With gold prices on the upswing and Canada’s stable politics looking ever more appealing, Canada’s junior gold explorers are in the midst of a particularly active year. Here is a quick look at four such companies.
Junior gold explorer Canadian Orebodies (TSXV: CORE) is one of the largest claim holders in the region around Ontario’s Hemlo gold camp.
The company is based in Toronto and led by president and CEO Gord McKinnon and project manager Bruce Mackie. Directors include John Harvey, Christopher Hodgson, Gordon Cyr and Michael Leskovec, while veteran mining execs James Gowans, Mackenzie Watson and Robert Middleton serve on an advisory committee.
Canadian Orebodies’ largest shareholder blocks are Osisko Mining (19.9%), Northfield Capital (14.8%) and management and directors (14.2%) — all partially diluted.
Canadian Orebodies’ landholdings in the Hemlo are divided into two property packages: the 68 sq. km North Limb lode gold and volcanogenic massive sulphide property just north of Barrick Gold’s (TSX: ABX; NYSE: ABX) Hemlo gold mining complex, and Wire Lake’s shear-hosted lode gold property, 3 km east of the Marathon platinum group metals deposit northeast of the town of Marathon on Lake Superior.
The junior notes that there has been little deep drilling on its two properties, and suggests that Barrick’s renewed commitment to extend the life of its Hemlo operations well into the next decade bodes well for gold companies active in the region.
Toronto-based Marathon Gold (TSX: MOZ) is focused on its wholly owned Valentine Lake gold project in western Newfoundland.
Marathon’s measured and indicated resources in the camp from the Leprechaun, Sprite, Marathon and Victory deposits stand at 22.6 million tonnes grading 1.91 grams gold per tonne for 1.4 million contained oz. gold. In the inferred category there are another 10.7 million tonnes at 2.24 grams gold for 766,500 contained oz. gold.
Metallurgical tests show 93% to 98% recoveries via conventional milling and 50% to 70% recoveries via heap leaching at the Leprechaun and Marathon deposits.
Marathon plans on carrying out 30,000 metres of drilling at the project this year, and says only a tenth of Valentine’s 20 km gold trend has been looked at in detail.
Marathon describes the Valentine Lake gold camp as accessible by year-round roads and near Newfoundland’s electrical grid. Marathon has a 50-person, all-season camp at the property.
In early May, Marathon boosted to $16 million a proposed bought-deal by RBC Capital Markets of 14 million common and flow-through shares. On March 31, Marathon had $5.2 million in cash.
Michael Byron-led Nighthawk Gold (TSXV: NHK) is working to revive gold mining in the Indin Lake Archean greenstone belt in the southern Northwest Territories.
Nighthawk has locked up 90% of the entire belt with an 892 sq. km land position that already has an inferred resource estimate of 39.8 million tonnes grading 1.64 grams gold per tonne for 2.1 million contained oz. gold.
Nighthawk’s wholly owned assets in the belt include the historic Colomac gold mine, where mining stopped when its owner Royal Oak Mines went bankrupt in the 1990s. Royal Oak intermittently mined the Colomac Main deposit from 1990 to 1997 to produce 528,000 oz. gold with an average head grade of 1.66 grams per tonne gold. However, all mining and processing equipment and infrastructure have been removed from the property.
Nighthawk describes the other deposits at Colomac as relatively “untouched,” with mining only impacting a small part of the mineralized structure’s 9 km strike length.
Shareholders in Nighthawk include Northfield Capital Corp., Kinross Gold, Osisko Royalties and McEwen Mining.
There have been encouraging results from recent metallurgical test that show gold recoveries of up to 96.5% may be achieved and the rock is amenable to all standard gold-recovery technologies. Nighthawk notes this is a “significant increase in recovery” over the historic production results of 88.1% (1994 to 1997).
Morris Prychidny has just joined Nighthawk as chairman, with Suzette Ramcharan coming aboard as vice-president of corporate development in March.
Probe Metals (TSXV: PRB) was spun out of Probe Mines in March 2015 after it was acquired in a $526-million, all-share deal by Goldcorp, who secured the junior’s Borden gold project west of Timmins, Ontario. Goldcorp’s original 19.7% stake in Probe Metals has since been lowered to 13.9%.
Probe Metals is run by much of the same team that led Probe Mines, including president and CEO David Palmer — who was The Northern Miner’s Mining Person of the Year in 2014 for the Borden discovery.
By acquiring Adventure Gold and doing property deals with Richmont Mines, Alexandria Minerals and QMX Gold, Probe Metals has assembled 1,000 sq. km of exploration ground in the Val-d’Or, Casa-Berardi, Detour-Quebec and West Timmins gold camps of Quebec and Ontario.
Its flagship asset is its Val-d’Or East gold project near Val-d’Or, Que., where resources stand at 9.1 million tonnes grading 2.63 grams gold per tonne for 770,000 contained oz. gold.
In 2017, Probe intends to carry out 75,000 metres of drilling at Val-d’Or East to test the New Beliveau Gold deposit to the west, north and south, as well as along parallel dikes similar to those hosting the past-producing Beliveau gold mine.
Probe is in a strong financial position for the work, having $35 million in cash and investment at last count.