues, as does targeted exploration, to re-evaluate and validate the Batoto gold target historical resource of 38 million tonnes, containing 1.8 grams/tonne of gold, for some 2 million ounces of gold.
    The historic resource was not prepared in accordance with CIM standards and the company is not treating it as current mineral resources or mineral reserves as defined in NI 43-101.
    A stockwork system of gold bearing quartz veins has been mapped in five locations over a total width of 3km and extends westward from the Batoto gold target to the northeastern edge of the large Cadan porphyry copper geophysical anomaly.
    Mapping and sampling results show some 10km of strike length for this stockwork zone. At one location within the quartz vein stockwork system, quartz veining over a width of 50 metres, and with a minimum strike length of 200 metres, is exposed. Channel sample assay values are of the order of 0.5 grams/tonne gold.
    However, a 50 tonne bulk sample treated from this location returned 3.2 grams/tonne gold and 47.3 grams/tonne silver. This indicates a nugget effect and suggests a different assay technique is required to provide more authentic results from the channel samples.
    At another location, quartz vein stockwork is exposed over a width of 120 metres but strike length is yet to be fully established. While channel sample assay values are of the order of 0.5 grams/tonne gold, a 20 metre section returned some 4 grams/tonne gold. This confirms that nugget zones do exist and additional nugget zones could be expected with a more appropriate assaying technique.
    Quartz vein gold bearing stockworks, 100 metres, 120 metres and 100 metres wide respectively, are exposed in three other locations within the overall system.



  • PHILIPPINES – Canatuan third shipment

    TVI Pacific’s Philippine operating affiliate, TVI Resource Development (Phils), Inc (TVIRD) has completed its third shipment of copper concentrates from the Canatuan Mine.
    In accordance with an offtake arrangement between TVIRD and MRI Trading AG, a shipment of about 5240 dry metric tonnes (dmt) of copper concentrates was shipped from the TVIRD warehouse facility at Santa Maria Port in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, destined for a major Chinese smelter.
    The agreement provides that MRI will purchase all copper concentrates produced at Canatuan over the anticipated life of the sulphide operation.
    To date, the Canatuan Mine has produced about 14,500 dmt of copper concentrate. Of this production, 13,842 dmt have been shipped through the offtake agreement with MRI. This is expected to generate gross revenues of about US$15.1 million depending on final assays and prices.
    It is anticipated that future shipments of approximately 5000 dmt to MRI will occur every four to six weeks thereafter, depending on specific shipping and marketing arrangements.
    TVI Pacific is a publicly traded Canadian mining company focused on exploring for, developing and producing precious and base metals within district-scale systems in the Philippines.



  • KAZAKHSTAN – Dalabai construction agreement signed

    Preliminary development of a 500,000 tonnes/year heap leach facility at Central Asia Resources’ Dalabai Gold Project in Kazakhstan will begin later this year with production expected to start in 2010.
    The company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Steelstruct Engineering Group for the design, fabrication, construction and commissioning of the facility.
    Steelstruct has been providing engineering, manufacturing, installation and project management services to the mining industry for 30 years.
    Central Asia’s managing director Jason Stirbinskis says, “Both companies are extremely excited about the opportunity presented at Dalabai.
    “The major conditions precedent to finalizing a formal agreement and starting construction are confirmation of the regulatory requirements and taxation impacts in Kazakhstan of the proposed structure, and the feasibility study demonstrating that the process company will be sufficiently profitable to allow both parties to have their investments repaid within the known life of mine.
    “The Dalabai plant design has considered the likely parameters required for a production facility at Altyntas, Central Asia’s likely next production site.
    “We are essentially using Dalabai to establish ourselves for the much larger resource waiting for us at Altyntas. Whist Altyntas is likely to be a gravity/CIL circuit, much of the plant at Dalabai, including the 1 million tonnes/year crushing circuit, can be relocated to Altyntas and thus reduce the capital burden to begin operations at this site.”
    Central Asia holds a 90% interest in Kazakh company Onzhas Limited, which indirectly holds the Dalabai licence.
    The company’s project areas are close to Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, and have well established road, rail and telecommunications infrastructure.
  • TONGA – Seafloor sulphide systems have high grades

    The first phase of a 2009 target generation program on Nautilus Minerals’ seafloor prospecting licences in Tonga indicates the high-grade of the seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) systems sampled, with results up to 9.1% copper and 34.9% zinc.
    Preliminary interpretation of water column survey data gathered in Tongan waters last month has identified 12 anomalies and all have signatures considered analogous with hydrothermal vent systems.
    Follow up video-tow and small dredge sampling were attempted over three of the anomalies with sulphide mineralization recovered from two sites. The sulphide samples were subsequently tested using a Nitron XL3t-500 handheld XRF unit.
    The collaborative research program with Australian National University from RV Southern Surveyor included multibeam swath mapping and water column surveys over key target areas identified by the exploration team.
    Nautilus' CEO Stephen Rogers says: “The delineation of a further 12 anomalies highlights the prospectivity of our large land package in Tonga. The recovery of sulphide mineralization from two of the three sampling attempts confirms our high exploration hit ratio.
    “We look forward to receiving the assay results from the two sampled systems, and the results of the second phase of the program.”
  • INDONESIA – Option to acquire plant for Wetar

    Finders Resources has signed an option to purchase Straits Resources’ Whim Creek SX-EW plant for possible use at the Wetar Copper Project in Indonesia.
    A Heads of Agreement gives Finders the right to purchase the SX-EW plant and associated equipment at any time during the fourth quarter of 2009.
    The Whim Creek SX-EW Plant, which is in Western Australia, has an annual capacity of about 18,000 tonnes copper cathode and Finders will use these parameters plus an expansion of the existing 2000 tonnes/year demonstration plant at Wetar as the basis for completion of the remainder of the project feasibility study.
    Finders’ director of development Rob Thomson says: “The planned acquisition of the SX-EW plant is a major milestone in the development of the Wetar Copper Project and adds robustness and greater certainty to the project economics.
    “The purchase of a proven operational SX-EW plant reduces much of the capital cost uncertainty and lead time uncertainty associated with building a new plant.
    “It is anticipated that the acquisition of the SX-EW plant will significantly reduce the overall capital cost of the project and the quantum of this benefit will be determined as part of finalizing the feasibility study.”
  • IRON ORE – Infrastructure deal for Nullagine ore

    BC Iron has reached an in principle agreement with Fortescue Metals for provision of rail haulage and port services for the Nullagine Iron Ore Project.
    The agreement provides for an initial annual production target of 3 million tonnes for BC Iron’s ore escalating to 5 million tonnes per annum when port and rail facilities are expanded.
    Final details of the agreement are being discussed by the companies.
    BC Iron’s managing director Mike Young says, “We are pleased that FMG and BC Iron were able to follow on from the intent of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2007.
    “Whilst final details are being worked out, this deal will overcome the critical barriers to production caused by lack of open access to rail and port facilities.”
  • NICKEL – Muremara drilling phase under way

    A new drilling contractor has started the second phase of diamond drilling at Dwyka Resources’ Muremara Nickel Project in Burundi, Africa.
    Seventeen drilling targets have been identified following intensive VTEM surveys that generated signatures consistent with massive sulphide bodies that may have a nickel signature.
    The targets are about 10km from the Barrick/Xstrata Kabanga Project, which is currently the world's largest undeveloped nickel sulphide project.
    Following drilling, the Muremara core samples will be assayed by ALS Chemex Laboratory in Johannesburg.
    Dwyka secured ownership of the project in March with the handover of the exploration program from BHP Billiton now complete. The next phase of the work program has been submitted to the Government of Burundi in order to secure an extension of the current exploration licence.
    Dwyka Resources’ CEO Melissa Sturgess says, “We are delighted to have secured 100% ownership from BHP Billiton which has previously invested in excess of US$7.3m into the project. We are now proceeding on schedule with the planned exploration program at Muremera and remain optimistic about the project's potential."


  • GOLD – Australian output expected to rise in 2009

    Australian gold production was steady in the March quarter 2009 but is expected to rise as new and re-developed operations come into production, according to Surbiton Associates.
    Latest figures from the Melbourne-based industry consultants show Australian gold production for the March quarter 2009 totalled 54.5 tonnes or 1.75 million ounces, unchanged from the December quarter 2008 but 3% up on the March quarter of 2008.
    Surbiton Associates’ director Dr Sandra Close says, “From a production point of view, it was very much steady-as-she-goes for the March quarter, however, barring any unforeseen mine closures, output for 2009 should exceed that of 2008.”
    She says Oz Minerals’ long-awaited Prominent Hill copper-gold mine came on-stream during the quarter, Apex Minerals’ Wiluna and ATW Goldcorp’s Burnakura operations recently rejoined the list of producers and Avoca Resources’ Higginsville operation, which is now treating higher grade ore, continues to ramp up output.
    “The biggest boost to production will come when the re-developed Boddington gold-copper operation is commissioned mid-year. Boddington will produce around 31 tonnes of gold annually.”
    Newmont Mining’s latest report indicates that the Boddington redevelopment project will have cost between US$2.6 billion and US$2.9 billion, with output of around 1 million ounces annually for the first full five years of operation.
    Although a few small operations including Brock’s Creek and Gympie ceased production, this had little effect on the March quarter figures.
    Dr Sandra Close said that the higher gold output anticipated in 2009 should allow Australia to regain a higher ranking among the world’s top producing countries.
    In 2008 China was the leading gold producer with 282 tonnes, the US was second with 229 tonnes, then followed South Africa with 220 tonnes and Australia with 219 tonnes. For some years China’s gold output has been increasing while that of the other major gold producing countries has declined.
    “Annual Australian gold production has been on a downward trend since 1997. Last year Australia produced almost 100 tonnes less gold than we did in 1997 and 100 tonnes of gold is worth around Aus$4 billion at current prices.”
    While it is the US dollar gold price that is usually quoted, Dr Sandra Close said that it was important locally also to take account of the Australian dollar price.
    She says the Australian dollar gold price has been on an upward trend for the last nine years, with a record quarterly average of Aus$1371 per ounce in the March 2009 quarter. An all time daily high of Aus$1547 per ounce was reached on February 20 but since then the Australian dollar had strengthened substantially against the US dollar, trimming the Australian dollar gold price back to around Aus$1220 per ounce.
    “Even at around Aus$1200 per ounce, the low cash cost Australian operations such as Ridgeway, Cadia and Challenger are doing very, very well.
    She says that the current economic climate and the attractive gold price might actually encourage more companies to explore for gold in Australia, which has seen a significant reduction in gold exploration over the past decade.
    “Gold is an ideal target for smaller companies in the current environment. It is a high-value, low-volume commodity that doesn’t have the massive development costs or the enormous infrastructure requirements that the bulk commodities require.”
    The top five producing operations for the March quarter 2009 were Newcrest Mining’s Telfer with 162,035 ounces, Newmont Mining and Barrick Gold’s Super Pit JV with 158,000, Gold Fields’ Lefroy with 109,538, Newmont’s Jundee with 102,000 and AngloGold Ashanti’s Sunrise Dam.
  • CONFERENCES – Stimulating Sino-Australia business

    A conference in South Australia this month aims to provide participants with insight and skills to facilitate business between China and Australia.
    The South Australian Resources and Chinese Investment Congress will be held at the Hilton Hotel, Adelaide, on July 14 and 15.
    Speakers representing government and industry in China and Australia will ensure participants gain a fundamental understanding of effective cross-cultural communication between the two nations for mutual benefit.
    The congress will be opened by South Australian Premier Mike Rann and other speakers on the first morning include deputy head of mission, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Minister Counsellor Hong Liang, G-Resources Group CEO Owen Hegarty, ASF Group chairman Min Yang and CITIC Securities managing director, head of investment banking Ted Tokuchi.
    Other congress speakers include Leighton Contractors executive general manager, human resources and sustainability Peter Olsen, Petratherm exploration manager China Dr Wenlong Zang, Hillgrove Reources managing director David Archer, China Yunnan Copper Australia managing director Jason Beckton, Alliance Resources managing director Patrick Mutz, Toro Energy managing director Greg Hall, and Westpac Corporation head of Asia and migrant markets Alice Wong.
    The congress will address many aspects of investment between China and Australia, focusing on the resources sector and there will be a number of panel sessions outlining examples, experiences, successes and risks.
    Congress organizers Apollo Global have partnered with the Australia China Business Council, PIRSA and Norman Waterhouse Lawyers to host the event.
    Apollo Global’s managing director Genevieve Riviere says, “Premier Rann’s commitment to participate in the conference demonstrates his understanding of the strategic importance China provides in South Australia’s future.”


  • EXPLORATION - The slowing of the junior boom

    After five years of rapid growth in junior company exploration budgets with annual increases averaging about 55%, calculations by the Metals Economic Group (MEG) show that in 2008 the group’s total increased by only 16% year-on-year to a little more than $6.1 billion.
    MEG’s 19th annual edition of the Corporate Exploration Series (CES) says slower growth in junior budgets, combined with increased allocations by major companies, decreased the juniors’ share of the worldwide exploration total to less than 50% in 2008, from more than half of the worldwide total in each of the previous two years.
    Juniors have led the exploration charge over the past five years - planned junior exploration spending increased by a remarkable 1072% since the bottom of the cycle in 2002, accounting for more than half of the overall $10.9 billion increase in exploration allocations by all companies from 2002 to 2008.
    Juniors’ exploration budgets surely peaked in 2008, however, dismal equity markets and tumbling commodity prices have severely diminished most of the group’s near-term access to capital.
    Demonstrating the impact of the market crisis on the juniors, there was a sharp decline in exploration-related equity financings for gold and base metals by the junior companies included in the CES compared with the amounts raised in 2006 and 2007.
    The juniors’ dependence on equity financing to fund exploration makes them the most vulnerable sector of the industry and with the evaporation of easy access to capital now affecting many junior explorers, 2009 will not be an exception.
    Nevertheless, juniors rarely spend all the money raised in the name of exploration on actual exploration in a given year.
    While a number of analysts and industry insiders have questioned whether the juniors, as a group, have been spending their exploration dollars efficiently in recent years, at least some juniors seem to have followed the old adage ‘raise money while you can against leaner times to come’ suggesting at least some are starting the current downturn with a better cash position than in previous cycles.
    Most juniors with cash will likely cut exploration and development plans to conserve funds in an effort to survive until conditions improve, focusing on their most promising projects. Those without cash will simply disappear.
    The deeper pockets of major and intermediate producers at least give them the option of funding exploration at or near recent levels.
    While MEG expects the aggregate budgets of major and intermediate explorers to decline in 2009, the inevitable contraction in the number of active junior explorers, coupled with a reduction in the individual budgets of those that do have the cash to spend, will result in the juniors accounting for most of the cuts to the industry’s total exploration spending in 2009.

    小公司勘查预算连续五年迅猛增长(平均每年增长55%)之后,这类公司的总预算值仅比2008年的61亿美元略有增加,同比增长仅为16%。 小公司预算的缓慢增长加上大公司对预算分配的增加,使小公司在全球勘查总预算中的份额下降至不到2008年的50%,而在前两年,每年都占全球总预算的一半。 在过去的五年中,小公司的勘查费用都遥遥领先与其他类别的公司—自2002年周期见底起,经过规划的小公司勘查投入惊人地上涨了1072%,占2002--2008年所有公司勘查投入总值109亿美元的半数以上。小公司的勘查预算在2008年确实达到了峰
    尽管如此,如图3所示,小公司很少会以勘查的名义在一年内将筹得的所有资金用于实际勘查。而大量分析及业内人士已就此提出质疑:近年来,小公司作为一个群体是否有效地投入了其勘查预算资金?至少某些小公司表面看来遵循了“多多筹款,以备不时之需(raise money while you can against leaner times to come)”这句古语。这古语暗示了至少有一些目前刚开始走向低迷的小公司,其现金状况比前几个周期稍好一些。大多数拥有现金的小公司很可能通过削减勘查和开发计划节
    省资金,藉以求生存,直到环境有所改善时,才将资金集中用于最具潜力的项目上。 而那些现金匮乏的小公司则将会逐渐消失。
    大、中型公司具备雄厚的财力,他们至少可以根据当前水平或接近当前水平进行投资勘查。 而我们预计,大、中型公司的总预算在2009年将有所下降,活跃的小公司数量今年会不可避免地减少,结合那些确实可投入现金公司的个别预算的减少,小公司将成为2009年该行业总勘查投入削减最多的。


  • PRODUCT NEWS – Power Chain reduces wear

    Chain wear is a major problem in armored face conveyors with uncontrolled wear leading to costly and time-consuming maintenance as well as unplanned downtime of the entire longwall in the event of chain failure.
    The Bucyrus Power Chain addresses issue this with an innovative design that drastically reduces chain wear and prolongs service life.
    With installed drive power doubling in the last 15 years, Bucyrus engineers determined that huge productivity gains would result from increasing the service life of conveyor chains.
    Despite the use of high-strength steel and hardened chain pockets, when using conventional chains some working panels cannot be completed without replacement of both chain and chain sprocket. In the best case, conventional conveyor chains last for a single working panel and are then routinely replaced, as scheduled replacement is preferable to the risk of chain failure due to excessive wear. Such replacement is costly and time-consuming.
    The Bucyrus Power Chain was specifically designed to extend service life far beyond a single panel and first field trials indicate that the Power Chain may last three to four times longer than a conventional conveyor chain.
    The Power Chain is designed to increase surface area at critical wear points, thus reducing friction and wear. In contrast to regular chains, the Power Chain has two types of link.
    The picture shows a Power Chain 42x140 mm. The vertical link (shown grey) has a 42mm diameter and is rolled to form a semicircular cross-section, thus offering more link surface area. The horizontal links (shown burgundy) are forged, with a 42mm link surface area. The leading edge, normally round in a conventional chain, is flat, offering a larger contact surface area for chain drive. The central area for securing the flight bar has a key that engages a slot on the flight bar.
    The design almost halves surface pressure at contact points – and reduced pressure means reduced wear. Counter intuitively, greater contact surface results in less friction and wear. This is the result of reduced contact pressure and ‘lubrication’ by coal dust.
    Initial trials with the Power Chain have demonstrated a drastic reduction in wear rates.
    Two highly productive longwall mines in the US both completed their first panels without a single chain break in the stageloader, where the Power Chain was used. After 3.5 million tonnes and 5.5 million tonnes respectively, chain and sprocket wear was found to be minimal. Both mines are now using the same Power Chain and chain sprockets for a second panel – so instead of having to undertake the time-consuming and costly replacement of the conveyor chain, they were able to deploy the equipment immediately.  


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