Duluth Metals and Antofagasta plc, Alamos Gold, Yamana Gold, Vista Gold
Duluth Metals and Antofagasta plc have signed a heads of agreement whereby Antofagasta will initially become a 40% partner in Duluth’s Nokomis copper-nickel-PGM project in the Duluth Complex in northeastern Minnesota, with the option to acquire an additional 25% interest under certain conditions. To acquire its initial 40% stake, Antofagasta has committed to fund a total of $130 million of further exploration and feasibility study expenditure at Nokomis over a three-year period. Antofagasta has also agreed to subscribe to a private placement to become an approximately 7% shareholder in Duluth Metals at a price of C$12 million. Duluth and Antofagasta expect to establish a project company and conclude a definitive participation and shareholder agreement for the joint venture in the second quarter of 2010.
The Nokomis project has recently published NI 43-101 compliant indicated and inferred resources totaling 550 million and 274 million mt, respectively, with a combined copper grade of approximately 0.6% and a combined copper equivalent grade of approximately 1.5%, taking into account the nickel and PGM content.
(www.duluthmetals.com and www.antofagasta.co.uk)
Alamos Gold in mid-December 2009 signed a definitive purchase agreement with Teck Resources and Fronteer Development Group to acquire 100% of their Aği Daği and Kirazli advanced-stage gold exploration projects located on the Biga peninsula in northwest Turkey. The cash and shares transaction values the projects at about $85 million.
The recently established Biga mineral district features a number of high-sulphidation epithermal gold and associated porphyry copper-gold deposits. In June 2007, Fronteer published NI 43-101 compliant resources for three gold deposits on the Aği Daği and Kirazli properties that collectively contain measured and indicated oxide resources of 1.3 million oz of gold and 8.4 million oz of silver, plus inferred oxide resources of 702,000 oz of gold, and 5.3 million oz of silver at a cutoff of 0.5 g/mt gold. The resources remain open for expansion.
Since publishing these results, Fronteer and Teck have completed an additional 81 holes of core and reverse-circulation drilling on the three main mineralized zones. Alamos believes that the combined properties have immediate potential to be developed into low-cost oxide gold heap-leach operations.
Yamana Gold has budgeted $75–$80 million for exploration during 2010, with its primary focus being near-mine exploration targets at its mines in Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Yamana’s El Peñón mine in Chile will account for about $18.4 million of the total, with a 2010 exploration program that will include 69,500 m of exploration drilling and 24,550 m of infill drilling. At Minera Florida in Chile, Yamana is planning 12,900 m of exploration drilling for near-mine targets and 18,000 m of infill drilling to re-categorize inferred mineral resources to the indicated category.
In Argentina, exploration at Yamana’s Gualcamayo mine will focus on the recently discovered Salamanca prospect 10 km north of current operations. Drilling results to date indicate that Salamanca will be an important future source of gold ounces for Gualcamayo.
In Brazil, Yamana is exploring near-mine targets at its Chapada, Fazenda Brasileiro, and Jacobina mines. At Chapada, Yamana is targeting a recently discovered mineralized zone at Suruca, 6 km northeast of current operations, with the goal of defining a mineral resource by 2011. At Fazenda Brasileiro, exploration during 2010 will focus on meaningfully increasing mineral reserves and resources in two new areas of mineralization. And at Jacobina, exploration efforts in 2010 will be focused to pursue higher-grade areas of mineralization for future mining. Also in Brazil, Yamana has budgeted for 18,000 m of drilling at its Pilar advanced exploration project and 15,000 m of drilling at its Caiamar advanced exploration project during 2010.
Vista Gold mobilized two core rigs and a reverse circulation rig for a 14,000-m drilling program in early 2010 at its Mt. Todd gold project in Australia’s Northern Territory. The program is planned at 10 core holes totaling 5,000 m and 18 reverse circulation holes totaling 9,000 m. The core drilling program is designed to test areas of the project’s Batman deposit for potential resource expansion, to convert inferred resources to measured and indicated resources, and to obtain samples for further metallurgical testing. The reverse circulation drilling program is designed to test targets identified by a recently completed field program on Vista’s exploration licenses located adjacent to the Batman deposit. Vista expects to complete the drilling program during the first quarter of 2010.