2019 was a year filled with ups and downs across the market. We’ve seen the cannabis sector get demolished, gold spike over $1,500, some major new discoveries were made as well as some very large mergers and acquisitions by majors. Almost every CEO, analyst and professional we have spoken to this year agrees that a bull market in metals is looming and we are set for a break out. After suffering through a bear market in the mining sector for the last 8-9 years, it will be nice to see an influx of new money come into the sector.
Who will be the top performers in the junior space this year? Who are potential takeover targets? What new discoveries will be made and what companies will come out of the wood works and break out into new highs?
We hope we can help you to identify a few opportunities and shed light on some of the sectors hottest plays. The focus of this article will be on juniors under a dollar, multi asset portfolios and junior miners stepping into producer roles. We will look at each company, their projects and activities over the course of 2019 along with highlighted upcoming catalysts to watch for in the new 2020.
Note* The following companies are in no particular order as we see value in all of them, but we encourage you to go beyond our review and as always do your own research before getting your feet wet.
Summary of Part 1
RJK Explorations Inc. (TSX.V:RJX)
RJK Explorations is a Northern Ontario based Company focused on finding the source of the 800 carat Nipissing Yellow Diamond. If you have never heard of the diamond before, don’t worry, you’re not alone, The story got overshadowed by the great silver rush of 1903, that flooded Cobalt at the time. However, if RJK has their way, it will be the hottest story the market has seen in a very long time! The company has been very active of late in building up a land package, exploring the properties and building a team focused on writing the conclusion to the Nipissing Diamond story.
This whole story started with the discovery of a very rare type 2A Diamond in the Nipissing district of Northern Ontario. Nobody knows the exact location the diamond was found but bits of information from newspaper articles and publications have led this team to an area referred to by Tiffany & Co. from a 1906 publication whereby they stated that they sent a team to an area west of lake Temiskaming to search for the source rock of the 800 carat “Nipissing” Diamond.
Nobody is sure who found it but it ended up with the local MP at the time, Mr. Aubin. At some point a renowned artist and parishioner named Father Paradis came across the rare stone and made a detailed sketch of it along with a written report describing it. The Diamond was eventually sent to Tiffany & Co to be cut and from there the timeline gets somewhat lost, however RJK Exploration has had some success in tracing down what’s left of the Nipissing Diamond.
It’s been over 100 years since the discovery and there has been plenty of exploration done in the area. Many kimberlites have been found scattered around Temiskaming Shores but no one has yet found the source of the Nipissing Diamond. This is partially due to limited technology and also in part to how diamonds have been looked for in the past. Prior to the 80’s most diamond explorers in Canada followed the African model which did not take glaciation into account when searching for indicators and if no G10 Garnets were found then the pipes were often overlooked
Tony Bishop has spent the last 5 years prospecting the property and formulating his own thesis on diamond exploration and having an incredible amount of success in doing so. He was able to effectively determine that glaciation was not able to carry the diamond from New Liskeard due to elevation changes. Tony has also mapped out the last glacier that passed over the area to help delineate the true glaciation patterns around his targets. This has allowed Tony to come up with 18 potential kimberlite targets and attract some of the areas most prominent geologists to have a look at what he was up to.
He has devoted his life to understanding his property in great detail and his hard work started paying off when Glenn Kasner, CEO of RJK Exploration caught wind of what he was doing. For years Tony had been quietly building up the evidence he needed to get people to pay attention and once he was ready to roll it out; it didn’t take long for people to take notice that he might be on to something.
RJK signed a deal with Tony Bishop in 2019 for the rights to explore his land and quickly went to work building up a very impressive land package in the world famous cobalt mining camp. It was no secret the hunt for diamonds was on in the area because Debeers has been flying the area since March. Over the summer in 2019 RJK did till sampling and SGH testing covering as many targets as possible. They also completed geophysical work on the properties in preparation of their upcoming drilling campaign.
The final pieces were put in place when they added a wealth of experience in Jim Mackay, Gary Grabowski, Gino Chitaroni, Martin Ethier, Peter Hubacheck and Al Kon to the advisory board. The connection between these gentlemen share is the Haileybury School of mines. They all attended the school together and have heard the story of the Nipissing Diamond throughout their careers and here they are to 30 years later embarking on this adventure.
This fall marked the start of their story as the company rebranded and launched their new website, announced the new advisors and closed a private placement. They have also increased their land holdings and acquired the rights to a very well known and sought after target, owned by prospector Al Kon. RJK Exploration now has 35 potential kimbelite targets to follow up on and have made it known they have plans to start drilling their most prospective targets this winter.
2020 is going to be very exciting for RJK Exploration and the Bishop family as they put drills in the ground to confirm their findings. The company should be reporting the results of their sampling over the summer which might offer indications of why they have increased their land package the way they have recently. The impact on the local economy could be tremendous and diamond discoveries have a tendency to make people very wealthy. This is just the beginning of the RJK story and their hunt for the Source of the Nipissing Diamond and we will be watching very closely to see how it develops.
RNC Minerals (TSX:RNX)
There is no doubt that RNC Minerals had its ups and downs in 2019, . However, 2019 was a transformational year as they made management changes and acquired the Higginsville Gold Operation (HGO) in Western Australia. HGO came with a low cost 1.3 Mtpa gold mill and a substantial portfolio of gold tenements across a 386 square kilometer land package. They also re-started their bulk mining again in the second half of the year and already running at an annual run rate of approximately 100,000 ounces not factoring in the coarse gold pockets they so often hit. The focus off 2019 was to build the foundation, so that the company can add long term value to the company.
They started off the year closing out a bought deal with Haywood and Eric Sprott before announcing strong initial drilling results on the Western Flanks and A Zone. In fact, they had some of the highest drilling intercepts seen in the last 10 years in the mining community…
The drilling program added credibility to their geological model and showed that the FDV discovery was not a one off. With such great drilling results, it was clear that the company needed a long term milling solution if they were going to achieve their goal of being a long life mine producing 100,000 ounces per year. Well in May they found themselves a mill that fit their needs perfectly and made a deal with Westgold to acquire their Higginsville Gold Operation. HGO came with a 367 thousand ounce reserve within a 1.2 million ounce measured & indicated gold resource, and a further 0.9 million ounce inferred resource located within their 386 km2 land position in the Kalgoorlie gold region.
One of the benefits to this acquisition was the permitted Baloo open pit project. Baloo’s stage one permits will run them into 2020 and stage two permits have already been submitted and are awaiting approval. Baloo has yielded grades of up to 2.6 g/t and the company has already extended the strike potential when they recently intersected strong mineralization to the east of the pit including 8.7 g/t over 3 m from 63 m down-hole in drill hole BLOR003.
The deal came with a considerable amount of dilution to the stock, but it was ultimately in the company’s best interest to lock in a milling solution for long-term growth. While not ideal timing, the company carried on with their drilling campaign and built out a proper resource estimate in preparation of a maiden 2P Reserve and mine plan.
When the resource estimate came back with north of a million ounce resource of Measured and indicated ounces it was still open at depth and along strike. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the coarse gold deposits, they were not factored into the calculations and a cut off of 60 g/t was applied. The update was the markets first real indication of a robust deposit showing this could in fact be a very long life mine, even without the coarse gold hits. The next step was going to be putting that into a P2 reserve which was promised by years end.
A review or historic drill cores has been ongoing since the summer and the preliminary review of historic drilling is already providing significant encouragement. An example of work to date has already indicated continuous, high-grade nickel mineralization located above the Western Flanks gold mineral resource. This mineralization is outside of any nickel mineral resources previously reported by RNC and occurs parallel to the historically-mined D Zone nickel trough (above A Zone gold mineral resource) 150 m to the east. Being able to go back over the old cores is essentially free drilling for the company and if the BHP mill around the corner comes off care and maintenance, there will be even more opportunity for RNC to maximize on their Nickel asset alongside their gold mining operation.
Mark Selby stepped down from his role as CEO in September 2019 in order to pursue other interests, leaving chairman of the board Paul Huet to take over the role. Since Paul has stepped in, he has applied his experience in managing similar types of operations in Nevada and has painted a clear picture of the direction of the company for its shareholders.
In October, he appointed Johnna Muinonen as President of Dumont Nickel Operations and Graeme Sloane as the Director of Mining Operations in Western Australia. This division of company assets was key to focusing in on each project individually.
“In a very short time, RNC has evolved from a single mine producer subject to high-cost toll milling to a company with two producing mines feeding a low-cost centralized mill. The results returned during the first 90 days following the acquisition of our mill are just the beginning of continued productivity and cost improvements underway across all of our operations. Furthermore, we now have over 1,800km2 of under-explored land at Higginsville in the Kalgoorlie district and a list of priority targets at Beta Hunt. With our significantly strengthened balance sheet and quarter-end cash balance of $24.8 million, RNC is now a completely transformed company. I am very excited about our future. ”
Paul Huet, Chairman and Ceo
The Western Australian operation is now in full swing and has been producing an average of roughly 8,000 ounces per month since July from their Baloo and BH operations (November was approximately 10,000 ounces with the inclusion of some coarse gold). Recently, RNC was able to re-negotiate their royalties with JP Morgan on the HGO land package which unlocks huge potential, especially in the immediate area around the mill. Graeme and Paul have both eluded to a pipeline of open pit projects, which will be a steady source of ore to feed their mill for the foreseeable future.
As promised, the company released their maiden P2 Reserve, which came in at 310,000 ounces from the A Zone and Western Flanks. Along with this announcement the company made mention of additional planned exploration at Beta Hunt and the HGO land package. This maiden P2 Reserve will be expanded upon as they continue to drill and understand the ore body. Being that this is still relatively early stages for the gold resource of the mine; the P2 Reserve shows that this operation is a long life mine with a lot of potential especially when you consider that High Grade Gold is not factored in.
RNC also holds a 28% stake in the world’s largest undeveloped Nickel Sulphide Deposit. Dumont is the second largest Nickel and 8th largest Cobalt reserve in the world. If Nickel starts to gain traction, Dumont could be spun out or monetized in order to maximize the return to shareholders as the share price is not reflecting its value or true potential. Johnna Muinonen, who is very well respected in the nickel space, will do well in advancing this project in the right nickel environment. Having had the opportunity to meet her several times I can confidently say, she is the right person for the job!
By January 2020, RNC should be mining beneath the FDV lode at Beta Hunt where they intersected 119.37 g/t over 6.4 metres (true width) 7 m away. These are exciting times for RNC as they now have a mapped out ore body defined by their drilling campaign in both the Western Flanks and A Zone and so close to the area that made them world famous. Could we see a repeat? We will soon know as we drift into the new year (no pun intended). We believe that RNC will garner a lot of attention this year, and we won’t be surprised if that comes in the form of coarse gold hits.
Wallbridge Mining (TSX:WM)
Wallbridge Mining’s, Fenelon Gold property is located in North Western Quebec proximal to the Sunday Lake Deformation Zone (“SLDZ”) which hosts the Detour Gold Mine in Ontario, and Balmoral Resources’ gold deposits at Martiniere. The property hosts the Discovery Zone gold deposit and surrounding 4 km strike length of a gold-hosting secondary splay of the SLDZ.
Since acquiring the property in late 2016, Wallbridge has completed an updated resource estimate and a positive pre-feasibility study on the existing resource. In addition, Wallbridge has done an underground bulk sample of 33,233 tonnes which reconciled an average grade of 18.49 g/t gold containing 19,755 ounces of gold. They also filed for permits for a second bulk sample along with permits to mine the property in May of 2019.
Drilling to date has significantly extended existing zones and discovered several new parallel zones outside of the Main Gabbro. Here are just a few highlights from last years exploration efforts.
The Main Gabbro
Of the six drill rigs currently active on the property, four are focusing on exploration drilling from surface, doing large-spaced step-outs to define the footprint of the Fenelon gold system and two underground drill rigs are doing more closely spaced drilling of the Tabasco zones and Area 51 near the existing mine workings. A total of over 70,000 meters have been drilled to date in 2019 and the drill program is on track to complete 80,000 meters by the end of the year.
“We are very pleased with the visual results of drill hole FA-19-099, which is our first attempt at testing the Fenelon gold system down to 1,000 meters vertical depth. In addition to extending the Lower Tabasco zone by an astounding 230 meters down-dip from the nearest intersection in FA-19-092, we also observed strong mineralization in the Orion and Andromeda corridors of Area 51 and in the Cayenne corridor north of the Tabasco zone, demonstrating the excellent potential to keep extending the deposit to greater depth.”
Attila Péntek, Vice President Exploration of Wallbridge
Their success has prompted Eric Sprott to take a significant stake and became a 25% owner of the company. He has also become a very large advocate of the company and the deposit as a whole, often mentioning them in his weekly podcast. His position was reduced in the last bought deal, down to 21%, however he stated that he intends to re-take his full 25% position. It has also kick started their neighbor and former claim owner Balmoral Resources to do an IP survey and launch a drilling campaign of their own, in hopes of finding an extension of area 51 to the North and South of the Fenelon property. It also prompted Wallbridge to add Tony Makuch to the board of directors, who will become a key asset as they develop this property into a producing mine.
To say the least, Wallbridge has made great strides in advancing their project. They are on to a substantial discovery in the Tabasco Zone and this will be their primary focus going into the New Year. With 43 million dollars in the bank and several drill rigs on site, 2020 is sure to be a break out year for this junior miner and they may very well become a producer within the year or become a takeover target considering that majors have been very active in 2019…
For more information please visit https://www.wallbridgemining.com
iMetal Rsources (TSX.V:IMR)
iMetal Resources is currently focused on their Gowganda West property, which shares its borders with the Pan American Silver Corp’s 4 million ounce Juby gold deposit. The company is exploring for gold (and copper) on exploration ground, which is situated on a known prolific fault systems and corresponding splays to the south of the Cadillac/Larder lake break.
In 2018, iMetal Resources ran a drilling campaign with limited geophysical data in Zone 1 at the north end of the property. They had identified a mineralized outcrop in 2018, only 500m from the Juby property and decided to drill underneath it to see if they could hit whatever was feeding it. Unfortunately, they drilled in between two anomalies and too shallow to hit the main source of mineralization (only discovered when they saw the geophysics). So in 2019, they implemented a range of geophysics, mapping and sampling, which has paved the way for this year’s drilling campaign.
Early in the spring the company performed a VTEM survey over the northern most part of the property, which identified 12 targets. In fact it showed anomalies in Zone 1 that correlated with what they were seeing on surface. Maybe the most interesting anomaly identified by VTEM, is Zone 12 to the East. This highly prospective target will be followed up on after they complete their drilling programs at Zones 1 and 3a where they did their IP surveys this summer.
The IP surveys were 1.2 x 1.2 kms x 500 m deep and 1.4 x 1.4 kms x 500 m deep respectively, and both showed evidence of large hydrothermal systems. The reason they chose these two locations was because of surface showings of alteration hosting gold, copper and pyrite. When the company received the data back from the IP survey, they created an educational video whereby Senior Geologist and qualified person, Dave Gamble broke down the 3D block model of the IP surveys to show the full potential of the deposit which can be seen here.
We have been on this property and can tell you that we have seen Feldspar porphyry’s on surface in between these two zones first hand. Both Zone 1 and 3a have very interesting outcrops and look promising for follow up exploration. Drilling in Zone 3a began in October 2019 and early indications of mineralization were apparent immediately. This prompted the company to extend the drill to its limit and to a depth of 752m. Even more interesting is this hole actually ended in mineralization 252 m below the reach of the IP survey.
“Initial visual results from drilling at Zone 3 are beyond our expectations and demonstrate that we have an extremely large and strong hydrothermal system at Gowganda West. The wide intersections and pervasive alteration that has been encountered are particularly impressive with the drill passing through hundreds of meters of hydrothermal alteration, which bodes well for the presence of gold mineralization. We have accelerated the sampling and assaying of some of these significant intervals and will be reporting these assay results as soon as available.”
Johan Grandin, President and CEO
“Initial visual results from this first hole targeted a strong high resistivity and high chargeability IP anomaly. This anomaly correlates extremely well with the hydrothermal altered meta-sedimentary sequence and associated pyrite mineralization seen in this drill hole. We look forward to drill testing the other significant IP anomalies currently identified on the Gowganda West property.”
Dave Gamble, P. Geo and QP
If you are looking for an early stage discovery, this might be it! There are many indicators that suggest IMR is onto a very large Hydrothermal depoit and 2020 will be all about drilling and proving it out. With no shortage of drill targets, we expect the company to be very active on the property and look forward to seeing how it all plays out.
Newrange Gold TSX.V:NRG
Newrange Gold Corp’s Pamlico Project is a high-grade epithermal gold system hosted in Jurassic to Tertiary age volcanic and sedimentary rocks, located in Mineral County Nevada. Pamlico Ridge sits within the Western Great Basin, inside the NW trending Walker Lane structural zone. The property also sits along the intersecting EW trending Pancake Range Lineament which is host to several other operating mines, including Round Mountain. The project is under explored in terms of modern exploration with no property wide geology, geochemistry or geophysics done and only 103 shallow holes drilled on the entire property. However you get a real sense of scale when you see the approximate 300 separate historic mine workings that have been left behind from the 1800’s.
2019 was all about offloading their Columbian assets and focusing on the Pamlico Ridge property. To kick off the year they brought in Bob Archer and made him the new CEO so that Robert Carrington could focus on managing the site. They got right to work doing metallurgical work to determine the most optimal means of extracting the gold from the material and set out to map and sample the underground workings throughout the property.
The Metallurgical testing testing achieved gold extraction of 97.1%, 88.5%, 96.0% and 73.6% on four composite samples with respective Calculated Head Grades of 79.4, 0.26, 1.49 and 0.53 g/t Au. Rapid leach time confirmed the majority of gold at Pamlico is very fine grained, going into solution readily under ordinary metallurgical conditions.
“These results are better than we could have possibly hoped for at this early stage, supporting our opinion that the gold is very fine, mostly microscopic and that there are no apparent metallurgical challenges at Pamlico. To our delight, the calculated (or actual) head grade for the three lower grade composite samples was substantially higher than the predicted grade indicated by the original drill sample assays and suggests potential for a much larger and potentially heap leachable gold system than previously contemplated at Pamlico.”
Robert Carrington, President of Newrange Gold
Last year’s sampling program, in conjunction with their LIDAR mapping, has identified multiple new structures and offered indications of the controls that disseminate the gold throughout the property, including but not limited to:
“We are starting to see a sizeable zone of continuous gold-silver mineralization building at the Good Hope Mine. The underground mapping and sampling program is proving to be an extremely valuable and cost-effective tool for us to build a 3D model of the mineralization in advance of drilling it.”
Robert Archer, CEO
Highlights from the 2019 sampling program
On December 3rd, 2019 the company announced that it had sold its Yarumalito project in Columbia and that it would receive $200,000 in cash and $1,200,000 to be paid in common shares of Goldmining Inc. Newrange will retain a 1% net smelter returns royalty, which can be purchased by GoldMining at any time before the completion of a feasibility study on the Project for total consideration of $1,000,000.
“We are pleased to have closed this sale with GoldMining as it now paves the way for us to conclude the sale of Newrange’s subsidiary and remaining projects in Colombia, as announced on June 5 and September 5, 2019. By monetizing our Colombian assets, we are providing significant non-dilutive funds for exploration on the Company’s flagship Pamlico Project in Nevada.”
Robert Archer, Newrange CEO
As a bit of a surprise, Newrange also acquired a very interesting land package in the Red Lake district over the holidays. They signed an option agreement to earn 100% interest in the Western Fold Property from AurCrest Gold Inc., subject to a 2% NSR. The property comprises of approximately 2,300 hectares in the Birch-Uchi Greenstone Belt in the Red Lake Mining District, approximately 12 kilometers northwest of the Springpole Gold Deposit (4.67 Moz Au Indicated – First Mining Gold Corp. website). This area has been garnering a lot of attention of late with some big area plays making some great discoveries and this low cost acquisition came about do to Bob Archer’s familiarity with the region.
“Iron Formation Gold Deposits are known around the world as a subset of Precambrian gold deposits. Having worked at the Musselwhite Mine and the Tucano Gold Mine in Brazil (Great Panther Mining Limited), I am personally familiar with this geological model. Furthermore, Robert Carrington, Newrange’s President, is familiar with the Springpole deposit from his tenure as CEO with Gold Canyon before it was purchased by First Mining. As such, we are no strangers to Northwestern Ontario, which is enjoying a resurgence of exploration success. We see the Western Fold Property option as a low cost and potentially high reward opportunity for the Company while we continue to advance our flagship Pamlico Project.”
Robert Archer, CEO ofNewrange Gold
Moving into the New Year the company has plans to do an IP survey and compile the LIDAR data in order to come up with a solid drilling plan to avoid hitingt the old workings. In Addition, they intend to follow up on channel samples taken in the Pediment Zone, by drilling a few holes to see what was driving the outcrops observed on surface.
Overall, it was a good year for Newrange Gold and they are continuing to build the foundation for a 43-101 and beginning to understand the nature and size potential of the property. Nevada is host to several similar operations and this project could very well join that list of producing mines in the years to come. We expect NRG to have a very active year in exploration in 2020 given that they should generate a considerable amount of revenue, between selling the rest of their Columbian assets and the exercising of warrants the company could raise up to 6 million dollars.
MacDonald Mines (TSX.V:BMK)
MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd. is a Canadian precious metals explorer based in Toronto, Ontario and are primarily involved in the identification, acquisition and development of properties in Canada. Led by an experienced management and technical team, the company has built a portfolio of safe-jurisdiction, infrastructure-rich projects that demonstrate a good market potential for return. MacDonald is focused on advancing development at its SPJ Project, located approximately 40kms East of Sudbury, Ontario. The Company’s current exploration program is focused on extending known showings and discovering new gold-cobalt-copper-nickel-silver mineralized zones in this under-explored polymetallic district around the past producing Scadding mine.
Macdonald Mines opted to acquire the Scadding mine property in April of last year, after encouraging results from their exploration efforts on the Jovan and Powerline properties in 2018. Channel and grab samples on the Powerline and Jovan, uncovered several zones of variably brecciated and mineralized albitites, that are similar to those found at the historic Scadding and Norstar mines. These zones are typically associated with polymetallic gold mineralization, and have been classified as a modified Iron Oxide Copper Gold system (“IOCG”)
Highlights from channel samples on Jovan and Powerline showings:
Immediately after they acquired the property they went to work exploring and sampling the claims. They were encouraged enough to stake 14 more claims and purchase an additional 130 claims to build out their land package. All the new claims are contiguous to MacDonald’s property and cover prospective extensions of the potential IOCG system that they have identified in and around the Scadding Mine property.
Historically, The Scadding mine produced 914 kilograms of gold from 127,000 tonnes of ore grading 7.2 g/t. Macdonald Mine’s Geological team has reviewed the data of previous operators’ drilling campaigns and feel that significant gold structures may have been missed. After reviewing all the historical data and gaining a better understanding of the structural controls, Their team set out to drill under a new geological model formulated on their research.
The first reported hole hit very impressive grades and it sent the stock running and eventually stalled around .20 cents. The company garnered even more interest when Eric Sprott jumped on board and invested 1.5 million dollars to help the company get the project rolling and offer a boost of confidence. Since this announcement the stock has come back down a bit and settled offering investors an opportunity to get involved as the company continues to define the structures driving the gold mineralization. Here are the results that kicked off the rush…
Highlights from hole SM-2019-001 include:
“These results exceed our expectations. They highlight the Iron-Oxide-Copper-Gold “(“IOCG”) potential of the Scadding Deposit and confirm that the deposit hosts significant and stacked zones of high-grade gold mineralization. These gold-rich zones also appear to be wider than suggested by historic drilling. Now that we have our exploration permit in hand, we’ll be able to advance our exploration activities and drilling on the property and further expand the footprint of the Scadding Deposit.”
Quentin Yarie, MacDonald’s President and CEO
They have now expanded their drilling campaign to 7,500m from the initially planned 2,000m and continue to hit mineralization, not only in the drill cores but they have also identified several new outcrops and have been sampling them with great success. Here are the remaining holes that have been reported…
The company has several holes pending as we head into the New Year and if the trend continues, they should continue to have good results. Before the snow came they were able to do some channel sampling on the newly exposed Villeneuve showing and most recently announced that they had found visible gold in the channel samples and came back with grades of 81.72 g/t gold and 0.065% cobalt over 2m including 147.8 g/t gold and 0.1% cobalt over 1m in the center of the Villeneuve Structure.
As you can see, there is a lot to like about this project and it’s one we look forward to reporting on in the New Year. The company recently announced that they will be doing IP surveys on the property and we would expect to see those in the new year. The company has also been very active in exploring beyond the Scadding property and have been coming up with decent copper, cobalt and nickel grades with some more modest gold and silver grades at Jovan 7kms away.
“Our regional exploration program on the SPJ property continues to expand the footprint of the mineralized system and indicates that polymetallic mineralization extends at least 7 km east of the Scadding Deposit. Our exploration results also suggest that high-grade gold-cobalt-copper-nickel mineralization that was sampled at the Brady Showing occurs in many other locations on the property. Overall our 2018 and 2019 exploration programs suggest that the SPJ property has the potential to host an Iron-Oxide-Copper-Gold system.”
Having the opportunity to see and learn about the controls driving the mineralization first hand on the SPJ property, I came to better understand their re-interpretation of the Scadding deposit and the regional geology. The property had more exposed mineralization than I had expected to see for a property that has not only been explored but also mined in the past. It was clear to me that past explorers really did miss something because the company was exposing new outcrops covered by overburden near and far from the immediate Scadding property. The New Year is lining up to be an interesting year for the company as they continue to explore the land package and build a 43-101 for the project.
Quentin Yarie, MacDonald’s President and CEO
Noble Mineral Exploration/Canada Nickel Company (TSX.V:NOB)
Noble Mineral Exploration Inc. is a Canadian-based junior exploration company holding in excess of 78,527 hectares (~194,000 acres) of mineral rights in the Timmins/Cochrane area of Northern Ontario, which it plans to generate joint venture exploration programs. The Company also holds a portfolio of securities in its joint venture partners plus a gold-streaming and royalty interest in the Wawa-Holdsworth Property.
Noble Minerals has had a relatively quiet year aside from the fact that they are now spinning out a new company and a nickel asset in the Crawford Township. Late in 2018 Noble started a joint venture operation with Spruce Ridge which would see them follow up on targets laid out by Windfall Geotek’s (formerly Albert Mining) CARDS System. The technology was applied to the Crawford and Carnegie Townships in order to delineate the ore body and minimize the amount of drilling required to make a discovery. With great success they drilled into a Nickel sulphide deposit in close proximity to all the local infrastructure Timmins has to offer.
The ore body is proving to be comparable to the Dumont Nickel project in Quebec which is owned by RNC Minerals and was brought to a shovel ready status by Mark Selby. Interestingly the new CEO of the spin out company (Canada Nickel) is Mark Selby. Since stepping down from RNC, Mark opted to get involved with this project, given that he can apply his experience and expertise to advance the project forward, it was a natural fit. Canada Nickel (CNC) is set to be listed early in the New Year and both Noble and Spruce ridge shareholders will be receiving shares in CNC.
“I am very pleased with the results of Canada Nickel’s inaugural drilling campaign. Subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, investors who acquire Noble shares will be entitled to receive their pro rata share of 10,000,000 shares (~18% of Canada Nickel) to be distributed to Noble shareholders under a plan of arrangement that is proposed for approval at a special meeting of Noble shareholders to be held on December 27, 2019.”
Vance White, CEO of Noble Mineral Exploration
“This year’s drilling highlights the potential of the Crawford nickel-cobalt project as a new, large scale nickel-cobalt sulphide discovery with mineralization now defined over an area 1.4 kilometres long by 350 to 600 metres wide and up to 500 metres deep and remaining open in multiple directions. Unlike some other projects of its type, this drilling has also highlighted at surface a wide, higher grade (>0.35%) area over a kilometre of strike length. With its potential scale, the project’s excellent location and infrastructure, our team’s significant experience and insights from advancing other large scale ultramafic projects, and a robust nickel market increasingly driven by demand from the electric vehicle segment, we are well positioned to unlock Crawford’s potential as a strategic, geopolitically low risk source of nickel and cobalt.”
Mark Selby CEO of Canada Nickel Corp.
Part of the attraction to this project is the fact that this land package has gone relatively unexplored, while the rest of the Timmins mining camp has been drilled relentlessly over the last 100 years. If you are not familiar with the Noble property, it was privately owned and was home to a logging operation for many years and hadn’t seen any exploration work until the 60’s and even then Inco did limited exploration. Due to the fact that their target grades were set a bit higher, Nickel sulphide deposits were often overlooked. So while they may not have been economic at the time, Nickel demand is now such that these types of deposits are becoming coveted. You can see on this map how under explored it is in comparison to the surrounding Timmins mining camp and get a feel for the opportunity it presents juniors looking for ground to explore.
Vance White has been working on restructuring the royalty agreement for the better part of the year and recently announced that they completed the acquisition of the 5% net smelter royalty applicable to ~55,000 hectare of patented mineral rights on its Project 81 in the Timmins-Cochrane area of Northern Ontario. As a result of doing so, those patented properties are now only subject to a 2% royalty held by Franco Nevada. In addition, there is approximately 24,000 additional hectares of the Company’s Project 81 are “not” subject to any royalty.
Having finalized the Royalty restructuring agreement and getting Canada Nickel listed will allow Vance the opportunity to put his project generation model into full effect. Where deposits were viewed as uneconomical due to high royalties, they can now be explored and developed under much more favorable terms. This land package has showings of Gold, Nickel, VMS and even palladium and platinum. This is partially why we feel they could be one of the years top performers as they move their project forward.
So while 2019 was quiet, behind the scenes the company was busy sorting out royalties, setting up their project generating model and spinning off the Crawford Nickel deposit to Canada Nickel. In our opinion, this is just the beginning of a much larger exploration campaign that will be heating up in 2020. Lucas Gold project may be the next most compelling story on project 81 for now, but the potential for an extension of the known nickel targets and satellite VMS deposits also remain a high probability to see additional exploration this coming year.
Balmoral Resources (TSX:BAR)
Balmoral Resources is a Canadian exploration and development company with exposure to both Nickel and Gold assets in close proximity to and on trend with some very large operating mines and new gold discoveries. We featured Balmoral back in July 2019 when their share price was .09 cents based on their nickel assets. However its been their exposure to gold in proximity to big discoveries that has been driving their share price. Balmoral is extremely well positioned because of their Gold assets in proximity to Detour Lake Gold and Wallbridge Mining and their Nickel assets which will only become more valued as nickel demand increases. Their dominant land positions along the Sunday lake deformation zone give investors alot to look forward to in the coming years
Balmoral started off the year with some beautiful results from their Grasset property where they discovered Type-1 high-grade nickel-cobalt sulphide zones and the very broad, near-surface disseminated nickel deposit with Nickel grades as high as 4% and 3 areas showing more than 1 percent. However the market barely reacted as the nickel market hadn’t started to heat up yet. Grasset is the largest, undeveloped high-grade nickel sulphide deposit wholly owned by an exploration company in North America.
The Rum property exploration campaign in 2019 was focused on prospecting, mapping, geochemical and geophysical surveying as a follow up to the airborne survey’s flown on the property. They came up with very positive results which are offering indications of a larger system than first anticipated. Having done very little in the lines of exploration drilling on this asset, we expect to see Balmoral aggressivly drill this property in the new year, once the snow clears.
“Our mapping and sampling of the available outcrop at Bluenose provides clear evidence for magmatic layering, multiple phases of sulphide precipitation, and a gravitational vector for the settling of olivine and sulphides. The interpreted direction of sulphide settling appears to correlate well with the conductors outlined by the airborne survey. The comparisons with the Lac Rocher deposit are obvious and, given the strength of the EM anomalies at Bluenose, we are looking forward to both the initial drill testing of this new discovery and evaluating the numerous similar targets we control in the district.”
Michael Tucker, Exploration Manager for Balmoral
I could go on about their nickel assets as I believe they have some very good deposits but this article is focusing on the Gold projects they have underway as they are garnering a ton of attention! Let’s start with the Fenelon area currently being explored by Wallbridge with great success.
The key here is, that Balmoral controls the land encompassing the Fenelon Property and more importantly the Sunday Lake Deformation Zone (SLDZ) which is the driving force of gold in the region. Admittedly they owned this property and sold it to Wallbridge and in hindsight probably regret the decision but given the amazing success that Wallbridge is having, Balmoral was smart to get drilling in the region in hopes of extending area 51 to the north and south of the Fenelon property.
Balmoral started drilling this summer not far off the Wallbridge property and are already hitting similar grades as what has been observed in shallow holes at Fenelon. The grades were nothing spectacular but it did offer indications of continuity. Wallbridge drilled a bit deeper and hit some very significant grades with some rather impressive widths in what they are calling the Tobasco zone. Given the limited datathey had to work with, Balmoral opted to do an IP before they carry on drilling area 51/52 in hopes of targeting their drills with more efficiency. The key here is the Sunday Lake deformation zone which is the feeder for the gold and host to several producing mines. Balmoral controls one of the largest land packages along the SLDZ trend and gives them some control in the region which makes them a take out target for anyone looking to put Fenelon into Production.
Another developing story has emerged recently when Kirkland Lake Gold acquired the Detour Lake Gold property for a whopping 4.5 billion dollars and guess who owns land along trend? You got it! Balmoral! The Martiniere property, may be the most prospective of their properties. This previously untested, 3.5kms long segment of the SLDZ is centered on the intersection of the SLDZ and a recently identified, gold bearing secondary fault zone. The structural/geological setting is analogous to that of the Detour Lake area. The Detour Lake Gold deposit extends along the SLDZ for a similar distance, with the historic, high-grade underground portion of the deposit centered at/very near a similar structural intersection.
So with all of this added excitement surrounding Fenelon and Detour Balmoral raised some money through a strategic investment from Eric Sprott whereby he takes a 3.5 percent ownership of the company and a flow through financing which allows BAR to drill their properties more aggressively. It’s no surprise Eric Sprott stepped up given that he owns 21 percent of Wallbridge and his friend Tony Makuch just joined their board. Tony just so happens to be the CEO of KL Gold… Are you starting to see the connections? All in all Balmoral is set to have a heck of a year! Whether it’s their Gold assets or their nickel properties one thing is sure… Management has positioned themselves for success.
For more information please Visit http://www.balmoralresources.com/
Northern Shield Resources (TSX.V:NRN)
Northern Shield Resources has become a leading explorer of low-sulphidation epithermal (LSE) gold-silver systems in Atlantic Canada and now holds a portfolio of six such projects including three in Nova Scotia, one in Newfoundland (that hosts multiple systems), and two in the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec that appears to be of epithermal affinity.
The two projects we will focus on are the Shot Rock Gold property in Nova Scotia and the Root and Cellar project in Newfoundland. These two projects became the focus of the company’s 2019 exploration campaign, which will carry into 2020. Both properties have identified a number of new targets and found a lot of supporting evidence that they are onto two previously undiscovered epithermal systems.
Shot Rock Property, Nova Scotia
The Shot Rock Property is currently composed of 24 mining licenses units staked under the terms of the Mineral Resources Act of Nova Scotia, which represents a total area of around 300 square km. It is located along the Trans-Canada Highway between New Glasgow and Antigonish in Nova Scotia.
In 2017, Northern Shield, through their wholly-owned subsidiary, Seabourne Resources, signed an option agreement with prospector, Patrick Bellefontaine that gives the Company the right to acquire up to an 80% interest in the Shot Rock Gold Property. In 2018, Northern Shield geologists confirmed the discovery of a low sulphidation epithermal system at the Shot Rock property.
This is the first time that this style of gold mineralization has been identified in Nova Scotia! The gold mineralization (up to 3.3 g/t Au) is found within quartz veining, exhibiting textures consistent with those from known epithermal systems. Here are a few samples they have collected that show the nature of the system but we recommend you look through all of their pictures for a broader range of mineralization and understanding of the deposit.
Low sulphidation deposits are highly prized for their potential to host “bonanza” grades of gold and silver.
In 2019, Northern Shield did a rigorous exploration campaign over the property, ranging from geophysics to channel, grab and soil sampling. Many of the rock samples of quartz vein material from the area returned anomalous gold assays with a high of 3.3 g/t Au. Further prospecting led to the discovery of a 0.5 meter wide, internally banded quartz veins in outcrop and zones of stockwork-style epithermal quartz veins. Samples from the stockwork outcrop assayed up to 0.95 g/t Au.
“We now have identified four separate epithermal cells of which three host gold-bearing quartz veins. The footprint of the Highway Zonealone is comparablein scaleto known epithermal mines, including the Martha Mine in New Zealand, and we have strong indications of the existence of further cells providing for district scale epithermal gold potentialwithin the 300 square kilometer Property.Those opportunities do not arise very often, especially within sight of the Trans-CanadaHighway.”
Ian Bliss, President and CEO
To date, outcrop and boulders of epithermal quartz veining, along with alteration, pathfinder elements and preliminary geophysical interpretation suggest a strike-length of the system of over 4 kilometers and open at both ends.
It was strategically important for Northern Shield to try and identify and acquire more LSE gold systems prior to drilling at Shot Rock which is why the drills didn’t get turning during 2019. However on October they filed drill permit application for a 2,000-2,500 meters drill program consisting of 5-7 drill-holes for the Shot Rock project. The program will focus on the Highway Zone in hopes of hitting those anomalous high grade gold and silver deposits associated with epithermal systems.
Highlight from last year’s exploration efforts on the Shot Rock Property include:
Root and Sellar Newfoundland
Northern Shield Resources signed an Option Agreement through its wholly owned subsidiary Seabourne Resources with prospector (“Prospector”) Jeffery Brushetttha gives the Company the right to acquire a 100% interest in the Root and Cellar Gold Project (the “Property”) located near the town of Creston on the Burin Peninsula, Newfoundland. The Property is being explored for low and intermediate sulfidation epithermal-type gold mineralization and also has potential for copper porphyry style mineralization.
The Property includes six distinct showings of which five were the result of the sustained and diligent work of prospector Jeffery Brushett.
Drop Zone: A low-sulphidation setting with the three highest grab samples grading:
The host rock is a felsic to intermediate fragmental volcanic that exhibits strongsilica-pyrite alteration crosscut by veining and related localized brecciation. The breccia zone appears to contain fragments rimmed by comb-textured quartz followed by pale beige chalcedonic silica which produces a “cockade”-style breccia. The above reported results are select samples and are not necessarily representative of the mineralization hosted on the property.
Conquest: A low sulphidation setting with 85 of 153 samples assaying greater than 100 ppb Au in an area measuring 550 x 650 meters, with localized higher grades including channel samples assaying 47.9 g/t Au and 5.6 g/t Au, each over 0.5 metres. Mineralization is associated with comb-textured quartz and pale beige chalcedonic silica similar to that observed at the Drop Zone.
Red Rock: Up to 2.2 g/t Au hosted in a boulder adjacent to strongly hematized quartz breccia. Such rocks are often observed at the top of low-sulphidation systems.
Creston/CrestonNorth: Up to 10.5% Cu associated with anomalous Mo, Ag, Zn and Pb and hosted in epidote and hematite altered veins in what may be a porphyry style setting. With in these zones 3 sample assayed greater than 5% Cu, 11 samples between1% and 5% Cu and 40 samples between 0.1% and 1% Cu.
Braxton-Bradley: Possible intermediate-sulphidation setting with deformed silicified hydrothermal brecciasand anomalous bedrock gold assays up to 0.9 g/t Au and 2.3 g/t Au in angular samplesof float. Other associated assays reported from this zone include 1.8 oz/t Ag (62g/t Ag) to 4 oz/t Ag (137g/t Ag), 0.3% Pb, 1.9% Zn, and 1.7% Cu.
“This is a really impressive property, it is not just the high-grade assays that catch one’s attention but the extensive nature of highly gold anomalous outcropsand intense alteration, we will be planning our exploration very shortly on the Root and Cellar Property. To date, Jeff has hand-trenched most of what we see and I think the project could benefit quite quickly from mechanical trenching and detailed mapping. In addition, there are some very strong similarities to what we see at Shot Rockand so both projects can benefit from each other in terms of the cumulative knowledge base.”
Northern Shield President and CEO, Ian Bliss.
Now that they have completed their initial due diligence and sampled the property, the company is confident in what they are seeing and plan to do some mechanical trenching and mapping along with a 2000m drilling campaign in early 2020. They also just closed a private placement for $1,724,836, so they have enough money heading into 2020 to continue with their exploration plans.
For more information please visit http://northern-shield.com/
Windfall Geotek (TSX.V:AIIM)
While not a mining company, Windfall Geotek is a disruptive geophysical tool capable of imaging below the overburden to delineate the size and scale of ore bodies. The CARDS system is an algorithim based Artificial Intelligence, which is designed to compile geophysical data and identify like signatures. Through the use of this technology, explorers can effectively shrink the size of property by honing in on key targets. With demands on the rise and new discoveries in limited supply, this technology can save explorers a lot of time and money, which is why we chose to highlight Windfall Geotek.
In 2019 Windfall Geotek had many successes in signing contracts but more importantly, their clients followed up on their targets and hit good grades. We recently highlighted a number of these projects but we will do so again here for your convenience. Before we get into some of the 2019 projects, it should also be noted, that early i2019, the company brought Dinesh Kandanchatha in as Chairman of the Board, in order to expand the use of their technology into new sectors like securities.
Dinesh Kandanchatha was responsible for taking Patriot One (TSX:PAT) from a penny stock to multiple dollars, and he did so within a two year time frame. During that time Dinesh acquired several friends in the Technologies and Securities sector and built Patriot One into what it is today. Given his expertise and exposure within these sectors, it only made sense to bring him on board to help with the expansion of the CARDS technology system. His first act as Chairman was to rebrand the company to reflect its capability and not limit it to mining and so, Albert Mining became Windfall Geotek. Hear what Dinesh has to say about rebranding and his vision of the company.
The first Major discovery of the year for Windfall, came from the Crawford Nickel Project in Timmins, Ontario. Working with Noble Mineral Exploration they were able to compile all the data and identify an ore body which is being compared to Dumont, the worlds largest shovel ready Nickel sulphide deposit owned in part by RNC Minerals. This discovery prompted the spin out of Canada Nickel Corporation From Noble Mineral Exploration. There is a lot of work to do yet but it was Windfall Geotech that first identified this ore body and for that they got some credit. It clearly caught some attention because Michel has been signing deals all year long.
This discovery became known just before PDAC 2019 where the public listing of Goldspot brought some attention to AI applications in exploration. They have a young team doing a great job in marketing their company but Windfall Geotek has been around for the last 15 years and a portfolio of success to go along with it. What Goldspot brought to the sector was awareness, and for the first time people started to acknowledge the use of AI as a viable option in exploration. I felt it was important to note this because in the grand scheme of things this is a new sector in itself and we believe that AI will be a huge part of the mining industry and Securities in the years to come.
Playfair Mining signed a deal with AIIM this year as well to explore their RKV project in Norway. The RKV project is in the historic Roros mining district in southern Norway and covers two past producing Besshi-type VMS copper mines (Kvikne & Rostvangen), a magmatic nickel-copper deposit (Vakkerlien) and more than twenty additional known mineral occurrences. These mines, deposits and occurrences occur within strongly folded metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks of the Gula Group in the central Norwegian Caledonides.
Playfair tested all the CARDS targets with MMI and the results came back better than expected! In case you’re not familiar with MMI testing here is a brief description; Measured Metal Ions travel upward from mineralization (ore bodies) to unconsolidated surface materials such as soil, till, sand etc. Testing the soil for these ions can help in identifying overburdened ore bodies.
“To say we are pleased with the results so far is an understatement. The combination of the Windfall Geotek CARDS system to identify targets and MMI to evaluate the targets has been efficient and cost effective. The number of CARDS targets that produced outstanding results in the MMI evaluation process exceeded our expectations. Playfair’s innovative approach has certainly optimized our ability to move the project forward with a sharp focus in a short time frame. We are aiming to have the most obvious of the significant CARDS/MMI confirmed targets drill tested in the next few months. And to top it off, we still have many other excellent targets for follow-up.”
Don Moore, CEO of Playfair commented
In addition to the aforementioned deals, they have signed contracts with Chilean Metals, Puma Explorations, BWR Explorations and Evolution Mining. They have also used their tech on their Ashuanipi Property and have reduced the search area by 60 percent and updated their Ni 43-101 on their Chapais project and in search of optionees.
The company has clearly put a focus on gaining credibility and leaving their stamp on the exploration sector, but the focus in 2020 will be to start expanding into new sectors. The company has been talking about the capability to find landmines as an example and we suspect this will be a story to watch in 2020. Dinesh Kandanchatha has yet to show his hand but when he does I’m sure it will be nothing short of spectacular. While the bread and butter of this company lies in mining, there is great potential for its application in other sectors and Michel and Dinesh are kicking of the new year with a roadshow to showcase their technology. They have also acquired the services of Paradox Investor relations to help bring more awareness to the company. 2020 is going to be a break out year for AIIM in our opinion so make sure to put them on your watchlist.
We currently hold positions in several of the aforementioned companies and may buy or sell at any given time without notice.
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