by Stockwatch Business Reporter
New York spot gold fell $45.70 to $1,577.70 on Tuesday. The TSX Venture Exchange ended the day up 3.83 points to 390.38. The TSX gold index went the other way, dropping 6.22 points to 235.71, helped by Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX), which lost $1.43 to $25.86 on 10.32 million shares.
Michael Holmes's Oceanagold Corp. (OGC) gained one cent to $1.35 on 5.63 million shares following an updated reserve estimate for its mines. The company lists 5.3 million ounces of gold, 3.5 million ounces of silver and 160,000 tonnes of copper, tallies that show Oceanagold successfully replaced half of its 2019 production. The company did even better with its exploration drilling: Measured and indicated resources now stand at 9.4 million ounces of gold, an increase of 800,000 ounces despite having mined 510,000 ounces last year, and the company's 4.3-million-ounce inferred resource is 700,000 ounces higher than a year ago.
Mr. Holmes, acting president and chief executive officer, cheered the news, stating that the company has been focused on "organic growth initiatives" -- he means exploration -- to increase shareholder value. While Oceanagold's exploration has been growing the resource faster than it can mine the gold, shareholder value has been decreasing since the stock poked its nose above the $5 mark at the start of 2019. That may be why the company replaced its former CEO, Mick Wilkes, with Mr. Holmes just two weeks ago. (The company said Mr. Wilkes was "stepping down," although it helpfully guided him out the door with a six-month severance payment.)
Mr. Holmes, who was chief operating officer before his temporary battlefield promotion, is most enthused with the growth in high-grade resources in the WKP underground deposit near the Waihi mine in New Zealand. Oceanagold now has 420,000 ounces indicated at 13 grams of gold per tonne and 720,000 ounces inferred at 12 grams per tonne at WKP, something that Mr. Holmes describes as a "game changing prospect."
John Burzynski's Osisko Mining Inc. (OSK) has shuttered its Windfall Lake exploration program in Quebec following the Quebec government's order to suspend all non-essential businesses until mid-April, but the company's assay lab is still burbling away. Osisko jumped to $2.47 early on, then ended the day up two cents to $2.23 on 1.13 million shares on word that a two-metre interval in one of 34 new infill holes drilled into the Lynx zone returned 415 grams of gold per tonne. Several other high-grade intervals were recorded in the latest batch of results, including 149 grams per tonne over 5.6 metres and 337 grams per tonne over two metres.
More assays may follow, but it could be some time before Osisko gets back to work at Windfall. The company had been drilling up a storm, with 15 drills operating from surface and another four rigs working underground, until the province-wide edict to stop work was issued in response to the COVID-19 crisis. (Quebec has been especially hard hit by the pandemic, reporting the highest number of cases in Canada, a tally that has been growing exponentially daily.)
Osisko currently lists Windfall with a resource of 4.13 million tonnes indicated at 9.1 grams of gold per tonne and a further 14.53 million tonnes inferred at 8.4 grams per tonne, a total of over 5.1 million ounces. Of those ounces, nearly 2.9 million are within the high-grade Lynx zone, which averages a healthy 11 grams of gold per tonne. Another 1.2 million ounces are in the previously explored Underdog zone at seven grams per tonne and one million ounces at just over six grams per tonne are in the Main zone.
Lynx, discovered four years ago (with tonnage and grade steadily growing since then), has supplanted the now appropriately named Underdog as the prime area at Windfall. Underdog, which began yielding encouraging assays a few years before Lynx, had nudged the Main zone lower on the priority list starting in the mid-2010s.
Quentin Yarie's Red Pine Exploration Inc. (RPX), unchanged at 2.5 cents on 258,000 shares, has suspended its 2020 drill program at the Wawa gold project, just southeast of Wawa in Northern Ontario, having completed just 3,000 metres of the 16,000-metre program. Drilling will resume, says Mr. Yarie, CEO, once the COVID-19 crisis abates. Core logging and sampling will continue at the site, he says, and assays should continue to flow, although perhaps with delays there as well.
Mr. Yarie says that when work resumes, the (hopefully) 2020 drilling program will continue to expand mineralization downdip and downplunge at the Surluga deposit. It will also seek to expand mineralization in the adjoining and parallel Hornblende zone, and as well, it will test the Jubilee shear zone extension. At last report, Wawa held 1.31 million tonnes indicated at 5.47 grams per tonne and 2.72 million tonnes inferred at 5.39 grams per tonne, a total of 700,000 ounces.