Following the publication of the paper (noted below) on the epithermal portion of the Recsk metallogenic system in Hungary here are 3D models from the entirely concealed Cu-Au mineralized intrusive bodies and related Cu-Au skarns and outbound Zn-Pb replacement bodies.
A 3D fly-though of the Recsk Cu-Au deposit showing the drilling, channel samples and interpolated copper grade shells. A full set of 100 metre spaced section steps through the deposit from north to south over several kilometres.
A section through the Recsk deposit with drilling and copper grade shells. The section is 200 metres thick and the 0.3% grade shell is 800 metres high and 1,000 metres wide. The Cu-Au skarn mineralisation can be seen dipping gently away from the large intrusive body. The intrusion is open at depth below 1,200 metres. The top of the 10.3% copper grade shell is approximately 400 metres below the surface.
The Recsk metallogenic centre consists of a deep and entirely preserved mineralised intrusive and intermediate and high sulphidation epithermal deposits exposed at surface. The epithermal deposits are located close to the apex of the intrusion. The diorite intrusion is hosted by a thick sequence of Eocene carbonates unconformably overlain by a volcanic edifice. Adjacent to the intrusion the carbonates host thick Cu-Au skarns. Outbound of the Cu-Au skarns, Zn-Pb replacement bodies have been intersected in wide spaced drillholes. In this video we present a section through the deposit. The 3D model is based upon 156,000 metres of drilling from surface, 9 km of underground sampling on the 700 and 900 metre levels and 89,000 metres of underground diamond drilling. Underground access was provided by two 1,200 metre deep shafts, 2,000 metres apart. The shafts have an 8 metre internal diameter and are concrete lined. No mining has been undertaken at the deeper Recsk mineralisation aside from bulk metallurgical sampling.
A very interesting study in Cell Metabolism demonstrates that energy-controlled high-fat low carbohydrate diets are not detrimental to health, but rather a ketogenic diet (with a very high proportion of fat) extends lifespan and slows age-related decline in physiological function in mice.
Calorie restriction (CR) has long been shown to increase longevity in animal models. However longitudinal studies in humans are not possible. The exact mechanism for contributing to increased longevity in CR animal models remains unresolved however it has long been recognised that CR induces a shift from carbohydrate to fat metabolism. Low carbohydrate diets (LCD) have been shown to induce a shift from carbohydrate towards fatty acid oxidation metabolism.
In this paper the authors have studied the most extreme LCD, the ketogenic diet in an animal model. They studied mice by strictly regulating their diet and generated three cohorts: LCD group fed 70% of their kcal as fat, a KD group fed 89% of their kcal as fat and a control group fed 65% of their kcal as carbohydrate.
The results of the study have confirm earlier studies which showed that a KD promoted an anti-inflammatory metabolic state with elevated blood ketone levels comparable to CR. This study however goes well beyond previous studies following the population from birth to post-mortem. The primary objective of this study was the evaluate the influence of LCD and KD on longevity and health-markers in mice.
The results of this study include:
The results clearly demonstrate that lifespan is increased in mice consuming a KD when a feeding strategy is followed that mitigates weight gain in adult mice. It is often assumed that a high-fat diet will shorten life expectancy however, this study indicate that a calorie-controlled LCD started in middle-aged mice does not have a negative impact on aging. Further evidence does not support the idea that level of protein is primarily responsible for the increased longevity;
This study shows that a KD slows cognitive decline and preserves motor function in aging mice. KD maximizes and preserves forelimb grip strength with age. Respiratory quotient was decreased by an LCD or a KD compared to a control diet.
KD mice showed glucose intolerance however insulin sensitivity after a 4 hr fast was enhanced by a KD if compared to the LCD, indicating that insulin signalling is functioning normally in mice fed a KD
Ketones would appear to positively impact muscle homeostasis and may play an important role as neuro-protective signalling molecules
The level of acetylated p53, a key tumour suppressor protein, was 10-fold higher in liver after 1 month on a KD and as a likely consequence, incidence of tumours at time of death, particularly histiocytic sarcoma, was decreased with a KD
A Ketogenic Diet Extends Longevity and Healthspan in Adult Mice
Megan N. Roberts, Marita A. Wallace, Alexey A. Tomilov, Zeyu Zhou, George R. Marcotte, Dianna Tran, Gabriella Perez, Elena Gutierrez-Casado, Shinichiro Koike, Trina A. Knotts, Denise M. Imai,
Stephen M. Griffey, Kyoungmi Kim, Kevork Hagopian, Fawaz G. Haj,
Keith Baar, Gino A. Cortopassi, Jon J. Ramsey, Jose Alberto Lopez-Dominguez
Calorie restriction, without malnutrition, has been shown to increase lifespan and is associated with a shift away from glycolysis toward beta-oxidation. The objective of this study was to mimic this metabolic shift using low-carbohydrate diets and to determine the influence of these diets on longevity and healthspan in mice. C57BL/6 mice were assigned to a ketogenic, low-carbohydrate, or control diet at 12 months of age and were either allowed to live their natural lifespan or tested for physiological function after 1 or 14 months of dietary intervention. The ketogenic diet (KD) significantly increased median lifespan and survival compared to controls. In aged mice, only those consuming a KD displayed preservation of physiological function. The KD increased protein acetylation levels and regulated mTORC1 signaling in a tissue-dependent manner. This study demonstrates that a KD extends longevity and healthspan in mice.
This paper in the latest edition of Economic Geology by Ágnes Takács, Ferenc Molnár, Judit Turi, Aberra Mogessie, John C. Menzies examines the evolution of the outcropping epithermal mineralisation at Recsk in Hungary. The epithermal deposit sits close to the apex of a large intrusive body which does not outcrop but was defined by systematic diamond drilling to 1,200 metres over a 35km2 area. While the outcropping HS epithermal mineralisation was sporadically mined, the unexposed porphyry and related skarns and replacement bodies was not exploited. The deeper mineralisation has been evaluated with 156,000 metres of drilling from surface and 90,000 metres of diamond drilling from underground development on two levels accessible via two 1200 metre deep, 8 metre internal diameter concrete lined shafts. There is considerable potential for the discovery of both additional mineralised bodies (this paper suggests an as yet undiscovered intrusive to the north of the known body) and extensive skarn mineralisation around the periphery of the intrusion.
Largely uneroded porphyry-skarn-epithermal metallogenic system of Paleogene age in a subduction-related magmatic hydrothermal environment within the Alpine-Carpathian region
Paleogene diorite intrusions and Mesozoic carbonate and silicic shale host rocks contain Cu(-Mo-Au)-porphyry, Cu-Zn(-Fe) skarn, and metasomatic Pb-Zn (carbonate replacement) mineralization from ~400- to at least 1,200-m depth below the surface.
Three stages of ore formation
Stage 1: Ore deposition in the porphyry-epithermal transition zone (pyrite, chalcopyrite, tennantite-tetrahedrite, galena, sphalerite; 260°–230°C; logfs2~–11 to –9; logfTe2~ –19 to –14)
Stage 2: High- and very high sulfidation state mineralization from tellurium-saturated fluids (e.g., enargite, luzonite, pyrite, native gold, calaverite, hessite, aikinite-bismuthinite; 240°–170°C; logfS2~–7 to –11; logfTe2~–14.8 to –10.5)
Stage 3: Late-stage mineralization from tellurium-oversaturated, locally oxidized fluids of an intermediate-sulfidation state (e.g., tennantite-goldfieldite, pyrite, hessite, petzite, native tellurium, kawa-zulite; logfs2~–11 to –15.5; logfTe2 ≥ –10.5)
The Recsk ore complex is an example of a largely uneroded porphyry-skarn-epithermal metallogenic system in a subduction-related magmatic hydrothermal environment within the Alpine-Carpathian region. Paleogene diorite intrusions and Mesozoic carbonate and silicic shale host rocks contain Cu(-Mo-Au)-porphyry, Cu-Zn(-Fe) skarn, and metasomatic Pb-Zn (carbonate replacement) mineralization from ~400- to at least 1,200-m depth below the surface. The Mesozoic sedimentary rocks are unconformably overlain by a stratovolcanic sequence of andesitic to dacitic composition that hosts epithermal Cu-Au-Ag and Au-Ag-Pb-Zn mineralization. This study focuses on the shallow high-sulfidation epithermal Cu-Au-Ag mineralization exposed and exploited on Lahóca Hill. The ore mineralogy combined with the microthermometry of quartz- and enargite-hosted fluid inclusions suggest three stages of the ore formation: (1) early-stage ore deposition in the porphyry-epithermal transition zone (pyrite, chalcopyrite, tennantite-tetrahedrite, galena, sphalerite; 260°–230°C; logfs2~–11 to –9; logfTe2~ –19 to –14); (2) high- and very high sulfidation state mineralization from tellurium-saturated fluids (e.g., enargite, luzonite, pyrite, native gold, calaverite, hessite, aikinite-bismuthinite; 240°–170°C; logfS2~–7 to –11; logfTe2~–14.8 to –10.5); and (3) late-stage mineralization from tellurium-oversaturated, locally oxidized fluids of an intermediate-sulfidation state (e.g., tennantite-goldfieldite, pyrite, hessite, petzite, native tellurium, kawa-zulite; logfs2~–11 to –15.5; logfTe2 ≥ –10.5). The observed differences in ore mineral assemblages and trace element compositions of sulfides reflect the temporal and spatial evolution of the ore-forming hydrothermal system. Results of fluid inclusion microthermometry performed by conventional and infrared-light microscopy and Raman spectroscopic studies support a model with lateral flow of shallow hydrothermal fluids. The spatial distribution of paleotemperature data within the high-sulfidation portion of the ore deposit suggests that the fluid flow system is offset from the closest apex of the related mineralized porphyry stock. This could be due to structural complexity related to syn- to postmineralization tectonism and/or due to the presence of an undiscovered intrusion to the north of the known mineralized stock.
Here is a brief paper, by Ralica Sabeva Vassilka Mladenova and Aberra Mogessie on the gold deposits around the small western Bulgarian town of Breznik. I acquired this project for Euromax Resources Limited back in 2003 and we explored this until my departure in 2010. A rather nice intermediate sulphidation gold deposit which has now had the necessary fluid inclusion and sulphur isotope work conducted by Bulgarian and Austrian researchers.
Our intention while I was CEO was to devleop this deposit using adits and an internal winze. .
Situated in the Late Cretaceous 80-100km wide Apuseni-Banat-Timok-Srednogorie (ABTS) magmatic and metallogenic belt;
The deposit is hosted by altered trachybasalt to andesitic trachybasalt volcanic and volcanoclastic rocks;
2.4 Mt at 5.91 g/t Au and of 26.78 g/t Ag, the probable reserves and resources are 13.1 tonnes of gold and 59.5 tonnes of silver;
Strike of 400-1000 metres and widths of cms up to 15 metres;
Temperature of formation ~238 to 273°C, salinity of 3.7-6.6% and δ34S average of 1.350/00 suggestive of a magmatic sulphur source;
Fluid evolution from a low sulphidation through later intermediate (precious metals) stage.
The Milin Kamak gold-silver deposit is located in Western Srednogorie zone, 50 km west of Sofia, Bulgaria. This zone belongs to the Late Cretaceous Apuseni-Banat-Timok-Srednogorie magmatic and metallogenic belt. The deposit is hosted by altered trachybasalt to andesitic trachybasalt volcanic and volcanoclastic rocks with Upper Cretaceous age, which are considered to be products of the Breznik paleovolcano. Milin Kamak is the first gold-silver intermediate sulfidation type epithermal deposit recognized in Srednogorie zone in Bulgaria. It consists of eight ore zones with lengths ranging from 400 to 1000 m, widths from several cm to 3–4 m, rarely to 10–15 m, an average of 80–90 m depth (a maximum of 200 m) and dip steeply to the south. The average content of gold is 5.04 g/t and silver – 13.01 g/t. The styles of alteration are propylitic, sericite, argillic, and advanced argillic. Ore mineralization consists of three stages. Quartz-pyrite stage I is dominated by quartz, euhedral to subhedral pyrite, trace pyrrhotite and hematite in the upper levels of the deposit. Quartz-polymetallic stage II is represented by major anhedral pyrite, galena, Fe-poor sphalerite; minor chalcopyrite, tennantite, bournonite, tellurides and electrum; and trace pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite, marcasite. Gangue minerals are quartz and carbonates. The carbonate-gold stage III is defined by deposition of carbonate minerals and barite with native gold and stibnite.
Fluid inclusions in quartz are liquid H2O-rich with homogenization temperature (Th) ranging from 238 to 345 °C as the majority of the measurements are in the range 238–273 °C. Ice-melting temperatures (Tm) range from −2.2 to −4.1 °C, salinity – from 3.7 to 6.6 wt.% NaCl equiv. These measurements imply an epithermal environment and low- to moderate salinity of the ore-forming fluids.
δ34S values of pyrite range from −0.49 to +2.44‰. The average calculated δ34S values are 1.35‰. The total range of δ34S values for pyrite are close to zero suggesting a magmatic source for the sulfur.
Breznik a Centre of Local Culture & Spectacular Kukeri Festival
Breznik is a delightful small town in western Bulgaria and well worth a visit.
In the middle of winter across the Balkans, Kukeri festivals allow for mid-winter celebrations.
Kukeri are elaborately costumed Bulgarian men (and some wonen) who perform traditional rituals intended to scare away evil spirits. Closely related traditions are found throughout the Balkans and Greece (including Romania and the Pontus). The costumes cover most of the body and include decorated wooden masks of animals (sometimes double-faced) and large bells attached to the belt. Around New Year and before Lent, the kukeri walk and dance through villages to scare away evil spirits with their costumes and the sound of their bells. They are also believed to provide a good harvest, health, and happiness to the village during the year. The custom is generally thought to be related to the Thracian Dionysos cult in the wider area of Thracia. (after Wikipedia)
Italicized text from: The Australian, August 24, 2017
Australian research suggests climate modellers have underestimated a natural “thermostat” that helps alleviate the rise in temperatures: immense quantities of reflective compounds, emitted by marine microbes, that act like a handbrake on global warming.
The study, published by the American Meteorological Society, suggests an overlooked source of these so-called aerosols — algae living in ice — could jam the handbrake on even harder. Lead author Albert Gabric said with the Arctic expected to see ice-free summers within a decade, far more of the aerosols would be emitted.
We examine the relationship between sea ice dynamics, phytoplankton biomass and emissions of marine biogenic aerosols in both Arctic and Southern Oceans.
Accurate estimation of the climate sensitivity requires a better understanding of the nexus between polar marine ecosystem responses to warming, changes in sea ice extent and emissions of marine biogenic aerosol (MBA). Sea ice brine channels contain very high concentrations of MBA precursors that once ventilated have the potential to alter cloud microphysical properties, such as cloud droplet number, and the regional radiative energy balance. In contrast to temperate latitudes, where the pelagic phytoplankton are major sources of MBAs, the seasonal sea ice dynamic plays a key role in determining MBA concentration in both the Arctic and Antarctic. We review the current knowledge of MBA sources and the link between ice melt and emissions of aerosol precursors in the polar oceans. We illustrate the processes by examining decadal scale time series in various satellite-derived parameters such as aerosol optical depth (AOD), sea ice extent and phytoplankton biomass in the sea ice zones of both hemispheres. The sharpest gradients in aerosol indicators occur during the spring period of ice melt. In sea ice covered waters, the peak in AOD occurs well before the annual maximum in biomass in both hemispheres. The results provide strong evidence that suggests seasonal changes in sea ice and ocean biology are key drivers of the polar aerosol cycle. The positive trend in annual mean Antarctic sea ice extent is now almost one-third of the magnitude of the annual mean decrease in Arctic sea ice, suggesting the potential for different patterns of aerosol emissions in the future.
“Whether that can slow the rate of warming of the Arctic is the trillion-dollar question,” said Dr Gabric, a marine biogeochemist with Griffith University in Brisbane. Climate scientists have long known that aerosols help mitigate global warming by bouncing sunrays back into space, and by altering clouds to make them more reflective. Experts believe half of the potential warming from greenhouse gases may be offset in this way. Much research has focused on aerosols produced artificially, through the burning of fossil fuels and vegetation. Scientists worry that if China switched to renewable sources of energy overnight, it could trigger a massive surge in warming. Aerosols are also produced naturally by volcanoes — such as the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in The Philippines, which is credited with cutting global temperatures by about 0.5C for two years — and by marine ecosystems. Algae known as “phytoplankton” are a major contributor, with increasingly massive blooms of these marine creatures emerging in the warming Arctic waters. The new study analysed terabytes of satellite data to track atmospheric aerosol concentrations. For the first time, it identified sea ice as a “very strong source” of the airborne particles. Dr Gabric said “ice algae” had evolved to tolerate the subzero temperatures of sea ice and the water that formed it. They used a compound called dimethyl sulfide as an “antifreeze” to survive the chill. “When the sea ice melts during spring, these algae don’t need that protection any more. They expel these compounds, which are degassed to the atmosphere and converted into sulfate aerosols very similar to what you get from burning sulphur-containing coal. “This happens every year as the sea ice melts. The difference in recent decades is that the ice is melting a lot earlier. We now think that within 10 years there won’t be any ice in the Arctic during summer.” He said the process had “absolutely not” been factored into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models of global warming. “The whole aerosol question and its relationship to warming is the biggest uncertainty to projecting what’s going to happen this century. “This is a new area of research, primarily because people can’t get up there and measure it very easily. You need an icebreaker and a big gun to shoot any polar bears that might want to eat you,” he said.
Wall Street Journal Full Story
The company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline launched an unusual legal attack Tuesday against Greenpeace International and other environmental groups, alleging that the organizations effectively ran a criminal enterprise through their protests of the project.
The suit by Energy Transfer Partners LP, filed in federal court in North Dakota under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act—a law created to prosecute the mafia—represents an aggressive new front in the continuing battle over the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline. It became operational in June but remains the subject of legal challenges.
The company alleged that Greenpeace ran a “relentless campaign of lies and outright mob thuggery.” Among other things, it alleged Greenpeace and other groups solicited donations under false claims about the pipeline, threatened the company’s investors and lenders, launched cyber attacks against the company, and sought to sabotage the pipeline with serious “terrorist threats.”
The Trump administration gave a green light to the pipeline in February following months of intense opposition from Native American tribes and environmental groups. President Donald Trump made his support of the pipeline and other energy infrastructure projects a prominent part of his campaign. The line can carry as many as 570,000 barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois. Energy Transfer’s lawsuit seeks at least $300 million in damages, which can be tripled under the RICO statute. The company alleged it lost revenue and investors as the project was delayed and incurred unnecessary expenses on construction.
The Details of the Suit
Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. and Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. have filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota against Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Inc., Greenpeace Fund, Inc., BankTrack, Earth First!, and other organizations and individuals. The Complaint, which is Index number 1:17-cv-00173, alleges that this group of co-conspirators (the “Enterprise”) manufactured and disseminated materially false and misleading information about Energy Transfer and the Dakota Access Pipeline (“DAPL”) for the purpose of fraudulently inducing donations, interfering with pipeline construction activities and damaging Energy Transfer’s critical business and financial relationships. The Complaint also alleges that the Enterprise incited, funded, and facilitated crimes and acts of terrorism to further these objectives. It further alleges claims that these actions violated federal and state racketeering statutes, defamation, and constituted defamation and tortious interference under North Dakota law.
The alleged Enterprise is comprised of rogue environmental groups and militant individuals who employ a pattern of criminal activity and a campaign of misinformation for purposes of increasing donations and advancing their political or business agendas. The Complaint describes the Enterprise’s misinformation campaign that aggressively targeted Energy Transfer’s critical business relationships, including the financing sources for DAPL and Energy Transfer’s other infrastructure projects, by publicly demanding these financial institutions sever ties with Energy Transfer or face crippling boycotts and other illegal attacks.
The Complaint asserts that the attacks were calculated and thoroughly irresponsible, causing enormous harm to people and property along the pipeline’s route. Dakota Access was a legally permitted project that underwent nearly three years of rigorous environmental review and for this reason, Energy Transfer believes it has an obligation to its shareholders, partners, stakeholders and all those negatively impacted by the violence and destruction intentionally incited by the defendants to file this lawsuit.
The DAPL misinformation campaign was predicated on a series of false, alarmist, and sensational claims that plaintiffs:
encroached on tribal treaty lands;
desecrated sacred sites of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s (“SRST”) in constructing DAPL;
constructed DAPL without consulting with and over the rights and objections of SRST; and
used excessive and illegal force against peaceful protestors.
The Enterprise also claimed that the pipeline will inevitably result in catastrophic oil spills, poisoned water, and massive climate change, while ironically, members of the Enterprise deliberately and maliciously attempted to cut holes in the pipeline with torches which, if successful, would have resulted in significant environmental damage and possible loss of life.
The Enterprise supported these false claims with manufactured evidence, including phony GPS coordinates purporting to show the existence of cultural and religious artifacts along DAPL’s corridor, and sham affidavits submitted in court.
In addition to its misinformation campaign, the Enterprise directly and indirectly funded eco-terrorists on the ground in North Dakota. These groups formed their own outlaw camp among peaceful protestors gathered near Lake Oahe, and exploited the peaceful activities of these groups to further the Enterprise’s corrupt agenda by inducing and directing violent and destructive attacks against law enforcement as well as Plaintiffs’ property and personnel. The Enterprise then flagrantly manipulated these “made-for-TV” events to raise more funds for the Enterprise. These terrorist groups also funded their activities and the Enterprise by using donations to fund a lucrative drug trafficking scheme inside the camps.
Other illegal activities directed at Energy Transfer and its executives that are alleged in the Complaint include persistent attempted cyber-attacks and telephonic and electronic threats to the physical safety of executives.
The Enterprise has conceded that their campaign has inflicted “hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to the Company,” including increased costs of financing resulting from the Enterprise’s interference with the Company’s financial relationships and mitigation costs in response to the Enterprise’s illegal and malicious campaign. These damages, as well as the harm to the Company’s reputation, resulting from the Enterprise’s misinformation campaign, continue to this day. Energy Transfer is seeking compensatory damages in an amount to be proven at trial as well as treble and punitive damages.
Greenpeace USA General Counsel Tom Wetterer said in a statement that the suit was “not designed to seek justice, but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation. This has now become a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies.”
As we suggested earlier the oil markets are moving in an interesting direction. It seems we are about to see the crude oil market move into backwardation for the first time since 2014. This will be a very important move for traders as during contango traders are forced to sell low and buy high to cover their positions.
Since 2014 future delivered oil sold for more than the spot price. This is a reflection of the supply-demand, there being abundant supply for the spot market. This simply encourages traders to place oil in storage. However commercial crude oil in storage in the USA has been dropping according to the EIA. This has likely been driven by the closing gap between one-year futures pricing and spot and the impact of OPEC supply restriction. Storing oil after transport and storage costs is no-longer profitable.
The cap on a move into backwardation is the new dynamic of US tight oil which has become very sensitive to any price increase. Expect to move into backwardation in the coming 6 months if commercial storage volumes continue to fall and OPEC maintains its production resolve.
Backwardation: Near-term prices above longer term prices Contango: Near-term prices are below longer-term prices
Ivanhoe Mines has released its much anticipated DFS on its US$1.544 billion Platreef 4 Elements (4E-platinum, palladium gold and rhodium) project in South Africa (DFS yet to be released on Sedar).
Key features of the Platreef DFS include:
Indicated Mineral Resources at a 2 g/t 4E COG are 346 million tonnes at 1.7 g/t Pt, 1.7 g/t Pd, 0.1 g/t Rh and 0.3 g/t Au for 42 million ounces of Pt, Pd, Rh and Au with an additional 53 million ounces in Inferred Resources;
Mineral Reserve containing 17.6 million ounces of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold;
Development of a large, mechanized, underground mine with an initial 4 Mtpa concentrator and associated infrastructure with plans to increase production incrementally to 12 MTPA;
Planned initial average annual production rate of 476,000 ounces of Pt, Pd, Rhand Au(3PE+Au), plus 9,500 tonnes of nickel and 5,900 tonnes of copper in concentrates;
174 kt of concentrate will be produced at 38 g/t Pt, 39.1 g/t Pd, 2.4 g/t Rh, 5.3 g/t Au, 3.35 Ni and 5.5% Ni;
Estimated pre-production capital requirement of approximately US$1.544 billion, at a ZAR:USD exchange rate of 13 to 1.
After-tax Net Present Value (NPV) of US$916 million, at an 8% discount rate.
After-tax Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 14.2%.
The 14% IRR is less than appealing and they only got there by using some snappy metal prices: US$1,250 per ounce (current price $945) for Pt, $815/Oz ($835) for Pd, $1,300/ozs ($1,270) for Au and $1,000/oz ($900-990) for Rh.
So how to finance this project. Ivanhoe owns 64%, their Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) partner 26% and a Japanese consortium 10%. New legislation would see the BEE percentage increase to 30% and that has to be financed. Given the evolving political uncertainty in SA there might be some investor hesitation for a project in that country and which has a 14% IRR. We will watch with the usual interest.
The state of the US and indeed western nuclear industries is exemplified by the decision on Monday to abandon the 35% completed Summer Nuclear Power Station project in south Carolina. These were the only nuclear plants being constructed in the United States and upon completion would have been the first new plants since the 1980s.
South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G), principal subsidiary of SCANA Corporation (SCANA) (NYSE:SCG), announced it plans to cease construction of the two new nuclear units at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville in the USA.
The decision was reached due to the revised anticipated costs of construction being more than US$25 billion up from US$11 billion, uncertainty regards production tax credits (the plants would need to be in production by 2021 which seems most unlikely to qualify) and the realistic level of payments from Toshiba. In addition the co-owner of the project, the South Carolina Public Service Authority elected to suspend construction as they had determined that it would not be in the best interest of its customers and other stakeholders to continue construction of the project.
Based on an independent evaluation the parties concluded that completion of both Units would be prohibitively expensive.
SCE&G also considered the feasibility of completing the construction of Unit 2 and abandoning Unit 3 under the existing ownership structure and using natural gas generation to fulfill any remaining generation needs. This option provided a potentially achievable path forward that may have delivered SCE&G a similar megawatt capacity as its 55% interest in the two Units and provided a long-term hedge against carbon legislation/regulation and against gas price volatility. SCE&G had not reached a final decision regarding this alternative when Santee Cooper determined that it would be unwilling to proceed with continued construction of two Units or one Unit. Consequently, SCE&G determined that it is not in the best interest of customers and other stakeholders for it to continue construction of one Unit.
Based on this evaluation and analysis, and Santee Cooper’s decision, SCE&G has concluded that the only remaining prudent course of action will be to abandon the construction of both Unit 2 and Unit 3 under the terms of the Base Load Review Act.
The cost blowout was due to the construction of a first-of-kind AP1000 reactor. The AP1000 is Westinghouse’s new generation reactor designed for lower cost of construction and higher safety.
The AP1000 plant was completely resigned from earlier generation plants with:
Fewer safety-related valves
Less safety-related piping
Less control cable
Less seismic building volume
Nevertheless, in the USA it seems that nuclear plants are unlikely to be economic now or in the immediate future.
US oil prices (WTI) settled above US$50 per barrel on Monday, the first time for several months. WTI futures rose 95% with many technical indicators showing a strong buy. Likely automated trading followed the momentum. Brent rose to US$50.20 a barrel in the ICE.
What drove this? Likely a combination of rapidly declining US storage and the Saudi announcement that it will limit exports. The other drivers in the markets which is likely to limit the upside is US fracking which becomes increasingly profitable at these prices and recovery from the supply glut and the lack of OPEC restraint of the last few years.
We now have the perfect storm for speculative price moves, with declining inventories and a commitment to supply restriction plus continuing growth in demand. While increasing US supply on any price uptick will see a cap on prices, the EIA announced that production in May was less than previously anticipated.
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