Wednesday 23rd September 2020

Resource Clips

A cornucopia in B.C.

Isabel Belger discusses precious and base metals, industrial commodities with René Bernard of Mountain Boy Minerals


Isabel Belger discusses precious and base metals, industrial minerals with Rene Bernard of Mountain Boy Minerals

Isabel Belger

Isabel: I would like to introduce the new chairman of Mountain Boy Minerals TSXV:MTB, René Bernard. Hi René, it is a pleasure to talk to you again and congratulations on becoming chairman. Tell us a little bit about your background, and the decision for you to become chairman of Mountain Boy Minerals.

René: Thank you Isabel, it is always a pleasure to talk to you. Several years ago, I researched a number of junior exploration companies to invest in. I came across Mountain Boy Minerals and was attracted by their 20% carried interest in the Silver Coin property, a 43-101 resource next to a mature mining camp, and their ownership in several other properties with high-grade gold and silver mineralization. After my initial investment, I started talking to management and had an opportunity to visit the properties. As my share position grew over time I offered the company experience I had gained as CEO, president and director of several listed companies in the mineral resource sector. When I agreed to be a director, I was asked by the board to be chair and to actively help with their vision to advance the company’s mining assets.

Isabel: Mountain Boy Minerals projects are all in British Columbia. Could you give a little overview of your properties?

René: Ed [Kruchkowski], our president and CEO, has worked as a geologist in the Golden Triangle of northwestern B.C. for decades. This has allowed him to acquire over time some of the most promising properties. All of our properties, from the gold-rich Silver Coin and Red Cliff claim blocks to the MB Silver, which hosts Bonanza-grade silver mineralization, to the two large VMS zones present on the BA and Surprise Creek properties, have the potential to be operating mines. Not to take away from our precious and base metal assets, we also find industrial metals in our properties which could be profitably mined due to the proximity of roads, power and a deep water port within 30 to 40 kilometres. Earlier this year, we acquired a zeolite property in southern B.C. which is also close to the markets this mineral targets for its use.

Isabel: What have been the highlights so far?

René: There are many, but what comes to mind is the 43-101 report on the Silver Coin showing a large gold resource, our continued success in drilling into high-grade gold mineralization at Red Cliff, and our recent acquisition of the 50% interest in the BA and Surprise Creek properties.

Isabel: Cobalt and lithium have gained a lot of attention within the last year or so. MTB owns properties with the interesting commodities barite and zeolite. Could you explain to the readers what these two (maybe not so well known) commodities are used for and shed some light on why they are interesting?

Isabel Belger discusses precious and base metals, industrial minerals with Rene Bernard of Mountain Boy Minerals

René Bernard took up Mountain Boy
Minerals’ board leadership in May.

René: There would be no oil and gas exploration as we know it today without barite. It is a heavy non-metal mineral which is used as a weighing agent in drilling fluids to control pressure. There are no real alternatives to the use of this mineral. It is deemed a critical mineral as there is not enough local supply to meet demand. As per USGS, 78% of the North American demand was met through imports in 2016, mostly from China, India and Morocco. The USGS quotes the average value per ton as $198 f.o.b. mill. Our situation is unique in that we identified … barite within a large VMS system. The embedded barite zones also carry significant base and precious metal values, as observed by surface sampling and drilling, which adds value in the processing stage. The property is within eight kilometres of a B.C. Hydro transmission line and within 30 minutes’ trucking distance to the deep water port of Stewart.

At our zeolite property we have large zeolite beds with similar favourable infrastructure. Zeolite is called the mineral of a thousand uses. You will see its application in agriculture, water filtration, municipal wastewater treatment, oil spill and soil remediation, and much more.

Isabel: What‘s your strategy and your next steps with the two projects, maybe relating to how much easier it is to produce these in comparison to gold, and how that could help to make revenue—which could be used for developing the other projects?

René: On the barite project, we need to establish a 43-101 resource through systematic drilling. We have submitted material to an analytical lab to show metal recovery and barite specification through gravity and flotation treatment. Later in the year we will have to perform larger-scale testing to show that the process will work in a large operation. We will soon seek to engage industry partners in this exciting discovery.

At the zeolite property we are in the process of conducting several studies which will help us to get the support of the provincial government and local First Nations stakeholders in applying for a quarry licence in the future. We will also need to block out significant volumes through drilling and trenching, and submit samples for testing. The idea has been floating within the company to engage an engineering firm to test for processes to create a slow-release fertilizer. A value-added product like this could be marketed in large quantities and add great value for the company.

Isabel: What is the most exciting thing happening right now at Mountain Boy?

Isabel Belger discusses precious and base metals, industrial minerals with Rene Bernard of Mountain Boy Minerals

An intercept from late last year on the Ataman zone of Mountain Boy’s
50%-held Surprise Creek project showed 4.31% zinc, 44.75 g/t silver,
0.33% copper and 67% barite over 4.58 metres.

René: Our current drill program on the Red Cliff property, which started a couple of weeks ago, and getting ready to do work on the Ataman zone, a 600-metre-wide VMS system we discovered recently on the Surprise Creek property.

Isabel: What are the plans for the rest of 2017?

René: To do good work in advancing our properties with a focus on near-production opportunities. On the corporate side, we will focus on showing our shareholders and potential shareholders the value we see in our different properties. We will reach out to the mining and petroleum industry to attract potential equity partners. These partners would offer more to us than just money; their experience with commodities such as gold, silver, zinc, as well as barite and zeolite, and how to mine them and bring them to market. The company will be in early consultation with provincial and local government and the representatives of First Nations communities.

Isabel: How much money do you have in the bank?

René: Money is always a rare commodity with junior mineral explorers as we are tasked to spend it in developing our properties as soon as we receive it. We are contacting potential industry partners for financial participation and will work with the investment industry and individual shareholders to secure the funds necessary.

Isabel: How much of Mountain Boy is held by the management?

René: Management owns approximately 40% of the outstanding shares. We want to show our investors and co-owners that we truly believe in the value of our assets.

Isabel: What do you like about the mineral exploration business?

René: It is exciting and highly rewarding once an economic resource has been discovered and developed.

Isabel: What is your favourite commodity and why?

René: I like gold; though we all like gold (laughs). I favour silver and zinc to be champions due to depleting stockpiles and ever-increasing uses. I like the practical applications industrial minerals such as barite and zeolite are sought for and how fast they can be brought into production with minimal investments, creating much-desired cash flow.

Isabel: Where do you see the gold price?

René: Somewhere within $1,100 and $1,400 from the understanding I have about the markets and what drives supply and demand.

Read more about Mountain Boy Minerals here and here.

See an infographic about B.C.’s Golden Triangle.

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