PSC: Rocanville Ramp-up Well Underway

PotashCorp of Saskatchewan (PCS) said that its potash portfolio optimization and cost reduction strategy, which includes the ramp-up of its low-cost Rocanville mine, contributed to its strong first-quarter results. “Potash market fundamentals continued to improve in the first quarter,” said Jochen Tilk, president and CEO, PCS. “We expect improved consumption trends and nutrient affordability in key markets to support potash demand and our results through the remainder of 2017. We are well into our Canpotex allocation audit process at Rocanville and anticipate our sales entitlement will increase for the second half of the year.”
Tilk said the company is also making good progress on its merger of equals with Agrium. “We continue to work through the regulatory process in key jurisdictions and remain confident the transaction will close mid-2017,” Tilk said.

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ERP Named Stalking Horse Bidder for Mountain Pass

ERP Strategic Minerals has been selected as the stalking horse bidder by the Chapter 11 trustee for Molycorp Minerals and entered into an asset purchase agreement with the trustee to purchase substantially all the assets and the related surface property rights at the Mountain Pass rare earth minerals mine.

Located in San Bernardino County, California, approximately 50 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada, Mountain Pass is the only mine and processing facility for rare earths minerals in the United States. The mine has an operating history dating back to the 1950s and was most recently placed on care and maintenance after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2015.

If ERP is successful in purchasing the Mountain Pass mine through the bankruptcy sale process, the company said it will work collaboratively with San Bernardino County, the California state agencies and other regulatory stakeholders to complete the necessary technical studies and restart plan to return the mine to sustainable operations. Recognizing the Mountain Pass mine as a strategic US mining asset, ERP said it intends to manage its operations as a long-term sustainable business based on high environmental standards.

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Imperial Becomes Sole Owner of Huckleberry

Huckleberry Mines Ltd. has exercised its right of first refusal to purchase for cancellation all the shares of Huckleberry held by a syndicate comprised of Mitsubishi Materials Corp., Dowa Metals & Mining Co., Ltd., and Furukawa Co., Ltd., in exchange for cash consideration of $2 million. The transaction is expected to close during April and will result in Imperial Metals Corp. holding 100% of the shares of Huckleberry through HML Mining Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Imperial.

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Victoria Gold Nearing Construction Start at Eagle Gold Project in Yukon

Victoria Gold has awarded JDS Energy & Mining in partnership with Hatch the EPCM contact for its Eagle open-pit, heap leach gold project in central Yukon, Canada. Initial work is directed toward advancing engineering to enable a start to site construction activities.

Victoria has also entered into an exclusive agreement with Finning (Canada) for the supply a fleet of Caterpillar mining equipment for the Eagle project, including two 6040 FS hydraulic shovels, eleven 150-ton-capacity 785D off-highway trucks, and various auxiliary mining equipment. The total cost of the new fleet will be approximately $50 million. Delivery is expected between late 2017 and the third quarter of 2018.

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South32 Earning Into Trilogy’s Alaska Assets

Trilogy Metals has signed an agreement with South32 Ltd. that grants South32 an option to form a 50:50 joint venture with respect to Trilogy’s assets in the Ambler mining district in northwest Alaska. South32 must contribute a minimum of $10 million each year for a maximum of three years to keep the option in good standing and may exercise its option at any time to form the 50:50 joint venture. To subscribe for 50% of the joint venture, South32 must contribute a minimum of $150 million, plus any amounts Trilogy spends at the Arctic project over the next three years to a maximum of $5 million per year, less an amount of the initial funding contributed by South32.

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