Spotlight Round-up: 5th November 2021

5th November 2021

 

 

With the world’s focus on Glasgow this week for COP26, mining.com has pointed out that the summit has rapidly descended into an unrealistic farce.  Why?  Key figures, including UN Secretary General António Guterres, have attacked the mining industry as force for environmental destruction, with Guterres saying in his opening address that we are treating our world like a toilet, and that “burning and drilling and digging our way deeper” is causing us to dig our own graves.  So…what should we do instead?  Shall we put a stop to mining as an industry?  Shall we never build new, greener technologies like electric vehicles because the resources required for them remain in the ground, just to prevent unsightly holes being dug?  Shall we increase the cost of absolutely everything, or make the basics of modern life unavailable, because mines for some reason remind figureheads like Guterres of a toilet?

Here at Spotlight we take global warming very seriously.  We don’t like fossil fuels and the companies that extract them, and we love covering innovations that could improve our chances in the fight against climate change.  If you’re a regular reader of my newsletters, you’ll know that I often write about metals like lithium and copper that are central to such advances.  But we’re also tethered to reality, and have little patience for people with their head in the clouds on these issues, because the solutions to them will come from real, tangible hard work, not airy speeches. And the real, tangible reality is that the green revolution will require more resources, not fewer.  As it stands, base metals extraction accounts for something around 3% of global carbon emissions, but the products made with those resources can more than offset that if they replace much dirtier items like gas-guzzling cars.

I am acutely aware that the mining industry has a poor reputation on environmental concerns amongst the general population.  I think part of that comes from the fact that, of the thousands of mines around the world, the Average Joe only hears about them when there’s a disaster or scandal.  But we also have to acknowledge that our industry, especially its big players, has a track record of being careless with the environment – those headlines would not exist without actual problems being present.  So certainly, we need to do better as an industry, and I’d encourage everyone reading this to use tools such as Digbee ESG to make responsible decisions about which projects to support.  For more on that incredibly handy tool, you can check out my article in the July/August edition of The Prospector.  But at the same time, the blatherers at COP26 and its ilk need to recognise that the mining industry is not the enemy in this fight; instead, it holds the key to success.

The Woodmac report shows a desperate need for more metals that is unlikely to be met
The Woodmac report shows a desperate need for more metals that is unlikely to be met

Why is that?  Well, the mining.com article I linked above has some figures that are a good place to start.  That piece references an excellent Wood Mackenzie briefing on base metals in the lead-up to COP26 that you can download here, and to encapsulate the problem, let’s just look at copper.  An estimated 19 million tons of additional copper need to be delivered to achieve net-zero 2050, which means a new Escondida needs to be discovered and enter production every year for the next 20 years.  Given that many of the world’s truly giant copper mines were discovered prior to 1900, and that the most recent copper giant, Congo’s Kamoa-Kakula, dates back to 2003, how likely is that?  Looking to junior miners with smaller discoveries will help, for sure, and we’re excited about the potential for greater investment in such companies as demand for base metals ramps up, but the Woodmac report suggests that an additional $2 trillion of investment in base metals will be needed to 2040.  Where is that money going to come from, if governments are gathering at events like COP26 to hypocritically pan the industry as a whole?

And worse, projects in developed countries, like Resolution in Arizona, are hitting regulatory hurdles like the US’s proposed new mine tax system, which I wrote about here, and outright NIMBY-ism with Biden and the Democrats adding specific wording to their massive infrastructure bill that would block the project.  This is utterly the wrong strategy in the climate fight: firstly, the world will need every scrap of copper it can get to fuel the transition to greener living, but also it bears mentioning that mines in developed countries with strong regulations are likely to have less detrimental environmental effects overall.  The Biden administration seems utterly committed to outsourcing as much resource production as possible, which is bizarre from an economic standpoint in a resource-rich country like the US, but also shows a truly base desire to offshore the environmental costs and social opposition that mining attracts.  This is not just true for copper, but for all battery metals.  In other words, they don’t care about the repercussions of mining activity, as long as they’re happening in someone else’s back yard.  And they don’t seem to care about the reliability of their supply chain, either, which the EU recently found out has a propensity to cause a scramble when you farm out it to someone else.

Not impressed, Mr. President
Not impressed, Mr. President

I hope you’ll excuse this newsletter for being a bit of a rant, it’s just immensely frustrating as someone who is aware of the mining industry’s shortcomings, but who understands that it is absolutely fundamental to lofty climate goals, to see politicians and other assorted windbags once again climb onto the world stage and disparage the industry that actually holds the keys to a greener future.  We need far more investment in mining, not less, and we need strong regulations that mitigate the worst of the social and environmental issues it can cause, but which allow vital projects to go ahead.  Making mining exclusively the problem of developing nations where corruption and lax regulations can amplify its negative effects isn’t just immoral, it’s bad business, and it’s well past time that Guterres, Biden and the rest realised that.

Around the Traps

Goldplay Mining (TSXV:AUC) is a junior with big ambitions in its Canadian and Portuguese copper-gold projects, and they’ve had some fabulous news this week after signing exploration agreements with the Portuguese government on over 320 square kilometres of past-producing copper and gold projects.  This is a vital step for the company, and for more information you can check out Spotlight’s recent interview with President, CEO, Director and Founder Catalin Kilofliski below.

Excellent news from Prospech Resources (ASX:PRS), who have announced partial results from the first modern drill campaign at their Anton prospect on the Hodruša-Hámre project in Slovakia.  They have recovered grades up to 4.48 g/t Au and 578 g/t Ag over 0.5 metres, with visible silver sulphides over 5.7 metres at depth.  Have a look at some of those beautiful minerals below!

Silver sulphides from Prospech's Anton deposit
Silver sulphides from Prospech's Anton deposit

Lots happening at Sun Summit Minerals (TSXV:SMN, OTCQB:SMREF), with the announcement of new President Sharyn Alexander to strengthen their executive team, plus core samples from 15 holes at their flagship Buck project in British Columbia being sent for assay.  These holes are testing both high-grade and bulk tonnage style gold mineralisation, with some nice grades and intercepts already announced in their May news release. Have a look at the figure below for an overview of some of those results.

Some nice drill cores have come out of Sun Summit's Buck project so far
Some nice drill cores have come out of Sun Summit's Buck project so far

There was a bit of a party after Guanajuato Silver (“GSilver,” TSXV:GSVR, OTCQX:GSVRF) announced the first sale of precious metal concentrate from their refurbished El Cubo mill in Mexico.  Check out Chairman and CEO James Anderson presenting some remarks below!

James Anderson, Chairman and CEO of GSilver, addressing the gathering
James Anderson, Chairman and CEO of GSilver, addressing the gathering

Aurion Resources (TSXV:AU, OTCQX:AIRRF) has launched a brokered private placement for up to CAD $10 million, with a further option of CAD $1.5 million, to raise capital for exploration and advancement on its truly exciting Risti and Launi gold projects in Finland.

Another company with a private placement in the works is Tocvan Ventures (CSE:TOC, OTCQB:TCVNF, WKN:TV3/A2PE64).  They announced this week that they were offering up to 1.2 million units at CAD $1.00, with a lead order from a prospective long-term shareholder with extensive experience in Mexican mineral exploration and development.

Serious business at Solgold (TSX&LSE:SOLG), who sent out a letter to shareholders this week announcing that not all Directors would be voted on at next month’s AGM, in order to maintain stability at the company and not hinder the search for a new CEO.  The reason for this decision is reports of interference at the company by its biggest shareholder, mining giant BHP, who Chairman Liam Twigger said had been canvassing shareholders and members of the Board.  Twigger went on to say that “…if a party wants control or to significantly influence the development of your company, the party should put forward an offer that results in all shareholders benefiting from a premium that reflects the value of achieving control or heightened influence.”  Solgold holds the incredible Cascabel copper project in Ecuador, and we like this company a lot, so let’s hope this gets sorted out quickly.

For those of you who love a good AGM (you nerds), Global Energy Metals (TSXV:GEMC, OTCQB:GBLEF, FSE:5GE1) has had a successful one this week, where an auditor was appointed and general administrative matters taken care of.  Read about it here.

New Pacific Metals (TSX:NUAG, NYSE:NEWP) continue to produce great results in Bolivian silver, announcing this week that they’ve continued to intersect broad zones of mineralisation at their Carangas project.  The mineralisation starts at or near surface and continues to depth, which is exactly what investors like to hear.

That’s all from me this week, have a good weekend folks!

 

Jane Lockwood

View posts by Jane Lockwood
Jane Lockwood is an Australian geoscientist living and working in Germany. She holds a Master's of Earth Science (Advanced) from the Australian National University and has spent several years reporting on the junior mining industry for Spotlight Mining, as well as conducting social media management for junior mining companies.