Otterburn drills Palladium-Platinum in Finland
By Greg Klein
(UPDATE: Effective Sept. 26, 2011, Otterburn Ventures Inc will change its name to Finore Mining Inc. The company’s CNSX trading symbol will change from OTB to FIN.)
Nano-caps—companies with market caps often well below $75 million—”have the greatest potential for outsize performance,” according to Paul Zweng, a Portfolio Manager with Resource Venture Advisors. “You can literally generate 10-times returns with these tiny companies.” Needless to say, there is risk. “That is why you really need to understand the geology, the prospectivity and the management team,” he emphasizes. “Are these people who can husband their money and their resources carefully?”
Following Zweng’s advice, these would be the criteria to evaluate Otterburn Ventures’ recently optioned Läntinen Koillismaa Project (LK) in Finland. A palladium-platinum property with gold, copper and nickel, it’s further advanced than the projects Zweng referred to, despite Otterburn’s nano $14-million cap. LK already has a resource estimate, an experienced drill team, a highly regarded management team and, Otterburn President Steven Green says, plenty of blue-sky potential.
Value for money was what brought Otterburn to Finland and LK. The company pulled out of a venture in Tanzania when drill results turned spotty. “We decided we’d better preserve our cash and look at properties elsewhere,” Green explains. “Shortly thereafter, the opportunity in Finland came up. After the Tanzanian experience, we really wanted to see the stability of the country and the stability of the mining environment. Then on top of that you’re looking for all the usual things related to a potential property—that it’s underfunded but doesn’t have any serious flaws, that politically and environmentally it looks like it has growable mineralization. That’s what attracted us to LK. I went over in mid-July, and what I found were four interesting properties. A good, small, knowledgeable staff was on site; they knew what they wanted to do and why they wanted to do it. It looks like there’s a lot of potential along strike and at depth. It has power, a lot of infrastructure. This is a country that is quite interested in mining. In fact, the local community could actually get involved in funding. There’s a nearby vanadium mine that they’re opening, and the community is actually investing in it. We thought we had a much more attractive place to do business.”
A February 2011 resource by Nortec Minerals estimates 60,332 ounces palladium, 19,492 ounces platinum, 6,497 ounces gold, 4,908 tonnes copper and 3,464 tonnes nickel indicated and 378,263 ounces palladium, 133,007 ounces platinum, 91,279 ounces gold, 63,153 tonnes copper and 40,534 tonnes nickel inferred. The estimate covers just two of LK’s four properties and suggests potential large-tonnage, open-pit mining.
A JV with Nortec came through last August, granting Otterburn the option to acquire up to an 80% interest in LK. The agreement has Otterburn earning the initial 49% by paying Nortec $4.5 million, issuing Nortec $2 million in shares and spending $5 million on the project. As for the additional 31%, Otterburn must pay Nortec $3 million, issue Nortec $1 million in shares and spend $5 million. Otterburn must also issue 400,000 common shares to Nortec and 1.85 million common shares to a third party as a finder’s fee.
Green says that even without the extra financing that Otterburn is now working on, the company has enough cash on hand for up to a year of drilling. The next program starts in November, despite LK’s location 65 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle.
“There are sections in all four properties which are on hard ground; they can be drilled any time of the year,” Green says. “There’s an all-weather highway right in the middle of it, power lines right through the middle of it and a rail head about 40 kilometres south. A two-hour drive along the highway takes you to the city of Oulu, which has the main airport and a seaport leading to the Baltic.”
It looks like we could turn this into a potential operating deposit which would give us revenue. We’re in a stable environment; we’ve got room to grow; and we’ve got a good team in place —Steven Green
Green explains that, apart from drilling, geophysics normally constitute the largest exploration expense, and this is an expense Otterburn won’t face for some time, thanks to the advance work done by Nortec.
As it explores the property further, Otterburn intends to apply for a listing on a more senior stock exchange.
Returning to Zweng’s criteria for a successful nano-cap—”the geology, the prospectivity and the management team”—it’s time to ask whether the company is led by “people who can husband their money and their resources carefully.”
A geologist with over 25 years’ experience, Green has worked for Freeport McMoRan, Noranda, Santa Fe Pacific Gold and Cambior. Most recently, he took charge of geological data for Fronteer’s US operations. With experience in Alaska and northern Canada, he’s undaunted by Finland’s Arctic.
CEO/Director Peter Hughes is co-founder of Pirie Hughes Consulting and has over 25 years of management experience in pharmaceuticals, alternative energy and mineral exploration.
Director David Eaton also acts as CEO/Executive Director of Jayden Resources and Managing Director of the Baron Group, a few highlights of his more than 20 years experience building junior resource companies.
Geological Adviser Lawrence Dick is noted for a number of significant discoveries and holds or has held senior positions with companies including Jayden Resources, Sprott Resource, Golden Fame Resources, Evolving Gold, Timmins Gold and Confederation Minerals.
As if he’s directly addressing Zweng’s criteria, Green sums up the LK Project this way: “We have an interesting platinum-palladium property with gold, copper and nickel. It looks like we could turn this into a potential operating deposit which would give us revenue. We’re in a stable environment; we’ve got room to grow; and we’ve got a good team in place.”
At press time Otterburn had $3.5 million in cash and 38.4 million shares at $0.34 for a $13.1 million market cap.
Disclaimer: Otterburn Ventures Inc is a client of OnPage Media.
Disclaimer: Jayden Resources Inc is a client of OnPage Media.