Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wind turbines do not have a negative effect on property value of nearby homes in US

A study recently released in August 2013 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory collected data from more than 50,000 home sales among 27 counties in nine states in the US. The homes were within 10 miles of 67 different wind facilities, and 1,198 sales were within 1 mile of a turbine - many more than previous studies have collected. The data span the periods well before announcement of the wind facilities to well after their construction.

The study was conclusive and found no statistical evidence that home values near turbines were affected in the post-construction or post-announcement/pre-construction periods.

It is expected the Lawrence Berkeley study will prove to be useful evidence in ongoing litigation between homeowners and wind farm developers in Canada and the US.

The full report is available at:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Uranium in Saskatchewan's Athabasca Basin - Update on Summer & Q2 2013 Activity

The Athabasca Basin in Northern Saskatchewan has well established mining infrastructure, a stable investment environment and the presence of the majors, including Cameco Corp., Rio Tinto Plc and AREVA SA. Activity in the Athabasca Basin continued at a feverish pace through summer 2013. Highlights include:
  • Cameco Corp. - Cigar Lake
Cameco continues to target Q4 2013 to produce the first packges pounds, with a 2018 target of 36 million pounds.
  • Fission Uranium Corp. and Azincourt Uranium Inc. - Patterson Lake North Project 
Canadian junior Fission Uranium Corp. and its joint venture partner, Azincourt Uranium Inc. completed an airborne geophysical survery of their Patterson Lake North property. Ross McElroy, President, COO, and Chief Geologist for Fission, noted, "Earlier exploration work, and the property location, leads us to consider Patterson Lake North to be highly prospective. The latest survey is an important components before drilling begins this winter and we are looking forward to making use of the airborne geophysical results as we continue to prioritize our list of key drill targets."
  • Fission Uranium Corp. and Alpha Minerals Inc. - Patterson Lake South Project
A $6.95 million CAD program will encompass 36,089 feet of drilling that will be used to test for continued expansive delineation of the site’s three high-grade uranium zones. The project consists of 17 mineral claims spanning approximately 76.6 acres.
  • NexGen Energy Ltd. - Radio and Rook I Projects
Canadian junior NexGen Energy Ltd.’s Rook 1 project (immediately adjacent to Fission/Alpha’s Patterson Lake South project) continues to identify targets. Weather permitting, drilling will continue to late September. NexGen Energy Ltd. has, after three increases, now reached nearly $5 million CAD by way of private placements. The company doubled the offer to $3.53 million CAD on August 1, increased it to $4.12 million CAD on August 14 and, the following day, raised that to $5 million CAD. The Radio project continues development and is located on the same east-west corridor that is interpreted as hosting the Roughrider project. Summer drilling was completed at Radio at the end of July.
  • Lakeland Resources Inc. - Riou Lake Project
Lakeland Resources offered private placements up to $1.25 million CAD on August 16. Proceeds will go to Athabasca Basin exploration and general working capital. With nine uranium properties, Lakeland’s initial focus will be the Gibbon’s Creek area of its Riou Lake project on the northern Athabasca Basin’s edge, says corporate communications manager Roger Leschuk. Lakeland Resources is backed by a seasoned technical team and advisory board, including Richard Kusmirski, past exploration manager for Cameco, and Thomas Drolet, a uranium and nuclear energy specialist with over 40 years in the energy sector.
  • Ashburton Ventures Inc. - Sienna Project
Asburton completed the first phase of exploration on their Sienna claims. Exploration has commenced on the Sienna West claims, Ashburton Ventures announced August 13.
  • Denision Mines - Wheeler River Project
Denison commenced a summer exploration campaign involving diamond drilling, geophysical surveying and linecutting on eight properties in the Athabasca Basin. To date, the highlight of the program has been the intersection, at Phoenix A, of 43.2% eU3O8. Denison reported expanded mineralization at the recently discovered 489 Zone on the Wheeler River property. Drilling at the 489 Zone continues to show positive indications for the potential discovery of higher grade mineralization. Denison Closed a $15 million CAD flow-through share offering, which will fund the Company’s Canadian exploration programs through to the end of 2014. Denison completed the acquisition of a portfolio of assets from Fission Energy Corp., which included its 60% interest in the Waterbury Lake uranium project, its interests in all other properties in the eastern part of the Athabasca Basin, Quebec and Nunavut, as well as its interests in two joint ventures in Namibia.
  • Brades Resource Corp. - Lorne Lake Project
Brades Resource marked its entry into Saskatchewan with the Lorne Lake acquisition announced July 16. The approximately 39,450-hectare property shows “extensive regional faulting and lineaments and covers one of only three identified cross-cutting major fault structures located in the western Athabasca Basin,” as well as “favourable magnetic geophysical data,” the company stated.
  • Aldrin Resource Corp. - Triple M Project
Aldrin closed a $957,880 CAD private placement in July. The money will go to exploration on the company’s Triple M project, option payments on the property and general working capital. Aldrin is currently conducting airborne magnetic and electromagnetic surveys on the property, with early results indicating two basement conductive trends. The company is planning a winter program for January 2014.
  • SkyHarbour Resources Ltd. - Western Athabasca Syndicate Project.
Skyharbour closed a private placement of 5.31 million flow-through units at $0.08 CAD for $425,000 CAD on August 14. As part of the four-company Western Athabasca Syndicate exploring the Patterson Lake South-area’s largest land package, Skyharbour is now fully financed for its portion of a $6 million CAD, two-year program, president/CEO Jordan Trimble stated. The syndicate, which includes Skyharbour, Athabasca Nuclear, Noka Resources and Lucky Strike Resources has “about 150 years of uranium exploration experience focused on the Athabasca Basin,”
  • Zadar Ventures Ltd. - PNE Project
Fieldwork has commenced at he PNE project. Zadar has also recently signed option agreements with both Canterra Minerals and Triex Minerals for five large and strategically located uranium projects.
  • Athabasca Uranium Inc. - Fisher River, McGregor Lake, Keefe Lake Projects  
Athabasca Uranium reported preliminary results of airborne geophysics over parts of three projects on the Athabasca Basin’s southeastern edge. At Fisher River the survey found a single conductive zone about 4,500 metres by 1,500 metres, starting about 200 metres in depth. The company considers it prospective for uranium as it’s located within a magnetic low at the edge of a magnetic feature. Another conductor starting about 200 metres’ depth was found at McGregor Lake. Fisher River and McGregor Lake will be considered for this year’s drill campaign. At the Company’s flagship Keefe Lake Project, preliminary interpretation has identified a series of subtle northwest-trending conductive anomalies, lying within a wide magnetic low, between the Keefe Lake Alteration Zone and Cameco’s Harrigan Deposit. A phase 3 drilling program is slated for later in 2013.
  • Forum Uranium Corp.  - Highrock South
Towards the Athabasca Basin’s southeast corner, Forum Uranium picked up the Highrock South property, adding another 1,381 hectares to its Key Lake area holdings. The company’s July 17 announcement states the property “is a continuation of the prospective Key Lake/Black Forest conductive trend” that hosted Cameco Corp’s former deposits and the geology “compares favourably” with Patterson Lake South. Highrock South lies about 15 kilometres south of the world’s largest high-grade uranium mill. Forum recently announced a $1.5 million CAD non-brokered private placement and an increasing financing to $2.25 million CAD.
  • Unity Energy Corp. - McKenzie Lake
Unity Energy is a tier-two listed issuer that focuses on uranium exploration in the Athabasca Basin and has 10 different uranium exploration sites in the area. One of its primary assets is the McKenzie Lake property, which spans 22.2 acres on the southeastern side of the basin. Exploration continues on the McKenzie Lake property.
Sources: various publically available press releases, reports and news items

Monday, August 12, 2013

Nordex completes turbine installation at the 21.6 MW Honkajoki wind farm in Finland

View from the top of recently commissioned Honkajoki wind farm in South-Western Finland

The nine-turbine facility, which was developed for Finnish wealth management company Taaleritehdas, is the first in the country to feature the company’s N117 2.4MW machines.

Honkajoki, which is now grid-connected, is also the first project under a framework contract signed with Taaleritehdas in June 2012 providing for the delivery of up to 111 turbines.

Nordex management board member Lars Bondo Krogsgaard said: “This marks a real success for our new activities in Finland and creates an excellent basis for future projects with Taaleritehdas.”

The early completion of Honkajoki allowed Taaleritehdas to generate energy earlier than anticipated and tap into the “early bird premium” for wind power generated before 2016.

Taaleritehdas director of wind energy businesses Taamir Fareed added: “The remarkable performance of the Nordex team in its first project in Finland provides a very good basis for our future co-operation, in which we will be installing more Nordex turbines in Finland.”

Source: Nordex Press Release, Image courtesy Nordex

Friday, August 9, 2013

Neste Oil reports strong Q2 performance in renewable fuel segment

Neste Oil has released its interim financial report for the first six months of 2013, reporting continuing good performance in its renewable fuels segment. The company’s operating profit for the first half of the year was €223 million ($295.65 million), up from €119 million during the same period of 2012. On a quarterly basis, Neste Oil reported an operating profit of €88 million for the second quarter of 2013, compared to €40 million for the same quarter of last year.

“We recorded a solid result during the second quarter. The group's comparable operating profit was EUR 88 million, largely thanks to good performance at Renewable Fuels. Our leverage ratio also improved as a result of strong cash flow from operations,” said Matti Lievonen, president and CEO of Neste Oil.

Lievonen added that renewable fuels continued to make very good progress during the first half of the year, recording an operating profit of €33 million. “The market fundamentals remained favorable and we continued to make good progress on our entry into the North American market. Also our efforts to extend feedstock range and flexibility were successful. Overall, we are positive about the Renewable Fuels business going forward,” he said.

According to information released by Neste Oil, renewable diesel demand to be stable during the second half of this year. In its financial release, the company also noted that its focus in the renewable fuels segment will continue to be on sales, feedstock and production optimization.

Neste Oil has also announced it is participating in a 1-year fleet demonstration program for a new diesel blend in Corburg, Germany. The new blend of fuel, known as Diesel R33, will contain 26 percent Neste Oil’s NExBTL renewable diesel, 7 percent conventional biodiesel, and 67 percent fossil diesel.

While the European Union limits the blend of biodiesel to 7 percent, there is no such limit for renewable diesel. "Unlike conventional biodiesel, there are no technical limitations to blending Neste Oil's NExBTL renewable diesel, which opens up the potential for creating  diesel blends that have high bio content and result in lower GHG and tailpipe emissions," said Kaisa Hietala, Neste Oil vice president of Renewable Fuels.

According to Neste Oil, the demonstration project will include approximately 280 types of vehicles, including buses, cars and trucks. It will test the performance of the Diesel R33 blend in traffic and the contribution it makes to reducing tailpipe emissions and greenhouse gas emissions.

The project is a follow-up to a trial conducted in 2010 and 2011, and is financed by the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Public Health, the European Union, and various other partners. In addition to Neste Oil, the project's partners include German universities, research institutions, automotive manufacturers, and other companies.

In late July, Neste Oil also announced it had added corn oil to the feedstocks used to produce NExBTL. According to information published by the company, Neste Oil trialed the use of corn oil earlier this year and has determined the feedstock meets the company’s strict sustainability criteria. Technical corn oil is now being used on a commercial basis, with feedstock supplies currently sourced from the U.S.

"Our strategic aim is to constantly extend the range of renewable feedstocks we use to produce renewable fuels, and in particular the volume of waste- and residue-based materials we use," said Matti Lehmus, Neste Oil executive vice president of oil products and renewables. "Technical corn oil is an excellent addition to our feedstock base, as it is officially approved for producing renewable fuel intended for the growing North American market."

Source: Biomass Magazine