Sunday 20th August 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘newfoundland’

Jon Armes outlines Kapuskasing’s zinc, copper and cobalt projects in Newfoundland and Labrador

August 8th, 2017

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King’s Bay prepares for Newfoundland copper-cobalt field program

July 26th, 2017

by Greg Klein | July 26, 2017

Update: Effective August 14, 2017, King’s Bay Gold begins trading as King’s Bay Resources TSXV:KBG.

Copper-cobalt findings dating to the 19th century have King’s Bay Gold TSXV:KBG about to begin Phase I exploration on its Trump Island project off Newfoundland’s northern coast. The company has a team ready to study historic data prior to geophysics and grab sampling on the 200-hectare property. Depending on results, Phase II could incorporate drilling.

King’s Bay prepares for Newfoundland copper-cobalt field program

The property’s exploration history dates to 1863, when a Cornish miner sunk a six-metre shaft to follow a zone of massive chalcopyrite. Mineralization reportedly expanded with depth but the technology of the time prevented further excavation. Nevertheless the Cousin Jack reportedly shipped to Wales high-grade copper-cobalt material archaically recorded as “40 pounds per fathom.”

Grab samples collected near the shaft in 1999 showed historic, non-43-101 results up to 3.8% copper, 0.3% cobalt, 2.9 g/t gold and 10.9 g/t silver.

Located seven miles south of the town of Twillingate, Trump Island has boat access to a highway 1.5 kilometres away.

Last month King’s Bay reported geophysical results from another copper-cobalt project, this one along a provincial highway in Labrador. Airborne VTEM over the 24,000-hectare Lynx Lake property revealed a shallow anomaly of high resistivity about 400 metres in diameter and 50 to 300 metres in depth. The results came from the project’s West Pit, where historic, non-43-101 grab samples showed up to 1.03% copper, 0.566% cobalt, 0.1% nickel, 5 g/t silver, 0.36% chromium, 0.39% molybdenum and 0.23% vanadium.

Lynx Lake’s summer agenda includes higher-resolution ground geophysics, possible stripping to expose bedrock south of the pit and follow-up work on historic soil samples on the property’s southeastern area, along with mapping and sampling over both areas.

The company’s portfolio also includes three Quebec properties with historic, non-43-101 cobalt results.

Earlier this month King’s Bay closed a first tranche totalling $316,250 of a private placement offered up to $725,000. The company expects to close the second tranche by the end of August. King’s Bay closed a previous financing of $938,752 in January.

Read about cobalt supply and demand.

See an infographic about cobalt.

Newfoundland newly found

June 26th, 2017

Jon Armes of Kapuskasing Gold talks with Isabel Belger about zinc, copper and cobalt

 

Jon Armes of Kapuskasing Gold talks with Isabel Belger about zinc, copper and cobalt

Isabel Belger

Isabel: I would like to introduce Jon Armes, the president and CEO of Kapuskasing Gold TSXV:KAP. Jon, good to see you again. Tell us something about your background to start with.

Jon: Hi Isabel, good to see you too. I started in the mineral exploration business back in 1993 as an investor relations consultant. I spent the better part of 10 years working for various companies exploring for gold and precious metals as well as base metals and diamonds.

In the mid-2000s I ended up working in the field alongside a couple of different geologists and spent time managing drill programs, splitting drill core, prospecting and assisting in the staking of claims. I also helped structure some companies—bringing project opportunities and public companies together.

In 2010 I was given the opportunity to run a junior exploration company called Lakeland Resources. That company merged with Alpha Exploration in late 2015 and became ALX Uranium [TSXV:AL]. I remained as president until October of 2016 after concluding a transaction with Denison [TSX:DML] on behalf of ALX.

I was appointed president of Kapuskasing Gold in February of 2016. We carried out some drilling last summer on a gold project in Timmins, Ontario, but unfortunately did not intersect anything of significance in that campaign. Since that time I have been looking for the right opportunity or opportunities to bring in to the Kapuskasing property portfolio. The Newfoundland property package seemed like the right fit, and since then we have done some consolidating to the original acquisitions announced on March 1, 2017, and then more recently added the Daniel’s Harbour zinc property to the property portfolio. The copper-cobalt projects are the Lady Pond property and the King’s Court property. The lack of systematic testing for cobalt gave rise to these properties being so interesting because, the few times cobalt was tested for, there were several anomalous values. I particularly like the short- and longer-term outlook for both copper and zinc, and these copper-cobalt projects also provide a polymetallic exposure that includes cobalt, gold and silver.

Isabel: Congratulations on your recent zinc property acquisition in Newfoundland, the Daniel’s Harbour property. What intrigued you about this project?

Jon Armes of Kapuskasing Gold talks with Isabel Belger about zinc, copper and cobalt

With breathtaking geography and bountiful geology, the Rock
and neighbouring Labrador hold potential for Kapuskasing.

Jon: The opportunity to acquire a project that was a past-producer is always an interesting one. There is an old saying in the mining business that the best place to look for a mine or a deposit is in the “shadow of a headframe.” The Mississippi Valley-type nature of these zinc deposits is also intriguing because of the difficulty in finding them. Typically they are found in an outcrop as was the case for the majority of the lenses that were mined out between 1975 and 1990. I am of the belief that there is an opportunity to find more of these lenses within the boundary of the current Daniel’s Harbour zinc property. The fact that Altius [TSX:ALS] has acquired a significant land position within the immediate area of this project only helps to reaffirm my belief. We will do some compilation of the historic work and more recent exploration on the property and incorporate some out-of-the-box thinking on how to employ some geophysics that have either not been used before or perhaps some re-interpretation. Another aspect could be a ground prospecting program that may identify an outcrop or showing on the property that has yet to be found.

Isabel: What are your exploration plans for the coming months?

Jon: Kapuskasing is currently undertaking a small financing to assist in getting things going both on the Daniel’s Harbour property and the Lady Pond copper-cobalt project. As mentioned, the first things for Daniel’s Harbour would be some data compilation and to identify some geophysical techniques to help identify some drill targets.

The Lady Pond copper-cobalt property has a drill-ready target area called the Twin Pond prospect, recently acquired to complete the consolidation of the original Lady Pond property package. We have also staked several claims to cover additional historic showings of copper-cobalt-gold and silver. The Twin Pond prospect has a non-43-101 resource of approximately one million tonnes grading 1% copper, and looks to be open in all directions. [We hope to increase this resource] with a properly designed drill program—ideally in the coming months with the right funding and availability of service companies to carry out the work.

In the immediate area of Lady Pond, there are several past-producing mines and undeveloped prospects that could turn into economic deposits…. Rambler Metals [TSXV:RAB] has several projects and properties in this area, including the Little Deer project contiguous to our Lady Pond property. There is potential with the right combination of funding and exploration success for Kapuskasing to find more than one of these deposits within the Lady Pond property, having had a good start with the Twin Pond prospect.

Isabel: How much of Kapuskasing is held by the management?

Jon: Currently insiders and parties close to the company own approximately 20% of the issued and outstanding shares. Typically the insiders participate in the financings, as will be the case in this one. We are currently looking to raise up to $750,000 in a combination of flow-through and common shares. We hope to close a first tranche financing in the coming weeks to begin deploying exploration capital.

Isabel: What is your favourite commodity besides the ones in your company?

Kapuskasing will be in a great position to take advantage of not just one but several commodity price spikes, the first of which I think will be in both copper and zinc. —Jon Armes

Jon: I do like both copper and zinc, as evidenced by the recent acquisitions. The battery technology metals are also interesting—with cobalt and lithium leading the latest charge. People forget that electricity needs copper. Wires transport the electricity from batteries and generators to the tool or outlet. I consider copper to be the most important metal for the energy metal sector. We have cobalt as a possible byproduct of the two main polymetallic projects in the Lady Pond and King’s Court projects, along with gold, silver and zinc. Kapuskasing will be in a great position to take advantage of not just one but several commodity price spikes, the first of which I think will be in both copper and zinc.

Isabel: What do you like most about your job?

Jon: I like the multifaceted aspects of running a junior exploration program; there never seems to be a dull moment. I get to meet a lot of different people in the mining and finance industry, the prospectors that generate the project ideas, and the service people that ultimately carry out the exploration of the projects with our team of geologists and technicians. The most exciting times are when we are actually carrying out a drill program. It is drilling that ultimately leads to discovery.

Isabel: That is right. Good talking to you Jon, and good luck with the drill program.

Jon: Thank you.

 

Jon Armes of Kapuskasing Gold talks with Isabel Belger about zinc, copper and cobalt

Jon Armes
president/CEO of
Kapuskasing Gold

Bio

Jonathan Armes, also known as Jon, has been the CEO and president of Kapuskasing Gold since February 9, 2016, and a director since October 8, 2014. Jon Armes has been a consultant of ALX Uranium since October 2016. Jon Armes served as the president/CEO of ALX Uranium (formerly, Lakeland Resources) from August 12, 2010, until October 2016. He has provided corporate development and investor relations services to mining exploration companies for over 15 years including Band-Ore Resources (which became part of Lake Shore Gold, which in turn joined Tahoe Resources TSX:THO) and Trelawney Mining and Exploration, an IAMGOLD TSX:IMG takeover. He graduated from the University of Guelph in 1993 with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree.

Fun facts

My hobbies: Fishing, hockey and music
Sources of news I use: News apps on my phone
My favourite airport: Vancouver
My favourite commodities: Copper, gold, zinc, cobalt
My favourite tradeshow: PDAC
With this person I would like to have dinner: Warren Buffet (talking about philanthropy, investing and life)
If I could have a superpower, it would be: Seeing into the future


Read more about Kapuskasing Gold.

Geophysical anomaly heightens King’s Bay interest in Labrador cobalt project

June 19th, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 19, 2017

Update: Effective August 14, 2017, King’s Bay Gold begins trading as King’s Bay Resources TSXV:KBG.

Newly analyzed data has King’s Bay Gold TSXV:KBG planning to resume its search for copper and cobalt beside the Trans-Labrador Highway. Results from last winter’s 382-line-kilometre airborne VTEM survey over the Lynx Lake project reveal a shallow anomaly of high resistivity estimated at about 400 metres in diameter and 50 to 300 metres in depth. The finding comes from the property’s West Pit, where historic, non-43-101 grab samples assayed up to 1.03% copper, 0.566% cobalt, 0.1% nickel, 5 g/t silver, 0.36% chromium, 0.39% molybdenum and 0.23% vanadium.

Geophysical anomaly heightens King’s Bay interest in Labrador cobalt project

Cutting right through the property, the highway offers year-round access to the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, about 1.5 hours
away. Powerlines are under construction along the northern
part of the property.

Summer plans now call for higher-resolution ground geophysics over the target area, potentially followed by overburden stripping to expose bedrock south of the pit. The crew will also follow up on historic soil sample anomalies on the property’s southeastern area. Detailed mapping and sampling will cover both areas.

Interest began in the property as the highway was being built in 2008. A contractor with prospecting experience noticed disseminated and massive sulphides beside the new route. Along with the West Pit results, grab samples east of the highway brought non-43-101 results up to 1.39% copper, 0.94% cobalt, 0.21% nickel and 6.5 g/t silver.

Lynx Lake began as a 2,000-hectare acquisition which King’s Bay expanded to about 24,000 hectares following a review of data from government regional low-resolution magnetic surveys and preliminary handheld EM surveys.

The quest for cobalt has led King’s Bay to other acquisitions. In February the company announced a 100% option on the Trump Island copper-cobalt property in Newfoundland. Earlier that month King’s Bay picked up three Quebec properties with historic, non-43-101 cobalt sampling results.

The company closed a $938,752 private placement in January.

Read about cobalt supply and demand.

See an infographic about cobalt.

Kapuskasing targets zinc past-producer to bolster Newfoundland presence

May 18th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 18, 2017

A former zinc mine with potential for another discovery would expand Kapuskasing Gold’s (TSXV:KAP) portfolio of Newfoundland prospects for high-performing metals. Under a non-binding letter of intent announced May 18, the company would get the 1,050-hectare Daniel’s Harbour property on the Rock’s Great Northern Peninsula.

The announcement follows a recent acquisition of proximal claims by Altius Minerals TSX:ALS, but the former mine sits on property covered by the Kapuskasing deal.

Kapuskasing targets zinc past-producer to bolster Newfoundland presence

In operation from 1975 to 1990, Daniel’s Harbour produced around seven million tonnes averaging 7.8% zinc. A chief characteristic was the mine’s Mississippi Valley Type deposit, a kind that characteristically occurs in clusters or districts, Kapuskasing stated. “There remains potential in the area of the old mine workings of the historic ore bodies continuing at depth or along the favourable breccia horizon,” the company added.

Subject to due diligence and approvals, the 100% acquisition calls for $60,000, 1.75 million shares and $100,000 of spending within two years. A 3% NSR applies, two-thirds of which can be bought back for $2 million. Should Kapuskasing define a resource of five million tonnes at a grade to be determined, the vendor gets a $50,000 bonus.

The news comes amid a busy few months as Kapuskasing collects properties in Newfoundland and Labrador. The company began in March with the acquisition of eight properties offering potential for copper, cobalt or vanadium. Among the standouts is Lady Pond, which an LOI announced last week would expand to 1,625 hectares covering historic mine workings. Surface grab samples graded up to 3.3% copper, 0.12% cobalt and 813 ppb gold.

While previous operators focused on copper, Kapuskasing sees potential for other metals including cobalt. The company has drilling planned later this year.

Another recently expanded March acquisition is King’s Court, now 2,275 hectares covering at least 10 copper showings at surface. Historic channel samples included 14% copper over three metres, 9.3% over 10 metres, 19% over 2.13 metres and 15.87% over 2.59 metres, along with cobalt samples up to 0.24%. The company has sent a 4.79-metre section of drill core to be re-assayed for cobalt and other elements.

Additional acquisitions bring with them historic, non-43-101 results:

  • Alexis, with grab samples up to 0.422% nickel and 0.822% cobalt

  • Cape Charles, with grab samples up to 1.12% copper, 0.47% nickel and 0.526% cobalt

  • Hayes, with a reported 27,000 tonnes averaging 54% iron, 9% titanium and 0.2% vanadium

  • Indian Head, with two dormant mines and iron-titanium-vanadium mineralization

  • Iron Mountain, with grab samples up to 39.8% iron and 0.26% vanadium

  • Ross Lake, with drill intercepts of 21.49% titanium dioxide, 0.24% vanadium and 0.16% chromium oxide over 13 metres; as well as 15.9% titanium dioxide, 0.2% vanadium and 0.13% chromium oxide over 11 metres

Again, those are historic, non-43-101 results.

With Daniel’s Harbour and Lady Pond as dual flagships, Kapuskasing has a busy year planned. Last month the company offered private placements totalling up to $750,000, including up to $250,000 in flow-through.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba first and second globally as mining jurisdictions

March 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 1, 2017

Saskatchewan edged one notch upwards to take first place worldwide while Manitoba soared from 19th to second in this year’s Fraser Institute survey of mining and exploration jurisdictions. Those two provinces pushed last year’s top performer, Western Australia, down to third place. Canada’s other top 10 spot went to Quebec, rising to sixth from eighth the year before. All continents but Antarctica came under scrutiny but Canadian, American, Australian and European locales monopolized the top 10.

Farther down the list, the strongest Canadian improvements were Newfoundland and Labrador, climbing to 16th from 25th, and the Northwest Territories, now 21st, previously 35th. Most disappointing were British Columbia (falling to 27th from 18th), Nunavut (31st from 23rd) and Alberta (47th from 34th).

Those findings come from the survey’s Investment Attractiveness Index, which combines two other indices—Policy Perception, a “report card” on government attitudes, and Best Practices Mineral Potential, concerning geological appeal. Representatives of 104 companies responded with their 2016 experiences in mind, giving a numerical rating to questions in several categories regarding their likelihood of investing in a particular jurisdiction. The previous year 109 companies responded.

Here’s the top 10 globally for overall investment attractiveness, with last year’s standings in parentheses:

1 Saskatchewan (2)

2 Manitoba (19)

3 Western Australia (1)

4 Nevada (3)

5 Finland (5)

6 Quebec (8)

7 Arizona (17)

8 Sweden (13)

9 Ireland (4)

10 Queensland (16)

Here are the Canadian runners-up:

15 Yukon (12)

16 Newfoundland and Labrador (25)

18 Ontario (15)

21 Northwest Territories (35)

27 British Columbia (18)

31 Nunavut (23)

40 New Brunswick (45)

47 Alberta (34)

52 Nova Scotia (59)

At least those provinces and territories steered far clear of the bottom 10, where Argentina figures prominently:

95 Mozambique (84)

96 Zimbabwe (98)

97 India (73)

98 Mendoza province, Argentina (101)

99 La Rioja province, Argentina (109)

100 Afghanistan (not available)

101 Chubut province, Argentina (104)

102 Venezuela (108)

103 Neuquen province, Argentina (93)

104 Jujuy province, Argentina (86)

“We believe that the survey captures, at least in broad strokes, the perceptions of those involved in both mining and the regulation of mining in the jurisdictions included in the survey,” stated authors Taylor Jackson and Kenneth P. Green.

Download the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2016.

King’s Bay flies geophysics over Labrador copper-cobalt project

February 28th, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 28, 2017

Following a 12-fold expansion of the property last month, King’s Bay Gold TSXV:KBG announced a VTEM survey now airborne on the Lynx Lake copper-cobalt project in southeastern Labrador. Survey operator Geotech Ltd says its proprietary system reaches more than 800 metres in depth, featuring high spatial resolution as well as a low base frequency to pass through conductive overburden. “This system is advertised to be able to delineate potential drill hole targets from the airborne results,” King’s Bay stated. The survey’s expected to wrap up by mid-April.

King’s Bay flies geophysics over Labrador copper-cobalt project

Field work revealed gossan and
massive sulphides at Lynx Lake.

Lynx Lake’s potential came to light after the Trans-Labrador Highway opened up the region in 2008. Grab samples from the 24,000-hectare property’s east side showed non-43-101 results up to 1.39% copper, 0.94% cobalt, 0.21% nickel and 6.5 g/t silver. On the west side, non-43-101 grab samples assayed up to 1.03% copper, 0.566% cobalt, 0.1% nickel, 5 g/t silver, 0.36% chromium, 0.39% molybdenum and 0.23% vanadium.

A regional low-res magnetic survey conducted by the province and a hand-held EM device brought preliminary indications of strong conductors in the area. A 90-minute drive from the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Lynx Lake has powerlines and a highway adjacent to the property.

Two weeks earlier King’s Bay announced a 100% option on the Trump Island property in Newfoundland, where a shipment of high-grade copper-cobalt material was reportedly mined in 1863. In early February the company picked up three Quebec properties, all of which had historic, non-43-101 sampling results showing cobalt.

King’s Bay closed a $938,752 private placement in January.

See an infographic: Cobalt—A precarious supply chain.

As cobalt prices soar, King’s Bay expands prospects with Newfoundland acquisition

February 16th, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 16, 2017

A name and a commodity that are both objects of feverish attention seem to meet up in Newfoundland, where King’s Bay Gold TSXV:KBG has acquired the Trump Island copper-cobalt property. A 100% option announced February 16 expands the company’s cobalt prospects in Newfoundland, Labrador and Quebec.

Back in 1863 a Cornish miner sunk a six-metre shaft to follow a zone of massive chalcopyrite. He reportedly sent a shipment of high-grade copper-cobalt ore to Wales.

King’s Bay expands cobalt prospects with Newfoundland acquisition

Grab samples collected nearby in 1999 brought historic, non-43-101 results up to 3.8% copper, 0.3% cobalt, 2.9 g/t gold and 10.9 g/t silver.

The initial King’s Bay agenda would call for additional sampling, along with mapping and a local-scale electromagnetic survey on the 200-hectare property. Successful results could bring a summer drill campaign.

Subject to approvals, King’s Bay gets Trump Island for 200,000 shares at a deemed value of $0.195 and a 2% NSR.

The boat-accessible property sits seven kilometres south of Twillingate, a town immortalized in Newfoundland’s unofficial national anthem.

In Labrador, meanwhile, King’s Bay has airborne EM planned for its Lynx Lake copper-cobalt project, where grab samples have shown non-43-101 results up to 1.39% copper, 0.94% cobalt and 0.21% nickel, as well as chromium, molybdenum and vanadium values. Last month the company expanded Lynx Lake from about 2,000 hectares to approximately 24,000 hectares.

Earlier this month King’s Bay picked up three cobalt projects in Quebec. The company closed a $938,752 private placement in January.

The acquisitions come as cobalt prices continue their meteoric rise, hitting six-year highs up to $20 a pound, reported MetalBulletin.com. That represents an approximately 50% increase since September, according to Reuters. Stating that many traders are hoarding the metal, Reuters predicted a supply deficit this year “exacerbated by an insecure supply chain. Almost 60% of the world’s cobalt lies in politically risky Democratic Republic of Congo.”

See an infographic about cobalt.

Updated: Financing, permitting, 12-fold expansion bring King’s Bay closer to Labrador copper-cobalt exploration

January 17th, 2017

by Greg Klein | January 15, 2017

Update: On January 17, King’s Bay announced the expansion of its Lynx Lake property from about 2,000 hectares to approximately 24,000 hectares “to adequately cover the geological structures and geophysical signatures of interest.”

 

With a provincial permit in hand and a $938,752 private placement that closed earlier this month, King’s Bay Gold TSXV:KBG readies for airborne EM over its Lynx Lake copper-cobalt project in south-central Labrador. The survey will precede a proposed first-ever drill program for the property.

Financing, permitting bring King’s Bay closer to Labrador copper-cobalt exploration

Previous work began after construction of the Trans-Labrador Highway in 2008, which unlocked some of the region’s geology. Grab samples from a quarry on the property’s east side showed non-43-101 results up to 1.39% copper, 0.94% cobalt, 0.21% nickel and 6.5 g/t silver. Other non-43-101 grab sample results from a west-side quarry ranged up to 1.03% copper, 0.566% cobalt, 0.1% nickel, 5 g/t silver, 0.36% chromium, 0.39% molybdenum and 0.23% vanadium.

Preliminary evidence of strong conductors in the area came from the province’s regional low-res magnetic surveys and a hand-held EM-16 device.

With highway and powerlines running adjacent to the property, Lynx Lake can be reached by a 1.5-hour drive from the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Cobalt, one of the energy metals essential to battery manufacture, presents especially troubling supply concerns due to the instability and human rights infractions of the metal’s largest producer, the Democratic Republic of Congo. See an infographic about cobalt’s precarious supply chain.

Opportunism knocks

December 5th, 2016

First Mining Finance found bad times beneficial for good deals

by Greg Klein

Struggling junior? Not this company. Since its trading debut in April 2015, First Mining Finance TSXV:FF has compiled 25 projects covering some 300,000 hectares, from early stage to a PEA with 4.4 million gold ounces indicated. Just as aggressively, the company boosted its treasury to a current $35 million. Now First Mining looks forward to a $21-million exploration and development program for 2017 that includes 47,000 metres of drilling.

“We were able to execute on the vision of the company, which last year was to take advantage of the bear market and acquire projects,” VP of investor relations Derek Iwanaka explains. “I don’t know of any other company that was able to acquire as many projects, or projects as good as we got, during that period.”

First Mining Finance found bad times beneficial for good deals

Located in northwestern Ontario’s Birch-Uchi greenstone belt,
First Mining’s 32,448-hectare Springpole flagship has an
updated PEA scheduled for next year.

Certainly there were deals to be had for canny acquisitors. But that was while many other companies faced financing difficulties. First Mining bucked the trend last August by closing a $27-million private placement. How did they pull that off?

“Quite easily,” responds Iwanaka. “We were literally turning down millions of dollars. We had over $70 million in orders but we didn’t want that kind of dilution. So we just took the $27 million. That should carry us for at least the next few years, including all the drilling and overhead.”

First Mining seems to have something that eludes others.

“First of all we have Keith Neumeyer at the helm, who runs a multi-billion-dollar company as it stands,” says Iwanaka. “Keith has been adept at starting companies during very bad times and manoeuvring them so when times are good we can reap the rewards for our shareholders.”

Among companies founded by the First Mining director were First Quantum Minerals TSX:FM and First Majestic Silver TSX:FR, where Neumeyer’s president/CEO. First Majestic acts as a sort of mentor to First Mining, placing some FR directors in FF’s management and board, helping to get the new company started, lending it about $1 million, vending three Mexican properties and even providing office space.

Among considerations behind an acquisition are “size and quality of the project,” Iwanaka points out. “We look at projects with good grade, scalability, exploration upside. The jurisdiction’s quite important to us. We’re basically looking at North America, but not the North. We will look at South America as well. Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland are our favourite places although we could go to other provinces too. In the U.S. we see Nevada and Arizona as fairly mining-friendly states. We could probably look at New Mexico as well. We do have some early-stage properties in Mexico, where First Majestic has its base, but we certainly focus on Canada.”

As for commodities, “we particularly like gold but silver, platinum and palladium are also attractive, as well as base metals—anything that’s exchange-tradeable.”

Other factors include “the price of the projects, the holding cost, the infrastructure. In many cases the projects we take already have roads and power lines going to them.”

If gold’s the company’s focus, the Springpole flagship explains why. Described as one of Canada’s largest undeveloped gold projects, the northwestern Ontario potential open pit came with the past owner’s 2013 PEA. Using a 0.4 g/t gold cutoff, the 2012 resource showed:

  • indicated: 128.2 million tonnes averaging 1.07 g/t gold and 5.7 g/t silver for 4.41 million ounces gold and 23.8 million ounces silver

  • inferred: 25.7 million tonnes averaging 0.83 g/t gold and 3.2 g/t silver for 690,000 ounces gold and 2.7 million ounces silver

First Mining has work underway to bring the resource and PEA up to date. But looking back at 2013, the report calculated a post-tax NPV of US$388 million using a 5% discount, with a 13.8% post-tax IRR. Initial capex came to US$438 million with payback in 35 months of an 11-year mine life.

First Mining Finance found bad times beneficial for good deals

Visible gold was one attraction of the Goldlund project,
which has another 27,000 metres of drilling planned.

“We expect the updated PEA will be even more robust,” Iwanaka says. “The U.S. dollar has appreciated since 2013, when it was at par. We’re also looking at increasing the recovery and the pit shell. Those three things could substantially improve the economics and we hope to have the new PEA out probably by the first half of next year.”

With assays pending, a four-hole, 1,712-metre fall program provided metallurgical fodder. Next summer’s agenda calls for another 6,000 metres of infill to upgrade the resource. In the meantime, pre-permitting environmental and baseline work will soon begin.

A newer acquisition gets even more rig attention next year. Goldlund, about 60 kilometres north of Dryden and roughly 200 klicks south of Springpole, has 27,000 metres planned to upgrade the resource and work towards an eventual PEA. The former open pit and underground operation came with an estimate that First Mining considers an historic non-43-101. Using a 0.4 g/t gold cutoff, it showed:

  • measured and indicated: 19.1 million tonnes averaging 1.94 g/t for 1.19 million ounces gold

  • inferred: 25.8 million tonnes averaging 2.51 g/t for 2.08 million ounces

Cameron, maybe another 100 kilometres south of Goldlund, gets up to 9,000 metres of infill to pump up the measured and indicated prior to PEA. Using a 0.5 g/t cutoff, a 2015 resource from Chalice Gold Mines TSX:CXN showed:

  • measured: 3.72 million tonnes averaging 2.64 g/t for 316,000 ounces gold

  • indicated: 4.1 million tonnes averaging 1.92 g/t for 253,000 ounces

  • inferred: 14.5 million tonnes averaging 1.92 g/t for 894,000 ounces

Moving to southwestern Newfoundland, Hope Brook will see 5,000 metres of exploration and infill. A high 3 g/t gold cutoff gives the current resource:

  • indicated: 5.5 million tonnes averaging 4.77 g/t for 844,000 ounces gold

  • inferred: 836,000 tonnes averaging 4.11 g/t for 110,000 ounces

Again, a resource upgrade precedes a PEA, this one slated for late 2017.

Back in Ontario and roughly 110 kilometres northeast of the Springpole flagship, autumn drilling has wrapped up at Pickle Crow. Assays from the nine-hole, 1,319-metre campaign are expected in early 2017. The former mine came with a 2011 inferred resource that used a 2.25 g/t gold cutoff for an underground deposit and a 0.35 g/t cutoff for an open pit deposit:

Underground

  • 6.52 million tonnes averaging 5.4 g/t for 1.14 million ounces gold

Open pit

  • 3.63 million tonnes averaging 1.1 g/t for 126,000 ounces

Total

  • 10.15 million tonnes averaging 3.9 g/t for 1.26 million ounces

With assays to come, drilling to do and announcements for other North American projects anticipated, First Mining plans a steady news flow, says Iwanaka.