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Proactive weekly mining highlights: Sirius Minerals, Greatland Gold, Gem Diamonds…

Big financing news from Sirius Minerals and a US$65mln investment from Australian giant Newcrest into Greatland Gold’s Havieron project have dominated the news this week

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Sirius Minerals is a favourite of retail investors

Sirius Minerals PLC (LON:SXX) has put its long-running debt financing talks on hold after receiving a new alternative funding proposal.

In a statement, the UK mine developer said the new proposal contains an alternative senior debt structure which would replace the structure envisaged in the prior negotiations, that began back in 2016.

“The company believes that the alternative proposal potentially offers a more flexible and attractive solution to its stage 2 financing requirements and therefore it is pausing discussions with its existing prospective lenders to pursue the alternative proposal,” Sirius said in a statement.

“A number of options for the additional non-senior debt financing requirement, as previously outlined in the company's announcement of 6 September 2018, continue to be progressed.”

A day after those plans were announced, City broker Shore Capital said the “crucial juncture is nigh” as it tipped shares to more than double.

In the other big news of the week, Greatland Gold PLC (LON:GGP) signed a farm-in agreement with Newcrest Mining LTD (ASX:NCM) for the further advancement of the Havieron project in the Paterson region of Western Australia.

Newcrest has the right to acquire up to a 70% interest in Havieron by spending up to US$65mln and completing a series of exploration and development milestones in a four-stage farm-in over six years.

Gem Diamonds Limited (LON:GEMD) sold a pink diamond from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho for US$8.75mln.

The per carat price of US$657,000 is a record for a Letšeng diamond.

The pink diamond was found last month and was sold in Antwerp, Belgium – the world’s largest diamond district.

Anglo Asian Mining PLC (LON:AAZ) confirmed its underground gold mine at Gadir in Azerbaijan has sufficient material for at least five years of production.

A JORC-compliant estimate put gold reserves at 70,000 ounces with 300,000 oz of silver and 1,400 tonnes of copper.

Measured and indicated resources, which are not part of the mine life estimate, are an additional 145,000 oz gold and 736,000oz silver, while there were 27,000oz of gold and 104,000oz of silver in the inferred category.

In its half-year results, Salt Lake Potash Ltd (LON:SO4) (ASX:SO4) confirmed that progress is continuing apace at the Lake Way brine sulphate of potash project in Australia.

Construction of the initial ponds and the dewatering of the Williamson pit are likely to be completed by the end of the current quarter.

In addition, discussions are on-going with several offtake partners, who will no doubt be interested in the results of the ongoing pilot plant process testwork, which is expected to produce high-grade SOP.

Metal Tiger PLC (LON:MTR) hailed “significant” drilling results from a programme carried out at the T3 copper project in Botswana by investee company MOD Resources, in which it holds a 10.48% stake.

Michael McNeilly, MTR’s chief executive, said the drilling had allowed a “significant portion” of the project’s mineral resource to be categorised as measured, increasing confidence in the project.

He added that the results of the programme had the prospect of increasing the current open pit resource at the site.

Regency Mines PLC (LON:RGM) warned it might have to cede ownership of its coal assets in Pennsylvania, having fallen behind on its obligations.

Regency owns 47% of MET, the joint venture running the coal operation, and now needs to make a US$565,000 payment to its partner.

Production at the Omega operation has been running below expectations due in part of lack of funds, which has meant one of the two high wall excavators being idled.

ECR Minerals PLC (LON:ECR) reported significant high-grade gold assays from the reverse circulation (RC) drilling programme recently completed at the Blue Moon prospect in Australia.

The AIM-listed precious metals exploration and development company said assay results received for holes BBM007, BBM006 and BBM004 have shown both high-grade intervals and significant widths of anomalous gold grades.

Among that significant intersections included 2 metres at 17.87 grams per tonne (g/t) of gold from 57 metres down hole BBM007 within a zone of 15 metres at 3.81 g/t gold from 51 metres.

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