I haven’t done a mining story in a while. Mostly because, mining. But look at Redstar Gold Corp.
If you know a lot of mining guys, you know a lot of guys who have been downsizing for a while now. A few less receptionists, maybe squeeze a couple of companies into one office space, maybe hit a few less conventions this year and that, downgrade from the top shelf scotch to the middle range stuff..
Raising money in the current climate is hard. Not impossible, but hard. A lot harder than the salad days, when all you needed was a claim and a dream and someone would shove a million or two at you to stick a hole in it.
That said, I like a story about a company that defies the slump and soldiers forward. And I like a story about a property that shoves what’s underground up into your face at various points.
And I like a CEO on an ATV.
Redstar Gold –[stock_quote symbol=”RGC.V”]-– is not immune to the general sector slump, but it’s not tapping the brakes. Ken Booth, Interim President, Director and CEO of Redstar, has just got back from a visit out to Alaska, where his company has just completed a drilling program on its 100% owned Unga gold project, and Booth came back both very pleased and decidedly optimistic.
Which, in the resource sector right now, makes him stand out in a crowd.
“We drilled 1500 metres in total, the guys did very well,” he said on the phone this week. “It took them probably twenty days to drill that total with no missed holes.”
Booth wasn’t there for the drills coming out, but got a nice long look at what came out of them.
“What I did get to see was all the cores. I got to see all the hanging wall rocks, all the footwall rocks, I got to see the veins they intersected, the textures, a number of core boxes that comprised the veins and a number of holes. So all of that was all good, and I came away more bullish than I was before, way more bullish. And I think when we do our next program, we will mobilize analysts and people like yourself. When you go up there, you can go from zone to zone and everybody can see the potential and the scale of the land package.”
Redstar likes the lay of the land around Unga, politically, commercially and geologically.
“You fly from Anchorage directly into Sand Point, which is on the adjacent Popov Island, and then you hop across to our camp which sits right in Baralof Bay on Unga Island some 13kms by boat and there’s the Shumagin vein close to our camp, and a bit further away is the old Apollo Sitka mine. Our patented claims cover that mine, we own them 100%, so no royalties to anybody on these.”
The Company also has Alaska State mineral claims, and that’s where the Shumagin prospect is.
“We know these two sets of claims are part of larger mineralized trends within each trend – Shumagin and Apollo-Sitka – about 8 to 9 km in length. So roughly 18 km of mineralized trends – and these are epithermal systems.”
Okay, we’re getting a little geo-heavy now, so let’s take it back to before Redstar got there. Before pretty much anyone got there. What’s the Unga origin story?
“The evolution of this area is very young volcanics, probably 15 million years old. You have placement of fluids within these volcanic rocks, so probably that unconformity, that break between different types of volcanism, that’s the place where the fluids found the easiest way to get to surface.”
Shumagin and Apollo Sitka are two separate trends. Booth isn’t sure if they’re on a major structural break or not. “At this stage we don’t see a really pronounced fault”.
One of the nice things about having a CEO on the side of the mountain, rather than the golf course, is they can get their hands dirty and see for themselves what’s happening on – and in – the ground. Booth appears to spend more time on an ATV than a boardroom chair.
“We went and had a look at the Shumagin zone and along the hillside, sure enough, we see the quartz veins right out on surface. These showings are visible intermittently over several hundred meters. Another area on the Shumigan trend is called Orange Mountain, and you just see a lot of quartz and alteration there.”
”These are good signs,” he says.
So can you trace it?
“Absolutely, from place to place, we can see occurrences along both the Apollo Sitka and on the Shumagin trend. With the helicopter I was able to see many of the occurrences.”
All of which gives a little indication as to why Booth is determined to keep plunging drills into the ground, come what may in the greater resource sector.
The temptation for many, in a situation such as Booth’s, is to go after it all. Raise tens of millions of dollars and poke holes all over the countryside looking for a bonanza.
But if there is a place where the general downturn in resources over the last few years does grab for the handbrake at Redstar, that’s the place. Booth is practically frothing, he wants to get his ground explored, but he knows enough not to get greedy and instead focus in on a small area where he has an exceptionally good idea about what’s lying beneath.
“We have really good historical grade from drilling on the Shumagin prospect. We have to start somewhere. We would dilute our efforts if all of a sudden we say, ‘hey, let’s go to Orange Mountain, hey let’s go down to Apollo Sitka.’ Sure, if we had $20m in hand, we’d probably have a better chance at going at three or four different things. But we have to focus, so we’ve chosen what looks best at this point, and that’s Shumagin. We’ve got the historical work that we did in 2011, great intersections – 20 grams over short intervals, but great grades.”
Booth figures the area has probably come together from a series of mineralizing events.
“We’re not seeing a lot of cross cutting in this thing, we’re just seeing multiple stages of mineralization, which is great,” he says.
Booth is super high on his property and, he believes, with good reason. Twenty kilometres of high grade potential is nothing to sneeze at, and it appears the geography is pretty good at revealing what lies beneath.
“Because of the relief here, you’ve got some surface exposures. Remember, the Apollo Sitka mine was started in the late 1880’s and was probably initially discovered by a local who then mentioned the occurrence of gold to a trader or a fisherman. It’s the classic way so many of the early gold and silver mines were founded in South America and Mexico.”
Booth believes in what he’s got – a lot – to the point of comparing it to the geology of other well-known deposits, such as Cerro Negro, which Goldcorp bought for $3 billion back when Goldcorp was buying things for $3 billion.
“You go onto Goldcorp’s website and you see their PowerPoint presentation; Ours has similar characteristics as Cerro Negro – low sulfidation, epithermal deposit, district scale, and Cerro Negro has proven to be a real winner.”
One step at a time, big fella.
There are other trends in the Redstar mix, but Booth doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself by talking those up. That’s a good thing, because Unga has enough to talk about as is, and the current drill program is very focused, right on budget, and not sending anyone broke.
With two mineralized trends, each about nine kilometers in length, and a 250 sq. km land package to grow into, Booth only dropped US$800k on this drill program, which was right on budget for the 1500m drill program they forecasted.
As for future financing, the company is hoping it can lift its share price to $0.09 (from the current $0.05), to kick in $2.5m in warrants, and they’ve extended their warrants by 90 days with a view to doing just that.
The last time the company was at that level was 2013, but there’s been a lot of ground-level progress between then and now.
Booth says at this point he’s not entertaining corporates, but with so many targets to play with, that might be a possibility later.
“We raised the money in May of last year to do surface work and to drill and we just finished the drilling program” he says. “Because we have so much land and so much potential on two trends, we will continue to raise our own money to continue drilling, but it may make sense sometime in the future to look at a partner to help out with some of the targets but that is still a ways off.”
Just don’t expect a PEA.
“In the short-term, the goal is not to produce a resource” says Booth. “There’s just too much potential here. And I don’t want people to focus on [a handful of holes], I want people to focus on the blue sky. We have the potential of finding a lot of ounces here. And I don’t want anybody to say, they put out a resource that says this. Then I’d have to explain, no, no, no, that’s just on one zone.”
“We don’t want to cap expectations too soon”.
“Eventually, we hope Redstar or somebody will find a lot of ounces here and that’s the blue sky and that’s what I’m trying to convince people of,” he says, but adds, “We may be gone long before we get to see the ultimate potential realized.”
“I think as we continue our work and get the results we are hoping for, over time there should be inquisitors. There are the bigger gold companies out there that really understand these types of deposits and the potential they offer. Goldcorp did a good job on Cerro Negro.”
And the ETA on those drill results?
“I’m hoping over the next month.”
A lot of investors have been waiting a long time for those results. One nice newser, and those warrants are money in the bank. Here’s hoping.