Ivanhoe's Kamoa project in the Democratic Republic of Congo: deal with Zijin by Dec. 8.

Ivanhoe's Kamoa project in the Democratic Republic of Congo: deal with Zijin Mining expected to be finalized by Dec. 8.

Good morning investors,

We've seen this movie before, but the sequels seem to be popular: Commodities are getting clobbered to start the week as the U.S. dollar surges higher in anticipation of an interest rate hike.

Copper - down 1.4% to $2.06/lb (down more than 20% YTD)
Nickel - down 4.8% to $3.76/lb (down more than 35% YTD)
Zinc - down 1.7% to .69/lb (down more than 20% YTD)

On the positive side, the election of a pro-business government in mineral-rich Argentina should lift long-term prospects - if not the short-term share prices - of mining companies active there.

And if you need some lithium to lift your spirits - the energy metal is also used to treat depression - Mexico-focused Bacanora Minerals (BCN-V) has it in spades.

The Calgary-based company announced a 300% increase in its indicated mineral resource at the Sonora lithium project, to 5 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent. Bacanora also has an inferred resource of 3.9 million tonnes of LCE.

The updated resource comes out of a 16-hole, 3,934-metre drill program and will be used in a preliminary feasibility study scheduled to land in the first quarter of 2016.

NR: Bacanora Announces Indicated Mineral Resource Increased by Over 300% to 5.0 Million Tonnes of LCE at the Sonora Lithium Project

Also on the lithium front, expert Joe Lowry has weighed in on Quebec developer Nemaska Lithium's MOU - announced last week Thursday - that would see a $12-million upfront payment from Johnson Matthey Battery Materials.

In an article entitled Does Nemaska Matter?, Lowry concludes: "If I was pressed for an answer I would say the factors of resource location and quality combined with execution risk in employing new technology will make Nemaska a footnote in the history of lithium."

Here's Joe's article.

Also on the alternative energy front, Alaska-focused Graphite One Resources (GPH-V) has appointed NovaCopper CEO Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse to its board of directors.

Van Nieuwenhuyse's extensive Alaska experience should help Graphite One develop its large flake graphite deposit near Nome, Alaska.

Flake graphite is a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries, and demand is expected to surge as Tesla builds out its Gigafactory in Nevada and more electric vehicles hit the streets.

And despite the bloodletting in the industrial metals, exploration and development continues among companies with that rarest of commodities - cash - to advance their projects.

One of those is Robert Friedland's Ivanhoe Mines (IVN-T), which announced this morning that its deal to sell part of the Kamoa copper project to China's Zijin Mining is on track.

Ivanhoe is selling a 49.5% interest in the holding company that owns Kamoa - one of the world's highest-grade undeveloped copper deposits - to Zijin for US$412 million in an agreement first announced in May. Kamoa is located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which had expressed concern about the deal before its interest in Kamoa was increased from 5% to 20%.

The news release stated that "constructive and cordial negotiations between Ivanhoe Mines, Zijin and senior DRC government officials in recent weeks have established an agreed course of action to develop the Kamoa Project." The deal will be done on or before Dec. 8, Friedland said.

Kamoa has an Indicated resource of 739 million tonnes grading 2.67% copper, containing 43.5 billion pounds of copper, and an Inferred resource of 227 million tonnes grading 1.96% copper, containing 9.8 billion pounds of copper (at a 1% copper cut off).

NR: Ivanhoe Mines and Zijin Mining Group Set to Complete Zijin's Investment in the Kamoa Copper Project

Robert Friedland also remains involved on the exploration front through his HPX investment in Cordoba Minerals (CDB-V), which is launching a 3,000-metre drill program at its San Matias copper-gold project in Colombia.

Diamong drilling will focus on the Alacran property, located about 2 km southwest of Cordoba's Montiel discovery. The drilling will test strike and vertical extensions of mineralization in the central and northern parts of the property, where prior drilling returned 188 metres of .71% Cu and .25 g/t Au and 128 m of .84 Cu and .45 g/t Au.

NR: Cordoba Minerals Announces the Commencement of Diamond Drilling at the San Matias Copper-Gold Project

Cashed-up Yukon project generator Strategic Metals (SMD-V) announced this morning it is renewing its share buyback program - a decision that generated some chatter at CEO Chat.

Some were critical of the move to spend money buying back shares: @low-ball said the news was done for optics and that Strategic should "spend (its money) in the ground."

@PamplonaTrader responded: "if a company can issue shares when there is demand and buy it back when there isn't, that is prudent management of share structure. Moreso if shares are trading at cash value or less."

Related reading: A Strategic explorer with low downside | CEO.CA

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