by Stockwatch Business Reporter
New York spot gold added $12.20 Friday, ending the day at $1,775.80. The TSX Venture Exchange tagged along, rising 5.64 points to close at 944.46 while the TSX gold index added 2.57 points to 312.62. Most Canadian gold miners nosed upward, although Pan American Silver Corp. (PAAS) was not one of them. It dipped 37 cents to $42.33 on 773,000 shares. Torex Gold Resources Inc. (TXG) was one of those who did gain ground today. It rose six cents to $17.67 on 327,000 shares.
George Drazenovic's St. James Gold Corp. (LORD) awakened lethargically from a two-week regulator-induced trading coma, gaining 16 cents to $6.20 on 139,000 shares. The halt was imposed after the company acquired an option on the Florin gold project in the Tintina district of Yukon. The arrangement allows St. James to earn a 100-per-cent interest in stages, starting with a 49-per-cent interest in exchange for $8.4-million in cash, 4.2 million shares and $20-million in exploration over a four-year period. (Completing a feasibility study would bring St. James' interest to 85 per cent, and it can get the rest in exchange for a $50-million payment.)
Mr. Drazenovic, chief executive officer, says that Florin comes with a 171-million-tonne inferred resource averaging 0.45 gram of gold per tonne, a total of nearly 2.5 million ounces of gold. That calculation, based on work completed at least 10 years ago on a deposit deemed open in all directions, is an update of one that the company touted just three days earlier -- 127 million tonnes at 0.48 gram per tonne providing nearly two million ounces -- a recalculation that had Mr. Drazenovic and his crew "buoyed" and eager to start their own exploration program.
There is plenty to explore, Mr. Drazenovic says, or at least implies through his enthusiasm for the resource estimate that, he reminds you, remains open in all directions and at depth, and with several large untested zones also present. Accordingly, he cheers, the inferred resource represents only a modest portion of the 8,900-hectare land package and the geochemical and geophysical data "suggest that gold mineralization remains open in all directions" -- just in case you missed it the first few times.
While Mr. Drazenovic and his crew seem eager to get to work, when it comes to laying out a firm plan, they are far less open about sharing details. "The Florin gold project is drill-ready," they enthuse, but without any indication that the company is ready to drill. Reinterpretation of data, they say, is under way "preparatory to an early drill program" and the focus will be on lateral expansion and stepout drilling from the inferred resource, but when that work might start is still unclear.
Carl Lofberg's Firefox Gold Corp. (FFOX) followed Thursday's 4.5-cent gain to 22.5 cents on 1.11 million shares with a one-half-cent gain, closing at 23 cents on 394,000 shares today. The move followed word that the company has encountered visible gold in its first drill hole of its Phase 4 drill program at the Mustajarvi project in northern Finland. Mr. Lofberg, president and CEO, says that his crews eyeballed at least six discrete flakes of gold up to one millimetre across from core spanning about 1.4 metres and taken from a depth of about 85 metres.
Mr. Lofberg was "very excited" to report the first visible gold from drilling at Mustajarvi. He was equally thrilled to applaud the "significant zones of intense alteration and veining" encountered along the trend -- perhaps thinking that investors left unwowed by the gold sightings would somehow be pleased by his familiarity with geological jargon.
Mr. Lofberg kept to his geological vein, noting that "in light of this favourable geology, we shall move quickly to secure assays on these samples" -- the visible gold presumably being a mere coincidental oddity complementing his geological enthusiasm. Whatever the reason behind the rush to assay the core, Mr. Lofberg says that Firefox will carefully consider its plans for the current drill program.
Mustajarvi has produced encouraging grades over narrow intervals in previous drill programs. Three years ago, Firefox hit a two-metre interval averaging 45.05 grams of gold per tonne. A year later, it encountered a 1.95-metre zone averaging 12 grams per tonne. One of the holes drilled late last year produced a two-metre interval averaging 33.25 grams of gold per tonne. Mr. Lofberg never mentioned any visible gold sightings during the first three phases, but he did cheer the alteration encountered at every opportunity.
Mr. Lofdal took Firefox public in 2018 based on its work at Mustajarvi, one of the Finland-based projects it acquired from Magnus Minerals Ltd., a private project generator. (Project generators make money by staking properties and flipping them to explorers; drillers make money by drilling for the explorers. Those explorers rarely make money, but when they do it can be a lot -- enough that investors keep coming back.)