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RESOURCE

Volume 7, Issue 6

GLOBAL NETWORK

Mining, renewable energy and oil & gas worldwide

MINING RETURNS TO CENTRE STAGE ON THE

14 OF THE TOP 30 PERFORMING STOCKS ON THE TORONTO STOCK EXCHANGE ARE MINING COMPANIES

RESOURCEGLOBALNETWORK.COM


TORONTO STOCK EXCHANGE AND TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE

GLOBAL LEADERS #1 #1 IN MINING in Listed Mining Companies Globally

in Mining Capital Raised Globally

To learn more about listing on our markets, visit mining.tsx.com or contact mining@tmx.com or call +1 416 947-4477.

mining.tsx.com Data as at September 30, 2020. Mining capital raised from 2016-Q3 2020. Source: TSX/TSXV Market Intelligence Group and S&P Global Market Intelligence. ©2020 TSX Inc. All rights reserved. The information in this ad is provided for informational purposes only. Neither TMX Group Limited or any of its affiliated companies guarantees the completeness of the information contained in this ad and we are not responsible for any errors or omissions in or your use of, or reliance on, the information. The Future is Yours to See., TMX, the TMX design, TMX Group, Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX, TSX Venture Exchange, TSXV and Voir le futur. Réaliser l’avenir. are trademarks of TSX Inc.


EDITORIAL

Mining enters a new era as 14 companies make this year’s TSX30 ranking

A lot of the beating that mining has taken in the past has centred on management hubris, balance sheet irresponsibility and not well thought out acquisitions,” TMX Group’s head, business development - global mining Dean McPherson told RGN in an interview earlier this year. “We also needed to reconsider the impact we have on society, our stakeholders and we needed to look at governance around diversity and equality across gender and race,” he continued.

Jacob Ambrose Willson Editor

Executive Team Editor Jacob Ambrose Willson Content Director (APAC and Americas) David Hunter Creative Director Hugo Currie ICT Director Stuart Clark Managing Director Simon Curran Contributors James Rasteh (Coast Capital LLC) RGN is published by Anderson Murray Media: a diverse media and information services company focused on creating and distributing engaging content to business leaders across the globe. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy the publisher and editor cannot be held responsible for any inaccurate information supplied and/or published. Copyright: The copyright for all material published in this magazine is strictly reserved.

Anderson Murray Media Fulham Green, 69-79 Fulham High Street, Main Reception, Bedford House, London SW6 3JW | Tel. +44 (0)207 148 5630

For several years, McPherson has been advocating for ‘Mining 2.0’ – a new age of responsible and innovationbased mining - to wash away the transgressions that grew from the early 2000s commodities boom. This fundamental reset would help mend the mining sector’s reputation among the general public and usher in a generation of avant-garde investors that had long eschewed the industry, not just for the reasons listed above, but also because mining provided lower investment returns relative to other sectors of the market. However, as we approach the end of an extraordinarily tumultuous year in the wider world, the mining industry can take stock of a remarkable turnaround in its fortunes following a sustained period of self-improvement; from greater management discipline to an enlarged focus on Environmental, Social and corporate Governance programmes and ESG reporting.

This industry-wide transition towards responsible mining in a fuller sense of the term has been duly recognised by McPherson, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and its legion of investors, and the indisputable proof is in the latest TSX30 rankings. TSX30 is a programme highlighting the 30 best performing stocks from across all sectors on the TSX, and after eight mining companies made the inaugural compilation in 2019, 14 were included on this year’s list, with the highest ranked miner Kirkland Lake Gold producing share price growth of 363% over the last three years. The proliferation of mining companies on the TSX30 provides evidence of an emphatic response to McPherson’s call for a Mining 2.0, and in this issue Dean charts the sector’s rebirth and discusses how the commodities sector has responded to the COVID-19 crisis this year, amongst other topics. This issue also contains in-depth features on TSX30 companies Kirkland Lake and Wesdome Gold Mines, along with a selection of promising exploration firms from the TSXV – the junior segment of the Toronto market where half of the 14 TSX30 mining firms graduated from. There is also a Q&A with Robert Dixon from Canadian resources investment firm Dundee Goodman Merchant Partners. Dixon reinforces many of the points made by McPherson on the return to discipline across the sector in recent times. Vive la Mining 2.0!

Jacob Ambrose Willson jacob@resourceglobalnetwork.com

j a r


CONTENTS TORONTO STOCK EXCHANGE

NEWS

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6 Global resources news Our selection of mining, oil & gas and renewable energy stories from the last month

ASSOCIATIONS 14 Toronto Stock Exchange Head of business development, global mining Dean McPherson discusses the dominance of mining companies on the 2020 TSX30 ranking

Q&A

DUNDEE GOODMAN

28

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD

54

28 Dundee Goodman Merchant Partners Now is the time to invest in the mining space, says Robert Dixon of Canadian investment group Dundee Goodman

COLUMNS 44 James Rasteh (Coast Capital LLC) Investment fund Coast Capital works with natural resources firms to drive first-rate ESG outcomes


WESDOME GOLD MINES

MINING 54 Kirkland Lake Gold Meet the best performing mining stock on the TSX in 2020

70

70 Wesdome Gold Mines Building Canada’s next midtier gold producer 86 QMX Gold Corp TSXV-listed junior embarks on a remarkable exploration journey in Québec’s Val d’Or mining camp 100 IMPACT Silver Corp Continuous silver production in one of oldest mining districts in the Americas 110 Nusantara Resources Taking decisive steps towards delivering Indonesia’s next gold mine 122 Rumble Resources Multiple avenues to discovery in Western Australia

QMX GOLD

86

EVENTS 132 Events Our pick of the top mining, oil & gas and renewable energy events happening around the world in the months to come

N U S A N TA R A RESOURCES

110


NEWS

NEARLY HALF OF TSX’S TOP 30 PERFORMING STOCKS ARE MINERS, TMX REPORTS

Canada’s TMX Group has published its TSX30 ranking for 2020, which revealed that 14 of the 30 top performing stocks on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) this year are mining companies. Founded last year, the TSX30 ranks stocks based on dividend-adjusted share price appreciation over a three-year period. Mining companies in the 2020 ranking posted an average three-year share price performance of 223%. The best performing mining stock in this year’s list was Kirkland Lake Gold, which recorded an average share price rise of 363% over the last three years. Behind Kirkland Lake was Alacer Gold (349%), International Tower Hill Mines (292%), Wesdome Gold Mines (285%) and Dundee Precious Metals (273%). Other high performing mining companies included in the TSX30 were: Teranga Gold, Trilogy Metals, Orla Mining, Champion Iron, Sandstorm Gold, Wheaton Precious Metals, Yamana Gold, Lundin Gold and SSR Mining, while Sprott, a significant investor in the mining and metals industry, also made the list. “The TSX30 demonstrates the strength of the Canadian capital markets ecosystem and the ability of Canadian companies to compete globally, despite unique circumstances,” said TMX Group’s Richard Goodman, head of capital development at the TSX and the TSX Venture Exchange.

6


NEWS

Mining, oil & gas and renewable energy news from around the world WHEATON PRECIOUS METALS JOINS LSE IN QUEST FOR EUROPEAN EXPOSURE

One of the world’s largest gold and silver streaming companies – Wheaton Precious Metals – has begun trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The London listing will compliment Vancouver-based Wheaton’s primary position on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and its secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). “We’re a Canadian company, so we’re not moving anywhere, we’re just expanding,” said Wheaton’s president and CEO Randy Smallwood. “For us, a listing on the LSE is the next step in becoming a truly global company.” He added that the company is not aiming

to raise money from the listing but instead looking to expand its investor base in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom. Wheaton currently has purchase agreements with 17 mining companies, including majors Barrick Gold, Vale and Glencore, and was recently recognised in the TSX30 list of the best performing stocks across the entire exchange over the last three years, with an average share price growth of 144%. “Our business is to supply capital to the mining industry, and we’re blessed with the fact that the industry always needs capital,” Smallwood said. “Right now, we are looking at companies with copper, lead-zinc and nickel assets to purchase gold and silver offtakes from them.”

7


NEWS

EVERY HOME TO BE POWERED BY OFFSHORE WIND, UK PM PLEDGES

The UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to power every home in the country through offshore wind energy within a decade, after announcing a £160 million package to upgrade ports and factories for building turbines. The scheme aims to create 2,000 jobs in construction and support 60,000 more in Northeast England, Scotland and Wales as the UK develops into a ‘world leader in clean wind energy’, according to Johnson. “Your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle – the whole lot of them will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes

that blow around these islands,” he said during the Conservative party conference in early October. The PM also restated the government’s plans to raise its target for offshore wind power capacity from 30GW to 40GW by 2030, ahead of the UK’s net zero emissions target by 2050. The UK currently boasts the world’s largest offshore wind capacity – with 39 operational projects generating 10.4GW of clean electricity – although Aurora Energy Research estimate that almost £50 billion of capital investment will be required to meet the 40GW target within a decade.

8


NEWS

Mining, oil & gas and renewable energy news from around the world NEW AUSTRALIAN GOLD GIANT BORN AS NORTHERN STAR ACQUIRES SARACEN

The boards of Northern Star Resources and Saracen Mineral Holdings have approved a US$4.14 billion shares and cash deal that will create a global top-10 gold miner by market value. The high-profile merger is set to create an Australia-based gold giant worth $11.5 billion, with Northern Star holding 64% of the combined entity and Saracen owning the remaining 36%. The new company, with mines in Australia and Alaska, is aiming for a 30% increase in gold production to 2 million ounces by 2027 – which would take it into the top seven of global producers.

Northern Star and Saracen already have strong links through the Super Pit joint venture in Western Australia. Both companies invested in a 50% stake in the country’s largest open pit gold mine last year. “This deal gives the scale and liquidity to attract both gold and generalist investors,” said Bill Beament, executive chair of Northern Star. Beament will retain the position in the new entity until July 2021. Meanwhile Saracen’s managing director Raleigh Finlayson – who will take over the same role in the combined group – said: “The pre-tax synergies alone are expected to be worth in order of A$1.5 billion to A$2 billion over the next 10 years.” 9


Head of mining Dean McPherson discusses

14


MINING FINANCING | TSX AND VENTURE EXCHANGE

the dominance of mining companies on the

15


In 2019, Canada’s premier equity market Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) launched the TSX30 – a ranking of the best performing stocks over a three-year period based on dividend adjusted share price appreciation. The programme was launched to celebrate – and give greater visibility to – the best performing companies on Canada’s main market, most of which have enjoyed triple digit share price percentage growth for several years, with a number graduating from TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) to the main board. The inaugural TSX30 list contained eight companies from the mining sector, an impressive feat at the time according to TSX’s head of business development, global mining, Dean McPherson. “Launching the TSX30 last year was interesting for mining because we started seeing the sector coming back from a long downturn in 2016, when commodity prices started to rebound,” he tells RGN. “Looking back, by the end of 2017 we started to see activity picking up in the sector: IPOs coming back, an uplift in the number of financings being done and a general positive turn for the space.” However, significant volatility hit global markets in 2018 in the form of an escalating US-China trade dispute plus other geopolitical and macroeconomic concerns that persisted into 2019. Despite these headwinds the mining sector remained resilient, even showing a strong appetite for growth, which has been wholly demonstrated by the 2020 TSX30 ranking – which included 14 mining companies. “This impressive outcome shows the resilience of our world-leading mining equity markets and the mining sector in general.

16

“During the last three years we

Is McPherson surprised that

have seen significant volatility

mining firms featured so

and uncertainty, following on

heavily on the latest TSX30

a prolonged cyclical downturn

ranking? No, because he

for the sector. In spite of the

noticed opportunities building

challenged global markets over

in the sector and recognised

the period, we were excited

the start of a sea change in how

to showcase eight mining

mining companies view their

companies in 2019. This

duties to operate responsibly

year, that number increased

across three cardinal

to 14 and that’s significant;

principles: Environmental,

almost half of the companies

Social and corporate

recognised are from our space.”

Governance (ESG).


MINING FINANCING | TSX AND VENTURE EXCHANGE

17


Mining 2.0

the industry’s reputation in

occurring in the sector have

A few years ago, McPherson

investment markets and the

been recognised by investors

penned an article on why the

wider world.

and I think this is a big part of

mining industry needed a

why we see generalist investors

fundamental reset to eradicate

“In recent years, we have seen

some of the management

a return to financial, social

hubris and balance sheet

and strategic discipline in the

“It’s not just ‘gold bugs’ who

irresponsibility that he

sector. A lot of the recognition

are interested in mining

believed was creeping in

and acceptance of the sector

opportunities,” McPherson

across the sector and prevalent

needing to do more around

continues. “I think there is a

during the prior upcycle.

ESG for example started

general interest coming back

around three years ago as

into mining from an investor

These concerns added to long-

we started coming out of the

standpoint. We needed to

standing criticisms of the

downturn.

reconsider the impact we have

sector’s attitude towards the

on society, our stakeholders

environment and communities

“Since 2017, we’ve seen this

and we needed to look at

that form the physical and

move from talk to execution.

governance around diversity

social contexts where mining

The industry is now embracing and equality across gender and

takes place. This perceived

ESG in the fullest sense.

neglect had risen to a

The changes that have been

crescendo and was damaging

18

coming back to mining.

race.


MINING FINANCING | TSX AND VENTURE EXCHANGE

“I think the sector’s performance in this year’s TSX30 is a testament to the fact that investors are recognising what mining companies are doing with regards to ESG and certainly the overall redressed sector.”

Enter Warren Buffet The generalists were given perhaps the greatest single incentive to look closer at the mining sector in August, when world-renowned investor Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway fund took a position in Barrick Gold – the world’s second largest gold miner. “This is perhaps the world’s most famous value investor taking a position in the mining sector for the first time. I would posit that he is not looking at Barrick solely because he wants exposure to gold. The main consideration is the significant value it represents.

19


TMX Group head, business development – global mining Dean McPherson talks to RGN, September 29, 2020

T M X G RO U P AT A G L A N C E

“That’s significant for

ESG 101 – an all-encompassing

mining because investors are

hub aimed at providing issuers

now seeing well-managed

with information on ESG

companies with strong

reporting and its significance

credentials required across all

with regards to stock

sectors. We do think it’s this

performance.

positive effort of the sector NUMBER OF MINERS LISTED ON TSX: 202

globally that is helping bring

“We were early into ESG and

back generalist investors.”

it started out with acceptance and recognition. It has taken

NUMBER OF MINERS LISTED ON TSXV: 927

aj

Miners on Toronto’s exchanges

many different names down

have benefitted from strong

the years, but I think we’ve

leadership by TSX on the

finally settled on ESG. At this

many facets of ESG reporting.

point, we are very proud of the

Earlier this year, TSX created

work we have done supporting our issuers with this and of

20


MINING FINANCING | TSX AND VENTURE EXCHANGE

course we are continuing to

However, no one could have

financings can be done and

innovate with other products

anticipated the speed of

were in constant contact with

and services to this end.”

the equity markets bounce

all 1,200 of our issuers to see

back from the initial shock;

how we could help.”

The online transition

McPherson maintains that while the dip was a record dip,

TSX also shifted to a virtual

This year, all facets of modern

the recovery was also a record

platform in April for its Market

life have been severely

one.

Open ceremonies - a time

affected by the unprecedented

honoured tradition celebrating

emergence of COVID-19,

“For our markets, I think that

achievements and milestones

which was classified as a global

has a lot to do with how we

for issuers and other

pandemic back in March.

responded as an exchange. We

organisations. The online

The subsequent shutdown

see ourselves as the epicentre

transition received significant

of national economies and

of capital markets for mining

positive feedback for its

restrictions on international

and we implemented several

convenience and efficiency

travel and trade caused all

relief programmes for our

from all stakeholders.

sectors on global markets to

issuers and in support of the

quickly bottom out, as the

capital markets in general.

The continuation of this

economic impact of the health

We extended our deadlines

tradition was deemed

crisis was laid bare.

for reporting, lowered the

important by the Exchange to

minimum price at which

support the Canadian capital

21


this period of uncertainty and

Gold leads the recovery

unprecedented challenge,

As governments continued to

met by current supply. My

McPherson explains.

pump more money into the

expectation is that you will see

global economy, a powerful

other sectors picking up in the

“Investors soon started to

wave of safe haven investment

medium term, particularly

adjust to this significant

pushed the gold price to a

battery metals as the energy

shock and began to look

record high of US$2,067 per

revolution moves ahead.

for opportunities, chiefly in

ounce in August. The high gold

precious metals. We started

price went on to boost other

“Overall, it’s been encouraging

to see a pick up in activity in

commodities including copper.

to see the speed of recovery on

markets and its clients during

our marketplace in terms of

22

imbalance, with forecasted demand not expecting to be

our market and I think it’s a lot

financings being done and

“The pick up in base metals

to do with what we did but also

subsequently new listings.”

is interesting in the long term

the resilience of our issuers

because we know that copper

and their ability to adapt and

has a significant fundamental

adjust to this new world.”


MINING FINANCING | TSX AND VENTURE EXCHANGE

Of the 14 mining companies

characteristic of TSX and TSXV

on the TSX30 this year, 10 can

is that we’re quite diversified

be classed as either solely or

across all commodities.

predominantly gold-focused. However, McPherson is keen

“Base metals would be our

to highlight the diversity of

second largest representation,

Toronto’s listed miners across

but we extend quite far into

all commodities.

battery metals as well as critical minerals. Diversity in

“Around 50% of our issuers

commodities and geography of

are exposed to gold, which

projects on our marketplace is

is quite normal for the

something we are proud of.”

sector when you look at the attractive economics around

“I think the sector’s performance in this year’s TSX30 is a testament to the fact that investors are recognising what mining companies are doing with regards to ESG” Dean McPherson, TMX head business development, global mining

precious metals, but a great

23


DEAN MCPHERSON, TMX HEAD BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, GLOBAL MINING

that mining will continue its

“No doubt, the chances of

upward trend of the last three

uncertainty going forward

years, despite the ongoing

is quite high. I think

impact of COVID-19 on the

commodities like precious

Looking towards 2021,

global economy and capital

metals will continue to do well,

McPherson remains confident

markets.

based on all the predictions

Powering past market volatility 24


MINING FINANCING | TSX AND VENTURE EXCHANGE

I’ve come across which look

more to prepare themselves

a space to grow into a world

at inflation expectations and

to respond to that challenge

leading mining company.

other macro-expectations

and that’s a good thing for the

coming out of this pandemic.”

sector.”

“We’re very proud that half of the 14 companies on the TSX30

He highlights the new-found

McPherson’s parting message

this year started their life with

strength of mining companies

is directed to the junior

us on the Venture Exchange.

across Toronto’s exchanges

segment of the mining market

We think this is a testimony to

today. “When I compared

and those exploration firms

the depth and breadth of our

the eight companies which

listed on TSXV. He points

marketplace and the level of

qualified for the TSX30 last

towards the fact that seven of

activity you see in the Venture

year and the 14 who made it

the 14 miners on the TSX30

marketplace.”

this year, one consistency is

this year started out on the

management.

Venture Exchange, before graduating to the main board.

“If you have well-run mining companies in attractive

“This demonstrates to juniors

jurisdictions, then you have

that our system works. No

the framework to respond to

matter the stage of your

any situation or uncertainty

mining company, we have

going forward. Whatever

the world’s leading two-tiered

market brings next year, we

markets providing you with

are seeing companies doing 25


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Gold royalty and streaming companies focus PLUS: Middle Eastern mining spotlight and Mines and Money Online Connect Global coverage


MINING IS A TEAM SPORT. It is our fundamental belief that to make money in this industry you need good projects, good people and complete alignment of interests so that everyone either succeeds or fails together.

- Jonathan Goodman


Now is the time to invest in the mining space, says Robert

G

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O

DUN GOOD MERCHANT L

D

M

Building Canada’s next mid-tier gold


MINING | DUNDEE GOODMAN MERCHANT PARTNERS

t Dixon of Canadian investment group Dundee Goodman

NDEE DMAN T PARTNERS I

N

d producer

E

S

29


Dundee Goodman Merchant Partners is a Toronto-based investment firm comprised of a team of international mining and investing experts with a proven track record in picking winners from across the sector. Over the last decade, Dundee Goodman has gone along for the ride with the resources industry, watching prices across several commodities bottom out between 2013-15 before seeing a widespread recovery over the last four years, particularly in the gold sector. During this time, mining companies around the world put in a sustained effort to recover their damaged reputations in the investment field, developing disciplined management teams and investing in wellreceived ESG programmes. The unforeseen arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 seemed to pose the ultimate acid test for mining’s newfound attractiveness in the investment market. But how has the sector held up throughout the wild peaks and deep troughs of a truly remarkable year? Dundee Goodman managing director Robert Dixon talks to RGN about the development of a commodities bull market, the company’s investment thesis and how mining companies have improved their investment credentials over the last decade.

30

Jacob Ambrose Willson: Robert,

and Warren Buffett buying

has a mood of positivity

into Barrick. This is not to say

endured across the mining

Buffett is a gold bull, but his

sector, despite metals prices

investment encouraged the

coming down slightly from

generalists to wade into the

the giddy highs of the summer

gold space.

months?

We had this big run up to Robert Dixon: We were all

around $2,070 per ounce in

pleasantly surprised by how all

August, but I think it was

metal prices have run up since

always natural there would

everything was crushed in early

be a pullback, it was only a

March. Lots of commentators

question of when. The gold

have said that a gold bull

price has been hovering

market started in 2015-16, but

around this $1,920 level for a

it was only around a year and

couple of months now. The

a half ago that gold topped

stocks have sold off as a result,

US$1,500 per ounce. That was

but when you’re looking at 10

a big milestone given where it

times your money in a couple

was in 2012.

of months, that was always going to happen with a lot of

I think the massive uncertainty

these speculative juniors. But

of COVID-19, with regards

the conversation around the

to the future of the global

Zoom channels these days is

economy, really made gold

that it’s not a question of if, it’s

relevant. Every country in the

a question of when we start

world is running humungous

to see them move up again,

fiscal deficits right now,

because the bullish factors

including the US. With this in

haven’t changed, they’ve

mind, I think gold’s moment

actually been exacerbated by

has arrived. This has been

this situation we’re in.

punctuated by certain things like Ray Dalio talking up gold


MINING | DUNDEE GOODMAN MERCHANT PARTNERS

31


There is also likely to be

eldest son of founder Ned

question management and

uncertainty lingering around

Goodman to refocus the firm.

have a long period of back and

after the US election. The kind

He brought back a team of

forth on all sorts of technical

of fiscal package put through

technical and capital market

issues.

by the winner will drive the

professionals; essentially

gold price in the short term.

people who are experts in

This process will eventually

My sense is that people are

all the disciplines you would

culminate in an investment

sitting back and thinking ‘okay

need as a mining company,

into treasury, with a view that

I’m going to see what happens

but more importantly as an

mining is a long-term game.

here before I push more chips

investment team looking at the

We’re not thinking about one

into the table’. Do I think

mining space.

year, we’re thinking five to

they are going to do that? I

32

10 years in duration. When

absolutely do and 2021 is going

At Dundee Goodman, we bring

we are parking money into a

to dwarf 2020, frankly. That’s

what we consider to be a world

company, we are looking at it

our view. This year the gold

class team of experts, with

after doing our homework and

price has gone up around $400

over 200 years of combined

aligning with management,

to $2,000. I can see a similar

experience, to really sift

with the idea of growing the

type move, maybe even more

through the boneyard of the

company.

in the year ahead.

mining space. There are up to 1,500 junior mining companies

Generalist and retail investors

JAW: Bringing in Dundee

out there at the moment,

- and even sometimes

Goodman, what are the

and maybe only 300 could be

institutional investors - don’t

key tenets of the company’s

classed as a viable investment.

have the time or the resources

investment thesis in the sector?

When we consider making a

to do the heavy lifting in terms

serious investment, we sign

of the DD that we do. We’d

RD: Dundee Goodman has

a confidentiality agreement

like to think that if you see us

been around a long time as

with the company and then

backing a company, that sends

an investment firm with asset

go into the data room. We

a signal that we’ve done some

management as well as having

complete extensive periods of

real work on it. I can cite a lot

a lot of other non-mining

due diligence (DD) to ensure

of examples when we’ve had

business over the years. But

it meets the required standard

great expectations about a

about two years ago, Jonathan

across several metrics. Our

company before undertaking

Goodman came back as the

experts make sure to really


MINING | DUNDEE GOODMAN MERCHANT PARTNERS

ROBERT DIXON, DUNDEE GOODMAN MERCHANT PARTNERS MANAGING DIRECTOR

33


34


MINING | DUNDEE GOODMAN MERCHANT PARTNERS

serious DD and then realising

certainly a higher comfort

increase the grade and grow

a number of concerns relating

level in countries like

the resource at depth. Overall,

to the investment, meaning we

Australia and Canada. So

it’s about understanding what

could not invest.

there is management and

the resource is and what it

jurisdiction, but it’s also the

could be. Based on the plans

JAW: Dundee Goodman clearly

quality of the work done

of management, could this

has a stringent process of

and the assets themselves.

expand and grow over the next

filtration when looking at

For example, Saturn Metals’

few years? We think so!

potential investments, so what

Apollo Hill gold project in

are the stand-out strengths of

the Eastern Goldfields of WA

I’ll finish with Maritime and

the companies that you are

has around 800,000 ounces

their Hammerdown deposit

currently invested in?

in resource right now. But

in Newfoundland. We started

we see the potential there

looking at this asset a couple

RD: We’re invested in a lot of

for a tremendous amount of

years ago when the company

companies, but I’ll highlight

growth with more density of

reached out to our merchant

three. Two are ASX-listed:

drilling that we are helping

banking group as an M&A

Saturn Metals and Centaurus

them fund. We also see the

defence because another

Metals. Saturn has a project in

grades improving with more

company was looking at it.

Australia and Centaurus has

drilling, which improves the

the Jaguar Nickel project in

economics.

Brazil. Then there is Maritime

DU NDEE G OODMA N AT A G L A NC E

Resources that trades here in

Similarly, when you look

Toronto. We think very highly

at Centaurus in Brazil, the

of the management teams

chatter around the Zoom

at each company. They’re all

coffees is that this is a unicorn.

technical, honest and realistic.

You don’t find many very

They know what they don’t

high grade nickel sulphide

Maritime Resources – TSXV:MAE

know and are receptive to our

deposits in the world these

Reunion Gold – TSXV:RGD

ideas as well.

days. We are talking about

Ausgold Mining – ASX:AUC

50 million tonnes grading I think management is the

at just over 1% nickel and

number one prerequisite,

within that there are higher

but jurisdiction is another

grade portions as well. Again,

key factor for us. There is

there is a lot more potential to

TOP HOLDINGS: Saturn Metals – ASX:STN Centaurus Metals – ASX:CTM

1911 Gold – TSXV:AUMB Monetta Porcupine Mines – TSXV:ME Sabina Gold & Silver – TSX:SBB Mawson Resources – TSX:MAW K92 Mining – TSXV:KNT

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When our technical guys were

are good. You want to align

RD: It’s difficult because a lot

looking at it, they concluded

yourself with management

of investors around the world

that with a reinterpreted

teams that know what they’re

have made those initial bets,

resource it could be far more

doing and can push things

deployed capital and made

compelling than even the

forward. Saturn, Centaurus

money. We haven’t shot all the

company appreciated. In that

and Maritime are three good

bullets, but we’ve shot some of

period of time, we pushed

examples of that.

them. So we’re sitting on some

to get a new CEO in, added

winners. Now we’re looking

three board members and

JAW: In the current bull

at the universe and saying:

reinterpreted the resource

market for precious metals,

‘Do we want to deploy more

with that new management.

are you finding that you are

into new investments or more

It’s really high grade which is

working even harder to filter

into the investments we’ve

another common theme when

out the good from the bad in

already ticked the box on?’ I

you talk about things we are

terms of the companies that

think there’s a bit of that going

looking for, and the economics

you look at?

on right now, and the obvious low hanging fruit has already

36


MINING | DUNDEE GOODMAN MERCHANT PARTNERS

been taken. It is getting more

your buck. We’ve seen a lot

by mining companies with

difficult and we are being

of companies over the years

regards to their investment

much more discerning.

have a decent asset but have

environment. So what would

blown the capital structure up

be your advice to investors

I think the publicly available

doing financings at pennies

looking to take advantage of

information for us is very

over the last 10 years, which

the current bull market?

much a screening tool. We are

has killed them. So we’re

looking for good management,

trying to avoid those even if we

RD: 10 years ago it was all

jurisdiction and good grades.

recognise a good asset. We’re

about showing more ounces

One factor I didn’t mention but

trying to focus on tight capital

because the market valued

is very important is the capital

structure, which signals good

ounces. Certain companies

structure of a company. If you

management typically.

were optimising their projects

can get into a company with

for scale with stars in their

a relatively low share count,

JAW: You mention some of

eyes when thinking about

you have so much bang for

the mistakes of the past made

where metals prices could

37


go, rather than optimising

environmental planning and

some of the bigger mining

projects for profitability. PEAs

a lot of over-promising and

companies now compared

were often used as marketing

under-delivering.

to a decade ago. The other

documents and there were

38

thing that has happened

mistakes in geological

But there’s been a real

more recently is a move away

modelling, mistakes in

sea change in terms of

from ETFs in the mining

community relations, a lack of

management discipline at

investment space because


MINING | DUNDEE GOODMAN MERCHANT PARTNERS

the alternatives have become

couple of miners in the world,

more competitive. Previously,

and they’re going to pay out

generalist investors could

a growing dividend in this

just buy bullion to get gold

environment.

exposure or invest in ETFs to get exposure to the gold

The AISC for gold producers

miners. That was the logical

globally right now is around

thinking from the last eight

$1,000 per ounce and we’re

years or so.

pretty close to a $2,000 per ounce gold price. In that

“At Dundee Goodman, we bring what we consider to be a world class team of experts, with over 200 years of combined experience, to really sift through the boneyard of the mining space” – Robert Dixon, Dundee Goodman Merchant Partners managing director

Now, generalist investors are

environment these companies

looking at the large individual

are churning free cash flow

companies themselves more

and that wasn’t the case a

seriously. The change has

decade ago. When you have

be to own the best quality

been led by companies like

that free cash flow you can pay

companies that are producing

Barrick Gold and Newmont

dividends and the pressure is

now. B2Gold just reported

and it has trickled down

off in terms of creating value

they are essentially debt

into other companies. If you

for your company as you don’t

free and growing their cash

think about Mark Bristow

have to go out and buy a big

balance going forward in a

at Randgold, he demanded

risky asset in a less-than-

rising gold price environment.

that projects had a certain

secure jurisdiction.

I remember where that

threshold of profitability, he

company was 15 years ago, and

paid a dividend, he was highly

I think managing in a much

it’s been a phenomenal story.

disciplined even managing

more disciplined fashion,

You can also mention Barrick

those assets in several African

creating a legitimate

and several other companies

jurisdictions at the time. He’s

competitor to an ETF and

in the same breath. It’s not

brought that to Barrick and

running companies for profit,

just the price environment,

they’re paying dividends and

not for scale have been the

which is obviously beneficial,

have reduced their debt. A

biggest drivers of this change.

but these companies are being

lot of companies have done

It hasn’t been an overnight

managed better.

the same thing. Now, rather

thing; it’s taken a decade to

than just buying the ETF,

get here. But for investors in

investors can own the biggest

the sector, my advice would

39


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Natural resources can con more socially conscientio 44

Investment fund Coast Capital works with natur By James Rasteh (Coast C


NATURAL RESOURCES | JAMES RASTEH (COAST CAPITAL LLC)

ntribute to a cleaner and ous world

ral resources firms to drive first-rate ESG outcomes Capital founding partner)

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Institutional investors increasingly drape themselves in ESG flags for marketing reasons and commit to allocating capital to companies that seem, on inconsistent and often irrelevant metrics, to be socially and environmentally sound operators. Indeed, one of Generation Investment Management’s largest holdings in 2016 was Facebook, a company that is best known for spreading misinformation about political systems around the world and the promotion of social anxiety. The fact that Al Gore’s investment fund found Facebook to be an ‘ESG Compliant’ investment tells the current story of the broken ESG investment world. The industry insists on a defunct, passive investment process that makes no improvements to the world at large, and is often destructive.

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Coast Capital does not present itself as an ESG fund. Yet, we believe that sustainability of environmental and human resources is a precondition for commerce to thrive and grow. Furthermore, we believe that companies which are managed to decrease their impact on the environment and have compelling and rightful policies in treatment of key stakeholders – shareholders, clients, employees and the communities in which they operate – are more likely to create value for investors over time. Conversely, companies that engage in destructive environmental or social business practices are more likely to destroy value for investors and expose themselves to adverse legal considerations for their future conduct. Coast Capital further believes that institutional investors, given their control over the boards and management teams of their invested companies, hold important power in ensuring the adherence by these companies to


NATURAL RESOURCES | JAMES RASTEH (COAST CAPITAL LLC)

adequate, if not robust, social, environmental and governance standards. Given our actively engaged investment practice, we believe that we are well positioned to ensure, where necessary and appropriate, an improvement in ESG principles at the companies in which we invest. Rather than shy away from natural resources as most of our ill-advised (and ultimately irrelevant) ‘ESG’ peers do, we believe the sector presents us with vast opportunities for contribution to a cleaner and more socially conscientious world.

Cleaning companies through investment Our investments in the space focus on improving our invested companies’ environmental and social impacts – often with dramatic effect. As an example, Coast Capital’s predecessor fund was invested in Petrobras (the leading Brazilian E&P company) when it developed plans to build a pipeline

James Rasteh Prior to launching Coast Capital, James was the principal and CIO at White Eagle (2007-16), Coast’s predecessor fund. At White Eagle, James ran an eventdriven, activist and hedged equities portfolio. That fund outperformed peers and relevant indices by >37% over the life of the fund. James also led five coinvestments from 2011 to 2016 at White Eagle. From 2004-07, James was MD and head of international investing at JANA Partners. International investments at JANA made a large contribution to overall returns during his tenure. Prior to Jana, James was a portfolio manager at Claiborne Capital (2001-04) where he managed a European value and event portfolio. James began his career at Sierra Global Management in 1997, acting as MD and the firm’s first analyst. While at Sierra, James learned the disciplines of investing and leading companies to grow profitable industries. James is a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in Genetics and Commerce. He was a Govt of Italy Scholar, BC Walter D. Frith, J. Fed Muir Scholar, and Governor General’s medal award winner. James is fluent in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Persian. James lives his ESG passion as a NY board member of Human Rights Watch and Pachamama Alliance.

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across the Amazon in 2006. This pipeline formed a grave threat to many ecosystems in the Amazon, was very costly, and was unlikely to cover its cost of capital. Given these concerns, Petrobras traded at a significant discount to peers. Rather than divest and give up, we composed a white paper which outlined the likely deleterious environmental and financial impacts of the pipeline. We circulated this analysis among key institutional investors in the company, who agreed that management should abandon plans for the pipeline. We then wrote a letter to management and all board members wherein we asked for an immediate repeal of plans for the pipeline. Our fellow investors (who jointly controlled over 30% of the company’s capital) also addressed management and the board in writing, echoing our sentiments. Within two weeks of our first communication, Petrobras announced that it would abandon the pipeline. This was a positive development – both economically and

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environmentally – and led to a meaningful appreciation in the share price.

Gold mining sector focus We view our work in the gold mining sector, which has been a key area of focus for many years, as even more impactful.


NATURAL RESOURCES | JAMES RASTEH (COAST CAPITAL LLC)

Indeed, the gold mining industry has a lot of cleaning up to do (literally), and we have spent years identifying new and emerging technologies which can notably decrease

the environmental impact of mining operations. When ore bodies are explored in open pit or underground mining, significant quantities

of overburden are stripped away to access and recover the precious ores. The disturbed rock impacts the natural flow of water. Metal sulfides in

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the rock become acidic once exposed to air and water, creating a source of polluted water. The water that seeps from the mine often contains a toxic brew of heavy metals, as well as chemicals used in the extraction process (i.e. arsenic). Additionally, mines frequently operate in waterscarce regions, which adds to the need to fully treat used water. Coast Capital is working to ensure the adoption of new technologies used in the treatment of (polluted) water used in mining. The central water treatment mechanism in most mines is the electrochemical reactor, which uses electrocoagulation (EC) to clean water. EC is effective for removing metals and sparingly soluble materials from solutions. In an EC system, an electric current is passed between sacrificial electrodes, causing metal ions to displace from the electrodes into the aqueous environment. When a sufficient concentration of the metal ions is introduced into the aqueous environment, coagulation starts, creating a colloidal suspension. A more sophisticated reactor uses chemistry to remove

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target analytes as well as metals: • Use of pH to drive targeted species to form less soluble particles that can be physically removed. This method meaningfully reduces arsenic pollution (a major pollutant of the gold mining industry). • If chemical conditions produce a metal oxide flocculant and the metal electrodes are properly chosen, then a metal oxide suspension can be created within the liquid and be preferentially removed

from the solution when the metal oxide surface flocculates are separated. • Proper choice of metal ions introduced into the system can also generate other non-oxide species which have low solubility and can be used to incorporate ions which are normally highly soluble in the liquid. This is the method used for removing borate. On an average mine that has adopted one of our favorite company’s processs, the following changes have been observed:


NATURAL RESOURCES | JAMES RASTEH (COAST CAPITAL LLC)

• Electrical conductivity reduced from 6840 μS/cm to 1250 μS/cm • Calcium hardness reduced from 2460 mg/L to 203 mg/L • Sulfate reduction from 3590 mg/L to 9.03 mg/L (very significant reduction) • Dissolved SiO2 reduced from 116 mg/L to 1.10 mg/L More specifically, the following changes in contaminant concentration have been observed: Total dissolved solids have declined from 1,860 mg/L to

850 mg/L. Of pollutants which previously exceeded NDEP guidelines, arsenic levels declined notably (0.208 mg/L to 0.0000489 mg/L), as have sulfate (926 mg/L to 120 mg/L), manganese (0.113mg/L to 0.00364 mg/L), iron (1.44 mg/L to 0.212 mg/L), aluminum (0.647 mg/L to 0.067) and total nitrogen (16 mg/L to 3.6 mg/L). Furthermore, the primary waste stream is landfillable – ready solid material.

or eliminate the emission of pollutants into the environment. Like most industries, the mining sector is slow and reluctant to adopt change. Investors have an important role to play in speeding up these vitally needed transitions – and any investor who divests of these necessary industries or ignores them has not, in our opinion, earned their ‘ESG focused’ moniker.

We believe that the natural resources industry must urgently work to adopt technologies which decrease

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Building Canada’s next mid-tier gold

KIRKLAN LAKE GOLD Meet the best performing mining stock on the TSX in 2020

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MINING | KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD

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On September 15, 2020, Kirkland Lake Gold was deemed the best performing mining stock on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) with incredible share price growth of 363% over the last three years. Kirkland Lake Gold’s President and CEO Tony Makuch tells RGN that the company’s inclusion on the TMX Group’s annual TSX30 ranking of the best performing stocks across all sectors on Canada’s main market primarily comes down to rapid growth in profitable, cash-flow generating production over the three-year timeframe. In 2017, the company produced 0.5 million ounces (Moz) of gold. This year, it is targeting over 1.35 Moz, thanks to a sustained period of growth via timely acquisitions and investments in exploration at its three gold mines; in Ontario, Canada (Macassa, Detour Lake) and in Victoria, Australia (Fosterville).

Kirkland Lake Gold entered

unwelcome emergence of the

2020 by completing the

COVID-19 pandemic this year.

transformational acquisition

The company acted quickly

of Detour Gold for $3.7 billion

to protect is people and

in January. The all-stock deal,

communities at all sites during

which was first announced

the height of the first wave in

in November 2019, gave the

March.

“At the same time, we’ve been very competitive with our unit cost performance, generated industry leading financial performance and increased our balance sheet strength,” says Makuch. “Really that’s the true measure of production growth that creates value.” The sustained free cash flow generated by Kirkland Lake Gold has allowed it to return significant capital to shareholders from share buybacks and dividends. “We introduced both in 2017 and have increased the dividend over seven times since then. So far in 2020, we’ve returned over US$640 million to shareholders. There aren’t many companies that can say they return that much value.”

“Detour Lake has generated

Many new on-site protocols

over 40% of our free cash flow

revolve around a tight

in the first nine months of the

adherence to social distancing

year and we see great potential

guidelines, changing how

here to grow production, lower

employees are transported to

unit costs and unlock increased

and from the workplace and

value.”

the proximity in which they

company ownership of Detour Lake, located within the

“In Canada, a lot of our

Northernmost section of the

employees live in remote

renowned Abitibi Greenstone

regions in James Bay. We sent

Belt.

people home, we gave people 14 days salary continuation

The open pit gold mine has

and reduced operations at

already made significant

Macassa and Detour. Since

contributions towards the

then, strict protocols have

operational and financial

become the new norm across

success of Kirkland Lake Gold

our sites.”

this year, according to Makuch.

COVID-19 response Kirkland Lake has also had to

can work in certain spaces, such as the cages that take workers to the underground Macassa mine.

demonstrate an unparalleled level of flexibility and

“It’s taken a bit of time to get

responsiveness following the

used to the changes, but our


MINING | KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD

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people have really taken on the challenge and worked things through. Everyone has adhered to the standards put in place and come up with new ideas which we have subsequently adopted.” One by-product of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a flurry of ‘safe haven’ investment in gold throughout the year, which has boosted the price to record highs and brightened the horizons of gold mining companies around the world. Lo and behold, Kirkland Lake Gold’s net earnings were up around 41% in the first nine months of the year on an adjusted basis, and it generated close to $700 million of free cash flow, excluding non-recurring items. While Makuch acknowledges that the high gold price has certainly benefited the industry this year, he is quick to highlight the strong performance of the company’s people in extraordinarily trying circumstances.

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MINING | KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD

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MINING | KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD

“We have tried to focus on

three of the flagship assets,

Likewise, at the Macassa mine

keeping our costs down, which

each of which hold significant

in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, the

is a key success driver for our

upside potential in their own

company has grown reserves

business. Our operating cash

right.

from just under 1 Moz at 20

costs so far this year are just

g/t in 2016 to 2 Moz at over 22

over $400 per ounce, with AISC

At Fosterville, in the Australian

g/t, with plenty of additional

of around $800 per ounce.

state of Victoria, Kirkland Lake

exploration opportunities

Those are very strong numbers

Gold has achieved year-on-

available, including continuing

in our industry and support

year exploration success since

to grow the high-grade South

significant earnings and cash

acquiring the underground

Mine Complex (SMC) and

flow generation at much lower

mine in 2016. In particular, the

identifying new areas of high-

gold prices than we have today.

discovery of the Swan Zone has grade mineralisation along the been a key value driver and

Amalgamated Break and the

“The price of gold has gone up

has helped boost production to

historic Main/’04 Break.

and that has been beneficial

over 600,000 ounces this year.

for the company, and we feel

Recent drilling has intersected

very confident that the gold

In addition, the company has

price is going to continue to

grown the Fosterville reserve

be strong, but we build our

from around 240,000 ounces

business around keeping

at just under 7 g/t in 2016 to

ourselves profitable and

2 Moz at over 22 g/t this year.

sustainable in a low gold price

“Ounces have gone up, grades

environment.”

have gone up and the costs

Growing from the drill bit

exceptionally high grades

KIRKL AND L AKE GOL D AT A G L A N C E

have gone down, which has created significant value,” Makuch explains.

The crux of Kirkland Lake

STOCK TICKER

Gold’s strategy is to secure

“We think that there are

TSX:KL, NYSE:KL, ASX:KLA

long-term growth and value

more high-grade zones at

creation through success

Fosterville and we continue to

MARKET CAPITALISATION

with the drill bit, and the

drill there. We could be one

company has been doing just

drill intersection away from

that this year with exploration

a whole new level of success

campaigns taking place at all

there.”

US$12.79 billion (as of October 26, 2020)

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“We incre we’ve m

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MINING | KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD

introduced share buybacks and dividends in 2017 and have eased the dividend over nine times since then. So far in 2020, e returned over US$640 million to shareholders. There aren’t many companies that can say they return that much value.” – Tony Makuch, Kirkland Lake Gold president and CEO

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TONY MAKUCH, KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD PRESIDENT AND CEO

in an area where the SMC

Break. In addition, a new

term exploration across the

approaches the Amalgamated

high-grade corridor of

vast Kirkland Lake gold camp,

“The price of gold has gone up and that has been beneficial for the company, and we feel very confident that the gold price is going to continue to be strong, but we build our business around keeping ourselves profitable and sustainable in a low gold price environment”

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mineralisation has been

most of which the company

identified along the Main

now owns.

Break, near the location of a new shaft that Kirkland Lake

“It is a century-old camp, but

Gold is sinking.

there is a lot of gold left to be found and we are sinking a

The #4 Shaft, which is slated

new shaft at Macassa because

for completion in late 2022,

of the size of our current

will result in significantly

reserves and the tremendous

higher production at better

potential to add more through

unit costs, and will also

continued exploration

improve working conditions

success.”

in the mine and support long-


MINING | KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD

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But Makuch is perhaps most excited by the growth potential at Detour Lake, which is already one of largest openpit gold deposits in the world with mineral reserves of 14.8 Moz at 0.97 g/t. Kirkland Lake Gold is drilling a number of inmine exploration targets after recent drilling revealed that mineralisation is open down dip of the Main Pit and in areas between the Main and West pits. “We’ve had significant exploration success in the Saddle Zone between the West Pit and the Main Pit. With that success, and the mineral inventory we have right now, we believe it is possible to double the reserves at Detour Lake. That’s a forward-looking statement, but we feel pretty confident that the opportunity is there.” And to give an idea of the broader exploration potential in the region, Kirkland Lake Gold’s land position at Detour Lake covers over 1,000 km2

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MINING | KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD

along the Abitibi Greenstone

in the communities where our

Makuch points out that, at the

Belt, which is the largest

people live.

end of the day, success comes

mineral-rich belt of its kind in the world.

down to people, and Kirkland “We are focused on working

Lake Gold is blessed to have a

with the traditional

team possessing unsurpassed

landowners in our area and

knowledge of how to build and

don’t look at it from a business

grow profitable, value-creating

While the company’s

perspective, but a relationship

gold mines.

exploration prospects have

perspective. We are one big

Responsible and sustainable

certainly appealed to investors, family and we treat everyone

“We have a strong track record

Makuch also credits Kirkland

in terms of operational and

with respect.

Lake Gold’s focus on ESG in

financial performance and

the last few years for its high-

“We also treat the land with

that, more than anything else,

ranking position on the TSX30

respect and understand

speaks to the quality of our

this year.

the importance of natural

assets and the quality of our

resources like water in the

people. With the progress

However, he makes it very

regions where we operate.

we, as a team, have achieved,

clear that the company’s

If we can focus on these

we have generated industry-

emphasis on sustainable

[aforementioned] areas, then

leading earnings, cash flow

and responsible mining is

the results will speak for

and balance sheet strength

not simply to accommodate

themselves.”

and delivered superior returns

modern investor demands, but

for our shareholders, without

because caring for its people,

Clearly, Kirkland Lake Gold

whom we would not be in

its communities and the

views ESG, like exploration,

business.”

environment is inherently the

as a core component of its

right way to run a business.

business, and one that is critical for success. “As a gold

“The health, safety and

miner producing in two of

wellness of our people is

the world’s greatest mining

paramount. After this, we

jurisdictions, ESG is central to

try to build our supply chain

everything we do; it impacts

in the region and give back

every aspect of our business

through investments in social

and it is the key to maintaining

and recreational programmes

social licence.”

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Building Canada’s next mid-tier gold


MINING | WESDOME GOLD MINES

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Wesdome Gold Mines is an established player in the worldleading Canadian mining sector with over 30 years of continuous gold production in the country. The next big target for the TSX-listed company is to break into the mid-tier rank of producers in Canada with a total annual output figure exceeding 200,000 ounces of gold. Wesdome’s current portfolio is arguably located in the most fertile geological region in the world and contains three assets along a 1,000 km stretch between Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario and Val d’Or in Northwestern Québec. The company’s president and CEO Duncan Middlemiss reveals to RGN that Wesdome was constrained to only minimal growth in the last downturn of the mining cycle, but since 2015 it has been able to optimise the performance of its Eagle River mine in Wawa, Ontario while investing heavily in exploration across the portfolio. The crowning glory of Wesdome’s resurgence was achieved last year when it was included in the inaugural TSX30 list of top performing stocks across the entire exchange. Wesdome was even able to retain its place on this year’s TSX30 ranking after averaging share price growth of 285% over the last three years. “[Our success is down to] everybody coming together to understand the geological potential of the properties we have. To define that potential, you have to invest in exploration and our recent efforts have gone very well at Eagle River in Ontario and Kiena in Québec.”

Wesdome’s current incarnation is a product of three decades of evolution from its early days under the name Western Québec Mines, when it owned several properties that were eventually amalgamated into the current Kiena Complex.

A storied history In 1994, Western Québec acquired a property in Ontario and spun out the assets – including Wesdome’s current Eagle River and Moss Lake assets – to a company called River Gold Mines, and in 1999 Wesdome Gold Mines was created in order to develop a portfolio of properties in Val d’Or. “Wesdome bought the Kiena mine from the Québec government in 2005 and it was probably the deal of the century,” Middlemiss claims. “It cost only $5 million and now we are looking at the very positive future Kiena has with us.” By 2007, River Gold and Wesdome completed a merger

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MINING | WESDOME GOLD MINES

73


and this is the point in the

thought when it first started

highs of 2011-12) and a lack of

company’s history that you

producing.”

subsequent drilling to sustain

see the current assets come together under one portfolio

Meanwhile, the Kiena mine

umbrella.

was in production under

However, a bull run has been

Wesdome from 2006 to 2013,

gathering pace in the gold

“Eagle River has been in

but has been in care and

market since around 2016,

commercial production since

maintenance ever since,

and the price reached new

1996, so it’s been operating

with Middlemiss citing

highs earlier this year in

now for 25 years and has had

a suppressed gold price

response to the major financial

a great mine life compared to

environment (following the

uncertainty triggered by the

what people may have initially

74

activity at the property.


MINING | WESDOME GOLD MINES

COVID-19 pandemic. This

Complex, despite the troubling

in camp to allow for social

brighter environment for gold

emergence of COVID-19 and

distancing. Unfortunately, we

miners over the last four years

the wide-ranging impact of the

had to suspend all diamond

has allowed Wesdome to re-

virus on mining operations

drilling, which is something

instigate drilling programmes

and the wider mineral

we definitely didn’t want to do

at Kiena, with encouraging

resources supply chain.

because we were quite excited

results thus far.

about that programme.” “Eagle River in Wawa,

Meanwhile, the company

Ontario is a camp situation,”

Other large-scale projects

expects to produce between

Middlemiss explains. “So what

were also deferred to the

90-100,000 ounces of gold

we had to do back in March

latter stages of the year in the

this year at the Eagle River

was reduce the numbers

aftermath of the deadly first

75


“Wesdome bought the Kiena mine from the Québec government in 2005 and it was probably the deal of the century. It cost only $5 million and now we are looking at the very positive future Kiena has with us” Duncan Middlemiss, Wesdome Gold Mines president and CEO

76

wave from around March to

Wesdome has since managed

June. Projects completed in

to bring back online four

Q3 included upgrades to the

drills (three underground, one

hoist and ventilation systems

near-surface) with a focus on

and work to increase tailings

follow-up delineation of the

capacity. These projects are

Falcon Zone – a new section to

expected to bring underground the West of the mine. production to 600 tonnes per day in 2021.

Return of the drill rigs

“This is something we discovered from our surface drilling programme of 2019. It’s a very high grade shoot that

There had been up to seven

links with the mineralisation

exploration drills turning at

at the 7 Zone within the

Eagle River pre-pandemic, but

existing mine. We are now in


MINING | WESDOME GOLD MINES

RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews interviews Wesdome Gold Mines CEO and president Duncan Middlemiss, October 22, 2020

a process of exploring from

exploration work can add

“In terms of our drilling, we

appropriate underground

further years to the life of the

didn’t catch stride again until

platforms.

mine, which is already into its

around June or July. But we

26th year of production.

now have seven drills turning

“We’re also doing surface exploration, which involves a

underground and one onOver in Val d’Or, Wesdome

surface at the Kiena property.

lot of delineation of the various had to comply with a Québec

The goal for us this year is to

shoots we have. Essentially,

government mandate to close

convert a lot of our inferred

we would like to continue the

all mining operations at the

resources into indicated so we

growth of our resource there.”

peak of the pandemic, which

can then do a pre-feasibility

contributed to around eight

study in support of a restart

Last year, Wesdome grew the

weeks of lost work that it

decision for the Kiena mine.”

total reserve at Eagle River

had dedicated to exploration

from 400,000 ounces to 550,000

drilling at the Kiena mine.

A preliminary economic

ounces and the company is

assessment (PEA) of the

confident that its current

project was completed in

77


May and provides strong supporting evidence towards a restart, which will be considered by the board during the first half of 2021. The PEA indicated just US$35 million will be required in pre-production capital expenditure, a figure that Middlemiss ensures will be fully funded by the company. The study also estimated that Kiena will provide an after-tax IRR of 102% and will generate gross revenue of $1.4 billion, alongside other attractive economic metrics.

W ES D O M E GOLD

AT A G L A N C E

STOCK TICKER TSX:WDO

MARKET CAPITALISATION

US$1.4 billion (as of October 28, 2020)

j

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MINING | WESDOME GOLD MINES

79


within the company that the

The rise of ESG investing

time is fast approaching to

Away from the exploration

– in August. Miller will help

ramp up mineral development

side of the business, Wesdome

lead community engagement

at the Moss Lake property

– like a multitude of resources

programmes at Eagle River

near the city of Thunder Bay in

firms in recent years – has

and Kiena while managing

Ontario.

heightened the spotlight on

the firm’s environmental and

its commitment to sustainable

social pledges.

There is also a mounting belief

for sustainability and environment - Joanna Miller

Moss Lake is in fact Wesdome’s

and responsible mining, in

largest mineral resource

response to a new wave of

One could deduce that

with indicated resources of

ESG-driven investors.

Wesdome’s focus on ESG

40 million tonnes at 1.1 g/t

programmes over the last

of gold, totalling 1.4 million

“ESG has really come to the

few years has been suitably

ounces. Previous drilling in

forefront and is something I

recognised by the investment

2017 extended the strike length

think we did in the past, but

community, especially

mineralisation from 2.5 km

perhaps didn’t talk about when

considering the company’s

to 8 km and the geophysical

we were a junior company.

inclusion on the TSX30 for the

expression (IP) extends over

We were a small group and

second consecutive year.

the entire strike length, with

didn’t have the capacity to do

potential to significantly add to

comprehensive reporting. But

Middlemiss believes that the

existing resources.

now you see the investment

expansion of Wesdome’s ESG

community is very focused on

focus has occurred in tandem

“Moss Lake is envisioned to

ESG and we are definitely here

with the overall growth of

be a large resource, low grade

to do the right thing across all

the company, which goes

operation. In order to develop

facets of our operations and

to show just how entwined

this mine, we have to get the

the reporting of our progress

sustainability is with success

drills back there and do a

on these fronts.”

for the modern-day mining

substantial programme in

firm.

order to further upgrade the

The company has begun to

resource.”

‘staff-up’ to better manage

“I would say that we are on

the growing expectations of

the right track, people are

the investment community,

recognising that we are trying

hiring a new director

to do the right thing and we have received credit for it.”

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MINING | WESDOME GOLD MINES

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MINING | WESDOME GOLD MINES

Pushing for mid-tier status Wesdome’s primary aim over the next few years is to become a mid-tier gold producer. Reaching this level would see it churning out at least 200,000 ounces per annum, Middlemiss is confident that this goal is within reach given the company’s recent success

“Eagle River has been in commercial production since 1996, so it’s been operating now for 25 years and has had a great mine life compared to what people may have initially thought when it first started producing”

in adding resources at Eagle River through exploration,

maintain our commitment to

which is ongoing at the

exploration.”

sprawling complex in Ontario. In addition to the exploration Since 2016, Wesdome

opportunities in Wawa and

has doubled annual gold

Val d’Or, Wesdome could

production to 100,000 ounces

also benefit from a bolt-on

at Eagle River and it has the

situation at the 2,000 tonnes

Kiena mine waiting in the

per day mill within the Kiena

wings, which will add another

Complex.

100,000 ounces per year according to the PEA.

“Northwestern Québec is a very prospective area,

“Once we give the go ahead

particularly Val d’Or and

for the restart, it would be

Rouyn-Noranda. It’s got a great

two years until Kiena is back

history and is very active right

up and running. At that point

now in terms of exploration,

I would say we have a soft

so we’re definitely monitoring

base of 200,000 ounces, but

the situation there to see if

I would speculate that Eagle

we can augment the mill with

River and Kiena can together

additional feed.”

produce 250,000 ounces if we

83


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QM GOL

TSXV-listed junior embarks journey in Québec’s V

86


MINING | QMX GOLD CORPORATION

MX LD

on a remarkable exploration Val d’Or mining camp

87


88

QMX Gold has been working in Québec’s famous Val d’Or Mining Camp since around 2003, when it acquired several land packages from Aur Resources and focused on developing the Lac Herbin deposit, which came into commercial production in 2008. Over the next decade or so, QMX utilised its 100% owned, fully permitted Aurbel mill and tailings site while running down the life of the Lac Herbin mine. After coming into some financial difficulties during the nadir of the commodity price cycle in 2015-16, the company decided to restructure with a sole focus on its current exploration property package in the heart of the Val d’Or Mining Camp.

“From 2017 until now, we

The bustling mining camp – the name of which means ‘valley of gold’ in French – is a 20 million ounce production centre within the legendary Abitibi Greenstone Belt, which itself is the world’s third largest gold district and is yet still underexplored in large swathes, including in Val d’Or. This makes the region one of the most attractive settings in the world for exploration firms, and QMX has been advancing a systematic programme of evaluation, targeting and drilling across a massive 200 km² land package over the last three years.

yet, so it’s a really exciting time.

have been going through the historic data, picking high priority targets and getting into drilling,” says QMX CEO and president Brad Humphrey. “We’ve developed a resource at our most advanced project called Bonnefond and that continues to expand. We also have a number of really exciting targets we’ve been drilling this year including River and Poulmaque. This winter, we will have another large programme where we’ll get on to additional targets that we haven’t been able to drill We have four rigs turning at the moment and we’re going to add an additional three going into the winter programme.” QMX’s post-2016 strategy was dependent on it being able to raise funds for exploration campaigns, which seemed like a tough ask at a time when investors were not warming to the junior segment of the market.


MINING | QMX GOLD CORPORATION

89


90


MINING | QMX GOLD CORPORATION

However, Humphrey has been

at that time when the markets

thrilled to receive consistent

weren’t necessarily all that

support from capital raises

open to funding exploration

and corporate investors over

companies,” says Humphrey.

the last three years. Several neighbouring mining firms

Equipped with healthy doses

in Val d’Or jumped at the

of capital funding, QMX

opportunity to build a stronger

has been able to complete

understanding of the regional

a remarkable 90,000 metres

geology by investing in QMX’s

of drilling between 2017 and

exploration work.

2019, with an additional 45,000

Neighbours lend a hand Strategic investors in QMX

metres planned in 2020. These metres have contributed to the development of a new geologic understanding of the region.

include Eldorado Gold (18%), Osisko Gold Royalties

In a nutshell, the drilling has

(6.1%), Probe Metals (4%)

indicated the presence of gold

and more recently O3 Mining

across the entire property,

and renowned Canadian

with the Bonnefond Deposit

gold bull Eric Sprott have

acting as the centre piece. In

come on board following the

the East Zone, the company

publication of several excellent

has received high grade

drill results earlier this year.

intercepts at Bevcon and to the West of Bonnefond, similar

“Even though this is one of

results have been achieved at

the least expensive places

River.

on the planet to do drilling, we still needed to raise

“Everywhere we put on a drill

money. We got good support

programme, we have come

from individuals and these

back with a lot of success. This

corporates. It’s been great to

is a spectacular land position

have that support, particularly

and this year was really the

91


BRAD HUMPHREY - QMX GOLD CEO AND PRESIDENT

first time we were funded

the inferred into the indicated

Humphrey ensures that the

enough to have multiple

while also attempting to

results will be released to the

programmes going on, so it’s

expand inferred resources

market in the near future but

been a really exciting time.”

within the higher grade

cannot put an exact timescale

section of the shear zones.

on when that will be as the

Growing Bonnefond

92

company has been hit with “I think we’ve been successful

delays stemming from the

The July 2019 maiden resource

in doing that and we do

COVID-19 pandemic, which

for Bonnefond estimated that

expect our next resource

have impacted all levels of the

there were 258,000 ounces of

update at Bonnefond to be a

supply chain in the exploration

gold in the indicated category

fairly meaningful percentage

sector.

and 145,000 ounces in the

increase across both

inferred, but QMX has since

categories.”

“I’m super excited to see

conducted further drilling at

this resource, but perhaps

the deposit to move more of

underestimated the delays that


MINING | QMX GOLD CORPORATION

93


RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews QMX Gold CEO and President Brad Humphrey, October 20, 2020

QMX G O LD AT A G L A N C E

STOCK TICKER

the result will be and I do hope

COVID. The increase in work

to see that shortly.”

in the local area has expanded

access to engineering because

Adding more rigs and crew members

there are so many projects

In a period of unprecedented

going on.

difficulty for people and

turnaround times on assay labs and there are delays on

organisations around the

TSXV:QMX

“We are in constant

world and across the mining

MARKET CAPITALISATION

communication with our third

industry, QMX has been able

party working on the resource

to press on with its planned

and they have assured us that

45,000 metres drilling

it is progressing. We are as

programme this year, and has

eager as everybody to see what

even been lucky enough to

US$44.25 million (as of October 30, 2020)

aj

94

were going to impact us from


MINING | QMX GOLD CORPORATION

attract additional staff to work

drill in the winter, particularly

on the campaign in a COVID-

to the East of Bonnefond and

safe environment.

there’s a number of really interesting targets in that 5

And for the upcoming 35,000

km trend that we’ll be drilling

metres winter programme,

on this winter. We hope to

QMX is adding three more rigs

continue our great success at

along with additional crews to

the drill bit and further show

work on follow up drilling at

the true underlying value of

the New Louvre and Bevcon/

this property.”

Buffadison deposits. QMX is also actively pursuing “There are areas on our

custom milling opportunities

property which are easier to

in and around a wider perimeter surrounding the

We’ve developed a resource at our most advanced project called Bonnefond and that continues to expand. We’ve also got a number of very exciting targets we’ve been drilling this year” – Brad Humphrey, QMX Gold CEO and president

95


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MINING | QMX GOLD CORPORATION

Aurbel mill and tailings

advanced neighbours gives a

see that whole Eastern side

facility, although Humphrey

sense of the value proposition

growing to be quite significant

emphasises that this is not a

inherent within the company.

in the future.”

“Probe is a couple years ahead

Then there are the

“In the meantime, we’ve

of us and you can see what

reconnaissance programmes

worked out an agreement

their valuation is. O3 put their

taking place in the

with 03 Mining whereby they

property package together

Bourlamaque Zone at the River

have the option to acquire that

not too long ago and their

and Poulmaque targets, which

asset, but we maintain our

valuation speaks for itself. I

have the potential to grow into

access to 650 tonnes per day.

believe that is where we are

significant resources along

They have the opportunity

going too.

with several other targets

primary focus of the business.

to use and expand it, but

across the property.

we would retain our right to

“I believe we will be able to

process material through that

show that Bonnefond is much

“Although there have been

milling facility, should we get

bigger in the coming years,

delays across the entire

a deposit into production in

starting with this upcoming

industry, we have lots of

a short period of time. It’s a

interim update. Ever since

drilling going on, lots of assays

great agreement and a nice

we’ve been working on the

pending and our resource

asset to have.”

resource, we’ve continued to

estimate is progressing, all

drill. We’ve shown its growing

of which would be positive

to the East and West, we’ve had

catalysts for the story,”

some assays pending from the

Humphrey concludes.

The start of something big With an enviable land package

North, we’ve shown it grows at

right in the centre of the

depth and we’re drilling to the

highly prospective Val d’Or

South as well.”

Mining Camp, QMX is in the right postcode to grow

In particular, Humphrey

substantially via exploration

mentions the 5 km trend

alone in the coming years. In

between Bonnefond and

fact, a cursory glance at the

Bevcon as being a top target

valuations of some of its more

for further drilling. “We can

97


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IM SI

Continuous

100


MINING | IMPACT SILVER CORPORATION

MPACT ILVER

s silver production in one of the oldest mining districts in the Americas

101


TSXV-listed IMPACT Silver is now well into its 15th year of continuous production in the Royal Mines of Zacualpan district in South-central Mexico. The region has a long and rich history of mining activity going back to the 15th century when indigenous peoples mined silver and built temples in the current location of Zacualpan town, before the Spanish conquistadors arrived and extracted gold and silver for several centuries, leaving thousands of historical mine workings. IMPACT Silver took up the mantle of silver production in 2006 and has produced over 10 million ounces (Moz) in the last decade and a half from multiple mines within its 211 km² land package encompassing two contiguous mining districts.The properties are comprised of a series of epithermal veins which range from very high-grade sections to lower grade, intermediate mineralisation. In recent years, the firm happened to be working on lower grade sections which – along with depressed silver prices – contributed to a marginally profitable operation. However, a new production strategy for the district and positive developments in the silver price this year are set to add new shine to IMPACT’s horizons. “First of all, we’ve had some discoveries that suggest there’s a lot more happening in this district than previously we could say,” president and CEO Fred Davidson tells RGN. “Secondly, our leverage to the silver price is dramatic. When silver goes from $13-14 [per ounce] to $26-27, that virtually goes straight to the bottom line.

10 2

“What makes us somewhat

at C$0.95 per unit. Each unit

unique is that we are a

is comprised of one common

dedicated primary silver

share and one-half warrant.

producer, over 90% of

One warrant is exercisable to

our revenue is from silver

acquire one share at $1.30 for a

production,” Davidson

24-month period. We intend to

continues. “Recently we have

use a significant portion of the

been marginal in terms of

proceeds to accelerate current

profitability, but we’ve got a

exploration and development of

district-wide programme that’s

numerous targets.

going forward after a recent financing.

“That programme is going to explore not just the potential

“In August, we completed

for higher grade silver veins

a C$9.5 million financing

themselves, but an underlying

from the issuance of about 10

gold-copper district that hasn’t

million units of the company

been seriously exploited in the past 500 years.”


MINING | IMPACT SILVER CORPORATION

Coping with COVID-19

up and running again by

we were cash positive for the

June, however the shutdown

quarter.”

While major global economic

period knocked the company’s

uncertainty stemming from

quarterly and annual

As regional, national and

the COVID-19 pandemic has

production targets back, along

international authorities

significantly boosted precious

with revenues.

continue to battle the ongoing

metals prices this year, the

threat of COVID-19, IMPACT’s

worldwide health emergency

“We lost probably 25-30% for

boss is relieved that Mexico

precipitated the closure of all

the quarter in terms of total

moved to reclassify mining

mines in Mexico back in April,

sales,” Davidson concedes.

and points to the country’s

as the Latin American nation

“In retrospect, I think our

long-lasting appreciation of

emerged as one of the worst

loss for the quarter was about

the sector.

affected by the pandemic.

$200,000, but our EBITDA was extremely positive. That

“Every Mexican is convinced

The Mexican government

$200,000 encompassed things

he is a miner, so there is a

soon reclassified mining

like deferred income taxes,

real sympathy for mining in

as an essential business,

amortisation and depreciation,

Mexico. They understand

allowing IMPACT to get back

so on a cash generating basis

it. To give an example, the

103


1 04


MINING | IMPACT SILVER CORPORATION

church in the local town has a

the district and closed down

which has been on care and

statue of a miner out in front,

a handful of underground

maintenance since 2014, when

so mining is part of the culture

mines with low margins. This

margins slipped below the

there.

resulted in declining operating

profitability line.

costs and improving average “They are one of the countries

grades across the board.

that has been hit badly and

The facility is comprised of a 4.5 Moz open pit silver mine

therefore they need revenue

“Our emphasis during the

(with lead and zinc by-credits)

and employment. We can

last couple years has been on

and a 200 tonnes per day (tpd)

offer both while the district

positive cash flow. It may not

pilot plant. Restarting Capire

continues to have a very low

be as pretty, or have the same

could add 150,000-250,000

incidence of COVID-19. We

total of ounces coming out,

ounces of silver to IMPACT’s

shut down the district for

but the bottom line is better

annual output, according to

outsiders and it was only until

and people tend to forget that

Davidson.

about a month ago that we

mining is more than counting

had our first case in the whole

ounces,” Davidson stresses.

district.”

Furthermore, IMPACT is evaluating the possibility

“Now that silver prices have

of lowering costs at Capire

improved, we will look to

through the incorporation of

reopen these marginal mines

DMS technology. A 2019 study

After silver production

which have become profitable

on a low-grade sample found

peaked across the Zacualpan

again. It will take time to go

that in a DMS set-up, over 42%

operations in 2015-17, IMPACT

back and open up an area, but

of the sample mass could be

decided to shift its strategy

we are planning to increase

rejected while retaining 93% of

towards lower cost, higher

overall production by early

silver and lead and 79-92% of

grade production in late 2018

spring next year.”

copper, gold and zinc.

prices would not recover, in

In addition, the company is

“Using DMS we can probably

the near term at least.

assessing the possibility of

run about 400-450 tpd and get

re-starting another operation

it down to 200 tpd through the

Under the new approach,

in the region. The Capire

mill. This equates to higher

IMPACT undertook a strategic

project is a VMS mine located

productivity and dramatically

review of its properties in

Southwest of Zacualpan

Boosting the bottom line

on the assumption that silver

105


through the lab with bench

Significant exploration upside

scale testing and it works

The Royal Mines of Zacualpan

exceptionally well.

silver district is one of the

lower mining costs. We’ve

IM PA CT S ILV E R

AT A G L A N C E

run some heavy samples

oldest mined areas in the

STOCK TICKER TSXV:IPT

MARKET CAPITALISATION

US$89.47 million (as of October 07, 2020)

aj

“Now we are working on

Americas, and over the last

scaling up. Even at the current

two decades IMPACT has

price of silver we can just

identified well over 5,000

mine Capire as it is. We are

historic mine workings which

confident that silver over the

provide ample avenues for

next year is going to remain

near-mine and district-scale

in the $25-30 range,” predicts

exploration.

IMPACT’s boss. “When we first entered the district, we started a deep

1 06


MINING | IMPACT SILVER CORPORATION

“Our emphasis during the last couple years has been on positive cash flow. It may not be as pretty, or have the same total of ounces coming out, but the bottom line is better and people tend to forget that mining is more than counting ounces” – Fred Davidson, IMPACT Silver president and CEO

1 07


RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews IMPACT Silver Corp CEO and president Fred Davidson, September 22, 2020

study on the potential of

four key areas, including a

be several gold-copper veins.

the property. That meant

prospective district-scale gold-

We are just starting to explore

going back into some of

copper zone in the centre of

that.”

the historical records some

the Zacualpan property.

200, 300, 400 years. We’ve

10 8

When asked if IMPACT would

accumulated that data now,

“In the last few years, we’ve

prefer to remain more of a

along with our predecessor’s

had sniffs of this underlying

pure-play silver producer,

drilling work, and it’s given us

gold-copper district and

Davidson quips that he’ll never

a good idea of the structures

have proven it exists. The

complain if he’s got too much

involved. It’s a massive area.”

Northern Mill is located on a

gold, particularly considering

steep canyon with about 2,000

the positive movement in the

Armed with this new

metres elevation. 500 metres

gold price this year.

geological understanding,

below that we’ve found a very

IMPACT has identified several

large high mag anomaly and

“We’re doing soils, rock chip

exploration targets across

radiating out of that appears to

sampling, sediments and one


MINING | IMPACT SILVER CORPORATION

of the outcrops we sampled

historic workings across the

“What we are really looking

ran 76 g/t gold and 76 g/t silver,

properties.

for is elephants,” Davidson

so we know it’s there, It’s just

concludes. “As we learn

about putting it all together in

Lots of life left

economic terms.”

Although the Royal Mines

district, including things like

of Zacualpan district has

the high mag in the bottom

IMPACT’s exploration team

witnessed over five centuries

of the valley, it allows us to

is also targeting brownfields

of silver production,

have a better grasp of what’s

exploration for silver veins

IMPACT’s near and long-term

occurring. After 500 years

within trucking distance

exploration programmes will

of mining in the district I’m

to its Guadalupe plant and

ensure that millions more

confident somebody will

early stage exploration for

ounces of silver will flow

be mining here for at least

Zacualpan Southeast extension

out of the region, along with

another 100-200 years.”

silver veins, while continuing

significant quantities of copper

to evaluate the thousands of

and gold.

the structure of the whole

109


NUSAN RESOU

Taking decisive steps towards deliv

110


MINING | NUSANTARA RESOURCES

NTARA URCES

ivering Indonesia’s next gold mine

111


ASX-listed Nusantara Resources is nurturing big ambitions to build the next gold mine in Indonesia – a renowned mining jurisdiction which remains one of the most underexplored jurisdictions in the world. The company’s Awak Mas Gold Mine on the island of Sulawesi is well advanced at the preconstruction stage and has been estimated to have a 16-year mine life with an average production of 100,000 ounces per annum.

An invaluable partner

“We intend to build the next gold mine in Southeast Sulawesi, and we intend to improve it in everything we do to add value through optimisation, with the optionality of expansion and further exploration,” says managing director Neil Whitaker. “As a company, Nusantara has the project, the partners and is now actively progressing the financing to develop Awak Mas and to grow our business in Southeast Asia. Our strategic ambitions are BIG: Build, Improve and Grow.”

expertise and this was not lost on Nusantara in 2018, when it formed a strategic partnership with Indika Energy – a leading

In terms of the aforementioned objectives, Nusantara has done exactly that this year, expanding the Awak Mas resource by 18% to 54 million tonnes (Mt) at 1.35 g/t Au for 2.35 million ounces (Moz) in April, and increasing the ore reserve by 34% in June to 35.6 Mt at 1.33 g/t Au for 1.53 Moz. “We also built a new financial model and economics that we reported in an addendum to our feasibility study in July. It now shows a very attractive value proposition for this next gold mine in Indonesia with an increase in average production for the first four years of 128,000 oz, an NVP of over US$500 million, an IRR of 45% and a payback of less than two years.”

11 2

As always, operating in an overseas jurisdiction requires a certain level of in-country

Indonesian company with a track record in mining and other energy services. In December last year, Nusantara deepened its relationship with Indika, securing the company as a strategic cornerstone investor


MINING | NUSANTARA RESOURCES

in the Awak Mas project. This was a move that Nusantara considered a significant milestone in the development of the project. “Indika’s investment demonstrates their commitment and ‘skin in the game’ to see this project through successfully. You wouldn’t want to do this without a partner in-country who is familiar with the environment,” Whitaker says. “What they bring to the

NEIL WHITAKER, NUSANTARA RESOURCES MANAGING DIRECTOR

equation are relationships, strong governance and

of Indika - and jumped at

partnership to make this

business acumen. In addition

the opportunity to work with

successful,” he exclaims.

to their own investment, they

the outfits again through

have established connections

Nusantara.

to the Asian mining market.

At home in Indonesia

They are well connected to

Whitaker moved to Indonesia

Nusantara’s approach has

the people that we need both

last year after taking on the

always been to build in-

to finance the project and to

role of CEO and helped set

country relationships and an

ensure it is permitted and

up the firm’s small corporate

in-country team, safe in the

delivered successfully.”

office in Jakarta. Nusantara

knowledge that Indonesia has

has since relocated the project

the perfect blend of high-level

The MD reveals he has

office from Perth to a shared

mining services and talented

previously been a director

facility with Petrosea in the

people.

with Indika and for Petrosea

Indonesian capital. “We have

– a construction subsidiary

all the ingredients of local

113


This is, of course, a country that produces 7% of the world’s gold and hosts the world’s largest gold mine and second largest copper mine; Grasberg in the province of Papua. Therefore, its credentials as a world class mining hub are not to be dismissed. Whitaker and project director Matt Timbrell have substantial experience in Indonesia and in developing gold projects. Local president director, Boyke Abidin is a London economics graduate with extensive experience in external affairs, and has been with the Awak Mas project for over 20 years now. On-site, up to 300 Indonesian nationals have been working intensely and safely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown this year. “This is a perfect example of the history of mining and competence incountry,” says Whitaker.

1 14


MINING | NUSANTARA RESOURCES

RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews Nusantara Resources managing director Neil Whitaker. October 13, 2020

“We have an established

Australian Mining Consultants, commitment of our people and

exploration and community

Coffey, Golders and others,

the high standards that you

presence but there is now

together with Petrosea, have

would expect of an ASX-listed

considerable additional

been able to manage the site

company.”

project activity taking place

remotely from Jakarta and

with numerous contractors

Australia. Of course, there

at and around the site with

have been inefficiencies but

The funding pathway

a fleet of drill rigs covering

we’ve been able to manage

Earlier this year, Nusantara

project geology, geotechnical

through the pandemic with

established a two-phase

and hydrological work in

a level of business continuity

funding pathway along with

preparation for construction

that I think is remarkable.

its investment partners that is

next year.

designed to progress to a final “Our people in Southeast

investment decision (FID) and

“Our overseas engineering

Sulawesi remain COVID

rapid contract awards for EPC

consultants DRA Global,

free today thanks to the

construction and early mining next year.

115


Indika initially contributed

for the front-end engineering

“We’ve also just received an

$15 million in return for 25%

design (FEED) stage. It’s an

independent technical expert

project equity, while Petrosea

extended final stage of design

report from SRK Consulting

have made up to $15 million

which will take us through

Perth. It confirms that all the

available through a deferred

to an investment decision

work we’re currently doing

payment arrangement.

next year. This year we have

through this FEED stage is

Nusantara also provided

added to our resources from

on track to support a final

$6 million in equity after a

exploration success and we

financial package sometime

successful recent capital raise.

improved our mine design

next year.”

with optimisation and the “We’ve got cash in the bank

benefit of a higher gold price

and are well funded this year

to deliver a significantly improved set of economics.

1 16


MINING | NUSANTARA RESOURCES

Project upside potential

we’ve probably explored 60%,

deposit while demonstrating

and only half of that seriously.

open-ended extension

Nusantara has also identified

There are gold anomalies all

possibilities. The inclusion

near-mine and regional

over the mining contract of

of this near surface, higher

exploration opportunities

work, which is the name for

grade ore body has positively

at Awak Mas which suggest

the lease locally.”

impacted project economics

that the currently defined

this year and Nusantara

resources are part of a larger

The company had success

has recommenced a new

mineralised system.

in 2019 with a geophysics

geophysics programme

programme which clearly

that will identify, rank and

“Our mining lease is extensive.

identified the geophysical

prioritise additional targets for

My geology GM tells me there

response of the known high-

exploration drilling.

are over 14,000 hectares and

grade Salu Bulo satellite

1 17


NU SA N TA RA R ESO UR C ES AT A G L A N C E

Furthermore, the likelihood

payback of less than two

of being able to gradually

years, and access to an early

grow resources at the project

revenue stream, we must be

has encouraged Nusantara

seriously looking at expansion

to explore the possibility of

opportunities.

expanding the Awak Mas

STOCK TICKER ASX:NUS

MARKET CAPITALISATION

US$45.29 million (as of October 19, 2020)

aj

processing plant from the 2.5

“I think it’s the optionality with

million tonnes per annum

exploration and optionality

(Mtpa) throughput proposed in

with expansion which

the 2020 addendum, up to 3.9

probably will make this project

Mtpa.

a little more exciting,” says Whitaker.

“We are now finalising a scoping study to look at the value of an expansion. With a

11 8


MINING | NUSANTARA RESOURCES

119


The full package ‘A little more exciting’

in respect of growing the

are looking at a project with a

resource and reserve of the

substantially higher NPV when

Awak Mas project.

compared to its overall value

may perhaps be a slight

12 months ago.

understatement by Nusantara’s

Coupled with the gold price

boss, particularly when you

movement of 2020, which has

However, Whitaker is keen to

look at the progress made

soared to record highs in all

stress that the long-life, low

by the company this year

major currencies, and you

AISC and operating costs of the project provide inherent

120


MINING | NUSANTARA RESOURCES

Indonesia’s next gold mine, with the foundations of its recent success provided by a high functioning internal team and the relationships fostered with well-credentialled local partners, Indika Energy and Petrosea. “Indika has a tremendous reputation for ESG policies. Their commitment to sustainability, education, and medical advances is first class. They have cared for our people through this pandemic and supported our development in ways we could not have done alone. “At a time when we are ‘stepping up’ in anticipation of construction next year, Nusantara now offers an security against volatility in

the technology that the gold

opportunity for investment

the gold price. “That de-risks

price will bring to the table

in a gold company that is still

the gold price regardless,” he

with a low-cost structure and

undervalued. And yeah, the

says.

a level of profitability that

gold price is nice, I’m not

shareholders expect.”

complaining,” he quips.

“I’m not relying on the high gold price to deliver this

Overall, Nusantara has this

mine. We need to keep a

year taken several decisive

balance between leveraging

steps towards delivering

121


RUMBLE RE

Multiple avenues to disco

1 22


MINING | RUMBLE RESOURCES

ESOURCES

overy in Western Australia

123


When founding member of Rumble Resources Shane Sikora took over as managing director of the Australian explorer in mid-2015, his first remit was to identify a technical leader with the necessary experience to propel the company towards a mineral discovery in Western Australia. When he was introduced to revered WA-based exploration geologist Brett Keillor, he quickly realised that he had found the ideal candidate. Twice AMEC Prospector of the Year, first in 1998 for his central role in the Marymia discovery, and again in 2012 for his involvement in the discovery of the Tropicana Gold Deposit, Keillor was also an early stage founder in Resolute Mining and Independence Group (IGO). Both companies saw their stocks soar due in large part to Keillor’s exploration success and the subsequent delivery of large-scale operating mines. “What’s really impressive about Brett’s experience is that he is an early stage investigational explorationist who has made multiple major discoveries that have turned into mines. Equally as important, he has been with companies all the way through to mining, which provides a very unique and valuable skillset,” says Sikora. “He came on board at Rumble roughly the same time I did as MD. We formed a team and decided from there to build a unique strategy to utilise our skillsets. My role is to finance and bring in assets, manage public relations and compliance, while Brett focuses on his technical capabilities and making discoveries.”

124


MINING | RUMBLE RESOURCES

While this double act is a key component of the Rumble package, Sikora confirms he and Keillor are buttressed by a strong board and equally talented field team that believes in the company’s philosophy. He also believes that together they have cultivated an open and exciting culture that permeates all levels of the business.

Multiple avenues to discovery A quick glance at Rumble’s current portfolio reveals a distinct strategy, and that is to pursue multiple base and precious metals projects in WA. When asked why the company has favoured this route as opposed to developing a single asset, Sikora explains that making discoveries is difficult. “From Brett’s experience and the work I’ve done in the industry, giving yourself multiple opportunities is the best way to make discoveries, so we’ve gone for that de-

125


risked approach. What we

“We call this ‘drill to kill’.

do is quite unique; low cost

We drill test the generated

The Western Queen

optionality up front, a small

targets in the first year and if

The Western Queen Gold

option fee over several years

it kills the project we move

Project is Rumble’s near-term

with a balloon payment at the

on with minimal spend. If

production asset located

back end.”

the drilling is successful, the

within the Yalgoo Mineral

projects progress along the

field, 110 km from Mt Magnet

Rather than buy a project

development pipeline. Fast

and within a 110 km radius

upfront, which is cost-dilutive

forward three and a half years

of three operating gold

and by no means a guarantee

and we have now advanced

processing mills.

of exploration success, Rumble

five assets which we believe

affords itself the opportunity

are near-term discovery.”

to generate targets and drill

historic high-grade gold

test them in that crucial first

deposits – the Western Queen

year.

126

The project contains two


MINING | RUMBLE RESOURCES

RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews Rumble Resources managing director Shane Sikora, July 21, 2020

Central (WQC) mine and the

intercepting a pegmatite dike

resource extensions at depth

Western Queen South (WQS)

which was thought to close

and multiple repetitions of

mine – with a combined

off the high-grade gold shoot.

the WQC along strike, as these

historic production of 880,000

Similarly, WQS was kicked

deposit types typically form

tonnes at 7.6 g/t gold for

down the road after its former

multiple gold shoots.

215,000 oz.

owners completed two smaller open pit operations.

WQC was mined around 20

“Throughout the DD process we also identified a chance

years ago by a company called

“We picked up the project

of monetising the existing

Equigold, who extracted

as our initial assessment

open pittable resource, which

high-grade gold from an

indicated most of the historic

is 83,000 oz at 3.6 g/t at WQS.

open pit at 9 g/t followed by

drilling was focused on the

With the current gold price

an underground operation

pits. We completed some deep

and three hungry mills in the

at 10 g/t. The underground

due diligence and could clearly

area, there is an opportunity

operation was closed after

see the potential for WQC

to seek a joint venture to mine

127


BRETT KEILLOR, RUMBLE RESOURCES TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

RU M B L E RES O U R C ES

these resources while we focus

at depth at the WQC and,

on finding high-grade gold

of geological importance,

resources.”

identified that the high-grade

AT A G L A N C E

STOCK TICKER ASX: RTR

MARKET CAPITALISATION

US$60.7 million (as of August 05, 2020)

j a

1 28

gold is hosted in tremolite As part of its systematic

skarn shoots within the

exploration approach at the

mineralised shear zone. We

project, drilling was completed

now believe the WQ shear

over two stages to ascertain

zone could host a series of

the prospectivity and build a

high-grade gold deposits in

geological understanding of

tremolite skarn shoots similar

the mineralisation.

to WQC.”

“The first two stages of drilling

Armed with this new

identified six compelling

geological understanding

high-grade gold shoot targets,

and high-grade gold drill

extended the high-grade gold

results to date, the company is


MINING | RUMBLE RESOURCES

SHANE SIKORA , RUMBLE RESOURCES MANAGING DIRECTOR

confident it is now zeroing in

been properly tested before,

North and South mineralised

on the high-grade gold shoot

based on Rumble’s new

WQ shear zone extensions

discoveries. In June, Rumble

interpretation of the location

of the main project area,

commenced a 12,000 metres

of WQ Shear Zone. This

expanding the strike to 35 km.

drill programme, the largest

informed Rumble’s decision

No previous drilling has tested

in the company’s history, with

to significantly increase its

the newly inferred position

the aim to start defining high-

landholding by 500%, which

of WQ shear zone North and

grade resource extensions

was confirmed in July.

South, providing an expansive

at depth by stepping down

new area for targeting high-

the shoot beneath the WQC

“The original Western Queen

grade gold discoveries.”

deposit and targeting multiple

main project area had a 5.5

high-grade shoot discoveries

km North-South trending

Sharing the load

along strike.

mineralised shear zone which

Forming JVs is something the

hosts the WQC and WQS

company has successfully

In addition, the company

deposits. We secured the

executed at other assets in

felt that the ground to the

highly prospective contiguous

the portfolio, not least at

North and South had not 129


its projects in the highly

and basement

prospective Fraser Range

gold, which is also

region of WA. Rumble has

subject to this round

partnered with Keillor’s

of drilling in the

former employer IGO, who

September quarter.

have earned a 70% interest in Rumble’s Fraser Range

Rumble’s other JV

tenements, with Rumble free

project in WA is

carried to completion of a pre-

hugely exciting, so

feasibility study.

much so that Sikora admits it keeps him

“We’ve got two projects

up at night due to the

with IGO – one called the

potential scale and

Thunderdome, where IGO has

the ultimate prize.

already generated 12 km of

It is called the Lamil

discoveries, and our Lamil

copper-zinc anomalies with

project in Paterson Province,

project is located between the

multiple conductors beneath

an area which is long thought

Nifty and Telfer mines. With

them. There are also multiple

to be rife for new discoveries.

Brett’s exploration nous, he

magnetic gravity feature

identified that there was a

targets which have similar

The province is a globally

chance to have shallow Tier 1

features to that shown in the

recognised mineralised belt

targets on our project.

pre-discovery at the nearby

hosting the 32 Moz Telfer

Mawson deposit by Legend

copper-gold deposit and the 2

“To scope the potential of

Mining. IGO are scheduled in

Mt Nifty copper mine. More

the project, we completed

the September quarter to drill

recently, Rio Tinto made the

an airborne magnetics

test those Tier 1 targets.”

Winu discovery and Greatland

programme which identified

Gold discovered Haveiron,

what we think is the best

Further South at Fraser Range

which was recently acquired

undrilled target in the

is the Thunderstorm project,

by Newcrest.

Paterson Province called the

which has also received early

13 0

Lamil Dome, which has similar

stage drilling from IGO. In

“In the Paterson Province

dome size, trend and host

their first stage of drilling, IGO

you’ve got four Tier 1 projects,

rocks to the Telfer deposit.”

found 13 km of paleochannel

two of which are new


MINING | RUMBLE RESOURCES

they’ve gone ahead

discoveries, advancing a series

and assembled

of projects which are now near

a formidable

term to discovery.

exploration team. “We have near-term leverage to

Experienced Australian

“They’ve completed

exploration success with three

passive seismic,

major drilling programmes

gravity and micro

commenced or planned,

soils and reworked

targeting high grade gold at

the regional seismic

the Western Queen, Tier 1

data and airborne

nickel-copper and gold targets

magnetics. Every

in the Fraser Range and Tier 1

single test along

gold and copper targets at the

the way has been a

Lamil Project in the Paterson

tick to suggest there

Province,” Sikora summarises.

explorer AIC Mines soon

is an intrusion at that Lamil

signed a JV deal which will see

dome, all while generating

The company’s de-risked

them spend $6 million to earn

a multitude of new targets

exploration strategy is

50% in the Lamil project, at

with the potential for Tier 1

paving the way for multiple

which point Rumble has the

discoveries.”

avenues to discovery in WA

ability to co-contribute and

– a jurisdiction with world-

retain 50% of the project– a

AIC recently announced they

class resources, facilities and

rare outcome in the industry

are scheduled to complete

service providers, with major

according to Sikora.

the exciting maiden drill

discoveries continuing to be

programme at the Lamil

made. Following a $6 million

Project in September.

capital raise in June, Rumble

“Our JV partner AIC indicated they would put together a

is well cashed up to continue

of discovery specialists with

Discovery ready in WA

a wide range of technical

Over the last three and a half

heavy lifting at the Fraser

expertise to give us the

years, Rumble has executed its

Range and Lamil projects.

best chance of making a

strategy of generating a packed

significant discovery and

pipeline capable of world class

highly credentialled team

drilling at Western Queen, while its JV partners do the

1 31


EVENTS International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) + EXPO Where global mining leaders connect with technology, finance and the future November 24-27, 2020 In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, IMARC 2020 in Melbourne has been postponed to 26-28 October 2021. However, to help the industry stay safe and stay connected, Beacon Events has launched IMARC Online, which aims to aid customers and their businesses in the global economic recovery by providing an opportunity for the global mining and

resources community to interact, network, learn and engage. IMARC Online’s interactive programme will include workshops, keynote presentations, networking, meetings, and a dynamic virtual EXPO hall showcasing the latest mining projects, technology and innovations, and international governments displaying the best their region has to offer.

Register Here

Mines and Money Online Connect Global The number one global event portfolio for mining investment goes online November 30-December 3, 2020 Mines and Money was set to return to London for its 18th year in December, but the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a shift to online conferencing and Mines and Money has stolen a march on its competitors with a string of successful digital events throughout the course

be co-located with IMARC Online, meaning your free ticket will provide access to presentations covering all aspects of the mining supply chain. The Online Connect meeting platform is open 24 hours a day for the duration of the event, allowing mining companies to connect with

of the year. The next Online Connect Global event will

investors without having to leave home.

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132


EVENTS

Mining, oil & gas and renewable energy events from around the world Mining Indaba Virtual The 27th Mining Indaba moves to 2022 with virtual event February 02-03, 2021  After much deliberation and consultation with health officials and stakeholders in South Africa, the organisers of the Investing in African Mining Indaba have cancelled the 2021 event and announced new dates for the 2022 Indaba. However, Hyve Group also announced it will be taking Indaba virtual over two days in early February. This strategic event will feature free

high-level content streamed online, including pioneering insights from the industry’s heavyweights, multi-stakeholder strategic conversations, keynote addresses and more. “We recognise the role that Mining Indaba plays in connecting the global mining community and its significance in shaping the industry for the year ahead,” said Indaba portfolio director Simon Ford.

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PDAC Virtual Convention PDAC 2021 goes virtual March 07-10, 2021 Another victim of COVID-19 from the events industry is the annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention, which has been cancelled due to health and safety concerns associated with the pandemic. But, the 2021 convention will still take place from an entirely virtual platform for the first time

in its 89-year history. “The decision to move forward with a virtual event offers a safe and innovative solution for the industry to access our outstanding programming, investment and networking opportunities,” said PDAC in a statement. The event’s organisers will share further updates as soon they become available.

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RGN Vol 7 Iss 6  

TSX30 is a programme highlighting the 30 best performing stocks from across all sectors on the TSX, and after eight mining companies made th...

RGN Vol 7 Iss 6  

TSX30 is a programme highlighting the 30 best performing stocks from across all sectors on the TSX, and after eight mining companies made th...