Saskatchewan diamond project another step closer #diamonds

July 28, 2014
Shore Gold’s Star/Orion diamond project has moved another step closer to a regulatory decision, from steps 42 and 43 to step 44 per below.
Star MPMO July 28 2014 1
Star MPMO July 28 2014 2
. . . . . .

Olympic uranium-copper expansion years away, says BHP

Olympic expansion years away, says BHP
by: Matt Chambers and Barry Fitzgerald
From: The Australian
July 29, 2014 12:00AM
BHP Billiton is unlikely to ­approve a long awaited expansion of the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine in South ­Australia’s outback this decade, with the miner revealing it will take four years to trial a processing method it hopes will help make the project profitable.
Under a $30 billion expansion plan shelved in late 2012, BHP was last year to have started construction on the project, which would involve digging the world’s ­biggest open pit.
Yesterday, the company showed how far away any decision to expand was when it fleshed out comments made in September by chief executive ­Andrew Mackenzie that expansion would need a technological breakthrough.
In documents filed with the federal Environment Department yesterday, BHP kicked off the approvals process for a trial plant to test heap-leaching of copper and uranium ores as a lower-cost ­alternative to the previous ­expansion plan.
If all goes to plan, the earliest a demonstration plant would start construction is July next year, with a three-year operation period targeted to start in October 2016.
“While the application is for a trial, a successful trial will not necessarily lead to a full-scale heap-leach project,” BHP said.
“Further, the extent and ­nature of any potential full-scale project is not known at this stage.”
The application is only to study processing the ore, with no mention of how BHP would ­access the deep orebody.
Heap-leaching of ores from the massive deposit could do away for the need to duplicate the costly smelting and refining ­operations at Olympic Dam, which is at present producing at an annual rate of 220,000 tonnes of copper and about 4000 tonnes of uranium.
The process involves extracting copper and uranium by dripping a sulfuric acidic solution on a pile, or heap, of ore.
Under previous government-approved plans, BHP had been planning a staged increase in annual production to a world-class 750,000 tonnes of copper and 19,000 tonnes of uranium, the latter being problematic given the collapse in prices and demand for the nuclear material in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
The big-bang approach to expansion was abandoned by BHP in August 2012 in line with the new era of capital austerity that swept the industry in response to weaker commodity prices.
It involved the development of a super pit which would have taken more than five years to complete, with the Olympic Dam orebody sitting under 400m of overburden. The lack of cash flow during the time it would take to develop the open-cut mine ­spooked both BHP and the ­market, where agitation for greater shareholder returns over more big expansions has been become the new mantra.
South Australia had been banking on the original $30bn plan to underpin an economic surge for the struggling state.
Mr Mackenzie undertook in September to update the state on the way forward for Olympic Dam inside of a year. The investigation of the heap-leach option has been an open ­secret, with laboratory test work at Wingfield in suburban Adelaide under way since the expansion was canned.
“Laboratory and pilot-scale trials of heap-leaching as an alternative process for extracting metals from ore mined underground have shown promising results to date,’’ BHP said yesterday.
In order to test the processing method at a larger and more integrated scale, BHP has lodged an application for assessment by the federal and South Australian governments to build and operate a demonstration plant on the existing mining lease at Olympic Dam.
“Should approval be granted, and subject to BHP approvals, construction of the demonstration plant is expected to commence in the second half of (calendar) 2015, with a projected trial period of 36 months which is expected to commence in late 2016,’’ the company said.
The heap-leach trial is only part of the thought process BHP has to go through to determine the best, and lowest-cost, way to maximise returns from Olympic Dam, one of the world’s biggest deposits of copper and uranium.
The initial plan was supported by a mine-life capability from the underlying resource base of more than 40 years.
BHP has yet to elaborate on what the move towards a heap-leach operation would mean for the end products produced at Olympic Dam.

Fission Summer Program Hits Off-scale Mineralization in 7 Angled Holes; Expands R780E Zone into New Area

Fission Summer Program Hits Off-scale Mineralization in 7 Angled Holes; Expands R780E Zone into New Area

 

Top Hole Returns 128.0m Total Composite Mineralization with 6.1m Total Composite Off-scale

KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – July 28, 2014) - FISSION URANIUM CORP. (TSX VENTURE:FCU)(OTCQX:FCUUF)(FRANKFURT:2FU) (“Fission” or “the Company“) is pleased to announce results from the first fourteen drill holes of the summer drill program at its PLS property in Canada’s Athabasca Basin. Of particular note is hole PLS14-230 (line 915E), which returned 6.1m total composite off-scale (>10,000 cps) radioactivity, in 128.0m total composite mineralization. All fourteen holes returned wide mineralization, with seven angled holes and three vertical holes holes returning substantial intervals of off-scale (>10,000 cps) radioactivity. Fission has now replaced the GR-110 scintillometer, which measured a maximum of 9,999 cps (referred to as off-scale in all previous PLS drill programs) with the RS-121 scintillometer, which measures up to 65,535 cps for higher resolution readings of strongly anomalous radioactivity.

Drilling Highlights Include:

New drilling techniques have enabled barge-based angled drill holes

  • Angled holes are now being drilled to improve Fission’s understanding of the discovery’s geometry and assisting in the identification of new mineralized areas.

R780E Zone Growth

  • Eastern end of R780E Zone expands approximately 50m north of currently defined boundary (lines 870E and 915E)

Hole PLS14-230 (line 915E)

  • 128.0m total composite mineralization (between 115.0m – 362.0m) including:
    • 6.1m total composite mineralization of (>10,000 cps) radioactivity

Hole PLS14-220 (line 540E)

  • 93.1m total composite mineralization (between 59.5m – 246.5m) including:
    • 4.6m total composite mineralization of (>10,000 cps) radioactivity

Hole PLS14-225 (line 825E)

  • 76.0m total composite mineralization (between 126.5m – 268.0m) including:
    • 4.1m total composite mineralization of (>10,000 cps) radioactivity

Ross McElroy, President, COO, and Chief Geologist for Fission, commented,

“Fourteen holes, fourteen hits. We have wide mineralization in every drill hole, high-grade intervals in ten of the holes and a new mineralized area to the North of the R780E zone’s eastern section. The summer drill program is progressing extremely well as we continue to rapidly expand the PLS discovery prior to a 43-101 resource estimate at the end of the year.”

New Mineralized Zones in Eastern Region of R780E Zone: Holes PLS14-224 (870E) and PLS14-230 (915E) have intersected mineralization further to the north than previously known. In the case of PLS14-224, mineralization was intersected in a parallel, previously unknown metapelitic gneissic unit (244.0m to 248.0m), located approximately 45m grid north of the main mineralized horizon and included 0.1m of 12,000 cps within the 4.0m interval. Results from PLS14-230 also push the mineralization boundary further grid north of the currently defined boundary, by approximately 50m. These encouraging results expanding mineralization to the north and identifying parallel mineralized metapelitic gneissic units, underpin the growth potential of the R780E zone in every directions. Further holes are required to follow-up these significant successes.

Rapid Expansion of R780E Zone: Today’s results continue to demonstrate the robust nature of the PLS mineralized system. In particular, results from the eastern area of the R780E show considerable upside. The 43 holes earmarked for the main mineralized trend are designed to show growth, both laterally north and south as well as expansion along strike to the east, as well as to demonstrate continuity as required for an upcoming NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate expected towards the end of 2014.

Fission Changes to More Advanced Scintillometer Technology: For reporting purposes Fission has replaced the Exploranium GR-110 Scintillometer with a RS-121 Super GAMMA Scintillometer manufactured by Radiation Solutions. The RS-121 is a state-of-the art hand portable scintillometer capable of measuring higher radioactivity than the GR-110, with readings up to 65,535 cps (counts per second) before saturation, whereas the previously used GR-110 saturates (i.e. off-scale) at 9999 cps. Field studies conducted at PLS have shown the RS-121 and GR-110 hand scintilometers to give statistically similar radioactivity results for measurements returning <9999 cps. The RS-121 allows for far more accuracy and resolution of readings in zones of strongly anomalous radioactivity.

Natural gamma radiation in drill core that is reported in this news release was measured in counts per second (cps) using a hand held RS-121 Scintillometer manufactured by Radiation Solutions. The reader is cautioned that scintillometer readings are not directly or uniformly related to uranium grades of the rock sample measured, and should be used only as a preliminary indication of the presence of radioactive materials. The degree of radioactivity within the mineralized intervals is highly variable and associated with visible pitchblende mineralization. All intersections are down-hole, core interval measurements and true thickness is yet to be determined.

Samples from the drill core will be split in half sections on site. Where possible, samples will be standardized at 0.5m down-hole intervals. One-half of the split sample will be sent to SRC Geoanalytical Laboratories (an SCC ISO/IEC 17025: 2005 Accredited Facility) in Saskatoon, SK for analysis which includes U3O8 (wt %) and fire assay for gold, while the other half will remain on site for reference. Analysis will include a 63 element ICP-OES, uranium by fluorimetry and boron.

All depth measurements reported, including radioactivity and mineralization interval widths are down-hole, core interval measurements and true thickness are yet to be determined.

Collar * Hand-held Scintillometer Results On Mineralized Drillcore (>300 cps / >0.5M minimum) Sand- stone Base- ment Uncon- formity Total Drill- hole
Zone Grid Line Az Dip From (m) To (m) Width (m) CPS Peak Range From – To (m) Depth (m) Depth (m)
PLS14-217 R780E 600E 325 -81.0 59.0 64.0 5.0 <300 – 2400 NA 59.0 320.0
66.5 76.0 9.5 <300 – 1800
107.5 114.5 7.0 <300 – 1200
122.5 127.0 4.5 340 – 1900
135.0 137.5 2.5 340 – 2700
140.5 144.0 3.5 430 – 6200
147.0 151.0 4.0 370 – 7000
158.5 161.5 3.0 310 – 3100
165.0 167.5 2.5 <300 – 1600
175.5 176.0 0.5 1600
180.0 190.0 10.0 <300 – 7200
195.0 196.5 1.5 300 – 800
199.0 209.5 10.5 <300 – 3400
212.0 217.5 5.5 <300 – 2700
222.0 225.0 3.0 360 – 1300
232.0 234.0 2.0 340 – 470
243.0 248.5 5.5 <300 – 1900
PLS14-218 R780E 465E 345 -70 161.0 167.0 6.0 <300 – 960 NA 52.9 287.0
170.5 195.5 25.0 <300 – 5200
224.0 229.5 5.5 <300 – 2600
260.0 261.5 1.5 500 – 1100
PLS14-219 R780E 300E 371 -88 86.5 88.0 1.5 470 – 1300 NA 57 326.7
90.5 91.5 1.0 350 – 500
134.0 136.0 2.0 <300 – 590
143.0 147.0 4.0 <300 – 420
153.5 154.5 1.0 380 – 800
160.0 177.0 17.0 <300 – 33000
180.5 195.0 14.5 <300 – 5700
198.5 212.5 14.0 <300 – 3600
235.5 236.0 0.5 380
259.0 259.5 0.5 300
PLS14-220 R780E 540E 243 -86.6 59.5 91.5 32.0 <300 – 15000 NA 57.0 341.0
97.0 111.5 14.5 <300 – 30000
117.5 118.5 1.0 2000 – 55000
123.9 129.0 5.1 410 – 32000
132.0 133.5 1.5 1100 – 40000
146.5 147.5 1.0 460 – 490
156.0 158.5 2.5 <300 – 2100
163.0 174.0 11.0 <300 – 41000
177.0 199.5 22.5 <300 – 3000
202.0 202.5 0.5 360
206.0 207.0 1.0 410 – 570
246.0 246.5 0.5 380
PLS14-221 R780E 735E 333 -71.7 139.0 144.0 5.0 330 – 960 NA 63.0 317.0
146.5 151.0 4.5 <300 – 860
153.5 164.0 10.5 <300 – 1800
166.5 167.5 1.0 320 – 420
191.0 191.5 0.5 600
204.5 205.0 0.5 340
213.0 225.5 12.5 <300 – 23000
252.5 257.5 5.0 <300 – 2200
PLS14-222 R780E 375E 342 -70 99.0 100.0 1.0 420 45.2 – 57.6 57.6 221.0
112.0 113.0 1.0 300 – 560
117.0 125.5 8.5 <300 – 6100
129.0 133.5 4.5 <300 – 4200
137.0 149.0 12.0 <300 – 10200
PLS14-223 R780E 540E 234 -88 79.5 88.0 8.5 <300 – 3900 NA 53.0 308.4
91.0 110.5 19.5 <300 – 8900
114.5 118.5 4.0 <300 – 9000
121.0 132.5 11.5 <300 – 32000
135.0 137.0 2.0 320 – 450
148.0 148.5 0.5 360
151.0 155.0 4.0 480 – 1600
157.5 166.0 8.5 460 – 4500
172.0 174.0 2.0 580 – 12000
176.5 190.0 13.5 <300 – 41000
193.5 195.5 2.0 480 – 9800
208.0 209.0 1.0 500 – 800
221.0 221.5 0.5 3100
251.0 251.5 0.5 2200
PLS14-224 R780E 870E 335 -70 91.5 113.5 22.0 <300 – 3700 NA 61.6 389.0
117.0 117.5 0.5 350
125.0 126.0 1.0 340 – 550
128.5 148.0 19.5 <300 – 42000
150.5 168.5 18.0 <300 – 12000
182.5 183.0 0.5 360
244.0 248.0 4.0 510 – 12000
251.0 251.5 0.5 350
269.5 270.0 0.5 1100
272.5 274.0 1.5 340 – 660
276.5 277.5 1.0 480 – 530
280.0 283.5 3.5 <300 – 780
290.5 291.5 1.0 320 – 380
312.0 316.5 4.5 510 – 3400
342.0 343.0 1.0 340 – 370
PLS14-225 R780E 825E 336 -69 126.5 133.5 7.0 <300 – 3300 NA 61.5 329.0
138.5 142.5 4.0 <300 – 1200
145.5 184.5 39.0 <300 – 30000
195.0 203.5 8.5 <300 – 16000
209.0 209.5 0.5 330
214.5 224.0 9.5 <300 – 19000
226.5 227.0 0.5 600
238.0 239.5 1.5 400 – 2100
243.0 243.5 0.5 330
255.0 256.5 1.5 1000 – 24000
260.0 261.5 1.5 2500 – 35000
266.0 268.0 2.0 <300 – 380
PLS14-226 R780E 510E 338 -72 105.0 105.5 0.5 340 NA 53.9 360.0
109.5 110.0 0.5 350
116.5 119.0 2.5 <300 – 1300
121.5 129.0 7.5 <300 – 500
135.5 138.5 3.0 <300 – 680
150.5 160.0 9.5 <300 – 1800
175.5 181.0 5.5 440 – 43000
192.0 202.5 10.5 <300 – 32000
226.5 229.0 2.5 320 – 890
PLS14-227 R780E 645E 329 -69 130.5 133.5 3.0 <300 – 6100 61.5 – 61.6 61.6 317.0
136.0 175.5 39.5 <300 – 3300
198.5 200.0 1.5 310 – 420
212.5 229.0 16.5 <300 – 12700
248.0 249.0 1.0 310 – 320
272.5 273.0 0.5 480
PLS14-228 R780E 660E 91 -87.6 65.5 67.5 2.0 410 – 670 57.7 – 58.2 58.2 527.0
81.0 96.5 15.5 <300 – 2200
101.0 101.5 0.5 320
105.0 121.5 16.5 <300 – 4900
126.0 126.5 0.5 340
129.5 141.0 11.5 <300 – 1700
143.5 144.0 0.5 400
147.0 151.0 4.0 <300 – 510
156.5 157.0 0.5 300
161.0 166.0 5.0 <300 – 850
225.0 225.5 0.5 340
277.0 278.0 1.0 330 – 640
291.0 291.5 0.5 430
297.0 297.5 0.5 480
431.0 431.5 0.5 810
435.5 438.0 2.5 380 – 5700
450.5 451.0 0.5 410
460.5 461.5 1.0 410 – 490
PLS14-229 R780E 330E 337 -69 78.0 92.0 14.0 <300 – 2100 NA 50.7 248.0
96.5 124.0 27.5 <300 – 31300
131.0 136.5 5.5 <300 – 2900
PLS14-230 R780E 915E 344 -71 115.0 124.5 9.5 <300 – 1100 NA 62.2 420.0
127.5 137.5 10.0 <300 – 3000
143.5 146.5 3.0 <300 – 850
150.0 150.5 0.5 350
155.5 160.0 4.5 <300 – 370
163.0 163.5 0.5 330
170.0 176.0 6.0 <300 – 1000
180.0 180.5 0.5 360
183.5 206.5 23.0 <300 – 33400
218.5 220.0 1.5 470 – 770
223.0 224.0 1.0 360 – 1300
229.0 253.0 24.0 <300 – 65500
257.0 271.0 14.0 300 – 25300
275.0 288.5 13.5 <300 – 7500
295.5 297.5 2.0 310 – 1300
312.5 315.5 3.0 <300 – 5400
322.0 322.5 0.5 390
332.5 337.5 5.0 <300 – 4500
343.5 346.5 3.0 <300 – 360
351.0 351.5 0.5 400
359.5 362.0 2.5 <300 – 370

PLS Mineralized Trend Summary

Uranium mineralization at PLS has been traced by core drilling over 2.24km of east-west strike length in five separate mineralized “zones” from line 615W (PLS13-124) to line 1620E (PLS14-196). From west to east, these zones are; R600W, R00E, R780E, R1155E and R1620E. The former R390E, R585 and R945E zones have been merged into the R780E zone by successful winter drilling. Mineralization remains open along strike both to the western and eastern extents. Mineralization is both located within and associated with a metasedimentary lithologic corridor, bounded to the south by the PL-3B basement Electro-Magnetic (EM) Conductor.

Updated maps and files can be found on the Company’s website at http://fissionuranium.com/project/pls/.

Patterson Lake South Property

The 31,039 hectare PLS project is 100% owned and operated by Fission Uranium Corp. PLS is accessible by road with primary access from all-weather Highway 955, which runs north to the former Cluff Lake mine and passes through the nearby UEX-Areva Shea Creek discoveries located 50km to the north, currently under active exploration and development.

The technical information in this news release has been prepared in accordance with the Canadian regulatory requirements set out in National Instrument 43-101 and reviewed on behalf of the company by Ross McElroy, P.Geol. President and COO for Fission Uranium Corp., a qualified person.

About Fission Uranium Corp.

Fission Uranium Corp. is a Canadian based resource company specializing in the strategic exploration and development of the Patterson Lake South uranium property and is headquartered in Kelowna, British Columbia. Common Shares are listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “FCU” and trade on the OTCQX marketplace in the U.S. under the symbol “FCUUF.”

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD

Ross McElroy, President and COO

Cautionary Statement:

Certain information contained in this press release constitutes “forward-looking information”, within the meaning of Canadian legislation. Generally, these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “occur”, “be achieved” or “has the potential to”. Forward looking statements contained in this press release may include statements regarding the future operating or financial performance of Fission and Fission Uranium which involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties which may not prove to be accurate. Actual results and outcomes may differ materially from what is expressed or forecasted in these forward-looking statements. Such statements are qualified in their entirety by the inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations. Among those factors which could cause actual results to differ materially are the following: market conditions and other risk factors listed from time to time in our reports filed with Canadian securities regulators on SEDAR at http://www.sedar.com. The forward-looking statements included in this press release are made as of the date of this press release and the Company and Fission Uranium disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable securities legislation.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Fission Uranium Corp. Rich Matthews Investor Relations TF: 877-868-8140 rich@fissionuranium.com http://www.fissionuranium.com

New metrics enhance transparency of gold miners’ cost reporting

New metrics enhance transparency of gold miners’ cost reporting
By: Henry Lazenby
25th July 2014
The World Gold Council’s (WGC’s) supplementary ‘all-in’ cost metrics have helped gold miners to provide more external transparency regarding their cost reporting, while the metrics have enabled them to internally drive change by equipping employees to make better cost-related decisions.
A year after the market development organisation for the gold industry published its guidance note outlining the ‘all-in sustaining cost’ (AISC), which covers day-to-day operations, and an ‘all-in cost”, which includes all capital expenditure (capex), including growth projects, WGC director Terry Heymann says these metrics are powerful tools at the industry’s disposal to improve on existing reporting standards and to better manage organisations.
“The way companies are using the metrics to describe their performance and to educate employees about the real costs of mining, and assisting them to make better cost decisions, is really helping companies to improve their financial performances, while simultaneously improving cost disclosure to investors and interested parties,” Heymann told Mining Weekly in a recent interview.
Apart from the demands by governments for a greater share of mining profits, gold miners face a storm of rising costs and falling prices as the US reins in its ‘cheap money’ policies that have nursed a decade-long gold boom.
There has been a real focus in driving down costs among gold miners in recent years and metrics like this serve as powerful aids in helping companies change attitudes from the inside outward.
“I’ve heard several CEOs comment that while the metrics have been really helpful externally, they have enabled the company to effect significant internal changes too. This is because it allows them to manage the organisation and to communicate in a way that everyone can understand the economics of mining and to understand costs over the life cycle of mines,” he notes.
Transparency Sought
While the WGC began seriously working on formulating the all-in cost metrics in September 2012, it was preceded by other attempts to improve the way gold companies represent cash costs.
In 2008, South Africa’s Gold Fields started their own cash-cost reporting method known as notional cash expenditure (NCE), being operating costs plus capex, before switching to the AISC metric. Gold Fields and some of the major North American gold companies first suggested the AISC metric as a fairer way of representing the cash costs of gold companies.
In July 2012, Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland in a speech to the Melbourne Mining Club described NCE, alluding to the need for gold mining companies to pare back production if it was not profitable – a need for increased transparency.
The metrics were established in response to growing concerns and criticism by investors with regards to the cash costs traditionally reported by gold miners.
For many commentators, these reported cash costs represented only an incomplete picture of the true costs involved in mining gold. Mining companies themselves had also grown uneasy with their cash cost reporting as it suggested to governments and regulatory bodies keen to find arguments to take a bigger slice from perceived profits much higher margins than were actually achievable.
Goldcorp CEO Chuck Jeannes summed it up in the company’s 2012 full-year report: “The traditional measure of cash costs is not a realistic view. To produce an ounce of gold, we not only incur operating costs, but we spend sustaining capital at the sites, we spend [general and administrative costs] to keep the lights on, and we spend dollars to explore, to sustain our future.
“If you put all those together, that’s an all-in sustaining cash cost. It’s a much more transparent and accurate way of judging the real costs of getting an ounce of gold out of the ground,” he said.
Heymann agrees, saying that the all-in metrics focus more on how much it costs to fund existing operations and the costs of mining over the life cycle of the mine.
In the past, there has been some criticism of the industry regarding how much miners are spending to sustain a certain level of production.
Two Methods of Calculation
In June last year, the WGC published its two new methods of calculating and reporting gold-mining costs to improve clarity and provide greater investor understanding of the complete costs associated with the mining of gold.
The first method is an extension of the existing cash cost metrics and incorporates costs that are related to sustaining production, which the council refers to as the AISC.
The second method takes into account additional costs and reflects the varying costs of producing gold over the life cycle of a mine, which the WGC dubbed the all-in cost.
The different all-in cost metrics include all the other capex, which includes factors like growth, life extension and reclamation.
Up to now, the industry has been content to have a half-baked cost story because cash costs did not tell the real cost story; it only showed the operating cost without including capex and exploration and accurately telling what it costs to produce an ounce of gold.
The industry often spoke loosely about its low cash costs and the money it was making at the level of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, which failed to give investors the true cost picture, and sometimes shot the industry in the foot with governments wanting to slap windfall taxes on companies purporting to make huge profits, when in fact, they were not.
Jiggery-Pokery?
However, the WGC’s all-in cash costs reporting metrics have not been without critics. Early this month, Mining Weekly reported Randgold Resources CEO Dr Mark Bristow lashing out against the metrics, denouncing AISC as the refuge of companies that were not making any profit, saying it is “just jiggery-pokery”.
Non-mining public companies all over the world publish financials according to International Financial Reporting Standards or General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
“Why does the gold industry have to be different? What’s the reason? It’s because we are not profitable so we try to make ourselves look profitable,” he said, adding that the industry had gone bust when the gold price fell from $1 900/oz to $1 300/oz.
Bristow also noted that the gold-mining company that had promoted the AISC concept adopted by the WGC had since resigned from the council.
The gold-mining industry had failed to make sufficient money to cover its capital, even when the gold price had risen by $1 000/oz and the collective gold output had remained constant. All of the industry’s collective capital was thus sustaining. Some, like Randgold, made profit but many impaired billions of dollars worth of investment and produced less gold.
Heymann responds to this criticism, stressing that the WGC’s all-in metrics are in addition to the existing official accounting standards.
“These are explicitly non-GAAP measures that provide additional transparency and additional clarity on top of GAAP reporting. As an additional form of reporting, it has been a useful and a quick metric to understand what the real cost of gold mining is,” Heymann says.
It is about moving away from what’s operational and what’s capitalised, which, while important, does not provide a real example of the ‘cash going out the door’, both in the context of sustaining operations and for new-build gold mines.
He insists the metric is helpful, supplementing the existing reporting but not substituting it, and that the feedback from the users for which it has been designed has been very positive.
The metrics are also constantly being reviewed to verify that they are working well.
Heymann says an area most feedback had been “hammering on” pertained to what should constitute sustaining capital, as compared with nonsustaining capital.
He referred back to the official guidance note last year where the organisation spelled out how that should be considered – essentially saying that nonsustaining costs are those incurred while constructing a new operation, or when a company spends capital to materially increase production.
This is an area where the council would like to see improved disclosure, he said. “We’d certainly like to see more of this companies disclosing what they consider as nonsustaining costs. Companies using the guidance are required to specifically disclose nonsustaining capital projects.
“This will lead to a clear distinction between costs necessary to sustain production, and growth-related projects, [thereby] providing very useful information for investors,” he says, adding that if over time it becomes clearer what a whole group of companies consider nonsustaining, then the WGC will look at tightening and formalising that definition.
Positive Feedback
A year down the line, the feedback from role-players is encouragingly positive, Heymann says.
“There is real recognition that it is the WGC that initiated the project, and there was a response from the leading gold miners who understood and paid attention to what investors were looking for in terms of more transparency in the industry’s financial reporting,” he says.
Heymann reports that the uptake among gold industry participants has been really good.
“We’ve been impressed with the uptake among members, but also nonmembers. What has been clear is that a lot of companies have been adopting the AISC, with far fewer reporting the all-in cost. We’ve previously said that we encourage companies to implement both metrics, and we still recommend that companies implement both metrics. That is something we’d really like to see more of,” he says.
Heymann noted that the organisation is “delighted” to see that many nonmember companies have indeed adopted the new reporting metrics. He says, however, that the metrics also hold “real power” not only for the gold-mining industry, but for the whole mining industry.
“There’s been quite a lot of positive commentary on the way in which the mining industry is moving, indicating that there is huge support for the metric to be employed in other parts of the mining industry. It is voluntary but very helpful and important, and the more companies that use it, [the more it] would help everybody to better understand the cost of mining,” he says, referring to an industry report from early this year urging all miners to adopt the all-in cost reporting metrics.

CROP REPORT FOR THE PERIOD JULY 15 TO 21, 2014

CROP REPORT FOR THE PERIOD JULY 15 TO 21, 2014

Released on July 24, 2014

Haying continues in the province and livestock producers now have 42 per cent of the hay crop baled or put into silage, with an additional 49 per cent cut and ready for baling, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly Crop Report.
Rain showers and high humidity have delayed haying and decreased hay quality in some areas.  Thirteen per cent is rated as excellent in quality, 77 per cent good, eight per cent fair and two per cent poor.  Hay yields are slightly below the five-year average (2009-2013).  The estimated average hay yields on dry land are reported as 1.3 tons per acre for alfalfa, 1.4 tons per acre for alfalfa/brome hay, 1.1 tons per acre for other tame hay, 0.9 tons per acre for wild hay and 1.7 tons per acre for greenfeed.  On irrigated land, the estimated average hay yields are 1.9 tons per acre for alfalfa, 1.8 tons per acre for alfalfa/brome hay, 1.4 tons per acre for other tame hay and 2.3 tons per acre for wild hay and greenfeed.
Rain during the week ranged from trace amounts to 84 mm in the Nipawin area.  Across the province, topsoil moisture on cropland is rated as 14 per cent surplus, 75 per cent adequate, 10 per cent short and one per cent very short.  Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as 10 per cent surplus, 74 per cent adequate, 13 per cent short and three per cent very short.  Some areas in the south are drier than normal and will soon need moisture to help crops mature and fill.
Warm weather has helped advance many crops and the majority are in fair to excellent condition.
Storms moved through the province last week, bringing strong winds, heavy rain and hail.  Other sources of crop damage include insects such as grasshoppers and wheat midge and diseases such as root rot and leaf spots.
Farmers are busy haying and controlling insects and crop disease.
Follow the 2014 Crop Report on Twitter at @SKAgriculture.
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For more information, contact:
Shannon Friesen Agriculture Moose Jaw Phone: 306-694-3592

Grassy Narrows decision burdens provinces with responsibility for fulfilling treaty promises

From http://www.northernminer.com/news/commentary-grassy-narrows-decision-burdens-provinces-with-responsibility-for-fulfilling-treaty/1003166674/40w34srvwWs0ny2vM2vx/?ref=enews_NMWR3&utm_source=NMWR3&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NMWR3-EN07242014

 

DAILY NEWSJul 18, 2014 6:03 PM- 0 comments

Commentary: Grassy Narrows decision burdens provinces with responsibility for fulfilling treaty promises

By: Bruce McIvor, Special to The Northern Miner 2014-07-18

 

The Grassy Narrows decision from the Supreme Court of Canada on July 11 places a heavy legal burden on provincial governments when they seek to exploit Indigenous lands covered by the historical treaties of Canada. The challenge now is for First Nations to hold the provinces to account.

Between 1871 and 1923, Canada negotiated 11 numbered treaties with First Nations across the country, including the Anishinaabe of Treaty 3 in northwestern Ontario and eastern Manitoba. With slight variations, each treaty allowed for the “taking up” of lands for non-Indigenous settlement, mining, lumbering and other purposes. The primary issue in Grassy Narrows is what limits exist on Ontario’s ability to exercise the taking up clause in Treaty 3.

After one of the longest and most thorough treaty interpretation trials in Canadian history, Justice Sanderson of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice confirmed the Anishinaabe understanding that Treaty 3 was made with Canada, not Ontario. This, coupled with Canada’s exclusive responsibility for “Indians, and lands reserved for the Indians” under the Constitution, meant that only Canada can issue forestry authorizations that significantly affect the exercise of treaty rights.

A unanimous Ontario Court of Appeal disagreed. Relying heavily on the Privy Council’s 1888 decision in St. Catherine’s Milling, the Court held that Ontario’s ownership of Crown lands in Treaty 3 left no role for the federal government in land-use decisions affecting treaty rights. To involve Canada, said the Court, would create an “unnecessary, complicated, awkward and likely unworkable” process.

Grassy Narrows First Nation and Wabauskang First Nation both appealed to the Supreme Court. They argued that the Court of Appeal erred by failing to confirm the federal government’s role in implementing Treaty 3 based on both the specific wording of the treaty and Canada’s exclusive responsibility for First Nations under the Constitution.

What the Court said

The Supreme Court confirmed Ontario’s unilateral authority to take up lands in the Keewatin area of Treaty 3 without federal government supervision.

The Court also confirmed Ontario has all the constitutional obligations of the Crown, is bound by and must respect the Treaty, must fulfill treaty promises and must administer “Crown” lands subject to the terms of the Treaty and First Nations’ interest in the land.

Consequently, Ontario’s exercise of its powers must conform with the honour of the Crown and is subject to the Crown’s fiduciary duties when dealing with Aboriginal interests.

When lands are intended to be taken up by Ontario, the province must consult, and if appropriate accommodate, First Nation interests beforehand. Ontario must also deal with First Nations in good faith and with the intention of substantially addressing their concerns. It cannot exclude the possibility of accommodation from the outset.

As explained in the Supreme Court’s 2005 Mikisew decision, if a taking up were to leave the First Nation with no meaningful right to hunt, trap or fish, a potential action for treaty infringement will arise.

Finally, relying on its recent decision in Tsilhqot’in, the Court held that if a taking up amounts to an infringement of the treaty, it is open to the province to attempt to justify the infringement under the test laid down in Sparrow and Badger.

Why it matters

While technically a “loss” for Grassy Narrows and Wabauskang, the decision will most likely prove a powerful tool for ensuring that Ontario, and other provinces, respect treaty rights.

The Court was unequivocal that while Ontario can exercise its interests in Crown lands, its authority is subject to Treaty and is burdened by the Crown’s constitutional obligations, including fiduciary obligations.

The decision should be read as a companion case to Tsilhqot’in. There, the Court confirmed that unless they can obtain First Nation consent, the provinces must justify infringements of Aboriginal title — an extremely heavy legal burden.

Except for instances where lands are being taken up, i.e. put to a visibly incompatible use, based on Grassy Narrows it is now arguable that the provinces must also obtain First Nation consent or justify infringements of treaty rights.

Ontario’s “win” in Grassy Narrows has come at a high cost. Ontario, and other provinces, can now expect to be held to higher standards when seeking to develop Indigenous lands. Where before they were able to argue that their obligations were restricted to the less onerous duty to consult, they are now liable for the heavy burden of justifying infringements of treaty rights.

— Bruce McIvor is principal of First Peoples Law Corp., a Vancouver-based law firm established to protect and advance the rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. He can be reached at bmcivor@firstpeopleslaw.com. Visit http://www.firstpeopleslaw.com for more information.

- See more at: http://www.northernminer.com/news/commentary-grassy-narrows-decision-burdens-provinces-with-responsibility-for-fulfilling-treaty/1003166674/40w34srvwWs0ny2vM2vx/?ref=enews_NMWR3&utm_source=NMWR3&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NMWR3-EN07242014#sthash.R6cLDPiz.dpuf

Why Potash Corp and Mosaic Have Nothing to Fear From BHP Billiton’s $15 Billion Mine #potash

Why Potash Corp and Mosaic Have Nothing to Fear From BHP Billiton’s $15 Billion Mine

Recently, there has been the worry that mining giant BHP Billiton Limited will enter into the potash space and crush the potash margins of The Mosaic Company and Potash Corp. The worry, specifically, is that once BHP Billiton’s Jansen mine comes online, the mine will produce so much potash that a repeat of 2013 would occur, when the break up between Uralkali and Belaruskali of the Belarusian Potash Company sent potash prices falling from $400 per metric ton to $300 per metric ton soon afterward.

On the surface this worry seems warranted. BHP Billiton’s Jansen project is indeed intimidating. At its peak, Jansen is slated to produce 10 million metric tons of potash a year. This is a huge sum in relation to the total annual potash production of 59 million metric tons.

Furthermore, BHP Billiton itself is a company with great resources and dedication to potash. The company, for example, earned $10 billion in profits and reported operating cash flows of $18 billion last year. BHP Billiton’s CEO has also explicitly said that it aims to make potash into the company’s fifth pillar, in addition to iron ore, copper, coal, and petroleum. Given BHP Billiton’s significant resources and dedication, some fear that the company will operate its potash division at a loss to drive out the weaker players as well.

Those things being said, there are some key extenuating circumstances to the worry that Jansen will destroy the gross margins of potash producers:

4 extenuating circumstances
One circumstance is that the Jansen project will take a long time to develop. Potash production at Jansen, specifically, will not start until 2018 at the earliest. Full production may take even longer. Because of the long lead time, the rise in demand for potash may offset some of Jansen’s extra supply. The world’s population, is after all, increasing by 0.9% ever year.
 Also, as more people in Africa and Asia move up the food ladder and eat more meat, potash demand will only increase further.

The second circumstance is that Jansen has questionable economics. Conventional wisdom says that if Jansen were a slam dunk, it would already be operating. Since it hasn’t been developed, there must be something unattractive about it. That something, specifically, is that the economics don’t make sense. According to BMO Capital analysts Joel Jackson and Tony Robson, Jansen would only yield an internal rate of return of 10% assuming potash prices of $450/ton. (At present day prices of approximately $300/ton, Citigroup estimates that the Jansen mine would be worth negative $2.2 billion). A 10% internal rate of return is an exceptionally low rate of return, especially given the fact that the Jansen mine may cost as much as $15 billion to completely develop. Because the mine requires large upfront capital expenditures and yields a questionable rate of return, BHP Billiton itself has not fully committed to Jansen. 

The third circumstance is that BHP Billiton ultimately answers to its shareholders. The company, for example, recently laid off a portion of its workforce in an effort to cut costs. Because it answers to its shareholders, even though the company may have great resources, it can only compete as much as shareholders allow it to compete. Given that Jansen has higher production costs than Potash Corp or Mosaic mines, BHP Billiton cannot realistically force out its competition unless it loses a massive amount of money. Losing a lot of money is something that BHP Billiton shareholders will not allow management to do. Since it can’t optimize for production by forcing out its competitors, BHP Billiton is much more likely to optimize for price. Optimizing for price will not hurt Mosaic or Potash Corp as much.

Finally, the knowledge that BHP Billiton will develop Jansen will likely dissuade many junior miners from developing new potash mines because those miners fear future oversupply. Because of this, the overall supply of potash with Jansen may not be too different from the overall supply without Jansen. BHP Billiton would basically just be taking junior miners’ place.

The bottom line
The critics are right in believing that Jansen will adversely affect potash prices. But given Jansen’s long lead time, questionable economics, substantial capital commitment, and repulsive effect on junior potash miners, the net effect of Jansen on the gross margins of Potash Corp and Mosaic is far from certain. The net effect could easily be marginal.

Given all the extenuating circumstances and significant unknowns, Potash Corp and Mosaic have nothing to fear from BHP Billiton.

Saskatchewan had 4.5% fewer EI recipients in May 2014 vs. 2013

Saskatchewan has 4.5% fewer EI recipients in May 2014 vs. 2013
July 24, 2014

Data from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/140724/dq140724a-eng.htm?HPA

Also, in May 2014 we had 14,623 jobs posted at SaskJobs.ca (today there are 14,330 )
We had 10,650 EI recipients in May 2014
There were 37% more jobs at SaskJobs.ca than EI recipients in the province in May 2014

EI 1

EI 2

U.S. looks to retire older rail tank cars 1-year faster than Canada

24 Jul 2014
Calgary Herald
AMANDA STEPHENSON CALGARY HERALD AND HERALD NEWS SERVICES

U.S. looks to retire older rail tank cars

Thousands of older rail tank cars that carry crude oil would be phased out within two years under U.S. regulations proposed Wednesday in response to a series of fiery train crashes during the past year, including the runaway oil train that exploded in the Quebec town of LacMegantic, killing 47 people.

The Associated Press/Files Thousands of older rail tank cars that carry crude oil would be phased out within two years under proposed U.S. laws.

Accident investigators have complained for decades that the cars are too easily punctured or ruptured, spilling their contents, when derailed.

The phase-in period for replacing or retrofitting the DOT-111 tank cars is shorter than the Canadian government’s three-year phased plan, announced in April.

However, U.S. regulators left open the question of what kind of tank car will replace the old ones, saying they’ll choose later from among several proposals.

Besides oil, the proposed regulations would also apply to the transport of ethanol and other hazardous liquids. See page 28

The regulations also apply only to trains of 20 or more cars, which would include most oil shipments.

The proposal would also require improved braking systems and testing of oil before being loaded as well as thicker tanker walls.

It leaves open how fast oil trains may travel through urban areas rather than lowering it. Tank cars have ruptured in several accidents at speeds as low as 38 km/h. Regulators said they’re considering lowering the speed limit to 30 mph (48 km/h) for some trains not equipped with more advanced braking systems.

Calgary-based Canadian Pacific Railway said it welcomes the move to take older tank cars off the tracks. Spokesperson Ed Greenberg pointed out the railroad had been calling for the removal of DOT-111s months before the Canadian federal government announced its own phase-out timeline.

“It has been this railroad’s position that stricter federal tank car safety standards is the single most important step toward improving rail transport of dangerous goods,” Greenberg said.

However, Greenberg said the other proposed regulations are more complex, and will require a closer look by railroads, shippers and crude producers.

Greenberg did not comment specifically on the prospect of lower speed limits, but prior to Wednesday’s announcement, the freight railroad industry had met privately with department and White House officials to lobby for keeping the speed limit at the 40 mph (60 km/h) they voluntarily agreed to effective July 1. Railroad officials said a 30 mph speed limit would tie up traffic across the United States because other freight wouldn’t be able to get past slower oil trains, which are often 100 cars or longer.

When Canada’s new rail safety measures were announced in April, CP CEO Hunter Harrison was critical of the requirement for trains carrying dangerous goods to slow to 50 mph (80 km/h) or less when passing through populated areas or other routes deemed to be higher risk.
Harrison said at the time that while CP will comply with the order, it believes reducing train speeds is not a solution for rail safety.

“Human behaviours are a significant factor and should be the focus if the goal is to truly improve safety,” he said.

The proposed regulations — now subject to 60 days of public comment — are designed to update standards to account for an increase in the use of trains to carry flammable liquids, particularly crude from places like North Dakota’s Bakken field where production is soaring beyond the capacity of pipelines. U.S. carloads of oil surged to 415,000 last year from 9,500 in 2008, according to the U.S. Transportation Department.

“Today’s proposal represents our most significant progress yet in developing and enforcing new rules to ensure that all flammable liquids, including Bakken crude and ethanol, are transported safely,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in Washington.

Lower train speeds, new braking requirements and the phase-out of older tank cars will drive up expenses, although the impact is difficult to calculate accurately, David Vernon, a New York-based railroad analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein, said in a note Wednesday.

“As those costs get passed through to refiners and producers, it will eat into the arbitrage opportunity of moving crude by rail and all else equal require a higher spread to maintain current volumes,” Vernon said.

The Transportation Department also said Wednesday that its studies found Bakken crude is more volatile and potentially flammable.

“We’ve confirmed so far that Bakken crude oil is on the high end of volatility compared to other crude oils and not only is it on the high end of volatility, it’s production is skyrocketing,” Foxx said.

The American Petroleum Institute, in a statement, disputed that characterization, saying multiple studies have shown Bakken oil is similar to other crudes.

Potash Corp. boosts outlook as profit tops expectations #potash

Potash Corp. boosts outlook as profit tops expectations

Rod Nickel

Reuters

Published Thursday, Jul. 24 2014, 6:18 AM EDT

Last updated Thursday, Jul. 24 2014, 7:29 AM EDT

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan raised its full-year earnings outlook on Thursday after second-quarter profit fell less than expected due to improving global fertilizer demand.

Earnings have declined year over year for four straight quarters as the price of the crop nutrient hit a six-year low earlier this year. The breakup last year of global trading partnership Belarusian Potash Co accelerated the price slide, as it created more competition among producers.

Lower prices have recently rekindled demand, however, and cost-cutting has also improved Potash Corp’s bottom line.

Shares of Potash Corp jumped 4 per cent to $37.62 in premarket trading.

“The key question is, ‘Is this just pent-up (potash) demand finally being satisfied, or is it going to continue into 2015,’” said Peter Prattas, analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald. “Our view is that demand has room to increase slightly in 2015, but we’re not going to continue with the momentum we’ve had to start the year.”

The company said it has a strong potash order book from U.S. buyers for the second half, and Canpotex Ltd – its offshore trading partnership with Mosaic Co and Agrium Inc – is fully committed through the third quarter.

China is driving some of the renewed potash demand. Potash Corp said it expected Canpotex to ship 1.2 million tonnes for the year factoring in optional tonnage arrangements in its contract with Sinofert Holdings Ltd.

Potash shipments to India also look to exceed last year’s level despite weaker monsoon rains that have limited Indian crop potential.

Second-quarter net earnings for the world’s biggest fertilizer company by market capitalization fell to $472-million, or 56 cents per share, from $643-million, or 73 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 46 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Potash Corp had forecast 40 cents to 45 cents.

Revenue dropped 12 per cent to $1.89-billion, beating analysts’ estimates of $1.68-billion.

Potash Corp raised its estimate of 2014 earnings to a range of $1.70 to $1.90 per share from a prior forecast of $1.50 to $1.80. Analysts on average had forecast $1.69.

Potash forecast third-quarter earnings of 35 cents to 45 cents per share, in line with Wall Street’s average view of 40 cents.

“Although results were below those of the same period last year, an improving price environment and – in the case of our potash and nitrogen businesses – cost efficiencies contributed to our bottom line,” said Chief Executive Officer Jochen Tilk, who replaced Bill Doyle this month.

In December, the company said it would slash its workforce by 18 per cent. It has since recalled nearly 100 workers.

The company’s potash sales were flat at 2.5 million tonnes in the second quarter, while its average realized price fell 26 per cent to $263 per tonne.

Potash Corp increased its estimate for 2014 global potash shipments by all companies to a range of 56.5 to 58 million tonnes, from its previous forecast of 55 to 57 million tonnes.

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