Engineering & Mining Journal

APR 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 56 of 83 E&MJ • APRIL 2019 55 MINING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA AND YUKON conducive to success during the down-cycle. A merger with the private company GRP in September 2017 led to Fiore Gold restart- ing the Carlin-style, open-pit Pan mine in Nevada. "The generalists in the mining sec- tor were no longer involved and many of the mining specific funds had either shrunk or disappeared completely," said Tim Warman, Fiore Gold's CEO and director. "This resulted in us having to investigate more advanced, producing assets that could generate cash flow that in turn could fund exploration," he explained. Another gold-focused company based in Vancouver to have entered Nevada in 2017 is Contact Gold, focusing on its flagship Pony Creek asset, a 13,771-hectare land package situated on the prolific Carlin trend. The group behind Contact Gold is hoping to repeat the success they had with Fronteer Gold, which was acquired by Newmont in 2011 in a deal valued at US$2.3 billion. Since going public in June 2017, Contact Gold has conducted comprehensive strate- gies including soil sampling and mapping at Pony Creek, enabling the company to gen- erate six new targets that are supported by data sets. "Contact Gold now has tangible proof that its targeting mechanism is effec- tive, and we are positive that further drilling on the other targets will support this," stated Matthew Lennox-King, president, CEO and director of Contact Gold. Further south, Arizona Silver Explora- tion (AZS) has focused its attention on a high-grade gold-silver vein target in Mohave County, northwestern Arizona. In January 2019 AZS entered into a lease with option to purchase on 11 unpatented lode mining claims that cover the majority of the old workings and potential strike extension of the former operating Arabian-Philadelphia Mine in the Oatman Mining District, which has produced over 2 million ounces of gold. Mike Stark, chairman and director of AZS, is optimistic about the outlook for precious metals: "Here we are at the end of a long bear metals market, and hopefully we have turned the corner and are now heading into a long-awaited bull market. With the recent rise in both gold and silver prices, people will be looking for safe havens and history proven investments." Ecuador aims to double its mining economy by 2021 The Ecuadorian government has the target of attracting US$4 billion in mining invest- ment into the country by 2021, backed by a wave of exploration and development projects and improvements to the country's fiscal regime, including the removal of the windfall tax in August 2018. However, growing concerns from NGOs and rural and indigenous communities on the pro- posed uptick in natural resource extraction prompted Fitch Solutions Macro Research to rank Ecuador as a riskier environment than Mexico, Colombia and Chile. The need to balance mining-friendly im- provements to Ecuador's regulatory frame- work with respect for local heritage will be key to the development of the country's min- ing industry, as touched upon by Ron Hoch- stein, president and CEO of Lundin Gold: "The exploration potential in Ecuador is significant and the government realizes that improvements still need to be made while protecting the environment and indigenous cultures." Construction at Fruta del Norte began mid-2017 and its first gold pour is expect- ed in Q4 2019. Hochstein sees potential for Lundin's flagship asset in southwestern Ecuador to expand significantly: "Fruta del Norte's reserves of 5 million oz at an average grade of 8.74 g/mt only represent 67% of our indicated resource," he elaborated. The opening up of the cadastral system in 2016 created a staking rush for new con- cessions, and at the time the Ecuadorian institutions were not prepared to handle all the related permitting and processing, ac- cording to Marshall Kovall, president, CEO and director of Lumina Gold and Luminex Resources. However, Kovall has noticed im- provements in the years since: "There is a significant amount of collaboration between industry, government and communities, and the country is very supportive of advancing its burgeoning mining industry." After the storms: unlocking mineral potential in Argentina As the IMF increased Argentina's bailout package to US$57 billion in September 2018, storm clouds of the literal variety were forming, with torrential rains and flood- Ron Hochstein, president and CEO, Lundin Gold.

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