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Jan 2007 - Rebuilding China

Rebuilding China

This column is based on observations made during our (ERA) 3-week visit to China in November 2006 when we attended the China Mining Conference in Beijing. Before the conference we visited the properties of Golden Tiger (GTX) in western Guangxi, and Sino Gold (SGX)’s Jinfeng mine in southern Guizhou, and after the conference I visited some friends in Hangzhou about 220km south of Shanghai. So gaining experience of what is happening in the rural areas of China, besides the main cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Feb 2007 - Zambian / DRC

The Re-birth of the Zambian / DRC Copperbelt

One of the main themes of the presentations at the Indaba 2007 Conference in Cape Town was the re-birth of the Zambian/Katangan (DRC) Copperbelt. Last year there were some papers on progress on the Zambian side, which were updated this year.

Mar 2007 - Oz’s Uranium Mine

Australia’s Next Uranium Mine

Australia’s “three (uranium) mine policy” that was enacted in 1983, stopped Australia’s then burgeoning uranium industry in its tracks, with all other approvals seemingly withdrawn except it seems for the ones that were producing, namely Nabarlek (NT) (stopped production in 1988 and was environmentally cleaned up, though apparently held by Cogema), Ranger (NT) (still owned by ERA which became a subsidiary of RIO) and Olympic Dam (SA) (WMC’s now BHPB’s), as shown in Figure 1.

Apr 2007 - Uranium Numbers

Those other uranium numbers

At Paydirt’s Uranium Conference held in Adelaide in March 2007, the other actual uranium numbers were covered, such as how much U3O8 yellowcake is used in a reactor, demand/supply and what prices are received. Uranium must be a bit like a mathematicians dream with so many numbers involved. Although asking producers and even nuclear representatives at the conference what percentage U235 is in U3O8 resulted in a surprising range of about 0.71% to 1.0% to don’t know.

May 2007 - Gold Mineralisation

Flat Gold Mineralisation

We find that our (ERA) research often has a common theme within a particular year, be it nickel or China or this year (2007) so far, flat gold mineralisation.

Jun 2007 - VMS or VHMS

The latest “buzz” word - VMS

Move over IOCG, or IOCGUs (iron-oxide copper-gold uranium) orebodies, the VMS’ or VHMS’ (volcanogenic-hosted massive sulphide) orebodies are coming!

Jul 2007 - Nickel Lava Channels

Divergent Nickel Lava Channels

Sally Malay’s recent discovery of the Deacon orebody (probably >60,000t Ni @ at Lanfranchi @ 2.6%Ni, being still open at depth with intersections of 93m @ 2.24%Ni & 72m @ 2.95%Ni), appears to be another diverging nickel lava channel, raising the question as to whether they are more common than envisaged.

Aug 2007 - Consmin Tragedy

The Consmin Tragedy

In February 2007, Consmin (Consolidated Minerals or CSM) embarked on a plan to become a major resource company by entering into a deal with Pallinghurst (Pall), which may still occur, just not for most of its original loyal shareholders. Why is it a tragedy? Well if it hadn’t embarked on this path, it would probably be trading at closer to A$5/share with a very rosy future for all its shareholders, whereas instead it appears almost certain to rise as a very different phoenix from the ashes.

Sep 2007 - Widgiemooltha NI

The Case for a New Ni Concentrator at Widgiemooltha

In June 2007, the BHPB nickel concentrator at Kambalda reached its nameplate capacity of 1.5mtpa, only the second time it has done so (the first being in 1988/89). It has been estimated that debottlenecking of the circuit could add another 200,000tpa of ore capacity, and spending ~A$25m on the front end could increase the capacity by a further 400,000tpa to 500,000tpa, or a total of 2.1mtpa to 2.2mtpa.

Nov 2007 - China Secrets

China Starts to Reveal its Geological Secrets

At the China Mining Conference in Beijing (13-15 November 2007), China’s Geological Survey (CGS) unprecedentally made public a mass of geological data including 9 national plan releases ranging from geochem to spatial to database to age (isotopic) and ~3000 related geological reports and maps that can be accessed through two new websites, namely www.cgs.gov.cn & www.ngac.cn being the CGS and the national geological archives respectively. Some data is also available on the MLR website.

Nov 2007 - Footwall to Hanging

Grade Variability in Orebodies – Footwall to Hangingwall

The variation of grade in orebodies from higher grade footwall through to lower grade hangingwall is well-known when based on komatiite lava flows or VMS feeders, however, during the past year we have observed this phenomena where there is no clear feeder zone resulting in a subaqueous flow or classic lava flow.