If you’re inclined to wager bets in this high-risk/high-reward arena, I don’t need to tell you how compelling the current set-up is for medium to long-term (high-quality) exploration and development plays. And the potential is not just in gold and silver—it runs the (metals) gamut. It’s fair to say that, as a society, we’ve been underinvested in natural resources for decades. As I highlighted on a separate front several weeks back, ‘many of the copper mines we rely on for supply are long in the tooth, well past their prime.’ Some are well over a half-century old. A few examples sourced from a recent Rick Rule interview): Bigham Canyon in Utah is 155 years old. Chuquicamata in northern Chile is 115 years old. Grasberg in Indonesia is 60 years old.
With the above in mind, there’s a lot to be said for maintaining a buy-and-hold posture if your equity position—be it precious metals, base metals, battery metals, or U3O8—checks all the boxes (compelling geology, competent management, tight cap structure, mining-friendly jurisdiction, etc).
We’re on the cusp of a junior sector bull run that will prove epic in scale if I’m right.
Some of the companies we follow in this report have responded to the recent surge in precious metals prices— some still languish near their lows. I’ll update a few of them, along with a few cos in the battery metal, base, and U3O8 space. I’ll also introduce a few new names I plan to own before this bull run finds a new gear. Lastly, I’ve compiled a list of companies whose newsflow I’ve subscribed to out of interest—companies I may add to my portfolio at some point.
Companies showing signs of life
i-80 hasn’t exactly gone parabolic, but it has demonstrated strength in recent weeks. The company’s high-quality resource base stands out amongst its peers. In a burgeoning bull market, this ounce count is bound to draw a lot of attention.
Solid results continue to flow out of the company’s Ruby Hill Project in the mining-friendly jurisdiction of Eureka County, Nevada. Ask the good folk at the Fraser Institute, and they’ll tell you Nevada is THE friendliest, as per their recent survey.
Highlights from Ruby Hill include:
- 3.4 g/t Au, 11.1 g/t Ag, & 6.7 % Zn & over 18.3 meters (Lower Hilltop Zone);
- 9.9 g/t Au over 5.8 meters (Ruby Deeps Zone);
- 9.2 % Zn & 0.1 % Cu over 3.1 meters (Geddes Zone Discovery).
The Company also closed its acquisition of neighbor Paycore Metals, a Company we featured in these pages when the stock was changing hands in the $1.50 range (last traded at $2.38 before the early May halt).
Most recently, the company delivered results from its wholly-owned, past-producing McCoy-Cove Property in Lander County. Here, a 40,000-meter drill program is upgrading the resource in the Helen and CSD Gap Zones in advance of an updated MRE and a full feasibility study. Cove’s historic production = ~3.3 million ounces of gold and more than 100 million ounces of silver.
Highlights from Cove:
- 6.6 g/t Au over 6.0 meters (iCHU23-01);
- 13.2 g/t Au over 3.0 meters and 10.3 g/t Au over 7.8 meters (iCHU23-02);
- 13.0 g/t Au over 6.0 meters (iCHU23-03);
- 12.9 g/t Au over 36.1 meters (iCHU23-04).
i-80 aims to achieve mid-tier status on the strength of its rapidly evolving project portfolio.
Patriot Battery Metals (PMET.V)
After Chile decided to nationalize its lithium, projects in Australia and Canada are now the front-runners in the Li development space. They’ll need to pick up the slack as investment capital shies away from a country that holds the lion’s share of global Li reserves.
The fundamentals underpinning hard rock tier-1 development projects are becoming increasingly compelling, especially now that battery-grade carbonate prices in China appear to have bottomed out.
Patriot Battery Metals is a lithium play I trotted out roughly one year back while it was trading in the $1.60 range. The company’s flagship Corvette Project in the James Bay region of mining-friendly Quebec needs no introduction.
Fully cashed up and ready to embark on an aggressive, multiple-rig summer drilling campaign, the company offered the following update on May 1…
The CV5 spodumene pegmatite now commands a strike length of at least 3.7 kilometers.
Corvette is a district-scale play centered on linking CV5 to CV4 (1.5 kilometers to the east) and CV5 to CV13 (3.8 kilometers to the west)…
Highlights from this May 1 press release:
- Extension of the CV5 spodumene pegmatite westwardly by 550 m;
- The CV5 spodumene pegmatite has now been traced continuously by drilling (at ~50 – 150 m spacing) over a lateral distance of at least 3.7 km and remains open along strike at both ends and to depth along most of its length;
- These are the first drill holes completed to test a westward extension of the CV5 Pegmatite since summer of 2022, when spodumene pegmatite was confirmed to extend from the CV5 outcrop to the CV6 outcrop;
- The 2023 winter drill program has exceeded the total metres completed in the 2022 drill program with a total of eighty-nine (89) drill holes (~32,367 m) completed;
- Core sample assay results for sixty-seven (67) drill holes from the 2023 winter drill program remain to be reported;
- Validation and refinement of the geological model for the CV5 Pegmatite is in the advanced stages and will be followed by block modelling of final analytical data ahead of an initial mineral resource estimate;
- Summer-fall drill program to commence in late May at the CV5 and CV13 pegmatites.
A pile of assays from the winter campaign—sixty-seven (67) drill holes in total—are pending. Another potential catalyst is a maiden MRE due by the end of this quarter or early next. There’s also speculation (as per the 5:55 mark on this May 15 podcast) that one or more of the Bigs will take a minority bite out of the company, soon. Such an event would lend tremendous validity to what PMET holds in its subsurface stratum, but this is only speculation.
Prime Mining Corp (PRYM.V)
The weightiest piece of news out of the Prime camp dropped earlier this month when the company doubled the resource at its flagship Los Reyes Gold-Silver Project in the mining-friendly state of Sinaloa, Mexico. Here, the company registered significant increases in both scale and grade...
Resource Highlights (verbatim as per this May 2 press release):
- The addition of 100,000 metres (“m”) of Prime drilling has doubled the current MRE compared to the April 2020 resource, with a discovery cost of approximately $US 25 per gold equivalent1 (“AuEq”) ounce (“oz”).
- At the resource gold cut-off grade of 0.22 gpt, Prime’s updated open pit MRE contains:
- 1.47 million Indicated AuEq ounces at a 1.68 grams per tonne (“gpt”) average grade. This represents a 73% increase in Measured and Indicated AuEq ounces, and 26% increase in AuEq grade. This is 1.0 million ounces of gold at 1.16 gpt and 35 million ounces of silver at 40.4 gpt.
- 0.73 million Inferred AuEq ounces at a 1.26 gpt average grade. This represents a 175% increase in AuEq ounces and 8% increase in AuEq grade. This is 0.5 million ounces of gold at 0.85 gpt and 18.4 million ounces of silver at 31.5 gpt.
- Using a higher 1.0 gpt gold cut-off grade, the MRE highlights a robust, extremely high-grade open pit resource that contains in excess of 1.0 million AuEq Indicated ounces at an average AuEq grade of 3.70 gpt (see Table 2 for more details).
- The MRE has a high-grade open pit mill resource and a lower grade heap leach portion.
- The MRE includes drilling completed before December 31, 2022 from only the three main zones at Los Reyes: Guadalupe, Z-T and Central.
- This MRE does not include positive results from:
- Mariposa, Las Primas and Fresnillo;
- highly prospective exploration targets outlined in Prime’s February 27th news release;
- over 20,000 m drilled to-date during 2023.
At a time when most explorecos are finding it tough to negotiate favorable financing terms, it’s good to see headlines like this next one (they separate the wheat from the chaff)…
These $2.00 warrants from a previous PP were accelerated successfully. The company now has $45.5 mill in the till. And as a result, management expects to accelerate its 2023 drill plan to 60k meters (from 45k). Doubling Los Reyes’ high-grade Au-Ag resource will likely follow.
Teuton dropped a weighty headline in mid-March telegraphing an updated Mineral Resource Estimate for its flagship Treaty Creek Project in the prolific Golden Triangle of northwestern BC. The TC resource now boasts 23.37 AuEq million ounces in the Indicated category and 7.35 million AuEq ounces in the Inferred category. Teuton’s (carried) 20% share of TC is seeing another aggressive push—a minimum of 25k meters— targeting the north and northeast extensions of the Goldstorm deposit where previous drill campaigns tagged the project’s highest grades...
“In addition to the northern step-out drilling at the Goldstorm Deposit, Tudor Gold plans to carry out exploration drilling at the Perfectstorm Zone (“PSZ”) to follow up on six drill holes that were drilled in 2020 and 2021 which all intercepted gold and silver mineralization, highlighted by hole PS-21-06 which returned 118 m of 0.66 g/t gold, 3.69 g/t silver including 31.5 m of 0.84 g/t gold, 6.09 g/t silver. PSZ is a gold-dominant mineralized system measuring 1.3 kilometers (km) in strike length and is located approximately 2.5 km southwest of the Goldstorm Deposit and approximately 2.5 km northeast of Seabridge Gold’s Iron Cap Deposit near the southwestern boundary of the Treaty Claim block.”
Another intriguing development from three weeks back highlighted plans to spin out certain assets from the company’s vast portfolio of exploration projects in the Triangle…
Some of the projects on the spin-out list include Big Gold, Eskay Rift, Tennyson, Pearson, Leduc Silver, Four J’s, and Harry (properties presently under option will be assigned Teuton’s interest in the option, the rest are all 100% owned by the Company).
There will soon come a day—after the tax consequences, etc, are thoroughly examined—when Teuton shareholders will find shares of two Gldn-Tri companies in their trading accounts.
Of interest to shareholders, Treaty Creek is ranked among the World’s top ten biggest gold projects.
Companies still asleep
Goldseek has gone quiet in recent weeks. But knowing the pedigree of this management team, a lot of thought is going into the next phase of exploration at its flagship Beschefer Project—a project located in a favorable orogenic setting some 45 kilometers northeast of the Casa Berardi Mine (and 30 kilometers southwest of Wallbridge’s Fenelon Gold Project).
Beschefer Project Drill Hole Highlights Include:
Highlights of the best intersections include 4.92 g/t gold over 28.65 metres in hole BE-21-02 (including 11.39 g/t over 9.1m);
- 55.63 g/t gold over 5.57 metres in hole BE13-038 (including 224 g/t over 1.23m ; 13.95 g/t over 0.68m and 13.70 g/t over 0.73m);
- 13.07 g/t gold over 8.75 metres in hole B12-014 (including 58.5 g/t over 1.5m);
- 3.56 g/t gold over 28.4 metres in hole B14-006 (including 7.42 g/t over 5.5m);
- 10.28 g/t gold over 8.00 metres in hole B14-35 (including 86.74 g/t over 0.60m).
- (true width in these sections vary between 89% and 99% of the intercepted width)
With its current sub-nickel share price and $2.76M valuation, success via the business end of the drill bit should go a long way toward elevating spirits on this side of the Casa Berardi fault.
On the U3O8 front, with the energy-dense metal trading north of $50 in recent sessions, Forum Energy Metals is ready to accelerate exploration activity having closed the first tranche of a non-brokered $2M private placement announced in mid-April – Forum Closes First Tranche of Private Placement.
The $2M will go a long way towards pushing its highly prospective Thelon Basin Project further along the exploration/development curve (Forum’s district-scale land position at Thelon surrounds a 133 million pound basement hosted resource held by Orano and partners – see slide #12 on Forum’s pitch deck).
The Thelon Basin, a vastly unexplored region characterized as the closest geological analog we have to the prolific Athabasca Basin further south, holds considerable discovery potential in its subsurface layers.
The company anticipates drilling a minimum of 2,000 meters at Thelon this summer. Its primary objective is to confirm and expand the Tatiggaq zone which holds a historical resource (non-NI 43-101 compliant) of some 7 million pounds of U3O8 grading 0.61%.
The anomaly that holds Tatiggaq’s historical pounds-in-the-ground has seen only 200 meters of its 1500-meter strike length tested with the drill bit.
Forum’s VP of Exploration, Dr. Rebecca Hunter, knows this project like the back of her hand having led the Cameco team that discovered the Tatiggaq and Qavvik deposits while working as a project geologist from 2005 to 2016.
This summer’s drilling campaign will also test two high-priority regional targets where the discovery potential is considered high. These two targets—Bjorn and Ned—are big-ass anomalies.
Elsewhere on the Forum front, the company announced the start of a round of geophysics at its Grease River Project where Traction Uranium Corp stands to earn up to 100% by making staged cash payments of $1.7 million, 5.5 million in staged share payments, and incurring $6 million in exploration expenditures by December 31, 2028. If the deal runs its course, Forum will retain a 2% NSR and pull in an additional $8 million in milestone payments (Forum serves as operator for the first phase of exploration).
Thelon Basin will provide the lion’s share of drilling-related newsflow this summer. Fuel and equipment are on their way in.
HighGold just cashed up to the tune of $9.25M via an upsized non-brokered PP…
With $16 mill in the till, the company is in a strong position to advance its flagship asset—the Johnson Tract Gold-Zinc-Copper Project in southcentral Alaska—further along the exploration curve (JT holds a high-grade resource of 1,053,000 ounces AuEq Indicated and 108,000 ounces AuEq in the Inferred).
The masked shareholder: “In connection with the Offering, an existing strategic shareholder of the Company exercised their participation rights under an investor rights agreement with the Company to maintain their 9.9% interest, subscribing for 1,420,000 Shares at $0.66 per Share for proceeds of $937,200.”
The company has yet to enlighten us with its plans for JT this summer. That may be the next piece of news to flow.
Back in March, the company announced additional details concerning the spin-out of its (non-core) Ontario/Yukon assets…
- HighGold will transfer all of the outstanding common shares of Epica Gold Inc. (“Epica”), the wholly-owned subsidiary of HighGold, which owns the Properties, to Onyx Gold;
- In consideration of the foregoing, Onyx Gold will transfer to the Company: (i) the respective number of Onyx Gold Shares equal to the number of HighGold Shares outstanding at the time of the Spin-Out, multiplied by 0.25; and (ii) 5,000,000 Onyx Gold Shares (the “Onyx Gold Spin-Out Shares”). The Company will retain the Onyx Gold Spin-Out Shares as well as the Company’s remaining assets and working capital, and continue as a mineral exploration company;
- Upon closing of the Spin-Out, HighGold shareholders will receive 0.25 of an Onyx Gold Share.
The last time I covered Arizona Metals was to report that a road had finally been pushed in to access a highly prospective target—the Western Target—at their flagship Kay Mine Project in Yavapai County, Arizona.
A fat hit at the Western Target could help the company find a whole new gear as it would open up the potential for multiple discoveries across this target-rich VMS landscape (the company’s flagship is located at the southern end of a mineralized trend boasting sixty 60 past-producing Cu-Au-Zn VMS mines and nearly 4 billion pounds of historical copper production where the average mined grade was 3% Cu (plus significant Au, Zn, and Ag credits)).
Last month the company dropped the following headline…
16 meters of stringer to semi-massive sulphide mineralization, including visible copper sulphide (chalcopyrite) and zinc sulphide (sphalerite), were tagged within a broader interval of VMS mineralization in Drill Hole KM-23- 104. The hole ended in sulphide-bearing core but was stopped at 888 meters downhole due to separated drill rods.
The onsite geo’s obviously liked what they saw in 104’s core as a new branch hole—KM-23-104A—was subsequently wedged up-hole to continue testing this new zone of mineralization. Assays from 104 should be the next headline to drop.
Briefly – a few new ideas for your consideration
The following names represent three names I follow but do not own. Not yet, anyway.
- 106.25 million shares outstanding
- $23.91M market cap based on its recent $0.225 close
Getchell Gold’s flagship asset is Fondaway Canyon, an advanced-stage past producer located in Churchill County, Nevada. The current ounce count at Fondaway = 550,800 ounces grading 1.56 g/t Au in the Indicated category, and 1,509,100 ounces grading 1.23 g/t Au in the Inferred category.
Exploration over the past few seasons led to two discoveries on the property…
The company has yet to table its exploration plans for 2023. But an updated resource estimate and a PEA might be expected within the next 12 months.
I can’t seem to find what stake, if any, Getchell management has in their company. I also can’t find its cash balance, so I presume they’re running low on funds and will need to cash up before exploration can continue. But at a $24M valuation—the stock is a hair off its 52-week low—Fondway’s two-million-plus ounces strike me as cheap.
- 90.95 million shares outstanding
- $166.44M market cap based on its recent $1.83 close
The Fenn-Gib Gold Project in the Timmins region of Northern Ontario is Mayfair’s mothership asset. Fenn-Gib’s current Indicated ounce count = 3.06M ounces at a grade of 0.81 g/t Au (310k ounces grading .70 g/t Au round out the Inferred category).
With a current strike length of 1.25 kilometers and widths of up to 300 meters, this is shaping up to be a nice deposit with good continuity. Mineralization remains open at depth and along strike to the east and west. Recently completed metallurgical tests confirm gold recoveries of up to 94%.
Geologically well endowed and steeped in the mining culture, the Timmins camp is in a good neighborhood.
With two rigs currently engaged in an ongoing infill and expansion campaign (a third rig is turning for geotechnical / PFS purposes), assay-related newsflow is steady.
Recent Drill Hole Highlights:
- 1.53 g/t Au over 133.7 meters, including 3.18 g/t Au over 53.4 meters;
- 1.85 g/t Au over 130.5 meters, including 2.70 g/t Au over 83.0 meters, including 5.14 g/t Au over 29.2 meters;
- 1.06 g/t Au over 163.1 meters, including 2.92 g/t Au over 23.2 meters, including 4.61 g/t Au over 10.9 meters;
- 1.25 g/t Au over 119.6 meters, including 2.31 g/t Au over 51.9 meters, including 3.86 g/t Au over 15.0 meters;
- 0.71 g/t Au over 371.0 meters, including 1.00 g/t Au over 71.0 meters and 0.91 g/t Au over 137.8 meters.
Nice hits. This is a stock I hope to own soon.
- 60.23 million shares outstanding
- $381.86M market cap based on its recent $6.34 close
There are a handful of junior explorecos boasting steep, positive price chart trajectory, but Collective Mining is a standout due to headlines flowing from its Guayabales Project in Caldas, Colombia.
The jurisdiction gives me pause—Columbia is exactly ranked top shelf in the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies—but recent results, and management’s success operating in the country, have me glued to the newsflow here (this is the same team that sold its Buriticá project to Zijin Mining for a tidy $2B years back).
A late February headline highlighting an impressive 384.7 meters grading 2.46 g/t AuEq (including 109.8 meters at 4.14 g/t AuEq) from surface first caught my attention. That hit was followed by 359.15 meters grading 3.32 g/t AuEq in a mid-March press release.
After exploration was accelerated in mid-April via the mobilization of a fourth rig, the company continued to drop impressive drill hole results.
An April 25 press release…
The share structure is tight. The company had US$28M as of March 2023. Management holds 31% of the outstanding common. I wouldn’t mind owning some myself.
This just in…
Collective Mining Expands the Dimensions of the High-Grade Shallow Zone of Mineralization at the Apollo Porphyry System and Intersects Significant Visual Mineralization Along the Newly Discovered Contact Zone
The market wasn’t impressed with continuing long intervals of one-gram-plus material (the current weakness in gold isn’t helping). Hello volatility.
Other companies on my watch list
Aurion Resources Ltd (AU.V) – While exploring its wholly owned Risti and Launi projects in northern Finland, Aurion is advancing joint venture properties with B2Gold and Kinross.
Azimut Exploration Inc (AZM.V) – Holder of the largest mineral exploration portfolio in Quebec, the company will be active on at least 10 exploration fronts in 2023.
Amex Exploration Inc (AMX.V) – Amex is exploring its high-grade multiple-zoned Perron Gold Project in Quebec.
Banyan Gold Corp (BYN.V) – covered in these pages fairly extensively in the past (first featured at $0.06 back in Feb. 2020), the company recently launched a 25k meter, multiple rig drill campaign at its AurMac Property in the Mayo Mining District, Yukon.
Blackwolf Copper and Gold Ltd (BWCG.V) – A well-run company with a portfolio of highly prospective properties in southeast Alaska and the Golden Triangle (the high-grade Cantoo Property is the standout here).
FireFox Gold Corp (FFOX.V) – a Finland-based exploreco with an extensive project portfolio covering prospective ground along the Lapland Greenstone Belt.
Kenorland Minerals Ltd – a well-run, geologically prospective exploreco with a deep-pocketed / resource-hungry JV partner.
Lion One Metals Ltd (LIO.V) – a high-grade, near-production scenario based in Fiji (covered here in the past).
Meridian Mining UK S (MNO.TO) – well-run, cashed-up, developing its advanced-stage Cabaçal VMS gold‐copper project in Brazil.
New Found Gold Corp (NFG.V) – for obvious (high-grade) reasons.
Northern Superior Resources (SUP.V) – covered in these pages recently, the company deserves a close look as it should perform well in a bull market.
Ridgeline Minerals Corp (RDG) – covered here in the past due to its exposure to some of the most prospective ground in Nevada.
Radisson Mining Resources Inc (RDS.V) – covered here in the past, the company, with its high-grade exploration/development play in the Bousquet-Cadillac mining camp in Abitibi, Quebec, might be one of the more likely takeover targets in the junior arena.
Red Pine Exploration Inc (RPX.V) – covered here in the past, another company with a high-grade exploration/development play in a mining-friendly region that could be characterized as ‘prey’ for a resource-hungry producer.
Snowline Gold Corp (SGD.V) – covered here in the past, the company is exploring what could be a world-class deposit amongst a host of multiple million-ounce-plus gold mines and deposits in Canada’s Yukon Territory.
Sitka Gold Corp (SIG.C) – drilling off an interesting project in the Yukon’s prolific Tombstone Gold Belt roughly 100 kilometers east of Dawson City.
Skeena Resources Ltd (SKE.TO) – covered extensively since I launched Highballer several years back, the company continues to push its Eskay Creek Project aggressively along the development curve.
Skyharbour Resources Ltd (SKY.V) – featured here in the past, the company is one of the more an aggressive explorers, and largest landholders, in the prolific Athabasca Basin.
Thesis Gold Inc (TAU.V) – drilling off its prospective Ranch Gold Project in British Columbia’s Toodoggone mining district.
Western Alaska Minerals (WAM.V) – a company drilling off a district-scale high-grade CRD project in western Alaska.
Westhaven Gold Corp (WHN.V) – a company drilling off its multiple-zoned Shovelnose project in the Spences Bridge Gold Belt of BC.
West Vault Mining Inc (WVM.V) – covered here in the past, a company with a fully permitted Nevada-based production scenario on the cusp of a construction/production decision.
Full disclosure: Forum Energy Metals and Goldseek Resources are Highballer clients. I own shares of Forum, Goldseek, and Patriot Battery Metals (color me biased, especially where these three are concerned).Disclaimer - Legal Notice
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