Eurasia Mining shares are up 10% this morning on the back of their report on the NKT mine on the Kola Peninsula. As we discussed it’s reasonable to expect Eurasia shares to be volatile at present. This announcement is another leaf from that book.
The basic problem that every mining company faces is that it’s necessary to show that there’s something worth mining where the company has mining claims and rights. This then goes in stages, drilling programmes of varying levels of detail will show resources – what might be extracted – and reserves – what has been proven can be extracted and a profit made from doing so. Within reserves and resources, there are also varying levels of proof – indicated, inferred and so on. Tier-1 is resources that are agreed to be there with a high level of confidence.
Another quirk of the mining business is that old mines might be worked out and they might not be. More accurately, it might not have been worth mining in the old days but it is today. Possibly the prices of the target minerals or metals have changed. Or, also possibly, extraction or refining techniques have advanced so that old mines that weren’t worth it now are. Going out and checking old mines is therefore a usual and often profitable path. This is exactly what Eurasia Mining is doing here.
The specific mine being discussed is the old NKT one on Kola. This used to be mined by Norilsk Nickel. It’s known to be a nickel copper and PGM (with some gold) prospect for that’s hat used to be produced there. Ah, but is it worth doing now? Which is exactly what the current programme is all about proving. To this first stage of proof the answer is yes. Eurasia is reporting those Tier-1 resources which is that necessary stage in showing reserves and this proper economic viability.
Do note this is not proof that production will take place, nor that this mine will be profitable. But it is that necessary stage in getting to being able to show that.
It’s also necessary for any miner to be able to show that it really does have the right to exploit – if there’s interesting mineralisation there – the prospects that contain those reserves and or resources. To be mild about it, such mining rights have not always been wholly and 100% secure in Russia in recent decades. True, the uncertainty has often been more about oil and gas than metals but still.
Eurasia just announced, as we pointed out, an agreement with ERDC, the Russian state body tasked with development in the Arctic – which is where Kola is. This adds to the certainty that Eurasia really will be able to exploit what is found.
We should probably expect continued volatility in Eurasia shares as more information is released and uncertainty decreases.
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Tim Worstall is a freelance writer specialising in economics and the financial markets.