Miners Pay Close Attention as Sniper Drills Nevada Gold
By Greg Klein
Sniper Resources’ TSXV:SIP CEO Scott Baxter says Nevada has earned his loyalty. That’s where Baxter’s former company, Tone Resources, hit paydirt — not just for himself, but for Rob McEwen’s US Gold (now McEwen Mining TSX:MUX). McEwen acquired Tone in 2007. “I made him a huge return on his investment,” Baxter says. “And you know what? Today’s a new day, and I want to do it all over again.”
Now the majors are looking at Sniper‘s flagship Weepah Gold Property. Initial results announced March 5 coincided with PDAC and, Baxter says, “generated interest instantly on arrival.” As a result, “Three of the top 10 mining companies asked me for CAs [confidentiality agreements] specific to Weepah.”
Located in Nevada’s Walker Lane Mineral Belt, Weepah is a joint venture with Columbus Gold Corp TSXV:CGT, which drilled the property last year. Under their agreement, Sniper pays Columbus $30,000 in cash, $60,000 in shares and spends $3 million on exploration over three years for a 51% interest. Sniper can earn an additional 19% by taking the project to feasibility. “It’s the same with most of my projects,” says Baxter. “I go to 51%, then 70%, because that’s what the majors require.”
March 5 Weepah results include
1.18 g/t gold over 38.1 metres
(including 3.8 g/t over 4.6 metres)
1.19 g/t over 27.5 metres
0.25 g/t over 36.6 metres
(including 1.88 g/t over 1.5 metres)
0.34 g/t over 22.9 metres
Three days later, Sniper released the final four holes, including
0.46 g/t gold over 47.3 metres
(including 21.8 g/t over 1.5 metres)
0.25 g/t over 38.1 metres
0.2 g/t over 9.2 metres
0.18 g/t over 16.8 metres
RC drilling resumes March 20. “You can drill through the winter in this part of Nevada,” Baxter points out. “There’s no deep snow. You’ll use more fuel, and your batteries won’t last as long, but so what?” This program could sink up to a dozen holes followed by a third round of drilling to calculate a resource, he explains.
He’s emphatic about priorities. “I don’t promote much because you have to spend money in the ground to have something to promote. Too many guys are promoting and promoting and promoting. But they forget to drill. I’ve seen juniors that have a booth at all the shows, and they haven’t effing drilled in three years. I warn people, ‘I don’t do banquets; I don’t do golf tournaments; and 75% to 80% of every dollar goes into the ground.’ The first quarter of this year, 81 cents of every dollar went into the ground. I have a million dollars of my money up.”
CAs aside, Weepah’s assays drew some unwanted advances. “Unfortunately, half the calls I got were from IR guys looking for contracts. Well you know, I didn’t raise this money to pay you. This money’s going in the ground, and that’s what the shareholders are in for. Think I’m going to let you watch me for six grand a month? Nice try.”
I don’t do banquets; I don’t do golf tournaments; and 75% to 80% of every dollar goes into the ground —Scott Baxter
Baxter attributes the majors’ interest partly to the company’s co-founder and geologist, Doug McGibbon. “He’s a guy they’d love to hire,” Baxter says. With over 30 years’ experience in the state, McGibbon has discovered or added more than 10 million gold ounces to Nevada operations such as Marigold, Pinson, the Lone Tree Mine and the Daisy Gold Mine.
“I always use Nevada guys,” says Baxter. “Otherwise, it’s like bringing in a Las Vegas realtor to buy Vancouver real estate. In Nevada, the ore bodies are so much different than Alaska or northern Ontario.” He adds, “One other thing about Doug and I is that this is the only company we do.”
Sniper also holds options on three other Columbus gold properties in Nevada. Earlier this year, Sniper sank 18 holes into Overland Pass, another 51% earn-in. The project sits in the southeast extension of the Carlin Trend, next to Barrick’s TSX:ABX Bald Mountain Mine lands. Assays have yet to be released.
Sniper holds a 70% option on the Laura Project, situated on Nevada’s Cortez Trend. The property underwent sampling and drilling in the early 1990s. “I can buy the other 30% for 200,000 shares, but I want to do some geophysics on it, then drill it,” Baxter says.
Columbus‘s Guild Project is a Carlin-type target that Sniper trenched and RC drilled last year under a 51% earn-in. Sniper describes its wholly-owned ReHot claims as “more of a wildcat prospect.” In all, Sniper controls 304 claims covering 2,460 hectares.
At press time Sniper had 31 million shares outstanding at $0.15 for a market cap of $4.7 million. Baxter holds 20.5% of the shares, with an additional 5.5% held by other insiders. Sniper announced March 2 a private placement of up to 3.4 million shares at $0.15 to raise up to $510,000. Proceeds will go to Weepah drilling and working capital.