Millrock Resources (TSX-V: MRO) CEO Greg Beischer on Acquisition of Gold Projects in Fairbanks Alaska & Ongoing Drilling at the Flagship 64North Gold Project
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, how the heck are you up there in Alaska?
Greg Beischer: I'm doing very well, Gerardo. Thank you. I'm actually just in a quiet room at the Porsche dealership.
Gerardo Del Real: Uh oh.
Greg Beischer: I dropped off my Jetta for an oil change, but the quiet room I needed to speak to you is in the Porsche section. Do not read too much into this.
Gerardo Del Real: I was worried, Greg. I thought it was the sign of a top. The geologist going to buy a Porsche.
Greg Beischer: No, don't read too much into it.
Gerardo Del Real: Well listen, you would be justified in doing so. Every time I speak with you, it seems like gold is up another $100. Here we are flirting with $2,000 and you're drilling the flagship, but you're not resting on those laurels. You actually just acquired several exploration projects in Fairbanks. You also announced a royalty agreement. You had some news on that front. Before we get to that, I do want to ask how are things coming along at the 64North Gold Project, which of course is the flagship.
Greg Beischer: 64North and everything else is now kicking into high gear, Gerardo. You know that this is it. This is the bull market that we've waited so long for. You got to move fast when it's good like this. Our opportunities to pick up projects at very low cost or to staking are going to evaporate in a very short period of time. We're going as fast as we can to secure mineral rights for the years to come. We've done an awful lot of thinking about this over the past, grinding 8 years.
We knew where we wanted to go, but now it's a matter of pulling the trigger now that we can see that our financial future is secure. We can afford to take the financial risk to secure the mineral rights. We know that we'll able to turn these projects around very quickly, bring in partners to earn an interest and create royalty cashflow for ourselves. It's full steam ahead on every single front.
But to come back to 64North. That is the primary focus of our exploration so far this year. As you know, we started drilling in March, had to take a short breather there because of the disease, but we're back at it. We've got two more holes completed. We're now mobilizing another rig to test the downdip direction from the Pogo Mine and the Goodpaster deposit where we've got some strong targets. Then we'll continue to drill at the Aurora target.
On top of that, we've now mobilized geophysicists and geologists and samplers out into the field, across our huge claim block there to advance other prospects to the point that they're completely drill ready. We may even test other prospects before the year ends. We'll be drilling pretty sure late into the fall. Our funding partner, Resolution Minerals, last week raised another $4.6 million Australian dollars. That should give them more than enough cash to meet their US $5 million exploration commitment to Millrock this year. It's full steam ahead. We're doing great work and watch for results late summer, early fall.
Gerardo Del Real: It sounds like you're drilling till year-end, basically. It's funded now, correct?
Greg Beischer: We are fully funded right through to the end of the year for that project. Yes, sir.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Let's talk about the two gold exploration projects that you just secured. It's right next to and very similar to the nearby Fort Knox Gold Mine and area. Of course, that is seeing a lot of interest. Eric Sprott – and frankly, Eric's written checks everywhere – but he's been richly rewarded for this one. Freegold Ventures had some extremely high-grade results here recently. Shareholders there have been richly rewarded.
Tell me about these claim blocks and why you like these properties and, frankly, how you were able to secure them at a time when there's a lot of companies that have market caps much larger than Millrock that aren't able to roll in or vend into quality projects.
Greg Beischer: Well, we're here in Alaska, Gerardo. We are Alaskan geologists. We have a fantastic network. We keep our fingers on the pulse of everything that's going on in the state all the time. I think that's what gives us a competitive advantage. On top of that, our general knowledge of the geology and mineral potential of the state.
But realistically, this one's a no brainer, just like 64North and the West Pogo. You're right beside a mine and the rocks are the same darn rocks. You can see signs of gold in those rocks. It doesn't take a PhD geologist to figure this out. We got talking to the prospectors that own the project. They had some ideas of what might be controlling the mineralization, which we agree with. They had a number of claim blocks, but we've significantly expanded that block just as we did with 64North. In effect, a really good size claim block that I know has gold on it.
In fact, the last company to explore it was called American Copper and Nickel Company, which is a company I came to Alaska to work for in 1995. I became the Exploration Manager for that company, but that project had just wrapped up and it was because Inco, which was the parent company, had sold its gold subsidiary, Inco Gold. We weren't allowed to look for gold here in Alaska when I arrived. But I know that the team that worked on it was pretty excited about what they had found. Eventually the claims were dropped and these prospectors picked them up and have been whittling away at them.
We been talking to them for a couple years now and we just said, "Well, in this market we've got to pull the trigger, secure those claim blocks." It's really quite low cost, the cost of entry. We paid in Millrock share capital so we're not taking much out of our treasury. We're going to put a little bit of our treasury into the ground to prove up some of the historic information. There were some good trenches and shallow holes. We'll prove that, really work up the project to illustrate the mineral potential. But then the plan before drilling, bring in the partner as we always do, create a royalty and execute the work on behalf of that funding partner, if they so desire.
There's two projects, Treasure Creek and Ester Dome. We've held exclusive rights on Ester Dome for quite a number of years in a very similar situation. Again, ACNC did historic work in the early '90s and it hasn't been barely touched since. We're excited to get back on these. It's gold country. Fairbanks was one of the first Alaskan parts of the Yukon Alaska gold rush and it has produced at least reported over 8 million ounces of alluvial placer gold and between Fort Knox and some others deposits around 8 million ounces of hard rock gold deposits. It's gold country. It's a camp, there's going to be more discoveries and we're going to try and make some of them.
Fairbanks is a great city. It's about 70,000 people. I think Fairbanksans understand the value of the mining industry to their city. Their power cost was very significantly reduced when the Fort Knox mine started. The spinout benefits from the 450 workers at the mine really helped local economy and fuel suppliers, everything. They embrace mining. The one thing about these projects is that they're right on the outskirts of Fairbanks on the north end, on the west side. There'll be some neighbor sensitivities, but we'll do our best to get off on the right foot with everyone and keep it all in perspective as we go about our exploration work and help people understand this is something that takes years and years and we're not going to start tearing up the land and putting in a big mining operation next year.
Our goal as geologists is to make that big discovery like Fort Knox, the beautiful 13-million ounce gold deposit. I'd love to pull a ore-grade intersection like Freegold Ventures did not too long ago that rewarded its shareholders so well. I admire Kristina Walcott, their CEO. She has scrimped and saved and scraped through this 8-year downturn and then on top of that rewarded her shareholders with a great drill intersection and a hot market that took their share price from, I think, $0.05 to now a $1.60 or a $1.70. Just a fantastic return. Millrock's always drilling and just one hole like that should result in very significant share price increase for Millrock.
Gerardo Del Real: She should absolutely be commended. I'm not familiar personally, though I know of her and obviously of the way that she managed the company through the bear market. It has to be said that a lot of the work that goes into success happens with what you do and how you set up the company and potential shareholders in the future by bringing in properties when nobody wants them. You did a phenomenal job of doing that as well. I think it's going to start to pay off in a big way very soon for Millrock shareholders as well.
Greg, in regards to these two properties, do you have the option to earn into a 100% of them?
Greg Beischer: Yes, we do. The terms are pretty reasonable. The way we set it up is through an exclusive rights agreement. For two years it costs us next to nothing to hold the properties. We'll do a little bit of work, the assessment work that's required by the state to keep the claims in good standing. We'll pay the state claim rentals. That'll give us 6, 8 months or a year – I don't think we'll need more than that – to really work up the property, assemble all the historic information, geographic information system and database, create excellent maps and sections and formulate the geologic model.
We feel that there could be a deposit just like the 13-million ounce Fort Knox deposit, but it'll be a bit deeper. We see these granitic dikes at surface that are associated with gold. Looks like the very same granite that hosts Fort Knox in a much more larger magmatic mass. Those dikes are probably a sign of a magmatic mass at some depth. We're going to chase that gold downdip on those dikes. That's the model we'll build to convince our earn-in partner that this is we're spending some millions of dollars testing.
Gerardo Del Real: I noticed you also eliminated a royalty that applied to certain blocks at the 64North Gold Project, which of course is a move that any explorer would want to make before we get assay results if those assay results meet the expectation, right?
Greg Beischer: That's right. You'll recall, Gerardo, that we bought 5 years ago, in very early 2016, a series of small claim blocks from Kiska Metals, a company that was struggling. They had done huge amounts of work across the Pogo area, immediately following or the decade following the initial discovery of the Pogo Gold Mine. That was what I was really wanting to buy, those claim blocks. By that point they were very, very small. They trimmed them back not being able to afford them, but it was in the order of $8 million worth of regional exploration work that was proprietary.
We bought the claims and the data, but what came along with those claims, they were burdened by royalties and some of them were pretty high. There was also questions of the validity of the royalties because of some complicated land issue. Capstone's a reasonable company, Millrock's a reasonable company, we just decided rather than have any kind of an argument about it, an eloquent solution was simply for Millrock to offer some share capital to Capstone and we would just eliminate that royalty, cleaning up the project so that it doesn't have so complicated a royalty burden, royalty structure. It's a good move, an easy solution for two good companies.
Gerardo Del Real: Absolutely. You're cashed up, gold is flirting with $2,000, you have an excellent portfolio of properties outside of the flagship 64North Gold Project. You're drilling and we expect assays within the next month or two. It's a lot of tailwinds there.
Greg Beischer: You bet. We're looking forward to a few really great years. The reading and the interviews I do just gets me more and more excited. I listened last night to Pierre Lassonde talk about what he believes will be coming. He's lived through a few cycles like I have. If he's anywhere close to right, we're going to do fantastic over the next five years.
We are well positioned. Millrock does have some cash. Our share price edging up towards $0.30 caused quite a number of warrant exercises to occur. That brought in $600,000 to $700,000 Canadian dollars to our treasury, giving us some breathing room and honestly giving us more confidence to execute on staking more ground, picking up more ground. We anticipate if there's any further share price increase, for example, with a good hole at 64North or even just an increased gold market, we're going to see more of those warrants exercised.
We have a lot of warrants out. It's been an overhang on our share price. Those warrants though were the cost of raising capital as contrarians at the bottom of the market in 2015, '16, '17 and even last year. Those warrants are out there and that gives us a high share count. But on the other hand, if all those warrants are exercised that would bring close to $9 million to our treasury. We're all for it. They don't expire for almost 18 months yet, though they do accelerate in their exercise price, which might cause more incentive for a warrant holder to exercise. That's brought money into our treasury, which is nice for us and gives us more flexibility and allows us to be more aggressive.
Gerardo Del Real: A lot to like. Greg, thank you so much for your time. I'm going to let you go so you can go buy more stock.
Greg Beischer: Yeah, that's what I'm doing. I'm all in.
Gerardo Del Real: Thanks again, Greg. I look forward to having you back on. Of course, as everyone eagerly awaits assays, I'm looking forward to seeing what you have up there.
Greg Beischer: Okay. All the best, Gerardo. Have a great day.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you.