• CAMBODIA – New Royalco focus

    Royalco Resources is establishing a subsidiary to advance exploration opportunities in Cambodia.
    This move follows a visit to Cambodia by company management to assess the opportunities and discuss the same with relevant officials.
    The management was satisfied with the prospectivity within the country, the possibility of undertaking exploration in a timely fashion and the sovereign risk factors.
    Royalco, which to date has focused on exploration in the Philippines, is now in the process of incorporating the Cambodian subsidiary.
    Meanwhile in the Philippines Royalco has executed a letter of intent with a major mining house for ongoing exploration at the Gambang Copper Project.
    At the Pao/Yabbe Gold Project non-representative protestors unfortunately resumed their disruptive barricades on the day prior to drill rig mobilization to the Pao exploration site.
    Royalco has no intention to force the barricade and has placed the tenement back into suspension. All community support programs, including road rehabilitation, educational supplements, employment and medical missions, have been curtailed and local staff relating to Pao have been dismissed. The situation will be reviewed later this year.
    The Yabbe tenement application has received all prerequisite approvals and final approval from the Mines & Geosciences Bureau is now awaited.
    The Yabbe tenement lies to the south of Pao and involves a different set of communities who have demonstrated a more pro-exploration attitude.

  • CAMBODIA – Aggressive exploration

    Southern Gold is undertaking an aggressive exploration program at its Cambodian projects, which includes sampling, drilling and trenching activities.
    The program, which will continue until at least May, includes collecting 4000 geochemical samples, completing 8500 metres of trenching, 3000 metres of reverse circulation drilling and 4000 metres of diamond core drilling.
    Initial work is focusing on the drill-ready prospects of Snoul and Kratie South with its two adjoining blocks, Preak Khlong and O’Kthung about 10km south of Oz Mineral’s Okvau Project.
    The Snoul, Srae Pok and Phnum Khnach licence areas are held by Southern Gold while the Phnum Khtong (Kratie North), Preak Khlong and O’Khtung (Kratie South) areas form part of a joint venture with the Japanese Government-backed JOGMEC.  
    JOGMEC can fully fund exploration activity to a total of US$4.5 million over 3 years to earn a 51% interest in the tenements.
    Extensive drilling and trenching has been planned for the Anchor Prospect at Snoul with the aim of delineating the previously identified mineralization and identifying new gold and base metal anomalies which would be prioritized for trenching and/or drill testing.
    Southern Gold plans to complete 24 diamond drill holes for a total of 2000 metres and 2300 metres of trenching at Anchor. An additional 500 metres of diamond core drilling and 1200 metres of trenching have been allocated for infill drilling and trenching during the later stages of the field season within the Snoul tenement.
    Gold mineralization at Anchor is associated with a series of northwest striking sulphide-rich veining and alteration within an interpreted 10km x 10km cluster of dioritic intrusives. Southern Gold believes this cluster is prospective for intrusive related, epithermal gold vein and polymetallic skarn systems.
    The mineralized veins trenched and drilled at the Anchor Prospect cover only 1% of this area, on the southwest corner of one of these four interpreted intrusives.
    During the previous quarter, the Kratie North Project Phnum Khtong joint venture tenement was successfully renewed for a further period of two years.
    The JV is undertaking extensive drilling and trenching at Oh Tron in a program involving 18 RC drill holes for a total of 1500 metres and 500 metres of trenching.
    Oh Tron is a large 3km x 1km area of anomalous gold, silver and lead in soil sampling around the margin of diorite intrusive. Alteration is widespread and observed in all trenches, which is possibly suggestive of a large hydrothermal system associated with base metal and gold mineralization.
    At the Preak Khlong NW prospect, which is part of the Kratie South Project, Southern Gold plans to complete 16 core and RC drillholes for a total of 1360 metres.









  • INDONESIA – Coal acquisition

    Indo Mines intends acquiring unlisted Australian company Fireside Resources which holds the right to a near production coal project in South Kalimantan.
    The acquisition will result in Indo Mines securing the Bangun Buana Persada Kalimantan (BBPK) Coal Project at which production is expected to begin to April. It will also secure Fireside’s other resource assets in Indonesia.
    BBPK is in a major coal production area 95km north of South Kalimantan’s capital, Banjarmasin. Access is via sealed road, contracting services are locally available for all mining activities and infrastructure is in place for transportation and barging of coal.
    Fireside has acquired a bankable feasibility study that was recently completed on BBPK and which will assist in development and operation of the mine.
    It found that the BBPK Project is suitable for an open-cut contract mining operation that will extend the pit along strike from the adjacent mined out block.
    Monthly production from the adjacent block was in excess of 25,000 tonnes and Fireside is contracted to maintain similar productivity. Mining conditions at BBPK are expected to be similar to adjacent mining operations, which have been consistently recovering high quality thermal coal in the range of about 6300-7000 Kcal/kg.
    The study recommended that crushing take place on site using a mobile crushing unit. Fireside has sourced a suitable crushing unit and this is expected to be operational by April.
    Coal will be transported by road about 50km to Sungei Putting port along the Barito River. Coal will be stockpiled at the port and sold FOB Barge.
    Fireside will continue further exploration and in-fill drilling while operating with the aim of identifying new coal seams on the concession as well as extending the resource that will be mined.

  • INDONESIA – New Lincoln focus

    Lincoln Minerals has formed a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Lincoln Asia-Pacific Limited, with the intention of managing and operating projects in Indonesia and the greater Asia-Pacific region.
    A number of projects in Indonesia and South East Asia have been offered to LAP and the company has been negotiating Heads of Agreements with some of the owners of these projects.
    Some of the projects being considered by Lincoln Asia-Pacific include manganese in western Timor, iron ore and iron sands in west Kalimantan and Flores, mineral sands in west Kalimantan, and  iron ore with copper-gold in Sulawesi.
    The new entity is focusing on areas close to established infrastructure including existing port facilities and has been undertaking due diligence research on these projects including field reconnaissance.
    Meanwhile Lincoln is still negotiating with a palm oil plantation owner in regards to the Desa Mirah Iron Ore Project in south-central Kalimantan.
    Lincoln has a Heads of Agreement with Samusa Corp of Jakarta to explore and exploit the Desa Mirah mine and surrounding exploration concession.

  • VIETNAM – Coal imports by 2013

    Vietnam is likely to become a coal importer in 2013 as domestic production fails to keep pace with the country’s economic growth.
    State-owned Vinacomin has forecast that Vietnam will need to import 5-7 million tonnes in 2013, increasing to 20 million by 2015 and up to 100 million by 2020.
    This is a big turnaround from the present situation with coal exports of 17 million tonnes out of production of 44 million tonnes expected in 2010 and 10 million tonnes in 2011.
    The primary user of the coal will be coal-fired power plants as Vietnam embarks on a major program to boost power supply.
    Most of the imported coal is expected to come from Indonesia with about 20% from Australia. It is understood that Vinacomin and another state-owned company PV Coal, a unit of PetroVietnam, will be the only companies permitted to import coal to Vietnam.
    PV Coal has stated that it is in discussions with Indonesian coal producers, including PT Bumi Resources, PT Adaro Indonesia, Kideco Jaya Agung and PT Tambang Bukit Asam, regarding long-term coal supply to Vietnam and is also seeking to acquire coal mines in Indonesia.
    PV Coal is believed to be targeting imports of 1.5 million tonnes from Indonesia in 2014, increasing to 10 million by 2017.

  • LAOS – Record Sepon production

    MMG achieved record copper production during the December quarter at its Sepon Project in Laos.
    Copper cathode production at Sepon was 10% higher with 18,124 tonnes on the December 2008 quarter and 5% higher with 67,561 tonnes produced for the year.
    These results contributed to positive overall results for MMG during 2009.
    Copper metal in concentrate production for the group was 75% higher with 10,401 tonnes on the December 2008 quarter and 39% higher with 33,665 tonnes for the year.
    MMG’s chief executive officer Andrew Michelmore says that the results delivered on the business' previously stated aim to focus on copper production in 2009 and enable it to take advantage of better price forecasts for copper.
    "Strengthening LME copper prices, that ended the year on a cash high of US$7346 per tonne, combined with MMG's excellent copper production through the quarter contributed to the results.”
    MMG is undertaking a US$60.4 million copper expansion project at Sepon to increase annual nameplate production from 65,000 to 80,500 tonnes. It is also installing a US$3.7 million de-sliming circuit to improve pyrite recovery for the copper plant.

  • PHILIPPINES – Kay Tanda continuity

    A 14 hole due diligence drilling program carried out by Avocet Mining on Mindoro Resources’ Kay Tanda epithermal gold-silver resource has confirmed the continuity of near-surface, low-grade gold-silver mineralization.
    Avocet targeted the projected up-dip extensions of high-grade gold vein sets, previously intersected at deeper levels by Mindoro, into a conceptual open-pit.
    The conceptual pit was centred on the near-surface low-grade stockwork mineralization. The high-grade vein sets, which are probably feeder zones to the gold system, do not extend into such shallow levels. The resource remains open to the north, west and to depth.
    In addition, interpreted porphyry copper-gold related mineralization has previously been intersected by Mindoro at depth in Kay Tanda, which is part of Mindoro’s Archangel Project.
    Results of the drilling are largely as expected, based on previous drilling by Mindoro. Several holes were drilled outside or on the margins of presently known mineralization. Noteworthy intercepts include 48 metres @ 1.30 grams/tonne gold, 28 metres @ 0.58 grams/tonne and 1 metre @ 52.57 grams/tonne.
    Kay Tanda is being evaluated for its open-pit, heap-leach potential. Before Avocet's due diligence program, Mindoro had completed 147 reverse circulation and 26 core drill holes at Kay Tanda. Almost all holes encountered near-surface, generally flat-lying to gently-dipping blanket-like low-grade stockwork mineralization.
    Drilling, especially at deeper levels, encountered at least five steeply-dipping, much higher-grade zones with grades up to 246 grams/tonne gold and more than 1000 grams/tonne silver. These are interpreted as structurally controlled upflow, or ‘feeder’ zones.
    In February 2008 Mindoro released a NI 43-101 compliant mineral resource estimate reporting a total inferred resource of 11,599,000 tonnes @ 0.70 grams/tonne gold and 3.0 grams/tonne silver and a total indicated resource of 3,365,000 tonnes @ 0.88 grams/tonne gold and 8.0 grams/tonne silver.
     An upgraded resource estimate will be released in the near future.

  • PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Yandera drilling

    Drilling has started for the 2010 field season at Marengo Mining’s Yandera Copper-Molybdenum-Gold Project in the central north of Papua New Guinea.
    Four diamond rigs have initially been contracted with the initial focus to follow up on last season’s successful drilling at Dimbi and the Imbruminda, and Gamagu zones where previous drilling produced a number of very significant intersections.
    The current data points to a strong NW-SE structural control on mineralization in this zone, in line with other parts of the deposit. This highlights the potential for the Dimbi-Gamagu zone to provide additional high-grade tonnes to the Yandera resource.
    The high grade potential of Imbruminda has already been demonstrated from previous drilling operations, however a number of gaps exist in the current data set, preventing optimum modeling of the resource in this area.
    At the Kombruku deposit future work will involve the integration and interpretation of all available geological, geophysical and geochemical data. Future drilling will be planned around the outcome of the interpretive phase as the initial 10-hole program provides only a localized view of the prospect, given its large surface area.
    A helicopter mounted magnetic and radiometric survey has been completed over a significant portion of the Yandera Project area and key data is now undergoing processing and interpretation.
    Marengo is on track to deliver a definitive feasibility study (DFS) on Yandera in December 2010. This work has included further studies on the hydroelectric power options, which indicated even better potential for local watercourses to provide the required power.
    Planning of the bathymetry survey has been completed and it is expected that oceanographic testing of suitable deep ocean canyons, suitable for deep sea tailings placement, will be completed shortly.
     A larger bulk sample of mineralized material will be sourced from the Yandera deposit to provide additional material to complete metallurgical test work and to support the previous encouraging recovery and concentrate results.
    Pit optimization studies will be further refined to produce the final pit model for the DFS, although further refinement will continue as new results come to hand.


  • MONGOLIA – Dornod uranium agreement

    Mongolia's state uranium holding company MonAtom has abandoned an attempt to gazump Canadian company Khan Resources' title to the Dornod uranium deposit.
    In August 2009 MonAtom set up a joint venture with Russia's ARMZ to take over and develop the deposit, although Khan claimed a 69% equity in it and had undertaken a bankable feasibility study.
    However, Khan has now agreed to set up a joint venture with MonAtom and resolve the ownership question, giving it 48% of the project after a complex series of transactions, including the acquisition by MonAtom of up to 20% of Khan.
    Mongolia's new nuclear energy law requires the state to hold 51% of uranium projects.
    - News courtesy of World Nuclear News

  • CHINA – Germanium refinery

    A small refinery is being built at Sparton Resources’ 306 Huajun Coal operations in Yunnan Province aimed at increasing the value of germanium concentrate.
    The refinery is being built by Sparton’s subsidiary Yunnan Blue Bay Mining which controls the Huajun operations. The plant is expected to be operational later in the year and it is expected to increase revenues from future germanium sales to more than 90% of the value of the contained germanium as opposed to about 50% at present.
    The refinery is a result of a review into Huajun mining and processing operations. The review has also seen a development plan prepared for accessing deeper ore and making minor modifications to the treatment process to increase recoveries. Initial results indicate the planned development will provide a minimum of 6 years of production at current rates.
    306 Huajun Coal Co produces germanium concentrates and thermal coal in the Lincang area of Yunnan Province.
    Earlier this year Sparton completed the second sale of germanium concentrate from Huajun. A total of 32.74 tonnes of concentrate was sold containing about 483kg of germanium metal.  The price received for the concentrate was 3300 RMB/kg of contained germanium (US$482/kg), down slightly from the previous sale.
    The buyer was a semiconductor producer in Kunming City, Yunnan. The price received represents about 50% of the current spot price for germanium metal on world markets, which is somewhat consistent with previous sales and represents the price penalty paid for selling a concentrate in the local market to a refiner instead of selling germanium metal or industrial germanium oxide or chloride.

  • CONFERENCES – Mongolia mining roundup

    A new era of mining and exploration is dawning in Mongolia which makes this month’s Mongolia Mineral Exploration Roundup – 2010 in Ulaanbaatar a very important forum.
    New mining laws and signing of an investment agreement for the massive Oyu Tolgoi project herald the start of the new era, which seems certain to see Mongolia’s treasure of mineral resources opened up.
    The growing need to feed China’s burgeoning economy puts Mongolia in the best place to capitalize for the benefit of the entire nation.
    Mineral Exploration Roundup - 2010 will examine the geology and exploration of ore deposits in Mongolia and their genesis, geotectonics and metallogeny. It will also focus on the energy mineral resources of Mongolia, including uranium and coal.
    There will also be plenty of opportunity for discussion about the changing nature of the country’s exploration and mining potential.
    The conference will be held from March 12-14 at the Conference Hall in the Russian Science and Cultural Centre in Ulaanbaatar and is expected to attract delegates from around the world who are keen to learn more about Mongolia’s emerging mining industry.
    The event is being organized by the Ministry of Mineral Recources and Energy, Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia, Mongolian Society of Economic Geologists, The Geological Society of Mongolia, Mongolian University of Science and Technology, and the National University of Mongolia.
    The first Mongolia Mineral Exploration Roundup in March 2009 was organized by the Mongolian Society of Economic Geologists and the Geological Society of Mongolia with more than 700 national and foreign geologists working throughout Mongolia in attendance.
    The Mongolian Society of Economic Geologists and the Geological Society of Mongolia intend to make this an annual event and attract even more interest from foreign companies already working or investing in Mongolia, as well as those considering this action.
    Besides the program of speakers and discussion panels, delegates will have the ability to nominate the ‘best exploration geologist of the year’ and ‘the best rocks and minerals show’.
    www.monseg.mn  and www.geos.mn

  • MOVERS & SHAKERS – CSA Global appointment

    International consultancy CSA Global has appointed Peter Davies as director of its new Mining and Projects Division.
    Peter Davies will be based at the company’s Perth head office and will be responsible for overseeing CSA’s mining and engineering activity globally.
    He has more than 30 years of international experience in the mining, mineral processing and chemical industries. He previously held the position of associate mining consultant at CSA Global, where he was working with CSA Global’s UK office on the Bozymchak project for Kazakhmys Gold in Kyrgyzstan.

  • CHINA – Bu Dun Hua mineralization

    Drilling at King Solomon Mines’ Bu Dun Hua porphyry copper project has revealed copper-molybdenum mineralized intrusive rocks.
    Full results from five diamond holes drilled in the Whitehorse area have been received with three of the holes intersecting the strongly altered intrusive rocks under tens of metres of colluvium and drifting sand cover.
    Anomalous copper-molybdenum values are widespread through the intrusive intercepts and intermittently anomalous gold values have also been noted.
    The drill campaign was searching for such intrusive rocks following strong indications of their likely presence in the 2008 Lao Ping Tong drill core.
    Initial interpretation places the five holes at the northern perimeter of a shallowly buried intrusive complex centred further to the south. This interpretation is supported by magnetic survey results.
    The discovery confirms the porphyry copper-molybdenum nature of the hydrothermal alteration and mineralization occurring over an area of at least 4.2sqkm at Bu Dun Hua. It establishes the presence of appropriate intrusive bodies and metal-bearing fluids and provides both encouragement and firm guidance for ongoing drilling.
    At the Marmot Ridge Copper-Gold Project the presence of gold mineralization in two of three holes drilled in 2009 sparked a review of gold intercepts encountered from all holes drilled to date.
    This has resulted in recognition of a clear and potentially substantial gold zone centred on a porphyritic intrusion within the 4.5sqkm copper-molybdenum anomaly being investigated by the company.
    The new gold zone has been intersected by four drill-holes around the margins of a 750 metre x 350 metre northwest-southeast trending quartz-eye granite porphyry intrusion. The four holes yielded 25 intercepts of better than 0.1 grams/tonne gold.

  • CHINA – Fuwan permit issued

    Minco Silver Corporation has received the Land Use Permit for its Fuwan Silver Project in Guangdong province, China.
    The permit is a critical step to secure the mining licence. It consists of surveying, rezoning and obtaining the quota for proposed surface areas required for the mine surface infrastructure. It has been approved by Gaoming County, Foshan District and Guangdong provincial governments.
    The permit, covering 28.9871 hectares, includes all areas proposed in the international feasibility study for the industrial site, waste rock dump, tailing reservoir and explosive storage warehouse.
    Minco Silver’s chairman and CEO Ken Cai says, “With this permit, the company now can acquire all the surface rights for mine construction as outlined in the international feasibility study.”
    The company owns 90% of the Fuwan deposit and recently completed a very positive Bankable Feasibility Study. It is now working towards bringing the deposit into production.

  • PHILIPPINES – Runruno production targets

    Metals Exploration is targeting annual production of about 100,000 ounces of gold and 1 million pounds of molybdenum oxide from its Runruno Project of the island of Luzon.
    There is a minimum 10 year mine life and the capital cost is not expected to exceed $150 million.
    These figures are from updated economic parameters which reflect a revised resource of 1.5 million ounces of gold and 25.4 million pounds of molybdenum.
    The company expects to receive a further update to the resource estimate within the next few weeks which will include all drill hole data received up to the end of 2009. This estimate will allow more comprehensive and definitive pit optimization work to be completed, leading to more detailed numbers being fed into the final feasibility study scheduled to report in April. 
    Metals Exploration’s managing director Jonathan Beardsworth says, “I think this confirmation of the continued economic viability of the Runruno project is what investors have been waiting for since the resource update announcement in November.
    “Indeed our internal calculations show little difference in NPV between the original resource and this modified operation because of the lower capital and operating costs.  The lower capital cost, of course, should also make it easier to arrange bank project financing. 
    “We anticipate a sequence of announcements over the next few months relating to further resource updates, results of the step-out drilling and metallurgical test work, progress on the Environmental Clearance Certificate, leading to the completion of the full feasibility study.”

  • PHILIPPINES – MBMI to resume shipping

    MBMI Resources is preparing to resume nickel shipping activities from its Alpha project on Palawan in the Philippines.
    Several sales agreements have been executed with Asian industrial consumers for the delivery of nickel bearing material having grades of about 1.4% nickel.
    An inventory of material has been blended, dried and delivered to the port facility at Alpha in preparation for shipment.
    MBMI’s president Michal Mason says, “A strong demand exists in Asia for the full range of nickel products which the Alpha, Philippine nickel project is able to offer on a direct shipping basis and MBMI is in a position to take full advantage of this opportunity.”
    The near term nickel material contracts are licensed for export under the Alpha Small Scale Mining permits. MBMI's Philippine partners report that the application process pursuant to full-scale mine permit applications (FTAA) for the Alpha property and three other Palawan nickel projects is in the late stages of completion.
    All environmental permits have been approved at both the provincial level and at the federal Department of Environment and Natural Resources level. Once granted, the FTAA permit will allow the Palawan operations to increase exploration activities, expand shipping capacity and progress towards achieving full-scale commercial production levels.

  • PHILIPPINES – American Tunnels potential

    Drill results and underground sampling at Mindoro Resources’ American Tunnels prospect have confirmed the potential for a near-surface bulk-tonnage gold target, as well as for porphyry copper-gold targets at deeper levels.
    The company has completed four reconnaissance drill holes and is undertaking underground sampling of artisanal gold workings at the prospect, which is part of the Agata Project in the Surigao Gold District on Mindanao.
    The best intrusive-related drilling intersections were 4.4 metres @ 2.44 grams/tonne gold from 41.8 metres and 4.2 metres @ 1.04 grams/tonne gold from 20.3 metres.
    Results of underground sampling of accessible artisanal workings included 24 metres @ 2.48 grams/tonne gold in Estrada workings, 29.4 metres @ 2.60 grams/tonne in Pabling workings, and 15.3 metres @ 1.31 grams/tonne in Marciano workings.
    Near-surface intrusive-related gold mineralization is widespread at American Tunnels, clearly demonstrating a promising bulk-tonnage gold target.
    In the porphyry target the best anomalous copper intersections were 31 metres of 387 parts per million (ppm) copper from 12.4 metres, including 2 metres of 0.15% copper; 50 metres of 611 ppm copper from 1.6 metres, including 1.3 metres of 0.38% copper; and 92 metres of 310 ppm copper from 15.3 metres.
    Agata occurs in a similar geological setting to the Anglo Boyungan and Bayugo porphyry copper-gold discoveries, also in the Surigao District, which are being advanced towards production by Philex Mining.

  • INDONESIA – Lasamphala work

    PT Rio Tinto Indonesia intends to start work this year on its Rp18 trillion (US$1.93 billion) Lasamphala Nickel Project on Sulawesi.
    The project is in the border area of Central and Southeast Sulawesi provinces.
    The Lasamphala mine is expected to annually produce around 46,000 tonnes of nickel metal when it starts operation. It expects to later increase production to around 100,000 tonnes.
    PT Rio Tinto spokesman Budi Irianto says the Indonesian units of Rio Tinto Limited have set aside funds for the work program this year.
    It has been reported that Indonesia’s Mineral, Coal and Geothermal director General Bambang Setiawan says he has recommended that a licence be granted to Rio Tinto for Lasamphala.

  • INDONESIA – Copper up this year

    Copper production in Indonesia is expected to increase to more than 1 million tonnes during 2010.
    The government has forecast production to reach 1,016,949 tonnes this year, however, in 2011 production is expected to fall by 30% to around 644,098 tonnes owing to expansion work, which will be carried out at PT Newmont's Batu Hijau operations in West Nusa Tenggara.
    The expansion will have a temporary effect on the company’s copper and gold production capacity.
    Indonesia’s gold production reached a high of 115,998 tonnes in 2009 but is expected to decrease to 91,171 tonnes this year and fall again in 2011, with the Batu Hijau work contributing to this decline.
    The Indonesian government still considers China and India as desirable markets for these commodities.

  • COMPANY NEWS - New Intertek ICP MS capabilities

    Genalysis Intertek has established an analytical facility in Townsville, Queensland, with state of the art analytical equipment that provides an extensive range of analytical services.
    This facility directly services the mineral resource industry operating in Queensland and the Asia Pacific region.
    The Townsville laboratory has recently expanded its capabilities with the commissioning of an Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP MS).
    The laboratory routinely performs:
    • High and low level sample preparation.
    • Base metal by multi acid digestion.
    • Gold by fire assay.
    • ICP OES, MS and AAS finish.
    Genalysis Intertek offers world-class mineral assay and testing services to the mineral, mining, ore and exploration industries on a global basis.
    As an integral part of the Intertek Minerals Group, Genalysis has been the analytical partner of choice for clients for more than 30 years.
    The Townsville operation is supported by Intertek’s strong network of more than 1000 existing laboratories and offices globally.
    For more information contact the following people at the Townsville office: Regional manager East Coast Australia and Pacific Tony Morgan, mobile: +61 (0) 408 490 237, or laboratory manager Les Norton, 9-23 Kelli Street, Bohle, Queensland, 4814, telephone +61 (0) 7 4774 3655, facsimile +61 (0) 7 4774 4692, email: [email protected]
    www.genalysis.com.au or www.intertek.com




  • INVESTMENT – Wodgina offtake agreements

    Atlas Iron has secured two long-term offtake agreements with medium-sized Chinese steel mills for direct shipping ore (DSO) production from its Wodgina Project in Western Australia.
    The agreements annually cover 1.1 million tonnes of DSO product and represent about 30% of the increased production that will occur as a result of the start of operations at the Wodgina DSO Project.
    The two offtake agreements extend until March 31, 2013, and were executed after careful evaluation of extremely competitive bids received from steel mills.
    The new agreements are in addition to the four offtake agreements announced in late 2008 and early 2009 covering 100% of the iron ore that will be produced from the Pardoo Iron Ore Project.
    Further offtake agreements representing the remaining Wodgina production volumes are expected to be executed in the first half of 2010.
    Atlas Iron’s DSO resource inventory has doubled to 186.6 million tonnes @ 56.6% iron, paving the way for the planned increases in production and sales revenue over the next three years.
    Subject to commissioning of the Utah Point port berth at Port Hedland, the first shipment under these two offtake agreements is expected to be completed by the end of July. 
    Atlas is mining and exporting from its Pardoo project, 75km by road from Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It shipped more than 1 million tonnes of Pardoo DSO in its first year of operation.
    The company is working to further expand its production following commissioning of the Utah Point facility in mid-2010.
    When combined with additional export tonnages from its Wodgina and Abydos DSO projects, the company is targeting exports at an annual rate of 6 million tonnes by the end of 2010, growing to 12 million tonnes by 2012.
    Atlas Iron’s managing director David Flanagan says, “The high level of interest in ore from Atlas’ DSO projects remains very encouraging. We are pleased to welcome two new steel mills to our customer base and look forward to developing strong long-term relationships with them.”

  • MANGANESE – Baramine potential increases

    Drilling results have expanded the manganese potential of Shaw River Resources’ Baramine Project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
    The results have confirmed the scale and extensive nature of near surface manganese mineralization over a combined strike length of 7.6km.
    The trends have not been fully evaluated with drilling to date but the interpretation of the combined data is highly supportive of the continued search for high grade bodies of DSO manganese in the Baramine Project area, which is 80km northwest of the Woodie Woodie Manganese Mine.
    Shaw River’s managing director Vincent Algar says, “As we home-in on the identification of DSO manganese at Baramine, we are increasingly encouraged by what we see in drilling.
    “Extensive and wide zones of manganese dissolution at shallow depths are widespread and we look forward to resuming the search for these highly valuable bodies of sought-after manganese.
    “It must be remembered that Shaw has only been exploring in the area for just over one year and has now completed just 7000 metres of the first-ever drilling at the project.
    “The drilling has identified extensive fault controlled trends of intense manganese dissolution in the chert breccia and dolomite host rocks, similar to the setting of the multiple Woodie Woodie deposits. These results are positive, and continue to support our manganese exploration focus and strategy.”
    Based on the results and the overall prospectivity of the area to host high grade DSO bodies, Shaw River plans to conduct a 4000-6000 metre RC drilling program in May.
    In addition to a targeted search for DSO bodies in the known trends, the company will test at least 25 other priority targets it generated in its work in 2009.
    Shaw River remains busy as it waits for the wet season in the Pilbara to abate. Drilling is planned for its Ghana Manganese Project in West Africa as it completes its evaluation of the option it holds over 80% of the Butre Project. This will be followed by drilling at its 701 Mile Manganese Project near Newman in Western Australia while evaluation of the Talisman Joint Venture at Skull Springs, also in WA, will precede the Baramine drilling in May. 




  • BAUXITE – Maiden Inverell resource

    Australian Bauxite Limited has announced a maiden resource of 22 million tonnes of gibbsite-rich bauxite on its first target area near the New South Wales’ town of Inverell.
    The resource in the A-B deposit is based on drilling of less than 10% of known bauxite areas on the licence area, which is one of 17 tenements the company holds in eastern Australia covering more than 5000sqkm.
    Gibbsitic bauxite upgrades to premium grades at high yields with simple screening and a large proportion of the resource is direct shipping grade (DSO).
    Several additional deposits have also been identified, some covering areas larger than deposit A-B and many times larger than the maiden resource area. The company’s initial target for Inverell is between 200 and 300 million tonnes.
    The small area yielding the maiden resource has been drill tested by 118 holes totaling 1773 metres. The drilling has only evaluated 15-30% of the A-B Deposit which has been mapped for 4.6km to date and is open to the north and west.
    A-B is only one of four major bauxite areas identified to date on this licence and represents less than 10% of the known major bauxite areas identified. There is 40-50% of the tenement yet to be explored.
    The company has recently identified additional major bauxite areas within another of its tenements at Pindaroi, about 10km to the north-east.
    Australian Bauxite also has promising tenements around the southern Queensland city of Toowoomba and in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.


  • MOVERS & SHAKERS – Centrex appointments

    Centrex Metals has appointed Xiaopeng Yin to a casual vacancy on the Board with Dr Liaowu Guo appointed as alternate director.
    The appointments form an integral part of the share placement by Wuhan Iron & Steel (Group) Corporation (WISCO).
    Xiaopeng Yin is general manager of Mineral Industry Corporation and chairman of Wugang Australian Resources Investment, Centrex’s second largest shareholder. Both are wholly-owned subsidiaries of WISCO.
    He has many years experience working in the mining industry. He is presently a director of Consolidated Thompson Mines (Canada) and was the general manager of Daye Iron Ore Mine in Hubei province, China, which has 5000 employees and annually produces 1.1 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate.
    Dr Liaowu Guo is the vice general manager of Mineral Industry Corporation and managing director of Wugang Australian Resources Investment. He will reside in Adelaide from April in anticipation of the start of joint venture activities between the companies and will be WISCO’s delegate to the company.
    He also has much experience in the iron ore industry having been general manager of Chengchao Iron Ore Mine, which has annual production of 1.2 million tonne of iron ore concentrate and has 5000 employees. He was also responsible for construction of a 5 million tonnes/year pellet plant which is the largest in Asia and sixth largest in the world.


  • PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Strong Pigiput assays

    As Phase II core drilling at the Simberi Gold Project nears completion, Allied Gold has received additional high-grade gold assays from diamond holes at the Pigiput deposit.
    The latest drilling and assay results further define the extent of gold mineralization, which is still open to the north-east and support the Pigiput 100,000 ounces/year Sulphide Development Study.
    Gold assays were received for sulphide samples from 11 diamond core holes, with the best down hole intercepts including 44 metres @ 1.12 grams/tonne gold from 254 metres, 27 metres @ 1.65 grams/tonne from 94 metres, 61 metres @ 1.81 grams/tonne from 158 metres, 7 metres @ 4.95 grams/tonne from 128 metres, 53 metres @ 3.38 grams/tonne from 128 metres, 5 metres @ 6.02 grams/tonne from 298 metres, 18 metres @ 2.58 grams/tonne from 134 metres and 33 metres @ 15.0 grams/tonne from 78 metres.
    The holes are part of an ongoing three phase in-fill and step-out program, which began in May 2009, designed to support the Aus$10 million Sulphide and Oxide Expansion Studies based around the Pigiput deposit. These studies target increasing annual total oxide and sulphide production to in excess of 200,000 ounces by 2012.
    Allied Gold is actively undertaking in-fill and step-out diamond core drilling at the Pigiput prospect, in the central part of its Simberi mining lease, with three diamond core drill rigs dedicated to the task.
    The drilling is being used to in-fill and extend the drilling coverage, aiming to increase resources in sulphide, which are currently classified as indicated and inferred, to a higher category.
    Both resources and reserves for the Pigiput and adjacent Pigibo deposits are scheduled for re-estimation by the end of the first quarter in 2010. Further drill testing of the extents of gold mineralization at both prospects is set to continue as Phase III.
    At Pigiput, gold mineralization is generally associated with a moderately north dipping, east-west striking structural surface that can be interpreted across the entire extent of the deposit.

  • PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Five new systems

    Nautilus Minerals discovered five new high grade seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) systems, during its 2009 exploration campaign in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea.
    Grab samples from the new systems, called Solwara 12, 13, 14, 16, and 18, have returned copper grades up to 32.4% and zinc grades up to 52.6%. The samples were collected using a hand-held x-ray fluorescence (XRF) meter.
    Final assays on samples collected from Solwara 12 and 13 have also been received, and indicate gold up to 39.7 grams/tonne and silver up to 682 grams/tonne.
    The company has also made a further high grade discovery at Solwara 11in the Western Bismarck Sea.
    Nautilus' CEO Stephen Rogers says, “Further success in the Bismarck Sea combined with good assay results clearly highlights this region as a significant SMS domain.
    “Our work is now focused on evaluation and ranking of the new systems in preparation for an intensive drilling campaign in 2010.”
    The exploration vessel MV Fugro Solstice was demobilized in Singapore on January 12 after completing a 132 day program of water geochemistry studies, geophysics, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) mapping and ROV sampling.
    A total of 18 SMS systems have now been defined within the Bismarck Sea, along with numerous zones of hot water venting, smaller chimney fields, and barite-rich zones.

  • PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Crater Mountain earthworks

    Extensive earthworks are under way at Gold Anomaly’s Crater Mountain Gold Project with contour benching and road building the primary outcomes.
    Goroka-based earthmoving company Rodcliffe Limited is undertaking the contour benching program on the Nevera prospect using a Komatsu D65 bulldozer with rippers supported by a Komatsu PC-200 series 7 excavator.
    The machinery has been mobilized by float to Lufa District Office from where it will be walked in to Nevera.
    Exploration on Nevera in the Eastern Highland Province is severely hampered by the presence of a remnant layer of volcanic ash up to 3 metres thick draped over the steep present day topography.
    This layer is sufficiently weathered for soil samples to reflect the geochemical signature of the underlying mineralization but is mostly too deep to permit hand-trenching to weathered bedrock.
    As a result it has proven difficult for successive generations of explorers to generate the spread of geological data necessary to properly define the mineralization model and plan ongoing drilling.
    For this reason Gold Anomaly will carry out mechanical contour benching on the prospect to cut through the ash layer and expose continuous weathered bedrock for geological mapping and sampling, prior to selection of targets for the next phase of drilling.
    From Lufa the bulldozer and excavator will follow the existing poorly-maintained and currently unusable Karamui provincial road westwards for about 70km to Kusi village, on the edge of a ridge 5km short of Gwasa and the limit of the road’s construction, carrying out limited repair and maintenance where necessary en route to ensure 4WD vehicle access for logistic support including fuel supply and servicing the machinery.
    The surveyed Karamui road alignment beyond Kusi descends towards Gwasa. It is well marked and the machinery will open this up to 4WD vehicle use as far as the Maviana Creek crossing, 1km short of Gwasa village and airstrip and about 1km downstream from the company’s Nevera Project Mamati base camp.
    A critical feature of the company’s thinking is that a relatively small amount of extra cost and effort expended in making the road drivable behind the machinery will greatly reduce the logistic cost and problems that would be associated with fuelling and servicing the machinery by fixed wing aircraft and helicopter from Goroka through Gwasa airstrip as was originally contemplated, and in addition substantially lower the on-going cost of servicing the exploration program and in particular drilling.
    The short-term hire of a local-based backhoe and tip-truck will be considered in bringing the road to a fully usable standard.  It may take several weeks to get the machinery in as far as the Maviana Creek crossing.
    Once across Maviana Creek the machinery will leave the Karamui road alignment and cut a new track up onto the ridge hosting the prospect before following it 1km southeast to the edge of the prospect, whilst continuing to climb a little and passing above the Mamati camp, at which location a new operations base camp will be established to provide support for the earthworks and the technical crew mapping and sampling the benches.

  • FIJI – Mistry North sampling success

    Surface sampling at the Mistry North Prospect near Geopacific Resources’ Faddy’s Gold Project in Fiji has defined a substantial area of surface gold mineralization.
    The sampling was part of a field evaluation program at Mistry North, which is 1.8km south-west of the Faddy’s gold deposit and immediately north of the old Mistry Gold Mine workings.
    About 23kg of gold at an average recovered grade of 13.6 grams/tonne gold was produced from small, near-surface workings in a narrow, steep dipping mineralized lode during small scale mining activity between 1947 and 1958.
    Exploration by other companies late last century reported anomalous gold in numerous soil auger and rock chip channel samples along trend and directly north of the old Mistry workings.
    Geopacific has completed a program of trenching and rock channel sampling of outcrops, and this has confirmed the occurrence of widespread gold mineralization associated with stockwork veins within fractured and oxidized volcanic and intrusive rocks.
    Rock chip channel samples include 10 metres @ 2.04 grams/tonne gold and an outcrop channel chip sample returned16 metres of 1.65 grams/tonne gold.
    A diamond core drilling rig, drilling equipment and supplies have been mobilized to Fiji to undertake further drill test work at Faddy’s deposit and at several high priority drill targets, including the Vuda gold-copper project.
    The company has also carried out about 365 metres of trenching at the 4300E prospect on the RakiRaki joint venture project.
    The work was designed to test extensions to the 4300E Prospect near-surface gold anomalies and determine the structural control of mineralization intersected in drilling.
    The trenches were completed by digger to sample weathered bedrock beneath shallow alluvial cover. All were successfully sampled and mapped and rock channel samples from the work have been forwarded to the Vatakoula analytical facility for gold analyses.


  • KYRGYZ REPUBLIC – Savoyardy resource increase

    An updated resource estimate for Kentor Gold’s Savoyardy Gold Project has shown a 15% increase in gold ounces.
    There are now an estimated 119,000 indicated tonnes @ 6.2 grams/tonne gold for 23,800 ounces and 91,000 inferred tonnes @ 5.9 grams/tonne for 17,200 ounces.
    The resource estimate has been reported in compliance with the JORC code and is based on 66 diamond drill holes for 5906.3 metres and 23 underground channel sample lines for 329.6 metres in the Rudny area of the Savoyardy exploration licence.
    The mineralization continues along strike and down dip with further diamond drilling planned this year to increase the size of the resource.
    The estimates have been based on the assumption that the deposit will be mined by underground hand held mining methods using the existing development and possible hand sorting of ore.
    There is exploration potential for another 5300 to 6200 ounces in the immediate vicinity of the known lodes at the Rudny Prospect. The 7km of strike between Rudny and the Chinese border remains highly prospective and will be the target for further exploration during 2010.
    Savoyardy is about 145km southeast of the city of Osh. It is also adjacent to and along strike from Majestic Gold’s Sawayerdun Project in the Xinjiang Province of China.
    Kentor’s managing director Simon Milroy says, “The resource estimate represents a further step towards Kentor Gold becoming a mid-tier gold producer with increases in both the size and confidence of the resource with more than half of the contained ounces now in the indicated category.
    “In 2010, an intensive exploration program at Savoyardy will parallel the development of the Andash gold-copper mine.
    “With Andash now moving towards production in 2011, we are taking the opportunity at Savoyardy to establish through exploration a substantial, high grade future gold project rather than pursuing plans for early small scale mining.
    “In addition to increasing the confidence of the resource estimates for Savoyardy additional exploration potential occurs along strike to both the north and south of the current deposit.
    “Previously developed underground exploration drives and cross cuts provide immediate access to the two near parallel and near vertical lodes that comprise the current ore body.
    “In addition, we will continue to explore the 270sqkm Savoyardy exploration licence which contains another 10 known gold occurrences. Our 2010 program is aimed at both improving confidence in the resource estimate and increasing the resource base for the project.”

  • CHINA – Yinping copper-tin acquisition

    Qiao Xing Universal Resources is acquiring the right to 60% of the profit from operation of the Yinping Copper-Tin Mine in Southwest China.
    A co-operation agreement has been signed by the owners of Yinping Mine and Qiao Xing’s newly acquired subsidiary Guangxi Hongyuan Mining Co. Qiao Xing is an emerging Chinese resources company headquartered in Huizhou, Guangdong Province.
    Qiao Xing’s chairman and chief executive officer  Ruilin Wu says, “We are pleased with our progress in the execution of our strategy to grow and diversify our resources business in China.
    “Following the acquisition and commercial launch of our molybdenum mine project in Inner Mongolia, we are now aggressively expanding our business into Southwest China, with a focus on Guangxi, a region rich in natural resources such as aluminum, zinc, tin and copper.
    “The Yinping Mine is a small part of the overall Southwest strategy as we continue to negotiate with additional targets.
    “Through years of research, preparation and trials, our strategy is more clearly defined and our goal to become a pure resources company with relatively large scale is in sight.”
    The Yinping Mine is already in operation and currently has daily milling capacity of 50 tonnes of ore.
    Guangxi Hongyuan is acquiring the right to get 60% profit in exchange for a commitment to invest around RMB20 million (US$2.9 million), which is subject to final due diligence, to add a milling plant with daily capacity of 200 tonnes.
    The milling plant expansion is expected to be completed by June 2010 and at current tin prices is expected to generate annual net income of RMB18 million (US$2.6 million). The company is considering the possibility of increasing the daily milling plant capacity to 300 tonnes.
    Yinping has a tin grade of over 1%, well above the worldwide average grade of 0.45%. According to a domestic technical report, the Yinping Mine has an attractive ore deposit, with a remaining potential tin reserve of 15,000 tonnes, of which 7000 tonnes are proven and probable.


    Australia’s proximity to Indonesia creates many opportunities for the exchange of ideas and expertise, and with both countries being well endowed with mineral resources, this exchange is particularly important in mining.
    One of the most important annual forums facilitating this exchange is OZMINE Indonesia, which this year will be held on March 30 and 31 in Jakarta.
    OZMINE Indonesia, which is organised by Austrade, is the major international mining event dedicated to exclusively showcasing the Australian mining sector in Indonesia.
    There are already many Australian mining companies, mining equipment and mining service suppliers operating in Indonesia, and this number will only increase through events like OZMINE.
    Each year the event attracts regional industry players and this year will include members from Austrade’s ASEAN Mining team and their buyer delegations.
    In 2009 more than 80 Australian companies exhibited at OZMINE and this year the number is expected to reach 100, with more than 2000 visitors anticipated.
    As well as showcasing their products and/or services, OZMINE Indonesia will give Australian companies the opportunity to get the latest insights on Indonesian and regional mining issues from local experts.
    Participants will be able to leverage Austrade’s industry network and government imprimatur to access thought leaders and hear from the Indonesian Government directly on the new Mining Law.
    As well as the conference and exhibition there will be an optional site visit to Balikpapan, Kalimantan from April 1-4.
    For more information contact Hendra Purba, business development manager, mining, Austrade Jakarta, phone +62 21 2550 5323, email hendra.purba@ austrade.gov.au or visit www.austrade.gove.au/OZMINE2010




  • INDONESIA – South Miwah Bluff program

    A resource estimate drill program is being designed for East Asia Minerals’ South Miwah Bluff prospect at its Miwah Gold Project in Aceh Province, north Sumatra.
    The program is expected to begin in the second quarter and is a follow-up to detailed mapping, rock and soil sampling which determined that the South Miwah Bluff Gold Zone is open and may significantly extend from earlier mapping.
    The exploration grid is being extended east from the previously defined 650 metres north-south by up to 300 metres east-west footprint.  Highlights from the detailed follow-up include strong anomalous gold in soils (1 ppm gold) in an area open to the east, and coincident with high relief topography and a surface induced polarization zone with strong resistivity and chargeability results that extend further east.
    Meanwhile the resource estimate drilling at the Miwah Main Zone is progressing well with two drill rigs turning, both having encountered visually altered and mineralized rock in two new holes.
    Elsewhere in the company's impressive Indonesian gold portfolio, work has advanced at the Lower Tengkereng and Bahu porphyry gold-copper projects where geological, geochemical and ground preparations for drilling in the second quarter are on schedule.
    East Asia plans to drill one to two holes in each of these projects to demonstrate the potential of these large porphyry gold systems.
    Work at Lower Tengkereng has provided confidence to improve on grades from the limited historic drilling. Surface channel sampling by East Asia, including 31 metres of 0.77 grams/tonne gold plus 0.03% copper and 116 metres of 0.33 grams/tonne gold plus 0.04% copper, confirms the presence of gold-rich porphyry mineralization.
    These results are significantly better than the historical drill intercepts from the upper 90 metres of the Lower Tengkereng porphyry system, beneath which 339 metres of 0.5 grams/tonne gold plus 0.2% copper were encountered.
    Work at the Bahu project is near completion to provide drill targets in an area where porphyry gold mineralization and alteration have been defined over a 1.6 by 0.9km area. This project has not been previously drilled.

  • INDONESIA – Pahandanjal drilling planned

    Hillgrove Resources aims to start drill testing the Pahandanjal Prospect on the island of Sumba in March or April after a trench sampling program confirmed the presence of large zones of low grade gold mineralization.
    This material surrounds multiple vein sets of medium to high grade mineralization. Many of the earlier trenches had to be extended further into the andesitic host rock and some are still not closed off due to the depth of the intermittent scree cover.
    Best trench results from the Western Vein system include 34 metres @ 2.07 grams/tonne gold and 3.85 grams/tonne silver; 7 metres @ 1.05 grams/tonne gold and 1.93 grams/tonne silver; and 17 metres @ 1.16 grams/tonne gold and 1.79 grams/tonne silver.
    Best results from the Eastern Vein system include 78 metres @ 0.8 grams/tonne gold and 4.27 grams/tonne silver; 52 metres @ 0.51 grams/tonne gold and 5.23 grams/tonne silver; and 24 metres @ 1.06 grams/tonne gold and 3.82 grams/tonne silver.
    The prospect has received only minimal investigation to date and historically the focus has been on the narrow high grade epithermal veins.
    Hillgrove has taken a broader view and implemented detailed soil sampling early in the general survey period as part of a systematic approach to pinpoint additional veins and to characterize the mineralization response in the shallow soil cover.
    Soil sampling has proven to be rather effective and one of the outcomes from the program was the realization that gold anomalism in some cases extended well beyond the obvious outcropping vein systems.
    At this stage it appears that there are two distinct styles of mineralization at Pahandanjal. The first is high grade epithermal gold silver mineralization characterized by narrow veins which display classic epithermal textures, high silica content and banding.
    The second is characterized by low grade disseminated gold/ base metal mineralization which may represent a carbonate base metal-gold/ epithermal gold system.
    Hillgrove has established an office in Waingapu, the capital of East Sumba, which will serve as a logistics/ communications hub.
    Hillgrove’s managing director David Archer says, “The 2009 exploration program on Sumba has been very successful. We’ve outlined an extensive system of epithermal mineralization, with multiple high grade vein systems all enclosed within a lower grade halo.
    “A 5800 metre drilling program to test the depth and strike extents of the mineralization is planned.”


  • INDONESIA – Domestic coal decree

    Producers of coal and other minerals in Indonesia are now required to allocate portion of annual production to the domestic market or they will face sanctions.
    The domestic market obligation (DMO) decree was issued by Indonesia’ Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry on December 31, 2009. It states that the amount allocated for the DMO in the prevailing year will be equal to the estimated annual demand proposed by potential domestic buyers in the previous year.
    The Ministry says producers and domestic consumers are bound to the DMO. Failure to comply will result in sanctions, which vary from a written reprimand to a production cut of up to 50% for producers and up to 50% supply reduction for consumers in the following year.
    Indonesia’s director general for Minerals, Coal and Geothermal Bambang Setiawan says no percentage has been fixed but the amount of the production that has to be sold in the domestic market will be determined according to the domestic demand in the prevailing year.
    He says the amount of coal each of the country's coal miners has to sell on the domestic market will be determined proportionately according to domestic demand in the prevailing year.
    This year’s Indonesian coal production is expected to reach about 250 million tonnes while domestic demand is expected to reach 70 million.

  • INVESTMENT – Bungalow JV approval

    Centrex Metals has received South Australian Government approval to establish a joint venture with Baotou Iron & Steel for the Bungalow Magnetite Project.
    The Bungalow joint venture will see Baotou contribute a total of up to Aus$40 million for a 50% undivided interest in the iron ore rights.
    Baotou will pay Aus$8 million for stage 1 exploration and another Aus$8 million for stage 2 while the balance will be paid on commencement of stage 3, which includes a bankable feasibility study.
    Centrex has been appointed as manager for stages 1 and 2 with a joint venture company to be established to manage the bankable feasibility study and operations.
    Centrex will be reimbursed out of the stage 1 payments for exploration expenses it has incurred since the signing of a Heads of Agreement in September 2007.
    The Bungalow Joint Venture has agreed to an aggressive exploration and study program. There will be minimal organization needed to begin exploration drilling as the company established a core yard and leased accommodation to conduct a 5196 metre diamond drilling program on the deposit in 2008.

  • COPPER – Gem drilling program

    China Yunnan Copper Australia has started a reverse circulation drilling program at its Gem Copper Prospect in the Cloncurry North Project, Queensland.
    The 22 hole program for about 2600 metres is designed to define a maiden inferred resources and follows information generated from three previous drilling campaigns.
    This work returned intersections of 38 metres @ 1.25% copper and 0.20 grams/tonne gold from 33 metres, 8 metres @ 0.89% copper and 0.25 grams/tonne gold from 183 metres, and 6 metres @ 1.57% copper and 0.19 grams/tonne gold from 53 metres.
    China Yunnan has also completed a fixed loop time domain electro magnetic (TEM) geophysical program to confirm the sub surface geology of the prospect area.
    Utilizing interpretations completed by the company’s geologists, a 3D model has been developed for the Gem Prospect. From this model, two approximate north–south striking mineralized zones dipping steeply to the west can be identified.
    These structures host mineralized intrusives and horizontal vein sets of copper sulphide and appear to be closed off to the north of the current drilling but remain open to the south and at depth.
    The new drilling program plans to extend the current identified mineralized zones but also to provide infill information of these mineralized zones which occur under cover between the two main areas of drilling, with the aim to delineate an inferred resource by the end of the March quarter.
    Meanwhile at the China Yunnan-Goldsearch Elaine Dorothy Joint Venture, also in north-west Queensland, an inferred resource estimate on the uranium and Rare Earth Element content will be completed this quarter based on current data.
    This will highlight target areas for further drilling and quantify grade potential of both uranium and REE mineral endowment.
    China Yunnan Copper Australia is an Australian company formed to explore for and develop minerals in Australia and overseas. Cornerstone investor, Yunnan Copper Industry (Group), is one of China’s largest copper producers.

  • PHILIPPINES – Northern Surigao target

    A combined limonite and saprolite exploration target has been established for Mindoro Resources’ northern Surigao projects of from 50 to 70 million dry metric tonnes (DMT) in a grade range of 0.9% to 1.2% nickel and 28% to 32% iron.
    This is in addition to Mindoro's Agata North Project, which has an indicated and measured resource of 26.92 million DMT at 1.11% nickel and 0.06% cobalt, containing 657 million pounds of nickel and 24 million pounds of cobalt, and an additional 3.79 million DMT in the inferred category, containing 89 million pounds of nickel and 2 million pounds of cobalt.
    The Surigao projects are in an important nickel producing district.  The Agata North project contains major strategic nickel laterite resources with strong competitive advantages, including excellent infrastructure, close proximity to the ocean and markets, abundant limestone on site and potential for establishment of a world-class nickel and cobalt processing operation.
    After mapping north of the Agata Project indicated the potential for extensive additional nickel laterite mineralization, Mindoro conducted a program of hand auger drilling to establish nickel laterite areas at least three metres thick and around 1% nickel. The auger is capable of penetrating only part of the upper limonite horizon and, rarely, the higher-grade saprolite horizon below.
    A total of 125 hand auger holes were drilled and 438 samples assayed. Thicknesses and nickel grades within an economically relevant range were utilized in deriving the exploration target. A conservative doubling of the thickness achieved by hand augering was utilized for thickness estimates.
    Most of the laterite areas are within 2-3km of the ocean and limestone, important for any acid processing technologies, is abundant on the projects. The exploration target covers about 900 hectares and the Agata North resource about 300 hectares.
    Detailed drilling will be required to move the target into NI 43-101-compliant resources.
    This large exploration target substantially augments Mindoro's plans to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a local processing plant. The company has commissioned an independent study of development and processing alternatives, and this expected to be completed this month.
    The study will also evaluate the merit of a two phase development - Phase 1 selective production of direct shipping ore (DSO) of medium to higher grade material, greater than 1.4% nickel, from Agata North to supply feedstock for processing plants, followed by a major Phase 2 processing operation.
    The Surigao region is emerging as a major nickel producing district and there are at least 10 DSO nickel laterite mines in production or being developed.
    There are two main nickel laterite belts in the Surigao district - an eastern coastal belt held by a variety of companies and a western coastal belt, which is largely controlled by Mindoro.

  • INDONESIA – Barani boost for Martabe

    The initial ore reserve for the Barani deposit is expected to add about one full year of gold production to G-Resources’ mine plan for the Martabe Gold-Silver Project in Sumatra.
    The Barani reserve statement is expected to be released within weeks and will add to the company’s October 2009 ore reserve announcement.
    Based on the October statement, a new mine plan has been produced for the Martabe Pit 1 deposit which provides a smooth annual production profile of about 250,000 ounces of gold and 2-3 million ounces of silver over the life of mine.
    Total ore reserves over the life of mine are 35.3 million tonnes and total waste is 46.8 million tonnes yielding a low waste to ore strip ratio of 1.33. Within the waste tonnes are 7 million tonnes of inferred mineral resources and conversion of some or all of this material to ore reserves will yield additional ounces of gold and silver and lower the mining strip ratio to less than 1.0.
    Recent near mine and regional exploration activity continue to demonstrate the significant upside potential in and around the Martabe deposits and the gold and gold/copper discovery opportunities on the highly prospective overall tenement. This provides confidence in the potential for expansions and extensions of mine life.
    The Martabe project remains on schedule to produce first gold and silver in the first quarter of 2011.
    Under the EPCM contract with Ausenco, a number of construction contracts have been awarded, including earthworks, permanent access road and logistics contract. In coming weeks, the company will award the mining services, aircraft charter, civil-concrete works and catering contracts.
    In the past six months, a number of key equipment items have been ordered, including the oxygen plant, vibrating screens, elution columns, electro-winning cells, cranes, transformers, high voltage variable speed drives, fans, apron feeders, camp accommodation and many others. The total value of these orders is about US$32 million.
    In addition, there is US$20 million of equipment, ordered 15 months ago and which is warehoused in Singapore and ready for delivery to the project site at the required time. This includes the long-lead items of the SAG mill, the ball mill and the primary crusher
    The full engineering project team is in place and all activities are on schedule. The construction site team continues to mobilize and site activities are increasing exponentially. The operations team is being recruited and operations training programs for local staff commenced.
    Re-estimates of operating and capital costs indicate both will be within the accuracy range of previously reported estimates.
    A sale and purchase agreement (SPA) has also been signed with the Indonesian state-owned power provider PT PLN to supply power to the mine. PLN will provide power for nine years at a tariff of 985 Rupiah (about US10.5 cents) per kWh.

  • INDONESIA – Kutai coal, aluminium plans

    United Arab Emirates company Ras Al Khaimah Investment plans to invest US$5.2 billion in coal, aluminium and power projects in Kutai, East Kalimantan.
    The company aims to develop coal mines and an aluminium processing plant as well as supporting infrastructure, including a 130km coal railway and 1400MW power plant.
    It plans to begin construction as soon as possible and have the work completed in the next two years.
    Ras Al Khaimah proposes a large-scale coal mine to begin production later this year with initial annual capacity of 1 million tonnes but increasing to 17 million tonnes in 2014 and 35 million in 2017.
    The proposed aluminum plant, which will have annual production capacity of 500,000 tonnes, is expected to begin commercial production in 2014.
    The company also intends to build a 1400 MW power plant to provide power for the aluminum processing plant.
    Indonesia’s Ministry of Transportation director general of railways Tunjung Inderawan stated in December that the ministry had issued permits to Trans Kutai Kencana, a joint venture between PT Kutai Timur Investama, owned by the East Kutai administration, and Middle East Coal Private Limited, a subsidiary of Ras Al Khaimah, to build a 130km rail project for coal transportation.

  • INDONESIA – Second rig at Miwah

    As diamond drilling by East Asia Minerals continues to encounter gold mineralization at the Miwah Gold Project in Aceh Province, a second drill rig has arrived on site to begin resource estimate drilling.
    The second rig is capable of drilling to a depth of 350 metres and will begin drilling at the western end of the Miwah Gold Zone.
    The latest diamond drill hole encountered 1.01 grams/tonne gold over 132.9 metres, including 1.64 grams/tonne gold over 70.2 metres.
    The latest hole was shut down at 200 metres downhole depth due to drill rig limitations. It is at the east end of the Main Miwah Gold Zone and tested south of two other holes where 1.28 grams/tonne gold over 183.5 metres, including 2.11 grams/tonne over 77.7 metres; and 1.00 grams/tonne gold over 153.7 metres, including 1.41 grams/tonne over 91.5 metres were encountered.
    To date East Asia has drilled 1km of strike length along the shallow, laterally extensive 1.2km long Main Miwah Gold Zone, and has encountered wide intercepts of gold mineralization in all holes drilled. The main zone remains open in all directions.
    The drilling program is continuing with the existing rig testing silicification and mineralization extending northeast from the Miwah Bluff portion of the Main Zone. The second, larger capacity drill rig, is also being utilized.
    With about Can$8 million of available cash, the company is well funded to easily progress Miwah to completion of the initial NI43-101 compliant resource estimate, and to drill other gold projects in its portfolio, without recourse to financing.

  • INDONESIA - Powering China and India

    Demand for coal to feed the emerging economies of China and India continues to grow and Indonesia is playing a major role in filling these needs.
    While coal is important in a number of areas of economic growth in China and India, Indonesia’s exports are particularly important in the area of power generation.
    In fact, Indonesia is the world’s largest exporter of coal for power generation while Australia’s coal is primarily used for steel industry markets.
    Coal is the primary feed source for power generation in China, India and a number of other Asian countries. For power plants in China and India importing coal from Indonesia is cheaper than supplying it domestically.
    Although alternative energy sources are actively being sought by most countries, the   International Energy Agency predicts that global demand for coal will grow 1.9% annually up to 2015.
    Indonesia’s massive coal resources are likely to fill much of the increase in demand and this has been recognized with Indonesian enterprizes expanding operations and foreign investors taking keen interest in this process.
    In September 2009, China Investment Corp (CIC) made a loan of US$1.9 billion to Bumi Resources, Indonesia’s largest mining company which plans to increase production this year to 100 million tonnes
    Recapital is aiming to acquire Berau Coal, the country’s fifth largest miner, while Banpu Group, a Thai energy company with mining operations in Indonesia and China, is also considering acquisition.
    One factor that will have an impact on the current ‘black’ tide is when coal consumers are required to pay for their carbon emissions as part of global initiatives to tackle climate change. Talks on this topic are being held in all environmental forums around the world.



  • INDONESIA – Maruwai project retained

    BHP Billiton has denied media reports that it will withdraw from Indonesia and there are indications that it will retain a 75% interest in the Maruwai Coal Project in Central Kalimantan.
    The Maruwai project involves 7 mining concessions covering an area of 330,000 hectares.
    Initial production was proposed for mid-2009 at the Haju block in which BHP had invested US$100 million in development.
    However, in June 2009 BHP Billiton announced that it had stopped all mining activities on the Haju site, stating the project conflicted with their long-term strategic investment plan. It also ceased the feasibility study of the Lampunut block and five other areas.
    Indonesia’s director general of coal, mineral and geothermal Bambag Setiawan has stated that BHP will only sell 25% of the Maruwai project with a number of companies showing their interest in this stake.
    Bambag Setiawan is optimistic that the mining giant will continue to operate in Indonesia.
    BHP Billiton is still waiting for recommendations for its nickel development project from the Governor of Central Kalimantan.

  • MONGOLIA: Top 10 for 2010

    There are 10 events that will take place in 2010, according to Frontier Securities, of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, that have great potential to affect future development of Mongolia and its investment environment.
    Frontier Securities says the things that should be watched for in 2010 are:

    1. Tavan Tolgoi, which promises to be the biggest drama/news maker in 2010:
    • Bidding selection postponed until 2010 with the winner to be selected by April.
    • Tavan Tolgoi holds an estimated reserve of 6.5 billion tonnes of coking and thermal coal.
    • News has been surfacing that Tavan Tolgoi might be divided up.

    2. SouthGobi Energy Resources:
    • The Toronto-listed Canadian company is one of the largest coal producers in Mongolia. Was 79% owned by Ivanhoe Mines, before HK sale and CIC’s conversion of bonds to shares.
    • Hong Kong listing planned for early 2010 and may raise up to US$400 million. Citigroup and Macquarie are the managers.
    • Plans to spend US$800 million in 3 years to increase output to China

    3. Ivanhoe Mines:
    • Oyu Tolgoi was the headline of 2009 and will still be a headline in 2010.
    -  3 of 10 Investment Agreement conditions remain.
    -  US$758 million 2010 construction budget.
    -  Revised Technical Report to be announced
    -  Rio Tinto’s exercise of Series A Warrants
    • Ivanhoe hires Citigroup and Hatch Corporate Finance, a mining sector specialist, in early January to look at possibilities ‘to further enhance shareholder value’.
    -  Analysts can’t say what this exactly meant but options include offering new shares or bonds, borrowing money or selling a subsidiary, as well as ‘various corporate transactions’, Reuters reported.

    4. Iron Mining International Hong Kong IPO, originally Hong Kong Lung Ming Investment Holdings:
    • Owner of Eruu Gol iron ore mine
    • US$1 billion is planned to be raised
    • US$1 billion already raised - in 2008 $300 million from Temasek and Hopu, in 2009 $700 million from CIC.

    5. ‘The Three Mongols’ (Mongol Erdes, Mongol Erchim, Mongol Ded Butets):
    • 3 companies proposed by PM Batbold are to consolidate minerals (Mongol Erdes), energy related deposits such as uranium and coal (Mongol Erchim), and infrastructure projects such as roads and railroad (Mongol Ded Butets) in Mongolia and raise funds by IPOs on both international and domestic markets.
    • Role models for ‘The Three Mongols’ are Shenhua, Chinalco, Vale.

    6. Uranium, full of surprises and drama in 2009, in 2010 government’s intensions should become clear:
    • Nuclear Energy Law of 2009 came as a shock to uranium developers in Mongolia, where it states the government will own no less than 51%, for no fee, of uranium deposits discovered with state involvement.
    • New law might mean more national investors.

    7. Infrastructure developments - the biggest obstacle in Mongolia for investors, infrastructure will be a key topic in 2010:
    • Construction of railroads connecting Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi to China.
    • Conflict of interest between Russia and China could heat things up.

    8. Banking sector - Heavy on bad loans, commercial banks will slow the economy in 2010:
    • Total NPLs have increased 4.2 times to 456 billion MNT in November 2009 from the same period of 2008.
    • Whereabouts of merger of 2 banks, Savings and Mongol Post Bank, as well as the fate of financially troubled 2 banks, Anod and Zoos (State Bank), will be the main topics of 2010 in Mongolia’s banking sector.

    9. Economic growth – copper, gold prices will help but slow growth in bank loans will not:
    • 8% GDP growth, according to IMF, and budget deficit of 5% of GDP for 2010
    • 2010 should be the beginning of Mongolia’s long-term high growth.

    10. Mongolian Stock Market – lacking in liquidity, transparency, and size:
    • PM mentioned that Mongolia might consider selling part of the Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) to a foreign stock exchange.
    • New Securities Law was submitted to parliament by FRC which might be passed in the first quarter of 2010.


  • INDIA – NMDC stake to be sold

    As part of the Indian Government’s divestment plan an 8.38% stake in the mining company National Mining Development Corporation (NMDC) will be sold.
    The stake will be sold through a Follow-on Public Offer (FPO) which is expected to raise US$3.02 billion and the government will use these funds for social sector schemes. Currently, the government has a 98.38 per cent share in NMDC.
    The other three FPOs that the government has planned for coming months include those of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Rural  Electrification Corporation (REC) and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL).
    Incorporated in 1958 as a Government of India fully-owned public enterprise, NMDC is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Steel. The company has been involved in the exploration of a wide range of minerals including iron ore, copper, rock phosphate, limestone, dolomite, gypsum, bentonite, magnesite, diamond, tin, tungsten, graphite, beach sands, etc.
    NMDC is India's single largest iron ore producer and exporter, and is presently producing about 30 million tonnes of iron ore from 3 fully mechanized mines - Bailadila Deposit-14/11C and Bailadila Deposit-5, 10/11A in Chhattisgarh State, and Donimalai Iron Ore Mines in Karnataka State.
    NMDC also has the only mechanized diamond mine in the country with annual capacity of 1.00 lakh carats at Panna in Madhya  Pradesh State. The mine was made non-operational on August 22, 2005, as per the directives of the government's Pollution Control Board. The issues have now been resolved and formal orders were received on June 19, 2009, to restart mining operations.


  • INVESTMENT – Copper Hill study funds

    An agreement with China National Automation Control System Corp (CACS) will allow Golden Cross Resources to conduct a bankable feasibility study at its Copper Hill Project in Central New South Wales.
    The Sinomach Group company signed a Memoradum of Understanding in Beijing with Golden Cross officials.
    Golden Cross will now invite its shareholders to participate in the financing of this strategic development.
    Beijing-based investment company CUMIC, which supports Golden Cross through HQ Mining, has agreed to provide financial support for the study, holding firm to the view that Copper Hill represents a solid mining investment given China’s future copper requirements.
    A positive feasibility study will allow the sourcing of capital from China and, once the decision-to-mine is taken, CACS will source all necessary plant and equipment from China and within Australia. The SX-EW copper metal will be sold to CACS’ associated companies in China.
    Golden Cross’ managing director Kim Stanton-Cook says, “Golden Cross is well placed to join the ranks of producers.
    “Copper Hill has excellent infrastructure, ease of mining, low strip ratio, and good metallurgical characteristics.
    “Copper Hill project economics continue to improve with the now sustained increase in global copper and gold prices. Using best case assumptions from the conceptual model I predict that, on average, more than 20,000 tonnes of copper and 75,000 ounces of gold could be produced annually over a mine life of 20 years.
    “The plan to rail copper-gold sulphide concentrates to a roaster complex to be constructed by Golden Cross and CACS in South Australia has considerable merit and strong local support. Sulphide roasting, acid recovery, and metal recoveries using SX-EW and CIL are all well-proven, global technologies.”
    Golden Cross is set to resume drilling at Copper Hill.

  • URANIUM – Elaine Dorothy mineralization

    High grade, near surface uranium and rare earth element mineralization has been intersected at China Yunnan Copper Australia’s Elaine Dorothy uranium target in north-west Queensland.
    A limited diamond drill program has been carried out at the target, which is part of the Mary Kathleen Joint Venture, Northwest Properties.
    The Northwest Properties comprise China Yunnan’s Cloncurry North Project and Mount Isa Project and the Mary Kathleen Joint Venture with Goldsearch.
    Three drill holes totaling 344 metres have been drilled as part of a HQ diamond twin drill program of historic holes at Elaine Dorothy. The final two deeper diamond holes were unable to be completed before the end of the field season in late 2009 but will be completed after target refinement early this year.
    All holes intersected significant mineralization with the best intersection from a hole near a surface prospecting pit returning a near surface intersection of 3 metres @ 1.32 kg/tonne uranium oxide, 1.17% cerium and 0.59% lanthanum from 27.5 metres, including 1 metre @ 2.85 kg/tonne uranium oxide, 1.67% cerium and 0.81% lanthanum from 28.5 metres.
    At the base of this hole a zone of intense potassic alteration was intersected which returned 1 metre @ 0.62% copper and 1740 ppm molybdenum from 72 metres.
    The intersections broadly confirm the zones of mineralization identified in previous drill campaigns in the 1980s and 1950s.
    Field investigations have identified a number of surface copper occurrences in the vicinits of Elaine Dorothy which are planned to be followed up. Elaine Dorothy is about 5km south of the previously mined Mary Kathleen deposit, which yielded 9.2 million tonnes at a grade of 1.20 kg/tonne uranium oxide and 3% rare earth elements.

  • CONFERENCES – Mongolia’s exciting story

    2010 will be an exciting period for mining in Mongolia and the Mongolia Mineral Exploration Roundup – 2010 in Ulaanbaatar in March promises to reflect the dawning of a new era for the industry.
    The conference will be held from March 12-14 at the Conference Hall in the Russian Science and Cultural Centre in Ulaanbaatar and is expected to attract delegates from around the world who are keen to learn more about Mongolia’s emerging mining industry.
    Mineral Exploration Roundup - 2010 will examine the geology and exploration of ore deposits in Mongolia and their genesis, geotectonics and metallogeny. It will also focus on the energy mineral resources of Mongolia, including uranium and coal.
    There will also be plenty of opportunity for discussion about the changing nature of the country’s exploration and mining potential.
    The event is being organized by the Ministry of Mineral Recources and Energy, Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia, Mongolian Society of Economic Geologists, The Geological Society of Mongolia, Mongolian University of Science and Technology, and the National University of Mongolia.
    Besides the program of speakers and discussion panels, delegates will have the ability to nominate the ‘best exploration geologist of the year’ and ‘the best rocks and minerals show’.
    The first Mongolia Mineral Exploration Roundup in March 2009 was organized by the Mongolian Society of Economic Geologists and the Geological Society of Mongolia with more than 700 national and foreign geologists working throughout Mongolia in attendance.
    Sponsors of the event were foreign exploration companies such as Polo Resources, Boroo Gold Company, Centerra Gold Mongolia, Thetis Mining, Actlabs Asia, Altan Rio Mongolia and Avex Mongolia as well as local exploration, mining and drilling companies such as Erdenet Mining Company, Litholog, A-Jet, SapphireGeo, Mangood Drilling, Brown Bear Drilling, Tengeriin Khuukhduud Drilling, Geosan, MineInfo and Lunda.
    The Mongolian Society of Economic Geologists and the Geological Society of Mongolia intend to make this an annual event and attract even more interest from foreign companies already working or investing in Mongolia, as well as those considering this action.
    www.monseg.mn  and www.geos.mn

  • MOVERS & SHAKERS – Asia Pacific move

    United States boutique investment bank I-Bankers Securities, a subsidiary of the IBS Group, has appointed Dom Del Borrello as managing director, Asia Pacific.
    The appointment coincides with the group’s expansion into Australia, Asia and the Pacific from a head office established in Melbourne, and to be operated under the banner of IBS Securities Limited.
    The group already has offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Milan, Como, Lugano and Santa Monica.
    As managing director, Asia Pacific, Dom Del Borrello will be responsible for establishing IBS Securities’ presence in the Australian and Asian market in its core capability of assisting small cap issuers access equity and debt capital, and enabling existing European, US and Asian institutional investors to gain access to choice small cap investments in the region.
    He takes up his Melbourne appointment from his recent three year role as the Rome-based chief financial officer for Australian-listed gas producer, Po Valley Energy.
    Prior to this he spent three years working with global titanium minerals and zircon producer, Iluka Resources, as group manager, treasury and risk, and has significant corporate finance and capital markets experience with a focus on resource and energy companies. He worked for a number of years in London for the investment bank, Goldman Sachs.
    IBS Group chairman and CEO Mike McCrory says, “This expansion increases IBS Group’s global reach and is in response to client interest and demand for broader access to growth market opportunities in the Asia Pacific.
    “The new Australasian and Pacific base will allow IBS Group to better serve our existing clients while broadening our global platform.
    “In the Australian market particularly, Mr Del Borrello’s experience in corporate finance and capital markets, with a focus on resources and energy industries, will enhance IBS Group’s capital raising, advisory and distribution opportunities at a time China and Asian commodities markets are looking to secure a foothold in Australia resource owners or direct project equity.
    “However, although the re-emerging resources sector is the most buoyant of any of the main market groupings, IBS Group is in business to assist all target customers regardless of sector.”