The words "mineral resources" might well be spelled "commodity prices". The mining industry understands that the higher the prices the more material falls within the definition of resources, meaning it has the potential to be economically mined. Lower grades become more attractive.
That is the underlying truth that has many companies restating resource numbers upwards and upwards again. As long as demand is strong and prices high, the industry will prosper.
Here is a look at some of the recently reported figures.
Agnico-Eagle Mines of Toronto reports positive exploration results from several of its properties. At the Kittila gold mine in Sweden, the deepest high grade mineralization (6.0 metres at 9.6 g/t) has been intersected at 1,200 metres below surface, about 150 metres below the current reserve envelope. The D zone at the Goldex mine in Quebec is growing significantly (192 metres at 2.2 g/t) at depth. The mineralized envelope continues to grow at the Meliadine Wesmeg zone (5.4 metres at 8.2 g/t) in Nunavut; a satellite open pit may be possible. At the Lapa mine in Quebec high grade intercepts that may expand the life of the mine have been made at depth and to the east of the orebody. At the end of 2010, Agnico counted worldwide proven and probable reserves totalling 185.8 million tonnes at 3.57 g/t Au. (www.Agnico-Eagle.com)
Updated figures from Canadian Arrow of Sudbury, ON, for its Alexco Kelex nickel project near Timmins, ON, shows an increase of 95% in the indicated resource. Indicated open pit resources are 216,000 tonnes grading 0.95% Ni, 0.05% Cu and 0.04% Co, plus the underground indicated resources are 257,000 tonnes at 0.96% Ni, 0.04% Cu and 0.03% Co. (www.CanadianArrowMines.ca)
Toronto-based Lake Shore Gold has significantly increased resources at its Bell Creek gold mine and its Marlhill and Vogel deposits. Measured and indicated resources at Marlhill-Vogel are 2.6 million tonnes at 2.17 g/t Au plus inferred resources of 1.5 million tonnes at 3.60 g/t. The Bell Creek mine now has an estimated measured and indicated resource of 1.8 million tonnes grading 4.36 g/t Au and an inferred resource of 8.4 million tonnes at 4.40 g/t. Contained gold in all categories for the Bell Creek complex is 1.36 million oz, enough for another 15 years of operation. (www.LSGold.com)
NSGold Corp. of Vancouver reports an 80% increase in the gold resource for the West zone at its Mooseland gold project in Halifax County, NS. The inferred resource is estimated at 210,000 oz using a 3-g/t cutoff grade and a minimum width of 1.5 meters, or 1.4 million tonnes at 4.6 g/t Au. (www.NSGold.com)
Toronto's Seabridge Gold has updated the preliminary feasibility study for its KSM project in northern British Columbia. Reserves have increased to 38.5 million oz of gold (up 27%), 10.0 billion lb of copper (up 42%), 214 oz of silver (up 61%) and 257 million lb of molybdenum (up 22%). The PFS executive summary is posted at www.SeabridgeGold.net.
Victory Nickel of Toronto has increased the open pit measured and indicated resources at its Minago nickel project by 24%. The number for the project in central Manitoba is now between 31.0 million (Lerch-Grossman) and 25.7 million (Whittle) tonnes at approximately 0.045% Ni. (www.VictoryNickel.ca)