Transcript: Blue Lagoon Resources (BLLG) - Gold Producer Focused on Being Explorer
Interview with Rana Vig, CEO, & Bill Cronk, Chief Geologist of Blue Lagoon Resources. Blue Lagoon Resources is a mineral exploration company focused on its high-grade gold project – the past-producing Dome Mountain Mine. The drive to the mine site can be accessed all year and is just a short 50 minutes drive from the town of Smithers, located in northwestern British Columbia.
- 1:14 - Company Overview
- 2:24 - Big Onion Copper Project: Progress, Plans, & Expectations
- 4:47 - Pellair Gold Project: Evaluation of Stockpiles & Cash to do it
- 7:54 - The Main Prize: Potential & Strategy of Getting into Production with Dome Mountain
- 11:55 - Do the Math, but With What Numbers? Data, Economics, Costs
- 14:26 - Business Model & Approach to Growth: Focus, Targets, & Telling the Story
- 21:55 - CEO's Focus, Track Record, & Vision
- 24:02 - Blue Sky for Blue Lagoon Investors: End Goal & The Path to Value
- 37:50 - Near-Term Deliverables & Announcements to Look Forward to
Matthew Gordon: Gentlemen, how are you both?
Rana Vig: Excellent, thank you.
Bill Cronk: Very well thank you.
Matthew Gordon: Good for coming on. Rana, we haven’t seen you since November. I hope you are well. Are you at home?
Rana Vig: So far, so good. Covid free and healthy and smiling.
Matthew Gordon: That’s what we like to see. We’re being joined today by Bill as well. Bill, you’re onsite, are you?
Bill Cronk: I am. I’ll be here for another 2-months or so.
Matthew Gordon: Right, okay. Getting stuck in with both feet as we say here in these parts. I’m glad you came back on. There’s been a bit of movement in the Gold market, down and then back up, and the Copper market seems to be getting very exciting. You guys are getting near production from what I read so good timing, I think. Rana, why don’t you kick off and give people new to the story a 1-minute overview of what it is that you are trying to do there, and I’ll pick it up from there?
Rana Vig: Sure, for those who are new to the story, we have 3 properties but really 1; the project that we’re focusing on is Dome Mountain and there are 3 key elements to our project. 1, we’re near production and by that, I mean true near production. We can talk about that a little bit later, meaning that we fully expect to be there sometime later this year. Number 2, we have a clear path to 1Moz+ on our main boulder vein, which has a nice starter resource, lots of Gold and Silver, high-grade 12g/t+ and we have this incredible 19,000 hectare property that’s been under the radar for all these years that has shown us multiple targets that we can go after, so lots of blue sky. Those are the 3 key things for our project.
Matthew Gordon: Beautiful, and we’ll hit all of those in just a minute. The last time we spoke, we talked about the entire portfolio of projects, and I do want to at least pay attention to those, and then perhaps park them up and focus on the main project, Dome Mountain. Copper is hot at the moment, at an all-time high in terms of price. You’ve got a Copper porphyry project. Is anything happening there? Are you trying to move it forward? Are you looking for strategic partners? I think that was a potential there for you guys. What’s happening?
Rana Vig: Yeah absolutely, I’m a big believer in focus, Matt, so I really want to stay focused on really developing this Dome project that we’re so close with, and as I said earlier, tremendous blue sky. With the Copper project, that was very interesting, it has the historical resource on it, it’s got over $8M spent on it with over 300 holes and we’re getting interest. You’re right, with Copper hitting all-time highs, we’re looking for potential partners. We’re going to figure out a way to monetise that here shortly, but you know what, I’m not in a panic or a rush. I don’t think Copper is going to go anywhere for the next little while. It looks like we’re going to figure out the best way to monetise this and get the best value for our shareholders.
Matthew Gordon: You talked about having a data room previously, we talked about 650 Mlb so it’s not huge but it’s not small either. Have you had people banging on the door? Have you had conversations?
Rana Vig: We’re just starting to. We’ve just got everything aligned and we’ve signed a couple of CAs and we’re getting people to start to take a look at that deposit now.
Matthew Gordon: Okay. That’ll be interesting. I know there’s a historical 43-101 so you’re not starting from ground 0 on those conversations. Your expectation is let’s see how it goes for the rest of the year, no rush, you certainly don’t want to be spending your own dollars on it yet.
Rana Vig: Yeah look, my approach to the company is always as a business first. I’m an entrepreneur so that’s what I look for. I want to see what is the best deal that we can get for our shareholders, and you never get a good deal if you’re in a panic. I’m patient, Copper is going to be in play for the next few years. We’re good. One of the things I like about this is it’s not going to cost us any money. We’ve amalgamated the claims because both properties, our Dome Mountain property and our Big Onion, sit together side by side. We’ve joined them so now any work that we do on one property automatically qualifies. We can sit here for a long time without it costing us a penny.
Matthew Gordon: Okay. Fine, we’ll come back to that at a later date. Pellair. Last time we spoke, you talked about having a stockpile at surface and this summer, 2022, you’d be evaluating what you did with it and it wouldn’t cost you very much, a few hundred thousand bucks. What’s happened?
Rana Vig: It’s only 2021, Matt. You said 2022. We’re not quite there yet.
Matthew Gordon: Sorry, you’re right - you did say 2021. You told me 2021. Summer 2021.
Rana Vig: We are working on that. In fact, Bill is planning to get down there in the next few weeks and start that process because we don’t need any permits. There is a little bit of infrastructure that needs to be developed, it’s a couple of small bridges and opening up the road. It’s less than $200,000 and we’ve already budgeted for that. We’re going to be doing that. We anticipate that we will start trucking that out sometime later this summer.
Matthew Gordon: Okay, so revenue to be expected from that.
Rana Vig: Exactly. Some more cash going back into the treasury.
Matthew Gordon: Okay. Has some money got to go out of the treasury to get money to do that in terms of bridges?
Rana Vig: We’re still looking good. We raised $7.5M roughly when we spoke last. We’ve done about 7,700m of drilling, so that’s $2M that we’ve spent on that, and got great results. We’ve spent $2M+ on the amendments that were required to get this into production and after all that, we still have a little under $3M still in the treasury. We have no debt. We’re looking good. We’ve also got about $5M in the money warrants that are starting to come in. We have very friendly shareholders. The Pellair stockpile is obviously going to add some more cash back into the coffers.
Matthew Gordon: Okay. The last time we spoke, you were at pains to tell me how tight you were with money. You wanted to make sure it was well worth spending the money. You said you were going to evaluate Pellair. What does that look like? Have you evaluated it? Have you got a full costing on this thing? Or do you just know there’s money to be made, you’ll just start trucking it and see what happens?
Rana Vig: Yeah, look, we've had a couple of companies come to us and say, ‘Look, why don’t we give you proposals and all sorts of studies.’ I’m like, ‘No, I don’t want to spend all this money on these studies and proposals. We don’t feel we need them. Bill was down there with his crew last year, sampled at surface. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get deeper because it was just as solid as a rock. We intend to do that now. Even at surface, it was grading nicely over 5g/t so we know that we have good data that supports; it should be higher values underneath, and we’re going to go in again this summer and get deeper into the pile, retest it to make sure that everything is on track and then we believe it’s economic, we can take it. It’s just a matter of how much we’re going to make. Of course, we’ll try to maximise it but it’s free money as far as I’m concerned, right? Back into the treasury to focus on our main project.
Matthew Gordon: Okay, so more to come later this year. Again, we’ll see how that goes. Let’s talk about the main prize here, which is Dome Mountain. Again, why don’t you give people the highlight here? We ran through some of those the last time we spoke but just for the new audience, remind people what it is that you’ve got there today.
Rana Vig: At Dome Mountain? Yes, at Dome Mountain, as I mentioned earlier, we have 3 key plays here. We’re near production. The only reason this mine is not in production is that literally the owners, our predecessors, ran out of time. They’re 83-years old, not in the best of health. They only needed another $2M. They had already spent $28M in the past dozen years, all on development, infrastructure, and permitting. It takes 20-years to get a permit in B.C. The average is 14-years. What we have is, excuse the expression, Gold. The permit is very key to us to be able to get this into cash flow. I’m living the dream of any CEO of a junior exploration company, that we can actually get this thing cash flowing. We have deployed the $2M, Bill and his crew up there have been working diligently. We’ve had more than 20 people on site, underground, working, getting all the bolting done. That’s all complete. We news released the water treatment plant a few weeks ago which is now all complete. We’re just waiting to do the final tests. We expect that it will start in 2 to 3-weeks. Once that’s done, the second amendment will be complete. Then it’s just a matter of VRM to finish the reclamation plans, which are more than 60% done. By the end of July, early August, we expect all of those amendments to be completed and submitted to the ministry. Then it’s just a matter of working through their channels to make sure that they agree that we’ve complied with everything they’ve asked us to do, and we should get the green light to start production, which we expect to happen at some time later this year.
Matthew Gordon: Okay. We talked previously about it being around 200t per day, so it’s not a whole lot. Have you been able to move that along any?
Rana Vig: No, our strategy is we don’t want to rock the boat. We have a permit; we have the environmental permits. We have everything that’s required in order to get into production. We don’t want to change the game plan and throw something new at the ministry. What we want to do is get into production and be cash flowing. The plan is to get there. Yes, you’re correct, we’re permitted for 75,000t a year so it’s not a huge mine, 200t a day. But that’s the beauty of this. Our story isn’t that we’re going to make this massive amount of money and increase the market cap and shareholder value by being in production. Our real story is that we’ll be able to take that money, multimillion dollars every year - remember there’s a lot of Silver here as well, we have a 1:4 Gold to Silver - we can take that Gold and Silver, get it processed, get it cash flowing, we don’t have to waste any time on trying to develop a mill on site. All those things will come later. Right now, all the metallurgy is done. This is literally turnkey. That’s what I like about it. Day 1, when we get the permission, we can start mining and get the material to Nicola Mining, the mill that we have the agreement with, and be cash flowing. Take that money then and do 2 things. Number 1, on our main boulder vein, we have a clear path to 1Moz+. Spend the money there on approving that out. Number 2, we have at least 5 targets that the first-ever airborne survey on this property, a property-wide airborne survey, identified. We’re going to go and put money into those targets to test our theories because we believe we’re sitting on a multimillion-ounce property over here.
Matthew Gordon: Okay, but what people aren’t clear on is numbers. Because you don’t want to do studies because it’s already a mine, you’ve told me that, there’s no need to. But the market needs a sense of the scale of the opportunity here. You talk about multimillion-dollar possibilities here but then you’re going to plough it back in the ground. I’m trying to work out whether $40M is a good valuation for your company because I’ve got no data to go on.
Rana Vig: Sure, you do. You’ve just got to do a little bit of math. I hesitate because there are a lot of rules around making projections as a company. It was interesting. I was doing another interview the other day and one of the newsletter writers, Jayant, asked me these questions and he quickly did the math. I said: ‘You guys are smart, do the math.’ We’re going to do somewhere around 27,000oz to 28,000oz at full tilt when we’re up and running and we’re doing 75,000t a year. We’ll do somewhere around 27,000oz to 28,000oz a year. Our costs are in line with all the other mining companies that are in the province.
Matthew Gordon: How do I know that? How do I know the economics of what it’s going to cost you per ounce? Give me something to work with there.
Rana Vig: We’ve done some of that work ourselves internally. We’ve done that work. Most companies are around $1,000oz to produce. So what? I was brought up being super conservative. You want to bump it up 20%, make it $1,200oz. What you’ve got to understand is at $1,750, $1,800, $1,850 Gold, these types of projects become extremely profitable. That’s the bottom line. If we’re talking about $1,200oz or $1,300oz Gold, forget about it. If you believe that Gold is going to go down to $1,200 or $1,300, we don’t have a production story here. It’s not going to work. Anything above $1,700, we’re going to make enough money by being in production to be able to redeploy that into the ground for me to be able to do 25,000m, 30,000m, 40,000m a year without having to go back to the market. That to me is the key.
Matthew Gordon: But the other aspect there is you don’t need to go back to the market but you’re going to plough it back into the ground. I’ve seen some of the results. The drill results are throwing out some great high-grade results. They’re fantastic. Big numbers there. They’re over narrower widths so I guess that’s where Bill’s going to step in and tell us what you’ve got, what you’re looking at there. We’ve talked previously and today about 5 targets that you identified, and I think we talked about 15 high-grade veins already known there. How do you approach Dome Mountain as a whole with the money that you’re creating by getting into early production to create something sizeable so people can start seeing the extent and scale and the opportunity here?
Bill Cronk: The approach is exploration. Exploration and development of the targets. That’s the entire focus. That’s the shining star of this project. We can generate enough cash flow to keep us undiluted and move forward with a lot of exploration. We’re talking about ground geophysics, a lot of geochemistry, soil sampling, prospecting, stream-sets, and then the goal is to drill, drill, drill. We have an existing target at the boulder vein system that we fully believe we could bring to 1Moz+. We have Freegold, which is the shining star. It’s our priority target right now. It looks like an extensional high-grade Gold vein system sitting right on top of a porphyry Copper. That’s going to be the first drill hole starting hopefully within a couple of weeks. We have 12,000m left in our budget and we’re going to pop a whole bunch there. Then we have other high-grade vein targets that we could actually drill right now as well as Forks, which has a historic resource. It’s adjacent and it looks like the structural trend is right into our Boulder Vein system. We have a lot of targets and when Rana mentioned 5 targets drawn from our geophysical survey, those are specifically 5 porphyry Copper targets highlighted by the geophysical provider and our consultant. We also have a lot of structural hosted veins targets generated by that airborne survey. What we’re going to be doing, starting this year - starting next week - is on the ground, boosting the outcrop, soil sampling, and prioritising all these targets for drilling this year and beyond. This year, we plan on 4,000 -5,000 soils. I figured it would take about 15,000 - 20,000 soils, at dense soils to cover the entire property. This cash flow is going to help us continue year after year to prospecting the prioritisation of these targets so we can drill them. It’s all about drilling. Drilling, drilling, drilling.
Rana Vig: And on that note, Matt, this is not some pie in the sky. We have good, solid data on our Boulder Vein. For those people who are new and don’t know the story, we have a nice little 200,000 roughly resource inferred and indicated. We have 1Moz of Silver. The grades of the Gold are about 12g/t+. That’s a nice starter resource. To the west of that, there was 800m of drilling done in 2016. That’s all mineralised. The only reason it’s not in any category is that it hasn’t been drilled enough. That’s the low-hanging fruit. All Bill and his team have to go and do is drill that out and we can easily more than double the resource and get to 450,000oz - 500,000oz. This is all on our website, in our deck. There’s a cross-section there that people can take a look at. Then to the depth, this is open at depth. The deepest holes in the pass were 160m-180m. We went down the deepest so far, 338m. We hit 3.13m of almost 27g Gold and 70g+ Silver. That’s the deepest point so far. We know with the handful of holes that were done before plus this hole that we just did, we’ve confirmed that there’s lots of development that we can go below. Once again, moving towards our goal of 1Moz+. Then there’s the Boulder East, which we’ve drilled. All news released, all high-grade and several holes, plus the airborne survey identified a beautiful mag feature that’s 1.5km long, which appears to be the extension of that vein. Now we’re going to go and test that. Either it’s going to be the extension of that vein or possibly a new discovery. Either way, I’m happy. That’s our path towards that 1Moz+ just on the Boulder Vein. Beyond that, remember there are still 15 other known high-grade veins, something that’s already known that Noranda was there in the 1980s and 1990s. We know there’s a historical resource there. There are other veins and that encompasses less than 10% of the property. Then there’s this vast 19,000hectares that haven’t been explored. The challenge in the past has been on this property. Why has this been under the radar? Because people get so hung up - oh, but it’s only 75,000t a year. Folks, this is not a production story. This is an exploration story. We are going to take it to production, have it cash flow, redeploy the cash back into the ground, and develop this property, which we believe is significant.
Matthew Gordon: Okay. I’m glad you brought that up and made it clear. When you said earlier that it’s not a production story, you’re referring to the fact that there’s production that you’re going to get into but it’s small scale, but it’s enough to generate enough cash to allow you to do exploration of what you believe is a meaningful district, meaningful property; we’ve already seen lots of high-grade veining, which is great. Is the second part of it, which is the bit that I think people don’t yet get - you’ve been very unconventional, you’ve used the word entrepreneur once or twice already. The unconventional nature of entrepreneurs makes people nervous in a conventional setting. As you’re producing cash, I can see, existing mines don’t need to follow convention. As you move through this exploration and you start using words like resource and 1M0z and so forth, you are going to have to change the mindset, aren’t you, to make people feel comfortable?
Rana Vig: Absolutely. When I say entrepreneurial, my approach is to make what I believe are the best decisions for the company given the cash and how to move the projects forward at the stage that they’re in. For exploration, absolutely, we just brought in a very senior gentleman who knows small high-grade vein systems. We’ve employed him. We’re going to employ him to do the next resource. Absolutely, we’re going to take the conventional approach from that perspective where Bill and his team are going to drill, increase the resource, and have professionals come in and update the 43-101 so that the market understands. Absolutely, 100%, we’re not deviating from that at all.
Matthew Gordon: So will you be stepping aside at some point?
Rana Vig: Yes. I am a firm believer in only being there to add value. I don’t need a job. I don’t need to be in it for that. I’m not looking for a paycheque. I’ve been very fortunate, Matt. My last 2 deals, which were non-resource, 1 was a $520M raise when I took that company public, it was nearly a $6Bn RTO. Today, it still trades at a $12Bn market cap. My second company in 2018 was a $300M raise that I took public, again in the non-resource sector. It was a $2Bn RTO. 2-weeks ago, it got sold for $2.1Bn. So, I’m very fortunate. I’ve made some money. I’ve made some investors along the way a lot of money, and now my focus is this because I started 10 or 11-years ago in mining in the capital markets. I’ve come back to that, and this is my next focus for the next little while. Absolutely, I’m at the right time as Bill and his team start to develop this project further. In a snap of my fingers when I feel it’s the right time, I’ll step aside and bring somebody else in who can take the company to the next level. One of the most important things to always know about yourself is what your strengths are but more importantly what your weaknesses are. I’m very conscious of that and I understand that as an entrepreneur, you can take a company to X level but in order to get to the next level, you must bring in other talent. I’m 100% all about that. Listen, since we spoke, I’ve added more than 1M shares to my personal share position. I’ve got about 5% of the company. I’ve written cheques. The financing I participated in last time was at $1 and I put in $300,000. I’ve put more money into it since then. I’m fully invested in this, and I believe in this project, which is why we’re working hard and diligently to keep advancing it.
Matthew Gordon: Yeah, you’re in it. You’ve got a clear vision here. Do you think the market gets it? Your price has come off since we last spoke in November. What’s happened? Gold’s come off a bit, sure, but people haven’t latched onto it yet. Are they waiting for this conventional component to kick in? Do you think that’s it?
Rana Vig: No, I don’t think so. I think we were well on our way and then it didn’t come off a bit. Gold went below $1,700 there for a little bit and if you look at our chart, you’ll see right about that time is when we started dropping just like everybody else. People who are not investors, especially in North America, they’re traders. There’s nothing wrong with that but they come in and out of positions quickly because they think they can make money somewhere else. I think very soon you’re going to see movement again. Remember, for the past few weeks, there has not been much activity in our company, which is a little bit unusual for us because if you look in the past, you’ll see I’m a strong believer in shareholder communications. We put out a lot of news. Over the last few weeks, unfortunately, it’s been quiet because we had to wait to break up, and this year in Smithers, the snow melted a lot. It was colder so it took a lot longer. There was a lull. In about 2-weeks, when you see the trucks rolling - you know we have over 7,000t of mineralised material sitting in the mine right now that we finally got permission to take out. We sent our first truck to the mill last month as a test. I’m very methodical so we wanted to make sure everything was just perfect, and Bill fully supports me in that methodology. We set that out. In about 2-weeks, the trucks are going to start rolling and for the next 2-months, we’re going to get all that 7,000t+, very nice high-grade material, and that we’re expecting at somewhere around 2,400oz - 2,500oz to come out of that, plus the Silver. We’re going to actually pour our first bar or coin or something probably at the end of July or early August - I’m very excited. That again is going to bring money back into the treasury.
Matthew Gordon: What happens after 7,000t? How long does that take to work your way through?
Rana Vig: I think it’ll probably take 7 to 8-weeks. We can do it faster but part of the strategy here that we’ve also been talking about is just getting the systems in place so that for those few weeks, we’ll be getting the material out of the mine, Bill and his team will be working on systems, and the trucking and everything. It’s a bit of a blessing for us where we can actually use that time and develop a nice little system as we wait for our permits to get-
Matthew Gordon: That’s what I’m getting at. Headline-grabbing, we’ve poured some Gold with 7,000t, which is sitting underground, over 7 or 8-weeks. It’s great for the moment but getting the systems in place, showing a route to market, and consistency of cash flow for the exploration program so you’re not running back to market for capital - that’s interesting to me. I think that’s really interesting to me. Do you think you’re going to be able to achieve that consistency of flow to the mill? Bill, that’s probably one for you, isn’t it?
Bill Cronk: That is the sweet spot to this entire project. When we first took a look at this 2-years ago, they wanted $60M and it fell through, but we liked the cash flow model that actually works. We can explore. I can drill. It all comes down to drilling. I need to prioritise where I’m going to drill. I need to focus on that. I need to run it efficiently. We get that going with the cash flow, we have years and years and years of exploration that we can do without diluting the company a bit. That is the shining star of this project. As a geologist, I’m also confident that I have money coming in to spend. Many times, I’ll get on these projects and just plain run out of money.
Matthew Gordon: I’m a buyer. You’re not cash-constrained going forward so I think that’s the great revelation to this story. It’s fantastic. Drilling is most of the answer, but it’s got to be to what end. Years and years of drilling is great, but this guy has to go and build a story. Rana’s got to go out there and say, ‘Here’s the exit. Here’s a plan. Here’s what good looks like going forward.’ Rana, back to you - you’re going to get years and years of data. I tell you; this is something that was a real surprise to me. There are companies that we’ve been speaking to where people are bored of these high-grade veins and headlines. They’re like, ‘Now what? Show me. We get it, you’ve got lots of Gold. What next?’ How do you manage that?
Rana Vig: That’s a great point and a great question. I think what I see here beyond the production and the cash flow are 2 key things. 1, develop the Boulder Vein and prove that there is over 1Moz sitting there. That’s number 1 because then that sweet spot of that 1Moz is what everybody likes. Get that reported, be that traditional side, get that 43-101 report, etc, done. That’s the first part. The second is these multiple targets. One of them at Freegold is surrounded by this classic porphyry signature. It’s untested. Exploration is not for the faint of heart, as you know. The idea here, and you talk about entrepreneurship, what better entrepreneurial environment can there be than exploration in my opinion, that I’ve seen in all these years of being in different businesses. The second part is really to go there and to go after and chase these targets, to show that there is something significant. Once we have something significant, then there will be other players, bigger players who will come and either want to JV with us or take it over. That’s the point where somebody else needs to come in. What is the exit? The exit is as we develop this to see what companies, what partners, are going to want to come in here and take this to the next level? Take a look at any company. Take a look at Great Bear. Where was the Great Bear 2-years ago? Look at it where it is now. What changed? Exploration. Aggressiveness. Going out to drill. Selling the story. Getting people excited about it. But ultimately showing that you have something there. It goes back to our original point that if you can take the cash flow - yes, you know why people get bored by many of these stories? I had invested in many of them myself. I choose not to do that anymore because I chose to invest in what I’m involved in personally because I have much more control over that. Investors get bored of those stories because it’s dilute, dilute, dilute, keep drilling, and you start with a 20M or 30M share outstanding and suddenly you’re at 300M, 400M, 500M shares. How is that going to go anywhere? It’s very difficult until you become a Great Bear and you find something massive. Remember, all the Great Bear stories start like ours. There’s a starting point, and then you develop it, and then you manage it. Manage to the best of your ability. I don’t anticipate that we have to go to the market anytime soon but at the same time as an entrepreneur, as a responsible CEO, I’m still keeping my options open. I may in the next few weeks need to take a small amount from a strategic partner. I may need to do that if something gets delayed. But will that have to continue on an ongoing basis? No, I don’t believe so because I believe we’ll be in production very soon.
Matthew Gordon: I like the theory. Lots of companies come on and make reference to Great Bear and I know, Bill, you’ve worked on that but there aren’t that many Great Bears, and most of the companies talking about being a Great Bear never become a Great Bear. They don’t even make it in any way, shape, or form. I understand the theory. What I’m asking you specifically is how do you manage someone like Bill who is very excited because you’re giving him a tonne of cash to go and drill, drill, drill for the next few years but you’ve got to convert that into a story for the market and help them understand what kind of business you’re building here, how you develop all of the assets that you’ve got, either by bringing in strategic partners in terms of JV, farm in farm out, however you want to do these things. What’s your plan for what you’ve got? It may be a bit early-days for this but you understand the point I’m making that you’ve got to have a plan about how value is created, not just through the drill bit but by how you position yourself. What are you trying to be?
Rana Vig: On the drill, drill, drill part, one of the things that I have a lot of respect for Bill, and I’ve tested them over the couple of years that I’ve been working with him is he’s not one of these geologists who I give money to, and he just goes crazy and starts drilling. I’ve tested him a number of times and he is very, very smart with how he spends his money and the shareholders’ money. I’m very impressed with that. We stay in touch. When he says drill, drill, drill, what we’re talking about is a carefully planned program. For example, when we stopped here now, I thought we were still going to keep going a few weeks ago but he said, ‘No, it’s time to stop for now. We need to re-evaluate, reassess.’ You just have to understand that that’s where I come in. That’s where my judgement, my entrepreneurship comes in to figure out the people that I’m working with, who’s telling me what, does it make sense, does it not make sense? The technical side is their forte. I don’t want to interfere with that. However, I do look at the business side of things to make those decisions. He’s very good with that. Ultimately though, how do you create value? Well, you create value as we talked about by showing that you have a path to going much bigger. That’s really what it’s all about. I believe we have that path. We have that path because we have clear data that leads us to the 1M+ on our Boulder Vein and we have clear data that gives us other targets. We’re not just pulling this out of thin air. This is the first property-wide airborne survey done ever on this property. Everyone who looked at this, senior people were scratching their heads thinking, ‘Wow, this is amazing. The whole thing just lit up. How come no one has done this before?’ Well, this is why it’s an under-the-radar property. Nobody focused on it before.
Matthew Gordon: Do you think this 1Moz - I used to think like you do that as soon as you hit 1Moz. 1Moz is the bare minimum to be interesting to anyone. There are so many million-ounce projects out there at the moment of varying constructs, whether it be low-grade or slightly higher-grade, that they’re kind of boring. You almost need to be 2Moz to get noticed these days. Do you know what I mean? There’s been a sea change in what’s needed.
Rana Vig: Absolutely correct but again, let me ask you, how many companies have you had, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful to any company, but how many companies have you had that have a permit in hand that will be in production this year?
Matthew Gordon: I get that side of the story. I understand that side of the story, but that money is going straight back in the ground. I’m trying to understand the scale of the opportunity that Bill’s going to deliver you through drilling and the targets that you’re setting in. 1Moz seems to be a number that you’re using right now. Do you think that’s going to be enough?
Rana Vig: That’s just 1 vein. We’re only talking about the 1 Boulder Vein system that we believe we have 1Moz+ on. There are 15 other high-grade known veins. This is not something that we have to go and figure out where they are. We already know where they are. We have data. All of them have some drill holes on them, some of them have underground workings on them, we have lots of historical data on those 15. That’s less than 10% of the entire package. This is like a dream, right Bill?
Bill Cronk: Oh, it is. One of the things that we have to be cautious about when we talk about these targets is we’re starting near-mine. We can expand the resource that we have now. We can prioritize Freegold because it’s so high-grade, we can connect the 2 underground. Freegold can be part of the development story at Boulder. That’s a good reason to start there. I can move 20 clicks away, but it would be hard to tie those 2 in a production story together. We’re going to start in the known area and focus on efficient work, move out and incorporate all of the other resources we have. Not only Gold and Silver, but we have fine Copper porphyry targets as well.
Matthew Gordon: Can we put you down for 15Moz?
Bill Cronk: No.
Matthew Gordon: You said do the maths. I just did some maths. Okay, that makes a lot of sense Bill. I understand that kind of stepping out as it were and joining those 2 makes a lot of sense. Rana, I like the plan. It makes sense to me. I guess you’ve got to get this guy the cash to be able to do that, and up and running. What can we look forward to in the near term? You’re already trucking, we’re going to be seeing lots more trucks in the next few weeks and therefore lots more cash flow coming through to allow this exploration story to take off.
Rana Vig: To me, it’s all about execution. I think when you see these trucks starting to roll here in the next 2 to 3-weeks, you’re going to see that here’s something that we said that we were going to do and we’re doing it. You’re going to see the amendment work that we’re doing, we’re finishing that off. You’re going to see us submit everything at the ministry, you’re going to see news coming out that we’re pouring, we’ve got some Gold coming, we’ve got cash coming. Everything that we’re talking about you’re going to see us starting to execute. You’re going to see the drills start turning shortly here in the next few weeks as we finalise our permits. All those things you are going to see; it’s going to be a tremendous amount of activity. We just hired a new talent, a new underground geologist on expiration. A geologist is going to help us who lives right out in Smithers. That’s one of the other amazing things that we have with this project. We are literally less than 1-hour away from the town of Smithers. That’s our main project. Big Onion is only 20-minutes away. So, what does that mean? Senior people don’t want to be sitting in Alaska or the Yukon, etc, anymore. They’ve paid their dues. They want to be near the town. That’s what we’ve been able to do. We’ve been able to bring in incredible talent, people who work for the big boys who now want to be close to their families. We have all of those that Bill and his team are being strengthened with some of that talent that we’re bringing in, which is going to help tremendously.
Matthew Gordon: Brilliant. Rana, Bill - Bill, sorry?
Bill Cronk: I’d like to add that half of our employees are First Nations. We’re developing a relationship with the First Nations. We’ve been talking with the LBN Band for more people to come on this summer. We have a really good thing going. Everybody working there except for me is local. They’ve all been working in the area. They all know the infrastructure, who to contact. We rent trucks from the mayor’s husband. We have great First Nations contact; we have good environmental talks with the ministry. It’s just a really good story, a really good close-knit family here. You can drive to it. We have a mine permit in hand, and it’s very prospective terrain.
Matthew Gordon: Beautiful. Rana, Bill - First of all, Bill, lovely to meet you today. Thank you very much for the update. It looks like things have been moving and will continue to move at pace. Stay in touch with us and let us know how you get on. I like the way this has developed.
Rana Vig: Thanks Matt for having us. I appreciate it.
Bill Cronk: I appreciate the challenge.