Mawson Gold (TSX: MAW) CEO Michael Hudson on Doubled Resource at the Rajapalot Gold-Cobalt Project in Finland & Ongoing Drilling at the Sunday Greek Gold Project in Australia
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the Chairman and CEO of Mawson Gold (TSX: MAW)(OTC: MWSNF), Mr. Michael Hudson. Mike, how are you?
Michael Hudson: Top of the world down under, as I usually say, Gerardo.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, I know you're busy. You have news coming soon out of Australia where you are currently in, but you just had some news in regards to the project in Finland. You've doubled the gold-cobalt resource. The devil is always in the details and I would love for you to provide some context there. I know you and I spoke a bit off-air. Of course, the magic number that everybody hopes to hit is that million ounce threshold. I joked, but I was serious, this is more of a progress report and an update than it is the end game, right? Can you explain why that is and what it came in at? Because the numbers that you provided are impressive.
Michael Hudson: Yeah, we've doubled the resource, which is critical. That's a great upgrade in itself. The grade stayed fairly constant and the tonnes doubled. 70-plus percent falls within open pittable resources at a head grade of 2.5 grams gold equivalent, of which 2.1 grams is gold. So very nice grade.
Remember the average grade worldwide is 1 gram per tonne, so this is double the average grade. It's free milling gold from surface. We've got some very nice higher grades. There's some sensitivity tables with the devil in the detail. Go, and I urge your readers to, look at that. The grade holds up. You can increase the cutoff and the grade goes dramatically up without losing too many ounces. It's an estimate, of course, resources are estimates, and this is the way it's optimized with current metal prices, but it could look many different ways.
We were hoping to get close to the million ounces, that was our aspiration and what I've talked about. Basically we're half or three quarters of a drill program away from achieving that just through conservatism, I'd say, of how resources are calculated and not enough drilling. We just need to do a little bit more to get it to that number, but it's on a path, and it's on a path to what is becoming substantial now. We've got 5 rigs planned from December. Actually one rig starting next week, drilling along strike from the resource areas. It's a great interim upgrade, I would say.
Gerardo Del Real: The rig that you have coming on, is that going to drill for extensions to the current resource?
Michael Hudson: Yeah. The rig that is coming on next week will look for extensions about 500 meters along strike and further from the resource areas, which are permitted for winter drilling only, the resource area. But we're drilling in these summer areas that are a little drier and we're able to access. But come December when everything freezes, the focus will be on increasing the size of the high-grade portions of this resource that we've identified in some of our very good drilling this year, infilling those. Ideally, that would aim to increase the grade because it would increase the continuity of those high-grade systems, bringing in shallow resources. We brought in a fourth area, if you like, an area called Rumajarvi, just at tens of thousands of ounces. That's one of the three near surface targets that we've got.
If you can drill shallow tonnes, it's less drilling per ounce, and then drilling also to depth, which has been our strategy for the last few years. These things are open so we can't ignore that in isolation. Then also what we just talked about, finding new areas to bring pre-resource areas and pre-earlier stage discoveries and bringing them up the chain, if you like. So that's the strategy.
Just talking about a discovery, most of this discovery came this year. We had a very successful drill season. The upgrade was 95% from drilling this year. About 14 kilometers of drilling got us close to that 350,000 ounces. If you look at that on a dollar basis, it's about $10 an ounce discovery costs that we're tracking at now.
Gerardo Del Real: Mike, this is a gold-cobalt resource estimate. The cobalt part of it, I think, is not appreciated the way that it should for several reasons, but amongst them because I think it will be key and helpful in the permitting process. Eventually, obviously the goal is for a multimillion ounce gold deposit, or deposits, with an important cobalt credit that I think, again, really helps the permitting aspect of this project and makes it incredibly attractive to potential suitors. Can you walk me through that aspect of the estimate?
Michael Hudson: Yeah. So the cobalt adds about 14% in-situ value to the resource. It's clearly a gold project by its predominant value, and gold drives everything. But the cobalt, as you touched on, is really what will drive, in many respects, the permitting. I call cobalt a government metal, and it's very important for the Finnish government because they want to build a battery supply chain. Well, they want to increase their presence in the battery supply chain.
They have the largest refinery for cobalt in the world. It produces 10% of world's cobalt. It's 400 kilometers from our project, our resource. The feed, the mined rock that comes to feed that refinery, 90-plus percent of it comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which doesn't fit the sustainable and ethical supply chains that Finland and Europe are after. So having a homegrown supply of cobalt is very important for Finland. They've just announced a post-COVID budget, dedicated $450 million Euros to the state mining company, the Finnish Minerals Group, and we look forward to working closer and closer with that group as we go forward.
Gerardo Del Real: Mike, you explained that as if you've already had several discussions about the cobalt aspect of this project. Is there anything else that you'd like to add?
Michael Hudson: No, Gerardo. It's just a key part of the mix and a geologically-fortunate mix to have in a world that is looking to electrify and in Europe that is really looking to electrify.
Gerardo Del Real: Well said. Before I let you go, I have to ask about Australia. How are things progressing there?
Michael Hudson: Well, as I speak, I'm en route to the drill site. We've got one rig turning, we've completed three holes at Sunday Creek. One rig has gone to Redcastle, another rig will be coming next week. So we'll have two rigs turning there. We've got four geophysical crews. We've got rocks in the assay lab as I speak. You can expect first results soon in the coming weeks from Australia. We're genuinely excited about the discovery opportunity.
Finland adds that very solid base. It's a project on a pathway. We've demonstrated that by this resource upgrade today. On the Australian side of things, looking for that next high-grade epizonal deposit that could look like Fosterville is what is got a lot of people excited, including ourselves.
Gerardo Del Real: I'm looking forward to it. Mike, thank you so much for the update.
Michael Hudson: Thanks, Gerardo.