Thursday, 31 January 2013

Lydian celebrates five year anniversary on TSX

Armenia-focused Lydian International (TSE:LYD) celebrated five years of being listed on the Toronto stock exchange - by ringing the opening bell.
Lydian is developing Amulsar -  its flagship heap-leach gold project in the central part of the country with proven and probable reserves of 2.9mln ounces of gold and almost 10mln ounces of silver, which it discovered in 2006.
For the five years it has been listed on the main board of the TSX, Lydian has bought in more than C$130 million for Amulsar's development, it noted.
Some big name investors in Lydian include International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Lydian's chief executive Dr Tim Coughlin said: "Thanks to the TSX, Amulsar and Armenia have been exposed to investors around the world as a great project and favourable investment environment."

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Treasury Metals says latest C Zone results at Goliath could add significantly to mineable ounces

Treasury Metals (TSE:TML) has today reported drilling results from the C Zone at its Goliath gold project in northwestern Ontario, which the company says could represent a "significant increase" to the current open pit mine shells and the mineable ounces within them. 
The C Zone mineralization at the site is located around 30 to 50 metres next to the project's Main Zone of mineralization.
Earlier this month, the Toronto-based company said it had begun its 2013 exploration drilling program at Goliath, with the main focus to further delineate the C Zone within the proposed open pit to bring inferred resources to indicated resources, and add ounces. 
Further exploration of the C Zone high grade gold shoot would follow, which was discovered in the central part of the Goliath deposit last month.
These latest results include near surface intersections of 27 metres at 1.9 grams per tonne (g/t) gold from 51 metres depth in hole TL 12-295 and 12 metres of 2.2 g/t gold from 33 metres depth in hole TL 12-293. 
Hole TL12-290 also intersected 3.0 metres at 9.0 g/t gold from 73 metres depth.
The company said that the first of these holes, TL-295, is thought to be the up-dip extension traced to the surface of the recently discovered high grade shoot of the C Zone. Treasury made this high grade shoot find in what it calls a "re-entry hole", and concluded that certain drill holes done by the previous operator on the project needed to be extended in length to thoroughly test the mineralization. 
This strategy has led to "several new mineralized zones" being discovered, the gold explorer said, including 1.5 metres of 15.7 g/t gold in hole TL 148-12RE, and and 8.3 metres at 1.0 g/t gold in TL227-12RE.
The company said these recent results are important as they represent the first high-grade gold intersections that are coming together as an ore shoot within the project's C Zone, from where results "have the potential to reduce the overall waste-to-ore stripping ratios, especially in the eastern section of the deposit". 
"We are certainly excited about these new intersections as they occur in areas with relatively little past drilling," said president and CEO Martin Walter. 
"This new drilling in the C Zone will have a positive impact on the proposed open pit economics which are already robust based on our Preliminary Economic Assessment that was published in July of 2012. 
"The project has good grade, reasonable CAPEX and is located right here in Ontario surrounded by infrastructure. This makes for good business sense."
Drilling will continue to infill the drilling pattern on the project's C Zone, which covers an area measuring roughly 1.2 km in strike length and to a depth of 200 metres. The campaign is ongoing, with some 12 holes still awaiting results. 
The company is working toward a feasibility study on its project this year, and earlier this month said that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) decided to have the Goliath property subject to an environmental assessment. 
CEAA used the project description to develop the guidelines that Treasury has to follow to create the environmental impact statement (EIS), which is required under the government's permitting process. The company's technical team has been compiling the ongoing environmental baseline studies since 2010. 
The scope of the Goliath operation includes an initial open pit, followed by a combination of both open pit and underground mining methods of 10 to 12 years of mine life.

Belvedere Resources cuts costs at Hitura

Belvedere Resources (CVE:BEL) has opened negotiations with workers about more flexible working arrangements as it seeks to cut costs further at its Hitura nickel mine.

“The combination of low nickel prices, a stronger euro and low grades in the current stopes makes for difficult operational conditions,” said David Pym, chief executive officer of Belvedere.

“While the company regrets initiating employee consultations, management considers it prudent to keep all options open, and to consider all cost saving initiatives at the mine to preserve working capital,” Pym continued.

Underground exploration drilling work has been curtailed, and the company added it would suspend work carried out by the underground developmentcontractors, although development being carried out by Belvedere employees will carry on.

The moves are in response to continued permitting delays to the open pit cutback, an initiative the company is pursuing to increase throughput and lower opwerating costs at the mine.

The open pit cutback alone once economically proven, will potentially add three to four years to the mine life at Hitura, Pym declared last year.
“Permitting delays and resultant uncertainties around the open pit, have severely affected operational flexibility at the mine, and placed undue pressure on the underground operations,” Pym explained.

While the company mulls changes to nickel operations at the Hitura mine in Finland, it also remains focused on delivering its first gold mine by the end of 2014, subject to permitting and final feasibility studies.

“It is envisaged that the Kopsa gold copper ore will be processed at the Hitura mill either utilising the existing facilities or in a parallel circuit to the nickel,” Pym said.

Belvedere has a number of advanced gold projects close to the Hitura mine.

Earlier this month broker Ocean Equities suggested little value is being ascribed to Belvedere’s gold projects, withinvestors focused on the miner’s flagship Hitura nickel mine.

"The Kopsa gold deposit contains 223,000 ounces of gold resources with Osikonmäki containing 312,000 oz (86% attributable to Belvedere), Hirsikangas containing 228,000 ounces and Kiimala containing 149,000 ounces (86% attributable to Belvedere),” says Ocean Equities analyst Christopher Welch.

Using a median West African peer group comparison of US$35 per ounce in the ground, says the analyst, the value of Belvedere’s gold resources would be US$29.67 million - or equivalent to $0.32 per share.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Industrial Alliance sees "location, location" as top reason to recommend Cayden Resources

Industrial Alliance Securities has recently initiated coverage on Cayden Resources (CVE:CYD), along with three other companies operating in Mexico's prolific Guerrero Gold Belt. 
The Guerrero Gold Belt is an emerging gold region in the southern State of Guerrero, Mexico, that extends roughly 60 km.
The broker rated the junior explorer a speculative buy, on the basis of "highly prospective drilling and a pending land sale", the analyst notes. 
Cayden is a Canadian exploration company focused on two precious metal opportunities in Mexico and one in Nevada. Its primary projects are the Morelos Sur gold property in the Guerrero Gold Belt, and the El Barqueño property in Jalisco, Mexico  - part of the Sierra Madre and Trans Mexico Mineral belts. 
The Industrial Alliance analyst, Merrill McHenry, cites location as the number one reason for its recommendation, as Cayden "not only surrounds Goldcorp's Los Filos mines, but is between them as well."
Morelos Sur lies around 230 kilometres south of Mexico City, and comprises four targets: Las Calles, La Magnetita, La Joya and Mina Verde.
La Magnetita is the largest undrilled geophysical anomaly of its type in the gold belt and appears to mirror the geophysics ofGoldcorp's Los Filos deposit. 
The analyst also takes note of exploration drilling at Magnetita East, a target the broker finds "highly prospective with excellent soil samples and geophysics", and potential near term settlements with Goldcorp
In September last year, the company started initial drilling at the target, which consisted of 4,000 to 5,000 metres to test what it called the "highly mineralized" four square kilometre heart of the more than 500 parts per billion (ppb) gold-in-soil anomaly.  It also received additional rock and mapping results from the La Magnetita East area, which included over 20 new bedrock samples that returned grades as high as 9.4 grams per tonne (g/t) gold, and 982 g/t silver. 
In addition, the Industrial Alliance report highlights the company's El Barqueño property in Jalisco, Mexico  - which could be a "company maker" as well, the analyst says. 
Last September, Cayden said that Geotech had been contracted to begin a VTEM airborne geophysical survey on El Barqueño, with an initial drill program expected early this year. 
For Cayden, analyst McHenry says that no price target can reasonable be estimated for the junior company, until an estimable resource is established. 
"However, we believe there to be a sufficiently compelling rationale for us to assign “Speculative Buy” ratings based upon essential factors including attractive geophysical project(s); regional prospectivity; seasoned talented management; & 2013 catalysts."
The broker report notes the geophysical lineaments of the Guerrero Gold Belt, as well as its "rapid discovery growth". "We believe high prospectivity on a large scale (see: “Osisko 1 million hectare staking” below) are the makings of a World Class Gold District."
According to the research note, in 2011, Mexico joined the top 10 gold producing countries in the world, experienced the fastest growth in production, at 13.9%, and the lowest cash cost gold production. 
Other juniors operating in the region that received initial coverage included Torex Gold (CVE:TXG), Newstrike Capital (CVE:NES) and Minaurum Gold (CVE:MGG). 

Great Western Minerals shares rise as it announces new drill program at Steenkampskraal

Shares of Great Western Minerals Group (CVE:GWG) moved higher Monday, after the rare earths processor announced a 9,400-metre, 65-hole diamond drilling program at its past-producing Steenkampskraal property in South Africa, where the company now has five drill rigs operating onsite.
Its stock climbed 1.41% to trade at 36 cents just before 2 p.m. EDT, in Toronto.
The company said its objectives include step-out drilling to investigate the extension of the main monazite zone along strike east and west, and down-dip of the known mineral resource.
Great Western last week released an updated NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate at Steenkampskraal, prepared by Snowden Mining Industry Consultants, which showed a mineral resource of 32,000 metric tonnes of total rare earth oxides plus yttrium oxide (TREO) under the indicated category, and another 42,100 metric tonnes under the inferred category. Both categories used a 1% TREO cut-off grade. 
Indicated resources rose by more than double from the resource estimate last May, while inferred resources more than tripled. 
With its new drilling program, Great Western said it will also do infill drilling on areas of lower data density in order to upgrade inferred mineral resources to the indicated category, and selected orientated core drilling in support of planned underground developments.
In addition to the drilling, the company said it has initiated exploration activities on the surrounding prospecting right - a 550.5 square kilometre area encompassing Steenkampskraal, and hosting historic occurrences of monazite at surface. 
Aside from appointing Marc LeVier to the position of president and CEO, Great Western has announced a series of management additions and changes in recent weeks in preparation for a new stage in the life of the company, as it aims to become a fully integrated rare earth producer.
Earlier this month, it appointed Lenard Boggio to its board of directors, coming just days after the rare earths processor announced the long-awaited appointment of LeVier to the position of president and CEO. 
LeVier's appointment also came immediately after the company announced that it added mining veteran Ron Hochstein to its board of directors. New board member Hochstein has served as the president, CEO and a director of Denison Mines Corp. (TSE:DML) for the past three years. 
These high profile appointments are expected to see the company through its major transition. 
Currently, Great Western is a rare earth processor, whose specialty alloys are used in the magnet, battery, defence and aerospace industries. Produced at the company’s subsidiaries Less Common Metals (LCM) in Birkenhead, U.K. and Great Western Technologies (GWT) in Troy, Michigan, these alloys contain aluminum, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements (REE).  
Its development program at Steenkampskraal is central to ensure a strong flow of feedstock for its downstream processing - the company intends to be one of the first to produce significant quantities of the more valuable heavy rare earth oxides, which are important materials for alloys.
It holds 100 per cent of Rare Earth Extraction Co. Limited, which owns a 74-per-cent equity stake in the Steenkampskraal mine. It also holds interests in four rare earth exploration and development properties in North America.
Its former producing Steenkampskraal rare earth mine is under development through refurbishment, as Great Western also builds a rare earth mixed chloride plant and a rare earth solvent extraction separation plant near the mine. 
The company is expecting to release the results of the preliminary economic assessment this month, after extending the original scope of the report to include its latest resource estimate. 

Terraco Gold sees upward drive in valuation on strong assets

Terraco Gold’s (CVE:TEN) market cap has nowhere to go but up, according to the company’s CEO Todd Hilditch, who expects a realization over the course of this year that its assets are “certainly worth more” than its valuation in the market given by its stock price. 
Aside from royalty coverage on a Nevada gold project owned by a major gold producer, the junior gold company is also focused on advancing its near-million ounce Nutmeg Mountain /Almaden (Nutmeg) gold deposit in Idaho. 
“The idea for this year is to take the appropriate steps to advance Nutmeg to an economic/production decision,” says Hilditch. “This will be our priority in terms of physical time and work.”
The company is currently completing metallurgical tests at the 3,260-acre Idaho project, which is 126 kilometres north ofBoise, Idaho. Drilling from 2012 has been completed, and Terraco expects to be able to update the gold resource and look at a possible preliminary economic assessment (PEA) by the end of June. 
“We took on the project almost 2 years ago where it had 948,000 gold ounces in total gold resources, and our aim is to get it up to over one million ounces,” the CEO says, adding that there is an envelope of gold sitting right at the surface. 
“We just have to figure the economics of it, but we think they will be very favourable.”
The company says the advanced-stage asset has “excellent access” and good infrastructure, being located in a “big agricultural area with lots of space and power.” 
Hilditch adds that the project’s latest drill results have been some of the best that have ever come out of the property, which he hopes will add some ounces in the near future. 
Almaden has a history of exploration dating back to the 1930s. Indeed, Terraco purchased the Nutmeg asset by acquiring Western Standard Metals in early 2011 and it came complete with 887 drill holes, but just 24 of these holes went deeper than 120 metres, Hilditch notes. 
“This was more of a matter of the price of gold at the time, but the property has never properly been tested at depth,” he adds. 
The company is planning to focus on expanding the near-surface ounces in the short-term, but Hilditch points out that exploration for high grade mineralization at depth could result in the discovery of “feeder” zones similar to Newmont’s (NYSE:NEM) Ken Snyder Midas mine in Nevada or Sumitomo’s Hishikari mine in Japan.
“Deep drilling is expensive to do and in this market unless you really hit a magical feeder hole, you need to be careful about spending big dollars. We will most likely wait for a better market for deep drilling, and advance the project to an economic decision before doing this type of additional drilling.”
And Hilditch boasts that the company is armed with professionals that can take the project further along to a production decision. Terraco’s base of geological expertise includes Ken Snyder, who is credited with the discovery of the Midas mine and “tremendous experience” in Nevada in particular. In addition, the company’s VP of exploration and former Barrick Gold (TSE:ABX) geologist, Charles Sulfrian, has had experience in all levels of Barrick’s Goldstrike mine, including chief chemist and chief geologist. 
But aside from bringing this Idaho project toward production, Terraco has a likely lucrative royalty on claims covering the Spring Valley gold project in Pershing County, Nevada – a joint venture between gold giant Barrick Gold and Midway Gold Corp(CVE:MDW). 
Barrick has the right to earn a 60% interest in the project by spending a total of US$30 million on the asset before the end of this year. 
Hilditch says that the $20 million royalty deal Terraco signed more than a year ago “flew under the radar screen” during December 2011, but it was “the best deal [it has] ever done for the creation of value”. Terraco completed the transaction together with an undisclosed private equity firm, which provided the cash the junior gold company could not afford. 
“We also negotiated a $5 million cash infusion and didn’t issue a single share to get it.”
Terraco has an option to acquire a 2.5% net smelter returns royalty (NSR) by December 2016 on claims covering the majority of the Spring Valley deposit, and an additional direct ownership and option for a 1% NSR royalty covering the remaining portion of the deposit in the area that appears to have “some of the best drill intercepts by Barrick”.
It also has a right of first refusal on a half-mile perimeter 1% royalty – covering “all the ore discovered to date, and any upside of it growing.” 
When the figures are calculated, the company’s CEO says it paid less than  $280 an ounce gold for the royalty, compared to similar royalty deals in the $800 to $900 an ounce range. 
“When we look at the part of the company that has near term upside – it has to be the royalty based on the valuations going on in the market,” Hilditch says. 
He adds that if you take the valuation of Spring Valley, based on independent research from several brokerage firms, and extrapolate that over the next 10 years in mine life, then apply a discounted cash flow model, Terraco has a $70 million asset on its books. 
“This is a huge amount of value that nobody really understands.”
Barrick has so far spent almost $30 million on Spring Valley, with production anticipated as soon as 2017. The asset hosts what the company calls an “evolving” NI 43-101 compliant gold resource of 2.1 million ounces in the measured and indicated category, and 1.97 million ounces in the inferred category. 
What’s more, Terraco also controls 35 square kilometres beside Spring Valley, providing blue-sky potential for the junior gold company. 
Indeed, the company’s Moonlight property adjoins the Barrick project on the North side, where the currently outlined Spring Valley gold ore body is situated a “couple of miles” away from the property boundary.
“There is a  continuation of the same geological structure (the Black Ridge Fault zone) on our property as well.” 
The Pershing County district/Humboldt Range in Nevada – where both Spring Valley and Moonlight are located – is also host to Coeur d’Alene Mines’ (TSE:CDM) Rochester mine and has attracted the likes of the “very well run” Rye Patch Gold and Pershing Gold. “The district is evolving into a big mining district, with many junior and advanced staged companies exploring the area around the Rochester Mine, a bulls-eye of silver mineralization and production.”
In the past few years, with limited drilling at Moonlight, Terraco has found signs that additional future exploration is required. The company has seen 3 metres grading 1.38 grams per tonne (g/t) gold, and 1.5 metres of 1.96 g/t gold. A 5-foot chip sample also reported 4.77 g/t gold and 74.1 g/t silver. In addition, the company has hit 24 metres of 35 g/t silver and 10 metres of 72.8 g/t silver, giving thoughts that the silver is dominated on the northerly portion of the Moonlight project.
With $1.6 million in the bank, Hilditch says the company could “easily sustain” 2013, and could go even further if necessary, with its major spending priority being the Nutmeg project in Idaho.
Looking ahead, Hilditch is expectedly bullish on gold when looking at the basic fundamentals of supply and demand. 
“Majors are producing more than they are finding, and along with world events and gold being bought up and stored, there is more gold being taken off the market then put on.
“The price has to go up. It’s basic supply and demand – simple.”
Terraco’s CEO believes markets are currently in the midst of a cleanse of the “thousands of exploration companies” out there, but is confident that once that settles out and gold prices remain strong, those that have a strong financing position and experienced management will come out on top.
“Terraco is not out there desperately trying to find a drill hole. We already have a million ounces of gold and a management team that has done it before,” Hilditch says, referring to his previous role as CEO of Salares Lithium (CVE:LIT), which was bought by Talison Lithium in a $340 million merger. Talison is now being taken over in an $800 million deal, providing additional upside to the profile.
Most of the previous Salares management is now with Terraco. “We’ve been fortunate to make shareholders a lot of money before and we hope to do it again,” he concludes.
Shares in Terraco are changing hands at 14 cents, with a market cap of around $18.7 million.

Tethys Petroleum leads the way in Central Asia with “world-class” assets and blue-sky potential

As the only independent oil and gas company operating in three Central Asian republics, Tethys Petroleum (TSE:TPL) (LON:TPL) has a strong foothold on its “world-class” assets with enormous potential for future growth.
Indeed, the company stepped its game up further recently, announcing late last month that it had completed a farm-out agreement for the Bokhtar Production Sharing Contract (PSC) in Tajikistan with subsidiaries of the French super-major Total S.A. (NYSE:TOT) and the China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Corporation (CNODC) - part of the Chinese State company CNPC.
“We have an enormous area in Tajikistan – almost the size of Switzerland,” says the company’s president and executive chairman, Dr. David Robson.
“We were the first people there and we have an extremely good production sharing contract with the country.”
In fact, Robson points out that Tethys helped the nation write aspects of its petroleum legislation.
“Before us, there wasn’t really anybody there and that gives us first mover advantage in a part of one of the most prolific basins in the world, particularly for gas and condensate, but also for oil.” 
“Potential exists for some of the largest gas fields being there that have never been drilled before.”
Tethys says it has done extensive technical work in the area, including drilling, seismic and a large aerial graviometry survey that led to a resource report, which confirmed the potential, at mid-case level, of around 27.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) comprising over 114 trillion cubic feet of gas and about nine billion barrels of oil and condensate in the 35,000-square-kilometre Bokhtar area.
French giant Total and China’s CNODC will each both take a third of a share in the project, while Tethys’ participation in the program will be largely carried - with over $70 million being spent on the Canadian firm’s behalf. As such, it is only required to pay 33 per cent of its share of the costs of the upcoming program, and this is expected to amount to around $9 million. Tethys’ Tajik subsidiary, Kulob Petroleum, will also receive $60 million for back costs.
Robson calls it a “tremendous deal” for the company.
“Total and CNPC are world class companies and we look forward to working with our new partners in Tajikistan, which in our view has world class potential.”
The deal is crucial to Tethys as the cost of drilling deep wells in the area is $50 to $60 million dollars each, and is “intrinsically risky but with giant potential” as the region has never been drilled before.
“This farm-out also provides significant additional funding for our company to accelerate our other current projects,” Robson says.
Tethys also operates in Kazakhstan and relatively recently entered Uzbekistan.
In Kazakhstan, the company has been busy advancing its discovery of oil at the Doris field, the first discovery made in that part of the North Ustyurt geological basin.
Last April, the company released the updated prospective resource report for its Kazakhstan assets, prepared by Gustavson Associates, which estimated gross unrisked recoverable mean prospective oil resources of 1.23 billion barrels and 634.4 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas, which is equivalent to1,336 billion boe.
Since discovering “very good quality oil” with its first deep exploration well in Kazakhstan, Robson says the company has been successful in finding yet another oilfield and appraising further what it already owned.
“Over the last year, we brought on-stream our new production facility that enables us to clean the oil better, but also significantly increases the capacity of production at the field itself,” the company’s president points out.
“We also inaugurated our new terminal.”After trucking its oil about 450 kilometres for a time, Robson says Tethys decided it made much more sense to build its own rail loading facility closer to the field.
“We still have improvements to make on the delivery system, so to speak, but its working pretty well right now,” Robson says.
“We’ve now achieved 4,000 barrels of oil per day (bbls/d), which is well below what we feel the field and surrounding structures can produce, but still a significant increase from the 2,000 bbls/d we were producing last year.”
Robson says that there a number of locations to be drilled that will increase reserves and production further, and once Tethys boosts production rates to appropriate levels, the company is looking to build an export pipeline.
“Initially, it will be quite a small pipeline,” Robson says, adding, that the company will be able to eliminate trucking from the equation, which is a significant factor to improving its cash flow. 
Tethys is also working toward improving its oil pricing, and along with plans to install more storage at the field and treatment facilities at the terminal, its ultimate goal is to secure a production contract which would enable the company to export its oil from Kazakhstan. The company is currently producing oil under a pilot production license and will file for a production contract in the future.
“In Kazakhstan, one can sell on the local domestic market with a pilot production consent, but to be able to export your oil, you need to have a production contract,” Robson explains.
He adds that the process is basically an upgrade, but the laws require a company to have its field “fairly well appraised” and proven accurately.
Robson adds that the company has held off thus far on applying for a production contract until sufficient appraisal work had been carried out.
In the meantime, Tethys is in the process of applying for an export contract - separate to the production contract – a process which has been a bit “bogged down” by government changes and is not a certainty.
“We’re hoping in the next year we will see a significant increase to the realized oil prices either through an export licence, or the issuance of a Production Contract” Robson says.
In Uzbekistan, Tethys is the only Western company currently operating in the oil and gas sector. It operates as the contractor under the Production Enhancement Contract (PEC) for the North Urtabulak oilfield, in partnership with NHC Uzbekneftegas.  Recently Tethys signed another PEC for a new field named Chegara and is awaiting final governmental consents to commence activities. 
“The first field is very much in decline now,” says Robson.
“However, we have our new Chegara field to the south which is in its very early stages of development with a lot more potential, where we are waiting for a final presidential decree to move ahead.”
The longer term focus in Uzbekistan is exploration, and last year Tethys signed a memorandum of understanding to explore a block in the North Ustyurt Basin of Uzbekistan – the same basin where the company operates in Kazakhstan and where it discovered the Doris oilfield.
Looking ahead, Robson says that as well as investing in its core assets to increase production Tethys will also evaluate acquiring additional acreage for increases, while also looking at other countries in central Asia should opportunities arise that fit into the Tethys strategy, such as Turkmenistan.
“It’s not an easy country to get into, but if anyone can get there, we can.
“There are oilfields there into which I believe we could get a foothold with production, and there are enormous deposits.”
With producing operations and plenty of blue sky potential, Robson says that Tethys is a prime company to invest in if investors are seeking exposure to the Central Asian oil and gas sector – noting that its stock is “low compared to where it has been”.
“When we listed in Toronto 5 ½ years ago, we had one gas field in Kazakhstan where today we have oil production, gas production and exploration success in three countries, and an amazing area in Tajikistan as well as a fantastic reputation in the whole region.
“If you are looking to invest in a proven, stable area, with enormous potential and the best company working there – full stop, then you’ve got to consider investing in Tethys.”
Tethys shares have risen more than 27 per cent in the past month. The dual-listed company’s stock has increased by about 30% in the past year.

Soligenix shares fly higher on bullish Seeking Alpha article

Soligenix's (OTC:SNGX) stock soared this morning on the back of an article in the influential financial markets blog Seeking Alpha, which outlined the "reintroduction" of the company after a "devastating setback" in 2011. 
Shares of the biopharmaceutical company were lately up 16 cents, or nearly 12% to $1.50, hitting a high of $1.65 earlier this morning. Its stock price has more than doubled in the last year. 
The article focuses on Soligenix as an example of small biotech companies that get defined by lead product candidates, where "a setback or outright failure of the lead program can be catastrophic to the company's share price", with no residual value given to the rest of the pipeline. 
"I believe investments in forgotten gems like these can be profitable as the valuations can become very attractive due to the over-reaction of the marketplace. The downside risk could be minimal and the upside gains could be substantial as the company's developments finally begin attracting investor attention once again," the writer notes. 
In 2011, Soligenix's share price suffered due to its phase III clinical trial failure of orBec - an oral formulation of beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) - for Graft-versus-Host disease. 
Meanwhile, the company's leaders pushed forward developing the remainder of its platform. 
"Soligenix has a unique business model that has allowed for a rather diversified development pipeline. It is comprised of 2 business segments, biotherapeutics and vaccines/biodefense. 
"Two key points stand out upon close examination of the product candidates. First, there are 8 development programs. Of these, 6 are being developed either wholly or in part by NIH or FDA funding," the Seeking Alpha entry explains. 
"For long-term investors this is key, as it means their investment dollars need only be utilized for 2 out of the 8 programs," it adds. 
Soligenix's biotherapeutics product line is based on 2 active ingredients, SGX94 and oral BDP. SGX942 is being evaluated for its potential in treating oral mucositis in head and neck cancer, while oral BDP is the active ingredient in three different product candidates aside from orBec.
BDP is the main ingredient in SGX203 to treat pediatric Crohn's disease, SGX201 in the prevention of acute radiation enteritis, and in OrbeShield to treat gastrointestinal acute radiation syndrome (GI ARS).
Earlier in January, the development stage biopharmaceutical company announced that the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) had called on Soligenix to submit a potential multi-year, multi-million dollar contract proposal to develop OrbeShield.
OrbeShield is being developed for the treatment of GI ARS, which occurs after toxic radiation exposure and involves several organ systems, notably the bone marrow, the gastrointestinal tract and later, the lungs.
The news came after the FDA granted orphan drug designation for OrbeShield, which Soligenix said gives the company a seven year term of market exclusivity for the drug upon final approval, and leverage to a wide range of financial and regulatory benefits.
Through its biodefense division, the company is also developing vaccines including RiVax, designed to protect against the lethal effects of exposure to ricin toxin and VeloThrax, a vaccine against anthrax exposure.
"The heavily government funded Vaccines/Biodefense portion of Soligenix's pipeline is proving to be potentially lucrative not only due to the government aid for their development, but also for the potential contracts that the company could obtain from the U.S. as well as foreign governments," the Seeking Alpha article says. 

Mawson Resources starts drilling with results expected from February

Michael Hudson, CEO Mawson Resources (TSX:MAW) tells Proactiveinvestors at VRIC 2013 that at 3% gold averaging 100gms per ton gold the company is well blessed and places Mawson uniquely as an investment prospect. The drilling of the asset at Rompas is expected to start delivering results from February this year.

Silvercorp Metals bolsters management with two key appointments in China

Vancouver-based Silvercorp Metals (TSE:SVM)(NYSE:SVM) says it has added two to its management team in China to support its growth efforts. 
The company is currently developing its GC project in southern China, which it expects will become its next operating mine early this year.
Silvercorp said Monday that Dr. Yi Huang has been appointed chief mining engineer, after previously having held the role of principal mining engineer at global consulting and project management firm AMEX. 
Prior to joining AMEC, Dr. Huang held senior mining engineering positions with several Canadian mining companies, the company said. 
The second appointment is Guangrong Qian, who will take the role of deputy general manager of the company's operations in China. 
Previously, Qian held various exec positions with large mining companies in China and has experience in mine management and production planning.
In a statement, Silvercorp said it looks forward to the contributions from its two new management additions, "augmenting an already experienced and talented operations team". 
Silvercorp is a silver‐producing Canadian mining company with multiple mines in China. It has paid a cash dividend since 2007.  In December 2010, Silvercorp received a mining permit on the GC project, with the construction of a 1,600 tonne per day mine and mill currently underway. The property is located about 200 kilometres west of Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, southern China.

Rubicon sees potential production from Phoenix gold project in 2014

Rubicon Minerals Corp. (TSE:RMX) (NYSE MKT:RBY) Monday said that based on achieving its “scheduled milestones” and the continued progress of construction at the Phoenix gold project, its timeline for potential production would be the second half of 2014.
The company said it also plans to release its updated mineral resource estimate at the end of the first quarter of this year. The report will include data from over 100,000 metres of core drilling since late 2011.
Currently, the F2 gold deposit at Phoenix, located in Red Lake, Ontario, boasts an indicated resource of 1.02 million tonnes, grading 14.5 grams per tonne (g/t) gold for a total of 477,000 ounces of gold, and an inferred resource of 4.23 million tonnes, grading 17.0 grams for a total of 2.31 million ounces of the precious metal.
In an update of construction efforts at the Phoenix project, the company said it continues to make “good progress” with the sinking of the shaft. Ground conditions have improved significantly in January, it noted, and “better development rates” are expected going forward. 
Rubicon said that its mill and carbon-in-leach (CIL) building foundation has been completed, as well as the erection of the steel framework, and it is expected that mill construction will be completed in the second quarter of 2014.
The company continues to carry out a program designed to optimize certain aspects of its preliminary economic assessment (PEA), released in the summer of 2011, and potentially improve the efficiency and productivity of the Phoenix project.
Under the current PEA, the project is expected to produce 180,000 ounces of gold per year for the 12 years of mine life, with grades of roughly 14 grams per tonne (g/t) and a forecasted 92.5 per cent recovery.
Rubicon said it is working to optimize “several key areas” of the PEA, including mining methods, equipment, throughput, and shaft depth, as well as building an exploration platform to follow up on higher grade intercepts and potentially increase the mineral resource at depth.
"Our objective is to optimize the Phoenix gold project to make it the best it can be," said president and CEO Mike Lalonde. 
The optimization studies are scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of this year. Rubicon warned, however, that the implementation of the new methods would likely increase the initial capital cost of developing Phoenix, compared to the $214 million outlined in the initial economics report. 
The company said that though it is not able to provide an accurate estimate of the capital cost increase at this time, it plans to evaluate financing alternatives once the studies are done to address any potential boost in capex.
As of December 31, 2012, Rubicon had about $171 million in cash and equivalents, and investments, and $157 million in working capital. Roughly $85 million has been spent on the project to date.
The company said it is well funded and its flagship Phoenix project is fully permitted to potential production. In addition to the Phoenix project, Rubicon controls over 100 square miles of exploration ground in the prolific Red Lake gold district, which hosts Goldcorp's (TSE:G) Red Lake mine.

New Zealand Energy appoints CFO with Taranaki Basin experience

New Zealand Energy Corp. (CVE:NZ)(OTCQX:NZERF) says it has appointed Chris Ferguson as its new CFO, starting February 25. 
Ferguson, who has more than 18 years of accounting and operational experience in both the public and private sectors, will be based in the company's New Plymouth, New Zealand office, and will oversee finance, accounting, administration and risk management. 
The company noted he has "extensive" oil and gas experience within the Taranaki Basin, where New Zealand Energy has a significant foothold, having held senior financial positions over the past 13 years with both local and international exploration and production companies. 
Previously, Ferguson held the role of finance and planning manager with Origin Energy New Zealand, overseeing the financial integration of the TAWN and Rimu/Kauri oil and gas assets acquired from Swift Energy and the transition to operations of the Kupe Gas Field. 
"Chris Ferguson's financial and reporting experience coupled with extensive knowledge of the New Zealand oil and gas industry brings the exact skill set that we've been looking for," said the company's CEO, John Proust. 
"We look forward to having Chris join the team in February."
The news today comes after New Zealand Energy provided earlier this month an update on its exploration and production activities in the Taranaki Basin of New Zealand's North Island, as it prepared to spud the first well at its fourth drill site. 
The company is undertaking an eight well exploration program in the Taranaki Basin, designed to increase production and cash flow. The junior oil and gas company expects to produce 3,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day once the campaign is complete - expected by the end of this quarter.
After the eight well exploration program is wrapped up, the company will then move directly into its 2013 campaign. This year's program will focus on targets that are central to the Waihapa Production Station and associated gathering pipelines, expected to expedite tie-in of discoveries and reduce transport and processing costs. 
As the only open-access midstream facility in the Taranaki Basin, the station ensures the company can process its own production, as well as offers opportunities for processing third-party gas, liquids, oil and water. 
The station is located around 3km from New Zealand Energy's Copper Moki site, where it already has three producing wells.