Gold explorers shining in Idaho

Gold mining in Idaho, USA, has a long history dating back at least to the 1860s and like many areas of the Old West, it helped establish and sustain many communities and the infrastructure that was vital to them.

Mining was a key interest of George Laird Shoup, who was appointed governor of Idaho Territory in 1889 and who oversaw its admission into the Union in 1890 when he was elected Idaho's first governor. Shoup was a mining prospector who had claims in the Salmon area which passed down to his descendants including the Arnett claim now under exploration by Revival Gold.

Idaho is emerging from the shadows of neighbouring Nevada and becoming a focus for gold exploration as the state seeks to re-establish one of the key industries of its past.

Investors are increasingly getting the message.

Figures compiled by BMO and Revival Gold (below) show some C$211 million has been raised for companies with projects in Idaho so far this year, more than double the $90 million raised in 2019. Given the $64 million raised for Americas Gold and Silver is mainly for its operations in Nevada, the figure is still $147 million. And with Integra Resources undertaking a US$20 million bought deal as this article goes to press, that figure continues to tick upwards.

The potential of the state has attracted one of the world's largest hedge funds in the shape of Paulson & Co, which in August announced the exercise of some C$82.1 million-worth of convertible notes to take a 44.1% stake in Midas Gold.

Date

Company

Amount (C$M)

Sep-20

Integra Resources

$26.3

Aug-20

Midas Gold

$82.1

Aug-20

Americas Gold and Silver

$35.0

Jul-20

Bunker Hill Mining

$20.4

Jul-20

Revival Gold

$15.1

Jul-20

Idaho Champion

$8.1

Jun-20

Freeman Gold

$10.4

May-20

Phoenix Copper

$3.0

May-20

Americas Gold and Silver

$28.8

Mar-20

Revival Gold

$1.0

Feb-20

Phoenix Copper

$2.0

Jan-20

Bunker Hill Mining

$4.0

Jan-20

Idaho Champion

$1.2

Nov-19

Integra Resources

$25.3

Aug-19

Otis Gold Corp

$1.3

Aug-19

Liberty Gold

$15.8

Jul-19

Bunker Hill Mining

$1.6

Jun-19

Jervois Mining

$15.1

Jun-19

Bunker Hill Mining

$1.7

Jun-19

Midas Gold

$19.9

May-19

Phoenix Copper

$1.2

May-19

Hawkstone Mining

$2.2

Feb-19

Revival Gold

$5.0

Feb-19

Phoenix Copper

$1.6

 Source: BMO, Revival Gold

Idaho presented early-movers with the opportunity to pick up prospective properties without the competition crush seen in Nevada to the south but with similar geological attractions. "Carlin-style sediment-hosted deposits occur in [Nevada, Idaho and Utah] and they all have the same permitting procedures with the BLM and Forest Service," Cal Everett, president and CEO of Liberty Gold, told Mining Journal.

Liberty acquired its Black Pine project in June 2016 for US$800,000 cash, 300,000 shares and a 0.5% NSR. "The relatively low profile of Idaho as an exploration jurisdiction has enabled Liberty to increase its land package four times as it has made discoveries with no-one else staking around it," said Everett.

"There was a rejuvenation of gold exploration in Nevada following the late 1990s crash and 2000s recovery. Nevada picked-up pretty rapidly, but Idaho was passed over. Midas saw an opportunity in former gold mines and prospects that were not being picked-up," Stephen Quin, president and CEO of Midas Gold, told Mining Journal.

Revival Gold and Integra Resources have similar stories related to their respective Beartrack-Arnett and DeLamar projects.

"Up until five years ago, the Idaho Mining Association (IMA) was primarily focused on operators, but with the new growth in gold exploration and other critical minerals we have seen substantial growth in the exploration and development side of our membership. We have increased from four or five exploration companies to 10-to-15. Word has gotten out that have great geological resources, friendly state policy makers and that the jurisdiction is good," association president Ben Davenport told Mining Journal.

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