Pacific North West is a N American Choice
By Ted Niles
Two things bode well for Pacific North West Capital Corp TSX:PFN and its River Valley PGM-gold project in Ontario. The first is the continuing growth in automotive manufacture, driven (so to speak) in large part by the burgeoning Chinese market. This means a concomitant increase in the production of autocatalysts, the largest single source of industrial demand for platinum group metals. The second is the social and political instability in South Africa, compounded by its ongoing electricity crisis, which threaten its status as the largest platinum producer, and second largest palladium producer, in the world.
Bill Stone, appointed Pacific North West’s President and COO September 7, adds, “Russia [the largest producer of palladium] consider their PGMs a state secret, so it’s difficult to determine what they have stockpiled and what they’re going to do. Part of our business model is to provide an alternative for PGM mining—which is North America. It’s a safer, less risky environment for PGM mining operations.”
The particular location of the River Valley project provides yet another boon to the company. Sixty-kilometres east of Sudbury, River Valley is situated at the very heart of Canada’s nickel-copper mining industry. “There’s paved roads—you can drive right to the project—power is nearby, railway is nearby,” Stone reports. “Perhaps most important, Sudbury has nickel smelters and nickel refineries and nickel concentrators sitting there with excess capacity. In terms of moving the project forward into mining we don’t have to build a smelter or potentially even a concentrator. All of that is already present in the area.”
The 6,600-hectare River Valley project was originally optioned by Pacific North West in 1998. In 1999, it was optioned it to Anglo Platinum Ltd, the largest platinum-producing company in the world. Following the 2008 market crash and a change in management at Anglo Platinum, work effectively ceased at River Valley. In January 2011 Pacific North West acquired 100% interest of the project, and Anglo Platinum became the company’s major shareholder (9%). The joint venture yielded a 2006 NI 43-101 measured resource estimate of 342,000 ounces palladium, 112,400 ounces platinum and 19,600 ounces gold; indicated resources of 391,100 ounces palladium, 132,600 ounces platinum and 24,000 ounces gold; and 38,400 ounces palladium, 13,100 ounces platinum and 2,100 ounces gold inferred.
Stone remarks that it has been “six to seven years since the last report was done, and platinum prices, as well as gold and other metal prices, have changed since then. It’s time for an update. We’re doing drilling to produce a more robust and potentially larger resource.”
In addition to updating the resource, Pacific North West’s current 15,500-metre drill program will test new targets on the property. The company is also conducting an IP geophysical survey. The new resource estimate is planned for the end of 1Q 2012. From there, Stone says, the company will do one of two things: “If the results are as good as we hope, it may make sense to go directly into [a preliminary economic assessment]. But if we drill one of these IP targets and we find a new zone of mineralization, it may make more sense to drill that out and put it into a resource classification before we move into scoping.”
September 27 assays of the River Valley project include
- 1.99 grams per tonne palladium, 0.69 g/t platinum, 0.12 g/t gold, 0.01 g/t rhodium, 0.02% nickel and 0.12% copper over 27 metres (including 2.57 g/t
- palladium, 0.91 g/t platinum, 0.14 g/t gold, 0.01 g/t rhodium, 0.04% nickel and 0.2% copper over 12 metres)
- 3.2 g/t palladium, 0.99 g/t platinum, 0.13 g/t gold, 0.01 g/t rhodium, 0.02% nickel and 0.16% copper over 9 metres (including 5.44 g/t palladium, 1.58 g/t platinum, 0.19 g/t gold, 0.02 g/t rhodium, 0.04% nickel and 0.27% copper over 4 metres)
- 1.56 g/t palladium, 0.5 g/t platinum, 0.09 g/t gold, 0.01 g/t rhodium, 0.03% nickel and 0.13% copper over 19 metres (including 2.5 g/t palladium, 0.79 g/t platinum, 0.14 g/t gold, 0.01 g/t rhodium, 0.04% nickel and 0.19% copper over 5 metres)
Stone comments, “We’ve been reporting among the best, if not the best, intercepts that have ever been reported for the project. We’re very pleased with the way the results have been so far and anticipate further excellent results moving forward.”
We want to be at the leading edge of providing a North American alternative for platinum group mineral mining —Bill Stone
Pacific North West currently has $6.2 million in cash and securities and has no debt. Stone expects that the company will do a “small flow-through financing” this fall to ensure that it is adequately financed in the event that one of its new targets requires follow-up drilling.
As the company is primarily focused on exploration and development, Pacific North West is in the early stages of finding a joint venture partner for River Valley. Stone concludes, “We want to be at the leading edge of providing a North American alternative for platinum group mineral mining. What we want to do is find good projects and develop them to a certain point, then get a partner in to carry them on into mining. We’re interested in talking to some South African-based producers and some producers elsewhere looking for a safer place to be in the immediate to long term.”
Pacific North West Capital Corp’s TSX:PFN other major project is the Rock & Roll property in BC, which has indicated resources of 47,040 ounces gold and 5.73 million ounces silver. The company is also a major shareholder in Fire River Gold Corp TSX:FAU, whose Nixon Fork mine started production in July 2011. At press time, the company had 94.1 million shares trading at $0.165 for a market cap of $15.5 million.