Millrock Resources (TSX-V: MRO) CEO Greg Beischer Announces Joint Venture with Kinross Gold for Liberty Bell Gold Project
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is Millrock Resources President (TSX-V: MRO)(OTC: MLRKF), CEO, and Director, Mr. Greg Beischer.
Greg, thank you for joining me this morning.
Greg Beischer: It's a pleasure, Gerardo. It's great to be back on the phone with you again.
Gerardo Del Real: We've had several conversations in the past, and I've always commented on how well you've executed the project generator model and how you were very opportunistic during this latest bear market, in putting together a portfolio of projects that really spoke to quality projects, with district scale land packages and obviously a lot of exploration upside, and this morning you have some news that's pretty exciting on many fronts and I'm hoping you can share that with us.
Greg Beischer: Sure thing, yes, we're very pleased about it. Liberty Bell is a gold project that we did pick up two years ago in what turned out to be the very bottom of the market, we were able to negotiate with the private company that owned the claims, what we considered to be quite a good deal, but now after doing a little bit of work with our own money, we've been successful in finding a joint venture partner for the project, so that company will start funding work there.
The company is a major, it's a company that's been a partner of ours at least two times in the past, here in Alaska, and it's Kinross Gold Corporation out of Toronto, but of course they're also a mining company out of Alaska. They own and operate the Fort Knox Mine, here in the state, it's a great mine and we really enjoy working with the Kinross folks. It will be a great collaboration between our technical teams, they'll fund the work, we'll execute the work with our technical staff, and I'm really looking forward to tying into this project. It's got some great indications at surface, we know that there's a small, approximately 150,000 ounce historic resource of fairly high grade and good thickness, right near surface, and we think there's good potential to find other such deposits, and we're just really looking forward to doing the exploration, which will start this summer.
It will be all surface surveys this summer. Systematic exploration work so we move the project towards drilling intelligently in 2018.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent, now Millrock's offices are based out of Anchorage, Alaska, and Kinross is obviously very active in the region, what is it about Liberty Bell, that attracted them to this project specifically, because I know you had mentioned privately, that there's a deposit approximately 90 kilometers away that was a look alike deposit that's now grown to a much bigger resource than the 150,000 that you've discovered in the past at Liberty Bell. Can we talk a little bit about that project and the similarities between the two?
Greg Beischer: Yes, sure, I think it's a quite exciting new discovery that’s been made by another company, a private company that now has optioned their claim block to Royal Gold, interestingly the royalty company. They've been exploring away for a couple of years, now drilling away and I believe they're about to announce a new resource calculation, and my suspicion is that it's going to be a multi-million ounce gold deposit, and even potentially Alaska's next mine. It's a discovery that's gone almost completely under the radar, but we've been watching it and that's the main reason we picked up the Liberty Bell project, because the geologic setting and the style of mineralization appears to be identical, so that gives us great encouragement, that indeed there could be a significant gold deposit on our claims.
I think that was part of Kinross's interest, but as I say, we've been partners with Kinross previously, we seem to come up with projects that they like the look of. I also think part of the attraction for these major companies to Millrock is the fact is that not only do we come up with good ideas, but we can also execute excellent exploration programs in every sense, whether it's technical, social, safety. I think we do a good job on all fronts, which makes for successful exploration and maximizes the chance of discovery.
Gerardo Del Real: Wonderful. Now, can you provide the details of the agreement, because the funding commitment by Kinross is pretty substantial. Can you share those details for us, Greg?
Greg Beischer: Sure, so it's an option to joint venture. Kinross can earn up to a 70% interest, by supplying exploration funding totaling US$5 million over the course of five years. Now we'll be the operator of the exploration, of course our technical teams will collaborate to develop the exploration program and budget for each of these years. Kinross can withdraw of course, since it is an option agreement, if the results aren't as anticipated, but if it goes all the way then it'll become a joint venture and at the point Millrock will earn a royalty and it will be vested with the royalty and at that point we can either contribute pro rata 70/30 to the project development, which of course would be de-risked to some degree at that point, or we may simply elect to reduce to an expanded royalty position, and throughout it all we are to receive advanced minimum royalty payments each year to a maximum of a half a million dollars, before production begins.
It's a good standard options joint venture deal, but Kinross has been great to work with and we really look forward to working with them again.
Gerardo Del Real: Great, now Greg, there seems to be an uptick in exploration dollars that are being committed once again. You obviously have another project in Alaska, that's also an attractive project, the Stellar Project. Has there been any activity behind the scenes there, that you can speak of?
Greg Beischer: Yes, we've heard from our joint venture partner there, Vista Minerals, a small Australian company that they are planning and preparing for a drilling program, first pass program on a project valued at roughly two million dollars. I know that they'll have to go out and raise that money and they're in the process of doing so, but it appears to me, that the financing window is well open now. This year it appears even the early stage grass roots explorers are able to raise finances and I'm pretty confident Vista's going to be able to do that and we really wish them luck and hope they drill right into a big porphyry deposit. They'll also try to re-establish the historic high grade gold copper skarn style mineralization resource, that we know exists on the property, so there's an abundance of targets, they'll start with the known and work their way out to find that really big prize with porphyry.
Gerardo Del Real: Wonderful, now I understand you'll be in Toronto here for the PDAC and an investor conference that I believe you attended last year as well. Is that accurate Greg? Will you be out there?
Greg Beischer: I sure will, and you know it's interesting because it was a year ago, that I attended this one-day newsletter subscriber summit investor day immediately preceding the Prospectors and Developers Association Conference. It was really my first inkling that the cycle had bottomed and we're actually starting to move off bottom. The investors there one year ago, were getting a little excited and they'd made a little bit of money in January and February of 2016, and I'm betting when we get there on Saturday, the mood's going to be really good.
I think the sentiment is definitely enthusiastic and optimistic. I think investors see that for sure metals across the board are on the way up, and that's going to mean a lot more capital available for exploration and development, and I think it's the start of what should be a really great bull market run in metals, and we're sure looking forward to that.
Gerardo Del Real: Wonderful. Now it wasn't too long ago that you announced the strategic alliance with Centerra and so obviously we're looking forward to drilling from Sonora later this year. This partnership with Kinross, is obviously a great step forward as far as developing some of the other projects and it sounds like the Stellar Project, as well, is showing some activity, so it looks like a busy 2017 for you, Greg. I know that the past several years were busy as well behind the scenes, preparing yourself for this. But it looks like you're at an inflection point and hopefully investors and shareholders have a great 2017 to look forward to.
Is there anything that you'd like to add that I maybe missed.
Greg Beischer: No you're right Centerra is funding numerous projects in Sonora State Mexico with us, we're highly active, and that will be the next drilling site is at our Los Cuarentas project, so that's a potential catalyst for our stock price coming up there and of course my hope in the coming weeks is to get a funding partner on our British Columbia projects in the Golden Triangle. We've been talking to a number of groups and I'm pretty darn sure something is going to materialize there and I'm really looking forward to working in the Golden Triangle in an earnest way.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, I'd love to have you back on if an agreement materializes Greg, I'd like to encourage everybody to go to millrockresources.com. I think the portfolio of projects is a quality portfolio that anybody speculating in this sector should be aware of and familiar with and I think that's a great resource for it. So that's millrockresources.com.
Greg, I want to thank you for your time. Good luck at PDAC and in Toronto and again we hopefully we chat soon and have more agreements and plays to talk about.
Greg Beischer: It's always a pleasure, Gerardo. Talk to you again soon.
Gerardo Del Real: Thanks again, Greg.