Spotlight Round-up

11th February 2022

 

Luke Holland here this week filling in for Jane, big boots to fill but we’ll give it a go!

The elephant in the room

Gender parity in the mining industry has always been a subject of debate with various ideas often floated on how to increase the female percentage within the skilled mining labour force. Recently this issue has been brought to a head once more for rather distressing reasons. Allegations of sexual harassment with victims of both genders has come to light within the ranks of one of the mining giants, Rio Tinto. Investigations uncovered worrying statistics showing 21 cases of sexual assault within the previous 5 years a Western Australia FIFO parliamentary inquiry heard. (Guardian, Ben Butler 05.02.22).

An external review of workplace culture was commissioned by Rio which saw more than 10,000 participants share their experiences in an online survey. Key results were unsettling:

  • Bullying is systematic across mine sites with nearly 50% of participants experiencing bullying in some form.
  • 28.2% of women and 6.7% of men have experienced sexual harassment whilst in the workplace.
  • 21 women reported sexual assault, and in some cases, rape
  • 39.8% of men and 31.8% of women who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander have experienced racism.

The full report can be read here.

Figure 1: Rio Tinto Logo (Source: Reuters)

Commenting on the report’s findings Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said "The findings of this report are deeply disturbing to me, and should be to everyone who reads them. I offer my heartfelt apology to every team member, past or present, who has suffered as a result of these behaviours. This is not the kind of company we want to be."

It is important to note that Rio Tinto is not alone in the fight to curb the issues highlighted above. Other giants such as BHP have had their own difficulties with this topic. In the years 2019-2021, BHP were notified of 18 cases of rape, attempted rape or “non-consensual touching of a sexual nature” (Guardian, Ben Butler 05.02.22).

While the results of the report are distressing, it is important to acknowledge that the problem exists within a workplace, and within the mining community. At Rio Tinto, Stausholm promises to change by committing to do more. “I am determined that by implementing appropriate actions to address the recommendations, and with the management team’s commitment to a safe, respectful and inclusive Rio Tinto in all areas, we will make positive and lasting change and strengthen our workplace culture for the long term”.

As geologists, investors, managers, and teammates, we can do better. We can be better. While the results of the study are upsetting, it’s actually a good thing that Rio Tinto released this report. Only by identifying and addressing these issues can we hope to remedy toxic workplace cultures.  Everyone deserves an inclusive, safe, and enjoyable workplace. Let’s hope that the recent findings won’t dissuade the bright stars of tomorrow from taking up their place in this industry and making the changes that are so clearly needed.

Mining is CRITICAL

In other news, battery metals are again close to the fore this week and Glencore steals the headlines. Already a significant producer of the crucial metals owing from their mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Glencore have strengthened their hand further by purchasing Missouri Cobalt’s lithium, cobalt and nickel production from the Madison mine in Missouri, USA (Glencore.com/media, 09.02.22).

Figure 2: Madison Mine Processing Plant (Froth Flotation Facility) (Source: Mocobalt.com)

In addition to this, Glencore has entered a joint venture with battery pioneer Britishvolt, the UK’s foremost investor in battery cell technologies. The JV is cemented on plans to construct a battery recycling ecosystem in the UK. Located at Britannia Refined Metals operation in Northfleet, England, the project will see a return to recycling for BRM whilst both securing and creating jobs in the area. Once operational, the plant will have a processing capacity of a minimum of 10,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries per year. Planned to be operational by mid-2023, this plant will be 100% powered by renewable energy and will form a key component of Glencore’s contribution to the energy transition. In a statement, Glencore claim the main aim is to help support the creation of a genuine circular economy, which supplies recycled metals, materials and minerals back into the battery supply chain (Glencore.com/media, 03.02.22).

Figure 3: Computer rendition of the lithium-ion batteries recycle plant. (Source Britishvolt.com)

For more information on battery metals, and how the junior market is involved, check out our latest Project of the Week, focused on the implementation of a new lithium mine being developed in Mali. Staff writer, Aaron Hantsche dives into Firefinch Ltd’s collaboration with one of the world’s biggest lithium producers in efforts to mine the Li-pegmatites at the Goulamina project. Read more here.

Going for Gold

With the Winter Olympics in full swing over in Beijing, let’s have a quick peek at a recent gold discovery a little closer to home (if home is the trading hall of the TSX). Warrior Gold (TSX-V: WAR) this week announced results from recent drilling including an intersection of 155 g/t Au over 0.75m at their Goodfish-Kirana Property in Ontario. Yes, folks, that’s a new gold vein from the highly prospective A-zone target, located in the Kirkland Lake district in Ontario. Just 6 km north of the structure which hosts one of Canada’s richest gold mines (the Macasa Mine), the Goodfish-Kirana property is showing incredible promise as the project develops. 

Figure 3: Plan view map of the A-zone target and highlight Autumn 2021 drilling results both north and south of the primary structure. (Source WarriorGoldInc.com)

In total, seven holes were drilled, all of which returned Au mineralisation. Most noteworthy is the extension of the mineralisation west of the A Zone by 100m down dip. This zone remains open to the west and at depth, exciting times ahead for Warrior gold for sure! President and CEO, Danièle Spethmann, remarked that the discovery “reconfirmed our geological model that second and third order structures in the Kirkland Lake camp host high grade gold. “ This is exciting news, as these are the best grades ever discovered on the north side of the main structure. Spethmann too, is driven by the geological interpretation of the gold intercepts. “Exploration work to date supports our belief that the gold grades at Goodfish-Kirana increase with depth as is common in the Abitibi Greenstone belt,” she said in the February 9th news release. For the full release, and more information on Warrior Gold Inc, check out their web site here.

Around the Traps

What an exciting week it has been for Enduro Metals (TSXV: ENDR) as they release tantalising drill results confirming a new porphyry discovery at their Burgundy Ridge project! The new results further support the porphyry Cu/Au deposit discovery first announced on October 18, 2021.

The results which include:

  • BR21-03: 257m at 0.5% CuEq from surface.
  • BR21-04: 84m of 0.72% CuEq, inc. 63%CuEq over 3m at 136m
  • T21-01: 17% Cu and 27.07 g/t Ag over 9.37m

President/CEO Cole Evans commenting on the recent results states “the drill fan at Burgundy Ridge provides compelling evidence of a new silica-undersaturated alkalic porphyry discovery centred between two of BC’s most prolific porphyry camps”.

Exciting times for all at Enduro, looking forward to seeing some more incredible results from this project. Read the full press release with full drill results here.

Figure 5: SSW-NNE X Section highlighting Enduro’s latest results, Au - yellow, Cu - green (Source Enduro press release 07.02.22)

Sun Summit Minerals (TSX-V: SMN; OTCQB: SMREF) announced a return to drilling activities in its 100% owned Buck Property in central British Columbia. The aim of the drill program is to expand on the Buck Main epithermal gold discovery which remains open.

Additionally, SMN have decided to include zinc in the future economic analyses, as they believe it will be a significant economic contributor at the Buck Property.   


Palamina Corp. (
TSXV: PA - OTCQB: PLMNF) has interesting new results on their Lagos Ag-Cu project in Peru. Channel samples from the Verde and Gris projects in the southern portion of the Lagos property yielded Cu values up to 2.75 %, including an enticing 9.3 m aggregate assay which returned 21.3 g/t Ag and 2.1 % Cu. Check out the latest here.

Globex Mining Enterprises (OTCMKTS: GLBXF), recently announced the results from a surface sampling campaign conducted on the Troilus operated Lac Testard project. Globex sold a package of 91 claims to Troilus and remains to have a royalty attached. The grab samples collected, returned the highest Au/Ag values within the Forest-Evans Greenstone Belt! Exciting times! Read the full release here.

Kodiak Copper (CVE: KDK) announced last week the identification of new drill targets stemming from recent geophysical and geochemical surveys. A drill program of 25,000m is planned for 2022 to further test these new targets located near the Gate Zone. Read more here.

New Pacific Metals Corp. (TSE: NUAG, TSX: NUAG), provides an update on its ongoing “PEA” study for its wholly owned Silver Sand Project in Bolivia. An MRE update is currently underway and will include 135 new drill holes since the 2020 MRE announcement.. Should you wish to have a closer look.

Palladium One Mining Inc. (CVE: PDM), have announced drill results from their Kaukua South drill program in Finland. The results include 4.4 g/t palladium equivalent over 7.5 m. Additionally, the Far Eastern IP anomaly was tested with two holes, which both returned PGE-CU-NI mineralisation. This area is flagged as a high priority target. Check out the results.

Lastly, Riverside Resources (CVE: RRI) announced last week a private non-brokered charity flow placement of C$600,000. The company plans to use the injection to fund drilling at its 100% owned Oakes Gold Property in Ontario.

So whoo.. I can breathe again! Been a busy week in the junior mining world with lots going on across the spectrum. Hope you enjoyed this week's Friday RoundUp. Before I go, I must tip the hat to Jane. I can really appreciate the work put into this weekly piece now!

Have a great weekend

  • Luke

References

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/feb/06/absolutely-confronting-the-sickening-stories-of-sexual-harassment-of-women-in-mining

https://www.riotinto.com/news/releases/2022/Rio-Tinto-releases-external-review-of-workplace-culture

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-02/rio-tinto-review-sexual-assault-sparks-mining-industry-warning/100798370

https://www.glencore.com/media-and-insights/news/global-marketing-relationship-with-united-states-strategic-metals

https://www.glencore.com/media-and-insights/news/glencore-and-britishvolt-strengthen-relationship

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/feb/06/absolutely-confronting-the-sickening-stories-of-sexual-harassment-of-women-in-mining

Luke Holland

View posts by Luke Holland
Luke is an exploration geologist based in Ireland, graduating from University College Cork in 2017. Luke has worked for several exploration companies and consultancy firms within Ireland and is currently employed with Boliden at its Tara Mines Pb/Zn operation in Navan, Co. Meath Ireland. Supplementary to this, Luke is a council member for the Irish Association for Economic Geologists (IAEG) an organisation geared at the promotion of mineral exploration in Ireland. Luke’s love of all things rocks led him to join the Spotlight Mining writing team in November 2021.