Banyan Gold (BYN) - Attractive Growth Story with More to Give
Banyan Gold Corp. is an exploration company founded in 2010, headquartered in Calgary, Canada. The company is focused on value-driven acquisition, discovery, and development in the mining industry. The company is currently working on two major projects, based in Yukon, Canada, namely the Aurex-McQuesten Gold Project and the Hyland Gold Project.
Matt Gordon caught up with Tara Christie, President, and CEO, Banyan Gold. Tara has over two decades of experience in the mining and exploration industry, working with various industry giants. She has been the CEO at Banyan Gold since 2016. Her educational credentials include B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the University of British Columbia. She is also a registered professional engineer in British Columbia and Yukon. She has been a founding member of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board. She is a significant shareholder in Banyan Gold and dedicates her time to charities and non-profit organizations.
Banyan Gold is a well-funded Yukon-based mineral exploration company focused on advancing 2 gold projects, the Hyland Gold Project, and the AurMac Gold Project. This site neighbors Victoria Gold's mining and exploration operations. The company is actively seeking accretive acquisitions.
Banyan Gold is currently advancing its AurMac project. The company is currently operating 3 drills at the site. It is looking to put out a resource update next year. The company has drilled 25,000m so far and plans to reach a 30,000m drill target by next year.
Banyan Gold recently raised $16M in capital. This capital raise has provided the company the backing to continue operations all the way through 2022. It is currently working on risk assessments and planning to identify factors that can slow down the project. It is preparing to hire additional employees and is looking to drill through the fall and winter seasons.
Back in May, Banyan Gold had a $5M pre-resource market cap. Following the capital raise, the company has transformed its exploration strategy and has taken into account the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) side of operations. The company is looking to hire additional team members and develop a trained workforce. The company's current market cap stands at $60M.
The $16M capital raise was made possible through Franklin Gold and Precious Metals, the company's major shareholders. They collectively hold 7% of the company and plan to invest long-term in gold. The company raised $0.5M by way of flow-through capital. Victoria Gold maintains its 5.5% shares in the company while Alexco and Osisko Gold stand at 7% and 5% respectively.
Since the market value appreciation and capital raise, the company has increased the number of drills from 1 to 3. The company is investing in essential resources including infrastructure upgrades, camps, and preparations for winter drilling.
The company is making major investments in the overall logistics and planning of the project. The company plans to drill through the winter season to advance the project at the earliest. It has a strong technical team with a robust geological model in place. The company has access to the Powerline deposit that is open in all directions. The company is currently chasing targets in the east, west, and north as these areas have shown the presence of higher grades, and longer intercepts extending towards the south.
Banyan Gold has infill drilling planned for the fall season. This will provide the company an insight into the variography of the deposit. This will enable the company to determine the variation between sample grades along with mineralization within the deposit. The infill drilling is targeted towards turning this resource from inferred to M&I (Measured and Indicated).
The company also expanded its metallurgy program and is currently carrying out columns and bottle roll tests along with an evaluation of the baseline environmental work. The company is also analyzing the data obtained from Victoria Gold and Alexco, the company's neighbors and major shareholders.
Banyan Gold's ESG initiatives played a major role in the capital raise. The company is currently working towards further de-risking the project while ironing out future operational challenges such as inflation, lack of staff, and ongoing supply chain issues.
The company is planning ahead by stocking inventory and managing fuel storage to ensure uninterrupted operations even during periods of potential supply shortages. The company is hiring employees and signing contracts for the upcoming year, ensuring no slowdowns will be faced during operations.
These initiatives will enable the company to dodge supply constraints and inflation-led problems while making the operation significantly more efficient. The company has also hired a communications expert to manage both the community and investors' side of the equation.
Banyan Gold is analyzing the collected data and is planning operations ahead of time. In the past, the company has been incredibly efficient with its drill programs, picking out targets based on the geological model. Following the capital raise, the program has grown significantly in size, enabling the company to re-visit the drilled holes and plan future targets. The company has uncovered sheeted veins in the visible gold ore within the Powerline deposit along with more visible gold than previously observed. The company has several high-prospect targets at the Powerline deposit.
This strategy has helped the company guide its drill program without waiting for assays. The delay in assay results has been an industry-wide issue and almost every mining company has been dealing with backlogs and processing delays from laboratories. The company plans to attain a better deal with processing labs next year in favor of guaranteed timelines.
The company is awaiting assay results to initiate winter drill operations at Aurex Hill. Since this is a large area with multiple targets, the company has currently placed focus on a 4km x 5km area that features an airstrip, Powerline, and multiple targets.
At present, Banyan Gold is exceeding the best practices to achieve a strong ESG component for its operations. The company is collaborating with the First Nations community and plans to develop and advance this project for the long term.
To acquire the necessary permits, Banyan Gold is communicating with the First Nation communities on the current work and upcoming operational plans along with realistic expectations surrounding the project. The company has a major focus on the ESG component of the project and is ensuring visibility within the community.
Targets 2021 and Beyond
Banyan Gold plans to target regional areas in summer 2022. This includes the Nitra property towards the west. The company has carried out soil sampling at this property and is currently awaiting soil sample results.
The company is focused on demonstrating the scale of the project. It is expecting a 3Moz resource in Yukon. As the company continues to drill, it is looking to showcase the inferred resource along with blue sky potential. It plans to drill places that lack mineralization to find locations for infrastructure development. Additionally, it is working on conceptual planning as the operation might have 3 pits or there is a possibility that Powerline and Aurex Hill deposits are connected, forming a single pit.
Banyan Gold is looking to start a PEA (Preliminary Economic Assessment) in 2022 following the planned resource update. The company has also started a risk register that takes into account the key items essential for moving the project forward. The company had initiated baseline environmental work last year in Yukon. It is mandatory to have at least 3 years of baseline environmental work before entering the environmental assessment permitting process. The company is prioritizing adding ounces along with the quality of ounces as it seeks to approach the 3Moz resource threshold.
Banyan Gold is confident that the 3Moz target is attainable. This is because the company has been successful in expanding the Powerline deposit along with the prospect area at Aurex Hill. The company has a 30,000m+ drill operation planned in 2021 and 2022. The company is looking to include these assay results in the 2022 resource update.
The company is working towards understanding the variography of the project. It has a star pattern target area at the northeast end of Powerline, where infill drilling is being carried out in 25m spacings. This helps the company in understanding the underlying geology and extent of mineralization along with the resources needed to convert this from inferred into M&I.
The company is also focusing on 100m spacing and step-outs to the east and west of the deposit that extends towards the north end. The company has identified several targets while seeking the edge of the Powerline deposit.
Every Student Every Day Initiative
As part of the company's Every Student Every Day initiative, the company has donated significant funds in response to covid in Canada. This initiative has been in operation for the past 10 years and is starting to gain significant momentum. The company donated $150,000 in 2020 and is expecting to double the proceeds in 2021.