Millrock Resources (TSX-V: MRO) CEO Greg Beischer Gives an Update on Millrock’s Portfolio of Gold, Silver, Copper & Uranium Projects in Mexico, New Mexico & Alaska
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the President and CEO of Millrock Resources (TSX-V: MRO)(OTC: MLRKF), Mr. Greg Beischer. Greg, it's been a month or two since we chatted. Happy New Year. I'm still saying that to people I haven't spoken with in 2019, so happy New Year to you. How are you?
Greg Beischer: The same to you, Gerardo. It has been December, I think, since we last spoke. But I'm doing pretty well, thanks. It's been a good winter here in Alaska, and I'm down to business. That's for sure.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Well listen, we've had some news since then. You announced drilling results from the La Navidad gold project in Sonora State, Mexico. We found, early on in the drilling, some fire, but not the kind of fire that your partner at the time, Centerra, was looking for, but you had some nice hits. You stepped out. You drilled 10 kilometers away. There was some smoke there, but overall I think the release described it as generally disappointing.
I want to provide context to listeners and readers and explain that the intercepts of oxidized near-surface gold mineralization early on should be very, very encouraging for any mid-tier or junior miner that's looking to advance a project that maybe doesn't reach that couple of million ounces of gold threshold but definitely has, at the very least, a couple of hundred thousand ounces of gold head start. Would that be accurate, Greg?
Greg Beischer: That's a really good description, Gerardo. Let me review. We have been working on the La Navidad project now for a couple of years in partnership with Centerra Gold. We focused initially on a core area where there was some known gold mineralization. We identified that there's certainly gold in the ground there. It's near surface. It's of a high enough grade that it could be mined probably at a profit if enough was delineated. It may not be a multimillion ounce deposit – and so for that reason Centerra walked away – but there's certainly potential to block out hundreds of thousands of ounces of gold mineralization, which would be suitable for a mid-tier or a junior mining company.
On the other hand, sometimes deposits of a few hundred thousand ounces can lead to a few million ounces with enough exploration, so I wouldn't rule it out. The drilling we did in November and December was on a distant target on what is now a huge land package. It was a different style of target. Centerra wanted to drill it, and so since they were the funding partner we went along, but the results were quite disappointing and unfortunately cast a negative connotation on the project when it really doesn't deserve it.
We're working really hard to get a new partner to focus on the core gold mineralization at La Navidad, and I'm pretty confident we're going to get one. It's certainly got to be attractive to the right company.
Gerardo Del Real: Now, as far as how drill-ready these projects are, I have to imagine infrastructure is good. I have to imagine they're permit-ready and drill-ready because you just drilled it. Right?
Greg Beischer: That's right. At this point, Millrock has in Senora State three excellent gold projects, a really nice silver project, and a porphyry copper project. Those five projects are ready to go. We put a lot of work into them through partnership fundings, and everything's in place. The surface access arrangements with ranchers, permits, all the surface geological and geochemical and geophysical work's been done. Any partner company can just walk right in now and test with drilling. We've been hard at work over the last six weeks marketing the projects to potential funding partners, and I'm confident that we're going to get some of those partnered up here in the near future.
Gerardo Del Real: How many projects are available for joint venture right now? I know commodity-wise it's gold and silver, if I'm not mistaken. Right?
Greg Beischer: In Sonora, that's true. Yes. Primarily gold and silver with one copper project. We likely have 15 different projects in Sonora State, but the five that I mentioned are the ones that have been brought all the way forward to drill readiness. The others are in the pipeline, not likely that we can attract partners with them yet. They need more work. But five drill-ready projects ready to go in Sonora.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, I have to believe with the gold market that's stabilizing, that's putting in higher lows it seems like every week, that finding a partner for those projects is probably well on its way.
You have a uranium project, and we were chatting a bit off the record because I'm excited in 2019 for what uranium is going to deliver. I think the second half of this year is going to be a transformational one for the uranium space, and you have an attractive project that doesn't get much attention because you're a project generator, but you focus mainly on the base metals, the precious metals, not so much uranium. Can we talk about that project and the status of it?
Greg Beischer: Yep, for sure. I mean, big gold and copper projects is Millrock's bread and butter. That's our main focus, the types of deposits that can move the needle on a huge company, like Teck or Vale. So that's usually our focus.
On the other hand, I've in my career witnessed three uranium cycles where the bull market in uranium was really astounding, how much money was being spent, how investors behaved in those markets. I've seen people make an awful lot of money in those uranium bull markets. Millrock saw an opportunity to stake for the very low cost of staking an entire series of uranium deposits some years ago now. At the time, we were thinking a price increase in uranium was imminent. That's not proven to be the case, but we've held onto the deposits. Now things are starting to move a little bit with uranium.
You know, about a year ago, all of a sudden the price of vanadium took off, and it turns out this series of deposits has a vanadium content. In fact, it's about a ratio of 5 vanadium to 1 uranium, and so the phone's started to ring now from potential partners that are interested in this series of deposits. This is why Millrock has held onto it. If there's a coming bull market in uranium, Millrock shareholders will make out pretty well because of that move that was made five years ago now.
Gerardo Del Real: Fantastic. We've talked Mexico. We've talked New Mexico. Gold, silver, copper, uranium. How are things coming in Alaska?
Greg Beischer: Well, very well. This is home base and where I love to explore the most. We've got some great projects here. Liberty Bell is one that we've brought forward, developed six excellent drill target areas, I would call them. They need a bit more refinement. Certainly there's places where you could start drilling right away to extend the known near-surface gold deposit or to find other deposits nearby. We've certainly got the right indications. We've been marketing the project hard, and I believe that we will have a new partnership there potentially within a matter of weeks from now.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Yeah, go ahead. Absolutely. You know where I was going.
Greg Beischer: Yeah, the thing I'm most excited about and can't wait to talk about it. Again, about four years ago, in what we thought was the bottom of the bottom in the market, Millrock bought up claim blocks in and around the Pogo Gold Mine in the Goodpaster Mining District in Alaska. It's been interesting for me to watch. It's all the same rocks from one side of the border to the other. In Yukon, we see a tremendous amount of activity for gold exploration, but you come to the other side of the border into Alaska, same rocks, same gold potential, yet not very many players here right now. Millrock was able to acquire an excellent land position immediately in and around the Pogo Gold Mine.
For listeners that don't know Pogo, it's a great mine. It produces right now about 300,000 ounces of gold annually. It's quite high grade. Life of mine average is roughly half an ounce of gold per tonne. The mine has a new owner, a very aggressive Australian owner that seems to be a great miner and a great explorer.
Northern Star has really ramped things up. They put out a press release yesterday announcing that the mine is improving already in just the five months that they've owned it. They've made a brand new discovery 800 meters to the northwest of the mine that was announced yesterday. Excellent grade. In fact, even a higher grade, it would appear, than the existing mining operation. Quartz veins, low-angle, shallow-dipping quartz veins ranging between 2 and 5 meters in true thickness, but grading anywhere between 1 ounce and 2 ounces of gold per tonne. It sure doesn't take too much ore at that grade to make a serious deposit.
But the most exciting thing about this is that we know that Northern Star, the operator of the Pogo Mine, has made yet another new discovery. They haven't talked about it very much at all, but it's at yet another 800 meters further west from the new discovery, so 1.6 kilometers northwest of the existing mine, which puts it very, very close to Millrock's aptly named West Pogo project. It's possible that that new discovery, I believe Northern Star calls it the Goodpaster deposit, there's a possibility that that deposit trends right onto Millrock's claims.
So, we're very excited about this. We've done a fair bit of work on our West Pogo project. There's certainly some excellent indications. High-angle quartz veins with good grade gold appear at surface, and that's the clue that you should drill deeper there to intersect the flat line thicker veins that appear before most of the ore bodies at Pogo. So, that's our plan. That's what needs to be done. First a geophysical survey, and then drilling.
It's a bit of a quandary for Millrock at this point. We'd like to have a partner fund that work, but at the same time, we don't want to give something away if indeed there's an ore body trending onto our claims. So, for now it's a bit of a wait and see to see if we can't learn more what Northern Star has discovered on their claims, but at the same time, we want to see our claim's exploration move ahead quickly. We're very excited about the possibility that there could be a gold deposit right on our property. For now, we're talking to other companies and learning as much as we can, and we're going to carve a path forward here sometime soon.
Gerardo Del Real: Why, it sounds like you're eager to test whether the deposit continues onto your property, but it also sounds like it's going to take the right deal if it is indeed joint ventured. Is that accurate?
Greg Beischer: That's accurate, yep. It'd just be better if more time went by. Maybe Millrock in this case should invest a bit more money into the project to more clearly demonstrate the prospectivity and further advance the targets a bit from where they are now. It's something all under consideration at present, and we'll figure out what we're going to do sometime here soon with the project.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Well, Greg, you have exciting gold projects and silver projects in Mexico that are drill ready. You have one in Alaska that you obviously are keeping your hand close to the vest, as they say. I'm looking forward to developments there. For those not familiar with Northern Star, the company right next to yours and the intercepts they're hitting on that property, we're not talking 5 grams a tonne or 10 grams a tonne. We're talking multiple ounces a tonne over mineable widths. Is that accurate, Greg?
Greg Beischer: Yep, it sure is. It's an impressive series of deposits, and people are going to start realizing it. I think the Goodpaster Gold District, which is a historic placer alluvial gold mining district, one day it's going to be a camp. It puts me in mind of the Val-d'Or camp in Northern Quebec, where over a hundred years of mining, they're still mining the initially discovered deposit, the Sigma, and there's dozens of mines in this camp now.
Different styles of mineralization, too. It seems it's only about a decade ago that Osisko discovered a different style of mineralization disseminated in rocks that everyone used to drive across on their way to work in Val-d'Or. So, I think the Goodpaster District's going to be like that one day. It's going to be a Val-d'Or or a Red Lake, and we can't wait to get started, and we've got a dominant line position in the district.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Greg, anything else you'd like to add?
Greg Beischer: Nope. Field season's coming, and we're trying to get ready for it out here in Alaska. Of course, we can work year-round in Sonora. So as soon as we land a partner or two on those great projects, we'll be off to the races.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, we have a stabilizing commodity market. A lot of people are calling for a new commodity bull market. You have several drill-ready projects, as I've already stated. No excuse for juniors out there looking for quality projects to not be in touch. Greg, thank you for the thorough update. I appreciate it.
Greg Beischer: Yeah, thanks very much, and I would concur, Gerardo. I mean, just a little bit more on the price of gold and that should generate the kind of investor interest we need to see junior gold exploration companies able to raise capital, even for more grassroots-type projects like Millrock typically develops. Just a little bit more on gold and I think that that commodities bull market that so many pundits I hear predict is coming, that will make a huge difference for Millrock and for lots of other companies as well.
Gerardo Del Real: Fingers crossed.
Greg Beischer: Yes, sir.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you.