First Mining Gold (TSX: FF; US-OTC: FFMGF) has tabled the final set of drill results from its 16,000-metre infill program at Zone 1 of its 236 sq. km Goldlund gold project, 30 km northeast of Dryden, Ontario. All 11 holes intersected mineralization, as did 33 of the program’s total 38 holes.
Highlights from the phase-two program include 24 metres from 48 metres downhole grading 0.54 gram gold per tonne, and 40 metres from 7 metres downhole grading 0.55 gram gold.
Drilling at Goldlund has kept to a 3 km stretch of the property’s 50 km strike length. The company will now look to begin the next exploration phase, which will include mapping, sampling and step-out drilling to test historic holes up to 8 km at the northeastern and southwestern limits of the strike length.
The company will drill 2,000 metres across 14 step-out holes mid-year, and evaluate the results before making any more exploration decisions at Goldlund.
“We’re going to take it one step at a time,” First Mining president and CEO Jeff Swinoga says in a telephone interview with The Northern Miner. “Every campaign has an objective. The objective for the infill, of course, is to improve the confidence, and the purpose of the step-out is to define the extensions along strike. Then we’ll take it from there.”
Swinoga became CEO in January 2018, taking over for Chris Osterman, who is now the company’s chief operating officer. Before joining First Mining, Swinoga served for four years as the chief financial officer for Torex Gold Resources (TSX: TXG), where he financed US$400 million of Torex’s US$800-million El Limon-Guajes gold mine. Before that, he was the chief financial officer of North American Palladium (TSX: PDL). He is currently a director at First Cobalt (TSXV: FCC).
“I’m kind of a bigger company guy,” Swinoga says. “I like putting in systems and processes, and developing projects.”
First Mining acquired Goldlund in June 2016 by merging with Tamaka Gold. The property hosted an open-pit and underground mine from 1982 to 1985. It has 9.3 million indicated tonnes grading 1.87 grams gold for 560,000 oz. gold, and 40.9 million inferred tonnes grading 1.33 grams gold for 1.75 million oz. gold.
First Mining has three other major gold projects in Ontario: Pickle Crow, Cameron and Springpole. Cameron is near Goldlund, while Pickle Crow and Springpole are a few hundred kilometres northeast, near Red Lake.
“There are lots of synergies,” Swinoga says. “We have a situation where you could bifurcate them into two, but I like to think of them as all together. We’re looking at this from a holistic approach.”
The 132 sq. km Pickle Crow project hosts 10.2 million inferred tonnes grading 3.9 grams gold for 1.3 million oz. gold; and the 429 sq. km Cameron project hosts 5.53 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 2.61 grams gold for 464,000 oz. gold, and 6.54 million inferred tonnes at 2.54 grams gold for 533,000 oz. gold.
At its most advanced project, Springpole, First Mining began a provincial environmental assessment in April, which Swinoga says could take two years.
“In the meantime, we’re building a framework for how we want to conduct ourselves to be successful,” Swinoga says. “We want to build long-term trust with local communities and indigenous peoples. It’s really just educating people to have a clear understanding of how we want to do mining at Springpole.”
The 322 sq. km Springpole gold project is 110 km northeast of Red Lake. It has 139.1 million indicated tonnes grading 1.04 grams gold and 5.4 grams silver for 4.67 million oz. gold and 24.19 million oz. silver.
First Mining acquired Springpole in November 2015, when it bought out Gold Canyon Resources. It tabled a preliminary economic assessment for the project last September that assigned Springpole a US$792-million, after-tax, net present value at a 5% discount rate, and a 26.2% after-tax internal rate of return. The company proposed a 36,000-tonne-per-day processing facility that produces 296,500 payable oz. gold and 1.6 million payable oz. silver over 12 years.
Swinoga adds that First Mining could pour first gold at Springpole in five years. The company aims to begin a pre-feasibility study by early 2019.
“As we continue to develop these projects, the potential to generate a lot of jobs and infrastructure in the area is tremendous,” Swinoga says.
Shares of First Mining are valued at 52¢, within a 52-week range of 40¢ to 63¢. The company has a $287-million market capitalization. It has 12 projects in Canada, 12 more in Mexico and one in Nevada.
“The ultimate goal is to create a large, well-diversified gold producer in Canada, with multiple mines producing,” Swinoga says. “We have the assets to do that.”