Latest issue of International Mining Project News available (May 22): There has been much talk of gold and silver in the last few weeks on the back of GFMS and World Gold Council figures aswell as gold’s recent price surge. It is not surprising therefore that both metals have a significant presence within this issue of project news. With 38 projects featuring gold and 13 featuring silver there is undoubtedly a trend. Nonetheless, this issue shows that there is still lots going on outside of these two metals. In iron ore, Sundance Resources has upgraded a substantial proportion of resources at its Mbalam project in Cameroon from Inferred to Indicated. The latest modelling has defined a combined Indicated resource of 1,600 Mt, comprising 169 Mt of high grade hematite at 60.5% Fe and 1,431 Mt of itabirite hematite at 38.0% Fe. This forms part of the overall JORC-code compliant resource defined on Exploration Permit 92, which totals a combined Indicated and Inferred resource of 2,500 Mt, comprising 215 Mt of high grade hematite and 2,325 Mt of itabirite hematite.Still in iron ore, Vale has approved the downward revision of its investment budget for 2009, reflecting the change in the average price of currencies in which its expected disbursements are denominated, revised equipment and implementation costs, delays mainly associated with environmental licences, and simplification or change in the scope of certain projects. According to the revised capex budget, $6.961 billion is to be invested in organic growth, of which $5.930 billion is on projects and $1.031 billion on research & development. The maintenance of existing operations has been estimated at $2.074 billion. Of course this affects the entire scope of Vale’s operations; however its Carajás project in Brazil will now receive finances of $455 million. This will go towards increasing the annual capacity by 30 Mt/y through investments in a new plant composed of primary crushing, processing and classification units. Once completed the capacity will stand at 160 Mt/y.In nickel, Western Areas and Kagara have executed a Heads of Agreement to enable Kagara’s Lounge Lizard nickel deposit to be mined using access from Western Areas’ Flying Fox mine decline in Australia. This will result in the consolidation of one of Australia’s largest, high grade nickel mines with a combined mineral resource of over 2.5 Mt at an average grade of 5.5% Ni containing about 140,140 t of nickel. In Brazil, Mirabela Nickel has made the first drawdown of $165 million under its $190 million Senior Loan. The company will use these funds to repay its $80 million Bridge Loan with Barclays and Credit Suisse, fund a $25 million Reserve Contingency Account under the Senior Loan facility, and to pay for the continued construction and development of the Santa Rita nickel project.Moving inevitably to gold, Atna Resources has made the first pour of around 300 oz of gold in doré at the newly re-started Briggs mine in Inyo County, California, USA. Ore mining commenced at the site in January, crushing and the loading of ore onto the leach pad started in March, and solution delivery to the leach pad began in April. Facility construction at the mine is now complete.One multi-commodity project which has received a huge boost is Minera Esperanza’s Esperanza copper/gold/silver/molybdenum project in Chile. It has signed definitive agreements for $1.05 billion in project financing provided by a consortium of senior lenders including Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Export Development Canada, KfW IPEX-Bank, and a commercial bank syndicate led by five Mandated Lead Arrangers and Joint bookrunners and also including two arrangers, Banco Santander and Natixis. Owned 70% by Antofagasta and 30% by Marubeni Corp, Minera Esperanza estimates that the project will cost some $2.3 billion overall. These reports are followed by many others in the 38 page issue. To receive the full 35+ page report, subscriptions to this service can be registered and paid for on-line (SUBSCRIBE TO IM PROJECT NEWS BUTTON), or contact email@example.com for a free trial copy.