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Jan 2006 - CHINA

China is not expected to suddenly grind to a halt

We remain surprised that a number of people still don’t believe that China can continue to consume metals and materials for many years to come and not suddenly grind to a halt in 2006, 2007 or 2008. Quite often such people have never been to China and are basing their expectations on theory.

Feb 2006 - Chinese Mining Co

The Chinese are coming!

In our last month’s column in Paydirt, we concluded that it was “hence no surprise to see Chinese based companies trawling the world for orebodies that have long-life (ideally 10 to 20 years plus) potential and are prepared to finance their development”.

Mar 2006 - S A Platinum Mines

How Deep Can the South African Platinum Mines Go ?

It was widely believed that due to differing geothermal gradients, the maximum depth that the South African platinum mines would ever extend to could be up to 1600m or 1700m below surface, compared to the gold mines extending to depths of 4km or so. However, that platinum depth limit gradually crept closer to surface to a perceived ~1200m to 1300m.

Mar 2006 - Newest Goldfield

The World’s Newest Goldfield

In August 2002, the US Geological Survey’s open file report drew a number of parallels between the Carlin Trend of Nevada and the sedimentary rock-hosted gold mineralisation of China’s Golden Triangle (based on southern Guizhou, northwestern Guangxi and eastern Yunnan), and prophetically stated that “it is likely that many Carlin-type Au districts in China, when fully developed could have resource potential comparable to the multi-1000t (of gold) resources in northern Nevada”.

Apr 2006 - Africa’s Miners

Africa’s Artisanal Miners targeted to triple to 15million in the next 10 years

This was a forecast made in one of the last papers at the Indaba Conference in Cape Town on 9 February 2006, on Artisanal (Scale) Mining or ASM by Kevin D’Souza. ASM has been defined as the most primitive form of mining characterised by groups or individuals exploiting deposits – often illegally with the simplest equipment.

May 2006 - Ore Sorter

New Ore Sorter Set to Shake up the Nickel Sulphide Producers

On 2 May 2006, we saw the new Consolidated Nickel (formerly Reliance and now a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Minerals) - Ultrasort ore sorter at the Beta-Hunt nickel mine at Kambalda in WA. It had only been in operation for 5 days, but the initial results from commissioning with low grade waste dump material were visually and utterly MIND BOGGLING !!.

Jun 2006 - Perceptions/Reality

Perceptions and Reality

By Friday 9 June 2006, the resources stocks had taken a major fall with some stock prices down by up to 40% since the peak around 12 May and the Philadelphia Gold and Silver Index down by 30%, as the gold price dropped by 19% from US$726/oz down to US$608/oz. The fall was based on the perception that the market had run too high with commodity prices driven mainly by hedge fund speculation and share prices by almost all forms of trading. Hence the perception was that demand had to fall because such commodity prices were perceived to be unsustainable and consequently the prices similarly should fall, which they have to some degree.

Jul 2006 - Study of Volcanoes

Study of volcanoes reaping orebody benefits

Just as the modelling techniques have advanced significantly in recent years such that most companies appear to use either datamine, vulcan or surpac to model their orebodies, with exploration identifying potential mineralisation using techniques such as 3d IP, Roly Hills’ 4 winds technology, Nick Archibald’s fracsis fractal graphics, and leapfrog, the study of volcanoes has also significantly evolved.

Jul 2006 - Bioxidation

Is bioxidation the only acceptable way to treat refractory gold ores ?

Refractory gold from a western viewpoint usually means where the gold is associated with arsenic, whereas its more general definition (at least in China) is any ore that is not free-milling. This hence includes by-product gold being produced with other base or precious metals, or when gold is associated with pyrite and floated to produce a concentrate that is leached as shown in Figure 1 of the concentrates waiting to be processed at Michelago’s (becoming Golden China’s) BioGold plant in China’s Shandong Province.

Aug 2006 - AIM or the TSX

Is it better to list on AIM or the TSX ? (from an Australian company viewpoint)

Australian companies looking to raise finance, potential share price appreciation and international exposure are often faced with a choice between listing on AIM (the Alternate Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange) or the TSX (the Toronto Stock Exchange). This column has been based on our observations to date, since the early 1990’s.

Sep 2006 - WMC

Did WMC sell one of the jewels in its crown ?

It is well known that the sale of WMC’s Kambalda nickel division (encompassing the Kambalda and Widgiemooltha regions, Lanfranchi and Carnilya) has been very lucrative for WMC (now BHPB’s Nickel West). However, with the market caps of the small companies operating those mines now totalling ~A$1bn (and rising), a spate of new and ongoing discoveries by them and reputed problems in the Nickel West’s remaining nickel division, did WMC in fact sell the jewel in its nickel crown ?

Oct 2006 - Chicken Littles

Chicken Littles heading for a headache

Don’t you tire of the Chicken Littles predicting doom and gloom that the commodity cycle has to have ended and hence the “sky has to fall” or in this case, commodity prices have to collapse back to historically low levels ?

Nov 2006 - Commissioning

The Commissioning Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost

During the coming 3 to 4 months to the end of February 2007, a number of gold companies are going to experience the commissioning phase of their plants, hopefully much better than those that have gone before them so far during 2006.