Midas has gold tenement granted

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Midas Resources has had its E40/295 tenement, located in the Leonora area of Western Australia’s northern goldfields gazetted as granted.

Midas said the tenement comprises 48 graticular blocks and is a key tenement in the formation of the company’s Leonora gold project situated between Leonora and Kookynie, approximately 200 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie.

“E40/295 contains a number of historic gold mines and prospects that are generally associated with northwest trending shear zones and faults,” Midas Resources said in its ASX announcement.

“These prospects form part of a corridor of gold mineralisation that extends over 50 kilometres from Kookynie to Leonora.

“Recent sampling by the company has also identified strongly anomalous gold values from old mine dumps at Bluebell in the southern part of the tenement.”
Midas said the Bluebell target, like a number of its other targets in the tenement, requires further mapping and sampling prior to being subjected to a drilling program.

The company’s objective is to complete this work and obtain the necessary permits for drilling within the current quarter.

Midas’ Leonora project tenements now exceed 200 square kilometres in area.

They include a Mining Lease application at Sunset Well where the company has previously announced an Inferred Mineral Resource of 1.1 million tonnes at a grade of 1.40 grams per tonne gold for 50,100 ounces of contained gold.

The company is currently undertaking exploration that is focused on targets in tenements E40/294 and E40/295.

This includes prospects at George Bore, Hawke, and Bluebell.

The company has also submitted applications for tenements E40/312 and P40/1282, from where it announced strong gold sampling results from in the Kookynie area.

Midas has recently completed a Renounceable Rights Issue and has budgeted 2600 metres of Reverse Circulation drilling for testing of various targets in the Leonora project tenements.

Matilda gains Shire approval for Keysbrook

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Matilda Zircon has had its Keysbrook zircon and leucoxene project located 70 kilometres from Perth in the south-west region of Western Australia approved by two local Shires.

Special meetings held by the Councils of the Shire of Murray and the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale in October both approved the project subject to conditions, most of which had already been mutually agreed with Matilda.

Prior to the Shire approvals the project had already been given the environmental nod by the Western Australia Minister for Environment.

Matilda said the Shire approvals now allow the company to carry out complete detailed planning and engineering that will enable it to complete construction of the Keysbrook project in 2012 and ultimately being in production in early 2013.

“This is an excellent outcome for Matilda because the Shires’ decisions represent the last critical step in gaining approval to now be able to commence operations at the Keysbrook project,” Matilda Zircon technical director Peter Gazzard said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

Matilda plans to mine approximately 36 million tonnes of material over the eight year mine life of the Keysbrook project.

Keysbrook is expected to produce approximately 95,000 tonnes per year of zircon and leucoxene products.

Matilda said the doubling of the sale prices for the products it produces over the past year has made the Keysbrook project a significantly more attractive prospect financially.

The company said it anticipates the results of an updated feasibility study of the Keysbrook project will be released later this year.


Blackham opts for Wiluna acquisition

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Blackham Resources has elected under a Heads of Agreement to the 100 per cent acquisition of the Matilda and Williamson gold mines and the Regents, Carol Prior, Galaxy gold deposits in the Wiluna gold belt of Western Australia.

Blackham has recently completed due diligence over the project, which it said supports its decision to acquire the project.

“Initially on entering into the Heads of Agreement, management were focused on extensions to the existing gold deposits down plunge,” Blackham Resources managing director Bryan Dixon said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“During the due diligence phase it has become very apparent that substantial potential exists to extend these deposits along strike in the shallow oxide material as well.”

Blackham said its initial main focus now will be to explore for new gold resources in and around the Matilda Mine.

Matilda is a large gold system which has been mined in most places to less than 50 metres with seven small pits over a strike of 3.5 kilometres.

“Most of the existing Matilda deposits remain open both along strike and at depth,” the company said.

“Asarco ceased production at Matilda in 1996 when the gold price was about US$400 per ounce.

“Production from all previous owners reached approximately 280,000 ounces from seven openpits.”

Blackham said it intends to target the extensions along strike and the high grade extensions below the existing pits.

It will then remodel the resources and re‐optimise pits based upon current gold prices.

The company has begun planning for its initial drilling program at the project, which will be aimed at commencing in December subject to rig availability and regulatory approvals.

Little systematic regional exploration has taken place on the project since Great Central Mines sold the Wiluna Mine and surrounding package to Normandy in 2002.

Since 1996, the project has been owned by a number of different companies and most of the exploration that has been undertaken throughout this time has focused on the neighbouring Mine.


Crescent produces sturdy September

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Australian gold producer Crescent Gold completed a solid September quarter by producing 21,915 ounces of gold to hit its market guidance from its operations at the Laverton gold project.

Production commenced in the September Quarter from the Mary Mac Hill deposit, which has a probable reserve of 306,000 tonnes at 1.8 grams per tonne for 18,000 ounces of gold and continued at the recently developed Fish pit with a probable reserve of 292,000 tonnes at 3.5 grams per tonne for 33,000 ounces of gold.

Once Crescent had commenced production at Mary Mac Hill it accelerated the Fish operation, to process 504,288 tonnes of ore at an average grade of 1.5 grams per tonne over a 39 day campaign at Barrick Granny Smith under its Ore Purchasing Agreement.

It achieved an average gold price of $1,660 to deliver net revenue of $36.6 million.

“This is an outstanding result reflecting the great work done by the operating team in the effective development of our new open pit operations at both Mary Mac Hill and Fish,” Crescent Gold managing director Mark Tory said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“Both Mary Mac and the newly developed Fish operations are now in full production mode to the extent that we already have 300,000 tonnes of ore stockpiled at Barrick Granny Smith in preparation for the December quarter processing campaign.”
The December campaign, or Campaign 9 as it is known, is planned to run for 32 days.

Crescent has forecast that between 17,000 and 19,000 ounces of gold will be produced during this time.

The results are all good news for Focus Minerals, which completed an off-market takeover of Crescent Gold earlier this month, achieving 82.5 per cent shareholder acceptance.

Focus Minerals chief executive officer Campbell Baird said Crescent had delivered an outstanding Quarter, which had laid the foundation for strong production in the coming December and March Quarters.

“This has been an excellent achievement and the planning is well advanced for subsequent campaigns,” Baird said in the ASX announcement.

By the end of October Crescent said a team will have mobilised a fourth digging fleet to commence mining at the Apollo deposit, which will provide a third separate ore source in the lead up to the commencement of campaign 10 starting in early 2012.

“Apollo is a really exciting area for future production growth with a number of targets running to the north and south through the Chatterbox shear which we expect to become a major future source of production for the group,” Baird said.

Crescent announced a maiden 54,000 ounce proved and probable reserve at Apollo earlier in the year.

The Apollo pit is currently planned to be up to 1.5 kilometres long and is situated on the Chatterbox shear zone some 7km to the west of the Laverton.

Crescent also holds tenements along approximately 30km of the Chatterbox shear zone.


Ironbark executes US$50M deal with Glencore

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Ironbark Zinc has entered into a US$50 million convertible note funding facility and offtake facility following a transaction with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Glencore International.
Ironbark said the transaction complements the work the company is undertaking to advance its Citronen base metals project in Greenland to production.

The funding aspect of the transaction will place Ironbark in a strong financial position at a time when the company said it considers considerable external growth opportunities exist.

“Glencore has a successful record of identifying, securing and funding base metal projects,” Ironbark Zinc said in its ASX announcement.

“The majority of Ironbark’s Board is confident that the relationship with Glencore and the provision of the facility by Glencore offers significant benefit to Ironbark and will assist Ironbark to maximise value from its current assets and secure new growth opportunities, consistent with its growth ambitions.”

The facility part of the transaction will provide Ironbark with access to funding that will allow it to pursue growth opportunities.
The company intimated that this could involve the acquisition of new assets, or companies that have base metal assets, in jurisdictions where Ironbark does not currently operate.

This would allow the company to diversify its operations as well as to broaden its commodity and geographic focus.

Ironbark said the timing of the facility was also fortuitous given current global financial uncertainty resulting in growing opportunities for well-funded companies to expand.

The majority of the Board considers being able to offer cash-on-the-table consideration to secure base metal projects, something the facility would allow it to do, as highly a valuable option in the present market.

Ironbark said it expected the new deal would strengthen its relationship with Glencore, which currently holds 11.974 per cent of Ironbark’s shares.

“The transaction secures favourable offtake arrangements with Glencore in respect of a portion of Ironbark’s production from the Citronen project and offtake or marketing arrangements in respect of non-Citronen production, which includes any production capacity acquired, in whole or in part, with funds drawn down under the facility,” Ironbark said.

“Securing offtake allocations to a counterparty of Glencore’s standing provides increased certainty and credibility to the Citronen project.

“Importantly, a proportion of the Citronen offtake has also been preserved by Ironbark for future dealing.”

MOD to explore gold in New Zealand

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: MOD Resources has reached an agreement with Oceana Gold (New Zealand), a wholly owned subsidiary of Oceana Gold Corporation.

The agreement will result in MOD, through its 100 per cent-owned New Zealand subsidiary Sams Creek Gold, earn up to 80 per cent of New Zealand’s largest undeveloped gold deposit, Sams Creek, located near the South Island town of Nelson.

MOD described Sams Creek as an intrusive-related gold deposit with an existing JORC compliant inferred mineral resource of 770,000 ounces of gold, based on 13.5 million tonnes grading 1.78 grams per tonne using a 0.70 grams per tonne cut-off.

According to the company the 770,000 ounce gold resource at Sams Creek extends from the surface and remains open along strike and down dip.

The resource is all contained within the Main Zone prospect at Sams Creek, which covers less than 10 per cent of the known six kilometre strike length.

“I have always believed that Sams Creek had the potential to host a very significant gold deposit,” MOD Resources chairman Miles Kennedy said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities exchange.

“There is obvious scope for an increase in the resource, both within the Main Zone prospect where the existing 770,000 ounce resource has been defined and the various other targets along the six kilometres of strike.”

Under the terms of the Joint Venture agreement with OceanaGold, MOD Resources can earn, with appropriate consents, up to 80 per cent of Sams Creek by sole funding staged exploration programs.

Once the 80 per cent mark has been achieved, both companies will contribute pro rata.

Stage one will entail MOD Resources commencing a $1.9 million diamond drilling program in line with a work program approved for Sams Creek by New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals in June 2010.

The initial work program will also include an aeromagnetic survey and a LIDAR high resolution topographic survey.

The JV also contains benchmarks for MOD Resources to earn staged interests of 40 per cent and 60 per cent in the permit.

Total future consideration payable by MOD Resources to OceanaGold will be between 10 million and 17 million ordinary MOD Resources shares, conditional on future benchmarks   being achieved and MOD Resources obtaining shareholder approvals or other regulatory approvals as may be necessary.

Clean Energy Bill lets-down small business: AMEC

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: The passage of the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Bill through the House of Representatives continues to polarise the business community with one mining sector body expressing its disappointment.

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies pointed to The Labor Party’s rejection of Independent Tony Crook’s amendment to the Clean Energy Future Reform plan.

AMEC said Crook’s amendment would have provided an exemption to regional mining and exploration businesses from changes to the diesel fuel rebate.
“Here was a golden opportunity presented by Mr Tony Crook, member for O’Connor, in Parliament yesterday to provide tax relief to many of the struggling smaller businesses in remote and regional Australia,” AMEC chief executive officer Simon Bennison said in the body’s press release.

“The amendment proposed by Mr Crook would have returned the diesel fuel rebate that has been partially removed under the Carbon Tax Legislation.

“This rebate has formed an important component of small business operations.”

Bennison said the amendment was an especially important one for smaller operators that generate their own power due to their geographic isolation.

This includes a good number of smaller mining and exploration companies, which Bennison said would now be seriously financially disadvantaged by the new legislation.

Bennison also expressed his fears regarding employment in the mining sector saying it will also be threatened by the Julia Gillard-led Government’s approach to tax reform through the Carbon Tax legislation.

“The simple fact is that jobs will be lost as a direct result of a carbon price. It will definitely stop future jobs from being created,” Bennison said.

“The Government continues to increase Australia’s sovereign risk in the mining and exploration sectors.

“The design of the tax will seriously impact on the international competitiveness of mining and exploration companies and no doubt we will continue to see capital flow into Africa and South America instead of the exploration sector in Australia.”

Carbon Conscious welcomes Clean Energy passage

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Kevin Rudd kissed Julia Gillard while the Labor Party cheered and Tony Abbott glowered while the Liberal Party jeered.

The positive vote for Federal Government’s Climate Change Plan, more popularly known as the Carbon Tax, in Parliament, also set-off some back-slapping in the Board room of forestry plantation project developer Carbon Conscious.

Carbon Conscious expects it will benefit from the Clean Energy Bill through the House of Representatives, going as far as to proclaim it as, “a major milestone in the birth of Australia’s new carbon economy”.

The company uses its forestation activities to provide companies with carbon offset credits.

The passage of the Clean Energy bills through the House of Representatives is the first step with the Bill is expected to be passed with the support of the Greens in the Senate.

Carbon Conscious said the expected passing of the Bill through both Houses meant last major political obstacle to the introduction of an Australian carbon price would now been removed.

The company’s executive chairman Steve Lowe said the passage of the Clean Energy Bill 2011 through the lower house was a great day for Australia’s carbon abatement industry and paves the way for expansion of the company’s carbon forest sink operations.

“The Board is currently examining a proposal to massively increase the size of the 2012 planting season from 2,000 hectares to 10,000 hectares,” Lowe said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“We have 8,000 hectares of Mallee Eucalypt trees under management and are aiming to more than double this in the next planting season to accommodate the anticipated new demand for carbon abatement.

“Carbon Conscious will be responsible for managing the largest carbon bio-sequestration investment projects in Australian history.”

The Clean Energy Act mandates a starting price for carbon at $23 per tonne.

Carbon Conscious highlighted CSIRO studies that have estimated that with a $20 per tonne price for carbon, carbon forest bio-sequestration projects have the potential to sequester 350 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2050.

This equates to an abatement potential of $7 billion per annum.

“The passage of the Clean Energy Act will remove the final legislative hurdle to large scale investment in Australia’s carbon abatement sector,” Carbon Conscious said.

“This provides a clear carbon pricing mechanism for Australia’s largest carbon emitters to purchase carbon credits on an open and transparent market from accredited suppliers such as Carbon Conscious.”

The company said that international buyers were the most likely to become investors in Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) projects and as a result, the Australian carbon forestry industry is positioned well to become a major beneficiary.

Carbon credits will be sold on domestic or international carbon markets.

Carbon Conscious has existing commercial forestry contracts worth $45 million as well as close to $190 million worth of commercial forestry options.

“Over the past few years Carbon Conscious has been developing a pipeline of carbon farming projects with major Australian carbon emitters, and expects a number of those projects to be realised as a direct consequence of the passage of the Clean Energy Act 2011,” Lowe said.

Aspire raises funds for Ovoot

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Aspire Mining has raised $32.8 million via a placement that it will use to progress its Ovoot coking coal project in northern Mongolia.

The placement consisted of 80 million new fully paid ordinary shares at 41 cents per share to institutional and sophisticated investors.

Aspire also announced that its major shareholder, SouthGobi Resources was a major supporter of the placement and exercised its anti-dilution top-up rights to hold a 19.9 per cent shareholding.

SouthGobi is set to take up approximately 14.3 million new shares under the placement.

“The funds raised will allow Aspire to complete pre-feasibility and feasibility studies on the Ovoot project and facilitate an aggressive exploration program which we expect to add further tonnes to the overall project and drive long term shareholder value,” Aspire Mining managing director David Paull said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“We are very pleased with the support for the Placement.

“We have been able to bring on board investors who are interested in our long term growth aspirations and the strong demand for the Placement demonstrates market support for the Ovoot coking coal project.

“Our latest drill results to the north of the existing Ovoot Resource area suggest we will be able to expand the size of the project as we continue our exploration program over the coming winter months.”

The funds raised from the Placement will be used for:

– Further exploration of the Ovoot Basin within the next 12 months;

– Infill drilling to increase the Resource and establish a Mongolian Registered Reserve;

– Completion of a pre-feasibility study and feasibility study regarding the Ovoot project;

– Application for a Mongolian Mining License over the Ovoot Resource;

– Completion of a Rail pre-feasibility study in relation to the rail link to Erdenet;

– Application for a rail license for the Ovoot to Erdenet rail link; and

– Administration and working capital.

Minbos to acquire Congo Basin phosphate

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Minbos Resources has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire a large-scale potash licence located in the Cabinda Province of the Republic of Angola.

“This is an exceptionally exciting transaction for Minbos,” Minbos Resources executive chairman Peter Richards said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Not only does it provide an attractive entry into one of the most exciting potash basins in the world, but the unique combination of the already defined high-grade and potential Direct Shipping Ore phosphate resources and the potential of defining large, high grade potash resources within the same licence area sets Minbos apart from its peers and bodes well for a very exciting future for the company.”

Minbos said the Dinge potash licence complements the company’s existing phosphate projects in the Cabinda Province as well as those it holds in the western Democratic Republic of Congo.

The company considers the acquisition will place it in a position from which it will be able to capitalise on the increasing demand for fertilisers.

Minbos aims to be a supplier to the world fertiliser market.

Under the agreement, Minbos will acquire 75 per cent of the Dinge potash licence from Alum Industrial, a private Angolan mineral exploration company, and provide funding to take the project through to feasibility study.

The licence area covers 785 square kilometres, and lies within the Congo Basin, which hosts Elemental Minerals’ Sintoukola project as well the MagIndustries Corp Makolo project.

A large proportion of the Dinge licence area overlaps Minbos’ Cabinda phosphate projects and in many areas such as Chivovo, the potash mineralisation underlies the phosphate mineralisation that has already been identified by Minbos.

“The occurrence of phosphate and potash mineralisation within the same licence areas is an exciting development for Minbos,” the company said.

“It immediately exposes the company to two of the most important fertiliser products and in the medium to long term provides the potential for shared infrastructure such as ports, roads etcetera.”

The Dinge project is supported by data from 13 historical exploration wells that were drilled for potash near the town of Dinge.

There are also a number of additional holes that were drilled for oil in the Dinge licence area, with data revealing intersections of potash salt formations.
Minbos has access to a 2D seismic survey that was completed throughout 2010 to 2011.

The company has carried out a review of available technical data, which it said demonstrated potentially economic grades of potash being intersected in the licence area.