Thursday, December 13, 2018

Palladium mine expansion announced as spot price passes gold

Toronto-based North American Palladium Ltd. announced Thursday it has signed a contract with Redpath Canada Limited of North Bay, Ontario, Canada, for underground mine development at its Lac des Iles mine. This is part of a major mine expansion that will take the mine from its current rate of just over 6,000 tons per day (tpd) to 12,000 tpd. The Redpath scope of work consists of approximately 6550 meters of lateral development and 560 meters of vertical development to access ore reserves in the upper mine beneath and around the perimeter of the dormant Roby open pit. The contract is expected to be approximately two years in duration.

The Lac des Iles mine development crews will continue with their work to sustain ongoing production, which is expected to rise to over 7,000 tpd by the end of 2019.

North American Palladium is the only pure play palladium producer in the world.

Meanwhile, the palladium spot price closed above gold at $1,243.00 on Thursday. Gold closed at $1,241.70.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

240,000 power outages as winter storm hits the Carolinas

Almost 9,000 personnel are responding to Duke Energy power outages due to a winter storm that is rolling through the Carolinas this weekend.
As of noon Sunday, the company reported 240,000 outages – 170,000 in North Carolina and 70,000 in South Carolina. The company has restored power to 80,000 customers since last night and early this morning.
Among the hardest hit counties:
North Carolina:
Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Mecklenburg, Polk, Rutherford, Transylvania and Wake counties.
South Carolina:
Greenville and Spartanburg counties.
A mix of heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain are causing branches to sag and trees to fall, bringing power lines down with them. Also, hazardous road conditions are resulting in vehicle accidents. Cars hitting power poles and other electrical infrastructure further increase the risk of power outages.
The company typically requires 12-24 hours to fully assess damage from a significant weather event, even while simultaneously restoring power. Winter storms can present additional challenges to moving personnel and equipment within hard-hit areas.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S., with approximately 29,000 employees and a generating capacity of 49,500 megawatts.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

2019 should be a good year for gold, silver, and platinum

The price of rhodium ($2,410 an ounce) is leading the pack in precious metals, followed by gold ($1,247.80 an ounce), palladium ($1,209.00 an ounce), platinum ($792.00 an ounce) and silver ($14.58 an ounce). Which one will make the big break in 2019 to a major upswing?

Platinum vs. Palladium

I believe that the current price of platinum at $805 is a good entry point,” said Bill Stack, in an article posted on the U.S. Gold Bureau's blog Dec. 5. It has since dropped to $792.00 an ounce. Difficulties in the auto sector are largely responsible for platinum’s fall, “and I am not confident those issues will be resolved in 2019,” Stack said. “Platinum could go lower, to $750, with an upside potential of $870. This could come at the expense of palladium, which has temporarily surpassed platinum due largely to financial speculation. I believe 2019 will likely see platinum overtake palladium in price, but both struggle due to difficulties in the auto sector.” Commerzbank in Germany expects the platinum price to increase to $900 by the end of 2019 with palladium ahead at $1,100.

Gold vs. Silver

While a significant floor has been established for gold around $1,200, it is conceivable that we could see a dip to $1,160 or so during a market disruption or sell-off between now and December 2019,” Stack said.

“We are only slightly above the current average mining costs for gold, and below the average mining costs for silver,” Stacks said, based on data through the third quarter of 2018. “While many try to project gold and silver prices based mainly on supply and demand considerations, I believe a more accurate method considers the costs of production as a primary driver. If we use a base of $1,204 for gold and $16.10 for silver, then it would appear to be much more likely that any significant moves will be greater to the upside, than the downside."

With silver currently at a spot price of $14.45 (Dec. 5), it is currently below primary mining costs of $16.10. This analysis alone indicates that silver has significant room to spring to the upside. “Think of that - an 11.4 percent increase in the silver price is needed, just for silver miners to break even,” Stack said.

What about the upside? “I believe gold will close 2019 near $1,351 an ounce, and silver near $17.60,” Stack said. “While there may be spikes to $1,402, and $18.40 respectively, I believe that is where we will close the year.” Commerzbank sees gold at $1,350 and silver at $16.00 at the end of 2019.

Precious Metals Gains & Losses Year-to-Date (Dec. 8, 2018)
  • Rhoduim – up 34%
  • Palladium – up 13%
  • Gold – down 4%
  • Silver – down 16%
  • Platinum – down 17%

Friday, December 7, 2018

HU-16 Albatross flight services contract

The Air Force Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California needs a HU-16 Albatross, along with a qualified flight instructor, for the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School (USAF TPS). The Air Force announced the contract on Friday. The anticipated period of performance for the contract is Feb. 1, 2019 – Jan. 31,2024.

“The objective of this program is to provide test pilot training in a HU-16 Albatross for approximately 50 USAF TPS students and staff members during 2-4 deployments per year," the Air Force said.

The Air Force Test Pilot School is where the Air Force's top pilots, navigators, and engineers learn how to conduct flight tests and generate the data needed to carry out test missions. An HU-16 Albatross is sought to provide the unique experience of flying a historic, multi-engine, water-landing capable aircraft.

Deployments will be conducted at Edwards Air Force Base and typically occur in April and October.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Drone Delivery Canada signs $2.5 million commercial agreement

Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) has executed a commercial agreement with the Moose Cree First Nation to deploy DDC's drone delivery technology platform with the Moose Cree First Nation communities.

The company is currently permitted to commercially operate its drone delivery platform within the Moosonee and Moose Factory communities with its Compliant Special Flight Operations Certificate which permits DDC to conduct drone operations in all Canadian provinces and territories. The drone delivery platform will service two northern towns located in Ontario approximately 19 kilometers south of James Bay. 

Financial terms of the agreement are $2.5 million of revenue for year one with the potential to expand services in following years.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Little Caesars Pizza opens in Singapore and Philippines

Little Caesars Pizza, the third largest pizza chain, will open its first restaurant in the Republic of Singapore in January. The global pizza brand, which is currently operating in 23 countries and territories, is continuing the expansion of its international footprint with new restaurants in Southeast Asia. The franchisee, Palm Tree Foods Pte Ltd., is owned by James Kodrowski. The first restaurant under the new franchise relationship will be located at the Income at Raffles building in Singapore. Additionally, Little Caesars Pizza will open its first location in the Philippines next month.

"Our expansion into this region was motivated by its strong growth in the food and pizza industries, plus a population of middle class customers that will double by 2020," said Paula Vissing, senior vice president of International for Little Caesars Pizza.

Little Caesars Pizza has grown its international presence with franchisees in Latin America, the Middle East, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

Headquartered in Detroit, Mich., Little Caesars is the largest carryout-only pizza chain in the United States. The company was founded in 1959 as a single family-owned restaurant.