Brazil Minerals, Inc. announced that it has advanced on mining licensing requirements for its new gold and diamond project in northern Minas Gerais state in Brazil. On September 18, 2018, the Company announced that 35 out of 35 drill holes in a drilling campaign undertaken in the area were visually positive for gold and on September 20, 2018, the Company further announced the discovery on such property of a geological band with high probability of extractable diamonds.

Since presenting these news items, Brazil Minerals has hired additional consultants, including an expert in the licensing of new mining projects with regulatory bodies. The Company has had positive meetings with such regulators and is now engaged in finalizing an application for an initial commercial mining operation in the area. As of now, Brazil Minerals believes that this area could be revenue-generating within the second quarter of 2019.

Of note, Brazil elected Mr. Jair Bolsonaro as its new President effective on January 1, 2019. Marc Fogassa, CEO of Brazil Minerals, commented, "In my personal opinion, the election of Mr. Bolsonaro is best for Brazil because it will allow entrepreneurship and free enterprise to flourish. The leftist media have tried to tarnish him and should be ignored. I believe that this new course will make Brazil an even more appealing destination for investment going forward."


About Brazil Minerals, Inc.  

Brazil Minerals, Inc. along with its subsidiaries has a business model focused on: 1) mining specific areas for gold and diamonds, and 2) generating projects from its portfolio of high quality mineral rights for transactions leading to royalties and/or equity positions. Our first equity holdings from such strategy is a 55% ownership in Jupiter Gold Corporation . More information on Brazil Minerals is at http://www.brazil-minerals.com.

Surge Exploration Inc. is pleased to announce that its Board of Directors has approved the final terms of the Definitive Option Agreement (the “Agreement”) alongside the Board of Directors for Compañía Minera del Pacífico S.A. to acquire up to 100% of the Atacama Cobalto Exploration Property near Copiapó Chile.    


The formal Agreement signing, to be executed by both CAP Mineria and Surge’s wholly owned Chilean subsidiary, Surge Exploration Chile SpA, is planned by both parties later in the month when Surge management travels to meets with CAP Mineria management in Santiago, Chile.


Compañía Minera del Pacífico S.A. owns and operates several iron ore mines such as Los Colorados and Cerro Negro Norte and is a controlled subsidiary of CAP S.A. (http://www.cap.cl) a Chilean company founded in 1946.  CAP S.A. is publicly traded on the Santiago Stock Exchange (SSE: CAP) with a market capitalization in excess of US$1.65 billion.  CAP S.A.’s principal operations include steel making and steel processing plants, iron ore mines, marine ports, desalination plants, and power transmission lines.  In 2017, CAP S.A. reported revenues in excess of US$1.9 billion and employed over 4,000 people, and CAP Mineria reported profits in excess of US$200 million and employs over 2,000 people in its operations.

The original non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (the “MOU”) between CAP Mineria and Surge to acquire an option of up to 100% of the Atacama Cobalto Project (“Atacama Cobalto Project”) was first announced on July 24, 2018.


Tim Fernback, President & CEO of Surge, said: “Surge Exploration is excited to get board approval on this Agreement and to begin the process of exploring in this historically IOCG and cobalt rich area. We look forward to working with CAP Mineria to develop the Atacama Cobalto Project with a well-conceived exploration program for the benefit of our shareholders.  The property is 1,059 hectares large and has had 43 diamond drill holes completed on it to date by CAP S.A.  This is an advanced exploration property, with over 20,250 m (66,437 ft.) of drill core and past assays that Surge can benefit from.  Our exploration plan will include the completion of a NI 43-101 Geological Report, an initial 3-D underground model based on past exploration programs and additional drilling and metallurgical tests on the property.”  


Mr. Fernback continues “The property was originally explored with the idea that it could be an iron-ore mine prospect by CAP S.A., and ended up showing good cobalt potential with positive assay results.  We are extremely excited about the cobalt potential of this property.”


Transaction Terms:

Subject to completion of a comprehensive due diligence process by Surge, the Company and CAP Mineria intend to enter into a Definitive Option Agreement (the “Agreement”), subject to TSX Venture Exchange (“TSX-V”) approval. The Agreement will address three (3) phases (“Phase 1”, “Phase 2”, ”Phase 3”).


As part of the Phase 1 the Company may choose to acquire 51% of the mining concessions for a consideration in the amount of US$3,000,000 and 1,000,000 shares of Surge Exploration Inc., in addition to certain work commitments on the property.


 Once Surge fulfills Phase 1, a mining legal partnership will be created between Surge and CAP Mineria (the “Newco”), in which the parties will participate with 51% of equity in the case of Surge, and with a 49% in the case of CAP Mineria.

Within two (2) years of fulfillment of Phase 1, the Company may elect to pursue Phase 2, whereby Surge can to acquire an additional 9%, for a total of 60%, of the Newco upon completion of a positive Preliminary Economic Assessment (the “PEA”).

Within two (2) years of fulfillment of Phase 2, the Company may elect to pursue Phase 3, whereby Surge can acquire an additional 10%, for a total of 70%, of the Newco upon completion of a positive Pre-Feasibility Study (the “PFS”). Surge can earn up to 100% of the mining concessions by contributing in excess of its 70% obligation to the Newco, thereby diluting CAP Mineral’s interest in Newco. In the event that CAP Mineria’s interest is diluted below 10%, its share will automatically convert to a 2% Net Smelter Return (“NSR”), and CAP Mineria shall maintain the right to convert its ownership percentage in exchange for a 2% NSR at any time. In either case, upon CAP Mineria’s conversion to NSR, Surge shall achieve 100% ownership of the Newco, and therefore, in the Atacama Cobalto Project.


This Transaction is subject to the formal signing of the agreement by both parties, applicable finder’s fees and is subject to TSX Venture Exchange approval.  

Qualified Person: The technical content of this news release has been reviewed and approved by Thomas Eggers.  Mr. Eggers is a non-independent Qualified Person within the meaning of National Instrument 43-101 Standards, as a Registered Member of the Chilean Mining Commission.


About the Atacama Cobalto Project:

The Atacama Cobalto Project is located in the Atacama Province in northern Chile, 15 km northwest of the town of Copiapó, where mining is the largest economic activity, and the mining industry is one of the region’s major employers. The Atacama Cobalto Project consists of 1,059 hectares and is located only 3 km East of the Cerro Iman Mine.


The area of interest hosts several other mining companies and is situated near the mylonitic corridor that is part of the Atacama Fault System that hosts many of the IOCG deposits in northern Chile. The Atacama Cobalto Project corresponds to a “cobalt anomalous IOCG” associated with the geographic area.

The Atacama Cobalto Project benefits from access to excellent infrastructure, including port access, energy supply, and access through the Pan American Highway.


About Surge Exploration Inc. https://surgeexploration.com/

The Company is a Canadian-based mineral exploration company which has been active in the resource sector in both British Columbia and Ontario, Canada.  The Company operates a wholly-owned Chilean subsidiary, Surge Exploration Chile SpA, and maintains an exploration office in Santiago, Chile to review mineral exploration opportunities in Chile and elsewhere in South America.

Atacama Cobalto Project, Copiapó, Chile:

The Atacama Cobalto Project is located in the Atacama Province in northern Chile, 15 km northwest of the town of Copiapó, where mining is the largest economic activity, and the mining industry is one of the region’s major employers. The Atacama Cobalto Project consists of 1,059 hectares and is located only 3 km East of the Cerro Iman Mine.  To date, CAP Minería has drilled over 20,250 m on the Atacama Coblato Project.  The option on this project is subject to TSXV approval.


Incahuasi Lithium Project, Salar de Incahuasi, Chile:

The Incahuasi Lithium property is located on the northernmost section of the Incahuasi salar, 75 km southeast from both the town of Tilomonte, Chile and the Salar de Atacama, where mining is the largest economic activity, and the mining industry is one of the region’s major employers.  The Incahuasi salar is located on the national border between Chile and Argentina at an elevation of 3,260 m.  The Incahuasi Lithium Project Project consists of 10 mineral exploration concessions totalling 2,300 hectares with the adjoining 9,843 hectare property located directly over the national border in Argentina is held by Advantage Lithium.  Announced on October 31, 2018, the non-binding MOU on this project is subject to additional due diligence by the Company, a formal Definitive Option Agreement by both the vendor and Surge and TSXV approval.

Cobalt Ontario Properties

The Company has an option to earn an undivided 60% interest in the Glencore Buck Property and the Teledyne Property, located in Cobalt Ontario.

Hedge Hog Property, British Columbia

The Company has an option to earn an undivided 60% interest seven mineral tenure covering 2,418 hectares (5,972 acres) located approximately 80 km northeast of the town of Quesnel, BC and 20 km north of the historic gold mining towns of Wells and Barkerville.

Pan American Silver Corp. reported unaudited results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018. Pan American Silver's unaudited condensed interim consolidated financial statements and notes ("financial statements"), as well as Pan American Silver's Management's Discussion and Analysis as at and for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2018, are available on Pan American Silver's website at www.panamericansilver.com and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com

    Decreased metal prices, including their effect on net realizable value ("NRV") inventory adjustments, impacted financial results in Q3 2018
    Revenue of $187.7 million, which was reduced approximately $9.8 million by negative settlement adjustments on concentrate shipments
    Cash from operating activities of $41.7 million
    Net loss of $9.2 million, equivalent to $0.06 basic loss per share
    Adjusted loss of $4.7 million, equivalent to $0.03 basic adjusted loss per share, impacted by approximately $23.4 million in negative NRV inventory adjustments
    Cash and short-term investment balance of $252.7 million, up $2.4 million from June 30, 2018


"We continue to generate strong cash flow, which increased our cash and short-term investment balance at the end of the quarter to $252.7 million, despite realizing the lowest metal prices of the year," said Michael Steinmann, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. "The depressed metal prices had a significant impact on both settlement adjustments on concentrate shipments and NRV inventory adjustments, which together reduced earnings in the quarter by approximately $33.2 million."

Added Mr. Steinmann: "Operationally, our La Colorada asset is exceeding expectations. The expansion is performing above design capacity, achieving record quarterly silver production of two million ounces in Q3 2018. We are also excited by the recent exploration discovery, which will very positively impact the future of this mine."

Consolidated Q3 2018 Highlights:

    Production on track - Silver production was 6.3 million ounces and gold production was 42.1 thousand ounces. Zinc, lead and copper production were 16.7 thousand tonnes, 5.7 thousand tonnes, and 2.6 thousand tonnes, respectively. The Company is on track to achieve the annual 2018 production guidance..
    Cash costs per payable ounce of silver, net of by-product credits, ("cash costs") were $5.24 per ounce and reflect lower by-product credits, primarily from decreased base metal prices, and higher operating costs, primarily due to the expanded operations at our Mexican mines. Partially offsetting the increases to cash costs were lower direct selling costs from improved contract terms for concentrate treatment and refining.
    All-in sustaining costs per silver ounce sold ("AISCSOS") were $13.73. Excluding non-cash NRV inventory adjustments, AISCSOS were $10.05. Based on YTD 2018 cash costs and AISCSOS, the Company is on track to achieve the annual 2018 cash costs and AISCSOS guidance, as previously lowered on August 8, 2018.
    Solid balance sheet - At September 30, 2018, the Company had a cash and short-term investment balance of $252.7 million, working capital of $443.6 million, and $300.0 million available under its undrawn revolving credit facility. Total debt of $8.4 million was related entirely to finance lease liabilities.
    COSE and Joaquin projects - Both projects remain on budget with $5.3 million invested during Q3 2018. The COSE project is progressing on schedule. At Joaquin, development of the decline has returned to planned levels after successfully negotiating an area of unexpectedly difficult ground conditions. The delay may result in extending completion of the project by approximately two months.

    Quarterly cash dividend - The Board of Directors has approved a cash dividend of $0.035 per common share, or approximately $5.4 million in aggregate cash dividends, payable on or about November 30, 2018, to holders of record of Pan American Silver's common shares as of the close on November 19, 2018. Pan American Silver's dividends are designated as eligible dividends for the purposes of the Income Tax Act (Canada). As is standard practice, the amounts and specific distribution dates of any future dividends will be evaluated and determined by the Board of Directors on an ongoing basis.

Cash costs, AISCSOS, adjusted earnings, basic adjusted earnings per share, and working capital are not generally accepted accounting principle ("non-GAAP") financial measures. Please refer to the "Alternative Performance (non-GAAP) Measures" section of this news release for further information on these measures.


About Pan American Silver

Pan American Silver Corp. is the world's second largest primary silver producer, providing enhanced exposure to silver through a diversified portfolio of assets, large reserves and growing production. We own and operate six mines in Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia. Pan American Silver maintains a strong balance sheet, has an established management team with proven operating expertise, and is committed to responsible development. Founded in 1994, the Company is headquartered in Vancouver, B.C. and our shares trade on NASDAQ and the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "PAAS".

SSR Mining Inc. provides an update on its exploration activities and results at its Marigold mine in Nevada, U.S., and Seabee Gold Operation in Saskatchewan, Canada for the period from August 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018 .

At the Seabee Gold Operation, confirmation of a discovery at the Santoy Gap hanging wall ("HW") is expected to define new gold Mineral Resources when we report our Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves estimates for year-end 2018.  Drill results at Santoy Gap HW include:

    Drillhole SUG-18-622 intersected 25.6 g/t gold over 4.1 meters true width; and
    Drillhole SUG-18-612 intersected 12.3 g/t gold over 4.8 meters true width

Also at the Seabee Gold Operation, infill drilling at Santoy 8A is expected to convert Inferred Mineral Resources to the Indicated category when we report our Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves estimates for year-end 2018.  Drill results at Santoy 8A include:

    Drillhole SUG-18-941 intersected 11.2 g/t gold over 18.5 meters true width; and
    Drillhole SUG-18-943 intersected 14.1 g/t gold over 7.0 meters true width; and
    Drillhole SUG-18-913 intersected 12.2 g/t gold over 7.0 meters true width.


Infill drill results for the Red Dot area at the Marigold mine include:

Drillhole MRA6626 intersected 3.4 g/t gold over 71.6 meters intersected width, including 8.9 g/t gold over 25.9 meters intersected width; and     Drillhole MRA6647 intersected 1.2 g/t gold over 185.9 meters intersected width, including two higher grade intervals of 8.8 g/t gold over 6.1 meters, and 3.6 g/t gold over 32.0 meters.

Paul Benson, President and CEO said, "Our exploration investments at Seabee and Marigold continue to yield significant results.  Importantly, results at Seabee continue to confirm the strong prospectivity and long-life nature of the Santoy mine.  At Marigold we are also encouraged by results from drilling at Red Dot and Mackay, as we look to continue our long-term track record of replacing and growing reserves concurrent with the assessment of an expansion in mid-2019.  Our exploration programs are a key driver of value and growth for our shareholders, and continue at full pace as we move into the end of the year."


Seabee Gold Operation, Canada

At the Seabee Gold Operation, total year to date diamond drilling includes 35,258 meters from underground in 104 holes and 15,390 meters from surface in 61 holes.  Recent results increase confidence in the continuity of gold mineralization at Santoy Gap HW (see Figure 1).  Drilling during the third quarter at Santoy Gap HW included results from 30 drill holes.  These holes, along with exploration results since September 2017, have provided clarity to the controlling structure along with continued high grade gold intercepts. These are found on the footwall side of an S-folded attenuated granodiorite intrusion that dips and plunges in a similar manner to the Santoy Gap deposits. On the 46 level, as shown in Figures 2 and 3, this mineralized zone is located 100 meters from existing infrastructure, and can be accessed easily.

We expect this new discovery at Santoy Gap HW to contribute new, additional Mineral Resources when we report our Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves estimates for year-end 2018.


At Santoy 8A we completed 72 holes in the Exploration Period towards converting Inferred Mineral Resources to Indicated Mineral Resources, and this work is on-going.  Results to date have been positive and increase our confidence that the majority of the Santoy 8A area that we have drilled will be upgraded in classification providing additional Mineral Reserves at year-end 2018.

At the early-stage Fisher project our objective is to discover a new zone with Inferred Mineral Resource potential.  Work during 2018 has comprised mapping, prospecting, soil and overburden sampling, and drilling of 18 holes for a total of 10,416 meters.  Results from the prospecting and drilling have identified new gold bearing quartz vein shear zone exposures, while the first pass drill results have yielded anomalous gold results.  The widespread nature of the gold occurrences at Fisher and their geologic similarities to the Seabee and Santoy mines reinforces our view of prospectivity of this extensive property package.  Drilling is presently underway on these new targets.

Marigold mine, U.S.

At the Marigold mine, total year to date drilling includes 72,017 meters primarily focused on Red Dot and Mackay with the objective to convert Mineral Resources to Mineral Reserves. During the third quarter at Red Dot and Mackay, we received results from 44 holes that together with earlier drilling, increases our confidence that a portion of the Red Dot Inferred Mineral Resources will be upgraded at year-end 2018 (see Figures 4, 5 and 6).  If the current Inferred Mineral Resources upgrade work is successful, the upgraded Mineral Resources will be subject to additional geotechnical drilling and engineering during the first half of 2019 with the goal of declaring a Mineral Reserve at Red Dot and also an updated mine plan by mid-year 2019.


About SSR Mining

SSR Mining Inc. is a Canadian-based precious metals producer with three operations, including the Marigold mine in Nevada, U.S., the Seabee Gold Operation in Saskatchewan, Canada and the 75%-owned and operated Puna Operations joint venture in Jujuy, Argentina. We also have two feasibility stage projects and a portfolio of exploration properties in North and South America. We are committed to delivering safe production through relentless emphasis on Operational Excellence. We are also focused on growing production and Mineral Reserves through the exploration and acquisition of assets for accretive growth, while maintaining financial strength.

Following in the footsteps of tech firms like Amazon and Google, US mineralogists and scientists are experimenting with machine learning and big data to discover new, potentially lucrative mineral deposits. Heidi Vella speaks to the experts from the Deep Carbon Observatory to ask how their research might one day transform mineral exploration.


Understanding more about mineral formations and physical properties has high value for academics, miners, material scientists and engineers alike. And while mineralogists and geologists have been studying the Earth’s crust for centuries, its sheer size and complexity means there is still much more to discover.

“Much of what we learn through material and atomic scale behaviour is through minerals, so it is important to know and characterise what is out there,” says Dr Shaunna Morrison, a mineralogist and planetary scientist at Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory.


“When we have a good representation of the actual mineral inventory it can tell us a lot about the geologic past of our planet.”

To learn more and to learn quicker, experts have been experimenting with applying advanced data science techniques to mineralogy.

Last year, Morrison and her colleagues from the Deep Carbon Observatory – a community of over 1,000 scientists – published a paper that showed how network theory, which has previously been used to analyse the spread of disease, terrorist networks, and Facebook connections, can reveal mineral diversity and distribution worldwide.

The technique uses mathematical theory for organising, connecting and understanding data and can even predict minerals as yet unknown to science. But it’s the potential for finding new deposits that really shines.



Mineral discovery using data science

According to Morrison, the data science method that could be of the most interest to miners is the ongoing work using recommender systems – a mathematical data science algorithm for infinity analysis or ‘market basket’ analysis –  to understand co-concurrent relationships.

This data science technique is routinely used by firms like Amazon to understand items frequently purchased together, information which is then used to suggest additional purchases for customers.


“Just like Amazon-purchasing co-occurs, so do minerals co-occur on Earth’s surface in a very systematic way, so this is something we can easily characterise,” she explains.

The US Geological Survey (USGS), Mindat.org and the Deep Carbon Observatory, among others, have large databases that include mineral evolution data, geospatial information, mineral occurrence frequency, age and more, which scientists can use to generate models of mineral co-occurrence around the world.


From this information, mineralogists can then determine which other locations have the highest probability of having a previously unknown deposit of a mineral or mineral assemblage.


“For example, if we know that a certain combination of mineral species signals that there is likely a deposit of interest, we can determine where that deposit is most likely to exist,” Morrison explains.

“We can even determine the probability, for example, that there is a 2% chance you will find it there and a 96% chance you will find it somewhere else: I think that is really interesting for mining companies and several have already shown interest.”

Data sharing encourages smarter working

This work essentially extends on what is already being done by geologists and mineralogists, but on a much larger scale.

“In reality, we are not just looking at two parameters, but tens of thousands that affect a system – this is something that is really hard for any human brain to see in a spreadsheet or even using standard statistical methods,” says Morrison.

However, for advanced machine learning, using multi-varying techniques, a system can be characterised in an extremely multi-varied and multi-dimensional way.


“No one person can understand all the systems and go through all the data in a blink of an eye,” she adds.


By using these techniques, it is eventually hoped that mining companies will find commercially viable deposits much quicker and easier, and help them to know where they definitely shouldn’t be looking.

While algorithms can determine the probability of where certain deposits might be, they can’t yet determine how big they are.

This is something Morrison says they want to do in the future, but they will require more data.


“The issue is a lack of data on the amount of materials on Earth’s surface right now,” she says. “Mining companies have a lot of information but it is often held privately.”

Data sharing is often considered off-limits within mining firms for competition reasons. Yet Morrison believes if all data was shared it could ‘elevate everyone’ to work smarter.

“Mining companies are still going to have their competitive edge, whether that is buying-power or efficiency in operations or their location,” she adds. “Data is power and if we really want to understand where to explore and where not to we need to quantify everything.”

Going deeper into the Earth’s crust

Scientists at the USGS are also doing similar work. The agency’s Gilpin R. Robinson Jr. says the USGS is “constantly looking for methods to improve how data is integrated and interpreted for better resource assessment work.”

The agency has large databases on regional sediment and soil chemistry, on geophysical data, some generated by satellite and airborne methods, and regional data sets on aeromagnetic, radiometric and regional variations in gravity.

Using these data sets, it is working to determine what minerals are in the deeper elements of the Earth’s crust, which could be potential targets for certain deposit types.


“Much mineral exploration has been successful on the Earth’s surface, and one of the biggest frontiers in the future is identifying deposits that are hidden under either sediments or other rock units that occur at some depth,” explains Robinson.


“That requires imaging and modelling of the characteristics of the subsurface, so some of our analysis for these big data sets is trying to interpret what the sub-surface units are.”


Scientists know that mineral deposits usually form where there are some elements of interest in the crust. This usually involves a process or event that transports or moves these elements, either via magmas in volcanic systems or crustal fluids that move through the crust and dissolve and transport metals.


Certain structures help focus those transport mechanisms, and then the fluids eventually get trapped and concentrated.

“We are trying to understand the data and put it altogether to find where this might have happened to identify regional targets,” explains Robinson.


The USGS is using geologic maps at a variety of scales that can be integrated together using machine learning and data science to derive insights faster and cheaper.


This work is particularly relevant for desert areas where sand covers minerals, and in the future could identify high probability targets for costly exploration efforts for commercial deposits deeper than one or two kilometres below the surface.


To further this research, the USGS has started working with Geoscience Australia, which is particularly interested in the research because the country has huge areas of sand-covered land that it wants to map and model.


Collaboration: exchanging people and knowledge

More and more academia and government organisations are looking to utilise data for better geological insights. Both the British Geological Survey and the Geological Survey of India are looking into doing this.


However, Morrison and Robinson hope that mining companies will be more willing to work with academia in the future through partnerships and exchanging of people and collaborations.


“We can undertake higher risk reward work than mining companies, which is why these partnerships can be so powerful,” she says.


“I would love to send students to work at a mining company to really understand what it is they want, which we can then use to guide what we are doing,” she says.


This exchange of people and knowledge can be beneficial for miners and academics alike. For the price of a PhD student’s tuition and salary for a year, mining firms can get further valuable insights out of the investments they’ve already made collecting the data.


“That is a lot cheaper compared to drilling holes,” says Morrison. “Where you have data and you have questions, machine learning can help you answer those questions.”

Navarre Minerals Limited and Catalyst Metals Limited are pleased to advise that Navarre received notification from the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) of the acceptance of a Mineralisation Report for the Tandarra Gold Project.

The Joint Venture partners will work with DEDJTR to finalise a programme of work and milestones that will apply to the new licence during progression from exploration to feasibility.

The Tandarra Project (EL 4897) is a gold discovery under shallow cover, located approximately 60kms northwest from Kirkland Lake Gold's world class Fosterville Gold Mine.


The Tandarra Gold Project comprises Exploration Licence EL 4897, located in the Whitelaw Gold Belt in Victoria. In December 2017, an application was lodged with DEDJTR for a Retention Licence (RL006660) to replace EL4897 and a Mineralisation Report and programme of works was also lodged to show that significant gold mineralisation had been discovered in the project area.

Following grant of the Retention Licence, a 51% equity interest will be formally transferred to Catalyst's wholly owned subsidiary, Kite Operations Pty Ltd, as all conditions under a September 2014 Heads of Agreement between the two companies have been satisfied.


About Retention Licences

The retention licence is an intermediate licence between an exploration licence and a mining licence. It allows activities such as intensive exploration, research and other development activities required to demonstrate the economic viability of mining.

The primary purpose of a retention licence is to undertake further evaluation work on a mineral resource, which is not currently economically viable to mine, in order to establish its economic viability and lead to mining of the mineral resource.


Retention licences can be granted for up to 10 years and may be granted in respect of the whole or any part of land within the boundaries of a primary tenement.

The 2018 financial year proved to be a challenging year for South African mining companies. Globally, the financial performance of the mining industry improved considerably from the previous year. That position was largely mirrored by South African bulk commodity producers with iron ore, coal, manganese and chrome performing well. Unfortunately the aggregated SA mining industry, which is more exposed to precious metals, did not enjoy the same benefit from price increases. These are some of the key highlights from PwC’s (https://www.PwC.com/) 10th edition of SA Mine, a series of publications that highlights trends in the South African mining industry released today.

Michal Kotzé, PwC Africa Energy Utilities & Resources Leader, says: “2018 can be described as a mixed bag of performance for South Africa’s mining industry, with bulk commodity prices continuing to rise during 2018 from the lows at the beginning of 2016, while precious metals continued to struggle.

“Cost-saving initiatives could not offset the impact of input cost inflation. The increased costs and production challenges meant a weakening in operating results. Together with the gold and platinum impairments, it meant that the industry recorded a loss for 2018.”


For the first time since 2012, capital expenditure grew as the completion of long-term platinum and gold projects continues, while older and inefficient shafts are being closed.


While the new mining charter underlined the regulatory uncertainty, the appointment of a new minister of mineral resources in February 2018 brought hope of open dialogue and more certainty to the industry.


Although the gazetted version of the charter is likely to still receive some criticism, there was a concerted effort by industry and government to move closer to each other. Environmental regulatory changes are also receiving deserved attention.  In this edition, we have also included a brief look at the regulatory changes in the DRC and Tanzania.


Market capitalisation

In 2018 total market capitalisation of the 31 companies analysed in this report recovered to R482 billion (2017: R420 billion). Although it is a R62 billion increase on the previous year, it is still below the June 2016 level of R560 billion.

Gold and platinum group metals (PGMs) continue to dominate the share of market capitalisation of the companies analysed, but experienced declines of 4% and 5% respectively. Iron ore saw an increase of R40 billion from 2017 to 2018; increasing the commodity’s percentage share of capitalisation from 13% to 20%. The rest of the commodities remained stable.


Production

Manganese, iron ore and chrome are the only commodities that showed real production growth over the last 15 years. Coal production showed a marginal increase for the first time in three years. However, it has remained largely flat over the last 15 years. Gold continues its long-term decline. The ongoing low-price environment for platinum is likely to result in further curtailment of supply in the absence of a reasonable price increase.

Financial performance

Total revenue generated by the companies analysed for the financial year-end 30 June 2018, increased by 8% (R28 billion) from the prior year. Increased coal and manganese revenues mainly drove this. Coal grew its share of total SA mining revenue and leads at 29% of mining revenue for the year. The increase was driven by good Rand price increases for the commodity, with production marginally up. Platinum and gold reflected a lower percentage on the back of relatively weak prices and low production for the year.

The rand strengthened in the second half of the year resulting in an average decrease in prices received for gold, platinum and iron ore. “The decrease in rand prices, as well as weaker production for gold and platinum, are putting deep-level South African gold and platinum producers under significant pressure as reflected in the market capitalisation of these entities,” Andries Rossouw, PwC Partner adds.

Despite various cost saving initiatives, above inflation cost increases continues to put the industry under pressure with a decline in EBITDA.


Capital expenditure recovered from the lowest levels in ten years to reflect a 19% increase. Operating expenses increased by 13%. Labour costs continue to be the biggest cost driver in the mining industry.

The current year impairment doubled from the previous year mainly because of gold and platinum impairments. After last year’s net profit, this year’s companies are back in a loss-making position due to the higher impairments and lower EBITDA. The EBITDA margin of 22% is lower than the previous year’s 25%.

Net interest expense increased by R2 billion from the prior year, mainly because of borrowings utilised for business combinations. The mining companies had an aggregated tax expense of R9 billion down from R10 billion on the previous year, but reflected increased tax payments of R18 billion, a 29% increase on the prior year.

Solvency ratios decreased slightly compared to the previous year as a result of the net loss realised due in the main to impairment provisions recognised. The aggregated liquidity position is also healthy and better than for the global mine position. Unfortunately, this hides the challenges still experienced at individual company level.

The risk environment

The risks disclosed by global mining companies and those risks disclosed by South African mining companies largely collerates. However, the following matters stand out from the comparison: South Africa is less prone to natural disasters, although some mines have had to close in the past because of incidences such as flood damage and droughts. Technology and cyber risks are becoming more prominent in the global mining environment. Market competition is not disclosed in South Africa as a major risk.

The Mining Charter

The revised Mining Charter was released in June 2018 and gazetted on 27 September 2018.

New licence holders are required to have 30% black ownership. An added requirement is that of carried interest (CI). The concept of CI is not new to the mining industry. Carried interest means shares issued to qualifying employees and host communities at no cost to them and free of any encumbrance. The cost for the carried interest shall be recovered by a right holder from development of the asset. Many African countries have provisions in their mining regulations that give government a 5%-15% free stake in mining companies. However, this has not always proved to have the desired effect, as host states are often of the view that mining companies do not make dividend payments promptly.


In addition, the 20% black female representation requirement has changed from last year’s 25% black female representation requirement. It is notable that the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, which has been subject to legislative processes since 2013, has been withdrawn.With the Charter now gazetted, it remains to be seen whether business and government can more effectively work towards a more stable South African mining environment.

Value to mining investors in South Africa

The mining industry continues to add significant value to the country and its people. Stakeholders in the industry include employees and their families, unions, government, shareholders, suppliers and customers. As reported in company value added statements, employees still take the lion share of value added at 47%, followed by government through direct taxes, as well as payroll and royalties with 24%. Shareholders got an improved share on the back of improved dividends from bulk commodity producers.

The DRC

Some 16 years after the enactment of the initial version of the mining code, an economic crisis has hit the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). During this time, cobalt has become the most expensive material in the portable lithium-ion battery used in smartphones and electric vehicles (EVs), now representing about half of the market for the metal. The DRC has 69% of the global cobalt production share.

A new mining code has been drafted for stronger rules, more transparency, opportunities for local development and an equitable fiscal regime. However, the final version signed into law in March 2018 is unsupported by many mining companies.


Tanzania

Tanzania recently introduced regulatory changes for the mining sector, which appear to have dampened investor sentiment. These changes have not come about in isolation as a number of jurisdictions in Africa have introduced more severe regulatory regimes – but it does appear that Tanzania may have gone further than most. Some of these regulatory changes are the new income tax regime introduced in 2016, increased royalty rates and a new ‘clearance fee’ charged on the export of minerals, restrictions on VAT input credit in relation to the export of unprocessed ore and new local content requirements.


About PwC:

At PwC , our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 158 countries with more than 236,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.PwC.com. PwC has a presence in 34 Africa countries with an office footprint covering 66 offices. With a single Africa leadership team and more than 400 partners and 9000 professionals across Africa, we serve some of the continent’s largest businesses across all industries.

 

 

Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) has awarded contracts valued at over A$6 million to two West Australian Aboriginal businesses, as part of the Company’s pioneering Billion Opportunities program.


Fortescue Chief Financial Officer Ian Wells said the contracts signified the Company’s continued commitment to supporting local content as part of its procurement process.


“We are proud of our positive approach to engagement with Aboriginal people and providing access to training, employment and business opportunities,” Mr Wells said.


“By partnering with Aboriginal businesses to build their capability and capacity, we are opening the doors to future work with other organisations which is fundamental to their economic sustainability and prosperity.”  


Since the inception of Fortescue’s Billion Opportunities in 2011, 270 contracts and sub-contracts valued at A$2 billion have been awarded to 110 Aboriginal-owned business and joint ventures.


Aboriginal-Noongar owned business Kooya Australia Fleet Solutions has been awarded a three-year contract for the supply of light and commercial leased vehicles across Fortescue’s operational sites. A family owned business, Kooya was established in 2015 and today has become Australia’s largest Indigenous fleet management and rental company.


Owner and Principal Executive Officer Kim Collard said he looked forward to building on this new partnership with Fortescue, which provides the foundation to further expand the company.


“This contract is an investment in the future of our business and with the ongoing guidance and mentoring from Fortescue, we look forward to being able provide more opportunities to Aboriginal people through employment and training,” he said.


Following a competitive tender process, Thuroona Services, a majority owned Aboriginal business in Western Australia, was awarded a contract for maintenance work at Fortescue’s rail operations.


“By working together with Fortescue, we will do our part in bridging the gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians by directly creating Indigenous jobs and helping to financially support the training and employment of Indigenous trainees, staff and contracts,” Director Terry Riley said.

Metalloinvest, a leading global iron ore and HBI producer and supplier, and one of the regional producers of high-quality steel, announces the construction of open-pit crushing and conveying facilities to transport mined rock at Lebedinsky GOK and Mikhailovsky GOK.


The German company TAKRAF GmbH, part of Tenova Group, will supply the equipment for the cyclical and continuous transportation system at Lebedinsky GOK and the crushing and conveyor facility on the north-east side of Mikhailovsky GOK. The signing of the agreement to supply equipment for Lebedinsky GOK and the letters of intent to implement a joint project at Mikhailovsky GOK took place as part of the IMPC 2018–EXPO exhibition. The documents were signed by Andrey Varichev, CEO of Management Company Metalloinvest, and Dr. Frank Hubrich, CEO of TAKRAF GmbH.


Metalloinvest values the investment in the cyclical and continuous transportation system and the crushing and conveyor facility (at the north-eastern side of the quarry) at RUB 11bn and RUB 4.6bn respectively. The launch of the cyclical and continuous transportation system is scheduled for the second quarter of 2020, while the launch of the crushing and conveyor facility has been scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.


The joint implementation of the projects will enable the Company to transport approximately 55mn tonnes of iron ore per year at Lebedinsky GOK and up to 35mn tonnes per year at Mikhailovsky GOK. The crushing and conveyor facility at the south-eastern side of the Mikhailovsky GOK quarry is in its implementation phase with capacity to transport 15mn tonnes of iron ore per year.


The facilities will also allow Metalloinvest to extract high-quality and easily-beneficiated reserves, bypass rail and transportation routes and ensure the long-term, top level production of iron ore concentrate of the required quality.


The implementation of the projects will enable the Company to decrease iron ore production and shipping costs by applying more efficient and accurate technologies of iron ore transportation and sizing down the mining facility fleet (excavators and rolling stock).


Andrey Varichev, CEO of Management Company Metalloinvest, said: “The cyclical and continuous transportation system and the crushing and conveyor facility are large scale and important investment projects that enable the Company to significantly boost the efficient development of iron ore deposits. These projects are part of comprehensive development programmes at Lebedinsky GOK and Mikhailovsky GOK that aim to reduce operating costs, increase production volumes and improve production quality. We are confident that TAKRAF equipment can ensure the reliable and continuous work of the crushing and conveyor facilities.”


Dr. Hubrich mentioned: “Tenova TAKRAF is very pleased to have the opportunity to contribute with its experience and know-how to these two ground-breaking projects with Metalloinvest in Russia. We will provide proven technology, which is sufficient for the heavy conditions works with high performance. The Company’s careful consideration of easy equipment maintenance will assure a high level of reliability and safety.”


Currently, mined rock at Lebedinsky GOK and Mikhailovsky GOK is auto-transported from the lowest levels of the open-pit mine to loading points. The ore is then transported by rail freight to the beneficiation plants while the waste rock gets dumped. After the launch of the cyclical and continuous transportation system and the crushing and conveyor facility, the ore will be transported to the open-pit crushing station, instead of the loading points. The crushed iron ore will then be loaded to highly productive conveying lines at the ground level, from where, in the case of the cyclical and continuous transport system at Lebedinsky GOK, it will be taken to the beneficiation plant using conveying transport.

In the case of Mikhailovsky GOK, the ore will be stored at the intermediate store, from where it will be unloaded by excavators on railway freight and sent for further processing to beneficiation plants. The crushing and conveying technology ensures seamless transportation as its route is significantly shorter and occupies less space than railway routes and causes less exploitational loss than the cyclical railway transportation.

Copper Mountain Mining Corporation is pleased to announce that following the completion of its Phase 2 drilling program, the Company has updated the Mineral Resource for its New Ingerbelle property.  Results of resource estimation based on the Phase 2 drilling program have exceeded the Company's goal set for Phase 3.

The drilling program has successfully expanded the resource area and converted a significant part of the previously Inferred Mineral Resource to the Indicated and Measured categories. The New Ingerbelle deposit is located approximately one kilometre from the Company's flagship operation, the Copper Mountain Mine (See Appendix A for New Ingerbelle location map).


Highlights from New Ingerbelle Mineral Resource are:

    More than one billion pounds of copper and one million ounces of gold in Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource at a 0.12% copper cut-off grade
    Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource of 151 million tonnes grading 0.29% copper and 0.18 g/t gold (0.41% CuEq) at a 0.16% copper cut-off grade
    Inferred Mineral Resource of 69 million tonnes grading 0.27% copper and 0.16 g/t gold (0.38% CuEq) for contained metal of 405 million pounds of copper and 0.36 million ounces of gold at a 0.16% cut-off copper grade.

Gil Clausen, Copper Mountain's President and CEO stated, "Given the size and quality of the Mineral Resource, we believe New Ingerbelle has the potential to be a significant contributor of value to the Company. With New Ingerbelle's Mineral Resource exceeding our target, our next step now will be to move New Ingerbelle into the evaluation phase.

The evaluation phase will include a mine plan and economic analysis to move the Mineral Resource to the Mineral Reserve category. Given New Ingerbelle's favourable grade and proximity to our Copper Mountain operation, it has the real potential for growth and flexibility for our near-term production plans. Further, it is just one of several high-quality growth projects we have in our portfolio."


A summary of New Ingerbelle's Mineral Resource estimate is provided below. The new resource estimate is based on approximately 38,000 metres of historical drill data which is below current topography and 15,000 metres of new drilling, which includes drill and assay information up to September 17, 2018.


The Mineral Resource includes drilling from the Phase 1 and Phase 2 drilling programs Copper Mountain started in 2017 and completed in September 2018. The Company's original goal for its 3-Phase program was to define sufficient resources in order to complete an initial mine plan and economic analysis. However, as it has already exceeded this goal in its Phase 2 program, Copper Mountain now plans to move New Ingerbelle into the evaluation phase, where the Company will complete an initial mine plan and economic analysis to upgrade the Mineral Resource to the Mineral Reserve category. Following the evaluation phase, the Company will assess the potential to further expand the Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource in a follow-up Phase 3 program.

Mineral Resource Estimation Methodology

The Mineral Resource estimate was completed by company employees under the guidance and supervision of Peter Holbek, a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. The resource estimate was prepared in conformity with CIM Best Practices guidelines. The estimate was prepared using Gemcom software, a three-dimensional block model (15m cubic blocks) where grades were interpolated into blocks from 7.5m drill hole composite grades by ordinary kriging.  Classification of resources is based on the size of the interpolation search ellipse and number of composites and drill holes informing the interpolated blocks. Mineral resources are constrained by a Whittle pit shell generated at a US$3.50 copper price with current mine-site operating costs and metal recoveries.


About Copper Mountain Mining Corporation

Copper Mountain's flagship asset is the 75% owned Copper Mountain mine located in southern British Columbia near the town of Princeton. The Copper Mountain mine produces about 90 million pounds of copper equivalent per year with a large resource that remains open laterally and at depth. Copper Mountain also has the permitted, development stage Eva Copper Project in Queensland, Australia and an extensive 379,000 hectare highly prospective land package in the Mount Isa area. Copper Mountain trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "CMMC" and Australian Stock Exchange under the symbol "C6C". Additional information is available on the Company's web page at www.CuMtn.com

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