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How a Gold Junior in Newfoundland Could be The Next Big Gold Play

Jocelyn Aspa Jocelyn Aspa, The Market Herald
2 Comments| November 9, 2021

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Canada has long been considered a mining jackpot with its mineral sector ranging from exploration and mining to primary processing and downstream product manufacturing. In line with this, as of 2019 Canadian gold mines produced roughly 175 tons of gold which is a 70 percent increase from 2010.

Provinces like Quebec and Ontario hold most of Canada’s gold reserves, but the province of Newfoundland is an emerging market for gold exploration — and companies are taking notice. Case in point, the Atlantic province has a rich mining history that goes back to the 1770s, and although gold didn’t start playing a bigger role in the province until 1976 when miners discovered mineralization near Cape Ray, the gold rush in Newfoundland is in full swing in 2021.

Meet Big Ridge Gold Corp. (TSXV:BRAU, OTCQB:ALVLF, Forum), a Toronto, Ontario-based exploration and development company with a portfolio of 100 percent-owned Canadian gold properties. The company’s projects include the Oxford Gold project in Manitoba, the Destiny gold project located in the prolific Abitibi greenstone belt in Quebec and several gold projects in the Beardmore-Geraldton gold camp.

In April of this year, the company added an option on the Hope Brook Gold Project located in Newfoundland. The Hope Brook Gold Project has an extensive mining history, having previously produced 752,162 high-grade gold ounces between 1987 and 1997. The project also holds a major land position with significant exploration upside along 35 kilometres of strike on more than 26,000 hectares.

Additionally, Hope Brook hosts an indicated gold resource totaling 5.5 million tonnes, grading 4.77 grams per ton (g/t) gold for 844,000 ounces and inferred resources totaling 836,000 tonnes grading 4.11 g/t gold for 110,000 ounces based on a 3.0 g/t cut-off grade and a long-term gold price of US$1,200.
Positioned in one of the most exciting gold exploration jurisdictions in the world, the project holds massive potential for not only Big Ridge Gold but also investors looking for the next big gold play.

The Newfoundland Angle

While Newfoundland continues to emerge as a hotspot for gold companies, companies like Big Ridge Gold need to stand out.

Mike Bandrowski, CEO of Big Ridge Gold, told Stockhouse Editorial that Big Ridge Gold differentiates itself because it has proven metallurgy from 10years of production,a solid resource with significant upside, a premier management team and a strong balance sheet of over $10 million.

“[The Hope Brook Gold Project] is advanced and [the company] will hopefully be able to provide some economics to the market and move towards a pre-feasibility study in the next couple of years,” Bandrowski said.

The Hope Brook Gold Project

Located roughly 85 kilometres east of Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland, the project has well-maintained infrastructure including an operational 28-person camp, 1-100 metre airstrip, an ice-free docking facility, and, perhaps most importantly, connection to the province’s electrical power grid through an on-site substation.


(Click to enlarge image)

Thanks to previous activity at the Hope Bridge Gold Project, significant potential remains on the 26,000-hectare concession, which provides the opportunity to expand the mine area as well as target regional prospects last drilled in the early 1980’s.

Bandrowski told Stockhouse Editorial that the Hope Brook Gold Project — which is the company’s flagship project — is where it is primarily focused after taking possession earlier this year. Through the earn-in agreement Big Ridge entered into in April with First Mining Gold Corp. (TSX: FF), the company has the opportunity to earn up to an 80 percent interest in the Hope Brook Gold Project by spending $20 million over the next five years.

Upfront consideration included a $500,000 cash payment to First Mining and the issuance of 11.5 million shares of Big Ridge to First Mining. The first stage of the earn-in, where the company can earn up to a 51 percent interest over three years, includes spending $10 million in exploration expenditures on the project and issuing 15 million shares of Big Ridge to First Mining.

The second stage, where Big Ridge can earn up to 80 percent over two years, includes spending the last $10 million in exploration and expenditures and issuing an additional 10 million shares to First Mining.

In late-October, the company initiated a Phase 1 25,000 meter drill program, which will test the highly prospective ground between the 240 and Main Zones at surface and to depth. The program will also test the Northeast Extension once results from the controlled source audio-frequency Magnetotellurics (CSAMT) geophysics program, which is nearing completion, have been interpreted.

Bandrowski explained that within Newfoundland, the company has roughly 950,000 ounces in resource right now and that the company hopes to expand that to multi-million ounces at Hope Brook. He added that, ideally, the company would like to put the project back into production once it can prove up that resource.

He said this is the first real exploration program done at the property since 2012; additionally, the 25,000-metre diamond drilling program will take the company into 2022 which means investors will have plenty to look forward to.

A Well-Diversified Gold Portfolio

Although the company remains focused on advancing its flagship property in Newfoundland, Big Ridge Gold has several other key assets in its portfolio. These include the company’s 100 percent-owned Oxford Gold project in Manitoba, which includes 17 contiguous mineral claims and three mineral exploration licenses that cover a combined 36,000 hectares.

Bandrowski said that while the company “isn’t in any rush” to do any work at the Oxford Gold Project, Big Ridge Gold does have a long-term exploration agreement with the region’s First Nations community and is excited to explore the untested gold occurrences along the 30km trend at Oxford.

In Quebec, Big Ridge Gold owns 100 percent of the Destiny Gold Project, which is currently undergoing exploration. The project plays host to the DAC deposit which is made up of high-grade quartz veins occurring within five parallel altered gold-bearing shear zones.

Big Ridge Gold entered into a destiny sales agreement with Clarity Gold Corp.(CSE: CLAR) for the Destiny Gold Project in which Clarity has the option to earn 100 percent interest in the project by making cash and stock payments of CAD$8.5 million over a three year earn-in period.. Following the terms of the agreement, Big Ridge will hold a 1 percent precious metals NSR on the property subject to a $1 million buy-back right in favour of Clarity.

The Management Team

Mike Bandrowski: President, CEO, and Director

Mike Bandrowski brings over 15 years of capital markets and exploration experience in domestic and international markets. Before Big Ridge Gold, Bandrowski was director of mining investment banking at a Canadian bank with a focus on small and mid-cap companies. Additionally, Bandrowski was a mining research analyst covering precious and base metals.

Bandrowski has a B.Sc. and an MBA and has also served on public and private company boards.

Jim Kirke, CFO

Jim Kirke is a Canadian chartered public accountant with over 35 years of experience in public accounting and corporate management. Kirke also has over 12 years of international experience in public accounting and consulting with Coopers & Lybrand and has held senior finance roles in the natural resource and entertainment industries.

Before his role with Big Ridge Gold, Kirke served as CFO of Marathon Gold and its predecessor Marathon PGM Corp between 2005 and 2019.

Bill Williams, Director

Bill Williams is an economic geologist with roughly 40 years of experience in exploration and development of mining and oil and gas projects in addition to overseeing mining operations. Williams also provides consulting services to the mining industry with a focus on M&A analysis, risk analysis, project management and permitting strategies.

In addition to his role with Big Ridge Gold, Williams is a director with Western Copper and Gold and also served as interim CEO and director of Detour Gold Corporation as well as directorand COO of Zinc One Resources where he led the team that discovered the Mina Chica zinc-oxide deposit in the Bongara district in north-centrl Peru.

Williams is also former CEO, president and director of Orvana Minerals and vice president for Phelps Dodge Exploration where he oversaw activites in the Americas. Williams holds a Ph.D in economic geology from the University of Arizona and is a certified professional geologist.

Nick Tintor, Director

Nick Tintor is a geologist and mining executive with over 35 years of experience in mineral exploration, project generation, evaluation and company management. For over 30 years, Tintor has also been involved with junior start-ups, financing and corporate management and leading deep relationships in the Canadian mining banking community.

Tintor is also a qualified member of the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America and is a qualified person as defined under NI 43-101.

Ken Engquist, Director

Ken Engquist has over 25 years of engineering and project leader experience and also has extensive experience overseeing the advancement of assets through development.

Engquist has recently overseen the development of various aspects of Tinka Resources’ Ayawilca project in Peru in addition to the feasibility engineering study for Arizona Mining’s Hermosa Zinc Project in the US.

Other titles Engquist has held include vice president of project development for Nevsun Resources and roles with Oxygen Capital, AngloGold Ashanti and Rio Tinto.

Engquist has a B.Sc. in engineering from Michigan Technological University and is a registered project management professional.

Rick Mazur, Director

Richard Mazur is a geoscientist who has over 35 years of experience working in positions in international exploration and mining as a geologist, financial analyst, and senior executive on uranium, gold, and base metals. Mazur is also a director with Forum Energy Metals, Impact Silver Corp., and Midnight Sun Mining Corp.

Bill Pearson, Advisor

Bill Pearson is a professional geoscientist with over 46 years of experience in the national and international mining industry through al phases from grassroots exploration through to advanced projects and mine development.

Pearson has also carried out exploration and development programs in 18 countries in the Americas, Europe, East Asia and Australia and has also been on the board of several public junior mining companies.

Between 2010 and 2015 he was the president and CEO of Coastal Gold Corp., which explkored the Hope Brook project and negotiated the sale of the company to First Mining Finance. Pearson was also the vice president of exploration for Desert Sun Mining Corp. in Brazil and executive vice president of exploration for Central Sun Mining Inc. in Nicaragua.

In addition to his role with Big Ridge Gold, Pearson is executive vice president of exploration for Eloro Resources, exploring the Iska Iska silver-tin polymetallic project in Bolivia. Pearson is also the founding president of the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario and received the PDAC Distinguished Service Award in 2015 for his service to Canada’s Mineral and Exploration Industry.

Lawrence Curtis, Advisor

Lawrence Curtis is an economic geologist with over 45 years of experience in exploration, mine development and financing of previous metals resources. Curtis holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and is a licensed professional geologist and lifetime member of PDAC.

Curtis is also currently a director of Excellon Resources Inc. and former director of Wheaton River Minerals, High River Gold and Breakwater Resources. In 1996, he founded Intrepid Minerals Corp. as a mineral exploration and development company and was with Intrepid until 2014. Curtis was also vice-rsident and senior analysit of global reoruces at Dundee Capital Markets between 2011 and 2015 and a mining analyst at Claus Securities from 2010 to 2011.

The Investment Angle

Although there are only a couple of months left of the year, 2022 is already looking busy for Big Ridge Gold - which should be enticing to investors. Bandrowski told Stockhouse Editorial that the company will be updating its resource estimate in the new year as part of the 25,000-drill program at the Hope Brook project.

Additionally, Bandrowski said the company anticipates putting together some economics around the project and releasing that to the market in due course.

Within Newfoundland, there are over 10 companies comparable to Big Ridge Gold, including heavy hitters such as Newfound Gold (TSX: NFG), Marathon Gold (TSX: MOZ), Anaconda Mining (TSX: ANX), and Labrador Gold Corp. (TSX: LAB), all of which have market caps over C$100 million.

Compared to its peers, Big Ridge Gold currently has a share price of $0.28 as of market close on October 27 and market capitalization of $22.17 million. As such, Big Ridge Gold is vastly undervalued when you take into consideration the scope of the Hope Brook project alone as well as the company’s other assets.

However, for investors that means now is the time more than ever to get on a growing opportunity such as Big Ridge Gold as it moves to advance the Hope Brook Gold Project in a top-tier mining jurisdiction.

For more information, please visit bigridgegold.com.

FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by Stockhouse Publishing.


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