News Article | February 22, 2017
A group of New South Wales farmers fear that the federal and state governments are using the South Australian blackouts to push through a controversial 850-well coal seam gas project in the north-west of the state. The NSW government released the environmental impact statement (EIS) on Tuesday for the Narrabri coal seam gas project, weeks after Malcolm Turnbull raised the possibility of a domestic gas reserve where an exploration area could be set aside exclusively for domestic consumption. On the same day as Santos submitted a state significant development application and environmental impact statement to the NSW planning authority, the prime minister declared he would consider working with the states to determine the “right incentives” to enable more gas development. The federal industry minister, Arthur Sinodinos, has said one option might be providing funding for the states that could be used to pay farmers compensation for CSG extraction and other mining. The deputy prime minister and agriculture minister, Barnaby Joyce, has also raised this option. Santos says the proposed Narrabri gas project could supply up to 50% of NSW gas needs and provide significant benefits to the region and the state more broadly. The company committed to make the gas available to NSW and the east coast domestic market via a pipeline linking into the existing Moomba to Sydney pipeline. While the NSW government has the planning approval right over the mining application, the federal government needs to give approval in regards to threatened species and the so-called water trigger, established by Tony Windsor with the minority Gillard government. The water trigger or Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) allows an independent expert scientific committee (IESC) to assess the impacts of proposed coal seam gas and large coalmining developments on water resources. Anne Kennedy, a Coonamble farmer who has been fighting the Pilliga gas project for nine years, said she feared that the federal government would use the South Australian blackouts to justify approval for the Santos CSG project. “The South Australian blackout was nothing to do with renewables,” she said. “It was a storm which caused the cheap Chinese steel poles to blow over. It is as ridiculous to me as saying we are running out of gas. We are not running out of gas, it is all being exported.” Kennedy is also the president of the Artesian Bore Water Users Association and one of a group of farmers in the North West Alliance group that opposes the project. She said if the water in the Great Artesian Basin was ruined by coal seam gas drilling, farmers would be out of business and towns would disappear as well. “How are my grandchildren are going to live here with without water?” she said. “This is good country, we have black soil plains. We don’t irrigate but we would not be here without ground water. “The government is quite happy to go along with this because they have been bought and paid for and we stupid trusting people, we farmers, say ‘the good old country party, they will look after us’. Well they haven’t.” But Max Davis is a farmer outside of Narrabri who supports the Pilliga gas project because it will create jobs in the community. “It will ensure these towns some growth and will attract facilities, including medical facilities,” he said. “If you look at towns further west like Walgett and Bourke, they are going backwards. They rapidly are losing services. “I would like to see some decentralisation to get industries out here so our local towns are more diversified. It’s no good having everyone governed and fed under one roof on the east coast.” Davis says he personally knows 12 or so farmers who support the project, though many are sitting on fence. And he disputes any threat to the Great Artesian Basin and suggests the underground coalmines may be a greater threat to the water supply. State National MP Kevin Humphries said the project was the most reviewed “on record” and regulations had been tightened through the NSW Gas Plan. “At a time when rural communities need to diversify their economy, this is an outstanding project that I fully support, and our community assessment is that the vast majority of people want this project to proceed,” Humphries said. “Many of the knockers are not from our area, are poorly informed and are scaremongering.” The NSW Labor Opposition went to the last election pledging to ban coal seam gas in the Pilliga. The environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, said the NSW government was taking the right approach in assessing gas extraction on case-by-case basis “allowing for important environmental and economic factors to be considered as appropriate”. “As with all projects the Narrabri Gas project will be subject to the usual environmental assessment and approval processes,” he said. Malcolm Roberts, the chief executive of Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, said NSW currently has to import 95% of its gas supply, which has an effect on cost. Asked whether it would be at the cost to the environment, Roberts said “not at all”. “Obviously there are people opposed to the gas industry and seek to create alarm and concern in local communities but we do also have a very rigorous regulatory process to assess environmental risk,” Roberts told the ABC. “And if we look at Santos’ Narrabri project, for example, their environmental impact statement has over 7500 pages of data and analysis representing years of on the ground research and analysis.” Roberts said the Australian east coast faces a supply shortfall as early as 2019. “Unless new projects are developed quickly, customers will face higher prices and tighter supply,” he said. “This will not only mean higher energy bills for families but also more pressure on manufacturers using gas to make products such as fertilisers, glass and plastics.” The NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said the Narrabri project would see 115 tonnes of salt per day or 42,000 tonnes per year generated in the initial stages of production and dumped at an undisclosed land fill. He said another 1,000 tonnes per year would be irrigated onto fields or put into local waterways. “The industry always promised to have a plan for their toxic waste but it is clear they are just going to use the environment as a dump,” he said. “We have got prime minister Turnbull rabidly backing coal seam gas now. It’s a big test for the National party. Will they join with the Greens and farmers in opposing this toxic and dangerous industry that one that risks the very future of our food bowl in NSW?”
News Article | February 23, 2017
EDMONTON (Under embargo until Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 10 a.m. MST)--In the middle of Alberta's boreal forest, a bird eats a wild chokecherry. During his scavenging, the bird is caught and eaten by a fox. The cherry seed, now inside the belly of the bird within the belly of fox, is transported far away from the tree it came from. Eventually, the seed is deposited on the ground. After being broken down in the belly of not one but two animals, the seed is ready to germinate and become a cherry tree itself. The circle of life at work. Diploendozoochory, or the process of a seed being transported in the gut of multiple animals, occurs with many species of plants in habitats around the world. First described by Charles Darwin in 1859, this type of seed dispersal has only been studied a handful of times. And in a world affected by climate change and increasing rates of human development, understanding this process is becoming increasingly important. A new study by researchers at the University of Alberta's Department of Biological Sciences is the first to comprehensively examine existing literature to identify broader patterns and suggest ways in which the phenomenon is important for plant populations and seed evolution. Anni Hämäläinen, lead investigator and postdoctoral fellow, explains that predator-assisted seed dispersal is important to colonize and recolonize plant life in the wild. "Thick-shelled seeds may benefit from the wear and tear of passing through the guts of two animals, making them better able to germinate than if they had passed through the gut of the prey alone," explains Hämäläinen. "It's even possible that some plants have evolved specifically to take advantage of these predator-specific behaviours." Often larger than prey animals, predators cover larger distances with ease. As humans continue to develop and alter wilderness, such as by cutting down forests or building roads, predators may be the only animals large enough to navigate across these areas and enable plants to recolonize them. "Climate change will alter where some plants can find suitable places to grow," explains Hämäläinen. "Seed-carrying predators may have a role in helping plants cover a larger area and hence move with the changing climate." These different factors are like pieces in a puzzle, explains Hämäläinen: to fully understand the big picture of how they affect plant populations, scientists need to know how all of the pieces fit together. "Our work has highlighted how interesting and important diploendozoochory is, and we hope that it will help and encourage others to fill some of these gaps in our understanding," says Hämäläinen. The paper "The ecological significance of secondary seed dispersal by carnivores" is published in Ecosphere. This research was conducted by Anni Hämäläinen, Kate Broadley, Amanda Droghini, Jessica Haines, Clayton Lamb, and Sophie Gilbert, under the supervision of Stan Boutin, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Alberta Biodiversity Conservation Chair.
News Article | December 21, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Most salamanders are homebodies when it comes to mating. But some of the beasts hit the road, traversing miles of rugged terrain unfit for an amphibian in pursuit of a partner from a far-away wetland. And when those adventurers leave home, they travel an average of six miles - and as far as almost nine miles - to new breeding sites, a new study has found. That's a long haul on four squatty legs. The scientists who unlocked this evolutionarily important information got there by cross-referencing genetic details from salamanders in various Ohio wetlands with the distance the animals would walk on a treadmill before tiring out. The research, published online this month in the journal Functional Ecology, is the work of scientists at The Ohio State University who want to better understand how and where salamanders procreate and how that fits into work to preserve the animals, including land conservation efforts. It is a mystery what prompts a salamander to cross rocks, fields, streams and roads to mate and, in the process, mix up the genetics of another salamander outpost far from home, said lead author Robert Denton. "It has to be incredibly intimidating for these tiny salamanders. They could get eaten by a crow or a raccoon. They could dry out," said Denton, a presidential research fellow in Ohio State's Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology. "This is the first study to connect physiological factors - particularly how fast they get tired of walking - with genetics showing animal movement in the field." Understanding these connections is critical to predicting how environmental and other changes can harm species, Denton said. Dispersal - leaving the birthplace for a new habitat - is a key element of keeping a species genetically healthy, he said. Animal travel for breeding is a complex area of research, he said. There are a lot of factors to consider, including how they decide to move, why only certain animals hit the road and how they actually complete the journey - in a series of shorter trips or all at once, for instance. And when it comes to salamanders, things get particularly tricky. "They live these really mysterious lives - we only see them out for a couple days in the spring. They spend most of their time just hiding," Denton said. Furthermore, they have fragile skin that prevents insertion of any kind of tracking device. To shed light on the mystery, the researchers looked at genetic diversity and endurance in two types of mole salamanders (part of the Ambystoma genus.) One type is all-female and reproduces by cloning and sometimes borrowing sperm that males leave behind on twigs and leaves. The other type mates in a more traditional manner. The "sexual" salamanders walked on the treadmill an average of four times longer before reaching fatigue than their all-female counterparts. Denton and his colleagues measured fatigue as the point where the salamander didn't "right" itself within a few seconds when removed from the treadmill and placed on its back. Prompting a salamander to walk on a miniature treadmill isn't much of a challenge, Denton said. A small pinch of the tail or poke in the behind, and they're off at a slow, steady pace. The treadmill - borrowed from another research team - is outfitted with plastic walls that ensure the animals don't take a spill off the side, as they tend to not walk a straight line. "They're like endurance athletes. Some of them could walk for two-plus hours straight without tiring themselves," Denton said. "That's like a person lightly jogging for 75 miles before wearing out." Genetic information collected in the wetlands lined up with the treadmill tests. Sexual salamanders were found approximately twice as far from their birthplace as the all-female cloning animals. The DNA analysis included testing of tissue samples from all known breeding wetlands in a salamander-rich area of rural Ohio. The researchers collected samples from the tail tips of 445 salamanders. Differences between the all-female and sexual salamanders could have multiple explanations, Denton said. "Maybe the best explanation for why sexual salamanders travel so far is because they have to: On a large landscape with few places to breed, the animals that can cross that distance are the ones that survive and reproduce," he said. "Perhaps the more interesting question is why the all-female salamanders don't go very far, and we think that has to do with the physiological costs of not having sex. Essentially, not mixing up your genomic material often enough likely causes some problems for genes that you need to make energy." In a given wetland mating area, most of the DNA samples looked alike. But there were outliers. "We looked for the ones that stood out like sore thumbs," Denton said. About 4 percent of salamanders were out of sync genetically, and could be linked to other wetlands where they were born, Denton said. That information allowed him and his colleagues to map the distances some of the animals traveled to mate. "It was surprising to us that they go really long distances - four, five, six miles - from home," Denton said. The study was supported by the Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership, the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists and a SciFund crowdfunding effort by Denton. Other researchers who worked on the study were Ohio State's H. Lisle Gibbs and Katherine Greenwald of Eastern Michigan University.
News Article | February 15, 2017
THIS NEWS RELEASE IS NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO UNITED STATES SERVICES OR FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES Macarthur Minerals Limited (TSX VENTURE: MMS) (the "Company" or "Macarthur Minerals") is pleased to announce that it has entered into a non exclusive mandate with the Tulshyan Group to raise up to A$200 million with an initial tranche of A$50 million to develop the Company's Ularring hematite iron ore project located in Western Australia. The Tulshyan Group made a strategic investment in the Company in January this year. The Tulshyan Group, based in Singapore, is one of the largest recyclers of scrap steel in the world, has a significant shipping business with a fleet of over 30 ships and is expanding its commercial aircraft leasing business. The Tulshyan Group has significant experience in sales, marketing of steel and iron ore and access to capital for potential development of the Company's Western Australian iron ore projects. "Macarthur Minerals is pleased to be working with Tulshyan Group to raise funds to develop the Company's Ularring hematite project. Tulshyan brings to Macarthur significant experience in shipping, sales, marketing of steel and iron ore and has access to capital to assist in potential development of the Company's Western Australian iron ore projects. We are now observing good indications that the price of iron ore has recovered from its 2015 low of US$38.301 per tonne to a spot price today of US$92.232 per tonne with the advantage of a favourable exchange rate due to deprecation of the Australian dollar against US dollar." Macarthur Minerals' iron ore projects are located on mining tenements covering approximately 62km2 located 175 km northwest of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia (Figure 1 and Figure 2). Within the tenements, at least 35 km strike extent of outcropping banded iron formation ("BIF") occurs as low ridges, surrounded by intensely weathered and mostly unexposed granites, basalts and ultramafic rocks. The Iron Ore Projects consist of two distinct mineral projects: The Company has been maintaining the core iron ore projects' assets and they remain valuable assets having previously spent over $60 million to develop them. There is real potential for the iron ore projects to add significant value with the recovery of global iron ore markets. Since July 2006 Macarthur Minerals has drilled 1,841 reverse circulation percussion drill holes (142,443 metres) and 49 diamond holes (4,170 metres) targeting iron mineralisation associated with BIF units. Exploration at both Ularring hematite and Moonshine magnetite projects has been sufficient to allow the estimation of Mineral Resources for both projects. The Ularring hematite project's Mineral Resource consists of Indicated 54.46 Mt @ 47.2% Fe and Inferred 25.99Mt @ 45.4% Fe3. Macarthur Minerals published a Pre-Feasibility Study in 2012, reporting Mineral Reserves4. The Company has received approval to develop an iron ore mine for the Ularring hematite project and associated infrastructure at the project location under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and the Environmental and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Inferred Mineral Resource estimate for the Moonshine Magnetite Project was initially prepared by CSA Global Pty Ltd5 and was updated by Snowden Mining Industry Consultants, with an Inferred Mineral Resource consisting of 1,316 Mt @ 30.1% Fe6. A Preliminary Assessment Report was prepared on the Moonshine magnetite project by Snowden Mining Industry Consultants in 20117. The Company, through its 100% owned subsidiary, Macarthur Australia Limited (MAL), has entered into a mandate with Jewel Bright Limited, part of the Tulshyan Group. Jewel Bright Limited will raise up to A$200 million via various tranches to fund the Ularring hematite project, for a 10% fee on monies raised, a specified amount of options in MAL and other conditions. Mr David Williams, a member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists, is a part-time employee of CSA Global Pty Ltd and is a Qualified Person as defined in National Instrument 43-101. Mr Williams has reviewed and approved the technical information in relation to the Iron Ore Projects contained in this news release. The Tulshyan Group (Singapore), which has been in business for 33 years, is established in four main businesses; ship owning, ship recycling, aircraft leasing and diversified real estate. The Tulshyan Group operates a fleet of over 30 ships, which consists of tankers and specialised vessels. Tulshyan is one of the largest recyclers of ships in the world. The Tulshyan Group has expanded to commercial aircraft leasing, recently having purchased a new A320-200 and a new Boeing 737-800. The aircraft are leased on long term leases to first class airlines. Tulshyan is also in the process of negotiating the purchase of another 5 young aircrafts. Macarthur Minerals Limited is an exploration and development company that is focused on identifying and developing high grade lithium and counter cyclical investments, with significant lithium exploration interest in Australia and Nevada. In addition, Macarthur has two iron ore projects in Western Australia; the Ularring hematite project and the Moonshine magnetite project. MACARTHUR will be attending the 2017 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) International Convention and Investors Exchange in Toronto, March 5-8 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. We invite you to meet the Macarthur team at Booth #2344. The conference will provide current and prospective shareholders an opportunity to speak with management about the Company's recent developments. On behalf of the Board of Directors, NEITHER TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATION SERVICES PROVIDER (AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN THE POLICIES OF THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE) ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE. Certain of the statements made and information contained in this press release may constitute forward-looking information and forward-looking statements (collectively, "forward-looking statements") within the meaning of applicable securities laws. The forward-looking statements in this press release reflect the current expectations, assumptions or beliefs of the Company based upon information currently available to the Company. With respect to forward-looking statements contained in this press release, assumptions have been made regarding, among other things, the timely receipt of required approvals, the reliability of information, including historical mineral resource or mineral reserve estimates, prepared and/or published by third parties that are referenced in this press release or was otherwise relied upon by the Company in preparing this press release. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct as actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include fluctuations in exchange rates and certain commodity prices, uncertainties related to mineral title in the project, unforeseen technology changes that results in a reduction in iron ore demand or substitution by other metals or materials, the discovery of new large low cost deposits of iron ore, uncertainty in successfully returning the project into full operation, and the general level of global economic activity. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements due to the inherent uncertainty thereof. Such statements relate to future events and expectations and, as such, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date of this press release and except as may otherwise be required pursuant to applicable laws, the Company does not assume any obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. 1 Jasmine Ng, 'Iron ore sheds 4.3pc on week, ending at record low', Australian Financial Review, Dec 12, 2015.
News Article | December 16, 2016
THIS NEWS RELEASE IS NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO UNITED STATES SERVICES OR FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES Macarthur Minerals Limited (TSX VENTURE: MMS) (the "Company" or "Macarthur Minerals") is pleased to announce that the Company is receiving renewed corporate interest in its two iron ore projects in Western Australia with recovery of the iron ore price from its historic lows of US$38.30(1) (approximately A$53) a tonne in December 2015 to a spot price today to US$82 (A$111) a tonne(2). The Ularring Hematite Project is a "shovel ready" project as it has full State and Australian Government environmental approvals to develop an iron ore mine and associated infrastructure. "There is real potential for our iron ore assets to again add considerable market value in the future, with the Company having previously spent over $60 million to develop them, including the hematite project to a "shovel ready" stage. Our advanced iron ore projects for hematite and magnetite remain very valuable assets, which in 2011, gave the Company a market capitalisation of approximately C$165 million. Both iron ore projects are located within 100 kilometres of a railway line, which currently transports iron ore to export facilities at the Port of Esperance in southern Western Australia. We are now observing good indications that the price of iron ore has recovered from its 2015 low of US$38.30 per tonne to a spot price today of US$82 per tonne with the advantage of a favourable exchange rate due to deprecation of the Australian dollar against US dollar." Macarthur Minerals' Iron Ore Projects are located on mining tenements covering approximately 62km2 located 175 km northwest of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia (Figure 1 and Figure 2). Within the tenements, at least 35 km strike extent of outcropping banded iron formation ("BIF") occurs as low ridges, surrounded by intensely weathered and mostly unexposed granites, basalts and ultramafic rocks. The Iron Ore Projects consist of two distinct mineral projects: The Company has been maintaining the core Iron Ore Projects' assets and they remain valuable assets. There is real potential for the Iron Ore Projects to add significant value with the recovery of global iron ore markets. Macarthur Minerals' early focus from 2005 to 2009 was upon the exploration for iron ore mineralisation and the estimation of Mineral Resources for magnetite iron ore. From 2010 the focus shifted to the exploration and delineation of Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves for hematite mineralisation. Exploration of the Iron Ore Projects since 2005 included geological mapping, geophysical surveying, auger sampling of pisolite targets and reverse circulation percussion ("RCP") drilling of magnetite ore targets. Since July 2006 Macarthur Minerals has drilled 1,841 RCP drill holes (142,443 m) and 49 diamond holes (4,170 m) targeting iron mineralisation associated with BIF units. Analytical data for mineralised portions of Macarthur's RCP holes include XRF assay results and Davis Tube Recovery ("DTR") tests, which measure the proportion of sample extractable by magnetic separation from fresh BIF samples containing magnetite mineralisation. Material concentrated by the DTR tests was assayed by XRF methods for iron and other elements of interest. The outcropping geology of the Iron Ore Project area is comprised of a combination of un-altered silica-rich BIFs and altered, enriched hematite / goethite BIFs. The un-altered silica-rich BIFs have been targeted for magnetite mineralisation, an iron mineral species (Fe O ) with strong magnetic properties, making it amenable for separation from the crushed and ground ore by magnetic separation techniques. The hematite / goethite mineralisation is a product of weathering of the top 50 m (on average) of BIF strata, and the leaching out of silica and alteration of magnetite to hematite (Fe O ) and goethite, a hydrous (water bearing) form of hematite. Hematite is weakly magnetic, and requires a different ore processing route to that of magnetite. For this reason the magnetite and hematite/goethite mineralised deposits were separated into two projects, because they require different infrastructure and ore processing routes and hence the impost of different anticipated costs of development. Macarthur Minerals has grouped the hematite / goethite deposits into the Ularring Hematite Project, and the magnetite deposits into the Moonshine Magnetite Project. Exploration at both Ularring Hematite and Moonshine Magnetite projects has been sufficient to allow the estimation of Mineral Resources for both projects. The Ularring Hematite Project's Mineral Resource consists of Indicated 54.46 Mt @ 47.2% Fe and Inferred 25.99Mt @ 45.4% Fe(3). Macarthur Minerals published a Pre-Feasibility Study in 2012, reporting Mineral Reserves(4). The Company has received approval to develop an iron ore mine for the Ularring Hematite Project and associated infrastructure at the project location under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and the Environmental and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Inferred Mineral Resource estimate for the Moonshine Magnetite Project was initially prepared by CSA Global Pty Ltd(5) and was updated by Snowden Mining Industry Consultants, with an Inferred Mineral Resource consisting of 1,316 Mt @ 30.1% Fe(6). A Preliminary Assessment Report was prepared on the Moonshine Magnetite Project by Snowden Mining Industry Consultants in 2011(7). The Company has one of the largest lithium hard rock acreage packages in Australia, covering an area of 2,138 square kilometres (528,311 acres) across the Pilbara, Ravensthorpe and the Yalgoo/Edah regions of Western Australia. Initial reconnaissance across the Company's acreage has been encouraging, including initial assay results from rock chips of up to 3.75% lithium (Li O) received at the Yalgoo Lithium Project (see the Company's announcement dated October 12, 2016). The previously announced Australian Securities Exchange ("ASX") Initial Public Offering ("IPO") of the Company's Australian lithium and iron ore projects, is well advanced. Macarthur Minerals will maintain majority ownership and control of the ASX IPO listed entity. The board of Macarthur Minerals believes that an ASX IPO of its Australian subsidiaries, which hold its Australian 'hard rock' lithium and iron ore projects, will provide improved price realisation for those projects more consistent with its ASX listed peers. The Company's wholly owned subsidiary, Macarthur Lithium Nevada Limited, will continue to advance the Stonewall Lithium Project, located in Nevada. Mr David Williams, a member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists, is a part-time employee of CSA Global Pty Ltd and is a Qualified Person as defined in National Instrument 43-101. Mr Williams has reviewed and approved the technical information in relation to the Iron Ore Projects contained in this news release. Mr Ralph Porter, a member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists, is a full-time employee of CSA Global Pty Ltd and is a Qualified Person as defined in National Instrument 43-101. Mr Porter has reviewed and approved the technical information in relation to Macarthur's lithium acreage (excluding any technical information under the Stonewall Project) contained in this news release. Macarthur Minerals Limited is an exploration and development company that is focused on identifying and developing high grade lithium and counter cyclical investments, with significant lithium exploration interest in Australia and Nevada. In addition, Macarthur has two iron ore projects in Western Australia; the Ularring hematite project and the Moonshine magnetite project. On behalf of the Board of Directors, NEITHER TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATION SERVICES PROVIDER (AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN THE POLICIES OF THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE) ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE. Certain of the statements made and information contained in this press release may constitute forward-looking information and forward-looking statements (collectively, "forward-looking statements") within the meaning of applicable securities laws. The forward-looking statements in this press release reflect the current expectations, assumptions or beliefs of the Company based upon information currently available to the Company. With respect to forward-looking statements contained in this press release, assumptions have been made regarding, among other things, the timely receipt of required approvals, the reliability of information, including historical mineral resource or mineral reserve estimates, prepared and/or published by third parties that are referenced in this press release or was otherwise relied upon by the Company in preparing this press release. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct as actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include fluctuations in exchange rates and certain commodity prices, uncertainties related to mineral title in the project, unforeseen technology changes that results in a reduction in iron ore demand or substitution by other metals or materials, the discovery of new large low cost deposits of iron ore, uncertainty in successfully returning the project into full operation, and the general level of global economic activity. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements due to the inherent uncertainty thereof. Such statements relate to future events and expectations and, as such, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date of this press release and except as may otherwise be required pursuant to applicable laws, the Company does not assume any obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. (1) Jasmine Ng, 'Iron ore sheds 4.3pc on week, ending at record low', Australian Financial Review, Dec 12, 2015.
News Article | April 5, 2016
"The Ministry of Environment and Forestry is focused on protecting the Tapir, along with 25 other endangered species in Indonesia, due to their endangered status. Our efforts are largely around conserving their habitat so that their numbers can recover," Ir . Bambang Dahono Adji , MM , Director of Biodiversity Conservation, Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation, Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF), the Republic of Indonesia (RI). Dr. Ir. Tachrir Fathoni, MSc, Directorate General of Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystem, MoEF-RI asserted, "We need to build a special forum to develop a protection strategy for tapir, including creating a Sanctuary to protect this important species." In total, the study recorded and identified an impressive 29 species in the national park. Cameras were placed for over 30 days in the dry season and significantly documented five endangered species–the Sumatran tiger, the Sunda pangolin, the Asiatic wild dog, the Sumatran clouded leopard, and the Malayan tapir. This also included four of the five Sumatran wild cat species, the endemic Bronze-tail peacock pheasant and Salvadori's pheasant. These results further support the listing of over 60% of the park as an internationally recognized Key Biodiversity Area showcasing its global value and need for careful and effective management. Ketut Sarjana Putra, Vice President of CI Indonesia (CI) said, "This study has proven that the Batang Gadis National Park is an important haven for some of Indonesia's most unique animals and we hope it will further motivate all stakeholders to take great care of this highly important area." Mr Putra also noted the essential role of the national park to the livelihoods of the local communities, "Among other important services nature provides, this park ensures fresh water flows for agriculture which is the main income source for 80% of the local people making its protection key to local wellbeing." These findings follow the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Conservation International on October 8, 2014 and the BNGP authorities to work together to better protect the area. This landmark agreement aims to strengthen training and facilitate capacity building activities that improve the skill set of those managing the protected area. Bambang Harianto, the Head of BGNP stated, "Irresponsible behavior such as logging, hunting of animals, and forest fires have caused the decline of endangered fauna in North Sumatra. Our collaboration with CI is the capacity building part - for example the SMART (spatial monitoring and reporting tool) patrol program where our rangers and field management trained to conduct join patrols in supervising the national park, as well as collect data." Mr Putra said, "In addition to providing accurate data on biodiversity trends through such studies, we want to support the local governments in Mandailing Natal to encourage communities to maintain and protect the existence of endangered species in the region. For example, perhaps the endangered tapir could become an icon of the district to highlight it's significant biodiversity value. Further, through our Sustainable Landscapes Program, we have educated local farmers on how to farm efficiently and sustainably, so their productivity improves and the remaining forests can endure. We encourage them to understand the broader environment, and the importance of the national park to their own quality of life." Since the signing of the MOU, CI has worked closely with the BGNP through the Sustainable Landscapes Partnership program. This effort has built the capacity of forest rangers, and supported management of the national park. The facilitations include data collection and its transfer to a database through technical tools for monitoring and reporting, the use of mobile technology, and engagement with stakeholders so they are aware and onboard with this work. Malayan tapir, the only tapir native to Asia, has distinctive black and white coloring. Like the other types of tapir, they have small, stubby tails and long, flexible elongated snouts. In Indonesia tapir can only be found on Sumatra Island. Habitat loss due to deforestation and poaching are their greatest threat despite the animals is legally protected by the State through Government Regulation No. 7 of 1999. Because of the serious threat of extinction, the tapir has been included in Appendix 1 of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Since 2002 IUCN Red List has included Malayan tapir (Tapiricus indicus) in the category of 'endangered' because the amount has decreased by almost 50% in across its range and is predicted to halve again within the next 30 years if the current threats continue. Globally, there are four species of tapir, all vulnerable or endangered) inhabiting South America, Central America, and Southeastern Asia. The SLP is an integrated landscape initiative that works with local governments, communities, businesses and NGOs to design and develop innovative, landscape-scale solutions to challenges caused by human pressures on natural resources. Conservation International established SLP in Indonesia to promote and support this model through four primary areas of intervention: conservation of natural capital; developing sustainable production; improving governance and participation; and sustainable financing that aim to provide a range of benefits to people.
News Article | October 26, 2015
After clocking up 9,000km he told me he had collected seed from thousands of plants of nine species and subspecies belonging to one genus. This genetic resource is now catalogued and stored in England. He had done the same in South Australia in 2014 and plans to repeat the exercise in WA in 2016. Let's be clear upfront. Chase is no bio-pirate, he's a respected professor and everything he did was perfectly legal and above board. Consider rubber. In the 1800s there was a rubber boom. Rubber trees are indigenous to the Amazon basin and Brazil was making a fortune. In 1876 Kew Gardens commissioned Henry Wickham to steal rubber tree seeds. They were planted in the British colonies of Ceylon and Malaya forming the basis of a successful industry for the then British Empire. Brazil's rubber boom ended. Back to present-day Australia. The plants collected by our visiting professor all belong to Western Australian native members of the genus Nicotiana, a cousin of tobacco, potato, tomato, eggplant and capsicum. The name looks familiar because of nicotine, a psychoactive alkaloid of tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum, which is native to the Americas. The Spanish took it to Europe in the 1500s. Shipping Nicotiana seeds between continents has a long history. For thousands of years Australian Aboriginal peoples have used Nicotiana in religious practice, for medicinal purposes and recreationally. Near the end of August in 1770, Joseph Banks was aboard James Cook's ship Endeavour observing the local people who lived on the northern coast of Australia. He wrote: We observd that some tho but few held constantly in their mouths the leaves of an herb which they chewd as a European does tobacca […] They were almost certainly chewing Pituri, made from dried Nicotiana leaves rolled in ash. The alkalinity of the ash releases nicotine. Native tobacco is still of cultural significance to groups of indigenous Australians. The Kew professor is not the first foreign scientist to come to Australia collecting Nicotiana. Illustrations of Australian Nicotiana plants in a series of Fact Sheets by the South Australian herbarium borrow heavily from The Genus Nicotiana Illustrated, a book published by Japan Tobacco in 1994. Why the international interest in Australian Nicotiana species? Our English professor said his interest lay in clarifying the taxonomic status of the Australian members of the genus. But detailed taxonomic studies have already been done at the University of Melbourne: so collections of thousands of plants are not required for this purpose. Nicotiana benthamiana is Australia's most scientifically famous native plant, grown in labs around the world. It grows naturally across northern WA. Its immense value to science lies in two inter-related properties. It's extraordinarily susceptible to plant pathogens and so has been invaluable in helping understand how to control diseases in crops. It also has the unusual ability to express proteins of many foreign genes – this made it the species of choice for GlaxoSmithKline when developing an experimental Ebola virus vaccine in response to the 2014 outbreak in Africa. The world has already benefited from Nicotiana benthamiana in many ways. A worldwide race is underway to develop tough new crops able to withstand the drought, heat and disease coming with climate change. Kew Gardens publishes a guide for bio-prospectors to collect seed from wild plants for their Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change project. Australian Nicotiana species from arid zones have evolved a suite of genetic tricks to cope with the notoriously unpredictable rainfall and severe heat. They live in small, scattered populations of favourable habitat, isolated from other populations by inhospitable dry rocks and sands. Over time, nature has experimented with these isolated populations, tested new ways to survive. Our research at Murdoch University has already shown that each distinct population exhibits markedly different responses to drought and virus attack. Our Kew professor is attempting to sample all the genetic variety present within each Australian Nicotiana population so that the best genes from them may one day be selected for agriculture, or perhaps other uses. Stress tolerance genes that evolved in the deserts of Australia could one day protect fields of wheat, maize, potatoes and other crops so fundamental to our survival. So where is the problem? We might applaud the noble quest of agricultural scientists to save the world from famine, irrespective of their geographical location. The problem is the means by which this outcome will be achieved. Australia's scientists should be mining Australia's gene bank, and all Australians should benefit from the rewards of this intellectual property (IP). International collaboration is the lifeblood of scientific advancement, but so is competition and protecting IP. When Australia's genetic heritage is lodged in other countries, we have lost control of our IP. Most of Australia's mineral heritage has been sold cheaply as unprocessed ore. Our international customers increase its value many-fold through innovative manufacturing. Then we buy it back. Should we follow the same path with our genetic heritage so that one day Australian farmers will be forced to buy from overseas agricultural companies new drought-tolerant crop varieties sporting Australian genes? Or should we build genetic IP in Australia for the sustainable benefit of Australians? But the collection and export of Australian native genetic resources remains completely legal. The Kew professor obtained a state government Flora license permitting seed collection on WA crown lands, and a Regulation 4 Authority for collection in WA National Parks and reserves. Exporting seed from Australia was also legal under the federal government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Who can blame him then for helping himself to Australia's genetic resources? The door was wide open and a welcome sign was swinging above. Australia is a lucky country. It has all the features needed to lead the world in the next great agricultural revolution. It has extensive farmlands, educated and technologically aware farmers, and world-class scientists. What is under-appreciated by Australian governments is the vast wealth potential lodged in the genomes of its precious native flora and fauna. It can be assigned a quantifiable dollar value that could one day be far greater than that of our mineral wealth. For this and many other reasons it's critical that state and federal governments protect Australia's wildlife, and legislate to prevent foreign interests raiding our genetic heritage before more is lost.
News Article | December 1, 2016
Josh Frydenberg overrode federal law to give the go-ahead to lethal shark nets in northern New South Wales to save the local tourist industry and nipper clubs. The environment minister has argued that there was a “national interest” in installing the controversial nets because, with the tourism season about to start, surf shops were experiencing decreased sales and nipper clubs had fewer registrations. On Wednesday the Tasmanian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson instigated a Senate inquiry to examine the netting program, as well as the minister’s reasons for making the exemption. The netting program began after three shark-related deaths in NSW waters. The nets aim to entangle sharks and are expected to catch other animals too, including dolphins, turtles and bony fish. The program is not allowed under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, but Frydenberg granted an exemption for the program, deciding it was a matter of “national interest”. Guardian Australia can now reveal the reasons the environment minister gave for granting the exemption. Among the reasons is a secret report that surf shops in the region have experienced a drop in sales, as well as a drop in registrations for the local nipper clubs. Frydenberg argued tourism to the area contributed billions of dollars to the economy each year and that it was under threat by the media attention being drawn by the shark interactions. “I considered that the public safety of water activities in the north coast of NSW is a matter of national interest,” Frydenberg said in his official statement of reasons for granting the exemption. He argued that there was likely to be an impact on threatened species, as well as the critically endangered grey nurse shark, but that these impacts were “difficult to quantify at this time.” The official statement of reasons follow Frydenberg earlier incorrect indication that any action other than culling was permitted without ministerial approval, adding he would consider allowing a cull of protected species. “I absolutely put human safety first and foremost in my mind,” he told ABC TV. “State governments … can take whatever mitigation measures they like within reason, other than the culling, without needing the federal approval. Now if they were to put a proposal to the federal government I would consider it, but we have to put human safety first.” Whish-Wilson, an avid surfer, was scathing of Frydenberg’s new official reasons. “Media attention over shark interactions is not sufficient justification for putting aside an environmental assessment and neither is confidential claims of reduced wetsuit sales,” he said. “Sharks have been present in the ocean for 450m years. People were swimming in the ocean with sharks 100 years ago and people continued to be swimming in the ocean with sharks when Mike Baird became [NSW] premier two years ago.” “This new Senate inquiry will look into the details of shark interactions without the hysteria. We will examine all the claims of the NSW government and the reasons given for the ... exemption.”
News Article | December 13, 2016
Eastern Australia is among the 11 worst regions of the world for this wilful loss of vital habitat for native flora and fauna – and the only one of them within a developed country, according to a 2015 World Wide Fund for Nature report. The new NSW biodiversity legislation, just passed by parliament, was developed to solve this wicked problem, by integrating conservation efforts with native vegetation legislation. However, what started out as a bold vision is now looking very lack lustre indeed. The legislation will achieve the opposite of what it is trying to do, largely because its provisions are undermined by other legislation. The legislative package will accelerate extinction of biodiversity, rather than arrest its decline, because the checks and balances on broad-scale land clearing are poor. And it will allow a small but powerful fraction of the agricultural community to erode the reputation of farmers as Australia's true conservationists. Four components of the Biodiversity Conservation Bill passed last month run counter to its purpose. First, native species only become worthy of protection when they are identified as threatened. Candidates queuing up to be on the threatened list are ignored, as are common native species. This undermines the Government's $100 million Saving our Species program. While a laudable initiative, it is akin to putting a net at the bottom of the cliff to save species while ignoring the factors that are pushing them off the precipice. The program can only focus on a minute fraction of biodiversity, predominantly the charismatic fauna and flora. Truly effective legislation needs to provide a protective umbrella over all ecosystems and the myriad plants, animals and microorganisms which form the rich tapestry of life. Second, the black box of 'mapping' native vegetation, on which everything depends, is not a silver bullet, even though it is the best tool available. A so-called line in the sand in the legislation affords some protection to all native vegetation existing in 1990. Unfortunately the line is blurry because it is based on satellite imagery which does not capture native grasses and open woodlands, making them vulnerable to destruction. Also paddock trees – isolated and in small patches - act as stepping stones for birds and other animals to cross developed farm land – but are invisible on the vegetation maps. Yet they serve a critical function in stopping further biodiversity loss. Most farmers also appreciate the value of these trees, which provide an environmental service for nothing. They hold the soil together, provide windbreaks and harbor natural predators against their agricultural pests. Third, the offset scheme – being allowed to clear one piece of land if you protect another – is deeply flawed. Offsets should only be a fall-back option when there is no other alternative to clearing land. And yet the legislation provides no incentives or regulations to consider alternatives with no long-term legal protection of the offset areas. This will inevitably lead to a reduction in native vegetation and a net loss of biodiversity. Finally, ongoing clearing in Australia will make it much more difficult to achieve our greenhouse gas emission targets set in Kyoto, which were based on the assumption that we had land clearing under control. If the Biodiversity Conservation Bill was not nobbled by amendments to other legislation it could help halt the loss of biodiversity with three positive initiatives. First, previous threatened species legislation, with its independent scientific committee and the potential for assessing threatened ecosystems, was transferred almost intact to the new legislation. This system leads the world. Next, protection of areas of outstanding biodiversity value is included – an increasingly critical issue in the Anthropocene. Finally, the initiative of stewardship payments to farmers for looking after the land while they make a living is long overdue. As it is, NSW is likely to repeat the mistakes of the Queensland legislation with widespread clearing. Internal inconsistencies in the legislation could be fixed, by including a rigorous, independent system of assessment for any land clearing requests before approval is given, rather than relying on self-assessment and rubbery exemptions. Proponents for offsets should also be required to show how impacts on the native vegetation have been minimised or avoided. World's best practice requires substitution of 'like' for 'like', protection in perpetuity, and 'no net loss'. In this new millennium, we need to understand that retaining and managing native vegetation is an essential foundation for the long-term sustainability of community well-being, agriculture and other industries, rather than a handbrake on short-term development and this year's balance sheet. A truly integrated piece of biodiversity legislation could harmonise conservation and native vegetation management and realise ecological sustainable development, maintaining the unique character of Australian landscapes. Explore further: Biodiversity science and the law
News Article | November 10, 2016
The Australian government has set a dangerous precedent in granting exemptions “in the national interest” from its 1999 Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. This laxity adversely affects threatened species and disregards scientific advice. Australia's former environment minister Greg Hunt granted the latest exemption. It permits habitat clearance in Batemans Bay, New South Wales, until the end of this year and dispersal by “non-lethal means” of camps of the threatened grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus). This species is crucial for native forest regeneration. Forced dispersals using loud noise, smoke and lights “often lead to flying fox stress, injuries, or fatalities” (see go.nature.com/2f9azyl) and have proved costly and inefficient (see et al. PLoS ONE 7, e42532; 2012). Hunt also signed an exemption in 2014 to permit a shark cull in Western Australia (see go.nature.com/2f4mrdy), which included the protected great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). Then there is the ongoing destruction of endangered forests in New South Wales, habitats for many threatened species. In our view, Australia's federal and state governments should be more protective of biodiversity.