Lithium, nickel, copper, manganese and graphite are critical elements to battery performance, longevity and energy density. According to the IEA, the inevitable shift to clean energy alternatives will drive a monumental increase in the requirements for these minerals, implying that the energy sector is emerging as a major catalyst for mining operations. In order to meet the Paris Agreement goals, the share of the total demand for these elements is expected to rise exponentially over the next 20 years to over 40% for copper and rare earth elements, 60 to 70% for nickel and cobalt, and almost 90% for lithium. With such demands, prospects in play miners like Newcrest Mining (TSX:NCM) (OTCPK:NCMGF), Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) (OTCQX:IVPAF), Hudbay Mining (TSX:HBM) (NYSE:HBM), Copper Mountain Mining Corporation (TSX:CMMC) (OTCPK:CPPMF) who are expanding their copper assets and Gama Explorations (CSE:GAMA) are well-positioned to unlock long-term shareholder value.
Gama Explorations (CSE:GAMA) is a mineral exploration company focused on the acquisition, exploration and advancement of high-quality prospective mining projects. At the moment, the company has the right to acquire 100% interest in the Big Onion Copper Project located near the town of Smithers in northern British Columbia.
Gama Explorations also just introduced its recently acquired Tyee Nickel-Copper Project, an asset that comprises a single claim block of 81.46 square kilometres prospective for nickel, copper and platinum group elements.
The Tyee Ni-Cu Project is approximately 130 km north of Havre St. Pierre and adjacent to Go Metal’s recent HSP Ni-Cu discovery. The project is 12 km from the Romaine IV hydroelectric power facility and service roads. Gama aims to identify extensions to the massive sulphide Ni-Cu. The Tyee nickel claims were staked by Tyee in March 2022 following a detailed geological, geophysical, and geochemical review of the HSP Complex.
The project features geochemical and geophysical anomalies, which likely represent mafic to ultramafic feeders to the adjacent Havre St. Pierre anorthosite complex. Interestingly, the anorthosite complex is in a region that hasn’t seen a lot of exploration, yet it is known to host nickel-copper-PGE occurrences. These occurrences have been found as far as 20 km west of the Tyee Nickel-Copper Project in an area exhibiting substantial geophysical and lithological similarity. At the moment, Gama Explorations is focused on identifying and expanding on higher-grade porphyry-style Cu-Mo-Au mineralization beyond the historic resource.
Gama intends to fly an airborne electromagnetic survey, followed by prospecting and ground geophysics. The company will continue to use detailed analysis of government data to assess the region for the potential continuation of nickel sulphides and other commodities of interest such as copper, cobalt, platinum, palladium and graphite. Based on the outcome of the airborne electromagnetic surveys, prospecting, and geophysics, Gama will decide the best method for implementing a maiden drill program in 2023.
Gama Explorations also recently bolstered its leadership team by appointing Dr. Mick Carew as a director and CEO of the Company. Carew is a PhD geologist with over 25 years of mining industry experience who has worked for several big and junior mining/exploration firms on regional and near-mine mineral exploration. He has worked on uranium, base, and precious metal ore resources across three continents, including Australia, North America, and Asia.
Producers Look to Meet Rising Copper Demand
According to Newcrest Mining’s (TSX:NCM) (OTCPK:NCMGF) recent quarterly report, copper production declined more than 15% to roughly 120,700 tonnes. Although these results look lacklustre at first glance, it’s important to remember that this was a tough year for the broader mining industry thanks to supply chain headwinds, labour shortages, and in this particular case, major maintenance at the company’s two largest assets (Lihir, Cadia). However, the maintenance, which involved a two-stage plant expansion of the Cadia project, seems to be on track for completion by the end of September this year. With major operations, including the development of Panel Cave 2-3 and improvements to enhance the gold and copper recovery already in advanced stages, Newcrest Mining expects to ramp up copper production this year significantly. Additionally, the company’s Red Chris project also shows huge potential, considering that a pre-feasibility study of only its first stage of operations showed an initial ore reserve of 8.1 million ounces of gold and 2.2 million tonnes of copper.
Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) (OTCQX:IVPAF) has said that its annual copper production will increase to approximately 600,000 tonnes by the fourth quarter after the Phase 3 expansion of its Kamoa-Kakula copper mining project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This will make it the world’s third-largest copper mining complex. The Phase 3 expansion will involve constructing two new underground mines known as Kamoa 1 and Kamoa 2 in addition to a new, 5-million-tonne-per-year concentrator plant which will be established adjacent to the two new mines. According to Ivanhoe’s projections, copper production attributable to the first two phases of Kamoa-Kakula is likely to be over 450,000 tonnes per year by the second quarter of 2023 and gradually peak at an annual production of over 800,000 tonnes.
Hudbay Mining (TSX:HBM) (NYSE: HBM) recently announced the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) results of its 100%-owned Copper World Complex in Arizona. According to the PEA Copper World Complex, which also includes the company’s Rosemont deposit, there will be a two-phased mine plan with the first phase having a standalone operation with processing infrastructure and will have an average annual copper production of up to 100,000 tonnes over a 16-year mine life. The second phase will involve expanding the processing facilities, which will result in an annual increase of at least 125,000 tonnes over the remaining mine life, including approximately 101,000 tonnes of copper from mined resources.
On September 28, Copper Mountain Mining Corporation (TSX:CMMC) (OTCPK:CPPMF) gave an update of its Mineral Reserves and Mineral Resources estimate, which showed a 57% increase and revised life of mine plan for its Copper Mountain Mine in the southern British Columbia. According to the updated mineral reserves, the company can support a mill expansion scenario to 65,000 tonnes per day, producing a total of 4.1 billion pounds of copper equivalent over a mine life of 32 years.
Gama Explorations has further revealed it has initiated a private placement deal of up to 8.3 million common shares at $0.30 per share for aggregate proceeds of up to $2.5 million. The proceeds will cater to the exploration expenditures on the company’s BC and Quebec properties, corporate expenses, and working capital.
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