In recent years the uptick in the price of precious metals, particularly gold, has reinforced their reputation as a store of value and leading drivers of mining activity around the world. Here are eight companies exploring and developing precious metal projects.
Canadian explorer Clean Air Metals (TSXV: AIR; US-OTC; CLRMF) is looking for platinum and palladium.
The Toronto-headquartered junior is focused on advancing its flagship Thunder Bay North project in Ontario, approximately 50 km northeast of city of Thunder Bay and 60 km southeast of the Lac des Iles mine, owned by Impala Canada Ltd. (part of the Implats Group).
In April, Clean Air Metals reported the latest assay results from its 2022 drilling campaign on the Escape platinum group elements-copper-nickel deposit on Thunder Bay North.
Highlights from the drilling included drillhole ELR22-129, which intersected 90 metres grading 1.04 grams platinum per tonne, 1.33 grams palladium per tonne, 0.49% copper, and 0.28% nickel starting from 308 metres downhole, including 5 metres grading 2.38 grams platinum, 2.99 grams palladium, 1.12% copper, and 0.62% nickel.
That hole, the company said, intercepted a structural corridor called the Sail zone, which transects the eastern edge of the Escape South High Grade zone and trends in a northwest orientation along the mineralized Escape deposit trend.
A preliminary economic assessment for the project in December envisaged an underground mine with a mine life of 10 years producing 629,000 oz. platinum, 618,000 oz. palladium, 111 million lb. copper, 57 million lb. nickel, 38,000 oz. gold, and 850,000 oz. silver (2.9 million oz. platinum-equivalent) from the Escape and Current deposits. About 65.2% of total production would occur in the first five years.
The production figures were based on an average rate of 4,450 tonnes per day (3,600 tonnes per day ore and 850 tonnes per day waste). It also includes a new stand-alone milling complex and tailings management facility. The mill would be fed from both Current and Escape.
The early-stage study estimated an after-tax net present value of $378.4 million, using a 5% discount rate and metal prices of $969 per oz. platinum, $2,214 per oz. palladium, $1,723 per oz. gold, $22 per oz. silver, $3.09 per lb. copper, and $6.86 per lb. nickel, and an after-tax internal rate of return of 29.8%.
Payback from the start of commercial operation would take 2.4 years with the initial capital expenditure estimated at $287.4 million, including $47.1 million in contingency.