Bullfrog Gold (CSE: BFG) CEO Dave Beling on Final Assays from a Successful Drill Program at the Bullfrog Gold Project in Nevada
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of Bullfrog Gold (CSE: BFG)(OTC: BFGC) and one of the few gentlemen that can pronounce my name in English and Spanish accurately, Mr. Dave Beling. Dave, how are you today, sir?
David Beling: Very well, Gerardo.
Gerardo Del Real: I appreciate you taking the call on short notice. I know you're traveling. You had some news that was extremely well received by the market. I think the release was a great analog to what exploration is. Let's get right to it.
You reported assay results from the six remaining holes. Four of those were what I like to describe as robust, shallow oxidized gold, starting at surface oftentimes. Then two were at a target that you're just now starting to test and those didn't hit yet.
Let's start with the first four holes. The headline number was 61 meters of 0.78 grams per tonne gold. There was another one of 35 meters of 0.44 grams per tonne gold. Importantly, the holes that hit were not within the previous estimates of the measured and indicated resource, which I think is important.
David Beling: That's right. The hole that had 61 meters is in the Montgomery-Shoshone pit. We actually drilled on the pit rim to get underneath the bottom of the pit as the mineralization is dipping under that pit wall. That was 61 meters of 0.78 grams gold and 7.25 grams of silver. So it was a very thick interval, which is helpful for that deposit.
We also had several other intervals that ran very well. In fact, there was another interval at 24 meters that ran a little over 0.5 gram and 2 grams of silver. But even in that first hole, the 61 meters, there was 20 meters within that interval that ran 1.8 grams and had 18 grams of silver in it. Those are all going to enhance the resource and define the pit limits so that we can do a optimized pit plan with this new drill hole data and define with great confidence what the size of these pits can be when we expand them.
Gerardo Del Real: In the context of $1,800 gold – and it looks like it's primed to head higher – those are extremely attractive grades and widths.
Let's talk about the Paradise Ridge target. You had an initial two holes there that did not discover any significant mineralization, but I think it's worth noting that the target is approximately 2,000 meters long and it's 400 meters wide. Obviously, you'd love to hit on your first two holes. It's not the way exploration usually works. Can you provide some perspective there?
David Beling: Well, to give you an example in the early 1980s, when St. Joe discovered the 2 million ounce Bullfrog deposit, they drilled 36 holes in that area before they made the discovery. I have some Irish in me, but I don't have that much Irish luck to win out on the first hole. Essentially, those first two holes drill tested about 4% of the target area. There, as you mentioned, the target goes up another 2 kilometers and it will take several holes. We need to drill that whole area out in the future to fully test it.
We think it's a great target. It doesn't mean that we're going to connect even in the 2,000 meters, but it's got the identical host rocks as the Bullfrog deposit. It's got gold on the surface. It's got structures in it. As I've mentioned before, the only thing it does not have is drill holes in it. The two were on the very far south end of it, but we still have another 2,000 meters to go. We're not discouraged with that. In fact, I didn't anticipate that we were going to ring the chimes on the first two holes. But in any event it's a solid target. It's got great potential and we will test it as we go forward.
Gerardo Del Real: Well said. The last point, and I think this is an important one as well, is that this program now fulfills your ability in mid-September to purchase the 100% interest in the lands under lease from Barrick, correct?
David Beling: That's correct. We did that lease a little over 5 years ago and we had to spend a total of $1.5 million dollars. This drill program will complete that requirement and then we'll exercise the option to purchase 100%. It's still subject to royalties. Barrick gets a 2% royalty on that, on their lands. We accomplished all of the objectives in the pit areas. At the Paradise Ridge we are just starting to rub elbows subsurface. We've looked at the surface around there.
The fact of the matter is I engaged an extremely well known and renowned geologist out of Reno, Dr. Tommy Thompson. Tommy's got 60 years of experience and he's written, I don't know, it must be a couple hundred professional papers. He's very knowledgeable with the epithermal gold system. He's going to be visiting the property here in another week or two as well as examining the drill cuttings we have and chatting with the field geologists that ran that program.
We've got some significant horsepower involved in this thing to guide us on the future of our exploration of this target. We may have to drill a few more holes to ultimately get the pit limits where we want them. But I also intend to put a couple more core holes in the Bullfrog pit in particular so we have enough metallurgical representative samples to support the very high recoveries we've achieved, which were 85% using high-pressure grinding rolls.
That's a good chunk of our path forward. Of course, we also want to do a preliminary economic analysis where we have independent capital and operating costs, optimized pit plans and then financial models that demonstrate the robust economics that we anticipate from this project.
Gerardo Del Real: On the last point I mentioned, that was my last point. I lied, I have two more points, but these are important as well. The last time you did a resource estimate on the over 600,000 ounces of gold that you have, you used a $1,200 average price. That was back in 2017. Obviously we're much higher than that now at $1,811.
You mentioned the recoveries, which is what sparked that thought. The resource estimate was based on a heap leach gold recovery of 72% compared to the 85% average recovery recently achieved with the four bulk samples. I think both of those points bode well for a future resource estimate and for the PEA that you plan.
David Beling: On the $1,200 gold price, the SEC and 43-101 require using a 3-year trailing average gold price in resource estimates and economic studies. But right now the 3-year trailing average today is about $175 higher. The spot price as we now know is over $1,800. If we were to do a PEA independently today, they would be using about $1,375 gold.
Gerardo Del Real: Dave, what's next? You talked about the PEA, you mentioned possibly more drilling. There's a lot of data for you now to review, new data. Can you give us a peek at the future?
David Beling: Well, we want to put together the next campaign of drilling now that we have all the assays in. I'll start working on that and laying out what else we need. We also can collect bulk samples right out of the Bullfrog pit. The samples we've been collecting, these are not surface samples. We took bulk samples at the very bottom of the pit so it is representative of the material, but I think we should get some core holes put in there. I have not designed that work, but I will. We also have to get permits expanded because with the notice of intent that we have with the BLM, we can disturb 5 acres and after we reclaim that, you get a rolling average going forward. We can disturb another 5, or you can get a plan of operations, which is a much more detailed public process for that matter, where you can disturb as much as you want, but you have to post bonds for all of these things.
We've got a lot of additional work on planning on the next step forward, but we've outlined all of this in detail in our 3-year budgets, where you go through additional drilling, additional permitting. Permitting for the production operation is going to take a lot of baseline studies to update already what's out there. Then you get into a feasibility study and you're talking about some real money and time, but these are the logical sequences to go through to advance this project. With the kind of results we're getting and with the gold price, this thing is sailing in very smooth but quick water.
Gerardo Del Real: Dave, well said. I look forward to having you back on as soon as you have more specific info on the next steps. A lot to do. Congratulations on a very successful program.
David Beling: Well, I really appreciate that. We've put a lot effort in the company, and we've been involved with this project now for 9 years and we have a very bright future.
Gerardo Del Real: After 9 years, you're an overnight success.
David Beling: Right.
Gerardo Del Real: Take care. Be safe, Dave.
David Beling: All right. I appreciate it very much, Gerardo.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you, sir.