There’s been some rather extreme volatility and negative sentiment at play where global markets are concerned. With sentiment in the gutter and stocks getting hammered across the board, some market analysts believe we’re near a bottom and are trotting out the C Word – Capitulation. I suppose it makes sense in certain respects. But in this case, it can be argued that the selling pressure hasn’t been extreme enough. It can be argued that stocks are still far too pricey, historically speaking. And then there’s the Fed (or any other central banker for that matter) – will they know when to apply the brakes as they ramp up this tightening cycle? Are they too far behind the (inflation) curve to have any real impact? And from an economic growth point of view, will they accidentally push too hard, too fast? These are the questions.

Bridgewater’s founder Ray Dalio and Co-CIOs Bob Prince and Greg Jensen:

“Central bankers face a challenging policy dilemma with a collection of uncertainties and risks as great as any since the 1970s.”

Where the precious metals are concerned, the fundamentals remain compelling as ever, especially amidst all of this market turmoil, but the US dollar’s recent assault on two-decade highs (chart below) is sucking whatever momentum gold might bring.

If the 103.5 zone holds back any further advance for the greenback, gold could stage a significant rally in the short term and put the $1900 level in its rearview mirror.

Updating a few of the stocks we follow closely on these pages

Apollo Silver (APGO.V) – (APGOF.OTC) – (6ZF0.FRA)

  • 165.72 million shares outstanding
  • $79.55M market cap based on its recent $0.48 close

Last week, while covering an Apollo news release dated April 26, I stated:

On April 26, the Company updated progress as it leans into a 15k meter drill campaign – 10k meters of reverse circulation (RC) and 5k meters of core drilling. An RC rig is currently probing the Waterloo component of Calico (116 million ounces at a grade of 93 g/t Ag).

Comparing the above drill hole map with slide 15 on the Company pitch deck shows the correlation between the high-grade areas within the Waterloo resource base and the targets drilled thus far in this campaign. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect some high-grade hits to flow from this first round of drill hole assays (author’s speculation).

I was expecting high-grade silver, but not quite this way: On May 3, Apollo dropped assays for three (historical) core holes drilled by previous operator Pan American Minerals back in 2012.

New Assay Results Highlight High Grade and Excellent Silver Mineralization Continuity at Waterloo


  • Continuous, near surface high-grade intercepts***:
    • Hole W-0012
      • 234 g/t Ag over 28.0 meters from 6 meters depth down hole;
        • including 471 g/t Ag over 8.0 meters from 18 m down hole; and
        • including 1,075 g/t Ag over 2.0 meters from 18 m depth down hole.
    • Hole W-0013
      • 196 g/t Ag over 52.0 meters from 20 m depth down hole;
        • including 294 g/t Ag over 6.0 meters from 48 m downhole; and
        • including 354 g/t over 10.0 meters from 58 m downhole.
    • Hole W-0014
      • 121 g/t Ag over 53.2 meters from surface.

Last year, the Company became aware of approximately 2.7 tonnes of drilling material secured in storage from a previous program – 11 reverse circulation holes and three PQ-diameter-sized diamond drill holes.

These are solid hits, even if they’re remnants from a decade-old drill campaign (see the map below for drill hole locations).

Apollo acquired this core, which was never assayed, as part of the purchase of the Waterloo property. Assay results below are from these three drill holes which were analysed as the first step of the 2022 Metallurgical Test Program at Calico being undertaken by Apollo. The 2022 Metallurgical Test Program is one component of the multi-component 2022 Calico Technical Program, which aims to upgrade and expand the recently announced Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate (“MRE”) of 166 million ounces (“Moz”) of silver contained in 58.1 million tonnes (“Mt”) at an average grade of 89 grams per tonne (“g/t”) (see news release dated February 9, 2022).

Aside from demonstrating the high-grade potential within the broader Calico resource base, gaining access to this high-grade historical core gives Apollo a good jump on their metallurgical testing plans, with a clear savings in both time and costs.

Apollo’s 2022 Metallurgical Test Program is utilizing the 1.2 tonnes of diamond drill core that is available. The test program that is currently underway has been designed with input from professional metallurgists at both McClelland and Stantec Consulting Ltd. (“Stantec”) and is being executed by McClelland. McClelland has prepared the intervals from the drill core for assaying with results presented in Table 2 below.

As recommended by Stantec in the technical report “NI 43-101 Technical Report for the Mineral Resource Estimate of the Calico Silver Project, San Bernardino County California, USA” (see news release Feb 9, 2022) and McClelland’s metallurgist, the preliminary metallurgical testing will test for silver recovery and will involve standard bottle roll testing and various assisted leach testing methods. Comminution testing will be completed and in addition to testing various feed sizes, a high-pressure grinding roll (“HPGR”) crushing will be trialed. McClelland is also working to develop a barite recovery flowsheet and Apollo will be undertaking ore grade barite analysis and quality testing as part of its 2022 work program.

Tom Peregoodoff, CEO:

These new assay results from Waterloo again highlight the extensive and continuous nature of the silver mineralization at our Calico Project and we continue to see high grade intercepts in the deposit, including bonanza grades over 1,000 g/t silver. The results being reported today are from three holes collected across the 1.8 km length of the deposit, spaced up to 1,100 m apart, giving us spatially representative holes for metallurgical testing. Securing this untested material from the previous operator has enabled us to bring forward our metallurgical test program saving us both considerable time and money. As was recently reported, drilling at Calico is advancing and shareholders can expect to see a steady release of assay results.”

Apollo has a market cap of <$80M based on its recent $0.48 close. For a company boasting 166M near-surface ounces, significant resource expansion/exploration upside and a top-shelf management team with the technical and capital markets side of the business covered, current prices may represent an opportunity.

Forum Energy Metals (FMC.V)

  • 170.03 million shares outstanding
  • $28.91M market cap based on its recent $0.17 close

A big question mark concerning Forum’s project pipeline in and around the prolific Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan was the status of its Fir Island Project – a joint venture with Orano Canada, which can earn up to 70% in the project by spending $6 million.

On May 3, Forum removed that question mark by dropping the following headline:

Forum Commences Resistivity Survey on the Fir Island Uranium Option with Orano Canada

Orano is funding an extensive $495k resistivity survey at Fir Island. The survey, expected to take four to six weeks to complete, will consist of approximately 25 lines spaced 200 meters apart.

With Forum as Operator, Orano has funded two drill programs at Fir Island thus far. After completing this program, Orano will have spent $3 million on the project to earn a 51% interest.

Drilling by Forum in 2020 and 2021 identified the ‘Cathy Fault’ that exhibits strong alteration, elevated geochemical indicators, and an abundance of dravite; a boron-rich clay that is present around most uranium deposits on the eastern side of the Athabasca Basin. A resistivity survey was completed on the project in 2019 and has proven to be an excellent tool for defining areas of alteration in the sandstone and basement lithologies. Resistivity lows typically indicate alteration and has worked well on the Fir Island project locating the strong alteration associated with the Cathy Fault. The current survey follows the northern strike extension of the Cathy Fault, locally defined by an EM conductor and a series of gravity lows (map below). The gravity lows and conductor continue to the mainland where they intersect the major Black Lake Fault and a series of related large gravity lows. This survey should define a number of excellent drill targets for future programs.

Ken Wheatley, VP of Exploration:

The results from this survey should give Forum and Orano excellent drill targets in an area of the project with the most potential for a uranium deposit. These targets will be located right on the edge of the Athabasca sandstone basin, with sandstone cover ranging from 100m to 0m. The intersection of the Cathy Fault and the Black Lake Fault should provide some interesting drill targets, especially as the Black Lake Fault hosts the mined out Nisto showing, a small uranium deposit that was mined in 1959 and taken to Uranium City for processing.”

If there’s an economic orebody to be discovered in Fir Island’s subsurface stratum, Ken Wheatley, with a number of discoveries under his belt, will find it. From the Management link on Forum’s website:

Mr. Wheatley is a Professional Geoscientist (P. Geo.) with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists in Saskatchewan. He has 40 continuous years of uranium exploration experience in Canada, most recently with AREVA Resources Canada Inc. (now Orano), one of the world’s largest uranium exploration and production companies, and Uranerz Exploration and Mining Limited. Mr. Wheatley has a record of mineral discoveries, including eight uranium deposits, four of which became producing mines in the Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan.

That’s it for this Highballer update.


– Greg Nolan

Full disclosure: Highballer was compensated for the above content. The author owns shares in Apollo and Forum.

***All assays reported at a 50 g/t silver cut-off grade with no dilution; lengths are down hole lengths and may not represent true widths.

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