Argex Mining Inc.: The Next Teck-Cominco
Mark Weaver works in partnership with Jay Taylor of Taylor Hard money Advisors coordinating JaysWatchlist.com
Starting with a historic high grade titanium resource near the town of Baie-Comeau, Quebec, junior explorer Argex Mining is advancing the historic high grade titanium resource at its 100% owned La Blache Project near Baie-Comeau, Quebec at an aggressive pace, considering it was a Capital Pool Company without a property of merit less than 12 months ago. Since closing its Qualifying Transaction at the end of October 2009, Argex has already completed in excess of 16,000 metres of core drilling as of the end of June 2010 under the supervision of Consul -Teck mineral exploration consultants of Val-d'Or, Quebec.
Argex is working with Process Research Ortech Inc. (PRO), a leader in incubation and commercialization of innovative technologies for the process industries. PRO represents an 80-year old tradition of innovation and technology development. PRO was incorporated in January 1999 to take over the Process Technologies activities of ORTECH Corporation (Formerly Ontario Research Foundation, originally established in 1928). PRO's engagement with Argex is to develop an effective and economically viable process for the recovery of titanium dioxide from Argex's La Blache Project. The process developed by PRO has been previously demonstrated for other titanium containing ores from Canada and overseas with an extraction efficiency in excess of 90% for both titanium and iron as well as production of over 99.8% pure titanium dioxide. It was stated by a senior mining engineering consultant that this process may be to titanium what heap leach has been to gold.
But the aggressive pace of Argex's work does not stop here. Argex has taken a proactive approach in signing a mining exploration agreement with the Innus of the Pessamit. Included under the terms of this agreement, the Innus extend to Argex an exclusive right to mining exploration and development on the territory within a 100 kilometer radius of any Argex claims. Chief Raphaël Picard of the Innus of Pessamit stated, "This agreement will allow the Innus of Pessamit to participate in the economic benefits of Argex's projects, to participate directly in the investment opportunity and to offer Argex the possibility of constructing production infrastructure on our territory." The Pessamit territory, which is near Argex's La Blache Project and Lac Brule property, covers an area of 135,000 square kilometres and includes 4,000 members of the Innu Nation.
Met-Chem Canada Inc. of Montreal, Quebec has been contracted to complete a National Instrument 43-101 compliant technical report on the mineral resource estimate for the La Blache Project for Argex. Met-Chem was established in 1969 as a consulting engineering company with its headquarters in Montreal, Quebec. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of UEC Technologies LLC which is part of United States Steel Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Results of the recent drilling Argex has completed at La Blache will be included in the mineral resource estimate.
In another proactive move, Argex is not waiting for the final flow chart for processing to be complete, or for a completed NI 43-101 compliant technical report on the mineral resource estimate for the La Blache Project – the Company has already hired Groupe BBA Inc. (one of Canada's leading firms of independent engineering professionals in the mining and metals sector) to help the Company in its preparations for the scoping study on the La Blache Project (scheduled for year-end 2010). This scoping study should include an economic analysis of the potential viability of the mineral resources, which may include forecasted mine production rates, capital costs to develop and sustain the mining operation, operating costs, and projected cash flows prior to the completion of a preliminary feasibility study.
On the ground drilling continues as Argex nears completion of the 2nd phase drill program for 2010 in preparation for the 43-101 compliant technical report on the mineral resource estimate. As of June 21 the company had completed 116 drill holes for more than 16,000 metres of drilling on the La Blache Project. The relatively tight drill spacing completed by Argex should aid in the confidence in the geometry, average grade and tonnage of the targets.
Argex is looking to break into the titanium mining business is North America – an area that has been dominated by Rio Tinto's wholly owned subsidiary QIT – Fer et Titane (QIT). QIT exploits an ilmenite deposit at Lac Tio, near Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec, and operates a metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, where high-quality titanium dioxide, pig iron and steel are extracted from this ore. Argex has a goal of producing even a higher-quality titanium dioxide product than QIT as well as very pure iron and vanadium oxides. In the global market where approximately 5,500,000 tonnes of titanium dioxide is produced annually for the pigment industry, and annual growth rates of nearly 4% are forecast through to 2020, Argex may have some extra luck with timing on their side. If Argex goes ahead with a proposed 3 million tonne per year mining scenario, it could well be 10% of the global titanium dioxide market.
There are other juniors working on similar deposits – Apella Resources with their Lac Dore and Iron-T Vanadium projects, and Largo Resources with its high grade Maracas vanadium project. But both of these juniors are focusing on unlocking the value of the vanadium in the ground. Argex plans to tackle the titanium, and in so doing, should unlock the value of the iron and vanadium as additional recoveries from the titanium processing.
Although it has only owned and operated the La Blache Project for less than 9 months, Argex is demonstrating that time frames can be compressed in the exploration cycle of mine development. A team of entrepreneurial professionals at Argex including mining executives with more than 150 years of cumulative experience led by a President and CEO who affectionately states that he went to the Rob McEwen school of marketing from his years working at Goldcorp, Argex is the new up and comer who may become Canada's next Teck-Cominco.
Figure 1 Met-Chem Due Diligence Trip
Figure 2 High Grade Massive Titaniferous in drill core
Figure 4 Just some of the 2010 drill core, stored on site
Figure 5 The Drill where slide 3 was taken not more then 2 hours earlier