Peter Epstein of Epstein Analysis explores prospects in Virginia and Canada on this interview with the corporate’s CEO.
I have been watching this firm for practically two years. There have been ups and downs, a variety of pleasure and a few disappointments, however the administration group at Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. (BAY:TSX.V; ATBHF:OTCQB) is greatnobody can argue that reality.
And, the marketplace for pure useful resource shares has been terrible. Anybody disagree? In trying throughout a number of sectorsbattery, valuable and base metalsI’d say that Aston Bay’s shares are within the backside quartile of efficiency over the previous yr. Nothing to brag about, nevertheless it may definitely be worse.
As a single-asset play in a high-cost exploration jurisdiction (Nunavut, Canada), this was (and nonetheless is) a extremely speculative funding alternative. Nevertheless, Aston Bay is now a two undertaking firm, and its second undertaking is within the less expensive to function and faster-moving location of Virginia within the U.S.). In Virginia, one of many firm’s main targets is gold, which simply so occurs to be performing extraordinarily properly. As I write this, gold is up over US$100 per ounce (US$100/oz) in June alone, and touched US$1,395/oz (a 15-month excessive) earlier this morning (June 20). But, Aston’s market cap is simply CA$6.5 million (CA$6.5M = US$5M). Now may very well be a great time to take a more in-depth take a look at the corporate.
This interview is extra centered on the newer asset within the U.S., a property that is within the means of being tremendously expanded and had very current high-grade drill outcomes. The group desires to teach the market about this thrilling undertaking. Nevertheless, CEO Thomas Ullrich stays fairly bullish on Nunavut, he simply must stretch his exploration and spend properly. Deep drilling is just not an possibility (too costly) until Aston finds a companion. But when different metals observe the gold value larger, discovering a companion may develop into lots simpler.
With out additional preamble, right here is my unique interview with Thomas Ullrich, a person with over 20 years’ expertise in mineral exploration and geoscience, CEO and a director of Aston Bay.
Peter Epstein: In your new June company presentation, I see near-surface hits of 56m @three.06% copper (Cu), 110m @2.45% Cu in Nunavut. . .What may presumably be mistaken?
Thomas Ullrich: There’s nothing mistaken with that! These hits are a transparent indication of a really strong copper mineralizing system at our Storm Copper undertaking in Nunavut. The system is equally strong for zinc, as might be seen within the 1 million tonne Inferred useful resource of over 10% zinc at our Seal Zinc undertaking to the west. We’ve two areas the place mineralization pokes by to floor, over high of over 2,000 meters of flat-lying sedimentary rock beds.
The thesis right here is that metal-bearing fluids shifting by faults can doubtlessly deposit very vital quantities of copper and zinc in permeable sedimentary layers. The mix of a strong mineralizing system and a thick package deal of rock with permeable layers will increase our confidence vital deposit might need been fashioned. Nevertheless, for the reason that rocks are flat-lying, a lot of the doubtlessly mineralized layers are hidden. The one solution to discover them is to drill.
However drilling is pricey, so good concentrating on is important. Geophysics might help “see” into the subsurface to enhance the chances, nevertheless it’s not easy. We’ve some giant gravity anomalies that will correspond to steel deposition in areas predicted by our geological mannequin. That mixture of a strong ore-forming system, predictive geological mannequin and supporting geophysical anomalies could be very compelling.
The gravity geophysical technique, nonetheless, doesn’t give a great learn on the depth of the anomalies. The targets is likely to be too deep to succeed in by drill. For the reason that window for financial drilling right here is 500 meters (550 m), we have to do further geophysical work to verify that the engaging gravity anomalies are inside 500 m of floor.
Peter Epstein: What would you say to a shareholder who’s underwater and upset about how the Aston Bay undertaking in Nunavut is enjoying out?
Thomas Ullrich: I personal 2.5 million shares of BAY, all purchased within the open market or in personal placements, and I am underwater myself. Every year, we now have superior our Nunavut undertaking to supply the potential for very vital rewards. Final season we swung for the fences with our drill program, as we instructed traders we might, and that potential for a house run drove the share value up. We hit copper and zinc, however not the “dwelling run” the market wished.
Discoveries are hardly ever made on the primary drill programask Dave Broughton what number of tries it took to search out Kamoa. We nonetheless strongly consider that the Nunavut undertaking has the potential for vital discovery, and we’re demonstrating this with profitable exploration. Over the previous few months, I’ve added 1 million shares to my private holdings.
Peter Epstein: With so many low cost mining tasks world wide, why did your group select the Blue Ridge undertaking in Virginia as your organization’s second main asset?
Thomas Ullrich: Low cost mining properties are normally low cost for apparent causes. The Virginia tasks are very completely different; they have been unrecognized and neglected, in order that they’re undervalued. The Blue Ridge Mining undertaking has a superb pedigree, created from Arizona Mining founder Don Taylor’s personal firm. Don brings many years of expertise working in Virginia, and the important relationships required to get issues accomplished.
The realm is extremely potential for each base and valuable metals, dwelling to mineralized belts that include the bottom steel deposits of the Copper Basin, and the Haile Gold Mine, however little explored as a result of deep weathering and lack of outcrop. Not solely are the Blue Ridge tasks undervalued, they’re a terrific match for Aston Bay; they match proper into our base metals exploration wheelhouse. The Blue Ridge tasks considerably develop upon our core competency with an amazing gold story.
Dave Broughton, the group and I’ve all had success with valuable metals. Simply as necessary, all of the heavy lifting has been accomplished on these tasks, with early-stage exploration accomplished. We’re on the drill-ready stage. Virginia, as a “charge easy” jurisdiction, permits us to drill with none allowing required. This permits us to behave rapidly, getting us to a discovery sooner.
Nice tasks, able to drill, in a spot the place you may drill immediately (and in a jurisdiction the place you may have religion which you could mine and subsequently repatriate your revenue). It is an thrilling undertaking and a considerable value-add to Aston Bay.
Peter Epstein: Please clarify your view on the outcomes of 4 drill holes reported in early June. [Note: BAY shares were down nearly 40% on the day of the announcement].
Thomas Ullrich: The outcomes have been very encouraging. Excessive-grade gold in quartz veining at floor on personal land in a terrific jurisdiction. That is simply the beginning, we’re nonetheless ready on assays from the encompassing rock that will include vital disseminated gold, like they’re now mining on the Haile Gold Mine simply 200 miles to the south, a roughly 5M-ounce useful resource.
Much more encouraging, we now have solely drilled a really small portion of the land, (the place the quartz vein stands proud of the bottom). Nevertheless, this sits inside a a lot bigger gold-in-soil anomaly with values of as much as zero.four g/t gold. These are robust outcomes to date, and we consider extra constructive outcomes are popping out of this program, and future packages, as we step out alongside strike. We are going to work to higher educate the market on this matter in upcoming information releases.
Peter Epstein: You stated in a current interview that Aston Bay can transfer rapidly, and at low price, in central Virginia. Low cost and straightforward in comparison with what?
Thomas Ullrich: Base and valuable metals exploration actions are unregulated in Virginia beneath what’s termed a charge easy jurisdiction for property rights, the utmost combination of rights accessible. Operationally, which means we will discover, drill and even conduct small scale mining with none allowing required when we now have agreements with the timber corporations that personal potential grounds.
So, it is simple and fast to get began with out ready for permits or consultationsfast as a result of the preliminary geological work has already been accomplished (and Don Taylor has been chewing on the targets for years), and straightforward and low price as a result of the timber farms have an intensive highway community for truck and track-mounted drill entry.
It does not get cheaper and simpler, significantly when in comparison with most areas which have no less than one of many “frictions” of exploration, comparable to drill allowing, land use permits, water use permits, native session necessities, entry agreements, highway constructing permits, camp constructing helicopter assist, gasoline provide strains, and so forth. . . .the checklist goes on. We’ve none of these right here in Virginia.
At our Buckingham Gold undertaking, the drill drove proper as much as the pad simply three weeks after signing the land settlement. That was our first drill program within the U.S., so we count on to be even faster for subsequent packages. The all-in prices for that small program can be lower than CA$200/m. We count on we will scale back that determine for future packages.
Peter Epstein: Are you able to speak about your group’s ideas on what an enlarged Blue Ridge or Buckingham Gold deposit may doubtlessly include?
Thomas Ullrich: We can be signing agreements to discover over 11,000 acres of personal land in Virginia, on the lookout for base metals (copper, zinc, cobalt) and gold. We really feel the property has the potential to host undiscovered belts of base steel deposits, much like Ducktown and different 10 million-ton-plus deposits of the Copper Basin mined within the early 1900s.
For valuable metals, we have already got high-grade gold in quartz veins at floor and shallow subsurface at our Buckingham Gold undertaking, and we’re awaiting outcomes for potential disseminated gold mineralization within the surrounding rock. On the Haile Gold Mine 200 miles to the south, OceanaGold Corp. (OGC:TSX; OGC:ASX) is mining related kinds of mineralization from a 5 M-ounce useful resource. It is early days, however these are the targets we’re aiming for.
Peter Epstein: Though we touched on a variety of issues, to sum up, what are the near-term catalysts for Aston Bay?
Thomas Ullrich: The remaining outcomes for our Buckingham Gold undertaking ought to be out within the subsequent few weeks. Quickly we are going to signal a definitive settlement for the a lot bigger parcel of floor lined by our letter of intent with a serious forestry firm. We will place what’s at present a high-grade, albeit at present small gold undertaking, throughout the context of a a lot bigger gold-in-soil anomaly. Then, we are going to develop targets and begin step-out drilling to see how huge the Buckingham Gold undertaking may very well be.
There’s potential for added gold deposits and close to drill-ready copper-zinc deposits on forestry firm floor and in different areas in Virginia, the place we’re at present in superior land settlement negotiations. In Nunavut, we hope to finish a modest (low-cost) floor geophysics program that would yield compelling targets for giant, high-grade copper and zinc deposits. With the ‘new’ Aston Bay we now have a gradual move of exploration and drilling on tasks that we consider have the potential for vital discovery in two of the very best jurisdictions on this planet.
Peter Epstein is the founding father of Epstein Analysis. His background is in firm and monetary evaluation. He holds an MBA diploma in monetary evaluation from New York College’s Stern College of Enterprise.[NLINSERT]
Peter Epstein’s Disclosures: The content material of this interview is for info solely. Readers totally perceive and agree that nothing contained herein, written by Peter Epstein of Epstein Analysis [ER], (collectively, [ER]) about Aston Bay, together with however not restricted to, commentary, opinions, views, assumptions, reported info, calculations, and so forth. is to not be thought of implicit or express funding recommendation. Nothing contained herein is a suggestion or solicitation to purchase or promote any safety. [ER] isn’t accountable beneath any circumstances for funding actions taken by the reader. [ER] has by no means been, and isn’t at present, a registered or licensed monetary advisor or dealer/seller, funding advisor, stockbroker, dealer, cash supervisor, compliance or authorized officer, and doesn’t carry out market making actions. [ER] isn’t immediately employed by any firm, group, group, social gathering or particular person. The shares of Aston Bay are extremely speculative, not appropriate for all traders. Readers perceive and agree that investments in small cap shares can lead to a 100% lack of invested funds. It’s assumed and agreed upon by readers that they’ll seek the advice of with their very own licensed or registered monetary advisors earlier than making any funding selections.
On the time this interview was posted, Peter Epstein owned shares in Aston Bay, and it was an advertiser on [ER].
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