Author stories Proactiveinvestors Author stories RSS feed en Sun, 21 Jan 2018 04:23:31 +1100 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) Bannerman highlights improving sentiment in uranium market Brandon Munro, chief executive officer at Bannerman Resources (ASX:BMN), talks about improving uranium market conditions and sentiment and the progress the company is making at the Etango uranium project in Namibia.

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 02:38:00 +1100
Berkeley Energia rolling on with Salamanca mine construction after land acquisition Paul Atherley, managing director at uranium mine developer Berkeley Energia (LON:BKY; ASX:BKY) talks to Proactive Investors about the completion of key land acquisitions for its Salamanca mine in Western Spain.

"The purpose of our recent equity raise was to accelerate the construction of the mine and we are looking to build a crushing circuit in the first quarter of 2017 and as part of that, to enable us to get going, we need to do these land acquisitions," he explained.

"We are moving from the development phase into the construction phase," he added. "We definitely have momentum".

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 02:13:00 +1100
Avanco Resources upbeat as copper price rallies Tony Polglase, managing director of copper producer Avanco Resources Ltd (ASX:AVB), talks to Proactive Investors about a “crushing upgrade” – happily, not as painful as it sounds!

The company has recently completed the construction and installation of a crushing plant upgrade at its Antas open pit mine in the north of Brazil.

The upgrade should lift copper production by around 10% from its current level of 1,000 tonnes a month, and there is almost certainly scope to lift output further, but the company is taking things “one step at a time”.

The mine is working extremely well, after the company had achieved something that many people believed would prove impossible in Brazil: building the mine in roughly nine months, on time and under budget.

“Most people say Brazil is a difficult place to work, but for us, we’ve been very successful there,” Polglase said.

With things progressing well, the company has recently turned its focus to a second project that it acquired several years ago: Pedra Branca.

“It’s probably three to four times bigger than Antas,” Polglase revealed, and as such probably represents the future of the company, with the potential to add an extra 35,000 tonnes per year of copper to the company’s output.

The company has been using the operating cash flow from Antas to fund development of Pedra Branca, and recently the company executed an agreement with Codelco do Brasil Mineraçao to acquire the Canaã West Project, which is within trucking distance of Pedra Branca.

Colin Jones, non-executive chairman, has taken a particular interest in Pedra Branca, as it is an underground project, and most of his experience is in developing these sorts of mines.

“We’re at the portal, and within the next two or three weeks we’ll open the portal and we’ll start the decline,” Jones said.

Ore extracted in the development stage will go back to Antas for processing, which is another good reason for expanding the crushing plant.

Finally, the company has been heartened by the recent recovery in the copper price.

“We’re probably generating double the amount of operating margins from what we were a few weeks ago, so even though the price is only 50 cents higher than it was three weeks ago, that makes a huge difference to our operating cash flow,” Polglase said.

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 22:57:00 +1100
Base Resources “really quite comfortable” after ilmenite price rally Tim Carstens, managing director (MD) of Base Resources Limited (ASX:BSE, LON:BSE), tells Proactive Investors that the company’s operations in Kenya are running really well.

The mineral sands producer’s MD said the company hit all of its original design targets for its Kwale project in the year to the end of June.

“We started operations in late 2013, so it’s been a bit of a round-up process for a few years, but we’re now well exceeding all of our design [targets] - throughput, recoveries, production levels – so we’re really happy with the way the operation’s running,” Carstens said.

Now the company has the mine running pretty much the way they want it to, the focus will move to extending the life of the mine.

“We’ve now started to expand our footprint in Kenya. We were granted some expanded exploration tenure earlier in the year, following an airborne geophysics programme, and we’ve identified a few interesting targets,” Carstens disclosed.

In fact, the company actually started drilling this week, so things are moving on apace. It’s a big step for the company, Carstens believes, as it is the first exploration programme the company has undertaken.

Carstens conceded it had been a “tumultuous few years” for the company and its peers since the company listed on Aim in early 2013, but the mineral sands sector appears to have turned a corner.

“We hit our low point in May of this year, and we’ve now seen all of the inventories that had been built up through the system, all of the additional new supply that had come on, really be absorbed by the market, particularly for sulphate ilmenite, which is our biggest product by volume, and we’re now seeing a much more primary relationship between supply and demand,” he revealed.

Prices have doubled in the last six months, and the company is now “really quite comfortable” and the outlook is bright, with commercial uses for its products growing by the week.

Much of the company’s product is used in pigment, so unless we move to a monochrome world, Base Resources can look forward to a colourful future.

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:06:00 +1100
European Lithium aiming to be first European lithium producer ASX-listed European Lithium Ltd is developing the Wolfsberg lithium project in Austria, and, as non-executive chairman Tony Sage explains to Proactive Investors, it is not doing so from a standing start.

The Austrian government backed a previous developer of the mine in the eighties, pumping the equivalent of about a hundred million dollars in today’s money into the project before the mine was put into mothballs after the lithium price collapsed.

Fast forward some thirty years and lithium is a hot property, being used in batteries – particularly in the burgeoning electric car market.

“A lot of the hard work has now been done for the company, and it’s now up to us to resurrect the old mine and start to get it into production over the next two years,” Sage said.

The company still has to sift through a pile of information collected by the Austrians back in the eighties, and it has done a bit of drilling to verify that data.

“We’ve now got 6.3mln tonnes going over 1% lithium”, Sage said.

The company is mulling two routes to production, and which route it takes depends on the testing the company is currently doing. If the ore is ready to be mined, then some production could be fast-tracked.

Over the long term, by the end of 2018 or early 2019, the company should be in full production.

“Our aim is to be the very first supplier of lithium from Europe, to Europe,” Sage said. “You’ve got a lot of suppliers coming from South America, Australia and North America, but the cost of transporting the material to Europe is expensive; if we can be the first producers in Europe, we can distribute the product throughout Europe for four or five dollars a tonne.”

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 01:38:00 +1100
Azure Minerals is cashed-up and "in a very comfortable place" Tony Rovira, managing director of Azure Minerals Limited (ASX:AZS), explains how a A$44mln-valued company came to be working with mining heavyweight Rio Tinto (LON:RIO).

The ASX-listed company has been working in Mexico for more than 10 years now, and had been working on the Promontorio asset since 2008. It discovered three deposits sourced from an underlying copper-mineralised porphyry body, and thus attracted the interest of Rio Tinto.

The mining giant signed an earn-in agreement in 2014 that should eventually see it take 80% ownership of the project.

“Working with Rio Tinto has been fantastic. We’ve been doing the work on behalf of the joint venture, because they don’t actually have any personnel in Mexico,” Rovira told Proactive Investors.

Wonderful though it is for a tiddler such as Azure to have Rio Tinto in its corner, it does mean that it will end up as a minority partner in what was its flagship asset, so it decided to look around for another project, and decided on Alacrán, a silver-gold-copper play in Northern Mexico.

Here, the boot is on the other foot, with Azure set to earn total ownership of the project through an option deal with current owner Teck Resources, though the asset’s previous owner, Grupo Mexico retains a 2% net smelter returns royalty stake.

“For the last two years we’ve been exploring Alacrán, and we’ve made two discoveries there: a silver discovery, called Mesa de Plata, and a gold discovery, called Loma Bonita,” the Azure MD said.

The two deposits are in hills that sit side-by-side.

“Exploration there has been fantastic. We’ve been so successful,” Rovira said.

The plan now is to take a dual-pathway forward. One pathway will take the project to production, and work is already underway on the necessary feasibility studies, and the other pathway will see the company continuing with exploration – and why not, with the company “continuing to find significant opportunities in the area”?

The company has more than A$13mln in the kitty, so it is well-funded.

“Azure Minerals is in a very comfortable place at the moment,” Rovira declared.

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 20:48:00 +1100
Avrupa investors get 'good exposure to a lot of different metals', says chairman Avrupa Minerals (CVE:AVU) is a Europe-focused mining group. They've spent $193,961 on exploration for the three months to end September. This included $9,941 on the Covas joint venture, $168,419 on the Alvalade copper project, and  $24,506 on Alvito, $24,969 on Slivovo - a gold and silver project, it revealed in quarterly numbers. Avrupa operates three joint ventures, two in Portugal and one in Kosovo.

Speaking about their project in Kosovo chairman Mark Brown tells Proactive: ''Right now we own 25% of the project, we can get diluted down to 15% and we can fund that 15% or we have the option of taking a 2% net smelter royalty and that could be quite a good option for us and our shareholders because we won't have to raise any further funds for that, it would be fully funded by our partner''.

Looking at their other projects, Brown adds: ''Portugal is a great example of what we're doing really. We're looking in Europe, in old mining districts for very large deposits and we're using modern techniques. When we get a project to the stage that it's ready to be drilled which costs a lot more money we quite often go and find a partner to do that drilling.''

''We've raised about $12 mln throughout the life of the company which isn't that much money but we've also had another $12 mln on top of that spent directly on exploration funded by partners. We've had two drill programs every year in the life of the company, signed one new joint venture partner every year in the life of the company and we've made two discoveries''.

''Investors get good exposure to a lot of different metals and they don't have to pay for all the exploration as our partners often do'', Brown says.

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 08:47:00 +1100
The Fidelity Select Gold Portfolio 'a one-stop shop' for investors ''The Fidelity Select Gold Portfolio is run for those investors looking to get gold asset class in their risk-tolerant Portfolio'', tells Joe Wickwire, Portfolio manager at Fidelity Investment, to Proactive Investors.

''We like to think about it as one-stop shopping where we are able to invest in gold bullion, silver bullion and gold equities and companies that are involved in the gold production process, development and exploration.''

Wickwire adds: ''We're running the fund for long-term orientated investors.''

''The role of the gold asset class in a risk-tolerant portfolio is really to provide diversification … but importantly to provide protection against inflation or the inability of financial assets to maintain your store of global purchasing power … it's a financial asset insurance policy''.

With regards to the Brexit vote in the UK and the recent election of Donald Trump as President, Wickwire says: ''At first blush all of the heightened volatility has created an opportunity for me as a long-term orientated investor to take action where the market tends to get chronically short-sighted and maybe react in a shape and form that's advantageous for my shareholders in the longer term, so while geopolitical always gets a lot of press coverage and a lot of discussion … it really takes a backseat to the macro-economic imbalances which are the most important thing'''.

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 07:26:00 +1100
'We have the best technical team in the country', says AIS Resources chairman AIS Resources is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange and has been around since 1967. They have a lithium brine project in Argentina.

Chairman Martyn Element and COO Phil Thomas spoke to Proactive at Mines and Money 2016 in London.

Element says: ''AIS Resources is actually an investment issuer … which is a micro merchant bank. It just means that we have the breadth and width to be able to do any deal in any sector and there's not many of them - it's quite an unusual vehicle. We have another asset in the company but our main one is the lithium project  that we are currently involved with''.

''It was done very purposefully. We got into the lithium project about 5 or 6 months ago and it became evident very quickly that to mean something in this space you have to be in Argentina … but if you're going to be in Argentina you need to have people around you that are very, very technically minded. On the TSXV there might be 95  lithium or lithium-related companies and in my professional opinion only about 5 or 6 are going to make their mark. The fall down we believe is on the technical side and we believe as a company  we have the best technical team, even though we're still a very low cap, in the country.''

Thomas adds: ''This is my third project, so it's not like I haven't done it before. The production process follows an extensive exploration process so at the moment, this week actually, we're trenching, we'll be taking samples of brine, we'll create lithium isobars so we know on the surface where the lithium is occurring. Then we'll go down and start drilling  and doing some seismic''.

''We're looking at the end of 2018, early 2019 to ship our first load of lithium carbonate and hopefully lithium hydroxide.''

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 06:35:00 +1100
Every portfolio should have a silver lining, according to WAY Charteris The WAY Charteris Gold & Precious Metals fund has been the UK top performing fund for the past 12 months. The fund’s stock-picker, Ian Williams, explains why the fund’s assets have risen by 117% over the last year.

Modestly, he notes that seven out of 10 of the best performing funds this year have been gold and precious metals-focused, so it has been the sector that has been the star.

“Our fund just happens to be at the top of the sector,” Williams said, before explaining why that is: “70% of our fund is in silver miners, as opposed to gold miners”.

“Silver’s gone up much more than gold’s gone up this year, and silver miners have gone up much more than gold miners,” Williams noted.

So, every fund should have a silver lining it seems, especially in a rampaging bull market.

“It happens in every bull market. Silver has twice the volatility of gold in an upswing, and twice the volatility in a downswing, so we say to investors: look, if you want exposure to precious metals, you should buy silver over gold all day long; if you don’t want exposure to precious metals, you don’t buy either silver or gold,” Williams opined.

“There’s no real argument for buying gold over silver if you are bullish about precious metals,” he added.

If you do not want the hassle of picking your own silver stocks, and you subscribe to Williams’s view that silver is the precious metal to back rather than gold, then his fund is the one to pick, as it has far more exposure to silver than other precious metals funds.

Williams thinks there is still plenty of juice left in the silver rally. Working on a ten-year cycle, silver is not only half-way through an up-cycle but it has also recovered about hallway from the low-point of the cycle to the previous high point.

In other words, silver is only halfway through its upward journey, in Williams’s view.

Most of the fund's silver investments are in Canadian companies, and most of those are mining in Mexico.

He lists a few of his favourite Canadian silver stocks and also a few Canadian gold companies that he likes the look of.

“We’ve sort of been drawn to the Canadian companies; 80% of the fund is in Canadian quoted companies, and the next highest is in UK companies, which only account for about 15,” the fund manager explained.

After Brexit and the Trump election win, Williams believes the deflation/inflation cycle is turning.  

“This is going to be the big theme for 2017. The problem is, 70% of the average pension fund is in bonds and fixed interest, which are deflation proof assets, and about 1% is in gold and silver assets, which are inflation proof, and maybe 5-8% in property, so there’s a big mismatch as the cycle turns,” in Williams’s view.

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 05:30:00 +1100