Metals Update 31/03/2021

Almaden appoints O’Kane, Phillips to board

Almaden Minerals Ltd. has appointed Kevin O’Kane and Alfredo Phillips as independent non-executive members of the board of directors, effective immediately.

Kevin O’Kane is based in Vancouver and is a registered professional engineer with nearly 40 years of experience in the global mining industry. He has held executive positions with BHP in South America, including Project Director, Vice President of Health, Safety and Environment, and Asset President. Most recently, Mr. O’Kane held the position of Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer for SSR Mining Inc. He holds the ESG Competent Boards Certificate and Global Competent Boards Designation (GCB.D), achieved in 2021. He is fluent in Spanish and brings a wealth of technical, operational and HSCE leadership combined with Latin American knowledge to Almaden’s Board. Kevin also serves on the Boards of SolGold Plc and NorthIsle Copper and Gold Inc.

Alfredo Phillips is a seasoned business executive in Mexican primary industries. He is currently Head of Government Affairs in Mexico for Arcelor Mittal, the world’s largest steel producer. Prior to taking this position in 2020, he had served in a similar capacity for Torex Gold for over six years. Mr. Phillips is past President of the Mining Task Force of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, continues to serve on the Board of the Chamber, and is founding Chairman of the Guerrero Mining Cluster since 2016. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Latin American and Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy (LAC-CORE).

Mr. Phillips has had an extensive career in the public, private, diplomatic, and academic fields. He has held numerous positions in the Mexican Government ranging from Deputy General Director for Technology at the National Council for Science and Technology, to Director General for Planning, Programming, and the Budget at the Ministry of Education, to Head of the Investment Promotion Office at the Ministry of Energy. His last position in the Mexican Government was as Minister for Economic Affairs at the Mexican Embassy in Washington DC. He has also worked for Siemens Mesoamerica as head of government affairs. Mr. Phillips also participates in academic undertakings and is currently founding Board Member of the Global Sustainability Institute at the Monterrey Technology Institute jointly with Arizona State University, in addition to being a professor of Negotiation Theory at the Executive Education School at the IberoAmerican University in Mexico City.

Alfredo received a B.Sc. in Actuarial Mathematics from Anahuac University in Mexico City and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.

J. Duane Poliquin, Chairman of Almaden, stated “On behalf of the Board, we are very pleased to welcome these two distinguished people to Almaden. Alfredo has had a lot of success in developing and promoting successful, sustainable businesses in Mexico and we look forward to his contributions to our business strategy moving forward. Kevin adds strong technical, operational, social, and environmental expertise gained through many years of experience at Tier 1 mining operations. The appointment of Alfredo and Kevin underscores the great potential of the Ixtaca Project.”

Alfredo Phillips stated, “It is a great pleasure and a wonderful opportunity to join this distinguished group of seasoned mining professionals. Almaden offers a wonderful opportunity to be a part of a forward-thinking company that is facing the future with out of the box ESG policies that will hopefully be groundbreaking in nature and trailblazing in Mexico and the Americas building the mine of the future hand in hand with the communities and authorities.

Coincident with these appointments, John (Jack) McCleary and Gerald Carlson have elected to retire from the Board but have agreed to remain active with Almaden in an advisory capacity. Duane Poliquin, Chairman of Almaden, stated, “Both Jack and Gerry have been valued contributors to Almaden for many years. While we are losing them as valued members of the Board, we are grateful that they have agreed to remain available to the Company.”

Orca Gold Announces Closing of Non-Brokered Private Placement

VANCOUVER, BC, March 31, 2021 /CNW/ – Orca Gold Inc. (TSXV: ORG) (“Orca” or the “Company”) announces that the previously announced non-brokered private placement (see the Company’s news releases dated March 17 and March 23, 2021) (the “Offering“) has been over-subscribed and has closed on a total of 19,649,998 common shares for gross proceeds of approximately $10,807,500.

All common shares issued under the Offering will be subject to a hold period expiring on July 31, 2021, in accordance with applicable Canadian securities laws. 

The proceeds of the Offering will primarily be used to fund ongoing operations at the Company’s 70%-owned Block 14 Gold Project in the Republic of the Sudan and for general working capital.

The common shares issued under the Offering have not been, and will not be, registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “U.S. Securities Act”), or any state securities laws, and accordingly, may not be offered or sold within the United States except in compliance with the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act and applicable state securities requirements or pursuant to exemptions therefrom. This news release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any of the Corporation’s securities in the United States.

Commenting upon the successful financing, Richard Clark, CEO, said: “After nine years of working in the Republic of Sudan, delineating a resource with very strong economics and acquiring all the necessary permits for development, the Company is ready to proceed towards the construction of the Block 14 Gold Project. Today, the political environment in the Republic of Sudan is stabilizing at a rapid pace. With all sanctions removed, negative designations withdrawn, and sovereign immunity restored, the country is poised to be a go-to jurisdiction for many industries, not just mining. In particular, the Republic of Sudan’s recent clearing of financial arrears to the World Bank now opens the door to significant international financial assistance. For Orca, we are fortunate to have the support of the new Cabinet in advancing the Block 14 Gold Project and using it to set the stage for a commercial gold mining industry for the country. I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Orca’s shareholders for their ongoing support and a warm welcome to new investors who see the great potential of Block 14 and the potential of the Republic of the Sudan. The Company will provide a more detailed corporate update regarding Orca’s plans and budget in the coming weeks. I very much look forward to providing more details of the Company’s financing and development opportunities and plans for the development of Block 14”.

On behalf of the Board of Directors,

“Richard P. Clark”

Richard P. Clark| CEO & Director | Orca Gold Inc. | 604.689.7842

Bonterra Expands Multiple Gold Mineralized Zones at Barry; Highlighted by 7.4 g/t over 14.7 metres, Including 20.6 g/t over 4.9 metres

Val-d’Or, Quebec–(Newsfile Corp. – March 31, 2021) – Bonterra Resources Inc. (TSXV: BTR) (OTCQX: BONXF) (FSE: 9BR2) (“Bonterra” or the “Company“) is pleased to announce an update on results from the ongoing drilling campaign at the Barry project. Recent drilling was designed to expand the Barry “H-Series” gold mineralized zones at depth (See Figures 1 and 2). The latest drilling results encompass 11 expansion diamond drill holes (4,794 metres (“m“)), including six drill holes that were deepened to test for potential extensions of “H-Series” subparallel zones. Drilling was highlighted by a wide zone of mineralization in drill hole MB-21-340 that intercepted 7.4 grams-per-tonne gold (“g/t Au“) over 14.7 m. The Company is currently drilling at a rate of approximately 10,000 m per month and plans a mineral resource estimate update for Q2/21 (the “2021 Resource Update“), which is expected to incorporate approximately 130,000 m of new drilling information, including results presented today. In addition, work on the the Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA“) is ongoing and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2021 (See press release dated March 1, 2021).

Highlights:

  • 7.4 g/t Au over 14.7 m and 1.4 g/t Au over 6.8 m in hole MB-21-340
  • 3.8 g/t Au over 6.8 m and 2.1 g/t Au over 6.6 m in hole MB-21-339
  • 3.5 g/t Au over 6.3 m in hole MB-20-255
  • 3.9 g/t Au over 2.7 m in hole MB-20-278

Pascal Hamelin, CEO commented: “The ongoing drilling results at Barry are very encouraging and support our view that tremendous exploration potential remains within the camp near existing infrastructure. Several historical intercepts suggest the potential for higher-grade material to the west and drill hole MB-21-340 is no exception. There are currently two diamond drill rigs operating at Barry. Importantly, having several parallel gold-bearing structures allows for drilling to pierce several zones with each hole. The Company continues to test extensions of the deposits at all three of the Company’s flagship assets in preparation of the upcoming resource update expected in Q2/21.”



Figure 1 – Barry Project – Drill Hole Location Map

To view an enhanced version of this graphic, please visit:
https://orders.newsfilecorp.com/files/1528/79046_da029f7c54c66bc1_001full.jpg



Figure 2 – Barry Deposit Longitudinal Section

To view an enhanced version of this graphic, please visit:
https://orders.newsfilecorp.com/files/1528/79046_da029f7c54c66bc1_002full.jpg

The Company has drilled 70 holes and deepened six existing holes representing a total of 28,658 m at Barry since July 23, 2020. Results from eight drill holes have been received since the press release dated March 1, 2021. Results from the remaining three holes are still pending (See Table 1 and Figures 1 and 2).

The Barry gold deposit is characterized as multiple sub-parallel, sub-vertical, shear zones and a second set of subparallel “H-Series” veins dipping 50 to 60 degrees to the south hosted within intermediate to mafic volcanics and tuffs with local felsic intrusions. Gold mineralization consists of disseminated sulfides within the shear zones and the veins with local visible gold. The Barry deposit has been delineated over 1.4 kilometres along strike and 600 m vertical and remains open for expansion.

Due to an accumulated backlog at the Company’s laboratory, assaying priority has been assigned to drill hole samples directly affected within the 2021 Resource Update. Pending assays of samples awaiting analysis from drilling beyond the project models not included in the 2021 Resource Update are to be processed by Activation Laboratories Ltd. (“Actlabs“), based in northwestern Quebec.

Table 1: Significant mineralized intersections of recent drilling on the Barry deposit

Hole IDFrom (m)To (m)Length (m)Grade (g/t Au)Zone
MB-18-189Results pending
MB-18-191Results pending
MB-18-198523.3524.31.01.9H15
527.9530.12.20.9H15
MB-20-246Results pending
MB-20-255624.8631.16.33.5H15
including630.4631.10.715.2
MB-20-278543.7546.52.83.9H15
including545.2545.70.517.3
MB-21-336193.2194.71.50.7
215.2215.70.50.9
233.8234.30.51.3
461.2463.22.02.01000
493.3494.31.00.8
MB-21-337525.3527.32.00.5
568.0570.22.22.4
MB-21-338570.8578.47.60.8
653.2655.62.42.2H12
700.7706.65.92.1H13
including703.7704.71.07.4
MB-21-339580.9585.74.80.6H5
656.8663.66.83.8H12
including656.8658.51.714.6
849.5856.16.62.1H15
MB-21-340346.4350.64.20.6
431.3446.014.77.4H8
including434.1439.04.920.6
497.8502.54.70.6
509.7514.44.71.0H13
615.8622.76.91.4H15

Notes:
1) The meterage represents the length of the drilled lengths.
2) True widths are estimated to be greater than 85% of the drill intersection length.
3) The mineralized intervals shown above use a 0.5 g/t Au cut-off grade.

Six existing drill holes (MB-18-189, MB-18-191, MB-18-198, MB-20-246, MB-20-255 and MB-20-278) were deepened and five new holes (MB-21-336 to 340) targeted the expansion of key areas confirming mineral continuity within the inferred resource from the 2019 Barry mineral resource estimate. Drilling results confirm the expansion of multiple “H-Series” subparallel zones open at depth in the central and west areas of the Barry deposit.

The following holes have returned significant grades in this sector; MB-20-255: 3.5 g/t Au over 6.3 m in the H15 Zone; MB-20-278: 3.9 g/t Au over 2.7 m in the H15 Zone; MB-21-339: 3.8 g/t Au over 6.8 m in the H12 zone and 2.1 g/t Au over 6.6 m in the H15 zone; MB-21-340: 7.4 g/t Au over 14.7 m in the H8 Zone and 1.4 g/t Au over 6.8 m in the H15 Zone. Hole MB-21-336 intersected the 1000 zone returning 2.0 g/t Au over 2.0 m confirming that mineralization along this Barry zone remains open towards the east and at depth (See Table 1 and Figures 1 and 2).

American Manganese Produces Cathode Precursor Material Directly from Recycled Lithium-ion Battery NCA Cathode Waste

SURREY, BC / ACCESSWIRE / March 31, 2021 / American Manganese Inc. (TSXV:AMY)(OTCQB:AMYZF)(FSE:2AM) (“AMY” or the “Company“), with its advanced and patented lithium-ion battery cathode recycling process (RecycLiCo™) and Kemetco Research Inc. (“Kemetco”), a leading metallurgical laboratory and R&D contractor to American Manganese, are pleased to announce the production of cathode precursor material directly from recycled Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (NCA) cathode waste. The NCA cathode chemistry is produced by some of the largest battery manufacturers and commonly used in modern electric vehicle batteries.

The cathode precursor material, produced by the Company’s pilot plant project and specialized cathode reactor, was analyzed with scanning electron microscopy to verify the spherical morphology requested by a tier-one battery manufacturer. American Manganese will be producing a range of precursor samples to be evaluated in collaboration with the tier-one battery manufacturer.

Scanning Electron Microscopy Scan of Cathode Precursor from Recycled NCA Cathode Waste

“American Manganese is advancing its RecycLiCo™ process with the aim to produce the highest value final product, the cathode precursor, with the fewest number of steps,” commented Larry Reaugh, President and CEO of American Manganese. “We believe our business strategy and patented technology provide the highest economic benefit and the most sustainable manner for recycling critical battery minerals from cathode waste.”

The Government of Canada has recently developed a list of 31 critical minerals for the sustainable economic success of Canada, which include battery minerals like lithium, cobalt, manganese, nickel, and aluminum. Battery technology will be essential for the global economy and Canada is poised to become a global leader in mining, battery manufacturing, electric vehicle manufacturing, and battery recycling. American Manganese believes its recycling patents and cathode precursor production know-how will be a valuable contribution to Canada’s thriving battery supply chain. The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) has provided support and funding to American Manganese for its technical feasibility project, formally known as Synthesis of Cathode Material Precursors from Recycled Battery Scrap.

Aquila Resources Announces Fourth Quarter and Year End 2020 Financial Results

Aquila Resources Inc. (TSX: AQA, OTCQB: AQARF) (“Aquila” or the “Company”) announces the filing of its financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2020. All amounts, unless indicated, are reported in US dollars.

“In 2020, Aquila significantly advanced our Back Forty Project in Michigan, highlighted by the Preliminary Economic Assessment the Company announced in August that showcased Back Forty’s potential as a near-term producer in the United States,” said Guy Le Bel, President & CEO of Aquila. “Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Aquila was able to expand its team in Michigan and resolved all federal challenges to the Back Forty Project. Our current focus is securing additional capital and evaluating various strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value, advancing the optimized Feasibility Study, and securing the remaining State permits required to build and operate Back Forty.”

ANNUAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • In August 2020, the Company announced the results of a positive Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) for the Company’s 100% owned Back Forty Project. Key highlights include:
    • After-tax NPV at a 6% discount rate of $176.3 million (approximately C$235 million) with 26.1% IRR at long term consensus metal prices including $1,485 per ounce gold.
    • After-tax NPV of $316.3 million at a 6% discount rate (approximately C$422 million) with 37.8% IRR at spot prices as of August 4, 2020 including $1,998 per ounce gold with gold generating 52% of revenue.
    • Includes the known underground mineral resources at Back Forty, increasing the life of mine to 12 full years.
    • Life of mine production of over 1.5 million gold equivalent ounces with production in Year 1 of 206,000 gold equivalent ounces.
    • Pre-production capital costs of $250.4 million benefitting from significant nearby infrastructure.
    • Potential value enhancement through additional exploration as the deposit remains open at depth.
  • In January 2020, in a unanimous decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (the “Appeals Court”) upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit related to Aquila’s Wetlands Permit brought by the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin (the “Tribe”) in the State of Wisconsin. In May 2020, in a unanimous decision, the Appeals Court denied an earlier request by the Tribe for a rehearing of its appeal. This marks the end of the Tribe’s federal challenge to the Back Forty Project.
  • In August 2020, the Company added two key hires to its team:
    • The Company hired Mike Foley as Director of Environment & Infrastructure. Mr. Foley has 32 years of experience as a Civil Engineer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northern Wisconsin.
    • The Company hired Bob Mahin as Director of Exploration. Mr. Mahin is a senior level geologist with thirty years of progressive experience guiding mineral exploration programs. Since 1990, Mr. Mahin has been based in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and has gained progressive experience from fieldwork to managing multi-million-dollar exploration programs in the pursuit of gold and base metals.
  • In September 2020, the Company held its 2020 annual meeting of shareholders at which the six nominees listed in the management information circular were elected as directors of Aquila. The Company welcomed a new director, Mr. Paul Johnson, to the Board. Mr. Johnson is a mining engineer with 40 years of experience in the mining industry. Prior experience includes serving as Open Pit Project Evaluation Manager for Osisko Gold Royalties and being part of the initial development team for Osisko Mining Corporation’s Canadian Malartic project.
  • In June 2020, the Company announced that it entered into definitive agreements to amend certain terms of its gold and silver purchase agreements with a subsidiary of Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd (“Osisko”) in order to accelerate Aquila’s access to a portion of the outstanding funding under the gold purchase agreement and to provide additional flexibility.
  • In August 2020, the Company achieved DTC eligibility for its common shares from The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”). The DTC is a subsidiary of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. and manages the electronic clearing and settlement for the vast majority of publicly traded equities and other securities in the United States. This electronic method of clearing securities accelerates the settlement process for investors and brokers, enabling the stock to be traded over a much wider selection of brokerage firms by coming into compliance with their requirements. The Company’s common shares continue to be listed for trading in the United States on the OTCQB market under the symbol AQARF.

FOURTH QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS

  • As at December 31, 2020, Aquila had cash of $1.8 million and negative working capital of $0.8 million. This compared to cash of $4.0 million and working capital of $1.6 million at December 31, 2019. The decrease in working capital is primarily due to permitting and legal activities at its Back Forty Project. The Company is focused on securing financing in the near-term.
  • In December 2020, the Ingham County Circuit Court in the State of Michigan upheld the final decision of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (“EGLE”) to issue the Back Forty Mining Permit after a lengthy contested case hearing initiated by two petitioners. Subsequent to its issuance by EGLE, the Mining Permit was upheld by the Judge and an environmental review panel made up of technical experts from various fields.

POST QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS

  • In February 2021, a resolution supporting the mining industry in Michigan was introduced into the Michigan Senate. The resolution has been reported out of committee without changes and is expected to be adopted by the Senate in the current legislative session.
  • On February 1, 2021, the Company appointed Guy Le Bel as President & CEO of Aquila. Barry Hildred transitioned to the role of Executive Chair of the Board of Directors and Ted Munden, outgoing Chair of the Board of Directors, was appointed to the position of Lead Director. Mr. Le Bel brings more than 35 years of experience in business and project development, strategic and financial planning, and permitting in the Americas to Aquila. Most recently, he was CEO and CFO of Golden Queen Mining Ltd. until its acquisition in 2020 by Falco Resources Ltd. Mr. Le Bel holds an MBA Finance from Ecole des Hautes Études Commerciales (Montreal), a Master Applied Sciences, Mining Engineering from the University of British Columbia and a B.Sc. Mining Engineering from Université Laval. He is a Professional Engineer (O.I.Q.).
  • In March 2021, Aquila announced that it entered into definitive agreements (the “2021 Stream Agreement Amendments”) with Osisko to amend certain terms of the Gold Stream and Silver Stream in order to provide additional flexibility. Under the terms of the 2021 Stream Agreement Amendments, Osisko agreed to adjust certain milestone dates under the Gold Stream and the Silver Stream to align the streams with the current project development timeline.
  • In March 2021, Aquila engaged Osisko Technical Services (“OTS”) to lead an optimized feasibility study (the “Feasibility Study”) for the Back Forty Project. OTS’ technical team has a proven track record of project execution. Aquila will leverage the team’s combined engineering, permitting, construction and operating expertise to unlock value and advance the Back Forty Project through its next phase of development.
  • In January 2021, an administrative law judge for the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules (the “Judge”) issued a decision denying the prior issuance of the Back Forty Wetlands Permit. In his decision, the Judge determined that Aquila’s groundwater model does not provide a reliable identification of wetland impacts and therefore found the permit application to be administratively incomplete. The Judge also determined that Aquila did not provide a complete assessment of potential alternatives to its proposed plan. Aquila has appealed the Judge’s decision to the EGLE environmental review panel (the “Panel”). The Panel is expected to render a decision in the second half of 2021. The Panel has the authority to adopt, remand, modify, or reverse, in whole or in part, the Judge’s decision. The decision of the Panel will become the final decision of EGLE.
  • In January 2021, a Michigan Public Service Commission Administrative Law Judge rejected Alger Delta Power Cooperative’s motion which objected to Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation’s (UMERC) filing of its Notice of Intent to Serve the Back Forty Mine. The Company believes this decision paves the way for Aquila to choose whichever electrical service provider it deems best for the Back Forty Project.
  • On March 24, 2021, the Company announced that it filed a preliminary short form prospectus in connection with a marketed equity offering (the “Offering”). On March 25, 2021, the Company announced that, in light of current market conditions, it determined not to proceed with the Offering. Aquila is working with its advisors to consider and evaluate various strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value, including looking to realize value from its Wisconsin properties.

OUTLOOK

  • The Company will continue to advance its Back Forty Project in Michigan where the main objectives are completing the optimized Feasibility Study and securing the remaining permits required for construction and operations. The Feasibility Study will incorporate both the open pit and underground mine plans. Following the completion of the Feasibility Study, the Company will submit revised permit applications to EGLE to align the permits with the Feasibility Study design. EGLE previously issued the Company the four key permits required to build and operate the Back Forty Project, being a Mining Permit, Air Permit, NPDES Permit, and a Wetlands Permit (which was subsequently denied by the Judge in January 2021), based on the development plan contemplated in the Company’s open pit only feasibility study filed on SEDAR on September 7, 2018. The Company believes that permit applications that reflect the Feasibility Study design will demonstrate reduced environmental impact and a longer mine life for the benefit of all stakeholders.
  • Aquila will continue to advance its appeal of the Judge’s decision to deny the issuance of the Back Forty Wetlands Permit. Through its appeal, at a minimum, Aquila is seeking to clarify certain aspects of the decision to facilitate further permitting efforts for the Back Forty Project. In parallel with its appeal, Aquila will work closely with EGLE to reach consensus on the groundwater model.
  • As the Company works through the Wetlands Permit appeal and continues its collaboration with EGLE in support of a revised Wetlands Permit application, if required, the Company will conduct technical studies to support the optimized Feasibility Study that will seek to evaluate areas of opportunity. These include opportunities to:
    • Simplify the process flowsheet and increase gold recoveries in light of improved metal prices; and
    • Optimize the mine plan to enhance economics, reduce environmental impact, and improve the Project configuration and strip ratio.
  • The Company will continue its efforts to secure additional financing and, in parallel, will evaluate various strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value.