Jun 24, 2021

BHP set to double base metals exploration budget

BHP
Potash
Nickel
Gold
2 min
Luminex Resources
BHP plans to double base metals exploration budget within five years says Chief Technical Officer Laura Tyler

BHP Group plans to almost double exploration spending for base metals within five years, its Chief Technical Officer Laura Tyler said this week, after shifting its exploration headquarters to Canada.

BHP's profits up thanks to iron ore prices

The world’s biggest listed miner is expected to log bumper profits in August on booming prices for iron ore, but the pipeline for new projects is thin.

BHP’s board is expected to make a call on its Jansen potash project in Canada as the miner looks to raise its exposure to new economy minerals including copper and nickel, seen as cornerstones of the world’s transition towards cleaner energy.

“Over the years we believe we have spent less than we should be spending on exploration,” Tyler told Reuters in an interview.

Global exploration spending for base metals will nearly double within five years from the current annual $70mn to $80mn, she said, excluding outlays for early-entry joint ventures.

“So we are significantly increasing the amount we’re spending just as our base load,” she added.

BHP in March said it would move its head office for global exploration to Toronto from Santiago, Chile.“That allows us almost to be closer to the action,” said Tyler.

BHP primed for nickel exploration and copper, gold growth

The miner has partnered with junior Midland Exploration to explore for nickel in the Nunavik region of northern Quebec.

It also has a joint venture on copper concessions in Ecuador with Vancouver-based Luminex Resources Corp and holds a 12.3% stake in London-listed Solgold, whose Cascabel-Alpala copper-gold project in Ecuador is expected to start production in 2025.

 

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Jun 29, 2021

Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations

Vale
Nickel
Manitoba
battery metals
2 min
Vale’s $150mn investment in operations at Thompson, Manitoba will extend mine life by 10 years

Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.

Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel

The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.

“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.

“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”

Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba

Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.

“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.

“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”

The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history.  Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.

“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.

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