BHP Billiton Advances Potash Development

In January 2010, BHP Billiton announced corporate approval for $240 million in early-stage capital expenditures at its Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan and, in a separate announcement, that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Athabasca Potash Inc. for about $320 million. Athabasca Potash’s Burr project is located adjacent to the Jansen project. The Jansen project is in the final stages of a pre-feasibility study, and BHP Billiton expects to move into the feasibility phase in mid-2010, with a full investment decision anticipated in late 2011.

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Permit Appeal May Impact Teck’s Red Dog Operations

Teck announced in mid-February 2010 that several environmental and tribal groups had appealed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) issuance of the Red Dog zinc mine’s renewed National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, which was due to come into effect on March 1, 2010. The latest appeal was filed by the same groups that in January challenged a state of Alaska decision certifying that the same permit complied with the state’s water quality standards. Until the EPA issues a notice clarifying which provisions of the permit are subject to appeal and consequently stayed, the entire new permit is stayed, Teck reported.

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Cameco Gains Access to Main Working Level at Cigar Lake

Cameco reports that crews safely re-entered the main working level of the Cigar Lake mine in northern Saskatchewan, 480 m below surface, on February 10. Prior to re-entry, the mine was fully dewatered and the main shaft refurbished, including installation of the ladderway, replacement of electrical and mechanical components, and extension of the in-shaft pumping system.

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Thompson Creek Metals

Thompson Creek Metals announced in early December 2009 that it is reactivating a previously planned expansion project at its 75%-owned Endako molybdenum mine in northern British Columbia. Sojitz Corp., a Japanese company, is Thompson Creek’s partner and 25% owner of the operation.

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